With my first mock draft a week in the books, it’s time to present version 2.0 of my official mock.
Pick 1: Indianapolis Colts, Andrew Luck , QB, Stanford
Andrew Luck hasn’t moved since my original mock and he will continue to stay as the number one selection. Luck is a once-in-a-generation prospect and is a lock to be selected first overall by the Colts.
Pick 2: Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
The Redskins are going to select Griffin after having traded three first-round picks and one second-rounder for the right to go with this electric Baylor product.
Pick 3: Minnesota Vikings, Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Kalil is another player who hasn’t moved since my original mock, as he is extremely likely to go to Minnesota. This USC tackle will provide Christian Ponder with protection for the next ten years.
Pick 4: Cleveland Browns, Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (Pick Change: Originally Ryan Tannehill)
This is the first change in my mock, as the Browns have eschewed selecting Texas A&M product Ryan Tannehill in favor of picking Richardson. Mike Holmgren chooses to surround Colt McCoy with weapons instead of choosing a new franchise quarterback.
Pick 5: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU (Pick Change: Originally Trent Richardson)
With Richardson off the board, the Buccaneers will select Claiborne to fill a gaping hole at cornerback. Ronde Barber will soon retire and Aqib Talib is dealing with some legal issues, so Claiborne could begin the season playing across from newly signed Eric Wright.
Pick 6: St. Louis Rams, Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.
The Rams make an obvious choice here, selecting Blackmon to be Sam Bradford’s number one option after the loss of Brandon Lloyd this offseason.
Pick 7: Jacksonville Jaguars, Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina (Pick Change: Originally Michael Floyd)
Recent reports say that the Jaguars are leaning towards Ingram, the explosive defensive end, instead of Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd. In a division with Matt Schaub and Andrew Luck, Ingram will pair with Jeremy Mincey to give the Jaguars a satisfactory 1-2 defensive punch.
Pick 8: Miami Dolphins, Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M (Pick Change: Originally Quinton Coples)
The Dolphins were left at the altar with both Matt Flynn and Peyton Manning this offseason. The team forced to settle for Ryan Tannehill, an inexperienced signal caller from Texas A&M. The former Aggie will likely sit a year behind starter Matt Moore before taking the helm.
Pick 9: Carolina Panthers, Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi St (Pick Change: Originally Morris Claiborne)
Cam Newton has provided the Panther offense with a huge spark, but the Panthers still have multiple holes on the defensive side of the ball. Carolina will select Cox, a riser because of his versatility, to fill a large need on their defensive line.
Pick 10: Buffalo Bills, Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Here is another pick that hasn’t changed, as the Bills choose the Iowa strongman to will protect expensive quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Pick 11: Kansas City Chiefs, David DeCastro, G, Stanford
This selection stays the same, as DeCastro, the unanimous All-American guard, can blast open holes for the running back tandem of Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hills.
Pick 12: Seattle Seahawks, Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
While he’s not an elite-level athlete, Kuechly is an instinctive and technically sound linebacker who will step into departed linebacker David Hawthorne’s shoes.
Pick 13: Arizona Cardinals, Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame (Pick Change: Originally Jonathan Martin)
I originally had the Cardinals selecting Stanford offensive lineman Jonathan Martin, but Floyd fell into Arizona’s lap here. The Cardinals will not hesitate to select the Notre Dame product in the interest of taking attention away from star wideout Larry Fitzgerald.
Pick 14: Dallas Cowboys, Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina (Pick Change: Originally Melvin Ingram)
Gilmore has been flying up draft boards recently and he is the biggest riser in my mock, moving from No. 31 to No. 14. Gilmore is a playmaking corner who can help a porous Dallas pass defense.
Pick 15: Philadelphia Eagles, Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
A pick that hasn’t changed, the Eagles will use this selection on Poe. Though this combine warrior has scared off teams with his lack of production in college, he is an athletic freak and can dominate if he wants to.
Pick 16: New York Jets, Quinton Coples, DE/OLB, UNC (Pick Change: Originally Courtney Upshaw)
Quinton Coples was one of the most highly touted prospects coming into the draft process. He recently, though, admitted that he gave a “C” effort as a senior in college, highlighting his work ethic problems. Rex Ryan will not mind Coples’ work ethic concerns as he adds an elite athlete to his physical defensive unit.
Pick 17: Cincinnati Bengals, Mark Barron, S, Alabama
The Bengals are a young team with seemingly few holes, and they fill one of them with this selection. Barron is the best safety in this years’ class, and he will potentially unseat starter Chris Crocker at some point this season.
Pick 18: San Diego Chargers, Whitney Mercilus, OLB, Illinois
The San Diego Chargers struggled in their pass rush this year, as only one player recorded over four sacks. Mercilus, one of my top sleepers, will be the selection to bolster an aging Charger defense.
Pick 19: Chicago Bears, Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia (Pick Change: Originally Fletcher Cox)
The Bears struggled at the end of last year because of injuries to Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, so they pick up Georgia’s Cordy Glenn to keep their star players upright and on the field.
Pick 20: Tennessee Titans, Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama (Pick Change: Originally Cordy Glenn)
The Titans, possibly hoping for Glenn in this scenario, will use this pick to replaced departed Pro Bowl corner Cortland Finnegan, who signed with St. Louis this offseason. Kirkpatrick is a tall, physical cornerback with the tools to succeed in the NFL.
Pick 21: Cincinnati Bengals, Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
With their second first-round pick, the Bengals select Lamar Miller to pair with newly signed BenJarvus Green-Ellis. While slightly undersized, Miller has the ability to pick up yards in chunks. I compare this back to Eagles star Lesean McCoy.
Pick 22: Cleveland Browns, Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford (Pick Change: Originally Kendall Wright)
With their second first rounder, the Browns will select Martin to fortify the right side of their offensive line. With franchise left tackle Joe Thomas already in place, Martin will be able to move to right tackle, where his deficiencies in handling speed rushers will not be as pronounced.
Pick 23: Detroit Lions, Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama (Pick Change: Originally Dre Kirkpatrick)
The Lions will follow their “best player available” strategy in selecting the talented, yet troubled, former Florida Gator cornerback. Jenkins is a top-15 talent but has fallen because of major character concerns.
Pick 24: Pittsburgh Steelers, Don’t’a Hightower, LB, Alabama
The Steelers will select Hightower to inject fresh blood into an aging Steelers defense, replacing released linebacker James Farrior. No pick change here.
Pick 25: Denver Broncos, Michael Brockers, DT, LSU (Pick Change: Originally Stephen Hill)
Denver lost its best defensive tackle, Broderick Bunkley, to free agency and will use this selection on Brockers to replace him. The Broncos will definitely consider a wide receiver here.
Pick 26: Houston Texans, Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor (Pick Change: Originally Mike Adams)
The Texans have made it no secret that they want to upgrade across from Andre Johnson, and drafting Kendall Wright is the best way to go about that. Wright is a burner who can immensely upgrade the Houston offense.
Pick 27: New England Patriots, Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama (Pick Change: Originally Michael Brockers)
The Patriots struggled get consistent pressure on the quarterback in 2011, evidenced by Eli Manning’s performance in the Super Bowl. Upshaw is a great value here, as he could have gone as high as No. 16.
Pick 28: Green Bay Packers, Nick Perry, OLB, USC
Green Bay had a prolific performance on offense last season, but struggled defensively. Perry is an experienced edge rusher with a repertoire of pass-rush moves. He can team with Clay Matthews to give the Packers a devastating defensive duo.
Pick 29: Baltimore Ravens, Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
Konz is a tough, versatile offensive lineman who will step into a starting job at right guard and replace the departed Ben Grubbs. This Wisconsin mauler is likely to shift to center at some point.
Pick 30: San Francisco 49ers, Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech (Pick Change: Originally Janoris Jenkins)
Hill falls in this mock draft, but the 49ers are happy to pick up the speedster late in the first round. Hill can take pressure off of Frank Gore and give Alex Smith another weapon to work with. The Niners added Mario Manningham and Randy Moss this offseason, but they still grab the Georgia Tech pass catcher here.
Pick 31: New England Patriots, Devon Still, DT, Penn St (Pick Change: Originally Stephon Gilmore)
The Patriots continue to bolster their defense in this draft, selecting the consistent, if underwhelming, Still out of Penn St to add depth to a thin defensive line.
Pick 32: New York Giants, Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford (Pick Change: Originally Devon Still)
New York lost Jake Ballard to a torn ACL in the Super Bowl, so the Giants use this selection on Fleener, Andrew Luck’s top target at Stanford last year.