With most of the important free agents signed and only one or two names left to ink a deal it's about time to roll out my updated mock draft. While the top 5 or 6 will probably be the same as the rest of the world's there are one or two surprises in there. So without further a due, here it goes...
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
If you don’t know this guy by now, then GTFO.
2: Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
You don’t give up 3 1st round picks to take anything other than your franchise signal-caller.
3: Minnesota Vikings
Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Justin Blackmon will tempt some in the Vikings war room. He’d give them a target for Ponder that isn’t a tight end or Harvin. But in the end the right thing to do is protect last years 1st round pick. Players like Matt Kalil just don’t come around all that often. They guy’s a beast.
4: Cleveland Browns
*Trade! St. Louis give up #6 & #39*
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.
With Kalil gone, St. Louis jump up using a pick from Washington to grab Sam Bradford a wide receiver that they tried and failed to get him last year. St. Louis have made some nice moves this off-season, but there is still a gaping hole at receiver.
5: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
The Bucs spend $120m on free agents in a matter of hours, but to think that plugged all their holes would be wrong. They still have plenty, and the worst is in the secondary. As a result Claiborne becomes the clear choice.
6: St. Louis Rams
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Cleveland have a severe lack of offensive playmakers. They could very well stay put and take Blackmon, but in the last few years they’ve shown a Pats-like propensity to trade down, so why not mock them to do so again? While the value of running backs has been diminishing for a while now, having a stud in the back field can still do wonders for a team. Richardson has every chance to be that stud.
7: Jacksonville Jaguars
Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Much like St. Louis, the Jags have a lack of any sort of threat at wide out, and as a result they’re going to reach for one here to try and help Gabbert look a little less helpless. Coples or Reiff would be a better value pick. But they need to get fans through the turn-styles if they’re going to stay in Jacksonville.
8: Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Missed on Manning, missed on Flynn. Life is not that great for the powers that be in Miami. They’re in negotiations with Alex Smith, and although Matt Moore performed well at the end of last season you certainly can’t compete in the AFC East with those guys under centre. Tannehill will need polishing, but he’s got a lot of talent.
9: Carolina Panthers
Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi St.
After their signing of Mike Tolbert there’s a chance they might pick another running back here since they love them so much. But instead I have them filling a need here and shoring up their interior defensive line. Cox would allow the Panthers to rotate last years rookie starters Fua and McClain next to him.
10: Buffalo Bills
Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Last year’s starting left tackle Demetrius Bell is still a free agent, but there seems to be little indication that he’ll be returning to Buffalo. As a result this could push them towards Jonathan Martin, who is a better left tackle prospect. But I think they will pick up Reiff here. He’s a mauler that will slot into right tackle straight away, and could be tried at left tackle though I don’t think it would work long term, and play at a good level.
11: Kansas City Chiefs
Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
Adding free agent RT Eric Winston will really help their offensive line and clears up a big need. GM Scott Pioli has shown a propensity for investing in defensive linemen, and Romeo Crennel’s 3-4 D needs a nose tackle to sure up the interior after Dorsey and Jackson have underperformed recently.
12: Seattle Seahawks
Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
Seattle have done nicely in free agency, locking down Matt Flynn to a fairly risk-free contract and bringing back Red Bryant. Now they fill another hole at linebacker with one of the best players left on the board. Kuechly is a technically proficient and instinctive player who is also very athletic. He can contribute straight away for a team that could surprise a few people and challenge for the division crown.
13: Arizona Cardinals
Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Arizona might have bought back Levi Brown on a cheaper contract, but let’s not pretend he’ll be their starting left tackle again. He’s had a go and not been good enough, but he should be a serviceable right tackle. Martin has a lot of potential but a few rough edges that will need to be hammered out during training camp if he is to start from day 1. But he has the ability to lock down the blind side for the Cardinals for a long time.
14: Dallas Cowboys
David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
After signing Brandon Carr the Cowboys don’t need to reach for talented but potential troublesome players such as Janoris Jenkins or Dre Kirkpatrick. Instead they can go to the Offensive Line well once again and pick up a guy who is in the top 5 on my big board. David DeCastro was a dominating force at right guard for the Cardinal and shows every indication of being able to carry that into the pros.
15: Philadelphia Eagles
Devon Still, DT, Penn St.
Quinton Coples could well turn Andy Reid’s head here. But after locking down Trent Cole and seeing how poor his interior run defense was all indications are that they’ll look to linebacker of DT. And with Kuechly off the board they’ll take Devon Still to shore up the run defense.
16: New York Jets
Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
The Jets have several needs but Courtney Upshaw is perhaps too much of a prize for Ryan and the Jets to pass on. Upshaw is a dynamic pass rusher who would have a blitz-happy coach like Ryan salivating.
17: Cincinnati Bengals
Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
If any team is going to overlook character concerns it’s Cincinnati. Jenkins was an All-SEC player in Florida before drug arrests forced him out. He’s possibly better than Morris Claiborne in straight up man coverage. If the Bengals can keep him on the straight and narrow he’ll be a good tandem with Leon Hall.
18: San Diego Chargers
Gordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia
Glenn is a mountain of a man at 6-5 and 345lbs but he’s a heck of an athlete too. After playing guard for most of his career at Georgia he kicked out to left tackle in his senior year, and after a strong Senior Bowl the idea of him being an NFL left tackle isn’t too outlandish. But he can definitely be a top notch replacement for Kris Dielman at left guard.
19: Chicago Bears
Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
The Bears are delighted to see Quinton Coples still on the board. Coples is something of a tough grade. He’s got all the talent in the world but the effort and intensity just didn’t seem to be there his senior season which is an issue. The way free agency has fallen the slots he could have fallen into of Miami and Buffalo have closed up and so he’s fallen down the board. The Bears, who have a defense that never slacks off, could easily light a fire under him. And opposite Julius Peppers he’ll see a lot of favourable looks.
20: Tennessee Titans
Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Pass rush is a problem for Tennessee, and with Jason Jones gone from the interior it’s even more so. And so they grab the best end available. Ingram is a versatile threat and can play against run or pass just as well.
21: Cincinnati Bengals
Mark Barron, S, Alabama
The Bengals double up on secondary players to help solidify a good defense and put them into the elite status. Barron is far and away the best safety prospect in this class. While he’s flourished as an in the box guy at ‘Bama he’s shown coverage ability too. He’s got the physical stature and athleticism to compete against the new era of tight ends too.
22: Cleveland Browns
Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Cleveland’s hunt for playmakers continues and they grab a versatile guy who, although he didn’t run as well as people thought he would at the combine, has explosive potential. His numbers at Baylor were staggering and he showed real deep threat potential.
23: Detroit Lions
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
The Lions are delighted to find a top end corner back still on the board. Despite getting good pressure with their defensive line all year they just couldn’t cover at the back end and could well be a threat to double up in the 2nd round on secondary players. Kirkpatrick is a physical guy and while he’s not an elite cover guy he’s got experience in what is affectively a pro-style defense in ‘Bama. This could be where Sephon Gilmore goes after his impressive workouts.
24: Pittsburgh Steelers
Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
Hightower was born to play linebacker for the Steelers. After cutting Farrior to make cap room for Mike Wallace there’s a hole at inside linebacker for Hightower to slide in. He’s a huge guy who has no problem taking on blockers in run defense and worked out better than expected in the Combine.
25: Pittsburgh Steelers
*Denver send selection to PIT for Mike Wallace*
Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin
After signing Peyton Manning the Broncos decide to go after a restricted free agent wide receiver to make life a little easier for #18, sending their pick to Pittsburgh who use it on a much needed interior lineman. Wisconsin is one a lineman conveyor-belt to the NFL, and the latest product is Kevin Zeitler, a massive guard who, while limited athletically is very physical and tough, he’s also not made of wet paper like the rest of the Steelers O-Line, which is a bonus.
26: Houston Texans
Reuben Randle, WR, LSU
If there’s one thing the injury bug highlighted about Houston it’s that there’s very little at receiver behind Andre Johnson. Randle’s production at LSU wasn’t great, but his QB’s were pretty dire. He’s a great athlete and although a little raw he’d be a great compliment to one of the best receivers in the league.
27: New England Patriots
Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Another big body on the interior of the D-Line might not be the most pressing of needs for New England, but Brockers is the most talented guy left on the board, and that’s usually enough for Bill Belichick to pull the trigger on someone. Brockers is raw and could have benefited from another year at LSU but he’s got bundles of potential.
28: Green Bay Packers
Nick Perry, OLB, USC
As Clay Matthews goes, so it seems does the Packers D. He had a slow year and so the back side of Green Bay’s defense got some what exposed. Adding another USC pass rusher in Nick Perry could do wonders for them over adding another DB.
29: Baltimore Ravens
Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
Matt Birk might have re-signed but he can’t go on forever, and there’s a hole at guard that needs filling after Ben Grubbs’ departure. So why not pick up Konz and let him cut his teeth at guard before sliding back to centre?
30: San Francisco 49ers
Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
No I haven’t forgotten about Vernon Davis. But why take a risk on one of these receivers when Harbaugh knows exactly what he’s getting from Fleener? A 2nd tight end who is also a receiving threat would do wonders for their offense and give them versatility similar to New England’s.
31: New England Patriots
Andre Branch, OLB, Clemson
The likelihood of New England actually using both their picks is slim, but it would be fool-hardy to predict who it is they’ll trade with here. As they pick up free agent receivers New England’s lack of edge rusher is becoming a big problem. Andre Carter and Mark Anderson remain on the market but there is little sign of them returning to Foxboro. So Branch fits perfectly, he’s got the size and versatility Belichick loves too.
32: New York Giants
Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina
The Giants are in need of a linebacker. Despite the best efforts of Chase Blackburn and a like they still found themselves weak there for most of the year. Zach Brown is a top player who could easily go higher, but 4-3 OLB’s aren’t that valuable come draft day, so here’s a very good slot for him to go.
33: St. Louis Rams
Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
Talent always falls out of the 1st, and Mercilus is a victim of how the board fell. Can become top level tandem with Chris Long.
34: Indianapolis Colts
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
A good runner to grow and develop next to Luck.
35: Minnesota Vikings
Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
Could easily be a 1st round pick, but he’s fallen here and the Vikes are very happy to shore up their secondary.
36: Tampa Bay Buccanners
David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
After resisting Trent Richardson the Buccs get a back here to team up with Blount.
37: Cleveland Browns
Rondell Lewis, DE, Oklahoma
Getting to the opposing QB has long been a problem for Cleveland, and Lewis would go some way to helping that.
38: Jacksonville Jaguars
Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
The Jags double up on receivers, even after over-paying Laurent Robinson they’re still desperately short.
39: Cleveland Browns
*From Washington via. St. Louis*
Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma St.
Cleveland bring in some immediate competition for Colt McCoy in Weeden. He’ll be 29 in October but could be an upgrade day 1.
40: Carolina Panthers
Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida
A big 40 in the Combine has pushed Robinson up the board. So has his return ability.
41: Buffalo Bills
Orson Charles, TE, Georgia
42: Miami Dolphins
Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan St.
Miami’s change to a 4-3 will require new defensive linemen. Worthy can play the 3-tech DT and get good penetration against the pass.
43: Seattle Seahawks
Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
New Quarterbacks often mean new receivers being bought in. Jeffery has slid somewhat but he’s a big, physical player who will provide a big target for Flynn.
44: Kansas City Chiefs
Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan St.
Matt Cassel could be on a short leash after a very iffy 2011. Cousins will require a bit of work before he’s ready for the NFL but he’s got a lot of talent and is a better option than Palko or Stanzi is right now.
45: Dallas Cowboys
Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
Brandon Carr’s signing doesn’t mean it’s all well and good in the Cowboys secondary. Another body is needed.
46: Philadelphia Eagles
LaVonte David, OLB, Nebraska
The Eagles D improved greatly towards the end of the season, but linebacker is a big issue. David would help that no end.
47: New York Jets
James Brown, OT/OG, Troy
With Mario Williams now lurking in Buffalo, and a lot of money crazily invested in Mark Sanchez, they better sure up their right tackle.
48: New England Patriots
Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
New England’s pass defense was abysmal in 2011 and they need another safety so they grab the best one available.
49: San Diego Chargers
Alameda Ta’amu, NT, Washington
Ta’amu will help to anchor a 3-4 defense and eventually take over from Antonio Garay.
50: Chicago Bears
Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
With Mike Martz out the door the Bears will join the rest of the NFL and actually use a tight end, so they get the last of the big 3 in this class.
51: Philadelphia Eagles
Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona St.
The Eagles have a history of drafting talented QB’s who need work on day 2, and Osweiler fits the bill.
52: Tennessee Titans
Kelechi Osemele, OT/OG, Iowa St
Steve Hutchinson could be on his way to Nashville, but he won’t be more than a stop-gap in the interior.
53: Cincinnati Bengals
Doug Martin, RB, Boise St.
Cedric Benson hasn’t got much left to give and they’ll need a good ground game to help Dalton develop at his own pace.
54: Detroit Lions
Ben Jones, C, Georgia
Dominic Raiola has been a loyal servant to Detroit, but he can’t go on forever.
55: Atlanta Falcons
Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
The resigned John Abraham, but he’s going to need more and more spelling this season, Curry is a good pass rushing prospect. A linebacker isn’t out of the question either.
56: Pittsburgh Steelers
Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern St.
As the Steelers have found out recently, you can never have too many offensive linemen.
57: Denver Broncos
Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut
The Broncos need a DT desperately to stop teams running all over them and let Dumbervil and Miller do their thing.
58: Houston Texans
Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss
The Texans O-Line was a great unit in 2011 but it’s been broken up now. There’s a hole at RT that Massie can fill straight away.
59: New Orleans Saints
Mychal Kendricks, ILB, Cal
The Saints defense is one of the worst tackling units I’ve ever seen. They need fixing and Kendricks will be an upgrade at either OLB spots.
60: Green Bay Packers
Philip Blake, C/G, Baylor
With Scott Wells gone there’s a big hole in the middle of Green Bay’s line. Blake is an excellent protector, just ask Robert Griffin.
61: Baltimore Ravens
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
The Ravens are in need of guys who can get separation on the outside. It might not be Sanu here but it will definitely be a receiver.
62: San Francisco 49ers
Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin
Another weapon needed is needed to balance out their offense and add some substance to the wide receiver corps. Toon comes from a run-orientated offense in Wisconsin and will be a good piece for Harbaugh to use.
63: New England Patriots
Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
As said before, they need help in the secondary. There’s also history with the Patriots and taking 2nd round corners. It’s not particularly good though.
64: New York Giants
Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida St.
The way they got handled up front in the NFCCG showed that the Giants need to get tougher. Sanders will help that.