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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Ryan Tannehill Variable

What we have here are 3 mocks for the price of one! The key difference in each one is where Ryan Tannehill gets selected. In Scenario 1 the Browns jump on him straight away at 4th overall, trusting on him to be able to handle the pressure and expectation of being a top 5 pick. Scenario 2 sees Miami grab him at #8. I would consider this an all-or-nothing, win over the fans pick from Jeff Ireland, who has been coming under increasing pressure after recent failings to sign the big names. Scenario 3 sees the Browns pass over Tannehill at first and then sweat it out til #22 to get him.

#1: Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Previous pick: Andrew Luck

#2: Washington Redskins

Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Previous pick: Robert Griffin III

#3: Minnesota Vikings

Matt Kalil, OT, USC

Previous pick: Matt Kalil

The top 3 picks are obviously unaffected by the Tannehill variability, and also require very little explanation.  All three are franchise players at hard to find positions.

#4: Cleveland Browns

Scenario 1: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Scenario 2: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Scenario 3: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Previous pick: Traded to St. Louis, Justin Blackmon

Colt McCoy is no franchise QB. No, he hasn’t had any half decent weapons, but he still lacks the elite arm that can really change a game. Tannehill is a very raw talent and had some ups and downs while at Texas A&M, but the potential is there for sure. It’s just whether or not the Browns feel they can unlock it. As for Trent Richardson? He might be the best back to come out since Adrian Peterson, but I really don’t like taking a running back this high. Then again Cleveland have a massive hole there.

#5: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Scenario 1/2/3: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Previous pick: Morris Claiborne

The Buccs resist the temptation of Trent Richardson in scenario 1 and collect Morris Claiborne to fill a huge need at cornerback. Talk of Claiborne's poor wonderlic score has had people question if the Bucs would take him here, but any tape and combine study shows you that this kid can do it all at cornerback. He's an easy and pretty safe pick here.

#6: St. Louis Rams

Scenario 1/2/3: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.

Previous pick: Traded to Cleveland, Trent Richardson

The Rams are very happy to take the future of the Redskins and still get a big time target for Sam Bradford.

#7: Jacksonville Jaguars

Scenario 1/2/3: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

Previous pick: Michael Floyd

Coples has shot back up my board simply because Jacksonville need a pass rush. Jeremy Mincy might have re-signed but they still lack any sort of consistent pressure.

#8: Miami Dolphins

Scenario 1: *TRADE* Cincinnati Bengals Trade #17 and #21 to Miami for #8 and a 4th round selection: Trent Richardson
Scenario 2: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Scenario 3: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

Previous pick: Ryan Tannehill

Times are tough in South Beach. After being turned down by Peyton Manning and not signing Matt Flynn the fan base has turned on GM Jeff Ireland. If the draft doesn’t lead to immediate improvement then he could well find himself on the chopping block. And when you consider it like that would Ryan Tannehill be an immediate improvement over Matt Moore? I’m not so sure he would be, so Ireland might prefer scenario 1 where Tannehill is already off the board. Then again a trade down never pleases fans either.

#9: Carolina Panthers

Scenario 1/2/3: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi St.

Previous pick: Fletcher Cox

The Panthers impressed on offense last year, but their defense had quite a few holes. In order to try and keep some wear and tear off their injury prone linebackers they ought to jump on a talented DT class. Cox is the top of my board, especially for a 4-3 D.

#10: Buffalo Bills

Scenario 1/2/3: Cordy Glenn, OT, Gerorgia

Previous pick: Riley Reiff

Even if Reiff is available, I still see Cordy Glenn being the pick here. He’s got the prototypical blend of size and athleticism while his Senior Bowl and combine performances have eased worries that he’d have to kick back inside in the pros. He’s got the ability to both open up holes for Fred Jackson and protect the big investment made in Ryan Fitzpatrick.

#11: Kansas City Chiefs

Scenario 1/2/3: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

Previous pick: Dontari Poe

Poe’s freakish Combine performance might see him come off the board before here, or even someone like San Diego to move up for him. But I have him going here and anchoring Romeo Crennel’s 3-4 defense. However, given recent disappointing D-Line picks in Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson they could shy away from investing another high pick there. If they do then don’t rule out them throwing a spanner in the works and taking Tannehill if he’s here.

#12: Seattle Seahawks

Scenario 1/2/3: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

Previous pick: Luke Kuechly

Luke Kuechly is probably the best player on the board at this point AND fills a huge hole in Seattle’s defense. Kuechly is an instinctive and sure tackler who also impressed with his athleticism at the Combine. If he and the Matt Flynn signing work out then Seattle could well find themselves in play-off contention. Don’t sleep on them this season.

#13: Arizona Cardinals

Scenario 1/2/3: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

Previous pick: Jonathan Martin

You can’t invest as much in a quarterback and wide receiver tandem as the Cardinals have and not try to get your hands on a franchise left tackle. Kevin Kolb can’t afford any more injuries if he’s to avoid the “bust” tag. I have a few reservations about Martin, but he’s got the size and did a good job looking after Andrew Luck.

#14: Dallas Cowboys

Scenario 1/2/3: Mark Barron, S, Alabama

Previous pick: David DeCastro

Mark Barron has slid down some boards due to his inability to work out throughout this process. But his performance on the field for the Crimson Tide should be enough to keep him solidly in the mid-first round. The Cowboys were really poor in the secondary in 2011, and despite signing Brandon Carr you fear that might not be enough. Barron is versatile enough to cover well and play up in the box, Rob Ryan could have a lot of fun with him.

#15: Philadelphia Eagles

Scenario 1/2/3: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina

Previous pick: Devon Still

While Melvin Ingram isn’t quite the big interior body they could do with, his versatility and ability to get after the quarterback could well tempt Andy Reid into this pick.

#16: New York Jets

Scenario 1/2: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Scenario 3: Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

Previous pick: Courtney Upshaw

Mario Williams in Buffalo and a lot of money in Mark Sanchez = a new offensive tackle. Reiff is looking like a career right tackle, but that’s not to say he’s bad. He’s an absolute mauler in the run game and will open up holes for their new full back and Shonn Greene, and he’s good enough in pass protection to look after Sanchez.

Upshaw would give the Jets defense the edge rusher that they need to help disrupt the opposition and allow Rex to blitz a bit more sparingly.

#17: Cincinnati Bengals

Scenario 1: Miami Dolphins select Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
Scenario 2/3: David DeCastro, G, Stanford

Previous pick: Janoris Jenkins

If the Bengals are able to turn an over-the-hill, “retired” quarterback into the best skill position player (non-QB Division) in the draft then it’ll be one hell of a magic trick. If not then the best interior linemen will have to do. DeCastro will be able to come in and dominate from day 1 and is an instant upgrade for the Bengals.

#18: San Diego Chargers

Scenario 1/3: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Scenario 2: Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

Previous pick: Cordy Glenn

There are a few different holes for San Diego to plug and as a result several directions they could go. However the key is that could well be the last roll of the dice for Norv Turner and AJ Smith, and as such a pass rusher or a replacement for the departed Vincent Jackson is far more likely than the “boring” pick of a new left guard.

#19: Chicago Bears

Scenario 1: David DeCastro, G, Stanford
Scenario 2: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Scenario 3: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

Previous pick: Quinton Coples

As you can tell from the 3 different selections here, the Bears have a few holes and a few different directions they could go. DeCastro would almost certainly be too good to pass up and could help mend some bridges with Matt Forte. Michael Floyd would provide another big target opposite Brandon Marshall while Gilmore would be perfect for the Bears defense which lacks a true consistent 2nd cornerback.

#20: Tennessee Titans

Scenario 1: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
Scenario 2/3: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

Previous pick: Melvin Ingram

After losing Cortland Finnegan in free agency Stephon Gilmore would be the pick if he’s on the board. But if he’s not I don’t think the Titans would want the potential headache Jenkins or Kirkpatrick could bring with them and would then go and get a pass rusher in Whitney Mercilus. He could even be the pick if Gilmore is there, which is why I’ve spilt them.

#21: Cincinnati Bengals

Scenario 1: Miami Dolphins select Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Scenario 2: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
Scenario 3: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

Previous pick: Mark Barron

If the Bengals are still here then a cornerback makes too much sense. With Leon Hall getting hurt and the end of last season and there being no one else particularly good on the roster it would be needed, and they’ve never been one to let personality issues get in the way of them picking a talented player. If the Dolphins have traded to here then they need to find a WR to replace Brandon Marshall. Kendall Wright’s pro-day cemented his 1st round grade and he’d be a good deep threat for whoever ends up under centre for the Fins.

#22: Cleveland Browns

Scenario 1: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
Scenario 2: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Scenario 3: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

Previous pick: Kendall Wright

Cleveland are in dire need of offensive playmakers. When they take Tannehill at #4 in scenario 1 they go and get him a good, dynamic TE. Fleener, with his impressive 40 time, could cause issues against their rivals defenses who have been burnt by TE’s recently. If Wright is still on the board then they’ll bring him in, though his deep threat ability might go to waste with Colt McCoy under centre. Scenario 3 is certainly the desired one for Cleveland.

#23: Detroit Lions

Scenario 1/2: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Scenario 3: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Previous pick: Dre Kirkpatrick

Detroit really need help in the secondary. They couldn’t stop anyone last year and it heaped pressure on their offense. You can’t rely on 5,000 passing yards every season.

#24: Pittsburgh Steelers

Scenario 1/2/3: Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama

Previous pick: Dont’a Hightower

This pick hasn’t changed since mid-January. Hightower could find himself off the board before the Steelers pick, but this seems too much like a tailor-made match.

#25: Denver Broncos

Scenario 1/2/3: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

Previous pick: Traded to Pittsburgh, Kevin Zeitler

The Broncos need another body in the middle to prevent people running all over them. If they can get more consistent on defense then Peyton Manning might just be able to get them another division crown.

#26: Houston Texans

Scenario 1/2: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Scenario 3: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

Previous pick: Reuben Randle, WR, LSU

Andre Johnson’s injury proved that the Texans are horribly thin at wide out. Now their front office might feel that Coby Fleener is a better fit and the temptation of a pair of good 2-way tight ends could well be too much to turn down.

#27: New England Patriots

Scenario 1/2: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Scenario 3: Andre Branch, OLB, Clemson

Previous pick: Michael Brockers

Chances are the Patriots will trade out of this or #31, but you just never know so there’s no point mocking it. Belichick loves taking corners, but doesn’t have a particularly great hit rate. A glowing report from his old pal Nick Saban might just tip the balance in favour of Kirkpatrick here, but don’t forget that Belichick also has a soft spot for Urban Meyer’s Gator crop, and it was Meyer who recruited Janoris Jenkins.

If it’s not a DB then really it has to be a pass rusher. Andre Branch has the size and versatility that Belichick likes. Then again, he’s not drafted an edge rusher high for a long time now.

#28: Green Bay Packers

Scenario 1/2/3: Nick Perry, OLB, USC

Previous pick: Nick Perry

As Clay Matthews goes, so does Green Bay’s defense. And what was evident last season is that the Claymaker needs help.

#29: Baltimore Ravens

Scenario 1/2/3: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

Previous pick: Peter Konz

There’s a hole at guard for Konz to fill and acclimatise to the NFL before taking over from Matt Birk. It’s a boring, sensible pick, and a wide receiver who can actually get open might be a more welcome pick with the fan base.

#30: San Francisco 49ers

Scenario 1: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
Scenario 2/3: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford

Previous pick: Coby Fleener

Mercilus would be too good to turn down for Harbaugh and it would add some depth and another threat on that fearsome front 7. But if he’s gone, and Fleener’s still available then it would make a lot of sense to bring him in, giving them a TE combination to rival New England’s and provide another viable target for Alex Smith.

#31: New England Patriots

Scenario 1/2: Andre Branch, OLB, Clemson
Scenario 3: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan St.

Previous pick: Andre Branch

Another pick to help improve a poor defense. Jerel Worthy is a big guy but can penetrate well from either a 3 or 5 tech.

#32: New York Giants

Scenario 1/2/3: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech

Previous pick: Zach Brown

With Ahmad Bradshaw getting nicked up last year and Brandon Jacobs now gone there’s room for another back. Wilson is probably the best player left on the board now and the Giants tend to take value over need.

#33: St. Louis Rams

Scenario 1/2: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan St.
Scenario 3: Devon Still, DT, Penn St.

Previous pick: Whitney Mercilus

With Blackmon in the Rams sure up their offensive line and try to protect ace linebacker James Laurinaitis. Their run defense was porous all year and needs one of these big guys to help seal it up.

#34: Indianapolis Colts

Scenario 1/2/3: Rueben Randle, WR, LSU

Previous pick: Lamar Miller

Well Andrew Luck needs someone other than Reggie Wayne to throw to.

#35: Minnesota Vikings

Scenario 1/2: Devon Still, DT, Penn St.
Scenario 3: Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina

Previous pick: Stephon Gilmore

Minnesota’s front 7 needs an injection of youth and fire. Either Still or Brown will bring that.

#36: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Scenario 1/2: Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina
Scenario 3: Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska

Previous pick: David Wilson

Tampa could do with a veteran presence at linebacker, but it doesn’t look like they’ll get one and so they’ll look to one of these physical and explosive ‘backers to fill a hole.

#37: Cleveland Browns

Scenario 1: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami (FL)
Scenario 2: Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma St.
Scenario 3: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech

Previous pick: Rondell Lewis

Another offensive pick and Cleveland re-tool. If Tannehill goes to Miami at #8 then Brandon Weeden, despite his age, makes sense to come in and compete for the starters job.

#38: Jacksonville Jaguars

Scenario 1/2/3: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

Previous pick: Stephen Hill

They might have paid Laurent Robinson, but he’s yet to prove he’s anything other than a good #3 wide out.

#39: St. Louis Rams

Scenario 1/2/3: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio St.

Previous pick: Traded to Cleveland, Brandon Weeden

Talented but lazy. Adams has everything you’d look for in a blindside blocker, and the competition with Saffold and Smith for a starting role could push all 3 of them onto another level.

#40: Carolina Panthers

Scenario 1/2/3: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

Previous pick: Josh Robinson

For as bad as their run defense was last year, their pass defense was just as bad. Secondary help is much needed.

#41: Buffalo Bills

Scenario 1/2: Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska
Scenario 3: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson

Previous pick: Orson Charles

David would give some needed depth at linebacker, and he’s explosive enough to hit the holes that will be left by that stacked defensive line. Allen would provide a good option for Fitzpatrick and he’s a good blocker to help Jackson too.

#42: Miami Dolphins

Scenario 1/3: Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma St.
Scenario 2: Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall

Previous pick: Jerel Worthy

Same as Cleveland, if they don’t get Tannehill then Weeden is the next obvious choice. Vinny Curry would provide a much needed pass rusher opposite Cameron Wake.

#43: Seattle Seahawks

Scenario 1/2/3: Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin

Previous pick: Alshson Jeffery

There’s a hole at guard that needs filling if MarShawn Lynch is going to play up to that new contract.

#44: Kansas City Chiefs

Scenario 1/2/3: Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan St.

Previous pick: Kirk Cousins

Matt Cassel is probably on his final season as the unquestioned starter. Improve or be replaced.

#45: Dallas Cowboys

Scenario 1/2/3: Ronnell Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma

Previous pick:  Alfonzo Dennard

With D-Ware on the otherside Lewis should give a quick return against solo blocks and will help out the shaky secondary by hunting down the QB.

#46: Philadelphia Eagles

Scenario 1/2/3: Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame

Previous pick: LaVonte David

Smith could well be gone on Thursday, but if he makes it to the second round the Eagles will be extremely interested.

#47: New York Jets

Scenario 1: Doug Martin, RB, Boise St.
Scenario 2: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami (FL)
Scenario 3: Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss.

Previous pick: James Brown

Two bad quarterbacks need some help in the backfield.

#48: New England Patriots

Scenario 1/2: Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut
Scenario 3: Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida

Previous pick: Harrison Smith

Are you sensing a trend with these Patriots picks yet?

#49: San Diego Chargers

Scenario 1/3: Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
Scenario 2: James Brown, G, Troy

Previous pick: Alameda Ta’amu

When you play Peyton Manning twice a year you either need to get after him with your pass rush or keep him off the field with your running game.

#50: Chicago Bears

Scenario 1/2: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
Scenario 3: James Brown, G, Troy

Previous pick: Dwayne Allen
With Mike Martz gone the Bears can finally join the rest of the NFL with this new-fangled tight end thingy.

#51: Philadelphia Eagles

Scenario 1/2: Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss.
Scenario 3: Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida St.

Previous pick: Brock Osweiler

After the devastating injury to Jason Peters the Eagles need to find a bit of tackle depth and forgo a developmental QB for now.

#52: Tennessee Titans

Scenario 1/3: Amini Silatolu, G, Midwestern St.
Scenario 2: James Brown, G, Troy

Previous pick: Kelechi Osemele

The Titans need some interior help if they’re going to see any sort of return from Chris Johnson.

#53: Cincinnati Bengals

Scenario 1: Amini Silatolu, G, Midwestern St.
Scenario 2: Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida
Scenario 3: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami (FL)

Previous pick: Doug Martin

A number of options depending on where they go with those 2 first rounders.

#54: Detroit Lions

Scenario 1/2: Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida St.
Scenario 3: Jeff Allen, OT, Illinois

Previous pick: Ben Jones

Protecting Matthew Stafford has to be a priority sooner or later.

#55: Atlanta Falcons

Scenario 1/2/3: Kelechi Osemele, G, Iowa St.

Previous pick: Vinny Curry

Maybe the Falcons weren’t quite as close to the Super Bowl as they thought when they made the Julio Jones trade. The O-Line needs some new blood.

#56: Pittsburgh Steelers

Scenario 1/2/3: Alameda Ta’amu, NT, Washington

Previous pick: Amini Silatolu

Casey Hampton has been an excellent servant. But they need to find his replacement, and soon.

#57: Denver Broncos

Scenario 1/2/3: Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona St.

Previous pick: Kendall Reyes

Peyton Manning can only play for so long, and where better to learn for a raw but inexperienced QB than a team with 2 1st ballot Hall of Fame QB’s on the pay roll?

#58: Houston Texans

Scenario 1/2/3: Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska

Previous pick: Bobby Massie

There are holes on the right side of their offensive line, but this is class is deep in right side blockers. Jared Crick had a first round grade before his injury, and if he can stay healthy then will form a fearsome tandem with JJ Watt.

#59: Green Bay Packers

Scenario 1: Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida
Scenario 2: Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
Scenario 3: Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut

Previous pick: Philip Blake

Very much a Best Player Available pick for the Packers. Don’t rule out reaching for the top centre on their board though, Jeff Saturday is very much a short term stop-gap.

#60: Baltimore Ravens

Scenario 1/2/3: Mychal Kendricks, ILB, Cal

Previous pick: Mohamed Sanu

Ray Lewis is back for another year, but he’s no longer the top player he was. They need an understudy for him.

#61: San Francisco 49ers

Scenario 1/2/3: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers

Previous pick: Nick Toon

There’s nothing behind Crabtree at wide receiver, except for an inept punt returner.

#62: New England Patriots

Scenario 1/2: Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise St.
Scenario 3: Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

Previous pick: Brandon Boykin

Yea. The Patriots need defensive help.

#63: New York Giants

Scenario 1/2: Jeff Allen, OT, Illinois
Scenario 3: Orson Charles, TE, Georgia

Previous pick: Zebrie Sanders

The defending champs lost 2 tight ends in the Super Bowl so need to bring in another, while Allen would help out a line which can be rather shaky.

          -     Toby Durant (@TDonSport)
          -     The Pulling Linemen

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