So here it is, after literally minutes of hardcore research, my final and obviously 100% guaranteed to happen mock draft. The first 2 picks are really the only consensus picks this year, after that it's anyone's guess. There are a few trades and surprises in this mock, so sit back and enjoy.
#1: Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck – QB – Stanford
Blah blah blah next Peyton Manning blah blah blah
#2: Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III – QB – Baylor
Blah blah blah really exciting blah blah blah
#3: Minnesota Vikings
(Miami send 2012 1st, 2 3rds + 2013 2nd)
Ryan Tannehill – QB – Texas A&M
The rumours that Minnesota aren’t sold on Kalil seem to have traction even though I can’t quite fathom it myself. With that Miami jump ahead of Cleveland to get “their guy” Tannehill and hope beyond hope that he can bring them out of New England’s, and Marino’s, shadow.
#4: Cleveland Browns
Trent Richardson – RB - Alabama
There are plenty of arguments to be made that running backs shouldn’t be taken this high, and I’m firmly in that camp. However Cleveland are in dire need of some sort of offensive spark and any kind of excitement factor. Richardson will bring them a lot of that and ease the burden on whoever wins the QB job.
#5: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(Chicago send 1st, 2nd + 2013 1st)
Matt Kalil – OT – USC
Wow, big move from Chicago as new GM Phil Emery comes out swinging to try and solidify the offensive line and protect the investment made in Jay Cutler and possibly Matt Forte. Chicago will need to offer a hefty chunk to convince Tampa to part ways with Kalil or Morris Claiborne, both of whom would be huge upgrades for them.
#6: St. Louis Rams
Morris Claiborne – CB – LSU
St. Louis jump on the last elite prospect and suddenly have an extremely promising CB tandem with Cortland Finnegan also arriving this off-season. There are other pressing needs such as DT, OL and WR that need to be addressed, but Claiborne is too good to pass up.
#7: Jacksonville Jaguars
(Philadelphia send 1st, 2nd, 3rd; receive 4th)
Fletcher Cox – DT – Mississippi St.
With the flexibility of having two second round picks the Eagles decide to jump up and grab a guy who’ll help the entire front 7. Cox has the ability to be an every down player and will help to protect a weak, and now injury prone, group of linebackers.
#8: Minnesota Vikings
Justin Blackmon – WR – Oklahoma St.
If Minnesota aren’t sold on Kalil at 3 I really can’t see them taking any other OL player here. As a result they get the best WR on the board to help out Christian Ponder and free up Percy Harvin to be a flexible thorn in everyone’s side.
#9: Carolina Panthers
Quinton Coples – DE – North Carolina
With Cox off the board the Panthers decide to take Coples to provide another pass rush threat, who also has the size and ability to play inside occasionally. Yes there are other needs, but nothing really fits here.
#10: Buffalo Bills
Luke Kuechly – ILB – Boston College
The Bills continue to solidify their defense with Kuechly there to mop up the leftovers from their monstrous D-Line. Kuechly is an instinctive and athletic player who can be their defensive QB for years to come.
#11: Kansas City Chiefs
David DeCastro – OG – Stanford
Welcome a new competitor to the “Best offensive line in Football” title. After adding Eric Winston to play RT the Chiefs pick up DeCastro to play guard and carve out huge running lanes for a healthy Jamaal Charles. After all, the best way to beat Peyton Manning is to keep him off the field.
#12: Seattle Seahawks
Melvin Ingram – DE/OLB – South Carolina
Seattle’s top 2 targets vanish just before them, and so they go with the best player left on their board. Ingram is a slightly undersized, but incredibly versatile player who will add some real bite to the defense and help protect their young secondary.
#13: Arizona Cardinals
Cordy Glenn – OT/OG – Georgia
The Cardinals offensive line isn’t in a good way and needs upgrades almost everywhere. Many have their doubts about Glenn as a left tackle, and I’m higher than most on his LT ability, but everyone agrees he’ll make a good RT/G at this level. That flexibility, together with his size, will be a big factor.
#14: Dallas Cowboys
Dontari Poe – DT – Memphis
Poe’s incredible Combine performance shot him up the boards, but that hype has eased a bit. Poe is much more of a penetrating nose tackle and will fit well with Rob Ryan’s aggressive defense. They’ll hope he can become a young Jay Ratliff, who’s output has dipped recently.
#15: Jacksonville Jaguars
Riley Reiff – OT – Iowa
After moving back to gather some extra picks the Jags snap up an offensive tackle to help out the skittish Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert needs better protection if he’s to develop into an NFL Quarterback.
#16: New York Jets
Mark Barron – S – Alabama
As good as LaRon Landry is he’s an injury waiting to happen at the moment, and with the Patriots tight ends looking like they could dominate the league for many years to come the Jets pick up the best defense against them. Barron has the skill set to compete physically and athletically with Gronkowski, Hernandez and any pretty much anyone.
#17: Cincinnati Bengals
Stephon Gilmore – CB – South Carolina
The Bengals could use David DeCastro a lot, but he’s long gone and as such they snatch up a replacement for Jonathan Joseph and a player who can form a very good tandem with Leon Hall.
#18: San Diego Chargers
Courtney Upshaw – OLB – Alabama
The Chargers need some pass rushing help, especially now that Peyton Manning is in the AFC West, and Norv Turner and AJ Smith very much need to win now. Upshaw should provide a powerful edge presence and a real threat with Shaun Phillips opposite.
#19: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Don’t’a Hightower – ILB – Alabama
After moving down to gather a nice haul of picks the Buccs go and get the QB of their defense in the big thumper Hightower. This acquisition allows Sophomore Mason Foster to move out to OLB and provides a boost to their run defense. There will be some work needed in Hightower’s coverage skills to keep him on the field on 3rd downs, but he’s a good player who’ll fit in well.
#20: Tennessee Titans
Whitney Mercilus – DE – Illinois
Mercilus hasn’t gotten a lot of attention during the draft process but he’s a very good player with a ton of upside. The Titans need a pass rusher now that James Jones has gone. They could look to move back and pick up and interior blocker to help bring the most out of Chris Johnson, or even a wide receiver to make life a little better for the incoming Jake Locker.
#21: Cincinnati Bengals
Michael Brockers – DT – LSU
This is purely a Best Player Available pick. With no guard or safety worth a pick here, and having addressed corner with their previous pick the Bengals go and get a player who, had he returned to LSU for 2012, would probably be a 2013 top 10 pick. The Bengals have enough depth at DT to let Brockers develop at his own pace and use him sparingly, this is a great pick for the future.
#22: Cleveland Browns
Michael Floyd – WR – Notre Dame
Cleveland’s hunt for playmakers continue. The WR corps was dreadful last year, with far too many dropped catches and not enough explosive potential. Michael Floyd could well go higher, and probably will. But he’s still on my board and the Browns grab exactly what they need.
#23: Detroit Lions
Dre Kirkpatrick – CB – Alabama
The Lions couldn’t stop a nose bleed last year and are in need of secondary help. Kirkpatrick brings physicality along with his good coverage skills, and despite a few red flag character concerns he could flourish in Detroit, where the defense seem to want tough, physical players.
#24: Pittsburgh Steelers
Jonathan Martin – OT – Stanford
Ben Roethlisberger can only survive for so long behind this offensive line. If the Steelers management want him playing into his late 30’s they need to start minimizing the hits he takes. Martin is the best OL prospect left, and with Hightower off the board this seems like the most probable direction they’ll go in.
#25: Denver Broncos
Janoris Jenkins – CB – North Alabama
Jenkins is a highly talented loose cannon. His character issues could see him slide out of the 1st round all together. But the Broncos have great veteran leadership in their secondary with Champ Bailey who can act as a mentor figure for him.
#26: Houston Texans
Kendall Wright – WR - Baylor
Houston need another receiving threat across from Andre Johnson, and Kendall Wright gives them a really explosive option. Want to roll your deep coverage across to AJ? Fine, Wright will burn you. Adjust across to him and leave Andre Johnson one on one? Really? This pick helps cement Houston as the sexy pick for AFC winners.
#27: New England Patriots
Shea McClellin – OLB – Boise St.
This is a pipe-dream. I long ago gave up hope that the Pats would take a pass rusher this high. With Brady nearing the end of his illustrious career it’s about time New England cashed in these picks for some blue chip players rather than rolling them over to the next year.
#28: Green Bay Packers
Nick Perry – OLB – USC
The Packers need to ease the pressure on Clay Matthews. Grabbing Nick Perry will help to do that and draw some of the double teams off of him.
#29: Baltimore Ravens
Peter Konz – C – Wisconsin
This pick hasn’t really changed throughout the process. It’s not flashy, and probably won’t please many Ravens fans but it’s definitely a necessary move. The Ravens are likely candidates to trade out of here as well.
#30: San Francisco 49ers
Kevin Zeitler – OG – Wisconsin
Back to back Wisconsin linemen here. The 9ers have a hole at right guard that needs filling, especially if they want to make the most out of Frank Gore and Brandon Jacobs this season.
#31: New England Patriots
(Cleveland send 2nd and 4th)
Brandon Weeden – QB – Oklahoma St.
Well I was bound to do this really wasn’t I? New England can’t help but trade out of one of their first rounders. They won’t get a future 1st here however as Cleveland jump up just a few spots to grab Weeden, who’ll probably win the starting job in camp from Colt McCoy.
#32: New York Giants
Coby Fleener – TE – Stanford
The 4th Stanford Cardinal taken in the 1st round. After losing 2 TE’s to ACL injuries in the Super Bowl the Giants need some help there, and Fleener would be an upgrade over anyone on their current roster anyway.
#33: St. Louis Rams
Devon Still – DT – Penn St.
The Rams woeful run defense needs some help. Still will provide a good upgrade in the middle and keep blockers off of Laurainitis.
#34: Indianapolis Colts
Rueben Randle – WR – LSU
Andrew Luck needs someone other than Reggie Wayne to throw to. Randle, despite poor QB play at college, showed enough to be a good investment here.
#35: Minnesota Vikings
Mike Adams – OT – Ohio St.
He has every physical tool teams look for in left tackles, but his personality is a real issue. After getting suspended twice at Ohio St. Adams, who’s commitment, intelligence and work ethic were already in question, managed to be idiotic enough to fail the drugs test at the Combine. He could easily fall out of the 2nd round, but having passed on Kalil and the other top OT’s the Vikings need a body there. And maybe they think they can get him back on track.
#36: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jayron Hosley – CB – Virginia Tech
Tampa collected some extra picks, grabbed a defensive leader in the 1st and now pick up that corner they need. I’ve got a lot of time for Hosley, he’s incredibly athletic and has a great break on the ball, leading the nation with 9 interceptions in 2010.
#37: New England Patriots
Jerel Worthy – DT – Michigan St.
Patriots add more front 7 talent in Worthy. He’s got the big body that the Patriots seem to love and causes disruption wherever he lines up. Lining up next to Vince Wilfork will provide a good platform both in run and pass D.
#38: Jacksonville Jaguars
Alshon Jeffery – WR – South Carolina
Despite picking up several free agent wide receivers the Jags still need talent out there. Jeffery is a big target with good ball skills, although he lacks top end speed. He should prove to be a good receiver for Gabbert and will keep the chains moving.
#39: St. Louis Rams
Jeff Allen – OT – Illinois
The Rams need to protect Bradford if they want to prevent him becoming David Carr. Allen is great in pass protection and has a lot of versatility, he could line up at either tackle or guard for the Rams and play well. He doesn’t have the classic left tackle body which has lead to him being a bit undervalued.
#40: Carolina Panthers
Josh Robinson – CB – Central Florida
Carolina’s pass defense was almost as bad as their run defense in 2011. Robinson will provide an upgrade to their 2nd corner as well as being a threat in the return game.
#41: Buffalo Bills
Harrison Smith – S – Notre Dame
And suddenly the Bills defense is looking really strong. Adding Harrison Smith to the back end of their defense gives them a bit more protection against the Patriots juggernaut and gives them a real chance to compete for the division if all goes to plan.
#42: Minnesota Vikings
Chandler Jones – DE – Syracuse
The Vikings need more talent in their front 7, and they need someone to help take blockers away from Jared Allen. Chandler Jones has a good chance to go much higher than this, but were he to be here it would be a nice pick from the Vikes.
#43: Seattle Seahawks
LaVonte David – OLB – Nebraska
The Seahawks need some youth at linebacker after Aaron Curry didn’t pan out. David is a slightly undersized but very aggressive player who can make plays in both run and pass D.
#44: Kansas City Chiefs
Andre Branch – OLB – Clemson
The Chiefs add pass rusher to try and make Peyton Manning’s life in Denver as awkward as possible. Branch has been touted as going to the Patriots in the 1st round because of his size and ability to play up or with his hand down, but remember that a lot of former Patriots are now in Kansas, including GM Scott Pioli and Head Coach Romeo Crennel.
#45: Dallas Cowboys
Alfonzo Dennard – CB – Nebraska
Brandon Carr will not fix all the problems in the Cowboy’s secondary, they need to add another player and with Smith off the board Dennard is the likely candidate. His recent arrest for punching a police officer during a fight is worrying, but Jerry Jones has looked past character issues before.
#46: Jacksonville Jaguars
Vinny Curry – DE – Marshall
The Jags have struggled for a long time to get after the opposing quarterback, and so they reach a little here to pick up a DE to help them out.
#47: New York Jets
Ronnell Lewis – OLB – Oklahoma
The Jets have to do a better job of getting non-blitz pressure on the QB, especially with the mess their offense is likely to become.
#48: New England Patriots
Brandon Boykin – CB – Georgia
Another premium pick on a cornerback from New England. Let’s just hope this one works out for more than 1 year.
#49: San Diego Chargers
Amini Silatolu – OG – Midwestern St.
The unfortunate retirement of Kris Dielman due to injury has left a big hole at guard. Despite being a small school product Silatolu is a very promising player and should be a day 1 starter.
#50: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
David Wilson – RB – Virginia Tech
The Buccs need a compliment to LeGarrette Blount, who struggles in pass protection and isn’t a threat to catch passes either. Wilson has a great burst to be a change of pace to Blount as well as being a good route runner out of the backfield.
#51: Philadelphia Eagles
Zach Brown – OLB – North Carolina
Brown is a raw but athletic prospect with good compact strength. There’s been some negative buzz about his commitment and work ethic, but I like his upside and he’d provide a good upgrade next to new-comer DeMeco Ryans.
#52: Tennessee Titans
Kelechi Osemele – OT/OG – Iowa St.
The Titans grab the blocker that they need. Osemele is probably better suited to being a guard and will help to get the most out of that big investment in Chris Johnson.
#53: Cincinnati Bengals
James Brown – OT/OG – Troy
The Bengals are old and bad at guard and need to improve if they’re going to get production from BenJarvis Green-Ellis, who only got what was blocked while at the Pats.
#54: Detroit Lions
Mychal Kendricks – LB – Cal
Another player for the Lions back 7. It’s no good having such a good front 4 if no one behind them can cover or tackle, Kendricks can do both.
#55: Atlanta Falcons
Mitchell Schwartz – OT/OG – Cal
Atlanta’s offensive line has started to get old and slow. They need an infusion of youth to get the most out of Turner, Ryan and co.
#56: Pittsburgh Steelers
Almeda Ta’amu – NT – Washington
Casey Hampton, for all his long and good service, is now 35 and can’t have much left in the tank. The Steelers need to find his replacements, and true NT’s don’t come around all that often.
#57: Denver Broncos
Doug Martin – RB – Boise St.
Martin is another who could go much higher than I have him here. He’s a back who can do it all and will be a very useful player next to Peyton Manning.
#58: Houston Texans
Jared Crick – DE – Nebraska
Crick is a 1st round talent, but after his season-ending injury others have overtaken him. He’s a perfect build for a 5-tech DE and could come to dominate opposing offensive lines with JJ Watt for a long time.
#59: Green Bay Packers
Kendall Reyes – DT – Connecticut
Another front 7 upgrade for the Packers who need to improve a D that, by yards allowed, was the worst in 2011.
#60: Baltimore Ravens
Mohamed Sanu – WR – Rutgers
The Ravens offense is in dire need of a WR who can get open on a regular basis. Their offense was stale and predictable last season.
#61: San Francisco 49ers
Stephen Hill – WR – Georgia Tech
The 9ers had the worst WR corps in the league last year, and despite adding Mario Manningham and Randy Moss already they could use some youth.
#62: New England Patriots
Zebrie Sanders – OT – Florida St.
The retirement of Matt Light leaves the Patriots a little light at OT and so this pick makes a lot of sense.
#63: New York Giants
Bobby Massie – OT – Ole Miss
The Giants offensive line wasn’t the most secure last season and is in need of a new tackle.