It’s never too early to start thinking about the N.F.L. Draft when your favorite franchise is no longer in Postseason/Super Bowl contention. That being said, I thought it would be a great idea to do the first of many Mock Drafts which I will be unveiling this offseason. So without further ado, hit that “Continue Reading” button as I provide you the readers with a 1 Round Mock Draft:
Each NPC mock draft be featured in the DC Pro Sports Report, WalterFootball.com, Sports Jabber, hailredskins.com and fftoolbox.com mock draft databases. Each site keeps track of a huge number mock drafts all over the web.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck QB (Stanford)
This pick was probably the easiest for me to make in this entire Mock Draft. By cutting ties with the Polians and Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis will be looking to start a new existence in the A.P. period (After Peyton). Indianapolis picked another great year to start playing lousy, because Andrew Luck is the best and most N.F.L. ready QB prospect to be draft eligible since Peyton Manning. Unless a team comes calling with an offer which Indianapolis “can’t refuse” for the 1st pick, they’ll select Luck.
2. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon WR (Oklahoma State)
Don’t get me wrong, Sam Bradford needs some protection and some help around him on Offense muy pronto. The dude is getting the tar beat out of him like Tim Couch circa 2000, and he has essentially zero pass-catching options whatsoever. You could make a strong argument that RB Stephen Jackson is the best receiving target on the St. Louis roster right now.
St. Louis a great spot to select an absolute stud with Blackmon. As Warren Moon so eloquently put it: “He’s Dez Bryant with brain cells.” And all the film and games I’ve watched with Blackmon (The 2010 Alamo Bowl comes to mind), Moon’s assessment seems to hold some weight. If Sam Bradford is truly St. Louis’ “guy,” the Front Office must make a commitment to him in this Draft by getting him pass catching weapons and OL protection. With Blackmon, one of the needs is almost filled.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil OT (Southern Cal)
The Vikings won’t be too unhappy if St. Louis decides to go with Justin Blackmon at #2. Why you may ask? Well that’s because Minnesota is in dire need of O-Line help and the best player left on the board will be available to them at #3 in the form of OT Matt Kalil.
Over his college career, Kalil has established himself as a devastating run blocker, and at 6’6″ 295, he has the frame to put on more weight when he comes into the League. For those of you that didn’t know, there was a reason why the Cowboy’s 1st Round pick Tyron Smith played RT in college as opposed to LT, that reason was Matt Kalil.
The Vikings were terrible up front in 2011, and they will need to address the Tackle position in either Free Agency or in the 2012 Draft. If they are truly committed to Christian Ponder and want to see Adrian Peterson finish his career healthy and in Minnesota, rebuilding their Offensive Line must be their top priority.
4. Cleveland Browns: Robert Griffin III QB (Baylor)
Reports have circulated that Cleveland’s F.O.wants “RGIII” and are looking acquire a franchise QB. I can’t blame them considering the fact that Colt McCoy is as frail as a 9 year old kid that gets pelted by the mean kids in Gym Class with dodgeballs, and has a throwing arm of a 15 year old softball pitcher. If this season didn’t prove that McCoy isn’t the long term answer, than I don’t know what will.
I’m not quite as sold on Heisman Winner “RGIII” as most scouts and fans are. He hasn’t played in an N.F.L. Offense, he took almost zero snaps from under center at Baylor, and the Defenses in The Big XII weren’t what you’d call “juggernauts.” Nevertheless, there are a lot of aspects to “RGIII’s” game which I think are terrific.
Dude can make every throw on the field, and throws the prettiest, most accurate, and most catchable deep ball of any of the prospects in 2011. Moreover, Griffin can make plays with his feet, and like a Big Ben or Aaron Rodgers, he can scramble and improvise when need be and catch the Defense napping for huge gains when coverage breaks down. This will be a great attribute since he could face Deebo, Woodley, T-Sizzle, and Cincy’s always pressuring D-Line up to six times per season.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne CB (L.S.U.)
With Ronde Barber likely on his way out in Tampa after a borderline Hall of Fame career, the Buccaneers will probably be looking to fill a hole at CB. When you combine Barber’s nearing exit with the fact that Aqib Talib can’t stay out of trouble, you’ve got a situation where Morris Claiborne becomes a very viable option for Tampa Bay with the 5th selection.
The 2011 Thorpe Award Winner has a terrific frame (6′ 185 lbs.), great speed, and terrific instincts to succeed in the N.F.L.. Claiborne anchored the Secondary for the Tigers dominating Defense, and week in and week out he proved he could hold his own against top competition.
6. Washington Redskins: Dre Kirkpatrick CB (Alabama)
Drug Arrests aside, 6-2 200 lb. CB’s don’t grow on trees. Coupled with the fact that Washington has a need for a CB, and can’t get QB Robert Griffin III unless they trade with the Rams, Kirkpatrick could be Washington’s selection if they don’t trade down.
Some have said that Kirkpatrick screwed himself out of the Top 10 with his arrest, but I don’t think that’s the case. CB hungry teams like Washington, Carolina, and even Miami might be willing to gamble on a talent like Kirkpatrick if he fell to them.
DeAngelo Hall was atrocious at times in 2011, and the Redskins’ Secondary only accumulated 13 INT’s all season long. Kirkpatrick is a guy that played in an N.F.L. system at Alabama and can likely step in Day 1 and start. If Washington doesn’t go after a QB or trade down, Kirkpatrick could be headed to D.C..
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Quinton Coples DE (U.N.C.)
The Jaguars have been attempting to rebuild their Defensive Line since Marcus Stroud and John Henderson left town, and they may be looking that way in the 1st Round in 2012.
Coples has had experience playing all along the Defensive Line while at North Carolina. Due to the Tar Heels’ pressing need for Defensive Tackles in 2010, Coples filled in admirably and was named first-team All-ACC and amassed 10.0 Sacks. In 2011, Quinton went back to his more natural spot of Defensive End this past season, yet still kept terrorizing the opposition’s QB’s.
At 6’6” and close to 280 lbs., Coples has the body frame to be a 5-Technique 3-4 DE if he puts on another 10-15 lbs., but he has the perfect size and enough experience to wreak havoc from the DE spot in a 4-3 set as well. This combination, as well as Coples’ success at both the DT and DE spots in college should entice Jacksonville to bring him in to help in their rebuilding project along the Defensive Line.
8. Miami Dolphins (coin flip): Jonathan Martin OT (Stanford)
With Matt Barkley and Landry Jones staying in school, and Matt Moore buying himself another year as the starting QB, Miami will look to upgrade their Offensive Line by selecting Stanford OT Jonathan Martin.
One of the biggest reasons that Andrew Luck hasn’t been Sacked much over his collegiate career is the fact that he has a solid O-Line in front of him, and a great OT and and overall athlete like Martin to boot.
Adding Martin to a Line consisting of C Mike Pouncey and All-Pro LT Jake Long will give Miami a 6’6″ 305 lb. All-Pac-12 OT to open holes for RB’s Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas. It’s a luxury to have a guy with an LT skill-set swing over to RT early in his career and not throw him in the fire immediately, and Miami should reap the benefits if they decide to go after Martin.
9. Carolina Panthers (coin flip): Devon Still DE/DT (Penn St.)
The Panthers have a lot of 4-3 personnel on their Defense left from the John Fox era. While Head Coach Ron Rivera has helped to run a 4-3 in Chicago, he also ran a lot of 3-4 in San Diego as their Defensive Coordinator as well. At some point Carolina will have to find a system which fits its players and Coaching Staff the best, and Devon Still would be an excellent selection.
Standing 6’4″ 310 lbs., Still has the frame to play either a DT in a 4-3 system as he did in college, or even spend some time as a 3-4 DE (or even smaller NT) in the professional ranks if Rivera wants him there. If Carolina wants to compete with the likes of the Saints and Falcons, they must improve on the Defensive side of the ball. Hopefully, Still fits the bill for them.
10. Buffalo Bills: Courtney Upshaw OLB (Alabama)
Buffalo selected Marcell Dareus last season to be their versatile DL in their 3-4 set. Yet to run a 3-4 effectively, OLB’s are needed which can wreak havoc upon the opposition’s QB, and that’s why Courtney Upshaw could be the Bills’ 1st Round selection.
Upshaw established himself as a force off the edge in Alabama’s 3-4 Scheme, and the 6’2″ 265 lb. All-American lit it up against S.E.C. foes. He’s widely considered the top 3-4 OLB in the Draft, and could give the Bills’ pass rush a boost after only accumulating an anemic 29.0 Sacks in 2011.