I envisioned an interactive mock draft where I use the GM of every team, yet the commenters here at MtD were my scouts, influencing my decisions.....it didn't quite turn out that way. I did visit the other SBN sites to try to determine who you want for your favorite team, and I hope I did an adequate job. If you think I did make a wrong decision, feel free to try to convince me to change my mind....(all team logos via i.nflcdn.com)
The Indianapolis Colts select QB Andrew Luck.
Obviously-iest? Probably not, but still pretty obvious.
Here's the first speed bump of the draft. This pick could go a number of different directions, but I'm pretty sure it boils down to Richardson and Justin Blackmon. While the need for receiver is (slightly) greater than running back, andMontario Hardesty, when healthy, appears to be decent, Richardson just appears to be so much better than any other RB available, more so than Blackmon compared to the rest of the receivers that the Browns could get at #22.
Also, consider that the last time Mike Holmgren (as GM of the aforementioned Seahawks) drafted a receiver in the 1st round, he picked Koren Robinson, a complete bust; the last time Holgren drafted a RB in the 1st round -- out of Alabama, no less- he picked Shaun Alexander, who turned out much, much better. That might end up being the deciding factor in where this pick goes.
BPA and fits a need.
Grrrrrrrreat. The Rams essentially get 2 future 1st round picks AND another 2nd rounder this year....just to draft the same guy the would have picked if they stayed at #2. Nothing I hate more than seeing a division rival prosper.
Honestly, I don't get the Jaguars. They rarely seem to pick who I think they should pick, so expect me to get this one wrong (although I think Ingram is good enough to be picked this high). They need a receiver more but I don't see them reaching on Floyd; probably the most likely team to trade out of the Top 10. *shrugs*
Seems like the obvious pick, now that Matt Flynn has signed with the Seahawks. Hard for the Dolphins to pass on a receiver or right tackle, but the Tannehill/Mike Sherman connection just looks like the perfect fit. With the trade of Brandon Marshall, Miami may be in full rebuild-mode now.
Maybe this pick should be Dontari Poe, which might fill a bigger need than a 2nd pass rusher to play opposite Charles Johnson. However, I think the Panthers can still get a good DT in the 2ns round, while none of the top pass rushers in this draft will fall that far (although if one were to fall, it'd be Coples)..
Coples is the bold choice for Carolina, and after hitting the jackpot with Cam Newton last year, that might encourage some boldness this year.
Not a sexy pick, for sure, but after landing Mario Williams it might be wise to use the 1st round pick to attend to the other side of the ball, where the o-line is the biggest concern.
Offensive line is the obvious pick for the Bills here, which is why they won't pick one....if the Bills don't trade down they'll probably be choosing between Michael Floyd and Dre Kirkpatrick, and I just happen to have Floyd slightly higher on my own draft board; not much talent opposite Stevie Johnson, so Floyd would be a major boost to the Bills offense.
Let's just get this out of the way now, so that the rest of this interactive mock draft can move forward: DeCastro makes a lot more sense for the Chiefs than Kuetchly, so let's just make this change now. I'm sure Peyton Hillis will be glad to have this guy up front and opening holes for him.
Unless the Seahawks sign Kamerion Wimbley, pass rush is still the biggest need for Seattle, and after re-singing Red Bryant that pass rusher will (almost) certainly not be another regular DE. Pete Carroll doesn't not employ a traditional 4-3 defense, and something tells me he's willing to alter the look even further to get another pass rusher on the field. The Seahawks already have a stout run defense and a secondary full of young and promising talent, and an improved pass rush could turn this unit into one of the game's elite (maybe).
Offensive line seems to be the biggest need for this team, and it came down to choosing either Martin or guard Cody Glenn. In the end Martin was higher up on my "draft board" -- and a good tackle is generally rated higher than guards -- so he's the pick.
Even with the signing of Brandon Carr, Kirkpatrick might still be a need as well as a BPA here at pick #14. If only there were more David DeCastros to go around....
Newest Eagle DeMeco Ryans forces my hand here, so the Dream Team gets even dreamier with the 2nd-best receiver in the draft....unless Eagles fans convince me that they'll take someone else (hint hint).
If Floyd is off the board, then defensive tackle looks to be the biggest need, and Brockers can come in and take up space....toss up between Brockers and Fletcher Cox, but I think the Eagles would prefer the big run-stuffer.
If Floyd is off the board by this pick, my first inclination is that the Jets will either trade up (for Trent Richardson) or trade down (when they won't be reaching for one of the other running backs or receivers that they might like). If they stay put I think they'll go pass rusher, and the best rusher on the board (that would be a good fit for the Jets D) is USC's Nick Perry. Maybe if I knew that the Jets really, REALLY loved Doug Martin or David Wilson or Lamar Smith or Kendall Wright or Stephen Hill more than any other than I'd project a reach here, but Perry seems more like a better fit at #16 than those other guys.
The Bengals own 2 of the next 5 picks, and of any of the players Cincy might be looking at at these two spots, Glenn is (probably) the most likely to be gone before pick #21. Running back certainly seems to be the team's biggest need, but
with all that cap money they have they haven't made a peep about any of the available guys out there, like Michael Bush. Will they wait to bring in a running back when free agency dies down? Will they trade for a back, like Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart or DeAngelo Williams? Or maybe BenJarvus Green-Ellis is enough insurance to preclude Cincy from reaching for a running back so early.
I'm sure the Bengals would love Glenn, but with 2 draft picks I think Cincy takes their chances with Kuechly, who could have a huge impact on this young defense....Luke could go here or #21, but he almost certainly won't fall to the bottom of the 1st round.
The San Diego Chargers select
SS Mark BarronDE Whitney Mercilius. Like the Jags and Panthers, I just can't get a read on AJ Smith and the Chargers; Whitney Mercilius seems like the safe pick here, and the Bolts sure could use another pass rusher, but they aren't exactly light at the DE and OLB positions (Corey Liuget, Larry English, Jarrett Johnson), while they seem quite bereft in the secondary (even after signing former Seahawk Atari Bigby). This might not be the best pick for the Chargers, but Barron could make the biggest bang for San Diego's buck.
The more I think about it, Barron just won't be drafted this high, and Mercilius is more of a natural fit for the Chargers and the #18 pick.
The Chicago Bears select
DE Whitney MerciliusOT Riley Reiff. After trading for Brandon Marshall, getting another end to start opposite Julius Peppers appears to be the Bears biggest need, and in this scenario they get to choose between Mercilius and Nick Perry. It appears that the local product is the higher-ranked prospect, so it's a slam dunk pick.
If Mercilius is off the board, there just aren't any traditional 4-3 DEs that really deserve to take Whitney's place; considering all the hits Jay Cutler and Matt Forte have been taking the last few seasons, any help to the offensive line would be welcome; not sure if Reiff falls this far, but that's what I thought about Bryan Bulaga a few years ago, and Chicago is as good a place as any for him to end up.
The Tennessee Titans select
CB Janoris JenkinsC Peter Konz. Like most of the teams picking 10-20, the Titans could really use some youth in their offensive line, but after checking and re-checking our inventory, we're still out of David DeCastros. I just can't bear to reach for Peter Konz here, so getting a replacement for Cortland Finnegan seems like the best course of action here.
Apparently the Titans have more than enough corners to survive the loss of Cortland Finnegan; just like with the Bears, if there was a DE worthy of being picked here I'm sure the Titans would consider it, but it would be an extreme reach to get one now, and I just don't think guys loike Andre Branch and Chandler Jones are what these teams want.
If Konz were to fall to #20, Tennessee would be glad to scoop him up here.
I think Kuechly would be a good fit here at #21, but it appears that Gilmore and the cornerback position is more import to this Cincy team than a new MLB. A run on D-backs, though, opens up plenty of talent for the rest of the 1st round....
Well, if the Bengals already have Kuechly, it's down to Gilmore and Cordy Glenn, and I think Cincy would rather get a new corner than beef up their line....but it's a tough choice.
I'm positive that the Browns will be looking at a pass-catcher at this pick, but with comparisons between Fleener and Rob Gronkowski make me think that the tight end may be a better bet than either Kendall Wright or Stephen Hill. And even if those comparisons are inaccurate, I think "Gronk Lite" is still worth the #22 pick.
The Detroit Lions select
C Peter KonzCB Janoris Jenkins. With the top cornerbacks off the board, offensive line (appears to be) the 2nd-biggest concern for the up-and-coming Lions, and Konz should fit right in at center.
The turn of events in this mock draft has helped the Lions considerably, whose need for a new corner is astronomical, and the last one worthy of a 1st round pick just happens to fall into their laps.
I can't see Poe falling any further, and realistically I think some team will trade up or down into the 14-20 range to get him, but NT in a 3-4 defense appears to not be a high priority in this year's draft, so Poe could fall.
The Denver Broncos select
DT Michael BrockersDT Fletcher Cox. Some years tackles like Poe and Brockers are off the board within the first 10 or so picks, and some years they fall; putting a big body like Brockers in between Elvis Dummervil and Von Miller should pay dividends for the Denver D.
If Brockers is off the board, Cox is just as good a pick; I'm not 100% sure what the Broncos want in a DT, but with the draft going as it is here in my imagination, not sure where else the Peyton Mannings will turn, and Cox is the top guy left on my draft board.I guess getting some help on the o-line would be ideal, to protect the $96 million-dollar-man, but Cox may be too good to pass up.
The Houston Texans select WR Stephen Hill.
Even with Mario Williams gone, the Texans defense looks quite stout; there is a chasm of talent between Andre Johnson and the rest of the Houston receivers, and while no one can close that gap, Hill could come close.
The Pats don't always run a traditional 3-4 or 4-3 defense, but they do need a pass rusher, and Branch could play DE or LB in whatever formation the Pats are currently running. Hard to say if the Pats prefer Branch of over the likes of Vinny Curry or Chandler Jones, but I believe Branch to be the best of those three.
With the pass rusher pickings becoming more and more slim, I see that Pack go BPA, which still fills a need to put some size next to B.J. Raji. A near-perfect pick for the nearly-perfect team.
I'm sure the Packers would LOVE Cox to fall this far, or get some pass-rushing help, but I think Glenn is a better talent than anyone else Green Bay could get here, and if he were to fall this far he'd be hard to pass up. It's not like the Packer's offensive line is star-studded, or anything.
The Baltimore Ravens select WR Kendall Wright.
To their credit, the Ravens are pretty solid at almost every position, and other than Mark Barron (if he were to be available at this spot) I don't see any one player that Baltimore is desperate to get. Like the Pats, Baltimore looks like they could trade out of this pick, and could easily trade up or down....but if they stay put, Wright is a solid pick, and could soon take over for the aging Anquan Boldin.
The San Francisco 49ers select OG Kevin Zeitler.
Like the Ravens, the Niners a team with very few holes but could use a new safety, if one were worthy of being picked so high. I could see a guard being the 2nd-most pressing need (for a team with no real pressing needs), and Zeitler is much less of a reach.
The New England Patriots select
LB Luke KuechlySS Mark Barron. No, I don't think Kuechly will actually end up playing for the Pats (although it's not like it couldn't happen), but this pick is more likely to be traded than any other, and no way does Kuechly fall out of the 1st round.
Like Kuechly before him, Barron is not someone who'll fall out of the 1st round, and it's incredibly likely that the Pats trade this pick. Also, it wouldn't be the end of the world if the Pats kept Barron.
What is more important to the World Champs: A replacement for Mario Manningham, or a replacement for Brandon Jacobs? Considering the elite talent New York has at receiver, and the fact that none of the not-Trent Richardsons have been picked yet, Miller seems to be a better value than the top receivers on the board.
UPDATE (3/28/12): So, I had to find new homes for Riley Reiff, Mark Barron and Luke Kuechly, and it looks like it took changing nearly a third of my mock draft just to make those changes. At the end of the day, I think this mock looks a lot more realistic, although I think that Poe and Cox and Glenn have fallen a little farther than I'd prefer. Well, I guess there's no such thing as a perfect mock draft.