Yes, it's that time again. With four weeks to go before the real thing, let's play make believe with Rook's latest mock draft. A few notes:
I stuck with three rounds. Frankly, as a Bucs fan, it's hard to be invested in a round where we'll be inactive- and mock drafts tend to break down long before that anyhow. No new trades- there are a ton of teams hungry to trade down but very few looking to trade up. Which means that whatever trades occur are likely to come because HQ prospects are falling on draft day- and it's nigh impossible to predict those sceanrios. I did my best to draft for every team's needs, but I'm neither infallible nor omniscient. If I got your team needs wrong, a polite response is much likelier to be taken seriously than a response of "YUR AN EEDIOT HURRRRRRR'S WHYYYY". Try to keep it civil in the comments too.
As always, thoughts and comments are always welcome.
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
What's left to say? This is happpening.
2. Washington Redskins (via St. Louis Rams)
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
So is this.
3. Minnesota Vikings
Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Smokescreens aside, this fits a need and is too tempting for Minnesota to pass up. One caveat: if they're offered enough (and it would have to be a lot), they'll trade down.
4. Cleveland Browns
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
There are several directions that Cleveland could go, but Richardson makes the most sense. He's good enough that he can help McCoy (or Wallace or a rookie) look better, and Cleveland needs to draft a RB badly. If the Browns unexpectedly land Matt Forte in a trade, this is subject to change. For now, it's their best option.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Guaranteed? No. But Claiborne makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons. After bolstering the offense in FA, the Bucs need to make some progress on defense via the draft- and Claiborne's arguably the best defensive player in this draft class. If a sweet enough trade is offered (both of the Bengals' first round picks, for example), the Bucs might trade down. But this seems like the likeliest scenario, especially if Richardson is already off the board.
6. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins)
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
The Rams need a #1 receiver badly, and Blackmon's the best available in this year's draft.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
The Jaguars are very difficult to predict- it seems like they do something unexpected every year. A pass-rushing defensive end would be another strong possibilty, but indications are that the Jacksonville front office is in love with Floyd.
8. Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
I'm not entirely sold on this pick- I'm of the school of thought that Tannehill is being overvalued. Still, there's no arguing that Miami needs to find it's future at QB- but that's been so for a few years now.
9. Carolina Panthers
Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
The Panthers still haven't replaced what they lost when Julius Peppers departed. Those are pretty large shoes to fill, but Carolina's already shown a lot of interest in Coples. Michael Brockers would be another strong possibility here.
10. Buffalo Bills
Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Demetrius Bell is testing the free agent market, so Buffalo will look to draft a long-term LT in Reiff (or, if they prefer him, Jonathan Martin).
11. Kansas City Chiefs
David DeCastro, G, Stanford
The rehabilitation of KC's line that began with Eric Winston continues with DeCastro.
12. Seattle Seahawks
Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Seattle needs to address its pass-rush, and Ingram is one of the top prospects avaialble. Luke Kuechly would be another possibility, if David Hawthorne signs elsewhere.
13. Arizona Cardinals
Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Kevin Kolb may not be the long term answer in Arizona, but we'll never know unless he remains upright.
14. Dallas Cowboys
Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
With the top O-line prospects off the board and Carr added to address the secondary, Dallas may look to shore up the D-line.
15. Philadelphia Eagles
Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
Two NFC East teams in a row take two DTs in a row.
16. New York Jets
Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois
The Jets need help with their pass rush and Mercilus (what a name!) has the size and speed to be an excellent 3-4 OLB.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland Raiders)
Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
The Bengals could use a guard, but the bargain of nabbing Kuechly at #17 will probably prove too tempting.
18. San Diego Chargers
Cordy Glenn, OT/G
San Diego's O-line is in tatters, with guard Kris Dielman retired and left tackle Marcus McNeill released. Glenn is the kind of versatile lineman the Chargers could really use right now, capable of playing several positions including left tackle.
19. Chicago Bears
Courtney Upshaw, OLB/DE, South Alabama
The Bears could use some help generating pass rush. Upshaw is an excellent needs/value pick for Chicago here.
20. Tennessee Titans
Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
The Titans' O-line was abysmal all last season. Drafting Konz would give Tennessee a top talent in the middle and would allow them to shift Eugene Amano to left guard, effectively upgrading both positions.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Kirkpatrick has tremendous talent and the Bengals need a replacement for the departed Jonathan Joseph.
22. Cleveland Browns (via Atlanta Falcons)
Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
All offense, all the time for Cleveland.
23. Detroit Lions
Janoris Jenkins, CB, Northern Alabama
The Lions need a better secondary if they want to reach the next level.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
With no guards or ILBs matching the value of their pick left on the board, I suspect the Steelers would look to draft
25. Denver Broncos
Devon Still, DT, Penn State
The Broncos need an interior force on their D-line and Still projects well to that role. Slim chance that they opt for Kendall Reyes instead, but I think Still has the edge.
26. Houston Texans
Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
Houston has to fill the gap left by Mario Williams, and Perry looks to be their best option on the board.
27. New England Patriots (via New Orleans Saints)
Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
New England needs to improve its pass rush.
28. Green Bay Packers
Brandon Thompson, DE/DT, Clemson
Green Bay likely will look to shore up their front seven and Thompson projects well as a 3-4 end.
29. Baltimore Ravens
Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
Much like Tannehill to the Dolphins, this pick reeks too much of copy-paste for my taste and I wouldn't be shocked to see Baltimore go in an entirely different direction. Still, it does seem to make sense.
30. San Francisco 49ers
Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
CB is arguably San Francisco's biggest need and Gilmore is a good value late in the first round- he could potentially be the 2nd CB off the board.
31. New England Patriots
Mark Barron, S, Alabama
New England gets two picks and, of course, they'll likely trade one of them away. But in case this is the year they actually use them both...Patrick Chung can't do it alone- look for New England to take a safety early in this draft.
32. New York Giants
Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
The Giants always go for BVA, which means they're always opportunistic and very difficult to predict. With Brandon Jacobs gone, I'm wagering they'll take their choice of the RBs not named Richardson before the second round begins- presuming there's no value pick waiting to be snapped up (see: Prince Amukamara).