1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck - Stanford - QB - A new era will begin in Indianapolis with Peyton Manning being released and then signed by the Denver Broncos. Andrew Luck will be up on deck next and the new GM and head coach will need to build the team around this very talented quarterback. Luck seems to be the best QB prospect to come out of college since the guy he is replacing Peyton Manning. He has the arm strength, smarts, size, athleticism, and leadership qualities to be an All-Pro QB for years to come.
2. Washington Redskins (from St. Louis Rams) - Robert Griffin III - Baylor - QB - Griffin would be the number 1 pick if Andrew Luck was not in this draft. His athleticism, smarts, and being coachable will fit in nicely with head coach Mike Shanahan's offensive system and Griffin will definitely upgrade the position. He is very good at making plays outside of the pocket which will fit nicely with the bootleg play action offense Shanahan has been known for.
3. Minnesota Vikings - Matt Kalil - Southern Cal - LT - The Vikings need help at CB, WR, and LT. They will debate long and hard on the top prospects at each position. When done, taking LT Matt Kalil a future 10 year starter to protect QB Christian Ponder's blind side will win out.
4. Cleveland Browns - Trent Richardson - Alabama - RB - Richardson is perhaps the most talented running back to come out in the draft since Adrian Peterson. The Browns need talent at every skill position on offense and Richardson, an every down talent, gives them an instant building block.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Morris Claiborne - LSU - CB - New head coach Greg Schiano loves to pound the rock and would love to see running back Trent Richardson fall here. CB Rhonde Barber is long in the tooth while CB Aqib Talib's playing future is in doubt because of off-field legal problems. Claiborne could step in day one and make an impact immediately.
6. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins) - Justin Blackmon - Oklahoma State - WR - QB Sam Bradford needs more weapons around him. Selecting WR Justin Blackmon will give him a future star on the outside to grow with similar to the Cincinnati Bengals with QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Michael Floyd - Notre Dame - WR - The Jags do the same as the St. Louis Rams and draft someone to catch passes from last year's first round pick QB Blaine Gabbert. Floyd's stock has been on the rise since his great NFL Combine workout.
8. Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill - Texas A&M - QB - Miami needs help at QB, WR, and RT. Since Blackmon and Floyd are already gone the next logical choice seems to be QB Ryan Tannehill. The new offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman, was Tannehill's head coach last year at Texas A&M and looks like the perfect match. GM Jeff Ireland may have other plans though considering Tannehill only started 1 year for the Aggies. Personally, I would trade back into the bottom of the 1st round draft QB Brandon Weeden and draft a WR, pass rusher, or OT at 8.
9. Carolina Panthers - Fletcher Cox - Mississippi State - DT - The Panthers offense was rejuvenated in 2011 because of the combination of rookie QB Cam Newton and offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. The other side of the ball, DEFENSE, needs a few more playmakers to help this team become a playoff contender. Starting in the middle of the defensive line with DT Fletcher Cox gives the Panthers a talented big man to clog up the running lanes and also someone who can push the pocket on passing downs and gives the defensive ends more one on one opportunities.
10. Buffalo Bills - Riley Rieff - Iowa - OT - The Bills have needed a solid left tackle since All-Pro LT Jason Peters left in free agency. 2011 starter Demetress Bell has followed Peters to the Eagles via free agency. Rieff is better suited for the right tackle position, but has the ability to play the left tackle spot. His flexibility is what the Bills offensive line needs.
11. Kansas City Chiefs - Melvin Ingram - South Carolina - OLB - The Chiefs had several key offensive players go out for the season with various injuries (QB Matt Cassel, RB Jamaal Charles, and TE Tony Moeaki). All will be back in 2012 plus the upgrade along the offensive line with free agent pickup, RT Eric Winston. You can never have too many pass rushers (see the New York Giants) so taking maybe the best pass rusher in the draft will definitely help stud DE/OLB Tamba Hali and the secondary.
12. Seattle Seahawks- Luke Kuechly - Boston College - LB - MLB Lofa Tatupu is no longer with the team and was replaced by Barrett Rudd. Kuechly is perhaps the safest pick in the draft and can play inside or outside.
13. Arizona Cardinals - Quinton Coples - North Carolina - DE - Arizona started the 2011 season at 1-6 because of bad QB play and inconsistent defense, but finished the season winning 7 of the last 9 games. The defense hit its stride late and was the reason for the rapid turnaround. Taking a page from the New York Giants book they add another talented pass rusher to the defensive line. They also need help on the offensive line and drafting OT Johnathan Martin or Cordy Glenn may also be in the picture.
14. Dallas Cowboys - David Decastro - Stanford - OG - The Cowboys have needed an upgrade at safety for 2 years and now need cornerback help also. They will probably choose to overlook this unit again as usual. In that case, the focus should be to upgrade the interior of the offensive line to protect QB Tony Romo. Can you name the two starting guards off the top of your head? Nope. David Decastro come on down.
15. Philadelphia Eagles - Dontari Poe - Memphis - DT - The Eagles have a world class track team on offense led by QB Mike Vick. DT Cullen Jenkins and DT Mike Patterson form a nice tandem inside, but Jenkins is 31 and they need to get younger there. Poe is a very athletic big man that would help form a nice rotation up front.
16. New York Jets - Mark Barron - Alabama - SS - Head coach Rex Ryan defensive philosophy hinges on blitzing the entire kitchen and sink at opponents and in return they rely heavily on the secondary to cover man to man. They have 2 starting stud cornerbacks led by Darrelle Revis, but the safeties need an upgrade. SS Laron Landry was added in free agency, but he has durability issues. Barron is not a speed demon, but he has the physicality and enough playing speed to cover tight ends and running backs underneath.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland Raiders) - Stephen Hill - Georgia Tech - WR - QB Andy Dalton needs another weapon on the outside to draw coverage away from talented WR A.J. Green. Hill has the deep speed to open up the offense.
18. San Diego Chargers - Cordy Glenn - Georgia - OT - GM A.J. Smith needs to upgrade the offensive line and protect QB Phillip Rivers who had a drop off in production in 2011 because of all the injuries along the offensive line. LT Marcus McNeil is a free agent and LG Kris Dielman retired with a career ending injury. Glenn has the ability to play inside or outside and is a mountain of a man.
19. Chicago Bears - Stephon Gilmore - South Carolina - CB - The Bears look to add talent across from CB Charles Tillman who had an outstanding 2011 season. Gilmore has the size, speed, strength, and athleticism to cover his man all over the field.
20. Tennessee Titans - Michael Brockers - LSU - DT - Tennessee needs a replacement at cornerback with the loss of CB Courtland Finnegan to free agency. Drafting Brockers helps in two areas, 1.) A physical presence in the middle up front who can collapse the pocket and put pressure in the face of the QB and 2.) Brockers presence gives the defensive ends more one on one opportunities on the edges (see Ndamakong Suh of the Detroit Lions) and allows the cornerbacks more time to stay with receivers downfield.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Doug Martin - Boise State - RB - Bengals continue to add offensive talent around QB Andy Dalton. Martin is capable of being an every down running back and is built like a bowling ball. Martin's abilities to attack the perimeter and catch the ball out of the backfield will only help make the Bengals offense tougher to defend.
22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta Falcons) - Janoris Jenkins - North Alabama - CB - The Browns went offense with the 4th pick earlier now they add talent to the defensive unit. CB Sheldon Brown is 33 years old and has reached his peak. Pairing the one time University of Florida Gators teammates of CB Joe Haden and CB Janoris Jenkins gives the Browns two potential future shutdown cornerbacks. Jenkins, before his off the field troubles at Florida got him cut, was considered to be perhaps the best corner in this class.
23. Detroit Lions - Dre Kirkpatrick - Alabama - CB - The Lions need a CB and LT, with starter Jeff Backus about to get his AARP card. OT Jason Fox will probably figure into the equation after missing last year with an injury. So the Lions take just what the doctor ordered, a tall, long limbed, and athletic corner in Kirkpatrick. He is pro ready after playing at Alabama for Nick Saban and gives the Lions someone who has the size, playing speed, and toughness to cover the other team's number one wide out. Reminds me of Pittsburgh Steelers CB Ike Taylor.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Johnathan Martin - Stanford - LT - QB Ben Rothlisberger has literally been running for his life behind their offensive line for several years now. Martin will help keep Big Ben off the ground. He is versatile enough to play either the left or right tackle position.
25. Denver Broncos - Kendall Wright - Baylor - WR - Denver needs to surround Peyton Manning with many weapons as possible. Wright has the tools to play outside, but would be very effective in the slot where he is excellent at getting open deep behind the defense. Manning would have a nice group of receivers with: Thomas, Decker, Wright, and TE Jacob Tamme.
26. Houston Texans - Courtney Upshaw - Alabama - LB - Most mock drafts have the Texans taking WR Kendall Wright, but he was snagged by the Broncos in mine. Houston lost MLB DeMeco Ryan in free agency. Upshaw will give the Texans someone who has the strength to set the edge on the strong side while also having the ability to generate a good pass rush from the outside. He tackles well and plays with an aggressive attitude.
27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans Saints) - Whitney Mercilus - Illinois - DE/OLB - Defense should be on the Patriots mind after having one of the worst pass defenses in team and NFL history. The best way to help out the pass defense is to get a great pass rush. If the Patriots decide to go back to their 3-4 base defense in 2012 Mercilus would be ideal coming off the edge as an OLB. He has similar athletic gifts as DE/OLB Aldon Smith of the San Francisco 49ers and was used primarily to rush the passer. Smith, a rookie finished with 14 sacks. Mercilus could have the same kind of impact.
28. Green Bay Packers - Shea McClelin - Boise State - OLB - McClelin is defensive coordinator, Dom Capers kind of player. He has the versatility to play the OLB pass rusher, inside at MLB, and DE on four man fronts. He has a motor like Clay Matthews and is just as relentless getting after the QB.
29. Baltimore Ravens - Don't'a Hightower - Alabama - LB - MLB Ray Lewis seems to have been playing for the Ravens since he was 18. LOL. He may be old by worldly standards, but still performs at an All-Pro level just not as fast. He needs an understudy who can learn how to play the game as he does with Passion. Hightower has the physical makeup and talents to be a great linebacker in time.
30. San Francisco 49ers - Reuben Randle - LSU - WR - The 49ers signed WR Randy Moss out of retirement to help give the team someone to take coverage away from Michael Crabtree. They also signed WR Mario Manningham to give them more speed in the slot position. You never know what Moss is thinking and if he may go "Straight Cash, Homie" on you and not give good effort. Taking Randle would be insurance with his size, speed, hands, and leaping ability to be a down field threat immediately.
31. New England Patriots - Chandler Jones - Syracuse - DE - Did you notice the trend developing in my mock and in the NFL at picks 11, 13, 26, 27, 28, and now 31? Everyone is taking a page from the New York Giants philosophy of you can never have too many pass rushers in today's pass happy game. With DE Mark Anderson gone via free agency and DE Andre Carter coming back from an injury the Patriots take their 2nd pass rusher of the 1st round. Jones has the length, foot quickness, and pass rush tools similar to DE Jason Pierre-Paul (New York Giants) to make an impact on passing downs.
32. New York Giants - Colby Fleener - Stanford - TE - Unbelievable that the defending champs get a potential future star player at the end of the 1st round. Adding Fleener with the talented duo of WR Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz will only make the offense tougher to defend. Fleener has the size and speed to create mismatches all over the field and attack the seams.