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Home | Sports | College / NCAA |

2012 NFL Mock Draft Round One – First Edition

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Who will go in this year\'s coveted first round...

Who will go in this year's coveted first round...

Get out the big boards. It\'s that time of the year when NFL teams start narrowing down their options.

The NFL Combine has come and gone, and several players impressed. Robert Griffin III has most likely secured himself as the number two pick in the draft. Free agents are getting ready to hit the market, which could shift the draft drastically.

Here\'s the first edition of the 2012 NFL Mock Draft.


32. New York Giants -- Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson

32.  New York Giants -- Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson

Allen is the top tight end available if San Francisco decides to snag Fleener. Starter Jake Ballard tore his ACL in front of a billion people as the G-men won the Super Bowl, so it would behoove the New York Football Giants to go for a playmaking tight end to compliment Hakeem Nicks and breakout star/excellent touchdown dancer Victor Cruz.

These guys won the Super Bowl and have gotten all the publicity to go along with said victory. No need to waste more internet space. Enjoy your rings, and your Johnnie Walker Blue.

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31. New England Patriots -- Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall

31.  New England Patriots -- Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall

Did I sneak in someone you’ve never heard of? Isn’t that half the fun of the NFL Draft?

We spend the entire college football season besieged with footage of skill players and big time conferences, that come draft time it feels as if half the players we see, even in the first round, come straight out of the ground.

Well, if Vinny Curry came straight out of the ground, someone was using a s***load of fertilizer because this man is a man. At 6’4’’ and 263 lbs. he has improved his run defense as he’s put on weight and already had great speed coming off the edge. He could be exactly the type of third-down speed rusher that Coach Belichick is looking for if the team decides to take a flier on him.

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30. San Francisco 49ers -- Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford

30.  San Francisco 49ers -- Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford

Vernon Davis is a fantastic tight end. One of the best in the game. That being said, the 49ers need weapons, period. There aren’t any first-round worthy receivers available this late in the round, and basically San Francisco finds itself in the position to take the best playmaker available, and that would be Fleener.

Fleener played for coach extraordinaire Jim Harbaugh during Harbaugh’s tenure with Stanford, and he understands how Harbaugh likes to use multiple tight end sets, and what his role would be in those sets. Gamedayrs everywhere saw how well Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez played side-by-side way out in Boston.

If anyone can coach up a group of guys to play out of unconventional formations, it’s Harbaugh. If anyone has the talent and mental fortitude to still put up numbers and still make plays despite the presence of a young gunner who can make his team better, it’s Vernon Davis.

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29. Baltimore Ravens -- Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama

29.  Baltimore Ravens -- Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama

Screw rollin’ the dice, Roll Tide! While Arizona State’s Vontaze Burfict is considered by many to be the top linebacker in the draft, he has so many character issues he’s equally as likely to end up on a reality TV show than on a football field.

Hightower, however, blends the athletic ability of Burfict and the leadership and tenacity of Kuechly (#15, Eagles) in such a way that he could be very appealing as an eventual successor to one of the greatest/scariest linebackers of all time, Ray Lewis (don’t tell me he doesn’t haunt your dreams, Darren Sproles).

Yes, this is a bold statement, but, and the Indianapolis Colts understand this now better than most, replacing a future Hall of Famer is always necessary sooner or later.

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28. Green Bay Packers -- Nick Perry, DE, USC

28.  Green Bay Packers -- Nick Perry, DE, USC

The conventional wisdom was to go with Wisconsin C Peter Konz, which would obviously make Cheeseheads everywhere (including yours truly) extremely happy. However, the main rationale behind that prediction was that current center Scott Wells will soon be a free agent, and Green Bay would be unable to sign him after they used their franchise tag on Jermichael Finley.

Well folks, touchdown machine Finley recently inked a two-year deal with the only publicly-owned team in professional sports, opening up the franchise tag for elsewhere. Also, this allows GM Ted Thompson to utilize the team’s first-round pick to fill a need, and this is one of them.

When Perry faced Jonathan Martin, whom I have going 13th overall to the Cardinals, Perry bullied him all day long. The Packers have a 3-4 defense, and because the linemen they have right now are so big they were easily neutralized in the pass rush, and this kept one of the scariest defensive players out there, fellow USC alum Clay Matthews, from blowin’ things up the way he likes to do. Perry will provide that pass rush out of the 3-4, and Matthews will once again enjoy clamping his biceps onto opposing quarterbacks’ facemasks (wait is that legal?!).

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27. New England Patriots (from Saints, Mark Ingram Trade) -- Fletcher Cox, DE/DT, Mississippi State

27.  New England Patriots (from Saints, Mark Ingram Trade) -- Fletcher Cox, DE/DT, Mississippi State

Cox is a bear and is currently situated at number 17 on’s Big Board. He could fall all the way to the Patriots here due to the needs of the teams picking in front of New England.

Everyone and their mother knows the Patriots will be focusing on their defense throughout the draft. Well, everyone except Tom Brady’s wife, Gisele, who seems to believe the Pats would do well to replace their entire receiving corps.

If ‘Bama safety Mark Barron also somehow manages to fall to this spot he might be a smart play as Bill Belichick would love to stop plugging receivers into his secondary, I’m sure.

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26. Houston Texans -- Alshon Jeffrey, WR, South Carolina

26.  Houston Texans -- Alshon Jeffrey, WR, South Carolina

Please, Houston! Put somebody, anybody, across the field from Andre Johnson!

Wait, nix that...not just anybody...please, Coach Gary Kubiak, no more suffering through Kevin Walter or Jacoby Jones, fans and fantasy owners are begging you. It’s time, now that you have moved up from the ranks of expansion doormats, to respectability, to a playoff team, and one of the big dogs, to please begin getting your fan base excited about an offense that might explode at any moment.

Jeffrey had the Twitter world aflutter with rumors that his weight had rocketed up into the high 240’s, but there was a collective sigh of relief when he weighed in at a mere 216 at the combine. Six-foot-four, slim, with great hands and leaping ability? It’s time to hook Matt Shaub up with another playmaker.

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25. Denver Broncos -- Devon Still, DT, Penn State

25. Denver Broncos -- Devon Still, DT, Penn State

It was a tough year for the Penn State football program as a whole, but Mr. Still is about to have himself a pretty nice afternoon. Joining a squad as a first round pick is sweet. Joining a squad that already boasts stud defensive ends Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil is just that much mo’ betta’.

Last year’s starters for the Broncos at D-tackle, Brodrick Bunkley and Marcus Thomas netted themselves a whopping 43 tackles and not a single sack or forced fumble between the two of them. Still will be staged for a successful career right from the start, and he should be welcomed to Denver with open arms. Really open. Mr. Still tips the scales at 305 pounds.

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24. Pittsburgh Steelers -- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

24.  Pittsburgh Steelers -- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

DeCastro is always lookin’ so fresh as an OG -- Original Gangsta.

On the real real though, the Steelers will most likely be looking to cut Chris Kemoeatu sooner rather than later. Their starter was benched twice during the season and is most likely not worth the $3.5 million bones he would be owed with a roster spot. More than that, it will be a gift should DeCastro fall this far in the draft.

Guards are not a traditionally high pick, especially compared to QB’s, Tackles, and DE’s, but DeCastro should be an exception. Honestly, if the Steelers can land the 6’4.5’’ 313 lb. behemoth, they’ll probably be feeling pretty good about themselves. So good, in fact, maybe they’ll reach for a Dos Equis...I mean, it’s not that they always drink beer...

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23. Detroit Lions -- Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse

23.  Detroit Lions -- Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse

Oh yes, another defensive end...but why the Lions? They already boast one of the top defensive lines in the league, but look closer, and you’ll see why a guy with athletic ability off the charts makes such great sense.

First, Lions starter Cliff Avril, who posted a career high 11 sacks last season, is gone in free agency in just a few short weeks time. De’twa, with so many high draft picks for so many years, is having trouble staying under the cap. It will be much easier to bring in Jones at the heavily reduced rookie wage than to pay Avril the amount of money he will be looking for on the open market.

Jones does not come without risk, however. He only played in seven games, in fact, this past season. That being said, he still earned First Team All-Big East honors. Impressed? No? Well, I am, and who’s writing this column, bub?

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22. St. Louis Rams (from Cleveland Browns) -- Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

22. St. Louis Rams (from Cleveland Browns) -- Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

The dude is merciless! The Illini standout has the size, at 6’4’’ 265 lb, and the stature to bring a dominating presence to the League.

In 2011, he was consistently fighting off double teams due to the lack of talent around him, and yet he still led all of Division I in sacks with 14.5 and forced fumbles, with nine. He earned Consensus All-America honors as well as the Ted Hendricks Award for having the most apt name in college football.

The Rams, of course, have desperate needs all over the field (see above) but having already solidified the wide receiver position with Justin Blackmon and having watched the most highly rated offensive linemen come off the board, this free pick for them is a great spot to take on one of the most feared rushing ends in the nation.

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21. Cincinnati Bengals -- Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

21.  Cincinnati Bengals -- Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

The Bengals love adding players that fit their specific needs through the draft, which is why I am penciling in Miller here.

It is looking more and more like a certainty that Cincy will be losing starting running back Cedric Benson to free agency, and the other tailbacks they have on the roster, led by Bernard Scott, just don’t look like very much.

Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden -- John Gruden’s brother -- has said repeatedly that he would like to go into 2012 with a running back-by-committee mentality, so a first round pick might be too expensive. Also, the Bengals have reportedly shown interest in the Raiders’ Michael Bush, another future free agent. If the Bush rumors begin to grow some legs, look for a wide receiver like South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffrey or an offensive lineman from this draft position.

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20. Tennessee Titans -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

20.  Tennessee Titans -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

This is a team, at 9-7, that was only a tiebreaker away from making the playoffs last year. They have solid wideouts, a well-paid running back in Chris Johnson, and an excellent quarterbacking combination with second year man Jake Locker learning from veteran Matt Hasselback.

Thus, they can afford to take a risk in shoring up their pass rush, and of all the top-tier talent in this year’s draft, Poe is the lineman with probably the highest ceiling, if his freakish combine numbers are any indication.

The man weighs almost 350 pounds, yet clocked in with an unofficial 4.87 second forty yard dash. Guaranteed, if ya hop off your saddle right now you only run about the same, and can you bench 225 pounds forty-four times? Didn’t think so.

Here’s a fun little quote to show you just how athletic Poe is:’s Jeff Darlington writes, “RG(3)’s 4.41 40 is proportionate to a 346-lb. man running it in 6.84 sec. And Poe just did it in 4.87 secs.” Poe has the athletic ability to dominate inside and allow Tennessee’s other rushers to more easily get around the edge. The question is whether he will be able to translate his god-given ability and hard work into skill at the pro level. If so, Poe will be a steal at #20.

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19. Chicago Bears -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

19.  Chicago Bears -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Outside of the Jaguars, the Bears probably have the least talent at the wide receiver position. In an attempt to alleviate said problem, they went out last season and signed Roy Williams and his stone hands for one reason or another.

If any of you Gamedayrs out there know why, please don’t hesitate to share!

Moving away from my rambling, Floyd impressed with a very strong showing in the combine in posting a 4.47 forty yard dash. His size, 6’3’’, and leaping ability, 36.5’’ vertical, had never been questioned, but his ability to distance himself from defenders had been in doubt until he quieted all backchatter with his sprint.

The Bears still put up great numbers rushing the ball despite their lack of a passing attack. The prowess of their defense over the last, oh, century or so has been well-chronicled. Yes, a few of their big-time guys will be a year older, but roster depth is something to be addressed in the later rounds. First things first, these guys need a deep threat to compliment the speedy-but-short Devin Hester.

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18. San Diego Chargers -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama

18.  San Diego Chargers -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama

Highest rated player available. However, this pick could change more easily than most with free agency looming so darkly over the organization.

Not only are a few key members of the Chargers defense hitting the market, but All-pro wideout Vincent Jackson will be dipping his toes into those warm free agent waters.

Barron, however, is 6’2’’ 218 lbs. and probably the hardest hitter in this season’s draft. He was the backbone of two national championship defenses at ‘Bama, and plays with an instinctive ferocity reminiscent of five-time Pro-Bowler Adrian Wilson. The Super-Chargers could do far worse, but if Jackson walks in the coming weeks, look for Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd to slot nicely here.

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17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Raiders, Carson Palmer Trade) -- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

17.  Cincinnati Bengals (from Raiders, Carson Palmer Trade) -- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

The stellar play of rookie QB Andy Dalton last season made holdout Carson Palmer expendable. Thus, the Bengals earned themselves basically a free first round pick, and when in doubt, Roll Tide!

The NCAA National Champs boast pro-level talent up and down the roster, and with one corner, Nate Clements, heading towards free agency and another, Leon Hall, still rehabbing a knee, Kirkpatrick at #17 is easy pickins’. Scouts around the league and in the media have been impressed with the depth of the corners available in this year’s draft. Netting one of the best defensive backs available after Morris Claiborne to add championship youth to an already young, and talented, team is going to resonate pretty well around Cincy.

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16. New York Jets -- Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

16.  New York Jets -- Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

Far too easy. Rex Ryan has two of the best corners in the league in Darrell Revis and Antonio Cromartie. However, that doesn’t mean he enjoyed having to blitz on every single down last season.

The Jets share their stadium with the Super Bowl Champion Giants, who proved that a great four-man pass rush can overcome weakness in the secondary, rather than the other way around.

Upshaw was the MVP of the BCS Championship Game with seven tackles, a sack, and a tackle for loss. He is the type of talent that will immediately boost the Jets pass rush. If QB Mark Sanchez can’t get on the same page with receiver Santonio Holmes, however, Ryan and the Jets brass will be kicking themselves for not picking a receiver in this spot. A talent of Upshaw’s caliber, however, probably should not have slipped this far in the first place.

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15. Philadelphia Eagles -- Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

15.  Philadelphia Eagles -- Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

How do you pronounce his name? No idea, but NFL Commish Roger Goodell had better know it come draft day. He’s slightly undersized at 6’3’’ 235 pounds -- at least, undersized by NFL standards, probably wouldn’t try to pick a fight with him in a bar. Especially if you knew that he led the nation in tackles in 2011, with 191 for an average of 16 per contest.

BC finished out the season with a 4-8 record, and had they managed to pull it together as a team and squeak into a bowl game like seventy other schools somehow managed to do, he almost certainly would have broken the single-season record of 193 set by Lawrence Flugence (who?) in a 14-game season. And for all you math majors out there, he did manage to break the record of 15.6 tackles per game, previously held by Rick Sherrod.

Obviously, the Eagles still have all the talent that got everyone so hyped a season ago, and all the coaching expertise in the world in Andy Reid. With a young, ball-hawking linebacking presence like Kuechly, look for a big improvement from the squad’s 8-8 2011 showing.

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14. Dallas Cowboys -- Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

14.  Dallas Cowboys -- Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

Jenkins played his senior year with North Alabama after signing a grant-in-aid -- which we’re all sure has nothing to do with free agency and was only used to further this young man’s education -- after being dismissed from the University of Florida following multiple drug and fight-related arrests.

He was just the second true freshman to start at corner for the Gators and was named a Freshman All-American by Sporting News. The Cowboys have a secondary more appetizing to opposing offenses and full of more holes than Swiss cheese. If Jerry Jones is not content with the makeup of this man’s character, look for Alabama safety Mark Barron to go here. However, a middle first round pick is far better used on a potential lockdown corner.

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13. Arizona Cardinals -- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

13.  Arizona Cardinals -- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

Take a few seconds’ break from this wonderfully researched and impeccably articulated mock draft to Google Levi Brown. Go ahead, Gamedayrs, I’ll wait.

After the Cardinals drafted him fifth overall in 2007 and signed him to a six year deal with $18 million guaranteed, Brown struggled...mightily. Last season, he played in all 16 games, but allowed 50 pressures, 10 hits and 10 sacks. If you were Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb, would you be taking this dude out to dinner? Only if it was Old Country Buffet, ‘cause Brown doesn’t deserve much better.

In fact, once the Cards draft Martin, who has spent the past few seasons blocking for future Hall of Famer -- so everyone in the universe already believes -- Andrew Luck in Jim Harbaugh’s pro style offense they won’t have much use for Brown, or his cap number. He is the best available lineman, and more of a value than any of the receivers available with this pick.

Too much Levi Brown hate? Agreed, but the Cardinals need protection more than Ron Jeremy!

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12. Seattle Seahawks -- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

12.  Seattle Seahawks -- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

To quarterback or not to quarterback? I want to say Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill in the 12th slot, but he’s just not quite talented enough when compared to Brockers and the need he fills for Pete Carroll.

Carroll can’t recruit in the NFL like he could during his years winning championships at USC, and thus he really needs to scare up all the talent he can. The Seahawks did make a captain out of, yes, current starting QB Tavaris Jackson, and they also finished in the bottom ten in sacks.

Brockers is a top-10 talent, and Seattle would be lucky to snatch him up in the double digits. Look at it this way, Seahawks fans: You’ve got captain Tavaris Jackson next season, so at least you’ll have another great shot at drafting a franchise QB next year, hooray!

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11. Kansas City Chiefs -- Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

11.  Kansas City Chiefs -- Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

The Chiefs are a squad that could just as easily make the playoffs as fall flat on their faces. After firing coach Todd Haley midseason, Romeo Crennel got his team to play some inspired football over the final few weeks, including handing the Packers their only regular season loss (but not the Pack Attack’s only loss of the season, as we all know).

They have talent in most slots but lack depth all around the field. Running back Jamal Charles should be at full strength after missing all of last season with a torn ACL. Ditto All-pro safety Eric Berry.

With the eleventh pick, the Chiefs could entice its fan base with one of the many elite wide receivers still available to run opposite Dwayne Bowe, who needs a partner more badly than a priest on Valentine’s Day. However, their most glaring weakness is at that ever-important position, offensive tackle. Thus, Crennel and Co. and are gonna go with the best available at that position in order to protect Matt Cassel, Kyle Orton, or whoever else is at QB under the lights of Arrowhead.

And he wears cool sunglasses.

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10. Buffalo Bills -- Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

10.  Buffalo Bills -- Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills! But wait, only the Titans and Buccaneers recorded fewer sacks than the 29 the Bills ‘D’ mustered over the 2011 campaign. Yikes!

The organization paid a lot of money to their own quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, midway through last season, and will be investing a boatload of cash in free agent weapons, WR Steve Johnson and RB Fred Jackon. Thus, a cheap avenue through which Buffalo can upgrade its defense is through the draft.

They already boast strong playmaking, run-stopping linebackers in Shawn Merriman and Nick Barnett. Putting pressure on the quarterback could quite possibly immediately turn this defense into a dominating unit (Yes, Gamedayrs, there are people in the world who are diehard Bills fans. That last sentence was for them).

Ingram is a little short at 6’1’’, but his speed and tenacity make him a great fit in a 4-3 defense with such talented ‘backers.

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9. Carolina Panthers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

9.  Carolina Panthers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

What a gift! In years past this dynamo would have gone much earlier, but with the new collective bargaining agreement’s rookie wage scale, teams are no longer afraid of trading up to fill needs.

Thus, some teams can afford to sit back and wait for ultra-talened individuals to fall into their laps while other organizations around them scramble like ten-year-olds playing dodgeball to draft a quarterback early.

Carolina had nothing at corner opposite former two-way Ohio State stud Chris Gamble. Now they do. Need filled, moving on.

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8. Miami Dolphins -- Quinton Coples, DE, South Carolina

8.  Miami Dolphins -- Quinton Coples, DE, South Carolina

Newly minted head coach Joe Philbin spent the last four years coordinating the juggernaut that is the Green Bay Packers’ offense. Thus, signing MVP Aaron Rodgers’ longtime backup, Matt Flynn, is looking more and more inevitable. Combine this with the fact that the ‘Fins have only three defensive linemen currently under contract - three! - and Miami needs to take the biggest, scariest man it can as early in the draft as possible.

Signing Flynn saves them the several draft picks it would be forced to give up to trade up to the number two slot, and drafting a beast like Couples, who bites the glass necks off of beers just to open them up when he’s thirsty (not yet a test at the NFL combine, unfortunately) can also provide immediate help to a team with an already solid nucleus of talent.

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7. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Kendall Wright, Baylor, WR

7.  Jacksonville Jaguars -- Kendall Wright, Baylor, WR

Another tough call, if only because the Jaguars are putrid offensively. Sometimes you’ll open the fridge and see old, nasty milk and instead of pinching your nose, grabbing it and throwing it away, you simply shut the door.

At this point, one can only hope it realizes how expired it really is, grows legs and magically trots off into the dumpster on its own.

Sometimes, I would flick on an NFL Sunday and instead of holding my nose and bearing with the Jags’ offense, I would simply turn off the tube (or flatscreen, in the 21st century) and hope Jacksonville’s offense magically got better on its own. Well, suffice it to say, that didn’t happen.

Now, they are looking to the draft for improvement. LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne is a superstar-in-waiting, and might actually be a smarter choice here in terms of talent. However, Wright, ranked on some teams’ boards higher than Blackmon, and fits the team’s need for a young offensive playmaker for second-year QB Blaine Gabbert to look to downfield.

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6. Washington Redskins -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

6.  Washington Redskins --  Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

This is a funky draft slot. So many things can happen with the Redskins, or the Browns, or the Dolphins, that come draft day Washington’s needs may be completely different.

Coach Mike Shanahan’s crew has been rumored to be looking to trade up to the second slot if they aren’t able to land either Peyton Manning or Packers veteran backup Matt Flynn through free agency. It is the belief of this prognosticator, however, that the ‘Skins lack the funds to swindle the #2 pick from the Rams/Browns, and thus will be looking to take the best available offensive player. They’ll need someone to protect their new investment at quarterback, or the living, breathing liability that is Rex Grossman. In this case, it’s 6’6’’ 300 lb. Reiff.

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5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

5.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Richardson had to replace Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram last season and all he did was rack up 1,679 yards on 283 attempts with 21 touchdowns. At 5’11’’ 224 lbs. this dude’s got the combination of size, speed, brains, and competitiveness the terribly underachieving Buccaneers are looking for.

Yes, Gamedayrs, we understand LeGarrette Blount is already on Tampa Bay’s roster. However, if you had Blount on your fantasy team last year (I didn’t; I’m not crazy) then you understand where Tampa Bay’s management team might be coming from. Blount’s 781 yards on 184 attempts with a whopping 5 touchdowns was underwhelming. The team itself slipped from 10 wins in 2010 to four in ‘11. They need more. They need an NCAA Champion.

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4. TRADE St. Louis Rams -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

4.  TRADE St. Louis Rams -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

The Rams, let’s face it, stunk last year. Unlike the Colts drafting ahead of them at #1 overall, St. Louis has been stinking since Kurt Warner left ages ago. Before Warner burst onto the scene, straight outta the Arena League, the Rams, well, stunk.

New head coach Jeff Fisher has a lot of work to do and a lot of holes to fill, and thus trading the #2 pick down just two slots while also picking up at least two more draft picks makes stunningly great sense. Even if Minnesota does snag Blackmon with the third pick, the Rams wind up with Kalil, a man who will protect for their oft-injured franchise quarterback, Mr. “Samwise” Bradford.

Back to Blackmon. He’s a stud with sticky fingers (and lips, apparently) coded into his DNA. The Rams are most likely going to lose Brandon Lloyd, their only viable receiver, through free agency, and need weapons more desperately Samwise Gamgee.

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3. Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC

3.  Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC

One of the no-brainers of this year’s draft. Kalil is the best at one of the most important positions in the game, protecting the quarterback’s blind side.

Minnesota has a young quarterback in Christian Ponder who needs protection. Vikings management has been talking down this scenario for the last fews weeks, preferring a playmaker such as Justin Blackmon in this slot. Reasonable as the Purple People Eaters possess only one meaningful downfield threat in Florida alum Percy Harvin.

However, wrenching the truth from NFL general managers is always excruciating these days. Look for Kalil to be anchoring Minnesota’s offensive line for years to come.

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2. TRADE Cleveland Browns (from St. Louis Rams) -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

2.  TRADE Cleveland Browns (from St. Louis Rams) -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

It would be an understatement to say that Mel Kiper, Jr., the patron saint of NFL draft expertise, has been apprehensive over the years to predict draft day trades before the draft itself. However, numerous sources have already reported the St. Louis Rams being keen to move a few slots down in the draft, with 2010 top pick and long-term quarterback Sam Bradford already on the roster.

The most logical trading partner for them is the Cleveland Browns. The Redskins and Dolphins are also in talks with the Rams, but St. Louis is looking to add a playmaker. Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon is the best receiver in this year’s draft by far, and will most likely still be available at the Browns’ #4 slot. Also, the Browns have a second first round pick they can throw in to sweeten the deal.

RG3 is a franchise quarterback. He was by far the fastest QB at the combine, turning in a blazing 4.41 40-yard dash. Colt McCoy was wonderful in college, but sorry Longhorns fans, it just doesn’t look like he’s Cleveland’s long term answer.

And hey, if this were a McWorld, it would happen, right?

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1. Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

1.  Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

After almost two years of grooming, Luck, the ultimate “Butter Face”, is ready for his time atop the draft heap.

Everyone in the football universe, both at the pro and collegiate levels, believe his arm, field vision, and leadership capabilities make him the second coming of John Elway.

What the experts had not been expecting was such a tremendous display of athleticism from Mr. Luck at the NFL Combine. His broad jump of 10’4’’ was the longest of any quarterback’s, and two inches longer than 2011 #1 pick Cam Newton’s mark last year. His 36-inch vertical was also one inch higher than Newton’s. Luck’s got it all...well, everything “But his face”.


Note: does not own, or claim rights to, any of these photos.

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