30th January, 2012 - 8:58 pm
CLASSICS: Who Will Draft The Newtons And Who Will Draft The Russells?
Abu Mara returns for his sixth annual Stars, Sleepers and Overrated of the NFL Draft.
TEAM RANKINGS: Final NFL Power Rankings For 2011
The final 2011 NFL Power Rankings have very few surprises, with the Packers, Texans, Ravens, Steelers, Saints, 49ers and Patriots in the top-seven.
PLAYER RANKINGS: Pre-Bowl Big Board For The 2012 NFL Draft
Heading into Bowl season, identifying the top-five prospects at each position for the 2012 NFL Draft.
LOCKER TALK: Brady: Injury Was A Blessing In Disguise
Tom Brady has watched his Patriots fight their way to a 5-3 record through the first half of the season, and in actuality, he's pretty darn happy with where he currently stands.
MARCUS ALLEN: How GMs Build Winning Rosters
While everyone focuses on the marquee players that will be drafted on day one this Saturday, the key to building a winning team is by acquiring 5-7 impact makers. It was Marques Colston last year, who will it be this year?
By Jeff Risdon
Many players changed some opinions down in Mobile, but I was also able to glean lots of opinions about many players not at the Senior Bowl and made some adjustments accordingly. As teams are still in the formative stages of their draft boards, this is all semi-educated guesswork and speculation. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling you invisible clothes.
As always, note that this is what I think the given teams might do in the given situation. That does not necessarily reflect the choices I would make in the same situation. For that one, check back in early march for the "What Jeff Risdon Would Do" mock.
I'll publish a draft piece weekly between now and the week before the draft, with updated mocks and big boards interspersed as well. Keep checking back and don't be shy about asking me questions via email at Jeff.Risdon@RealGM.com or on Twitter @JeffRisdon.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford. Still the one regardless of Peyton's status. I strongly believe Manning has played his last NFL down.
2. St. Louis Rams: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor. Trade alert! I do mocks by player/slot, not necessarily team/player. Expect the Rams to trade this pick to WAS, MIA, or SEA, but don't sleep on the Cowboys moving way up to get the player with the highest potential in this entire draft.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, T, USC. If the Rams stand pat at #2, Kalil will be their pick and the Vikings will auction off this pick. Morris Claiborne is in play for them too.
4. Cleveland Browns: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State. I do not think the Browns have much interest in trading up despite loving RG3. They take the most dynamic receiver in the draft and pair him with Matt Flynn.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU. Both starting CBs from last year won't be back, bad news in a division with Brees, Newton and Ryan. Trent Richardson would not surprise me either.
6. Washington Ethnic Slurs: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Oklahoma State. Washington is taking a QB; that much seems pretty certain. Whether they move up to get RG3 or stay patient and take Tannehill is the question. He is still developing and must learn to make better decisions with the ball, but he's more advanced than Jake Locker or Blaine Gabbert when they went top-10 a year ago.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. Jacksonville loves to stick to their guns and take the player they want regardless of perceived value. I know they love Floyd, a rangy playmaker whose stock will rise during workout season. Putting weapons around Blaine Gabbert is their top priority, though I wouldn't rule out some protection up front either.
8. Carolina Panthers: Quentin Coples, DE/DT, North Carolina. His ability to play base end and slide inside on passing downs is precisely what the Panthers need. I'm not a fan of his sometimes lackluster effort and production, but the right coach can unleash a monster.
9. Miami Dolphins: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU. Assuming the Dolphins don't move up to get in the QB derby, reinforcing the line of scrimmage could be their direction. Brockers is a disruptive interior player in the Nick Fairley mold that should translate quickly into a 5-technique end.
10. Buffalo Bills: Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama. Upshaw really impressed during Senior Bowl week with his strength at the point of attack along with his ability to get to the QB. Buffalo needs two of him.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama. The perfect complement to Jamaal Charles and the replacement for Thomas Jones. Richardson reminds me a lot of Eddie George.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Melvin Ingram, LB/DE, South Carolina. Very quick edge rusher with good smarts. Pete Carroll could also tap his former USC plebe Nick Perry here. They are a candidate to trade up.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Mike Adams, T, Ohio State. The Cardinals were looking hard at the OL talent in Mobile, and Adams stood out for his length and ability to set an edge. Adding another wideout makes sense here too.
14. Dallas Cowboys: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama. I don't think the recent pot bust hurts him, and his physical style will play well in Dallas. I have a nagging suspicion Jerry Jones wants to move up...
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College. Point blank: the Eagles LBs were dreadful last year, though Brian Rolle started to emerge late. In Kuechly they would get a commanding presence in the middle and a reliable tackler.
16. New York Jets: Nick Perry, OLB, USC. Perry has a high ceiling as an edge rusher but a lot of work to get to that point. He is one of the big wild cards in this draft; could go as high as #10, could be a mid-2nd round pick. I think workout season will benefit his stock greatly.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (from OAK): Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama. Honestly, where else would a reformed pothead with a police record wind up but taking over Pacman Jones' role in Cincinnati? Sadly I'm not kidding. He has the potential to be a legit shutdown corner.
18. San Diego Chargers: Cordy Glenn, T/G, Georgia. Another of the big winners in Mobile, Glenn looked great at left tackle and flat-out dominant at guard. The Chargers have some interesting decisions and injury issues with their OL and I will be very surprised if they fail to address it early in the draft.
19. Chicago Bears: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor. Wright has rare vertical speed in the Mike Wallace mold, but he's a little more developed than when Wallace hit the league. Zack Brown would not surprise me here either.
20. Tennessee Titans: David Decastro, G, Stanford. It might surprise you to see Decastro go ahead of his tackle teammate Jonathan Martin, but every evaluator I talked to in Mobile likes Decastro better. He's NFL-ready at a position that is increasing in emphasis.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami FL. Ced Benson's status is up in the air, and he wasn't more than a grinder last year anyways. Miller has the home run ability Benson lacks and the toughness that Bernard Scott just doesn't bring to the table. I could see them going for a linebacker here as well.
22. Cleveland Browns (from ATL): Mark Barron, S, Alabama. The Browns have intriguing needs that don't necessarily square with the available talent here. It's too early to go TE or RT or to take another WR, even though all those are more pressing than a safety to play with TJ Ward.
23. Detroit Lions: Zack Brown, LB, North Carolina. Admittedly a best-case scenario for the team I root for, Brown is precisely the type of all-around backer that can make impact plays that Gunther Cunningham's defense sorely needs on the back end.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Riley Reiff, T, Iowa. You'll likely see Reiff in a lot of top 10s elsewhere, but I got the distinct impression that NFL teams see him more in this range. Pittsburgh needs a youth movement on both lines, and Reiff is more of a high floor/low ceiling safe pick than other linemen available here.
25. Denver Broncos: Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama. John Fox crafted a nice defense around Jon Beason in Carolina, and Hightower has similar traits to Beason. I will be very surprised if they don't address the defense here.
26. Houston Texans: Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis. An active man-mountain with one of the best hand punches to hit the league in years, Poe would stabilize the middle of the vastly improved Texans defense and let Ryans and Cushing make more plays. A #2 wideout is also high on their shopping list.
27. New England Patriots (from NO): Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin. New England started four different centers this season. That carousel would stop with Konz, who is bigger than most centers but doesn't lack athleticism.
28. Green Bay Packers: Jerel Worthy, DL, Michigan State. Worthy instigates action, the kind of dynamic the Packers defensive front completely lacked in 2011. A trade down wouldn't surprise me, nor would a tight end should they let Jermichael Finley walk.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Jonathan Martin, T, Stanford. One of the big corrections I've had to make is in my perception of Martin. He is not nearly as well-regarded by NFL evaluators as I anticipated, but his experience, length, and football IQ still merit 1st round status.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers. The Niners do not have one NFL wide receiver on their roster outside of Michael Crabtree and it killed them in the playoffs. Sanu is almost freakish in his ability to get wide open on pretty much every pass play, and his hands are fantastic.
31. New York Giants: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson. Allen is the athletic flex tight end that most resembles the growing crop in the NFL. Even though Jake Ballard put up strong numbers down the stretch, he appears best-suited for the #2 role with Allen as the more threatening weapon. I could easily see them going OL here too.
32. New England Patriots: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina. I guarantee you this is lower than you'll see Jeffery anywhere else, but I am trusting what I've seen on film and the emphasis on speed. Jeffery is fantastic at making tough catches in traffic, but some of that is a function that he cannot get separation at all, even from the more pedestrian SEC corners. Wideouts that run in the upper 4.5s don't go much higher than this.
33. St. Louis Rams: Devon Still, DT, Penn State
34. Indianapolis Colts: Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
35. Minnesota Vikings: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
36. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
37. Cleveland Browns: George Iloka, S, Boise State
38. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin
39. Washington Ethnic Slurs: Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
40. Miami Dolphins: Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State
41. Buffalo Bills: Joe Adams, WR/KR, Arkansas
42. Carolina Panthers: Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
43. Seattle Seahawks: Jeff Allen, G/T, Illinois
44. Kansas City Chiefs: Kelechi Osemele, G, Iowa State
45. Dallas Cowboys: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
46. Philadelphia Eagles: Markelle Martin, S, Oklahoma State
47. New York Jets: Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
48. New England Patriots (from OAK): Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt
49. San Diego Chargers: Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia
50. Chicago Bears: Sean Spence, LB, Miami FL
51. Philadelphia Eagles (from ARI): Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian State
52. Tennessee Titans: Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa
53. Cincinnati Bengals: Bobby Wagner, LB, Utah State
54. Detroit Lions: Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina
55. Atlanta Falcons: Zebrie Sanders, T, Florida State
56. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kendall Reyes, DE, UConn
57. Denver Broncos: Orson Charles, TE, Georgia
58. Houston Texans: TY Hilton, WR, Florida Intl.
59. New Orleans Saints: Audie Cole, LB, North Carolina State
60. Green Bay Packers: Chris Polk, RB, Washington
61. Baltimore Ravens: Brandon Brooks, G, Miami OH
62. San Francisco 49ers: Coryell Judie, CB, Texas A&M
63. New York Giants: Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple
64. New England Patriots: Derek Wolfe, DE, Cincinnati
65. Indianapolis Colts: Colby Fleener, TE, Stanford
66. St. Louis Rams: Donnie Fletcher, CB, Boston College
67. Minnesota Vikings: Marvin Jones, WR, California
68. Cleveland Browns: Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
69. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Alameda Ta'Amu, DT, Washington
70. Washington Ethnic Slurs: Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
71. Jacksonville Jaguars: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
72. Buffalo Bills: James Michael Johnson, LB, Nevada
73. Miami Dolphins: Ladarius Green, TE, Louisiana Lafayette
74. Chicago Bears (from CAR): Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma
75. Kansas City Chiefs: Jared Crick, DL, Nebraska
76. Seattle Seahawks: Ronnell Lewis, LB, Oklahoma
77. Philadelphia Eagles: Keenan Robinson, LB, Texas
78. New York Jets: Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas
79. Oakland Raiders: This pick was used on Terrelle Pryor.
80. San Diego Chargers: Chris Rainey, RB/WR, Florida
81. Chicago Bears: Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska
82. Arizona Cardinals: Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa State
83. Dallas Cowboys: Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB, West Virginia
84. Tennessee Titans: Malik Jackson, DT, Tennessee
85. Cincinnati Bengals: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
86. Atlanta Falcons: Cam Johnson, DE, Virginia
87. Detroit Lions: Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati
88. Pittsburgh Steelers: Amini Silatolu, G, Midwestern State
89. Denver Broncos: Antonio Allen, S, South Carolina
90. Houston Texans: Shea McClellan, LB, Boise State
91. New Orleans Saints: Dwight Bill Bentley, CB, Louisiana Lafayette
92. Green Bay Packers: Sean Prater, CB, Iowa
93. Baltimore Ravens: Quenton Saulsberry, C, Mississippi State
94. San Francisco 49ers: Jonathan Massaquoi, LB, Troy
95. New York Giants: Marcus Zusevics, OL, Iowa
96. New England Patriots: Eric Page, WR, Toledo