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NFL Mock Draft: Spring Equinox Edition
21st March, 2012 - 12:25 pm

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What Risdon Would Do Mock Draft

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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.

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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.

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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

I added an extra trade in this one, with Miami trading up to #3 to get Ryan Tannehill. This was completed just before the Demeco Ryans-to-Philly deal and I will edit that in the next version. The only real draft impact I see from that is that Philly is that much less likely to take a 1st round LB.

As always, this represents what I think the given teams might do in the given situations. It does not necessarily reflect the choices I would make in the same situation. The "What Jeff Risdon Would Do" mock draft will be done next week.

1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford. New GM Ryan Grigson threw Luck a real bone by re-signing Reggie Wayne to help fill in some of the myriad needs around their new franchise QB. I suspect we'll see a lot of secondary and OL help in the later rounds.

2. Washington Ethnic Slurs (from STL): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor. They didn't give up all those picks for just anyone. RG3 is the man and they are already active in building around him.

3. *Miami Dolphins (from MIN): Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M. Even if they sign Alex Smith, Tannehill provides better long-term potential. Owner Stephen Ross will not be content with merely Alex Smith, and this deal would sate his lust for juice and attention. It's probably the most prudent football move they can make as well. If Minnesota sticks here I would strongly expect either Matt Kalil or Morris Claiborne.

4. Cleveland Browns: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State. There are a number of directions the Browns can go with. If Tannehill is still on the board he is absolutely in play, though I get the sense GM Tom Heckert would prefer to pass on him. Blackmon would give the team a legit #1 weapon in the passing game to pair with last year's solid rookie Greg Little. Trent Richardson and Morris Claiborne will also get long and deserved consideration. It also wouldn't surprise me if they traded back from here, particularly if Tannehill is the desired target.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU. The Bucs desperately need an infusion of young, mentally stable talent in the secondary. Claiborne has all the makings of a very good shutdown corner, and that is a necessity in a division with Brees, Newton, and Ryan as the opposing QBs. Richardson and Kalil are certainly possibilities as well.

6. St. Louis Rams (from WAS): Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama. Curveball time! My rationale: the RB that Richardson most reminds me of is Eddie George, only a little more slippery. Who was George's NFL coach? That's right, Rams coach Jeff Fisher. He knows the importance of having a back that can get the tough yards but also break away. Steven Jackson remains solid but the miles are really adding up, and Richardson is head and shoulders above the rest of the RB class.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Matt Kalil, T, USC. They probably need a WR more even after their plunge into free agency, but getting a potential franchise left tackle is too tempting for GM Gene Smith to pass here. If he's gone, they will strongly consider Michael Floyd or Quentin Coples. The wild card is Melvin Ingram, a player they really liked in Mobile during Senior Bowl week.

8. *Minnesota Vikings (from MIA): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama. With Kalil gone the Vikings turn to their other pressing need, cornerback. Kirkpatrick plays like a bigger Antoine Winfield, a pesky cover man that is exceptional in run support. Remember, their division foes include Calvin Johnson, Greg Jennings, and now Brandon Marshall. If Miami is picking here and Tannehill is gone, I would expect Floyd, Coples, or maybe Riley Reiff here.

9. Carolina Panthers: Quentin Coples, DE, North Carolina. Coples has top 5 physical talents but in 2011 seldom played with the intensity and fire that are needed to achieve his full potential. He's a perfect fit for their defense, a big end that can slide inside on passing downs. Coach Rivera will believe he can coax the full effort from Coples. I don't see him falling beyond here.

10. Buffalo Bills: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. With Mario Williams signed the need for an edge rusher goes down the priority list. WR is not the most glaring need, but I like the concept of pairing the big Floyd with Stevie Johnson as a 1-2 punch for Ryan Fitzpatrick. I think Chan Gailey will like it too. The Bills are noted for sticking firm to their own board, and that could mean Cordy Glenn or Riley Reiff or an unexpected wild card like David Decastro or Stephon Gilmore here. If Kirkpatrick were still on the board he would be the pick.

11. Kansas City Chiefs: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State. The unrefined Cox projects best as a 5-technique, and the Chiefs have an opening. Scouts are tantalized by his potential, but fans will want to be patient with his learning curve. Dontari Poe or Melvin Ingram would be fine picks too.

12. Seattle Seahawks: Jonathan Martin, T, Stanford. Total hunch pick, but the ever-evolving Seahawks like lacks a legit LT and Martin has a chance to be a good one. I could easily see them going with pass rush help or even a WR here.

13. Arizona Cardinals: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina. Ingram brings speed and strength to the perimeter of the defense, and the Cardinals sorely need more pass rushing prowess. He could go higher than this, and the Cards could opt to go OL or even the right WR here.

14. Dallas Cowboys: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis. I sense the enthusiasm on Poe is waning a bit, but there is still more than enough to like that he goes a few picks before here. Dallas is in the process of overhauling an ineffective front, and Poe can be a guy to build around. I've been told by a fairly reliable source they covet Dre Kirkpatrick.

15. Philadelphia Eagles: Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia. Glenn has the ability to play every spot except center, though he fits best as a right tackle. Since it's the Eagles, expect the draftee to play on one of the lines and also expect a trade down.

16. New York Jets: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor. With the renewed commitment to The Sanchize, getting him a solid vertical threat sounds like a good idea. Wright plays a whole lot faster than his poor time at the Combine, and he should fit well in the retooled offense. For those questioning his size, he is almost a physical clone of Santonio Holmes, the guy he would be replacing in New York. I have to think they'll look long and hard at OL and pass rush help as well.

17. Cincinnati Bengals (from OAK): Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina. The Bengals have quietly been trying to get rid of the "fun lovin' criminals" label, but they do make exceptions for what they feel is exceptional talent. Gilmore was inconsistent at SC but has strong physical skills and good size for the position. I think the Travelle Wharton signing takes them out of the OL business here. Cincy could move Gilmore to safety.

18. San Diego Chargers: Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama. The thickly built Upshaw made a living in opposing backfields in college, though he is a bit of a DE/OLB tweener. He reminds me of LaMarr Woodley and the Chargers could use a guy with those sorts of skills. OL help has to be a consideration with the loss of two starters.

19. Chicago Bears: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State. This is probably higher than Worthy will go, but if the Bears opt for a disruptive interior lineman then Worthy has the highest ceiling of any left. His dramatic inconsistency is troubling but when he is on his game he's every bit as good as Gerald McCoy was at Oklahoma and he went #3 overall. A linebacker or running back wouldn't surprise me here, and they perennially need more OL help.

20. Tennessee Titans: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois. The one-year wonder dominated in 2011, and production like his is hard to ignore. Tennessee needs more pass rush oomph without sacrificing against the run, and Mercilus fits that bill. Interior OL like Peter Konz or David Decastro make sense as well.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU. Brockers is more of a run stuffing force with underdeveloped pass rushing skills than most teams like to draft this high, but he has intriguing enough potential to make it worthwhile. The Bengals have to consider a RB here too.

22. Cleveland Browns (from ATL): Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State. Who better to throw to #4 pick Blackmon than his college QB? I think the concept of taking the playmaker before the QB is the philosophy the Browns choose. Weeden would be a top 10 lock if he weren't 28 years old. If they do take Tannehill earlier, look for a right tackle or corner here.

23. Detroit Lions: Riley Reiff, T, Iowa. I see Reiff in the same light as Gabe Carimi a year ago; both have the physical talent to go higher but like Carimi, there are enough questions with Reiff that he falls into the mid-20s. I like the fit here for my Lions, and the depth at corner allows them to focus on that need later.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College. Every year the skills of upper-echelon ILBs get lauded and everyone projects them to go in the first half of the first round. And then they fall a few spots from where they were projected. That happens here with Kuechly, who reminds me of James Laurinaitis without the menace. Baby Animal went in the 2nd round, you might remember. Pittsburgh has to get younger in the defensive front 7.

25. Denver Broncos: Devon Still, DT, Penn State. Denver needs to add some beef to the defensive front, and Still dominated at times in the Big 10. He would nicely fill the Brodrick Bunkley role. How much influence Peyton Manning wields on the draft will be interesting; if they go WR or TE here, Peyton's more in charge than anyone thought.

26. Houston Texans: David Decastro, G, Stanford. Houston lost two OL starters and need to re-stock the depth chart. Decastro fits the zone scheme adequately and is plug and play right away. Expect early attention at OLB and WR from the Texans as well.

27. New England Patriots (from NO): Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech. Hosley is the latest in a long line of Hokie corners that are trained to play off man and then attack the ball in the air. New England needs a massive overhaul in the secondary and Hosley would represent a nice building block.

28. Green Bay Packers: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin. Konz is bigger than the typical Packer center, but he moves well enough to get the job done. I like the concept of keeping it local to reward the patience of the fans for yet another year of sitting out free agency. Finding a complementary pass rusher to Clay Matthews is a high priority but not a good value fit here.

29. Baltimore Ravens: Mark Barron, S, Alabama. Barron is the top-rated safety by a decent margin, and he is the kind of heady player that GM Ozzie Newsome likes. They are very thin in the secondary and Ed Reed's neck issues make finding a replacement an imperative. Look for lots of defensive help and interior OL in this draft.

30. San Francisco 49ers: Brandon Boykin, CB/KR, Georgia. He provides more immediate value as a return man, but Boykin is a feisty slot corner that can contribute there as well. A trade down could happen, and there's always a need for more DL depth.

31. New England Patriots: Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian State. As with every New England pick, expect either a trade out of it or a mild surprise. I'll go with the latter here. Quick ran great at his pro day, and with his size that opens up first round potential. For you surly Pats fans that kvetch about me projecting them to double dip at multiple positions, I will remind you I had them taking two 2nd round RBs a year ago...and they did.

32. New York Giants: Doug Wilson, RB, Boise State. Wilson isn't exactly the power back to replace Brandon Jacobs, but his versatility makes him a nice fit anyways. I have to think Jerry Reese would have strong interest in building some OL depth as well, which will be reflected in the next rounds.

Round 2
33. St. Louis Rams: Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
34. Indianapolis Colts: Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana
35. Minnesota Vikings: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
36. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami FL
37. Cleveland Browns: Mike Adams, T, Ohio State
38. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
39. St. Louis Rams (from WAS): Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma
40. Miami Dolphins: Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
41. Buffalo Bills: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
42. Carolina Panthers: Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina
43. Seattle Seahawks: Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin
44. Kansas City Chiefs: Chris Polk, RB, Washington
45. Dallas Cowboys: Alameda Ta'Amu, NT, Washington
46. Philadelphia Eagles: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
47. New York Jets: Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State
48. New England Patriots (from OAK): Kendall Reyes, DE, UConn
49. San Diego Chargers: Bobby Wagner, LB, Utah State
50. Chicago Bears: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
51. Philadelphia Eagles (from ARI): Kelechi Osemele, G/T, Iowa State
52. Tennessee Titans: Dwight Bill Bentley, CB, LA-Lafayette
53. Cincinnati Bengals: Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska
54. Detroit Lions: Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina
55. Atlanta Falcons: Cam Johnson, DE, Virginia
56. Pittsburgh Steelers: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
57. Denver Broncos: Mychael Kendricks, LB, California
58. Houston Texans: Joe Adams, WR/KR, Arkansas
59. New Orleans Saints: Brandon Brooks, G, Miami OH
60. Green Bay Packers: Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall
61. Baltimore Ravens: Amini Silatolu, G, Midwestern State
62. San Francisco 49ers: Ronnell Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma
63. New England Patriots: Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
64. New York Giants: Jeff Allen, G/T, Illinois

Round 3
65. Indianapolis Colts: Colby Fleener, TE, Stanford
66. St. Louis Rams: Juron Criner, WR, Arizona
67. Minnesota Vikings: George Iloka, S, Boise State
68. Cleveland Browns: Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati
69. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt
70. Washington Ethnic Slurs: Bobby Massie, T, Ole Miss
71. Jacksonville Jaguars: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
72. Buffalo Bills: Coryell Judie, CB, Texas A&M
73. *Minnesota Vikings (from MIA): Josh Robinson, CB, UCF
74. Chicago Bears (from CAR): Sean Spence, LB, Miami FL
75. Kansas City Chiefs: Brandon Washington, G, Miami FL
76. Seattle Seahawks: Greg Childs, WR, Arkansas
77. Philadelphia Eagles: Ladarius Green, TE, LA-Lafayette
78. New York Jets: Antonio Allen, S, South Carolina
79. Oakland Raiders--used on Terrelle Pryor in Supplemental Draft
80. San Diego Chargers: Devon Wylie, WR/KR, Fresno State
81. Miami Dolphins (from CHI): Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin
82. Arizona Cardinals: Zebrie Sanders, T, Florida State
83. Dallas Cowboys: Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska
84. Tennessee Titans: Marvin Jones, WR, California
85. Cincinnati Bengals: Josh Kaddu, LB, Oregon
86. Atlanta Falcons: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
87. Detroit Lions: Demario Davis, LB, Arkansas State
88. Pittsburgh Steelers: Josh Chapman, DT, Alabama
89. Denver Broncos: Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
90. Houston Texans: Shea McClellin, LB/DE, Boise State
91. New Orleans Saints: Markelle Martin, S, Oklahoma State
92. Green Bay Packers: Derek Wolfe, DE, Cincinnati
93. Baltimore Ravens: Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple
94. San Francisco 49ers: Ben Jones, G/C, Georgia
95. New England Patriots: Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest
96. New York Giants: David Molk, C, Michigan