By popular demand, I have extended this one out to four rounds. I sent the first draft to two different NFL team sources, one a scout and one a front office staffer (different teams), and their feedback forced many changes that I was not expecting to make.
This represents what I think might happen during the draft. It does not necessarily reflect what I would do, nor do I endorse all the decisions here. Rating players and slotting players are two completely different disciplines.
I put it after the first round as well, but my goal here is more to match the player with the slot. That is especially true beyond the top 40 picks, so do not get all crazy if you think I have a strange pick listed for a team.
I will have a final mock on Thursday morning for the first round, and perhaps the first three rounds if there is time. Most of the next five days will be spent milking sources and trying to get as many player/slot marriages correct as I can.
If you have more team-specific questions, email me at Jeff.Risdon@RealGM.com or hit me on Twitter @JeffRisdon.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Locked in, with good reason.
2. Washington Redskins (from STL): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Also locked in, also with good reason.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, T, USC
I like the line of thinking that taking Kalil improves two OL positions, with Kalil solidifying LT and kicking Charlie Johnson inside to LG where he belongs. I still think Claiborne is an option but I will settle with the herd on Kalil.
4. Cleveland Browns: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Perfect type of receiver to pair with Colt McCoy at QB. It is either Blackmon or Richardson. This spot is for sale.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
They get their choice of Richardson or Claiborne, and I believe they go for the RB. If both are off the board, look for TB to deal this pick to a team (hello Buffalo!) looking to move up and get Kalil.
6. St. Louis Rams (from WAS): Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
Jeff Fisher loves to build the DL, and Cox is a great fit for an attacking front.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Claiborne falls no further than this, but it might not be the Jaguars picking him here. This spot is the most likely to be traded in the top 10.
8. Miami Dolphins: Melvin Ingram, LB/DE, South Carolina
Bucking the prevailing wisdom that Tannehill goes here. He could, but they could also trade back and still get Tannehill. Ingram has too much juice as a pass rusher to fall out of the top 10.
9. Carolina Panthers: Quentin Coples, DE, North Carolina
Proximity helps, as the Panthers know better than any other team what went on around UNC the last two years. Kuechly, Gilmore, and Poe are all options. If Coples does not go here he could be sitting a long time.
10. Buffalo Bills: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
I am trusting someone here whose credibility I am unsure about, but he was so adamant that Buffalo has Floyd as a top-seven player on their board that I will humor it here. Reiff and Glenn would be the other options, and I am credibly told they prefer Glenn.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
This is as far as Tannehill falls, and it could be a case of the Chiefs dealing out. He makes sense there though as Cassel insurance and a long-term replacement.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama
They are not hiding their desire to upgrade the pass rush, and though Upshaw does not fit any real mold he has been remarkably prolific and proficient at making plays behind the line.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Riley Reiff, T, Iowa
He and Levi Brown make for an interchangeable pair of tackles that can swap sides if needed. A little birdie told me to drop Cordy Glenn in favor in Reiff here, the same bird that told me they were picking Daryl Washington and Ryan Williams in years past.
14. Dallas Cowboys: Mark Barron, S, Alabama
Demand trumps supply at safety, and no team needs one worse than the Cowboys. Barron does not fall out of the next three picks.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Devon Still, DT, Penn State
It is usually around this point where someone unexpected goes, and Still is seen by most in the 30-45 range. He is a great schematic fit and the Eagles love to use premium picks along the lines. I had Dontari Poe here but I believe the reports he is falling.
16. New York Jets: Whitney Mercilus, OLB, Illinois
Immediate pass rush help, but what really attracts Mercilus to Rex Ryan is his ability to force turnovers. I still think they are trading up to get Ingram.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (from OAK): Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Ample speed to burn opposite A.J. Green and drive opposing safeties nuts. His presence dictates coverages, and Andy Dalton is the kind of heady QB to exploit that advantage.
18. San Diego Chargers: Bobby Massie, T, Ole Miss
Once upon a draft GM AJ Smith took a chance on a big ol boy tackle with great feet but some warts in Marcus McNeill. That worked out great until McNeill got hurt, and now they replace him with Massie.
19. Chicago Bears: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Many ways to go here. Could be CB, could be pass rusher, could even be OL. But here they take Kuechly, who can start at SLB now and move into the middle when Urlacher finally retires.
20. Tennessee Titans: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
Fills the Cortland Finnegan void and does so with great length and athleticism. Hard to look past a pass rusher here but Gilmore is rated too high by too many to fall out of the top-20.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: David Decastro, G, Stanford
Every year the Bengals throw two specific coaches early bones: DC Mike Zimmer and OL Coach Paul Alexander. Coach Alexander gets the first bone this year with the polished Decastro over some tackle prospects. The depth at corner allows them to wait some there.
22. Cleveland Browns (from ATL): Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia. Ideal fit for Glenn, who fits best on the right side opposite Joe Thomas. Browns have pressing needs at both RT and RG, Glenn is a Day One starter at one of those.
23. Detroit Lions: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
If he happens to fall this far, GM Martin Mayhew will take about two seconds to get this pick up to the podium. Yes, I am a Lions fan but honestly it fell this way without that influencing anything.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dont-a Hightower, LB, Alabama
Another absolute no-brainer pick, as Hightower has the prototypical Steeler mentality and physicality. Even though they like to bring their backers along slowly, Hightower starts from Day One and makes a positive impact.
25. Denver Broncos: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Brockers is a John Fox kind of lineman, a guy that plays the run first and then goes after the passer. He has some developmental upside that could make him falling this far look silly.
26. Houston Texans: Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
Tough to choose between a pass rusher and a play-making wideout. Here GM Rick Smith opts for the latter with Randle, who made some impressive plays despite some truly awful QB play and little to do creatively.
27. New England Patriots (from NO): Shea McClellin, LB, Boise State
Plenty of options even amongst the positions considered. McClellin just strikes me (and many others) as a Bill Belichick kind of player, versatile and well-rounded. As always, the Patriots will trade at least one of their first round picks.
28. Green Bay Packers: Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
One of the more divisive prospects in this draft, Perry fills the need for a pass rushing threat opposite Clay Matthews, whose role he inherited at USC. If they choose they could slide back a few spots and still land Perry. Andre Branch makes sense too but I do not buy the Harrison Smith talk.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Kevin Zeitler, G/C, Wisconsin
Plug and play starter to replace Ben Grubbs and perhaps transition to center when Matt Birk finally calls it a career. He has definitively passed linemate Peter Konz thanks to durability and better hands.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
The startling fall ends here, as the Niners rescue Poe. It is a great fit as they can bring him along slowly in a strong locker room with great mentors like Justin Smith and Patrick Willis. Too much potential to pass.
31. New England Patriots: Amini Silatolu, G, Midwestern State
The only real question about the small-school giant is how quickly he can adjust to the NFL. The Patriots have taken fliers on lesser-regarded linemen before with strong results.
32. New York Giants: Mike Adams, T, Ohio State
I am writing this summary at exactly 4:20 PM on 4/20. Even though I did the "pick" part of this mock yesterday, I find that deliciously appropriate for Adams. Do not forget GM Jerry Reese has been rewarded for taking unpopular chances on guys like Bradshaw and Kenny Phillips.
Click below to view Jeff's entire mock draft, which goes through the fourth round:
Via Jeff Risdon/RealGM
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