1st– Indianapolis: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford:
Analysis: We all knew this pick was coming. It was the right pick for the Colts to make and it will be a treat to compare Luck and Griffin as they embark on their NFL careers in very different settings. I still believe Luck is the safer pick, and he was the guy you had to pick #1 overall if you were the Colts.
2nd– Washington: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor:
Analysis: RGIII capped off a fantastic season with a meteoric rise up the draft boards to #2 overall. He has as much potential as Mike Vick did when he came into the NFL in my opinion, but he has a much better work ethic and football IQ than Vick did when he came into the NFL. He’s got the upside to be the best player to come out of this draft class, but I don’t think he’s ready to start Day One and needs some time to develop. He’s got amazing upside, but he’s riskier than Luck in my eyes.
3rd– Cleveland (F/ MIN): Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama:
I didn’t see this coming, but props to Cleveland for getting their guy and sacrificing a few mid-late round picks to do it. They wanted Richardson all along and they made sure Tampa Bay didn’t move up to get him. Clearly Tampa Bay had their eyes set on upgrading the RB position as they moved back into round one for Doug Martin, so Cleveland wasn’t just imagining things. Richardson is a player that can help take the pressure off of Colt McCoy or Brandon Weeden depending on who wins the starting job, and having a running back of that caliber definitely makes it easier to bring a young quarterback along.
4th– Minnesota (F/CLE): Matt Kalil, OT, Southern Cal:
Analysis: I’ll admit, I didn’t expect the Vikings to make this pick. I expected them to take Justin Blackmon or Morris Claiborne, but ultimately I think they made the right decision here (and picked up three mid-late round draft picks in the process). Kalil will immediately solidify their offensive line by protecting Christian Ponder’s blind side and allows the Vikings to shift Charlie Johnson inside to guard where he is a better fit. Great pick by the Vikings, even if I didn’t think they would end up making it when the day began.
5th– Jacksonville (F/ TB): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State:
Analysis: I don’t do this very often, but I have to toot my own horn on this one. I am probably one of the few people who filled out a mock draft that accurately predicted the Jaguars trading up from #7 overall to #5 overall with Tampa Bay to select Justin Blackmon, and I am very proud of that. Trades in mocks rarely, if ever, happen and I included one in my final mock draft (which I rarely do) and it actually panned out. So I have to pat myself on the back for that one. I’m not of the opinion that Blackmon is a true #1 receiver and I think he is better in a #2 role, which means I’m not wild about this pick. Don’t get me wrong, I like Blackmon and I think he can be a dynamic NFL receiver, I just don’t know if he can be “the guy” that makes life easier on the rest of the receivers on a team’s roster.
6th– Dallas (F/ STL): Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU:
Analysis: This was a surprising trade (one that I did NOT predict) and I certainly did not expect the Cowboys to end up with Morris Claiborne. The Cowboys clearly wanted to upgrade the CB position and even though I think they overpaid for Brandon Carr in free agency this acquisition definitely improves their secondary. Claiborne shouldn’t be forced into the starting role too early, but he should be comfortable playing nickel right out of the gate. I’m a big fan of Claiborne, so I love this aggressive move to go get him.
7th– Tampa Bay (F/ JAX): Mark Barron, SS, Alabama:
Analysis: This was the first pick I really didn’t like in the 1st round. I believe Barron is the top safety in this draft class based on everything I have seen, but I had him graded as a late 1st round pick and he went #7 overall. I clearly missed the memo about Mark Barron developing from a possible 1st round safety with some flaws in coverage into a hybrid of Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu, but if Barron doesn’t develop into a Pro-Bowl safety that makes consistent plays in coverage then this will prove to be a huge reach. We know he’s a guy who can help versus the run, make big hits, and he has shown the ability to make plays on the ball, but you don’t pick a safety in the 1st round in this day and age unless he is a terrific coverage safety, and I don’t think Mark Barron fits that bill.
8th– Miami: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M:
Analysis: I’ve been a fan of Ryan Tannehill for a long time, so it was nice to see him get drafted in the top 10 despite having some flaws in his game. I love his intangibles, but I worry about his issues closing out games in the 4th quarter. I don’t think that potential flaw will prohibit him from being a quality starting quarterback, but I don’t think he is a “franchise” quarterback in the same sense as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are. So while I think the Dolphins got a quality quarterback prospect I also acknowledge that Tannehill has limited starting experience and traditionally quarterbacks with under 2.5-3 years of starting experience struggle when transitioning into the NFL. Cam Newton was an exception to that rule last year, but I don’t think Tannehill will have that same success. He needs to be developed and not forced into the line-up too early, and if he has half a year or one year to develop and get coached up I think he can and will be a quality starting quarterback for the Dolphins.
9th– Carolina: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College:
-I thought Kuechly might end up in the top 10, but while I do like him a lot and think he will be a quality starting middle linebacker in the NFL for a very long time I don’t think he is necessarily an impact player like Patrick Willis was out of college. Kuechly is more Keith Brooking than Patrick Willis to me, but Brooking was a quality linebacker for the Falcons for a very long time. Kuechly has plenty of ability and should be a quality starter at MLB for the Panthers (who have had a lot of trouble with injuries at the linebacker position for the last 5 years or so) and I think those issues with injuries had something to do with this pick.
10th– Buffalo: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina:
Analysis: This is the second pick I really did not like. I am not a Gilmore fan and I think his lack of ball skills and instincts has been overshadowed by his ideal size and speed combination for the cornerback position. I think he has a lot of upside, especially if he cleans up some of his technique and his back-pedal, but you can’t teach instincts and that concerns me.
11th– Kansas City: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis:
Analysis: I originally gave Poe a 3rd round grade when I scouted him, and even though he had an impressive showing at the combine I still worry about picking him in the 1st round. He’s got terrific upside thanks to his combination of size and athleticism, but he didn’t dominate at Memphis and was washed out too much against double teams (and sometimes even 1 on 1 blocks) to get a 1st round grade from me. He’s got as much upside as any defensive tackle in this draft class, but he’s a high risk/high reward player that I don’t think is a very good fit for the 3-4 NT position in the NFL.
12th– Philadelphia (F/ SEA): Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State:
Analysis: Fletcher Cox is a player I really like and I had him as my #1 DT in this draft class. He slowly crept up draft boards but I was more impressed with his tape than I was of any other defensive tackle in this class. I really like his upside and I think he could really help upgrade their defensive front. Defensive tackle has been a position that the Eagles have struggled to fill with a quality player in recent years, and while Cox isn’t the flashiest, most athletically freakish player at his position I do think he is the best defensive tackle in this class. Great pick by the Eagles.
13th– Arizona: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame:
Analysis: I thought the Cardinals might go in this direction and it definitely makes some sense. The Cardinals desperately needed a #2 receiver to take some pressure off of Larry Fitzgerald and now they have a big, physical player who can high point passes downfield in Floyd. He’s a quality prospect but I do worry about him having issues creating separation at the next level, but Fitzgerald should help him improve his route running.
14th– St. Louis (F/ DAL): Michael Brockers, DT, LSU:
Analysis: The Rams very quietly a nice move down to #14 and continued to stock-pile picks. I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone mention that Les Snead, the Rams new GM that came from Thomas Dimitroff’s staff in Atlanta, has handled his first NFL Draft much more like the Patriots than Thomas Dimitroff has despite working for them during their original Super Bowl runs. He has stockpiled three second round picks all between #33 and #49 and will have ample opportunity to upgrade his roster soon. Brockers isn’t my favorite pick because I think he has a lot of developing to do if he is going to provide an impact as a pass rusher. He should help the Rams against the run, but he is a ways away from helping them as a pass rusher. I love Brockers’ upside, but I thought he should have come back to LSU for another year, but I do love how Snead has handled the draft thus far.
15th– Seattle (F/ PHI): Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB, West Virginia:
Analysis: This was the most confusing pick of the draft for me, I absolutely didn’t see this coming. I thought that the talk of Irvin going in the 1st round was mostly smoke, but clearly I was wrong. Irvin has a lot of potential as a pass rusher and should offer some situational pass rushing early on in his career, but I don’t see an every down defensive end when I watch him. He’s got plenty of upside due to his great speed and burst, but this was a big roll of the dice this early in the draft.
16th– New York Jets: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina:
Analysis: This was a bit of a surprising pick for me. Obviously Rex Ryan was incredibly impressed with him when they put him through defensive lineman drills and linebacker drills and I think that played into this pick, but I don’t think he is a good 3-4 defensive end because I don’t think occupying blockers to let other defenders make plays is what Coples is all about. I thought his ideal fit would have been a 4-3 LE that could rush the passer from that spot and then slide inside to defensive tackle on 3rd down situations if necessary, but the 3-4 defense doesn’t seem like a good fit for Coples at all to me.
17th: Cincinnati: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama:
Analysis: Kirkpatrick has plenty of upside and the Bengals wanted/needed another cornerback. He’s not my favorite prospect, but he is a quality corner prospect and should help solidify their secondary. I’m not sure he’s going to be a great starter, but he should be a solid/pretty good starting corner.
18th– San Diego: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina:
Analysis: This was a nice value pick for the Chargers and they really needed a pass rusher to help bolster their defense. They’ve been trying to replace Shawne Merriman for a long time and I think with Ingram they finally found the guy to do it. He’s extremely versatile and at the end of the day he is at his best on tape, not necessarily in drills or in shorts. That is what caused him to slide, his lack of flash, but that is why I love this pick: He’s a very good football player and that will shine through during his career as a Charger.
19th– Chicago: Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State
Analysis: I’m a big Shea McClellin fan and it made me happy to see him go in the 1st round. He went earlier than I expected but I don’t think he will disappoint. He’s a very hard worker with a terrific motor and will at the very worst get effort sacks rushing the passer opposite Julius Peppers on the Bears defensive front.
20th– Tennessee: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor:
Analysis: Kendall Wright really impressed me this year and made himself a lot of money over the course of the year as Robert Griffin III’s top target for the Baylor Bears. He didn’t wow many people in the offseason and unfortunately wasn’t at the Senior Bowl because of injury, but on film he is a 1st round caliber player without question. The Titans made a nice pick here to give Jake Locker (a mobile quarterback similar to RGIII) a player who is used to adjusting to a scrambling quarterback AND a player that can make guys miss and get plenty of yards after the catch. That is great news for Titans fans and Jake Locker.
21st– New England (F/ CIN): Chandler Jones, DE/OLB, Syracuse:
Analysis: Chandler Jones was being hyped up a lot as the draft approached and was talked about as a possible top 10 pick, and Mike Mayock even stated that he thought Jones would be the top defensive player out of this draft in 3 years. I can’t say I agree with that, but the Patriots clearly liked him and made a move up to pick him. The jury is out on this one for now, but it’s hard to doubt the Patriots when it comes to the draft.
22nd– Cleveland: Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State:
Analysis: This was another questionable pick. Everyone is rallying around it now, but it sounds like if Kendall Wright had made it to 22 he would have been the pick, and the Browns settled on Weeden after he went #20 to the Titans. That’s not what you want to hear about the scenario that led to you picking a quarterback in the first round, especially because Weeden already has enough question marks due to his age and the transition he will have to make from a pretty wide-open offense at Oklahoma State. He’s got a strong, accurate arm and he’s a smart guy, but if he doesn’t make an Andy Dalton-like impact as a rookie this pick will be criticized. I’m not sure he’s ready to start from Day One, and if he’s not then it limits the impact he will be able to make. At the end of the day he could have 6-8 more years to start as a quarterback even if he doesn’t start day one, but I would have picked him in round 2 if I wasn’t going to expect him to start Day One.
23rd– Detroit: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa:
Analysis: I like Reiff more than most, but I think that this is a good pick for the Lions. They’ve needed a left tackle for a long time, and with Jeff Backus returning he won’t be pressured into the starting role prematurely. He’s got plenty of upside, but just needs to get stronger. Unlike some, I believe he has all the potential to be a quality starter at left tackle. He may not have ideal arm length, but he’s more than athletic enough and he should be ready to start after a year on the bench.
24th– Pittsburgh: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford:
Analysis: This is the steal of the draft so far without a doubt in my opinion. DeCastro could have easily gone in the top 15 in my opinion, but he lasted past the Bengals (who I thought would pick him at 17 or 21 if he fell that far) and fell into the lap of the Steelers at 24 allowing them to fill a huge need and get fantastic value for the pick. DeCastro is the best offensive guard prospect I’ve ever scouted and this was a terrific pick.
25th– New England (F/ DEN): Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama:
Analysis: The Patriots made another trade-up, which isn’t usually their mantra, to make sure they got Dont’a Hightower before the Packers or the Ravens had a chance to get him. Hightower is a quality player with versatility that the Patriots surely appreciate and he adds another fearsome hitter to their front 7.
26th– Houston: Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois:
Analysis: This isn’t a bad pick, but I personally disagree with the strategy they took here. They let Mario Williams walk, even though he would have demanded a huge contract, and then replaced him with Whitney Mercilus. I don’t think that’s a great strategy because Williams is a bonafide stud of a pass rusher and if healthy he is one of the best in the entire NFL, and I don’t think Mercilus has that same upside nor do I think he is going to be a 10+ sack guy that causes consistent pressure like he did at Illinois last year. He’s got a lot of upside but he could also have been a one year wonder and that presents a lot of risk. It would have cost a lot of money, but the Texans should have brought Super Mario back and addressed a different need with this pick in my opinion.
27th– Cincinnati (F/ NE): Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin:
Analysis: Great pick by the Bengals. They needed a quality offensive guard and Zeitler has been my #2 offensive guard behind only DeCastro for months. Plenty of people expected Cordy Glenn to go #2 but I expected Zeitler to go ahead of him as evidenced in my mock draft. Cincinnati gets an offensive guard with pro-bowl potential that is ready to step into the starting line-up right away with this pick.
28th– Green Bay: Nick Perry, DE/OLB, Southern Cal:
Analysis: Personally, I am not a huge fan of this pick. I am not the biggest Nick Perry fan, but he has undeniable upside. Something about his lack of bend and hip flexibility worries me though. He looks a little stiff coming off the edge and even though he has impressive speed, burst and strength I just don’t know if he will be able to overcome that lack of bend to become an impact pass rusher. However, he will be playing opposite Clay Matthews and he should be able to teach him a thing or two about creating pressure.
29th– Minnesota (F/ BAL): Harrison Smith, SS, Notre Dame
Analysis: The Vikings made a savvy trade to start the draft but I don’t think this was a smart move. They didn’t give up very much, but I don’t think Harrison Smith warrants a first round pick. He was more of a 2nd-3rd round player to me, and I never really understood how he became a potential 1st round pick as the draft approached. I don’t think it had anything to do with his film, but it likely had something to do with this weak safety class and the Vikings huge need at safety. Trading up to reach for a player at a huge need position doesn’t often work well (See the Falcons trading up into round 1 to select Sam Baker) and I don’t envision this going very well either.
30th– San Francisco: AJ Jenkins, WR, Illinois:
Analysis: I thought I liked AJ Jenkins more than most (I had him in my potential list of breakout players at the beginning of the year, I really liked what I saw from him as a junior) but clearly there were teams that were higher on him than I was, the 49ers being one of them. I don’t think he was worth a 1st round pick, but I had a 3rd round grade on him and thought he could be a productive NFL receiver. I’m not a huge fan of the pick, though I do like the player. Just seemed too early to me.
31st– Tampa Bay (F/ DEN, F/ NE): Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
Analysis: The Bucs traded up a few slots to make sure they got their guy Doug Martin. Plenty of people thought the Bucs should have gotten David Wilson or Lamar Miller, but I prefer Doug Martin to both of them. Unlike Wilson or Miller, Martin can be an every down back in the NFL. He can be your feature back, but he is also a great pass blocker and a very reliable receiver out of the backfield. He’s a rare back in the NFL that can do everything you could ask for from a running back, so I love this pick.
32nd– New York Giants: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech:
Analysis: This pick surprised me a bit at first but it makes a lot of sense. David Wilson is a burner that will present the Giants with a lot of options as far as how to use him. He can spell Ahmad Bradshaw, he can catch passes out of the backfield and he can return kicks. That versatility as well as his game-breaking speed made him worthy of this pick.
Here are the top 10 players available at the start of the second round:
1- Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
2- Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
3- Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska
4- Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
5- Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
6- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
7- Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
8- Devon Still, DT, Penn State
9- Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
10- Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
Thanks for reading guys! Enjoy the draft!