The lives of 32 young men will change tomorrow night, while other men young and old sit writing about how each pick was either perfect, or a franchise-changing disaster. We’ll all laugh, maybe cry, and then take Mel Kiper Jr. out to the bar for a very different kind of scouting.
For now until we finally get answers tomorrow starting at 8 p.m. ET after months of speculation, we’re left to keep embarrassing ourselves with mock drafts and predictions sure to fail. So join us in our final attempt to be wrong 32 times.
We threw in an extra twist for our last mock draft of the 2012 silly season, and we’re doing a rolling mock between myself, and GLS contributors Devang Desai and Alen Dumonjic. The hope was for this to function as a more accurate draft simulation, since one make believe GM could take a player another GM was targeting.
There’s also the benefit of having three perspectives instead of just one. Most importantly, the embarrassment is spread around evenly, and not focused squarely on me. That was the true goal here.
Alright, let’s do this…
1. (Sean) Indianapolis Colts: QB Andrew Luck, Stanford – I’d shock the world here and throw down RG3’s name, or maybe just summon Akili Smith out of retirement, but that would be blatant trolling. We’re not allowing that until at least the third pick.
2. (Devang) Washington Redskins (from St. Louis): QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor – While I still believe the Redskins paid an absurd price to move up, I think they’ll get a gem in Griffin. Hopefully his hands are alright after Dan Synder ‘suggested’ he sign 10,000 helmets.
3. (Alen) Minnesota Vikings – Matt Kalil, OT, USC - Ideally I’d trade down, but since the Vikings are locked in this slot for the purposes of this exercise, they select Matt Kalil to protect Christian Ponder’s blindside. Kalil’s a very athletic blocker that is raw and has a very high upside. Had they traded down, Minnesota would have looked to tackle once again with Iowa’s Riley Reiff, who also is at the top of the list at the position along with Kalil.
4. (Sean) Cleveland Browns: RB Trent Richardson, Alabama – I swear I didn’t wear a skirt to work today (I only do that on Tuesdays), but I lack the testicular bravery to take Ryan Tannehill here. This also means I’m viciously waffling on the lengthy, rambling justification I gave for Tannehill in this spot during our first mock. Richardson is the safer, more trustworthy pick, which is always entertaining during a three-way mock draft. Devang, surely you’re ready to do something ridiculous, right?
5. (Devang) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Morris Claiborne, LSU - Unfortunately I’m not, Sean. This one was pretty straight forward, even for me. Ronde Barber will turn 37 this year, and former first-round pick Aqib Talib is being shopped around after more off field problems. The Bucs’ division has three of the better quarterbacks in the league, so the obvious choice for me is Claiborne, a future shut down cornerback. I think his cover skills are better than those of his former LSU teammate Patrick Peterson.
6. (Alen) St. Louis Rams (from Washington): WR Justin Blackmon Oklahoma State – So, the Rams don’t have anybody. They got some Wes Welker lite guy catching passes and he can’t stay healthy, while Brandon Lloyd was begging the Patriots (who wouldn’t?) to sign him. Because of the scrubs on the roster, the Rams take Blackmon. Let’s hope he can catch some passes from Bradford if he’s healthy. If not, Blackmon can go back to drinking himself into a stupor.
7. (Sean) Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina – And now I’ll begin drinking slowly too, because once Blackmon started to fall, he would have looked just as nice in teal to restore any shred of respect to Blaine Gabbert’s career. It’s highly likely that Gene Smith swings a trade out of this spot to move down, especially with Ryan Tannehill still on the board. But since we’re not dealing with trades, the Jags will go with the best pass rusher available to help a defense that only had 31 sacks last year.
8. (Devang) Miami Dolphins: QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M – At the risk of the incoming scorn and laughter, I had to go with Tannehill. Management has to do something to reinvigorate the fan base, and this is it. Tannehill will have Mike Sherman, the coach who helped him transition from WR to QB at Texas A&M, as his offensive coordinator. I make this pick confidently with the realization that my owner is breathing pretty damn loudly behind me. Not cool, Mr. Ross.
9. (Alen) Carolina Panthers: DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State – Whoa! The Dolphins made a reach to fulfill their quarterback need by drafting a wide receiver! Well, he was one at least. I had to do something to one up that, but I couldn’t, so I just settled for Cox. Almost went with Luke Keuchly here because the Panthers need a ‘backer with an ACL, but I’m going with the penetrating Cox (poor word choice, I know).
10. (Sean) Buffalo Bills: WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame – Oh well, surely Tannehill will throw a better ball than Ronnie Brown, the best Dolphins quarterback in recent memory. I’ll continue our penetration into predictable picks by taking the second best receiver on the board. David DeCastro and Riley Reiff are also strong possibilities for Buffalo, but the temptation to add a complementary wideout to play opposite Stevie Johnson is too great. So we’re now out of the top 10, and Stephon Gilmore is still on the board. According to every scout ever, we’re all fired from our imaginary general manager jobs.
11. (Devang) Kansas City Chiefs: CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina – Stunned that the Bills passed on Gilmore, KC’s front office bursts into tears of joy as the Chiefs now boast one of the best cornerback duos in the league, pairing the rookie with Brandon Flowers. Kuechly was also considered strongly, and I was even tempted to take Brandon Weeden here, Christian Ponder style. Replacing Brandon Carr with Gilmore is akin to leaving KC for a job in the New England Front office. Just like Scott Pi….right.
12. (Alen) Seattle Seahawks: LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College – They’re also surprised in Seattle that Kuechly is still on the board. Not just because of his skills, but his awesome name. Kuechly is the top LB in the draft and is a very impressive talent, and he reads plays quickly.
13. (Sean) Arizona Cardinals: OT Riley Reiff, Iowa – The Cardinals’ front office also likes players with names that aren’t spelled the way they sound. They enjoy filling a need at tackle too, and trying to keep the frequently concussed Kevin Kolb upright after Arizona’s offensive line allowed 54 sacks last year. Throwing passes from your ass isn’t just against the rules, it hurts too.
14. (Devang) Cowboys: OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama – As a Bills fan I wanted to sabotage this pick in retribution for Dallas destroying the early 90s for me, but I won’t do it in honor of Don Beebe. Upshaw and Mark Barron have been linked with the Cowboys since the crazy season began after the Senior bowl. The pundits were somewhat right. Dontari Poe was in the conversation breifly, but it came down to choosing someone to attack the QB with DeMarcus Ware. The Cowboys will be glad to have someone to compete with the recently tendered Anthony Spencer.
15. (Alen) Philadelphia Eagles: DT Michael Brockers, LSU – Every year there are prospects that get hyped up and don’t do anything out on the field. This year it’s Poe, but he’s not the only one, as LSU’s Brockers joins the list. He has a lot of upside and that’s why the Eagles should still feel comfortable taking him. Jim Washburn can turn him into gold just like he does with everyone else…
16. (Sean) New York Jets: SS Mark Barron, Alabama – You can have your fool’s gold, fool. And so can the Cowboys, a front office that’s evidently eager to buy into athleticism and hype despite the depth of this DE/OLB class. The Jets will fill a clear need at strong safety with easily the best player at the position. It’s a steep fall from here, gentlemen.
17. (Devang) Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland): CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama – The Bengals will always be associated with dysfunctional behavior. Rather than shy away from this the front office has opted to embrace it. Kirkpatrick’s off the field issues were pretty tame and charges for Marijuana possession were ultimately dropped, and the Bengals will be extremely pleased with this pick. Not only is CB a position of need, they got the best player available.
18. (Alen) San Diego Chargers: DE/OLB Nick Perry, USC – The damn Jets took Barron, who the Chargers wanted here. So much for that smokescreen. A.J. Smith isn’t sold on his current pass rushers, so he’ll have decided to go with Nick Perry of USC. Perry is a very athletic, and he can drop back in coverage too.
19. (Sean) Chicago Bears: OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford – This pick required far too much mental energy thanks to the run on edge rushers who would have been an ideal complement to Julius Peppers. But since there isn’t full confidence in the value of those left on the board in this spot, adding another tackle is ideal to minimize the beating Jay Cutler takes weekly.
20. (Devang) Tennessee Titans: DE Quinton Coples, UNC – The run on edge rushers will never stop, Sean. Join the revolution. The Titans are willing to take a risk on a headcase with motor issues. Coples was misused at Chapel Hill, and his senior season was marred by NCAA sanctions facing the football program thanks to disgraced coach Butch Davis. The Titans hope this mitigated risk will be similar to one made in the 1999 draft that led to the selection of a freak at No. 16.
21. (Alen) Cincinnati Bengals: Doug Martin, RB, Boise State – After bolstering their secondary with one of the top cornerbacks in the class with their earlier pick at No. 17, the Bengals turn their attention to a need at running back that still needs to be addressed. Despite the addition of “The Law Firm,” Cincy selects Martin, who is one of the best and most complete backs in this class.
22. (Sean) Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta): WR Kendall Wright, Baylor – Ahhh those first-round running backs. Welp, it could be worse, and you could have waited for your RB in the second round, and then he starts eating marijuana because he keeps it real. After also investing highly in a running back, the Browns smile broadly while taking the third best receiver on the board, adding two key offensive pieces to the factory of sadness in just the first 22 picks. This is the wise strategy, since the gap between Blackmon and Wright isn’t nearly wide enough to justify a top five pick on a WR. Weeden now becomes the target early in the second round.
23. (Devang) Detroit Lions: CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama – Red flags be damned! The Lions have made it clear that errors in judgement made in the past will not deter Detroit from picking someone with talent. Jenkins is the best corner available, hands down. He was matched up against AJ Green and Julio Jones during his last year with the Gators, and he did pretty damn well. The Lions will hope for similar results against the Greg Jennings’ and Brandon Marshalls of the NFC North.
24. (Alen) Pittsburgh Steelers : TE Coby Fleener, Stanford – Dont’a Hightower seems like the logical choice, right? Well, they’re not always logical in Pittsburgh. The Steelers aren’t exactly sold on Leonard Pope as their second tight end, and Fleener adds another dimension in the middle of the field. He’ll be able to stretch it and allow Heath Miller to work the underneath.
25. (Sean) Denver Broncos: DT Dontari Poe, Memphis – And we have our first mildly risky move that crosses several layers of grain. The fact that it took until the 25th pick is either a testament to the lack of male genitalia in this draft, or maybe everything has just fallen in line perfectly so far. The Broncos stop Poe’s tumble, and strengthen the middle of a defense that was still gashed on the ground last year.
26. (Devang) Houston Texans: ILB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama – The Texans traded former starter DeMeco Ryans to the Eagles in the off season. The front office likes Daryl Sharpton, but Hightower’s ceiling was too hard to pass on, and his value is great here. They’ll likely also look at Rueben Randle and Whitney Mercilus. Hightower steps in beside Brian Cushing and Brooks Reed to form one of the best linebacker corps in the league.
27. (Alen) New England Patriots (from New Orleans): DE/OLB Shea McClellin, Boise State – The Patriots couldn’t find the opposing quarterback if there was no offensive line, and they’re definitely not doing it with a line of blockers in front of them either. Because of this, they’ll take McClellin from Boise State. He fits the profile of the blue collar, versatile type of player that Bill Belichick seeks.
28. (Sean) Green Bay Packers: DE/OLB Chandler Jones, Syracuse – We’ve been swimming in the pass rusher pool for a while here now, and the water is nice. Clay Matthews needs support, and adding another strong edge rusher is ideal in this spot, especially given how far Jones has fallen. The value here is great, and so is the fit.
29. (Devang) Baltimore Ravens: C Peter Konz, Wisconsin – This might be the most obvious pick in the latter half of the first round. Matt Birk won’t play forever, and Konz has everything the Ravens want at a high impact position. If Hightower was still on the board this would have been a tough decision. Baltimore will hope that Ray Lewis continues to steal the life force of his younger peers to prolong his career.
30. (Alen) San Francisco 49ers – OG Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin – The 49ers’ offensive line wasn’t pretty last season, and right now there’s a hole at right guard. However, with the selection of Wisconsin’s Kevin Zeitler, the hole has been filled. Zeitler is an excellent run blocker who’s improving in pass protection.
31. (Sean) New England Patriots: DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State – So we’re cool with letting Stephen Hill fall out of the first round entirely then? Yeah, deep WR class, yada yada, but I didn’t think there was any way Hill and/or Reuben Randle would make it past San Francisco, and especially not Houston. The Patriots will most likely trade out of this spot, because that’s what the Patriots do. But if they stay here then fortifying the interior of the defensive line is ideal after an edge rusher was obtained earlier.
32. (Devang) New York Giants: WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech – Just had to antagonize the defending champions, didn’t ya Sean. The Giants choose to fill the void created by the departure of Mario Manningham. The aura from Hill’s Combine performance has faded a bit, but the Giants feel lucky he’s available at No. 32. Eli Manning just opened another bottle of champagne.