View Full Version : SI's Don Banks pre Combine Mock

02-22-2012, 01:59 PM
1 QB Andrew Luck Stanford Jr. 6-4 235
While the Luck vs. RG3 debate might rightfully rage for the next two months, I'm convinced the Colts have their minds set on taking the pure pocket passer over the more athletically gifted quarterback from Baylor. Luck returns to Indy this week for the second time this month -- he was briefly there during Super Bowl week -- and this time he gets to meet with the Colts, who still have that other quarterback issue to grapple with. Colts owner Jim Irsay is going to make this call, and he's already talking Luck.
2 QB Robert Griffin III Baylor Jr. 6-2 220
(Projected trade with St. Louis) When all is said and done, Griffin will be going in this slot to someone, and the Browns still make the most sense in terms of their need at quarterback and their good fortune to own two first-round picks in 2012. Trust me on this one: The NFL is about to fall in love with Griffin, and the top of the draft is all about quarterbacks. The Browns should jump on this deal -- and this player -- with gusto, because they're not getting the ultra-impressive Griffin if they sit tight at No. 4. If Cleveland doesn't move on Griffin, Washington might.
3 OT Matt Kalil USC Jr. 6-7 295
As tempting as Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon might be, the smart move for the Vikings is to pick Kalil and hopefully take the critical left offensive tackle position off the to-do list for the next decade or so. There are plenty of receivers available in both free agency and the draft this year, but premier left tackles are always hard to come by. Former USC tackle Ron Yary gave the Vikings 14 Hall of Fame seasons after going No. 1 overall in 1968 -- albeit playing right tackle in the NFL -- so there's some nice symmetry at work here, too.
4 WR Justin Blackmon Oklahoma State Jr. 6-1 215
(Projected trade with Cleveland) No wonder Jeff Fisher wanted the Rams job over the Dolphins' head coaching vacancy. By dealing with the Browns, St. Louis gets the same player it likely would have taken at No. 2 -- landing the top-rated receiver it needs to help Sam Bradford and the passing game rebound from a dismal 2011 -- plus pockets Cleveland's No. 22 pick and maybe another late-round selection. Blackmon and Bradford should be able to make beautiful music together for years to come.
5 RB Trent Richardson Alabama Jr. 5-11 224
The more I hear NFL talent evaluators rave about Richardson, the more it sounds like he's that rare rushing prospect worthy of top-10 or even top-five consideration. Richardson is a three-down back, and even with LeGarrett Blount on the roster, fielding a dominant two-headed running game might be just the right call to help ease the burden on the still-developing Josh Freeman at quarterback.
6 CB Morris Claiborne LSU Jr. 6-0 185
Claiborne is likely the safest pick for the Redskins in this scenario, but so much hinges on what the Redskins do at quarterback in free agency. I gave them Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill in my first mock, but here's an interesting theory I heard recently that makes some sense: Mike Shanahan loves Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden, who he coached in the Senior Bowl, and might try to trade down into the 20s of the first round to take him. Weeden is 28 and that scares a lot of teams, but he's mature and ready to play in the NFL right away, and the Redskins don't have time to wait around for someone to develop.
7 CB Dre Kirkpatrick Alabama Jr. 6-3 192
I'm moving off of North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples to the Jaguars for now, because while he's a freak athletically, some teams are worried that his so-so season and strong Senior Bowl week make him a risky proposition. By comparison, Kirkpatrick is seen as one of the safer top-10 picks, with the needed blend of size, athleticism and physicality to play coverage in today's pass-happy NFL.
8 DT Michael Brockers LSU Soph. 6-6 306
The Panthers are in the market for a run-stuffer to plug into the middle of their defensive line, and Brockers looks like the highest-rated prospect at a very deep position in this year's draft. He can both hold up stoutly against the run and penetrate the backfield, adding a disruptive force to Ron Rivera's defense. Two junior defensive tackles also bear noting as names that could be on the climb after the combine: Memphis' Dontari Poe and Michigan State's Jerel Worthy.
9 OT Riley Reiff Iowa Jr. 6-6 300
I'm still operating under the conviction the Dolphins get their quarterback in free agency, with either Matt Flynn or Peyton Manning coming to town, and that makes right offensive tackle the biggest necessity in the first round. Miami would be landing the second-highest rated tackle behind USC's Kalil, and NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said Reiff is even more pro-ready than Iowa tackle/Green Bay first-round pick Bryan Bulaga was two years ago. Reiff could handle the left tackle slot at some point in the NFL, but with Jake Long already in Miami, the Fish's need is on the right side.
10 DE Quinton Coples North Carolina Sr. 6-6 285
Again, the knock on Coples is that his dominant week at the Senior Bowl didn't match what scouts saw from him all season long on tape. But he has supreme athletic skills and the potential to develop into the best pure pass rusher in this year's draft, and that means someone is going to talk themselves into selecting him in the top 10. The Bills are one of several teams in this neck of the first round desperate for more pass pressure, so Coples and Buffalo seem like a marriage that's just waiting to happen.
11 OT Jonathan Martin Stanford Sr. 6-6 304
The Chiefs have to upgrade at right offensive tackle, and Martin is the most obvious direction to head with both Kalil and Reiff already gone. An inside linebacker like Boston College's Luke Kuechly or a defensive tackle like Memphis' Dontari Poe would fill other areas of need with players who will wind up with grades in the top 15-20 range.
12 QB Ryan Tannehill Texas A&M Sr. 6-4 222
An immediate disclaimer to hopefully ward off frantic calls from Seattle radio stations: I don't know for a fact that Pete Carroll is high on Tannehill, but I do know the Seahawks have to find competition for Tarvaris Jackson in the first or second round (barring a big signing in free agency), and more NFL scouts all the time tell me that Tannehill will end up in the first round before this thing is done. I'm connecting dots here, folks.
13 LB Courtney Upshaw Alabama Sr. 6-2 265
You hear the LaMarr Woodley comparisons a bit with Upshaw, and that has to sound enticing to Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, the ex-Steelers assistant. Arizona has both of its outside linebackers, Clark Haggans and Joey Porter, as potential free agents, and Upshaw is considered the top-rated 3-4 rush linebacker in the draft.
14 CB Stephon Gilmore South Carolina Jr. 6-1 193
This may look a bit high for Gilmore at the moment, but he's a slightly off-the-radar junior who some believe is going to fly up teams' draft boards once they see him work out at the Combine. He's got good size, plenty of speed, tackles well and plays strong press coverage. He also doesn't have the character issues that plague North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins, the ex-Gator who's got a bevy of red flags attached to his resume.
15 LB Luke Kuechly Boston College Jr. 6-3 237
This should be the perfect first-round melding of team need and draft slot value for the Eagles, because one of their glaring deficiences for a while now has been for a player who possesses Keuchly's skill set. He's a smart and instinct tackler who has the ability to read and react and find the ballcarrier. He's a tough player and a natural leader, and he should fit perfectly in the hard-nosed NFC East.
16 DE Melvin Ingram South Carolina Sr. 6-2 276
The Jets could really use Stanford guard David DeCastro, and Alabama safety Mark Barron would fill another position of need. But they couldn't afford to pass on Ingram, who some consider the draft's top-rated defensive end, ahead of the riskier Quinton Coples of North Carolina. Ingram might wind up at outside linebacker in the NFL, but he'd improve the New York pass rush wherever he'd line up.
17 G David DeCastro Stanford Sr. 6-5 310
(From Oakland) The Bengals have two picks in the span of five slots (17th and 21st), so logic tells you they will take the highest-rated remaining player who fills a need. That's DeCastro, the draft's best interior lineman prospect and one of the guys who kept Andrew Luck well-protected the past three years.
18 WR Kendall Wright Baylor Sr. 5-10 190
RG3's favorite target would help fill the expected void created by Vincent Jackson's departure in free agency. Wright has speed and playmaking ability and he's more explosive than available Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd.
19 WR Michael Floyd Notre Dame Sr. 6-3 224
The Roy Williams acquisition didn't work out last year, so the Bears still need a big, strong, go-to receiver for Jay Cutler to find five or six times a game. Floyd is a physical pass-catcher who can get hot and take over games. If he runs better than expected in Indy, his stock might even climb into the first half of the round.
20 DT Dontari Poe Memphis Sr. 6-5 350
If there will be a consensus choice to come out of the Combine riding a wave of first-round upward mobility, it'll be Poe, a 6-5, 350-pound freakishly good athlete who has no business moving around as well as he does for a guy his size. When the Titans study him, they're going to see a young, playmaking Albert Haynesworth, without the attitude and poor work ethic.
21 CB Janoris Jenkins North Alabama Sr. 5-10 191
As we've noted above, Jenkins has first-round talent, but his character issues will take him out of play for some teams. The Bengals don't usually shy away from players with off-field baggage, or they wouldn't have ever given Pacman Jones and Terrell Owens a shot to wear the tiger stripes. Cincinnati needs help at cornerback, and that might carry the day for the ex-Gator turned North Alabama standout.
22 OL Cordy Glenn Georgia Sr. 6-5 348
(Projected trade with Cleveland, via Atlanta) With the underachieving Jason Smith a good bet to become a salary cap casualty any day now, the Rams could stand to identify a potential starting right tackle with the No. 22 pick they will get in the projected RG3 trade with Cleveland. Ohio State tackle Mike Adams remains available in this scenario, but he does come with off-field baggage that could impact his standing this spring. Here's a long-shot name to file away: Ole Miss tackle Bobby Massie.
23 OT Mike Adams Ohio State Sr. 6-8 320
The Lions have to get younger and more talented on the offensive line, because age and ineffectivness really started showing at times in 2011. Left tackle Jeff Backus and center Dominic Raiola are both in need of a heir apparent, and that should put Detroit in the position of seriously considering a pair of Big Ten linemen, either Adams or Wisconsin center Peter Konz.
24 DT Devon Still Penn State Sr. 6-5 310
The need in the Steelers' defensive line outweighs all other issues this offseason, with nose tackle Casey Hampton coming off a third ACL surgery, Chris Hoke retiring and Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel dealing with age and health issues. Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy has the higher upside, but Still is a solid and steady player who should contribute early for the Steelers.
25 DT Jerel Worthy Michigan State Jr. 6-3 310
The Broncos should have their choice of several interior defensive linemen who represent immediate upgrades: Worthy, Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox, or Washington's Alameda Ta'amu. Worthy, a playmaking junior who is rapidly gaining fans in the NFL, is, well, worthy at No. 25.
26 WR Rueben Randle LSU Jr. 6-4 208
The Texans were exposed as painfully thin at receiver once Andre Johnson suffered his hamstring injuries last season, and the bottom of the first round is a good slot to get an underrated prospect in this year's receiving class. Randle might need a year to develop, but his blend of size, speed and ability to come down with the ball make him worth the investment.
27 DT Fletcher Cox Mississippi State Jr. 6-4 295
(From New Orleans) The Patriots desperately need more pass rush, so Illinois DE-OLB Whitney Mercilus could very well intrigue them enough to be the pick. But Cox is the safer choice as a versatile, three-down lineman who would likely represent great value at No. 27.
28 C Peter Konz Wisconsin Jr. 6-5 315
Why do the Packers seem willing to hold their ground in contract talks with center Scott Wells, even if it means letting him walk away in free agency? Maybe because they've got the highly-regarded Konz in their backyard, perhaps ready to slide right into the lineup? If Konz is still on the board, Green Bay would look plenty shrewd for cutting ties with Wells.
29 S Mark Barron Alabama Sr. 6-2 218
Given Matt Birk's possible retirement, the Ravens might have jumped all over Konz if he were still available, but Barron is no mere consolation prize for Baltimore. In the AFC, you've got to get past New England, and that means matching up with their two playmaking tight ends. Baltimore can afford to wait on Barron's recent hernia surgery to heal, knowing it has one of this draft's top 25 prospects.
30 WR Mohamed Sanu Rutgers Jr. 6-2 215
Some scouts don't see enough "suddeness" and ability to separate from Sanu, but he was quick enough to play some Wildcat quarterback in 2009-2010 for the Scarlet Knights, and he was a pass-catching, chains-moving receiver for Rutgers last year, rolling up a whopping 115 receptions. The 49ers are desperate for playmakers in their passing game, and Sanu is a reliable and big-bodied target who knows how to catch the ball in traffic.
31 LB Dont'a Hightower Alabama Jr. 6-4 269
With the Patriots taking Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox at No. 27, they can address another front-seven need with Hightower, a Nick Saban-coached prospect who has the versatility to play inside or outside linebacker. And we all know how Bill Belichick feels about versatility.
32 TE Coby Fleener Stanford Sr. 6-6 244
As much as the Giants could use help at right offensive tackle or even take another pass-rushing prodigy like Illinois DE-OLB Whitney Mercilus, the reality is New York lost two-thirds of its tight end contingent to ACL injuries in the Super Bowl, with both Travis Beckum and Jake Ballard going down. That puts top-rated tight ends like Fleener and Clemson's Dwayne Allen -- both of whom are strong pass-catchers -- on New York's radar screen at No. 32.

02-22-2012, 02:36 PM
I'd be perfectly fine with that pick...

02-23-2012, 11:35 AM
I'd be perfectly fine with that pick...

me too .... :chickendance:

02-23-2012, 11:40 AM
Me 3.

02-23-2012, 04:07 PM
I'd be perfectly fine with that pick...

me too .... :chickendance:

Me 3.

OK, I'm in. :D

No, seriously, I like this pick.

02-24-2012, 12:47 AM
That pick works for me also. In fact it more than works. I would be really fired up to get Randle.

02-24-2012, 06:16 AM
im in that group that got really scared of him since that now infamous national championship.

it will be interesting to see his combine and i should probably watch some more footage of him though

02-24-2012, 07:13 AM
I'd rather have every pick taken after Randle.

03-23-2012, 06:52 PM
Updated today: (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/don_banks/03/23/2012.mock.draft.3/index.html?xid=si_nfl)

1 QB Andrew Luck Stanford Jr. 6-4 235
As head-turning as Baylor's Robert Griffin III has been at the combine and on his pro day, I haven't heard anything from the Colts to make me believe they're wavering on their intent to take Luck. With Peyton Manning a Bronco, and Indy's purge of veterans complete, all that remains is the formality of handing in the card on draft night, and making official the very fitting marriage between The Horseshoe and a QB named Luck.

2 QB Robert Griffin III Baylor Jr. 6-2 220
At least I don't have to project a trade for Griffin at No. 2 for the third consecutive mock, because the Redskins beat the Browns to the punch and got the blockbuster deal done two weeks ago. Sure, Washington gave up a ton, but if Griffin is one of the league's next superstar quarterbacks as many believe (me included), it'll be worth the price paid. I still say it's Cleveland that will be sorry in the long run.

3 OT Matt Kalil USC Jr. 6-7 295
For now I'm not buying the notion the Vikings are moving away from Kalil and toward either LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne or Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon. Not that they're unworthy picks at No. 3, but Kalil is also worthy, and the value/need of the Vikings' left tackle position is at least as high, if not higher, than it is at cornerback or receiver. After watching the Rams hit the jackpot at No. 2, sounds to me like Minnesota wants to see if anyone is interested in giving up a boatload to trade up to No. 3 for one of the draft's elite talents or possibly No. 3 quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

4 WR Justin Blackmon Oklahoma State Jr. 6-1 215
The Browns have a lot of different options sitting in the spot where this draft starts to get interesting, but I don't sense they're in love with any of them. They seem to think it's too high to take Tannehill, and are going to hew back to Colt McCoy as the answer at quarterback. Claiborne would make sense here, but how do you go defense with your first-round pick when you've got a crying need for an offensive playmaker who can help out McCoy's game? Alabama running back Trent Richardson seems to be the popular choice here, and he could be their guy. But I'm going with Blackmon on the logic that there have been more top-10 impact receivers of late than running backs. Because of that, Richardson could fall into the teens.

5 CB Morris Claiborne LSU Jr. 6-0 185
Even with Ronde Barber back for another year and Eric Wright signed in free agency, the Bucs should be thrilled to find Claiborne sitting there as a starting fixture at cornerback. The Vincent Jackson acquisition probably removes the need for Blackmon, and Richardson to me is going to be a top-10 bubble pick come late April. One of the few givens in this draft is that Claiborne is the top-rated defender available, and that likely won't change even with Thursday's news that he will undergo wrist surgery this week.

6 DT Dontari Poe Memphis Sr. 6-5 350
The Rams' fervent hope is that Blackmon falls to them, but in this scenario their luck will have run out for the first time this draft season. St. Louis will rebound by selecting the fast-rising Poe, whose freakish blend of size, speed and athleticism was one of the big stories coming out of the combine. New Rams head coach Jeff Fisher will have found himself a younger and more athletic version of Albert Haynesworth to put in the middle of his defense.

7 DE Melvin Ingram South Carolina Sr. 6-2 276
The Jaguars are very open to the idea of trading down with a team that might want to leap-frog No. 8 Miami in order to draft Ryan Tannehill, but the list of potential suitors has dwindled as the game of quarterback musical chairs has wound down in the first 10 days of free agency. Iowa offensive tackle Reilly Rieff is an option, as is Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd. But Ingram seems like the kind of consistent and powerful defender that Jaguars GM Gene Smith looks for, and the team's pass rush needs significant help.

8 QB Ryan Tannehill Texas A&M Sr. 6-4 222
The Dolphins have had a reverse Midas Touch of late, scaring away almost all of the big fish they pursue. But unless Miami is prepared to play the season with either Matt Moore or David Garrard at quarterback, Tannehill looks like a solid roll of the dice. His relationship with new Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman from their Texas A&M days should mean he's a known quantity, but then, we thought that about Matt Flynn and Joe Philbin, too. The good news for the Dolphins if they take Tannehill? He really can't say no to them.

9 DE Michael Brockers LSU Soph. 6-6 306
The Panthers' need on the defensive line dovetails nicely with the strength of this year's first round. Carolina could take a chance on homestate product Quinton Coples, the pass-rushing North Carolina defensive end, but the surer bet would be Brockers, who has the size to help stuff the run and the athleticism to penetrate and become a disruptive play-maker.

10 OT Riley Reiff Iowa Jr. 6-6 300
It's amazing how much good $140 million or so can do at the defensive end position. But with Mario Williams and Mark Anderson newly signed, the Bills can look to fill other needs at No. 10. Offensive left tackle is a glaring deficiency, and either Reiff or Stanford's Jonathan Martin should be there for the taking. Reiff is not this high on the draft board of some teams, and could fall in the first round. If the Bills want to continue to focus on defense, Alabama outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw would add some edge rush ability.

11 LB Luke Kuechly Boston College Jr. 6-3 237
With Eric Winston signed during free agency, the Chiefs' top priority of finding a new starter at right offensive tackle has been addressed. That shifts the first-round spotlight on either inside linebacker, or the nose tackle slot. With Dontari Poe and Michael Brockers already selected, we're putting the Chiefs and Kuechly together, with the knowledge that K.C. general manager Scott Pioli was never known to over-value inside linebackers in the draft.

12 OG David DeCastro Stanford Sr. 6-5 310
The Seahawks are out of the quarterback market in the draft, having signed free agent veteran Matt Flynn on Sunday night. With Robert Gallery released and Steve Hutchinson signing in Tennessee, DeCastro has emerged as an obvious candidate for the No. 12 slot. He's the kind of tough, physical player that Seattle line coach Tom Cable prefers, and as the top-rated guard prospect, he's a nice melding of value and draft slot.

13 RB Trent Richardson Alabama Jr. 5-11 224
(Projected trade with Cardinals). Even with this week's signing of BenJarvus Green-Ellis, I can't rule out Cincinnati as a likely destination for Richardson, the draft's top rusher. The Bengals want to go to a three-headed backfield under OC Jay Gruden, and if Richardson gets out of the top 10 as I expect, Cincinnati (at No. 17 and 21) is one of the best-positioned teams to make a move for him. The Bengals' cornerback need could still get attention at No. 21.

14 DE Quinton Coples North Carolina Sr. 6-6 285
Even with the Brandon Carr signing in free agency, the Cowboys could opt for another cornerback like Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick, South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore or North Alabama's Janoris Jenkins. But as a potential top-10 pick in the eyes of many draft analysts, Coples is simply too high to pass on. His inconsistency aside, Coples has pass rush skills, and you can't find those in the middle of the first round.

15 DT Fletcher Cox Mississippi State Jr. 6-4 295
The DeMeco Ryans trade means the Eagles have their 2012 starting middle linebacker already on their roster. That frees up Philly to look at several positions in the first round, defensive tackle, offensive tackle and safety among them. Cox is the draft's third-rated DT, and while the position isn't an urgent need, you know how Andy Reid loves his big guys up front.

16 WR Michael Floyd Notre Dame Sr. 6-3 224
The Jets and Alabama safety Mark Barron are a pairing you hear a lot, and even with New York's signing of free agent safety LaRon Landry, you can't discount Barron. But we know how the Jets love to make a splash with their skill-player acquisitions, and Floyd is rated just slightly behind Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon in the estimation of many scouts.

17 OT Cordy Glenn Georgia Sr. 6-6 346
(Projected trade with Bengals; from Oakland). As a reminder, we're projecting the Bengals and Cardinals trade places at No. 17 and 13, with the Cardinals picking up an extra draft pick or so (a second?) in exchange for letting Cincy go up and get Trent Richardson. At 17, the Cardinals could still fill their need for an offensive tackle with Glenn or Stanford's Jonathan Martin, or turn their attention to defense and take Alabama 3-4 rush linebacker Courtney Upshaw. But the 6-6, 346-pound Glenn is climbing as the draft approaches, and his blend of size and speed is intriguing, even if Arizona did re-sign veteran tackle Levi Brown.

18 DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw Alabama Sr. 6-2 265
The Chargers could go a lot of different ways, but in this scenario they would see a highly ranked player who fills a position of great need fall to them, prompting general manager A.J. Smith to wear that cat-ate-the-canary look of his. Illinois DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus and Clemson OLB Andre Branch are options if Upshaw's lack of ideal athleticism is worrisome to the Chargers, or if they think he projects more as a 4-3 base end in the NFL.

19 DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus Illinois Jr. 6-4 254
With the Brandon Marshall trade getting Jay Cutler the requisite No. 1 receiver, the Bears can take whomever catches their fancy. A cornerback like Stephon Gilmore makes sense, or maybe another offensive tackle for new coordinator Mike Tice to plug into the lineup (Jonathan Martin or Mike Adams?). But Chicago could also use some pass rush help for Julius Peppers, and Whitney, the one-year wonder who starred for the homestate Illini last season, might be hard to resist.

20 CB Stephon Gilmore South Carolina Jr. 6-1 193
The Titans are hopeful the free agent signing of ex-Raiders outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, who will play a 4-3 end slot in Tennessee, addresses some of their pass rush deficiences. While another pass rusher like USC defensive end Nick Perry is a possibility, as is Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy, Gilmore is a big and aggressive cornerback who excels in press coverage and would help offset the loss of Cortland Finnegan via free agency.

21 CB Dre Kirkpatrick Alabama Jr. 6-3 192
I don't know how Bengals fans could be anything but ecstatic with the team's first-round haul for the second year in a row if it nabs both Trent Richardson and Kirkpatrick, thereby addressing major needs on both sides of the ball. Many analysts have Kirkpatrick as the draft's second-highest rated cornerback overall, but I think South Carolina's Gilmore runs him down and passes him up by late April.

22 OT Jonathan Martin Stanford Sr. 6-6 304
(From Atlanta). With Blackmon our pick for the Browns at No. 4, the team could use its No. 22 selection to get Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden, or roll the dice at cornerback on the gifted but baggage-strewn Janoris Jenkins. But either Martin or Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams figures to be the safer pick, and would give Cleveland a replacement for recently released right tackle Tony Pashos.

23 CB Janoris Jenkins North Alabama Sr. 5-10 191
My gut tells me Jim Schwartz believes he now has enough capital in the bank and enough of a handle on his locker room to take a chance on Jenkins, who comes with as many red flags as anyone in consideration for a first-round selection. It's worth remembering Schwartz once coached Pacman Jones in Tennessee, and believed in him before things spiraled out of control in Nashville. The Lions' need at cornerback is obvious after the loss of Eric Wright in free agency.

24 OT Mike Adams Ohio State Sr. 6-8 320
After the offensive line issues the Steelers have suffered through the past two seasons, Adams would seem a godsend at No. 24. He's too inconsistent for some teams, but the Steelers like his build and the way he stood out against better competition. If Pittsburgh goes defensive tackle, Michigan State's Jerel Worthy and Penn State's Devon Still are available.

25 TE Coby Fleener Stanford Sr. 6-6 244
The Broncos landed themselves a starting quarterback in free agency, and I bet it would make him happy to get a young, play-making weapon like Fleener in the first round. Fleener further impressed NFL scouts with a stellar pro day showing this week, and he has emerged as the draft's clear-cut top tight end prospect.

03-23-2012, 06:53 PM
26 WR Kendall Wright Baylor Sr. 5-10 190
Robert Griffin's favorite target helped himself considerably by running in the 4.4s at the Bears' pro day this week, far better than his 4.61 at the combine. The Texans could use a right tackle to replace the released Eric Winston, but most of the first-round tackles are gone and Wright is the kind of playmaker Houston needs opposite Andre Johnson.

27 LB Dont'a Hightower Alabama Jr. 6-4 269
(From New Orleans). Hightower is a versatile and instinctive player who seems ready-made for the New England defense, and we know Bill Belichick and Nick Saban look for the same kind of players and trust each other's judgment.

28 DE/OLB Andre Branch Clemson Jr. 6-5 260
With the Packers losing center Scott Wells to St. Louis, Wisconsin center Peter Konz still has to be on Green Bay's radar screen in this slot. But I would imagine the Packers think finding a play-making 3-4 outside linebacker prospect is more difficult than replacing Wells.

29 S Mark Barron Alabama Sr. 6-2 218
The Ravens could jump on Konz given Matt Birk's advanced years and Ben Grubbs' departure to New Orleans, but I can't imagine they'd think twice if Barron falls all the way to No. 29. The loss of safety Tom Zbikowski to the Colts in free agency only makes the case for Barron even stronger.

30 WR Stephen Hill Georgia Tech Jr. 6-4 215
The signing of both Randy Moss and Mario Manningham means the 49ers are no longer desperate at receiver, but imagine if they could land a blazer of a deep threat like Hill, whose 4.3 at the combine made everyone sit up and take notice. Alex Smith got over his hurt feelings and re-signed in San Francisco because he knew what was good for him.

31 DT Jerel Worthy Michigan State Jr. 6-3 310
With the Patriots taking Alabama inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower at No. 27, they can fill another front-seven need with Worthy, one of the many defensive tackles with first-round grades. Worthy could play in the Patriots' D-line rotation initially and perhaps develop into Vince Wilfork's successor down the road a bit.

32 OT Bobby Massie Ole Miss Jr. 6-6 316
Well why not get Eli Manning a potential starter at right tackle who also happens to be a fellow former Rebel? Massie is right on the verge of a first-round grade, and at 6-6, 316 pounds, he has outstanding size and reach by NFL standards. If the Giants surprise us and go running back, Miami's Lamar Miller and Boise State's Doug Martin are the names to keep an eye on.

(1.Colts2.Rams3.Vikings4.Browns5.Buccaneers6.Redsk ins7.Jaguars8.Dolphins
9.Panthers10.Bills11.Chiefs12.Seahawks13.Cardinals 14.Cowboys15.Eagles16.Jets
17.Bengals18.Chargers19.Bears20.Titans21.Bengals22 .Browns23.Lions24.Steelers
25.Broncos26.Texans27.Patriots28.Packers29.Ravens3 0.49ers31.Patriots32.Giants)

03-24-2012, 04:14 PM
If it fell this way I would rather take

27 LB Dont'a Hightower Alabama Jr. 6-4 269
Hightower is a versatile and instinctive player who seems ready-made to replace Ryan's in the Texan's defense. He could also factor in the rotation at OLB in pass rush situations.

31 DT Jerel Worthy Michigan State Jr. 6-3 310
Worthy could play in the Texan's D-line rotation initially and develop into Cody's successor sooner than people think. Some miss informed people here think he doesn't fit our 3/4 scheme. That couldn't be further from the truth. He is the best penetrating DT in this draft.

03-24-2012, 04:27 PM
If it fell this way I would rather take

27 LB Dont'a Hightower Alabama Jr. 6-4 269
Hightower is a versatile and instinctive player who seems ready-made to replace Ryan's in the Texan's defense. He could also factor in the rotation at OLB in pass rush situations.

31 DT Jerel Worthy Michigan State Jr. 6-3 310
Worthy could play in the Texan's D-line rotation initially and develop into Cody's successor sooner than people think. Some miss informed people here think he doesn't fit our 3/4 scheme. That couldn't be further from the truth. He is the best penetrating DT in this draft.

Agree about Hightower. As for Worthy, I wouldn't label him the best penetrator but he is certainly up there. Most of the people who don't think he fits into our defense do so because they look at his weight and instantly presume he can't play NT because he doesn't weigh 340.

03-25-2012, 03:10 AM
Agree about Hightower. As for Worthy, I wouldn't label him the best penetrator but he is certainly up there. Most of the people who don't think he fits into our defense do so because they look at his weight and instantly presume he can't play NT because he doesn't weigh 340.

Bet you can't name one DT that is a better penetrator. :mariopalm: Its his strongest attribute and why I want him so bad. :mariopalm::mariopalm:He has the ability to shoot gaps and cause all kinds of problems for offensive lines. Cody is serviceable but he doesn't cause breakdowns in OL like Worthy is capable of. He just doesn't have that ability.

You put a disruptive player in between Smith and Watt and OL's and QB's will be having nightmares.

03-25-2012, 03:11 PM
If you're talking purely about potential NT's then no, you're right.

As far as DT's in this draft though I think Fletcher Cox and Derek Wolfe are both better penetrators. Mike Martin is also just as disruptive as Worthy, IMO, but I wouldn't play him at NT. More of a 5' tech.

04-04-2012, 02:31 PM
Updated again: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/don_banks/04/04/nfl.mock.draft.4/index.html?xid=si_nfl

26. Texans -- WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech Jr. 6-4 215

With Baylor's Kendall Wright still available, it might be a bit unpopular in Texas for Houston to bypass the ex-Bear in favor of Hill. But the Texans need a receiver who can take the top off a defense, and that's Hill's game. He had limited production in Georgia Tech's offense, but Hill averaged more than 29 yards per catch last season. That will work.