Join Date: Jan 2010
Section: Fort Kickass
Re: kipers new mock
Nothing special, he has the Texans taking Wright. Big one that stood out to me was Lavonte David @22 to the Browns. That guy isn't a first rounder.
* Matt Kalil, OT, USC
This is one I'm going to stick with. I've liked the pick since the first mock, and I don't see a reason to change. Minnesota needs an upgrade at left tackle, and Kalil is the rare one who could step into that position right away at the NFL level. There's a lot of talk about which quarterback will go where right now, but this pick is about keeping Christian Ponder upright for the Vikings. They won't know what they have unless they can block for him. And it's obvious this will help the running game, too.
* Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.
Cleveland won't get RG3, but I think Blackmon will be there at this spot, and they'll get a big-time talent and something their offense desperately needs. The obvious question is what they'll do at QB, but I think they could be active in free agency in that regard. Blackmon's pro day was a success, and he quieted some questions about his speed. He'll be a great fit in the offense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
* Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
This is one more I'm sticking with. Richardson could land here despite the presence of LaGarrette Blount, and depending on how his workouts go, I can see a team trading into this position to take him. Great running teams need more than one good back, and Richardson is superior to Blount. Further, if the Bucs are going with a best player available at this spot, Richardson fits the bill. I can also see the Bucs taking a close look at cornerbacks, which brings the next guy on the board into play, but I like Richardson here until I get a clear signal they're going another direction.
St. Louis Rams (from Washington)
* Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
St. Louis may not be done. I can see them moving down again, as they have multiple needs and may not be in love with the value of this pick if Blackmon isn't on the board. However, if they remain at this spot, Claiborne makes a lot of sense. The Rams' secondary was a disaster last year, and they have a chance to take the top cornerback in the draft if things break this way. I can also see them going for either offensive line or defensive tackle help at this spot.
Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Coples wasn't quite as dominant as I thought he'd be during the 2011 season, but the draft process has reinforced what a lot of front office folks believed, which is that he's clearly the top 4-3 defensive end in the draft. The Jags need pass-catchers, but if Blackmon isn't available, Coples fits. Jacksonville sacked opposing quarterbacks fewer than two times a game in 2011, and Coples is a great fit for the scheme. He has great length at 6-foot-6, and the size to hold up in the run game, complementing his pass-rush skills. Jacksonville is another team that simply needs to upgrade its talent level, so the Jaguars shouldn't reach based on need.
Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
The Dolphins will be adding a quarterback -- Manning is obviously in play -- and Reiff puts the finishing touches on an improved offensive line. Reiff was exceptional this past season, and given how complete he is right now, stepping in immediately on the right side shouldn't be a problem. I've said that outside linebacker would make sense here, but Miami knows offensive line play will be a big part of their success in 2012, regardless of who takes the snaps. They went O-line in Round 1 last year with good results, and doubling down wouldn't hurt them.
* Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
The Carolina defense couldn't stop the run last year and had to rotate a pair of rookies on the defensive interior. The offense could use a couple pieces, but they'll be able to score points. Carolina needs to find some stops. Poe was the story of the combine on the defensive side of the ball. He posted numbers for a big man we haven't seen since Haloti Ngata, and if his technique matches the physical traits, he can be a really good one. His size will get him pegged for a 3-4, but I like him better in a 4-3.
Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Ingram's stock is on the rise, and the Bills need a pass-rusher. He's billed as a defensive end based on the system at South Carolina, but Buffalo can use him in their personnel groupings and not limit what he does best. He's a pass-rusher, but isn't a guy that becomes a liability against the run. I think there is still growth in Ingram's game, as he learns to better disengage from blocks. With Steve Johnson back in the fold, the Bills should put their focus on defense early.
Kansas City Chiefs
* Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Kuechly came to Indy with concerns about his size. But he weighed in at over 240 pounds, easing some of those concerns, and then shined in workouts, proving the added bulk won't slow him down; a classic case where a guy answers the big questions and solidifies his stock. Romeo Crennel needs linebackers with great instincts who can be physical in the run game, make stops and also get into the backfield when asked. Kuechly is simply a machine, a prototype for what you want in an interior linebacker. I can see the Chiefs looking for a nose tackle, so if Poe is around, that pick makes sense as well.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
There's no question that Tannehill's stock was helped when a couple of other QBs opted to stay in college, but his growth curve has been exceptional, and he's a guy you draft with a very high ceiling in mind. Good arm, the athleticism you'd expect from a former wide receiver and with very good instincts for the position, some team will take him in the upper half of Round 1. We know Seattle isn't set on a long-term solution at QB, and Tannehill makes sense as a guy that gets a full year of developmental time.
Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Offensive line would be the more obvious pick here, but I want to see what the Cardinals do in free agency first. Floyd would be a great complement to Larry Fitzgerald in that offense, and give the Cardinals an enviable pair of guys that can work underneath, go deep and also post up smaller defensive backs in the red zone. Outside of the offensive line, Floyd is as much as you could do to help a quarterback.
Mark Barron, S, Alabama
We all know the story. Dallas was a mess defending the pass in 2011, and it might look for help both in free agency and here. Barron's a perfect fit for the Cowboys. He's the best safety in the draft, and the Cowboys can't go wrong with either the top safety or the top cornerback here. He didn't work out in Indianapolis, coming off double hernia surgery, but it's not a lingering concern.
* Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
No team was softer up the middle than Philly in 2011, and in Brockers the Eagles get a big, active player who can both take up blocks and penetrate. He weighed in at 322 pounds at the NFL combine, heavier than I've ever had him listed, but I don't see him as a prototype 3-4 nose tackle. My guess is he'll play a little lighter once he gets into camp, and the Eagles will benefit, particularly against the run. This is like a baseball team -- they need to build out the middle of the field on defense. If Kuechly is here, that makes sense as well.
New York Jets
Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
Rex Ryan needs a guy that can get to the quarterback on his own, meaning without a blitz package, and Upshaw is that kind of player. He plays with a high motor, sheds blocks well with quickness and violent hands and makes plenty of sense in Ryan's system. He's also bigger than he was listed at Alabama. The Jets could also grab Barron if he's on the board, or get a defensive lineman if they see a fit.
Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland)
* Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Johnathan Joseph left a void last year when he landed in Houston as a free agent, and Kirkpatrick will fill the void. This is a big, physical corner who doesn't give up much in coverage given his size (nearly 6-3), which makes him particularly good inside the red zone. He's also tough against the run. I have the Bengals as a team who could trade up for Richardson if he starts to fall on the board, but if they don't, Kirkpatrick offers immediate help.
San Diego Chargers
Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
The book on Mercilus is he's an athletic, long-armed pass-rush specialist who simply dominated as a senior. The track record over a few seasons isn't there, but he could be a steal if what we saw in 2011 is what Mercilus truly is. The Chargers need help on the offensive line, but I think free agency will help us get a clearer picture. Mercilus is a great value here, but we'll see how the needs shift.
Mike Adams, OT, Ohio St.
It looks like the Bears will be really aggressive in targeting wide receivers in free agency, and the offensive line still has to be better. Mike Tice knows as well as anybody that Jay Cutler can be successful in the passing game first if he's not getting hit on every play. Adams wasn't a star in terms of testing, but he's really good in pass protection, and the Bears could use more of that trait along the line. He moves his feet and doesn't get beat inside, but he has the length and technique to protect the edge.
* David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
The Titans also need pass-rush help, but if things break this way, DeCastro represents tremendous value, and that offensive line could use the help after a year where the running game totally fell apart. DeCastro is the kind of player you can draft who won't get big headlines, but will pay immediate dividends because they can plug him in Week 1. Obviously, if a pass-rusher they like falls to No. 20, they could go that direction.
Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
I have guard as one of the top needs for the Bengals, and if they don't get DeCastro at this spot, Glenn isn't much of a drop. Cincinnati will have added help in the run game next year, but it also needs to get better up front. Glenn is a guy who has also spent time at tackle, and could be moved there in a pinch, but he dominates on the inside and is surprisingly quick given his huge frame. Another good piece in an offense primed to get better.
Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta)
Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska
This is a bit of a gut call for me. I'm not sure exactly how teams will use David, but the guy can flat-out play. The question on David was size, but he checked in at 233 pounds last week, and didn't appear to lose a step in the workout phase, which made me rethink my second-round grade. David played smaller at Nebraska, but you won't find a guy that simply flew all over the field the way David did anywhere in the draft. Cleveland needs help in several spots, but David will be productive.
* Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
Detroit could get into the mix for a cornerback during free agency -- Cortland Finnegan is a name that has come up often -- but I'd still be shocked if the Lions go two rounds without adding a corner. They have plenty of talent up front, and they need to turn their pass rush into more interceptions. Gilmore is a bigger corner, a guy that can handle big wide receivers, but he also doesn't lose much in terms of quickness. I can also see the Lions going O-line or linebacker here, but corner is a big need.
Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
As part of their purge to get in good standing with the salary cap, the Steelers had to cut veteran James Farrior. While they have some young talent at linebacker, given the way their system works, I think they'll want to find Dick LeBeau another player that can help early. Hightower was an exceptional young player for Bama before he lost a year with an ACL injury, but he recovered this year and might have plenty of growth left. The Steelers have new needs, and Hightower fills one.
* Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi St.
Denver has the pass rush on the edge but must add more depth on the inside, because despite the flashes this defense had last year, overall the Broncos profile as a team that has some holes on that side of the field. Cox is an active guy, a penetrator who will be a great fit in the Denver system, and can help them get some inside push. Cornerback is also a concern, but we'll know more after free agency. If Tannehill is still on the board at this stage, it could make for a pretty interesting draft night.
* Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
When the Texans lost Andre Johnson last year, it completely eliminated their ability to stretch the field. That's a problem, because this is a system that thrives on regular use of play-action packages, and it loses a lot of juice if there's nobody around to challenge defenses deep. Wright can do that. His performance in Indy wasn't his best, but his tape shines -- you see a guy that plays fast in pads and beats people deep. His hands are also fine.
New England Patriots (from Saints)
Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut
I had Reyes to the Patriots with their other first-round pick in a previous mock, and he sticks, albeit a little higher, this time around. The Patriots know they have to get better along the defensive front, and that could come via free agency (Mario Williams?). Still, I'd be surprised if they don't target it in the draft, even though Bill Belichick never fails to make moves and surprise during the draft. Reyes provides an active run-stuffer up front, a guy that can eat up blocks and free up rushers.
Green Bay Packers
* Nick Perry, LB, USC
The Packers need help in the secondary, but a lot of that starts with the pass rush. It's not an exaggeration to say the Packers' pass rush fell off a cliff towards the end of last season. In Perry, you get a guy who played with his hand on the ground at USC, but should be able to stand up for the Packers and provide the complement they need.