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Peter King mock draft
1 Colts QB Andrew Luck Stanford Jr. 6-4 235
(Should pick: Andrew Luck). Tough duty ahead for Luck, who'll be fortunate in 2012 to win as many games as the Colts' last No. 1 overall, Peyton Manning, did as a rookie in 1998 (three). Indy has been stripped bare of stars (except for graybeards Reggie Wayne, 33, and Dwight Freeney, 32) and needs to be sure it doesn't overhype Luck's arrival. It'll be a long road back to the playoffs.
2 Redskins QB Robert Griffin III Baylor Jr. 6-2 220
(Should pick: Robert Griffin III). This way to the backseat, Stephen Strasburg and Alex Ovechkin and John Wall, there's a new sports phenom in Washington. If the electrifying Griffin is even 85% the QB that Cam Newton was as a rookie last year -- and he could well be -- the Skins will be reborn, and the only person in the nation's capital getting more press will be Barack Obama.
3 Vikings OT Matt Kalil USC Jr. 6-7 295
(Should pick: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU). I don't get it. I know the Vikes want to protect Christian Ponder from eternal damnation (and a boatload of sacks), but they have six games a year against Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford, who'll throw a combined 100 TD passes each season. Minnesota's secondary is horrible -- even worse than its offensive line. The Vikings don't need a corner. They need two.
4 Browns RB Trent Richardson Alabama Jr. 5-11 224
(Should pick: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State). That's right -- I wouldn't take quarterback Ryan Tannehill here. I'd take the guy who gives Cleveland's offense a chance to shape up for Colt McCoy or whoever the QB of the future is. (See pick No. 27.) Blackmon and Greg Little would give the Browns their first set of top-flight wide receivers since the franchise returned to the league in 1999.
5 Buccaneers CB Morris Claiborne LSU Jr. 6-0 185
(Should pick: Morris Claiborne). Ronde Barber is 37, and free agent corner Eric Wright is plenty leaky, so this is Tampa Bay's position of greatest long-term need. The Tigers trusted Claiborne on an island; as a pro he'll have to hold his own against NFC South gunslingers Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Matt Ryan if the Bucs are going to have a chance to be competitive.
6 Rams WR Justin Blackmon Oklahoma State Jr. 6-1 215
(Should pick: Justin Blackmon). Consider it a gift for quarterback Sam Bradford. The Rams love Trent Richardson (join the club), and the 6-foot-1, 207-pound Blackmon doesn't have the size they prefer: Calvin Johnson has him by four inches and 29 pounds. But St. Louis is woefully deficient at receiver, and Blackmon's ability to get open on quick slants and deep routes is beyond instinctive.
7 Jaguars CB Stephon Gilmore South Carolina Jr. 6-1 193
(Should pick: David DeCastro, G, Stanford). Like Tampa, Jacksonville has a major hole at cornerback, and I hear the Jags like Gilmore a ton, which would have to be the case for them to reach for him here. Still, I'd solve a position of need for the next 10 years with the second-best offensive lineman in the draft -- and a guy with the mean streak Jacksonville's O-line needs -- then take the corner in Round 2.
8 Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill Texas A&M Sr. 6-4 222
(Should pick: Ryan Tannehill). If you're going to trust the coach you hired (Joe Philbin) to energize the offense and the coordinator you hired (Mike Sherman, who coached Tannehill in college) to tutor the quarterback, you've got to pick the triggerman they want. But you can't panic by moving up to take Tannehill, because that would most likely cost at least a second-rounder. Not worth it.
9 Panthers DT Fletcher Cox Mississippi State Jr. 6-4 295
(Should pick: Fletcher Cox). Carolina G.M. Marty Hurney doesn't like risky choices this high in the draft, and coach Ron Rivera is desperate for a penetrating defensive tackle. Cox had 19 1/2 combined sacks and tackles for loss last season in the SEC, and I'm betting the Panthers view him as a safer selection, in terms of productivity and reliability, than combine phenom Dontari Poe.
10 Bills WR Michael Floyd Notre Dame Sr. 6-3 224
(Should pick: Mark Barron, S, Alabama). Buffalo will break the Cardinals' hearts by stealing Floyd to pair with Stevie Johnson and give quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick a true second weapon and bona fide deep threat. But I'd rather have the kind of enforcer in the secondary that so many teams covet. The 6-1, 213-pound Barron is a player whom multiple teams will try to trade up to get.
11 Chiefs LB Luke Kuechly Boston College Jr. 6-3 237
(Should pick: Luke Kuechly). The all-time leading tackler in both school and Atlantic Coast Conference history is the perfect player for Kansas City G.M. Scott Pioli: whistle-clean character, great instincts. Kuechly isn't overwhelmingly physical, though. I'd like Dontari Poe here if I were sure he could consistently deliver on the athletic promise he showed at the combine.
12 Seahawks DE/OLB Melvin Ingram South Carolina Sr. 6-2 276
(Should pick: Mark Barron, S, Alabama). One note: Seattle will take Ryan Tannehill if he's there at 12. Write it down. If he's not, Ingram is the kind of versatile rush guy Pete Carroll could use both outside and inside; he had 25 tackles behind the line in 2011. Barron? Even with the Seahawks' terrific secondary, his addition would mean Carroll could play three thumping safeties on every down but first.
13 Cardinals OG David DeCastro Stanford Sr. 6-5 310
(Should pick: David DeCastro). When offensive line coach Russ Grimm sees DeCastro, he sees a young Russ Grimm: nasty, efficient, mistake-free. And though I'm sure that the Cardinals would love to see Michael Floyd fall to them here, the best guard to come out in several years is a good consolation prize, especially for a team that's had nothing but trouble on the O-line.
14 Cowboys S Mark Barron Alabama Sr. 6-2 218
(Should pick: Mark Barron). I wouldn't be surprised to see Dallas trade up to make sure it gets Barron, perhaps with Kansas City at 11. The Cowboys have no identity in the secondary. No big-time players either. Barron would immediately boost a unit that's been beaten down -- and provide the kind of tackler at safety that the 'Boys haven't had since Darren Woodson.
15 Eagles DE Quinton Coples North Carolina Sr. 6-6 285
(Should pick: Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama). One coach used these words to me about Coples: "Gifted. Sporadic." We're getting to the part of the draft -- mid first round -- where beauty's in the eye of the beholder, and teams reach for pass rushers who often don't pan out. Philly D-line coach Jim Washburn is as demanding as they come, and Coples will have a chance to make the Eagles more formidable up front.
16 Jets DT Dontari Poe Memphis Sr. 6-5 350
(Should pick: Dontari Poe). Rex Ryan's gleeful. Deep down he knows Poe has a chance to be another Haloti Ngata, a freakishly talented interior force against the run and pass. But Poe isn't known for being freakishly productive -- five sacks in three years at Memphis -- and Ryan and coordinator Mike Pettine will have their work cut out to make him a top NFL starter.
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