Yes, it's that time again. With four weeks to go before the real thing, let's play make believe with Rook's latest mock draft. A few notes:
I stuck with three rounds. Frankly, as a Bucs fan, it's hard to be invested in a round where we'll be inactive- and mock drafts tend to break down long before that anyhow. No new trades- there are a ton of teams hungry to trade down but very few looking to trade up. Which means that whatever trades occur are likely to come because HQ prospects are falling on draft day- and it's nigh impossible to predict those scenarios. I did my best to draft for every team's needs, but I'm neither infallible nor omniscient. If I got your team needs wrong, a polite response is much likelier to be taken seriously than a response of "YUR AN EEDIOT HURRRRRRR'S WHYYYY". Try to keep it civil in the comments too.
As always, thoughts and comments are always welcome.
1. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
What's left to say? This is happening.
2. Washington Redskins (via St. Louis Rams)
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
So is this.
3. Minnesota Vikings
Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Smokescreens aside, this fits a need and is too tempting for Minnesota to pass up. One caveat: if they're offered enough (and it would have to be a lot), they'll trade down.
4. Cleveland Browns
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
There are several directions that Cleveland could go, but Richardson makes the most sense. He's good enough that he can help McCoy (or Wallace or a rookie) look better, and Cleveland needs to draft a RB badly. If the Browns unexpectedly land Matt Forte in a trade, this is subject to change. For now, it's their best option.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Guaranteed? No. But Claiborne makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons. After bolstering the offense in FA, the Bucs need to make some progress on defense via the draft- and Claiborne's arguably the best defensive player in this draft class. If a sweet enough trade is offered (both of the Bengals' first round picks, for example), the Bucs might trade down. But this seems like the likeliest scenario, especially if Richardson is already off the board.
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
The Rams need a #1 receiver badly, and Blackmon's the best available in this year's draft.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
The Jaguars are very difficult to predict- it seems like they do something unexpected every year. A pass-rushing defensive end would be another strong possibilty, but indications are that the Jacksonville front office is in love with Floyd.
8. Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
I'm not entirely sold on this pick- I'm of the school of thought that Tannehill is being overvalued. Still, there's no arguing that Miami needs to find it's future at QB- but that's been so for a few years now.
9. Carolina Panthers
Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
The Panthers still haven't replaced what they lost when Julius Peppers departed. Those are pretty large shoes to fill, but Carolina's already shown a lot of interest in Coples. Michael Brockers would be another strong possibility here.
10. Buffalo Bills
Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Demetrius Bell is testing the free agent market, so Buffalo will look to draft a long-term LT in Reiff (or, if they prefer him, Jonathan Martin).
11. Kansas City Chiefs
David DeCastro, G, Stanford
The rehabilitation of KC's line that began with Eric Winston continues with DeCastro.
12. Seattle Seahawks
Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Seattle needs to address its pass-rush, and Ingram is one of the top prospects available. Luke Kuechly would be another possibility, if David Hawthorne signs elsewhere.
13. Arizona Cardinals
Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Kevin Kolb may not be the long term answer in Arizona, but we'll never know unless he remains upright.
14. Dallas Cowboys
Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
With the top O-line prospects off the board and Carr added to address the secondary, Dallas may look to shore up the D-line.
15. Philadelphia Eagles
Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
Two NFC East teams in a row take two DTs in a row.
16. New York Jets
Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois
The Jets need help with their pass rush and Mercilus (what a name!) has the size and speed to be an excellent 3-4 OLB.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland Raiders)
Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
The Bengals could use a guard, but the bargain of nabbing Kuechly at #17 will probably prove too tempting.
18. San Diego Chargers
Cordy Glenn, OT/G
San Diego's O-line is in tatters, with guard Kris Dielman retired and left tackle Marcus McNeill released. Glenn is the kind of versatile lineman the Chargers could really use right now, capable of playing several positions including left tackle.
19. Chicago Bears
Courtney Upshaw, OLB/DE, Alabama
The Bears could use some help generating pass rush. Upshaw is an excellent needs/value pick for Chicago here.
20. Tennessee Titans
Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
The Titans' O-line was abysmal all last season. Drafting Konz would give Tennessee a top talent in the middle and would allow them to shift Eugene Amano to left guard, effectively upgrading both positions.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Kirkpatrick has tremendous talent and the Bengals need a replacement for the departed Jonathan Joseph.
22. Cleveland Browns (via Atlanta Falcons)
Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
All offense, all the time for Cleveland.
23. Detroit Lions
Janoris Jenkins, CB, Northern Alabama
The Lions need a better secondary if they want to reach the next level.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
With no guards or ILBs matching the value of their pick left on the board, I suspect the Steelers would look to draft Hampton's heir.
25. Denver Broncos
Devon Still, DT, Penn State
The Broncos need an interior force on their D-line and Still projects well to that role. Slim chance that they opt for Kendall Reyes instead, but I think Still has the edge.
26. Houston Texans
Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
Houston has to fill the gap left by Mario Williams, and Perry looks to be their best option on the board.
27. New England Patriots (via New Orleans Saints)
Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
New England needs to improve its pass rush.
28. Green Bay Packers
Brandon Thompson, DE/DT, Clemson
Green Bay likely will look to shore up their front seven and Thompson projects well as a 3-4 end.
29. Baltimore Ravens
Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
Much like Tannehill to the Dolphins, this pick reeks too much of copy-paste for my taste and I wouldn't be shocked to see Baltimore go in an entirely different direction. Still, it does seem to make sense.
30. San Francisco 49ers
Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
CB is arguably San Francisco's biggest need and Gilmore is a good value late in the first round- he could potentially be the 2nd CB off the board.
31. New England Patriots
Mark Barron, S, Alabama
New England gets two picks and, of course, they'll likely trade one of them away. But in case this is the year they actually use them both...Patrick Chung can't do it alone- look for New England to take a safety early in this draft.
32. New York Giants
Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
The Giants always go for BVA, which means they're always opportunistic and very difficult to predict. With Brandon Jacobs gone, I'm wagering they'll take their choice of the RBs not named Richardson before the second round begins- presuming there's no value pick waiting to be snapped up (see: Prince Amukamara).
33. St. Louis Rams
Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina
Another copy-paste pick lately. The Rams have too many needs to address in just one draft, but this one seems to fit.
34. Indianapolis Colts
Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
Garcon's departure means that Irsay has to find fresh tragets for his new QB. If Fleener's available, I think the chance to reunite the two would be too much to resist.
35. Minnesota Vikings
Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
The Vikings need a cornerback badly and I can't see them waiting another round- their odds are better for grabbing a decent WR in round 3 than they are for grabbing a decent CB. Dennard's draft stock has taken a bit of a dive lately, but he's arguably still the 5th best prospect at the position.
36. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska
Tampa Bay will be sorely, sorely tempted to take David Wilson under this scenario: but in the end, I think that the need for D will win out and the Bucs will opt to draft the thumping Cornhusker. David's a tackling machine with excellent speed. In 2011, as Nebraska's Will he notched 133 tackles, 2 INTs, 12 TFLs, 5.5 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. His draft stock has surged recently as teams have realized his playmaking potential. He's the kind of player who can serve as a fundamental building block as the Bucs try to restore the defense that made their name. I could be very wrong, and there's a strong argument for taking our pick from the remaining RBs here; but for now, I think this is the guy.
37. Cleveland Browns
Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
The Browns need help at both right tackle and left guard. Adams, the former Ohio State standout, would be an excellent match for their needs.
38. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins)
Kelechi Osemele, OT/G, Iowa State
Triage continues in St. Louis, where they grab the best remaining O-line prospect.
39. Jacksonville Jaguars
Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
The Jags' defense did well in 2011, despite their record, but they need some consistent pass rush.
40. Carolina Panthers
Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut
The Panthers need a consistent presence in the center of their D-line.
41. Buffalo Bills
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
The Bills are in desperate need of a receiver besides Steve Johnson. Sanu, who has been the core of the Rutgers offense, would be a huge asset for Buffalo.
42. Miami Dolphins
Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin
The Dolphins line can't rest solely on Jake Long's shoulders.
43. Seattle Seahawks
Mychal Kendricks, ILB, California
Seattle's best option here will be to look for David Hawthorne's succesor.
44. Kansas City Chiefs
Alameda Ta'amu, DT, Washington
KC needs a nose tackle- Ta'amu's a great value choice.
45. Dallas Cowboys
Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
Dallas might address the interior line here, but Smith's a better value choice, particularly considering the shallow safety class.
46. Philadelphia Eagles
Ronnell Lewis, DE/OLB, Oklahoma
The Eagles never draft linebackers. But if they want some form of rush defense, they better start now.
47. New York Jets
David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
The Jets need to step up their ground game and Wilson, who dominated the combine, looks like the ticket they need.
48. New England Patriots (via Oakland Raiders)
Billy Winn, DE/DT, Boise State
Defense, defense, defense is the mantra for the Patriots this year: Winn would work well as a 3-4 5-technique for the Pats.
49. San Diego Chargers
Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
Gates is aging fast and Allen would be a steal halfway through the second round.
50. Chicago Bears
Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
The Bears cut Anthony Adams and could really use some depth at DT.
51. Philadelphia Eagles (via Arizona Cardinals)
Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
The Eagles re-signed DeSean Jackson, but they need to develop future wide receivers.
52. Tennessee Titans
Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
With Cortland Finnegan gone in FA, the Titans need to add a CB
53. Cincinnati Bengals
Brandon Brooks, G, Miami (Ohio)
Cincy sorely needs some interior line support.
54. Detroit Lions
Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State
Detroit needs to address its O-line in this draft: Sanders is an excellent needs meets value player.
55. Atlanta Falcons
Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss
Sam Baker hasn't panned out for Atlanta. Massie's a good bargain for a team starting its draft in the late second round.
56. Pittsburgh Steelers
Amini Solatolu, OT/G, Midwestern State
The O-line must be addressed: Solatolu is solid addition.
57. Denver Broncos
Tommy Streeter, WR, Miami
Denver could use a top option receiver to give Manning another weapon. Streeter is developmental, but his upside is enormous.
58. Houston Texans
Juron Criner, WR, Arizona
The Texans need a #2 receiver to take some pressure off Andre Johnson.
59. Green Bay Packers
Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise Stat
Clay Matthews is amazing- but he can't manage it alone. GB needs some more help with the pass rush.
60. Baltimore Ravens
Marvin Jones, WR, California
Anquan Boldin's creaky and the Baltimore offense needs more pop.
61. San Francisco 49ers
Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina
Two CBs in a row? San Francisco's draft needs to be about improving the secondary, and Norman's an excellent value here.
62. New England Patriots
Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa State
New England's pass defense is the Emperor's New Clothes: they'd really rather you didn't bring the subject up. Johnson's the best option available for dealing with it.
63. New York Giants
Brandon Washington, OT/G, Miami
BPA rules in GiantLand- and Washington is, coincidentally, a versatile lineman who will meet a need.
64. Indianapolis Colts
Josh Chapman, DT, Alabama
Indy's transitioning to a 3-4 and needs a nose tackle- Chapman's a great choice for them at the start of the third round.
65. St. Louis Rams
Mitchell Schwartz, OT, California
The Rams need to move on from Jason Smith- their O-line will need to be addressed within the first three rounds.
66. Minnesota Vikings
Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa
Minnesota will look to add another option at WR in the draft.
67. Cleveland Browns
Tony Bergstrom, G/T, Utah
Four offensive players in a row for Cleveland? It would be a sound philosophy for the Browns, who would patch the remaining hole in their line with Bergstrom at guard. A QB would be another option, but they could easily wait one more round.
68. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
The Bucs pick up the RB they need to add with their third pick. Under this scenario, the Bucs get the fourth RB off the board in Miller (LaMichael James or Chris Polk would be good alternatives with similar skill sets if Miller is off the board). Miller is a bit raw, but possesses blinding speed (4.38 40 at the combine) and good receiving skills. He's dropped on some draft boards as teams have questioned whether he can be a three down back- but luckily for the Bucs, he wouldn't need to be as he projects well as a complementary back for LeGarrette Blount. Right tackles Jeff Allen or Andrew Datko, safety Markelle Martin, or center Phillip Blake are other options- but running back is by far the best choice available.
69. Washington Redskins
Jeff Allen, OT, Illinois
The 'Skins won't get much use out of RG3 if he can't stay upright. Safety is another strong possibility here.
70. Jacksonville Jaguars
Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana
The Jags needs secondary help badly.
71. Buffalo Bills
Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt
The Bills could use another CB.
72. Miami Dolphins (from Carolina Panthers via Chicago Bears)
Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian State
With Brandon Marshall's departure, the Dolphins need a new WR.
73. Miami Dolphins
Jake Bequette, DE/OLB, Arkansas
The Dolphins need some flexible pass-rushers- Bequette could function in both 3-4 and 4-3 looks.
74. Kansas City Chiefs
Bobby Wagner, OLB/ILB, Utah State
The Chiefs could use some linebacker depth, and the versatile Wagner would suit them well.
75. Seattle Seahawks
LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
Marshawn Lynch has been re-signed but he's slowing down. James will provide some speed.
76. Houston Texans (from Philadelphia Eagles)
Nick Jean-Baptiste, DT, Baylor
The Texans need a new nose tackle and, lucky them, one of the top prospects is still available to them in the 3rd.
77. New York Jets
Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin
The Jets will need to add a receiver if they want Sanchez to succeed.
Oakland Raiders Pick used in the supplemental draft
78. San Diego Chargers
Chris Polk, RB, Washington
With both Tolbert and Sproles in the rear view, the Chargers need another RB to pair with Matthews.
79. Chicago Bears
Philip Blake, C/G, Baylor
Chicago's O-line cam a long way this season, but it still hasn't fully recovered from losing Olin Kreutz. With Blake at center, Garza can move back to guard and the whole line improves.
80. Arizona Cardinals
Tank Carder, ILB/OLB, TCU
The Cards could use a versatile linebacker like Carder.
81. Dallas Cowboys
Will Blackwell, G/C, LSU
The Cowboys use a pick to shore up their interior line.
82. Tennessee Titans
Derek Wolfe, DE/DT, Cincinnati
Tennessee needs to address its D-line and Wolfe's a great bargain halfway through the third.
83. Cincinnati Bengals
T.Y. Hilton, WR/KR, Florida International
Yet another offensive weapon for Cincy, to relieve the pressure on A.J. Green, who could really use a #2.
84. Atlanta Falcons
Orson Charles, TE, Georgia
Charles has a lot of question marks, but landing a potentially heir to Tony Gonzalez's legacy will take precedence. Linebacker is another strong possibility here.
85. Detroit Lions
Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple
Best and Smith are already on board, but Detroit could use a power back like Pierce- and the Lions know too well how injuries can deplete a ground game.
86. Pittsburgh Steelers
Audie Cole, ILB, North Carolina State
Pittsburgh is looking to the future of their linebacking corps and Cole looks to be the BVA.
87. Denver Broncos
Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati
Moreno and McGahee have performed well past their expiration dates- some fresh blood in Denver's run game is due stat.
88. Philadelphia Eagles (via Houston Texans)
Keenan Robinson, OLB, Texas
Run defense was the Eagles' greatest weakness in 2011. Unless they address it, it will be again in 2012.
89. New Orleans Saints
Nigel Bradham, OLB, Florida State
Let's face it: until we know the full extent of player suspensions coming from Bountygate, this is a total crapshoot. Still, Bradham seems like a safe pick, given the uncertainty of the future in New Orleans' LB corps.
90. Green Bay Packers
Antonio Allen, S, South Carolina
The Packers don't have many needs, but some depth at safety would have to be one.
91. Baltimore Ravens
Ryan Miller, G, Colorado
The Ravens should address their interior line now that Ben Grubbs has moved on.
92. San Francisco 49ers
A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois
The 49ers need a few more targets if they want to open up their passing game.
93. New England Patriots
Derek Moye, WR, Penn State
What do New England's receivers lack? In a word- youth. The Pats will look for an infusion this offseason and Moye, who suffered for the horrific QB play at Penn State, may very well draw them in.
94. New York Giants
Sean Spence, OLB, Miami
Spence may be undersized, but he makes up for it in pure ferocity. The Giants could use a LB of his mold and he suits their BVA philosophy.
95. Oakland Raiders (compensatory pick)
Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia
The Raiders finally make it onto the board with a compensatory pick. Seeing as how it was in return for Asomugha and Routt, it seems only right to mock them a CB- lord knows they're short on them.