We’re two weeks away from the 2012 draft, meaning two more projections after this. I wanted to mix a few things up this week and look at scenarios not being discussed. After all, there’s always a surprise or two…
- Fletcher Cox has the athletic potential to be a top-ten pick. So did Cam Jordan last year, and he dropped to #24. Jordan had decent tape and a great combine, but teams just didn’t like him enough to pull the trigger. What was his best position? Where did he fit? The same questions may be asked of Fletcher Cox. I could see him going in the top ten very easily, but nobody is talking about the other end of the scale. He could drop a bit and go in a similar range to Jordan.
- Whitney Mercilus divides opinion, but he had great production in 2011. Someone might buy into the guy, believing he’s a pure pass rusher capable of emulating Aldon Smith who went 7th overall last year. Mercilus has the athleticism to match the stats and the kind of character that will appeal to certain teams. Kind of like Flecther Cox, you could see him going at both ends of the first round. Jacksonville GM Gene Smith is one of the more unpredictable drafters and if he’s still calling the shots for this draft, I could see Mercilus being on his radar. The Jaguars are a team that tend to arrange meetings with the prospects they intend to draft, recent history has shown that. Jacksonville hosted Mercilus and also attended his pro-day.
- Melvin Ingram is widely considered to be a top-ten pick and he’d be a strong option for Seattle at #12. He’s also a bit of a tweener and could suffer if a prospect like Mercilus makes a surprise jump in round one. If Ingram makes it past the Seahawks, his next most likely destinations are New York at #16 and San Diego at #18.
One of the topics discussed a lot on this blog is whether Seattle will move up or down. With only six picks in this year’s draft, there’s little chance the team will move up. I’d put the chances at slightly above 0%. Would they move down? That’s unclear at this stage and would depend on who leaves the board before the #12 pick. It’s common knowledge that the Seahawks had a deal to trade the #14 pick in 2010 but passed because they rated Earl Thomas so highly. That could be the case again this year, where need meets value and any deal to move down is ignored. But if certain favored players go in the top ten, it increases the chances of a trade.
It’s also worth considering why the Seahawks would want to accumulate stock. Pete Carroll and John Schneider like picks as much as any GM in the league, but they’d probably love to get some extra picks for 2013 if possible. I’ll let you decide why that might be the case. A trade similar to the one that saw Atlanta move up for Julio Jones last year would be hard to ignore. The only thing is – who would be prepared to make such a generous trade, and who would you trade up for? At this stage I think any movement in round one is unlikely, but not impossible. Onto this week’s projection…
Updated first round mock draft
|#1 Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford)
|#2 Robert Griffin III (QB, Baylor)
The inevitable part II.
|#3 Matt Kalil (OT, USC)
Minnesota won’t waste any time calling Kalil’s name. He has elite potential. The inevitable part III.
|#4 Trent Richardson (RB, Alabama)
The Browns have to find someone on offense to build around. Richardson would be the wise choice here.
|#5 Morris Claiborne (CB, LSU)
The biggest spenders in free agency, Tampa Bay could still use a stud cornerback.
|#6 Justin Blackmon (WR, Oklahoma State)
The Rams know this is now a three-draft plan so they need to take whoever is highest on their board with this pick.
|#7 Whitney Mercilus (DE, Illinois)
This would be no more surprising than the time the Jaguars drafted Tyson Alualu 10th overall.
|#8 Ryan Tannehill (QB, Texas A&M)
If the Dolphins don’t take Tannehill here he could fall. How much does Mike Sherman rate his former Texas A&M starter?
|#9 Quinton Coples (DE, North Carolina)
Carolina wants players that will fit into 3-4 and 4-3 looks.
|#10 Riley Reiff (OT, Iowa)
The Bills are going to draft an offensive lineman here, the only question is which one will they choose?
|#11 Luke Kuechly (LB, Boston College)
Scott Pioli loves guys like this – blue collar, high work ethic. Not always spectacular, but always solid.
|#12 Courtney Upshaw (DE, Alabama)
Seattle needs to find a DE/OLB hybrid to fit into the defense and help the pass rush. Upshaw could go earlier than this.
|#13 Cordy Glenn (OT, Georgia)
Whoever is playing quarterback for Arizona next year, the Cardinals simply must draft an offensive lineman.
|#14 Dontari Poe (DT, Memphis)
One of the 3-4 teams will convince themselves they cannot live without Poe’s major potential.
|#15 Mark Barron (S, Alabama)
Talented prospect at a position that’s becoming increasingly important in the NFL.
|#16 Michael Floyd (WR, Notre Dame)
He’s rising, but not everybody will buy into a guy with off-field issues. New York might be willing to turn a blind eye.
|#17 David DeCastro (OG, Stanford)
Cincinnati will want to make sure one of their first round picks is a corner, but DeCastro is hard to pass here.
|#18 Melvin Ingram (DE, South Carolina)
A bit of a fall for Ingram, but San Diego would be a good fit for his skill-set.
|#19 Michael Brockers (DT, LSU)
Trading for Brandon Marshall will allow Chicago to concentrate on cornerbacks and defensive lineman here.
|#20 Peter Konz (OC, Wisconsin)
Underrated player. Don’t be surprised if he goes earlier than expected. The best player at his position since Alex Mack.
|#21 Stephon Gilmore (CB, South Carolina)
Gilmore’s performance at the combine has seemingly done enough to cement his place in the top-25 picks.
|#22 Jonathan Martin (OT, Stanford)
Cleveland needs to keep adding playmakers but may look at Martin as too good to pass here.
|#23 Dre Kirkpatrick (CB, Alabama)
Coverage skills are the issue here but eventually someone will pull the trigger on Kirkpatrick.
|#24 Dont’a Hightower (LB, Alabama)
This guy was made to play in the AFC North.
|#25 Doug Martin (RB, Boise State)
This is now the Peyton Manning show and they need to build around their prized addition. Martin does everything well.
|#26 Stephen Hill (WR, Georgia Tech)
Mind-blowing potential given his size, athleticism and hands. He stood out in limited targets during the 2011 season.
|#27 Fletcher Cox (DT, Mississippi State)
He has the physical potential, but where does he fit? Like Cam Jordan, he could suffer a fall.
|#28 Shea McClellin (DE, Boise State)
Green Bay’s priority has to be finding another pass rusher.
|#29 Vinny Curry (DE, Marshall)
A great fit for this defense, Curry would be a real threat in Baltimore.
|#30 Coby Fleener (TE, Stanford)
His pro-day raised a few eye-brows and he could go in the top-25.
|#31 Chandler Jones (DE, Syracuse)
New England might consider adding a rangy pass rusher early in the draft.
|#32 Bobby Massie (OT, Ole Miss)
A bit of a late riser, Massie looks like a solid right tackle. New York are good enough to make a pick this this.
#33 St. Louis – Jerel Worthy (DT, Michigan State)
#34 Indianapolis – Kevin Zeitler (OG, Wisconsin)
#35 Minnesota – Reuben Randle (WR, LSU)
#36 Tampa Bay – Bobby Wagner (LB, Utah State)
#37 Cleveland – Kendall Wright (WR, Baylor)
#38 Jacksonville – Alshon Jeffery (WR, South Carolina)
#39 St. Louis – Kelechi Osemele (OG, Iowa State)
#40 Carolina – Jayron Hosley (CB, Virginia Tech)
#41 Buffalo – Mychal Kendricks (LB, California)
#42 Miami – Andre Branch (DE, Clemson)
#43 Seattle – Zach Brown (LB, North Carolina)
#44 Kansas City – Amini Silatolu (OG, Midwestern State)
#45 Dallas – Jared Crick (DE, Nebraska)
#46 Philadelphia – Nick Perry (DE, USC)
#47 New York Jets – Lamar Miller (RB, Miami)
#48 New England – Devon Still (DT, Penn State)
#49 San Diego – Mike Adams (OT, Ohio State)
#50 Chicago – Josh Robinson (CB, UCF)
#51 Philadelphia – Lavonte David (LB, Nebraska)
#52 Tennessee – Kendall Reyes (DT, Connecticut)
#53 Cincinnati – Mohamed Sanu (WR, Rutgers)
#54 Detroit – Sean Spence (LB, Miami)
#55 Atlanta – Casey Heyward (CB, Vanderbilt)
#56 Pittsburgh – Brandon Brooks (OG, Miami-Ohio)
#57 Denver – Brandon Thompson (DT, Clemson)
#58 Houston – Josh Chapman (DT, Alabama)
#59 New Orleans – VOID
#60 Green Bay – Brandon Weeden (QB, Oklahoma State)
#61 Baltimore – Harrison Smith (S, Notre Dame)
#62 San Francisco – Brandon Boykin (CB, Georgia)
#63 New York Giants – David Wilson (RB, Virginia Tech)
#64 New England – Keyshawn Martin (WR, Michigan State)