1st Round Mock Draft: Luke Kuechly falls to the Steelers?

So this may come as a surprise but this is going to be my first attempt at a mock draft for the entire first round. I usually do Steelers' mock draft because I know what the perceived needs are for the Steelers. However it takes a lot more knowledge to do a respectable mock draft of an entire round. I am not even going to attempt a full round mock draft for every team. I will mention the player and try to give a very brief rationale as to why he was picked. With that in mind here it goes...

Pick #1-Indianapolis Colts:

Andrew Luck, QB Stanford-

Not as much of a lock as some might think but Andrew Luck has the highest floor of any QB to come out in the last five years or so. He may not be Peyton Manning good but he looks like he will be better than average at least.

Pick #2- Washington Redskins:

Robert Griffin III, QB Baylor-

RG3 in my opinion has the potential to be better than luck five year from now. He has Aaron Rodgers' stature with Micheal Vick's athleticism and Peyton manning head and arm all of these are a deadly combination. This finnaly gives Shanahan the QB he needs.

Pick #3- Minnesota Vikings:

Matt Kalil, OT Southern California-

Kalil is the best takle in this class. He is very athletic and has good technique. While his critics say he may not be as good as his teammate Tyron Smith, I will point out there was a reason Smith played RT at USC. This fills a huge need for the Vikings who can get a CB or WR later in the draft.

Pick #4- Cleveland Browns:

Trent Richardson, RB Alabama-

Trent Richardson is a beast. The Browns lost Peyton Hillis to the Central Intelligence Agency , I meant to say, Free Agency and Montario Hardesty is injury prone. Considering they screwed up on getting RGIII they will have to go with the running game and select Brandon Weeden in the second.

Pick #5- Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Morris Claiborne, CB Louisiana State-

Claiborne is the best corner i this draft class and Tampa Bay's secondary needs him. Barber is going into his 16th year and there is no one behind him this talented. While critics point out he is not as good as his teammate Patrick Petersen Claiborne does have the skills to be a great CB in the NFL.

Pick #6- St.Louis Rams:

Justin Blackmon, WR Oklahoma State University-

How did the Rams do this, they get three first round picks(one in 2013 and 2014) and a second round pick for moving down and they still get the player they wanted. Blackmon is a beast and will help Sam Bradford immensely. Not as good as A.J. Greene or as explosive as Julio Jones but he is a polished receiver who understands routes and goes after the ball (the anti-Dez Bryant).

Pick #7- Jacksonville Jaguars:

Quinton Coples, DE North Carolina-

The Jaguars could not get after the QB last year. They need to improve that to improve their defense. Coples is a guy who an play both defensive end position and an rush the passer from the three technique as well. At 6'6" 284lbs he reminds some of Julius Peppers.

Pick #8- Miami Dolphins:

Ryan Tannehill, QB Texas A&M-

Tannehill is probably not worth the 8th pick in the draft but neither was Jake Locker last year. The Dolphins failed to get either Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn and just sign David Garrard. They need a QB and Tannehill fits this.

Pick #9- Carolina Panthers:

Michael Brockers, DT Louisiana State-

Brockers has the frame to be a physically dominant player. He had a poor combine but he has the tape that proves he can play. He just recently turned 21 and can still put on muscle even though he is 6'6" 322lbs. DT is weak for the Panthers and this is a huge pick up for them.

Pick #10- Buffalo Bills:

Riley Reiff, OT Iowa-

The Bills need to protect their QB far better. This is needed to help an offense that was improving last year but still not there yet. It might be a stretch but Reiff is good to be a good solid prospect in the NFL.

Pick #11- Seattle Seahawks:

Melvin Ingram, DE South Carolina-

The Seahawks have a huge position of need at DE. They are losing most of their player as free agent and last year could not get to the QB. Ingram can fix that, he is explosive and can rush the pass from every position along the defensive line.

Pick #12- Kansas City Chiefs:

Dontari Poe, DT Memphis-

Poe jumped up because of his combine work out and Kansas City's major need at NT. Kelly Greg retired and in the 3 years they have played the 3-4 defense they have not had a true NT that can dominate like Poe can. Boom or Bust player with huge upside.

Pick #13- Arizona Cardinals:

Johnathan Martin, OT Stanford-

The Cardinals OTs were the worst in the league last year. The constantly missed assignments and let their QB get punished. Despite who they go with at QB they are going to need to protect them. This is a definite need pick.

Pick #14- Dallas Cowboys:

David DeCastro, OG Stanford-

Clearly the best interior linemen in the draft DeCastro brings a blue collar attitude to the Cowboys. Dallas released long time guard Kyle Kosier and only signed some bottom tier Free Agents as a replacement. Skeptics point out this is the highest a guard has gone but DeCastro is worth it.

Pick #15- Philadelphia Eagles:

Fletcher Cox, DT Mississippi State-

The Eagles were horrible up the middle last year. The fixed that hole in the LBs with a trade for DeMeco Ryans but need better talent at the 3 technique DT. Cox is that explosive DT that could help the Eagle put pressure up the middle. Definite help.

Pick #16- New York Jets

Whitney Marcilus, DE Illinois-

The Jets really need to up grade their pass rush. They brought in Aaron Maybin who I think Rex Ryan can get motivated but they will need more help. He has a great first step and a non-stop motor and will be a great LOLB in the 3-4.

Pick #17- Cincinnati Bengals:

Michael Floyd, WR Notre Dame-

The Bengals drafted A.J. Greene last year but lost a couple of receivers whose contract expired. Floyd falling to the Bengals will give them oe of the most dangerous 1-2 combination and only help Andy Dalton continue his progress. They can not pass this opportunity up.

Pick #18- San Diego Chargers:

Cordy Glenn, OG Georgia-

The Chargers addressed their OLB and LT woes in Free Agency and now need to fill their OG hole left by the retirement of Dielman. Cordy Glenn is the big bodied OG that the Chargers love. He instantly fixes this need and the Chargers will be happy they got him.

Pick #19- Chicago Bears:

Courtney Upshaw, DE Alabama-

Upshaw was seen as a 3-4 OLB/ 4-3 DE hybrid but at 6'2" 271lbs I think he fits better at DE. He has a great first step and motor and will provide the pass rush opposite Peppers the Bears Cover 2 scheme needs. Great pick up since they already addressed WR and could not get Glenn.

Pick #20- Tennessee Titans:

Dre Kirkpatrick, CB Alabama-

The Titans lost Cortland Finnegan but they don't mind to much. Their DC likes taller CB and they get a good only in Kirkpatrick who is 6'2" and can move. He is a willing tackler with good ball skills and will help the Titans greatly.

Pick #21- Cincinnati Bengals-

Stephen Gilmore, CB South Carolina-

The Bengals need to upgrade their CB since the loss of Johnathan Joseph. Surprisingly they find his replacement in another player form South Carolina. Gilmore is 6' 190lbs with good ball skills and greta character. He is the opposite of Pac Man Jones.

Pick #22- Cleveland Browns:

Kendall Wright, WR Baylor-

The Browns continue to give Colt McCoy weapons because they fail to get a QB. Wright is a big play wide receiver who can get separation in the slot and add a spark to an offense. The easiest way to upgrade their poor offense was to get a QB. Sine that failed they have to upgrade the talent around the position. Wright can be a great fit for the West Coast system.

Pick #23- Detroit Lions:

Janoris Jenkins, CB North Alabama-

The Lions desperate need to upgrade their CB in a division that has Aaron Rodgers and his crew and now Culter and Marshall. Jenkins is a clear first round talent but has character issues to say the least. The already signed their MLB Stephen Tulloch so MLB is not a need.

Pick #24- Pittsburgh Steelers:

Luke Kuechly, ILB Boston College-

Kuechly is the best ILB prospect in the draft. He has the best instincts of any player in the draft this year. He is a clean blue collar player. Kuechly has some speed question marks but looks good. This is a definite need for the Steelers and the Steelers would be ecstatic to get him. Some prospect always drops and Keuchly is one of them.

Pick #25- Denver Broncos:

Devon Still DT Penn State-

The Broncos lost Brodrick Bunkley to free agency and need a presence in the middle to eat up blocker and let Dumerville and Miller go to work. Still is a beast and can both provide pressure up the middle and eat blocks. This is a move that will help the Broncos greatly.

Pick #26- Houston Texans:

Jerel Worthy, DT Michigan State-

Listen Wade Philips doesn't need the huge NT for his defense. He rather have an explosive guy who can shoot the gap and require to people to concentrate on him because of it. He is strong and will get stronger and plays with natural leverage. Wade Philips will take him knowing the chances of him landing a 3-4 NT later on will be slimmer.

Pick #27- New England Patriots:

Nick Perry, DE/OLB Southern California-

The Patriots continue to run a hybrid 3-4/4-3 defense and desperately need a pass rush. Perry can provide this. He has an extremely fast get off and can beat NFL tackles. He is a little stiff hipped but Belichick will know how to use him.

Pick #28- Green Bay Packers:

Kendell Reyes DT Connecticut-

The Green Bay Packers felt the lost of Cullen Jenkins badly in 2011. They need a 3-4 DE that can take pressure and bodies form Clay Mathews. Reyes can be that.This is a versatile hard working strong player that can help the Packers front seven immensely.

Pick #29- Baltimore Ravens:

Donta' Hightower, ILB Alabama-

There is going to be a run on defensive linemen in the first round and it is going to push down the ILB prospects in this draft. Hightower falling to the Raven couldn't make the Ravens happier. This gives the Ravens a young intelligent, ILB to pair with Ray Lewis. Hightower struggles with quickness but learning form one of the best will help account for that.

Pick #30- San Francisco 49ers:

Stephen Hill, WR Georgia Tech-

I don't care that they signed Randy Moss they still need a Receiver that can let Crabtree work the short routes an Davis work the middle. Hill has the height, speed and leaping ability to be extremely good in the NFL. He is raw but he will Moss who can teach him to run the nine route and not run when your not the primary receiver.

Pick #31- New England Patriots:

Mark Barron, SS Alabama-

The New England Patriots were the second worst defense in the NFL. There safeties were probably the worst in the league. Barron can fix that. He is a smart, instinctive player with good athleticism. He will learn the defense and instantly upgrade the Patriots poor secondary.

Pick #32- New York Giants:

Zach Brown OLB/MLB North Carolina-

The Giants have had very poor performance at their MLB positions. It has been slow and a coverage liability. Brown can be an upgrade to that. He has WR speed on a 244lbs frame. Browns is a very quick and good player and fits best as a 4-3 LB who will be kept clean by his front four. This pick will help the defense a lot.


The teams that needed a ILB/MLB before the Steelers were/are;

Seahawks (who I believe resign David Hawthorne)

the Cardinals (who like Paris Lennon and have bigger need at OT)

the Cowboys( who signed Dan Connor),

the Eagle (who traded for DeMeco Ryans),

the Bears (who still have Urlacher)

the Lions (who resigned StephenTulloch).

To me this is a good sign that Luke Kuechly can and will fall to the Steelers at 24. The only other team I would be concerned about is the New York Jets (who apparently aren't getting along with Bart Scott). Other than that I think it is entirely possible that Kuechly falls to the Steelers.

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