As we digest Combine results and process possible trade scenarios, Seton Hall and Steelers has come up with his first post-Combine mock draft.
Not to break the suspense, but Andrew Luck is the first player drafted.
Outside of that, he's got a few head-turners in the first half, lots of wide receivers with first-round grades and an often-discussed lineman ready to don a black jersey. -nc
1. Indianapolis (2-14) – Team Needs: QB, OG, SS, OC, 2CB, WR, NT, TE, DE, LB, RB – Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
The Colts taking Andrew Luck seems like a foregone conclusion. Luck is the consensus number 1 prospect in this draft and has all the tools to be the next star QB in this league. He compares to Cam Newton in terms of athleticism and size and to Drew Brees in terms of accuracy and skill.
2. St. Louis (2-14) – 2OT, 2WR, 2OLB, FS, CB, DT, OC, RB, FB – Matt Kalil, OT, USC
In this mock draft there are no trades so the Rams will have to "settle" for the best OT prospect in a couple years. Kalil is so good that he kept last year's No. 9 pick to the right side of USC's offensive line. Kalil is good at everything but has to add some strength to make sure he can stand up to a bull rush.
3. Minnesota (3-13) – LT, CB, WR, S, OG, 2LB, DT, FB, RB3 – Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
The Vikings two biggest needs are LT and CB. In this scenario Claiborne is the BPA (other than Griffin) and makes a ton of sense for the Vikings. He will give them a true lockdown corner that can instantly upgrade their defense.
4. Cleveland (4-12) – QB, WR, RT, DE, CB, OLB, RB, OG, FS, DT, K – Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
There is no way Griffin falls to the Browns at No. 4 in the real draft but in this scenario he is available and the Browns would have to be dumb not to take him. Griffin is a great QB prospect and compares to Steve Young. He is very athletic but his biggest strength is his accuracy on all three levels. He can throw the deep ball, the out routes, and the short passes all with great accuracy. He would instantly upgrade the Browns awful offense.
5. Tampa Bay (4-12) – 2CB, 2LB, RT, WR, OC, RB, LG, FB, DT, QB, K – Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Blackmon's biggest strength is his production. He does not have great size or speed and does not have huge hands but he has still managed to produce. However, he is a very good route runner and projects as a top five pick. The Bucs are in a bad situation here because their biggest needs don't match the BPAs. However, adding Blackmon to their offense would make it instantly better.
6. Washington (5-11) – QB, WR, LG, ILB, RT, CB, NT, TE, OC, SS, K, Rush LB – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Reiff is not a sure thing as a LT but he is a very, very good RT prospect. He is great as a run protector and is an above average pass blocker. I like his strength and the fact that he came from a good school for producing OL prospects but I am not in love with him as a top ten guy. However, for some reason, he has surpassed Jonathan Martin as the #2 OT prospect (for know) and he is the only player who makes sense at this point for the Redskins.
7. Jacksonville (5-11) – QB, WR, 2CB, DE, FS, RT, P, OC, LB – Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Coples has all the physical tools to be a dominant pass rusher but is inconsistent and takes plays off. The Jaguars have a major need at WR and CB but none of the players make sense here. The Jaguars won't take a player like Dre Kirkpatrick because they like high character guys and I don't like Michael Floyd in the top ten just yet. Coples and Mincey would give them a potentially dangerous pass rush to improve that defense.
8. Miami (6-10) – QB, RT, Rush LB, NT, FS, RG, CB, TE, DE, ILB – Melvin Ingram, OLB, South Carolina
Ingram is the best 3-4 OLB in this class and it is not all that close. He has clearly surpassed Courtney Upshaw and Whitney Mercilus for that title and compares very much to Lamaar Woodley. Miami has three major needs but they look to be the favorite to land Matt Flynn and Jonathan Martin is not as good as Ingram. Ingram could come in and immediately start opposite Cameron Wake.
9. Carolina (6-10) – DT, CB, LB, RT, 2S, RG, WR, K – Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Kirkpatrick is the best CB talent wise in the class but he has major character concerns. He has been arrested for possession of marijuana and has four kids by three different women. However, if he can keep his head straight, he can become one of the best corners in the league and his upside is just too good to pass up here.
10. Buffalo (6-10) –Rush LB, DE, WR, LT, CB, QB, TE – Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama
Upshaw looks like a 4-3 DE only and with the Bills switch to a 4-3, he makes a ton of sense here. Upshaw is a proven player with a 3 year body of work and is a good but not great pass rusher. He comes from the stacked Alabama defense and is as pro ready of a prospect as you will find at this position.
11. Kansas City (7-9) – QB, RT, NT, CB, OG/OC, TE, RB, Rush LB, ILB – Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Martin is good value here and fills a huge need at RT. He also has the ability to switch to LT if the Chiefs need him to. Martin has done a great job protecting Andrew Luck's blindside and has no major weakness in his game. He is a good pass blocker, a good run blocker, and is very strong. He is a very, very safe prospect.
12. Seattle (7-9) – QB, RDE, OG, DT, LDE, CB, RB – Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
The Seahawks have Marshawn Lynch but Richardson is just too good of value to pass up here. He is the best RB prospect since Adrian Peterson and has absolutely no weaknesses. He has great vision, is the strongest back in the draft, has good top end speed, and is a violent, violent runner. The two headed monster of Lynch and Richardson would help mask the QB deficiencies that the Seahawks have.
13. Arizona (8-8) – RT, WR, RG, DE, Rush LB, ILB, CB, QB, NT, K, P – David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
DeCastro is the best guard prospect in a long, long time. He is an excellent run blocker, a good pass blocker, and has incredible strength. He is smart, he works hard, and he knows how to play the game. He is by far the BPA here and and fills a major need for the Cardinals.
14. Dallas (8-8) – CB, OC, OG, S, DE, OLB, ILB, Backup QB, P – Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Jenkins is an elite talent at CB who like Kirkpatrick, has big time character concerns. However, the Cowboys need at CB is just too great to pass up here and Jenkins is the last sure thing at CB in this class. He has the talent to be a #1 CB in this league for a long, long time.
15. Philadelphia (8-8) – LB, DT, CB, S, WR, TE – Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Kuechly is everything you want from an ILB and more. He has killer instincts, is a great athlete, a sure tackler, and a hard worker. He has the tools to man the MLB spot in the Eagles 4-3 defense for a very long time.
Glenn looks like strictly a RT prospect and makes a ton of sense for the Jets. Their RT (Wayne Hunter) is arguably the worst tackle in the NFL and needs to be replaced immediately. If the Jets pass on Glenn at 16, there is no sure fire, starting RT in this draft after him.
17. Cincinnati - from Oakland (8-8) – CB, RB, S, OG, WR, DE, DT, Strong LB – Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
The Bengals have A.J. Green already but Floyd is too good to pass up here. He has all the tools to be as good as A.J. Green and in today's league, you can never have enough WRs. Thinking about having to face Dalton, Green, Floyd, and Gresham two times a year does not make me happy at all.
18. San Diego (8-8) – OLB, SS, OT, OG, TE, CB, NT, ILB, RB, WR, QB – Whitney Mercilus, OLB/DE, Illinois
The Chargers absolutely must land a pass rusher in the first round. Mercilus was the nation's leader in sacks last year and has all the tools to be a top pass rusher in the NFL. The Chargers play multiple fronts (4-3 and 3-4) so Mercilus' versatility will make him a more likely landing spot for the Chargers.
19. Chicago (8-8) – WR1, OT, CB, DE, LB, OC, S, DT, QB – Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
Jeffery is the most talked about WR in this class. Some have him as a top ten guy. Others have him late in the second round. People are forgetting that last year Jeffery outperformed A.J. Green, Michael Floyd, Justin Blackmon, and Julio Jones. He was easily the best WR in the nation last year and is still the same guy. He suffered from awful coaching and an awful, awful QB this year which hurt his numbers big time.
20. Tennessee (9-7) – OC, 2OG, DE, 2S, Weak LB, CB, WR – Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
The Titans have to address safety two times this offseason. I think they will sign one in FA and then take Barron at #20 in the draft. Barron is a very good, but not elite SS prospect who has the tools to be a top 10 SS in the league. He is injured and won't be able to help his stock at all this offseason but is still going to be a first round pick.
21. Cincinnati* (9-7) - CB, RB, S, OG, DE, DT, Strong LB – Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
Defenses in the AFC North would be in major trouble if this were to happen. I know the Bengals ignore there two of there biggest needs at CB and OG in this scenario but adding Miller and Floyd to an already dangerous offense would be able to mask their defensive problems.
22. Cleveland - from Atlanta* (10-6) - WR, RT, DE, CB, OLB, RB, OG, FS, DT, K – Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
The Browns got their franchise QB earlier and now need to get a WR for him to throw to. So why not get Griffin's #1 target from Baylor? Wright is good value here and would be a great guy to pair with Greg Little.
23. Detroit* (10-6) – CB, LT, SS, DE, OC, LB, RT, RB, QB, P – Michael Brockers, DT/DE, LSU
The Lions have three major needs but none of the players at those positions make sense here. Brockers is the BPA and could add to an already dangerous DL. The Giants have proved already that you can never have enough quality defensive linemen and pairing Brockers with the DL on the Lions would instill fear in all teams around the NFL.
24. Pittsburgh* (12-4) – OG, ILB, NT, OT, S, K, CB, QB, RB – Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
In this scenario, the Steelers would have to decide between Dontari Poe and Donta Hightower. The reason I have them taking Poe is because I don't love the other NTs in this class but I see six to eight other ILB's that can come in and start within a year for the Steelers. Poe is as raw as it gets but he has the athleticism of Haloti Ngata and the size of Casey Hampton. With the coaching of Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell, Poe could become the most feared player in the entire NFL.
25. Denver* (8-8) – CB, RB, LG/RT, DT, OC, ILB, WR, K, SS, QB – Devon Still, DT, Penn State
Still is a good DT prospect who has a wide ranging stock. Some see him as a top 15 guy while others see him as a late first round prospect. Still is a guy who fits the Broncos system and makes sense at this spot. He is not the BPA but he is very, very close and fills one of the Broncos biggest needs.
26. Houston* (10-6) – CB, WR, NT, S, OG, LB, P – Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Hill is a perfect fit for the Texans. Kubiak loves big WRs who can block and Hill is just that. Hill comes from the triple option offense at Georgia Tech and therefore, he is a good blocker. However, it is rare to have a guy at 6'4" that runs in the 4.3's. He won't fall out of the first round.
27. New England - from New Orleans* (13-3) – WR, CB, DT, OLB, S, RG, DE – Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
The Patriots have to improve their defensive line and their pass rush. Luckily for them, there are five to six late first round prospects that will help them in these categories. Cox is a player who helped himself a lot at the combine and will probably be a late first round pick. He is a good pass rusher from the DT spot and is very stout against the run.
28. Green Bay* (15-1) – LB, S, DE, CB, OC, RB, TE, OT – Andre Branch, OLB/DE, Clemson
Branch was flying under the radar for a while but he is now, rightfully so, being viewed as a late first round prospect. He has a great set of pass rushing moves and fills the Packers biggest need at the Rush LB spot.
29. Baltimore* (12-4) – ILB, OC, LT, FS, OG, WR (big), CB – Donta Hightower, ILB, Alabama
Hightower is the best Buck ILB in the draft class and would provide the perfect replacement for Ray Lewis. He comes from the powerhouse that is Alabama and has four years of experience playing in a 3-4 defense. He is one of the safer prospects in this class.
30. San Francisco* (13-3) – WR, RG, Rush OLB, FS, CB, SS, RB, NT, DE – Peter Konz, OG/C, Wisconsin
Most mocks have the 49ers taking a WR here but none make any sense. Konz is the BPA and fills the 49ers second biggest need at RG. His versatility makes him even more valuable as he can also play center.
31. New England* (13-3) - WR, CB, OLB, S, RG, DE – Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
Perry is a freak athlete that is very, very raw. However, he has the size and athleticism to become a Jason Pierre Paul type player and I see him as a late first round pick. Cox and Perry would instantly improve the Patriots defense.
32. New York Giants* (9-7) – TE, OG, FS, OLB, CB, RB, WR, OT – Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina
Brown is the BPA and fits a need at OLB for the Giants. Some other players possible here are David Wilson and Dwayne Allen but Brown is much better value and could be a great, great player in the NFL. Jerry Reese loves athletes and Brown might just be the best athlete in this draft class.
· Atlanta -> Cleveland: Julio Jones
· New Orleans -> New England: Mark Ingram
· Oakland -> Cincinnati: Carson Palmer