I wanted to put this draft together while simulating the draft day process as much as possible, except, no trades. To do that I created a few rules, 1) focus on team needs, 2) rank the available players the way that team’s coach and GM might rank them, 3) once the pick is made there’s no going back later and switching it out and 4) I ignored any future personal desires to place a prospect with a team.
A little discovery surfaced during this process: as players came off the board, the position that a player plays, becomes a greater need, making one less player at a time unavailable at that position. This is not about a “run on position players.” In this draft, the tenth best OT is ranked #117 while the tenth best CB is ranked #74 (according to CBS Sports). This varies in different draft years of course but, if you’re a team who needs CBs and OTs (and who doesn’t), if you have taken a CB with an earlier pick… finding a good OT will be much tougher later because there are going to be fewer good ones available, say, within the space of 100 picks. So, the drafting of one position, creates a greater need for those players, especially if there are fewer of those players available and more teams needing them. Particularly the good ones.
So, because teams need OTs they may be willing to reach to take one earlier than they’re ranked, creating an even greater need for a position player than the pool of OTs has available. Consequently, as a drafter, you find yourself in the position (as I believe many teams will be in, during this draft) of reaching to take a player who is ranked much lower than the spot they’re drafting. Having now reviewed all 32 team’s needs… there will most certainly be drama centered around OTs in this draft because most teams need at least one.
An truss me, dere aint enuf ta gose aroun.
There’s a reason for that: although many teams avow to not, “draft for need”… as much as they say they draft the “best player available”… the reality is that those teams who draft excellent players to positions that are already filled on their roster aren’t creating a “competition” so much as they are “double-paying” at that position (something I’m sure GMs and owners are more aware of and less likely to do, than coaches). However, see it from a coach’s point of view too: why draft another good player to play the same position you already have a solid starter at when you could draft someone to play another position where there is not even one good enough to play that position? Especially if you’re team is in the building process.
This is the very reason that “trades” take place throughout the draft and although I have chosen to not include trades in this mock you can more fully understand and support the trading process on the real draft day and the limitations of a mock.
Now, top all of that off with the fact that more OL prospects will go early in the draft (3 in the first 11, most likely) than any other one position and you have a bad card game where all the good Kings, Queens and Aces have been played but everyone is still searching them out. Go fish!
Note: I don’t comment on the first five picks in my draft because enough has been said about them already. They’re great! So, let’s move on.
2012 Two Round NFL Mock Draft
1. Indianapolis Colts: QB Andrew Luck
2. Washington Redskins: QB RGIII
3. Minnesota Vikings: LT Matt Kalil
4. Cleveland Browns: WR Justin Blackmon
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Morriss Claiborne
6. St. Louis Rams: DT Fletcher Cox
Big, strong, mean and nasty pass rushers: just the way HC Jeff Fisher likes them, especially now that he doesn’t have Greg Williams to “inspire” his D. Here’s the reason the Chiefs won’t even get a chance to take Cox.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Quinton Coples
They need a QB but, do they know yet that Gabbert can’t do it? Not completely. So, they don’t pitch that investment from a year ago… yet… and they go ahead and attempt to strengthen the team in other ways. They need wide receivers, corners and defensive ends. With no WRs or CBs rated this high they go to Coples.
8. Miami Dolphins: QB Ryan Tannehill
I like Tannehill but he won’t actually be ready on day one and I think this is drafting him too high for his value… however… what the Dolphins have in the QB stable is mangy. And if Tannehill is there at number 8, I’m fairly sure the Dolphins bite.
9. Carolina Panthers: WR Michael Floyd
They need a run stopper on the DL. They drafted two of those last year but still finished 25th against the run. They’ll give them more time to develop and then give Newton some help by taking Floyd, a huge dynamic target.
10. Buffalo Bills: LT Riley Reiff
Bills couldn’t be happier. They also need another WR but, with Demetrus Bell leaving, LT was the ultimate need.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: G/C David DeCastro
Chiefs are no longer drafting from a long list of needs and can take the best Guard available since Steve Hutchinson (#17 in 2001). There are hints that DeCastro could also play center for the Chiefs. With C Casey Wiegmann retiring and LG Ryan Lilja still serviceable (and Hudson available), this possibility rises as does DeCastro’s value to the Chiefs. GM Scott Pioli loves position-flexible athletes.
12. Seattle Seahawks: ILB Luke Kuechly
Seattle signed LB Barrett Rudd this off season and the two of them together should help make an already good defense, special. However, of all the other starting Seahawk linebackers, only K.J. Wright is currently under contract for 2012. IOW, they need and want Kuechly.
13. Arizona Cardinals: WR Kendall Wright
Wright gives Whisenhunt the inside/outside threat that Kolb will need to be successful. Wright helped make RGIII what he is and caught 108 balls in 13 games from him.
14. Dallas Cowboys: DT Michael Brockers
Dallas desperately needs a Center but goes DL. Brockers is perhaps the best run stopper in this year’s crop of DL.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Melvin Ingram
Can start with his hand in the dirt or not and is considered one of the best, if not the best prospect at getting to the QB. However, Ingram is short armed and has never caused a forced fumble. He may be able to pick that skill up but, he’s too good to pass up at #15.
16. New York Jets: S Mark Barron
While Rex will be tempted to take TRich or reach for a wide receiver, he strengthens the back end with Barron. Barron and newly signed LaRon Landry will be a stout combo.
17. Cincinnati Bengals: RB Trent Richardson
The Bengals play it close to the board and are thrilled to pair TRich with newly acquired BenJarvus Green-Ellis. With a renewed rushing attack, A.J. Green and Andy Dalton ought to be even better this season. By oodles.
18. San Diego Chargers: OT Cordy Glenn
Glenn will pair with Jared Gaither to give the Chargers perhaps the two biggest offensive tackles in the league.
19. Chicago Bears: LT Mike Adams
The Bears get their man to help protect Cutler’s backside. The Bears are glad he lands in the windy city.
20. Tennessee Titans: C Peter Konz
Titans reach for Konz but, the interior of their line is so bad they have nearly no other choice (because we’re not doing trades here). Konz is the best Center in the draft and comes from a strong Wisconsin program that produces excellent linemen. Konz is well worth this pick and will be ready to go on day one.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: DT Dontari Poe
The Bengals won’t pass on the value that they see here in Poe. He’s just too big, too strong, with too much room to grow, skill wise. With many of the team’s basic needs already met this off season, they will see Poe as a project with great potential: huge on the backside and the upside.
22. Cleveland Browns: OT Jonathan Martin
The Browns know QB Colt McCoy needs protecting if they’re going to see if he can captain the ship. They’re not going to waste their investment from last season by investing in another QB this season… at least not in the first round. So, they’ll place Martin on the right side to see if he can give McCoy the front side wall he needs to succeed. Just eight weeks ago Martin was listed as a top ten prospect.
23. Detroit Lions: CB Dre Kirkpatrick
The Lions take a CB who they split wide and bump newly acquired Jacob Lacey inside to cover the slot. With Chris Houston, Lacey and Kirkpatrick, the Lions have a formidable CB trio. With the receivers covered longer, the DL will be able to create their pressure… and the Lions have plenty of force up front to make that happen. Watch out!
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: DT Jerel Worthy
Worthy is undersized for a NT but, plays with a tremendous amount of leverage and could take over for aging Casey Hampton at some point, soon.
25. Denver Broncos: WR Stephen Hill
Yep, Manning needs another wide receiver and Hill is tall (6-4), fast (4.36) athletic (great build) and has good hands. Plus, he’s teachable. His one drawback is… he only caught 28 passes last year in his college team’s system. However, he’ll probably catch a few more than that from the Man (ing). Hill and Demaryius Thomas together would be formidable.
26. Houston Texans: OG Kevin Zeitler
The Texans are set to return to the playoffs if they can patch their OL decimated by free agency. Zeitler, who hails from Wisconsin, the Greek God School for Offensive Linemen, should help right away.
27. New England: DE Kendall Reyes
Reyes will not only inject some youth, he fills a need and, is a Belichick kind of guy who just so happens to be very good at applying pressure.
28. Green Bay Packers: ILB Dont’a Hightower
Hightower gives the Packers another LB who can play the run or get after the QB.
29. Baltimore Ravens: DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus
Mercilus losing a finger while attempting to help another weight lifter in distress in the weight room… is just the stuff Ozzie Newsome builds his team around. Mercilus, Haitian by decent, went on with his business, saying, “I only need remember where I’m from.” Which is an impoverished country. For Mercilus football is privilege. Do the Ravens really need 16 sacks and nine more forced fumbles? Don’t we all.
30. San Francisco 49ers: OG Amini Silatolu
Silatolu, from Midwestern State (Div-II), was excellent at the combine. His team was number one in the nation in rushing. Coach Harbaugh will know just how to nurture and get the maximum from this little big man (6-3, 311). Silatolu is widely considered the second (or third) best Guard prospect in this draft.
31. New England Patriots: OLB Shea McClellin
McClellin isn’t the fastest OLB (4.54) but he’s not the slowest either. He knows how to take good angles and strip the ball when he gets there. He’s a Vrabel clone and a Belichick guy through and through. Smart player with a big upside. He had 9.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for a loss last year.
32. New York Giants: TE Coby Fleener
Fleener isn’t a big blocking TE machine. He catches the ball and is great at doing so. His speed will give the Giants offense another dimension, God forbid. Since the Giants lost two tight ends in the Super Bowl, it’s Fleener to the rescue.
33. St. Louis Rams: WR Reuben Randle
Randle will be ecstatic to have someone throwing him the ball who is a top flight QB. He should shortly become Bradford’s favorite target. He had 53 receptions for 917 yards and 8 TD. He should be able to equal that in his first year. While they won’t exactly look like the Greatest Show on Turf, they’ll be headed in the right direction.
34. Indianapolis Colts: CB Stephon Gilmore
Quick in the helmet and quick in the britches (runs a 4.32 40). Talented enough to go in the first.
35. Minnesota Vikings: CB Janoris Jenkins
Jenkins could be the best cover corner in the draft. He also could be the wildest wild card since Pac Man Jones decided he was God’s gift to the league. Jenkins has so many issues it’s hard to say where to begin. Multiple arrests. Multiple children from multiple wives. At least he can multiply. I just wish he could multiply mathematically. Minnesota is probably a good landing spot for his “multiple” personality.
36. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: LB Lavonte David
An All-American with 152 tackles this year. The Bucs can use him for sure.
37. Cleveland Browns: RB Doug Martin
With a WR and an OT already taken in round one, the Browns pick up the 2nd best running back in this draft. Martin reminds many of Ray Rice and will help energize the whole offense.
38. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Courtney Upshaw
At 6-2 and 272, Upshaw is a “tweener” and it will difficult for teams to decide whether to play him at LB or DE. In any event, he’ll be able to outshine most of the players playing those positions on the Jags D. So, he finally comes off the board.
39. St. Louis Rams (from Washington): RB David Wilson
The Rams have already picked up DL Michael Brockers and WR Rueben Randle in this draft so now they pick up RB David Wilson to make sure they can give Steven Jackson a rest from time to time. Jackson has been so overused that the Rams would be wise to begin to split carries between he and Wilson this season in an effort to keep Jackson fresh and available for future seasons.
40. Carolina Panthers: DE Chandler Jones
The Panthers picked up a huge receiver in round one so here they go DE to pair with the DT they drafted last year. Chandler has some injury issues and has talent above the 40th pick.
41. Buffalo Bills: CB Josh Robinson
The Bills got the LT of the future in round one so now they pick up the CB they need. Robinson went to the same small college that Asante Samuels comes from.
42. Miami Dolphins: WR Alshon Jeffery
The Dolphins got their QB in round one and now select the WR he’ll be throwing to. At 6-3 and 216 with 4.46 speed he ought to be a target that Tannehill can’t miss.
43. Seattle Seahawks: DE Nick Perry
His 9.5 sacks as a junior gets him drafted here by the coach who recruited him to USC out of high school. Perry also happens to fill a big need for the Seahawks.
44. Kansas City Chiefs: S Harrison Smith (Notre Dame)
Smith has 4.46 speed. His presence in the Chiefs defensive backfield would give Eric Berry a little longer to recuperate. However, Smith is not just a substitute. At 6-2 and 213 lbs. ESPN (Scout Inc.) ranks him at #35 overall and he’s clearly the second best Safety in the draft. I believe he could compete for the top spot. NFL Network describes Smith as “ultra-athletic.” On tape Smith looks to have very good ball instincts and picks up well on where the QB is going before the ball ever leaves his hand. Mike Mayock says of Smith, “He is one of the smartest kids I think I’ve met as far as understanding the game of football.“ Harrison Smith was also a Notre Dame team captain. Oh, Rudy would be proud.
45. Dallas Cowboys: OT Zebrie Sanders
Jones stretches to secure his offensive lineman, a place of great need, and, the pundits will be appeased.
46. Philadelphia Eagles: Devon Still
Eagles are thrilled to get a first round talent in the second round.
47. New York Jets: DE/OLB Andre Branch
Ryan can fashion Branch to be his situational rusher and the Jets need rushers.
48. New England Patriots: CB Alonzo Dennard
A disciplined, physical, highly productive, corner with 4.43 speed.
49. San Diego Chargers: OLB Zach Brown
Brown’s raw athleticism and speed could help ease the pain of Larry English’s fondness for the infirmary.
50. Chicago Bears: TE Dwayne Allen
Allen does a little bit of everything well and has good hands too. He’ll give Cutler another option that he sorely needs while Allen also serves as another stout blocker in the running game.
51. Philadelphia Eagles: OG Kelechi Osemele
Reid loves OL and he takes out Osemele as an insurance policy if one of his other lineman come up lame, like newly signed “Lineman Currently Know As Demetrus” Bell has done frequently.
52. Tennessee Titans: DE Vinny Curry
Titans go DE to help bolster already signed Kamerion Wimbley and resigned Dave Ball. Last year’s 7 sack output from the DE/OLB position should be exceeded by this group.
53. Cincinnati Bengals: DT Brandon Thompson
Bengals need DT depth and Thompson should be able to step right into the rotation. His physical prowess should help immediately: 4.9 40 and 36 reps at 225.
54. Detroit Lions: RB Lamar Miller
Lions RB by committee is more like RB by hospital ward. Miller should help to secure the position. 5-11, 212 and 4.32 speed. Plus, he’ll run with a chip on his shoulder because he thought he should have gone in the first round.
55. Atlanta Falcons: OT Bobby Massie
Falcons are willing to reach to take Massie from Ole Miss. Will Svitek can only hold down the fort just so long… like maybe two series of plays. Chiefs fans could have told you that.
56. Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Jamell Fleming
His natural abilities and fierce competitiveness help him fit right into the Steelers backfield.
57. Denver Broncos: CB/KR Jayron Hosley
The Broncos corner backs are getting long in the tooth. Hosley should help put some bite back in their coverage team. Plus, he’s an excellent return man.
58. Houston Texans: WR Chris Givens
At 5-11 and 198, with 4.3 speed, Givens should give the Texans a Wes Welker type presence and consequently help to open up the back end even more for Andre Johnson. Yikes.
59. Green Bay Packers: OLB Bruce Irvin
Packers get the much needed QB pressure they covet. Irvine could help immediately.
60. Baltimore Ravens: WR Mohamed Sanu
Raven get the wide out they’ve needed to help Bolden and Flacco succeed. Sanu would give the Raven offense a definite improved feel.
61. San Francisco 49ers: FS George Iloka
Iloka is excellent in coverage and man skills but, his fastest time is 4.52 in he 40. However, at 6.4 and 225 pounds, opposing wide receivers may not want to come over the middle but once.
62. New England Patriots: FS Markelle Martin
With injuries to his shoulder and knee, Martin is a bit of a risk but, with 4.38 speed the Patriots could really use his services on the back end.
63. New York Giants: OG James Brown
Oww! I feel good! Big need in the big apple, filled by a small town boy from Troy.
All Seven Rounds For The Chiefs
1st Round- 11. Kansas City Chiefs: G/C David DeCastro
Chiefs are no longer drafting from a long list of needs and can take the best Guard available since Steve Hutchinson (#17 in 2001). There are hints that DeCastro could also play center for the Chiefs. With C Casey Wiegmann likely retiring and LG Ryan Lilja still serviceable (and Hudson available), this possibility rises as does DeCastro’s value to the Chiefs. GM Scott Pioli loves position-flexible athletes.
2nd Round- 44. Kansas City Chiefs: S Harrison Smith (Notre Dame)
Smith has 4.46 speed. His presence in the Chiefs backfield gives Eric Berry a little longer to recuperate. However, Smith is not just a substitute. At 6-2 and 213 lbs. ESPN ranks him at #35 overall and he’s clearly the second best Safety in the draft. NFL Network describes Smith as “ultra-athletic.” On tape Smith looks to have very good instincts and picks up well on where the ball is headed before it ever leaves the QBs hand. Mike Mayock says of Smith, “He is one of the smartest kids I think I’ve met as far as understanding the game of football.” Harrison Smith was also a Notre Dame team captain.
3rd Round- 74. Kansas City Chiefs: NT Alameda Ta’amu (Washington)
I love Ta’amu. Below you’ll see from these vidcaps that he is almost always the first guy off the ball and that helps him create penetration on a high percentage of plays. I rather have him or Josh Chapman over Dontari Poe.
Alameda Ta’amu vs. Utah, 2011
Look carefully at each picture and you’ll see Ta’amu is not only the first one off the ball at the snap he’s already making penetration. In some cases other players still have their hand on the ground.
Alameda Ta’amu vs. Washington State, 2011
Here’s Ta’amu against Washington State a little closer up so you can see just how pronounced his invasion of enemy territory is. He plays with great energy and intent. He may have a lot to learn but, I believe he’ll be a very good NT in the NFL.
Washington would at times line Ta’amu up outside with great success. Below he’s lined up at RDE. It looks a little like what the Ravens do with Haloti Ngata.
4th Round- 107. Kansas City Chiefs: WR/KR Ryan Broyles (Oklahoma)
Who wouldn’t love to have Broyles on their team. He’s shifty in a deceptive way and knows how to get separation. Plays extremely hard, like linebacker hard. Owns the Big 12 all time receptions record. Broyles had surgery to repair a torn ACL five months ago but, was running without a limp on April 12th, OU’s Pro Day. Nice kid and good guy with one blemish on his personal record, larceny in 2007 (used a key code and took gasoline from a gas station). Here’s his “Ultimate Highlights.”
5th Round- 146. Kansas City Chiefs: ILB Tank Carder (TCU)
I can’t even believe Carder is ranked this low. Just watch 2 minutes of his game tape against Wisconsin… and you know I love their linemen… but you’ll see several harder hits than any of the hits Luke Kuechly dishes in 30 minutes of his game tape. Carder was MVP of this game (the Rose Bowl). What I really like about Carder, besides his hard hitting is, he’s always coming forward.
Carder vs. Wisconsin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBQTw7zBv1k
6th Round- 182. Kansas City Chiefs: OT Nate Potter (Boise State)
Potter’s one of those players who’s fallen while others are springing up the charts. However, I think he should be a 4th rounder. He has the potential to be a very good back up to Winston at right tackle in his rookie year. The problems I see for Potter comes from his conditioning. Late in games he can be bull rushed and even knocked down. He begins to lunge or go for the cut block but, these are all coachable offenses. I really like his feet when he’s fresh. Very fast on his feet.
7th Round A- 218. Kansas City Chiefs: WR Dale Moss (South Dakota State)
This 6-3, 2-13 lb wideout goes to South Dakota State but, watch his Pro Day below and you’ll be impressed. He used to play basketball and although he only was able to lift 225 lbs. 11 times his vertical leap was 41 ½ inches. For a WR this tall you wouldn’t imagine that his change of direction would be very good but, his basketball background obviously helps because he’s smooth in and out of his breaks. In 2011, Moss had 61 receptions for 949 yards and 6 TDs. He’s got very good hands but, he’s raw and would need time on the practice squad. However, he gets a big “P” for potential.
7th Round B- 238. Kansas City Chiefs: ILB Chris Galippo (USC)
In the USC tradition, Galippo is a big hitting linebacker. The problem is, he runs a 4.75 40. However, what he lacks in speed he makes up for in instincts. The question is whether or not his instincts will carry him far enough in the NFL. I can see him getting playing time next to DJ. Pioli likes to draft two players who play the same position in the same draft. So, Galippo and Carder can bunk together. Here’s a vid of his greatest hits.