This will be the first of several mock drafts involving a few of the writers here at withthefirstpick.com. For the first draft Ty Mac, Bryant McNames, and myself took turns assuming the roles of GM’s in the war room for the first round. This mock will be broken up into 3 parts being published over the next two weeks, with analysis accompanying each pick. Keep your eyes out for larger mocks as we get closer to that magic day in April.
Order: Ty, Bryant, Brian
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Stanford
TY: I love Robert Griffin but he is nowhere near as safe of a prospect as Andrew Luck. Luck is a rare talent and there is no way that Indianapolis will pass up on taking him first overall in April. This was the easiest pick in the entire draft.
Bryant: The Rams could be entertaining many offers from teams wanting this pick come draft day. If they end up making the pick, it has to be Kalil. Offensive tackle Jason Smith, a former top 5 pick, has not panned out and his future with the team is uncertain. Roger Saffold could be moved to right tackle or even guard this season. That leaves a major hole on the left side of the offensive line. Kalil could step in and start from day one and anchor the line for the next 10 years.
3. Vikings – Morris Claiborne
Brian: The Vikings have many needs and just like the Rams, I expect them to be entertaining many offers from teams looking to trade up. If Minnesota does stay at the number 3 pick I believe they will take the clear top corner in this draft to assist that ailing secondary.
TY: RGIII has tremendous upside. His athletic ability is second to none in this draft class and his arm strength and accuracy is rivaled only by Andrew Luck. His size is somewhat of a concern, as too is his ability to transition from the spread offense he operated in college into a pro style at the next level. Still, I personally have little doubt that Griffin will prove to be a great player in the NFL and I will be shocked if he’s not the second pick overall. Someone (possibly Cleveland) will make a deal with St. Louis to assure themselves of the second best prospect in the draft. Because we did not allow trades for this mock, Griffin was still available for Cleveland at four overall. However, I can guarantee that Cleveland won’t get this lucky on draft night. RGIII will cost them more than the fourth pick, but I think he will quickly prove to be worth the compensation.
5. Bucs – Trent Richardson RB/ Alabama
Bryant: Even though they are coming off a terrible season and picking in the top 5, I honestly don’t see many holes in the Bucs roster. The two spots they use could use a playmaker at would be cornerback and running back. With Morris Claiborne off the board, the pick will be Richardson. In Richardson they get a top 5 player in this draft and arguably the best running back prospect in the last few years. He possesses good speed and power, and is a viable pass catcher out of the backfield. A combination of he and LeGarrette Blount will be hard for opposing defenses to handle.
6. Redskins – Riley Reiff OT/ Iowa
Brian: The Redskins will be looking to draft their future quarterback in the first round, but if they are unable to grab RG3 they will have to settle with the O-line. There are too many questions at this point to project Tannehill going in the top and the Redskins might look to free agency to grab a QB. Reiff will step in right away at right tackle and protect whoever becomes the new Washington play caller.
TY: I had a really tough time with this pick. The Jaguars have a lot of needs that could be addressed at this point in the draft, so for me it came down to the best offensive player and best defensive player available. In my opinion those were wide receiver Justin Blackmon and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. Blackmon would make a ton of sense for the Jaguars since he would provide last year’s first round pick, quarterback Blaine Gabbert, with a legitimate weapon on the outside. However, I just see Kirkpatrick as the better prospect and one who happens to play a premier position that is of great need to the Jaguars. This year’s free agency class is loaded with talented receivers so I think that Jags would be better off testing the market or looking to later rounds to find a wide out and using this pick on a premier defensive player.
8. Carolina Panthers – Justin Blackmon/WR Oklahoma State
Bryant: The Panthers biggest needs are on defense, but they would be thrilled to see Blackmon there at the 8 spot. This is already a solid offensive team, but pairing him with Steve Smith to go along with Cam Newton and a solid running game would be an enticing option. Carolina’s offense could be one of the better units in the league and a scary proposition for opposing defenses.
9. Miami – Quinton Coples DE/UNC
Brian: The rumblings in Miami are that they are going with a 4-3 defense next season and Coples is the premier DE in this class. I have questions, as do many, about Coples motor and work ethic. However, Coples is far too talented and show cased that talent in the senior bowl. I expect Coples to continue to dominate the Combine and other offseason workouts, insuring his spot in the top 10.
TY: Buffalo addressed the inside of their defensive line last year when they took Marcel Dareus third overall. This year I would expect them to look for a pass rusher. Ingram is an explosive athlete who is quick off the line of scrimmage. With Quinton Coples already off the board Ingram is probably the next best pure pass rusher available and he would be a huge upgrade to a Bills defense that struggled to sustain pressure on opposing quarterbacks in 2011.