In the latest edition of the Huddle, the writers got together to share their thoughts on free agency and the upcoming draft, and put together our own version of a mock draft.
As we currently don’t have writers for every team, the mock is incomplete. You will also see that some writers have selected the same players – particularly in the top and bottom ten – but in most cases we have offered several alternative options for each selection so that you can see where we think the team is headed on draft day.
1.3 Kim, Minnesota Vikings - Matt Kalil, OT, USC
1.4 Miranda, Cleveland Browns - Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Alternative Options: WR Justin Blackmon
1.6* Patty, St.Louis Rams - Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
*(Assuming the Rams stay put at 6 & not trade up to #4 or down – I’m not buying that nonsense.)
1.7 Corinna, Jacksonville Jaguars - Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
1.16 Kristine, New York Jets – Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
I fully expect Ingram to go much earlier than 16, but Rex Ryan is reportedly “smitten” with Ingram and there has been some speculation that the Jets, who are in desperate need of a pass rusher, will try and move up to get him . Ingram is a great scheme fit for the Jets, and his versatility as a player has him in high demand.
Alternative Options: DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw, Safety Mark Barron, WR Michael Floyd
1.19 Kelly and Reva, Chicago Bears - Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
The CB position is lacking in depth as Peanut Tillman is really the only recognizable force. He’s not getting any younger at 31, though. Gilmore has the size, speed, and athleticism to give a much-needed boost to the secondary (a boost that will be required to contain high-powered quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford in the NFC North).
Alternative Options: OT Jonathan Martin, DE Vinny Curry
1.22 Miranda, Cleveland Browns - Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
A good, speedy and athletic receiver will provide Colt McCoy with a much-needed, true #1 target.
Alternative options: WR Kendall Wright,
1.23 Melissa, Detroit Lions - Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Despite having several needs, the Lions can’t pass up the opportunity to improve their secondary. And with so much defensive backfield talent in the draft, they’d be foolish not to go after someone like Jenkins early, even with all his off the field issues. The Lions have a good lockerroom and you have to believe that he’s straightened himself out.
Alternative Options: I won’t even pretend like Morris Claiborne will be around so I’ll say either Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina; and Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama. Both these guys are long shorts too, as they will likely not be around for the Lions first-round pick. But a girl can dream. Looking outside the CB position, I wouldn’t mind seeing Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia. More protection for Matthew Stafford is never a bad thing.
1.24 Emily and Melanie, Pittsburgh Steelers - Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
With Casey Hampton getting older and Chris Hoke retiring due to a neck injury, the Steelers need to find a new NT. Poe is big, strong and fast, and his stock soared after an outstanding performance at the Combine. He was suddenly a potential top-10 pick and out of the Steelers’s reach. Then folks remembered that they need to watch game tape, and they realized that Poe isn’t a good fit for a variety of defensive schemes. He’s right for the Steelers, though, who need a huge, strong, space-occupying mass to pull double-teams for their run defense, but I don’t know if he’ll drop low enough. And I’m not sure the Steelers would trade up for him, with the draft being so deep in DTs.
Alternative options: ILB Dont’a Hightower - Most mocks have the Steelers picking this ILB, Still the likeliest pick.. TE Coby Fleener- A lot of folks are assuming the Steelers won’t go TE in the 1st round now that they signed Leonard Pope, but Pope could be an insurance policy.
I doubt the Steelers take an offensive lineman in the 1st round.
1.25 Brenda, Denver Broncos - Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
For the record, I don’t fancy myself as a Mock Draft expert. In fact, this was significantly easier last year when the Broncos drafted No. 2 overall, because:
Mere weeks ago, it was widely assumed – with little debate – the Denver Broncos would go one of two directions with pick No. 25: defensive tackle or cornerback.
Peyton Manning changes everything.
There’s ongoing talk, at least in the blogosphere and sports radio circles, suggesting the Broncos award Manning by selecting an offensive player in round one – either a running back to complement Willis McGahee or a wide receiver, because, well, the Denver has now adopted the “pass first, ask questions later” philosophy.
I can certainly see the merit of that argument; however, I’ve advocated for a DT for so long that in good faith I simply cannot back down. The Broncos defensive line needs some bolstering in the trenches. Enter a young, talented, line-stuffing DT.
Ty Warren, who missed all of last season, returns, and Denver recently signed ex-Bronco Justin Bannan, so yes, the Broncos have DTs, but no one qualifies in elite or game-changing status.
Cox is among as many as six defensive tackle prospects listed as first round caliber, though chances are at least three of those players slip to the second round.
Alternative Options: If he’s unavailable, the Broncos have several other options at DT, such as Michael Brockers, Dontari Poe, and Jerel Worthy.
1.27 Kristen, New England Patriots - Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
The Patriots need a player like Jones. He’s a player who has a ton of upside based on his potential alone – he hasn’t quite reached his potential yet, size or talent wise, and a coach like Belichick could take him that final 10% he needs to go to become a really strong pass rusher. And since a strong pass rush is exactly what the Pats need, it’s an ideal fit. Plus, Jones is a good locker room guy. At ‘Cuse, he was known as a leader and often took young players under his wing. All around, the Patriots would benefit from Jones.
1.28 Casey, Green Bay Packers – Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
As much as I would like to see either Courtney Upshaw or Dont’a Hightower drafter by Green Bay in the first round, I’m sure they will be gone for the Packers have a chance to draft then.
Alternative Options: DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus, DE Andre Branch
1.29 Melissa, Baltimore Ravens - Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
If he’s still available, Ravens are likely to take him in the first round. He could be the heir to Ray Lewis’ empire…
Alternative options: WR Stephen Hill - Ravens lucked out last year when they drafted WR Torrey Smith from UMD. Hill is on their radar this year as there were slim pickings in the free agent market for WRs.ESPN’s Todd McShay said that Hill’s performance was “one of the most impressive combine workouts I’ve ever seen from a receiver.” DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw - No one is sure where he will go in the draft and Ravens are keeping tabs on him.
1.31 Kristen, New England Patriots - Trade out of pick
I won’t even bother pretending the Patriots will pick a player here. They won’t. They can trade it to a team who wants a late-round player and they’ll likely pick up a first rounder next year and a second or third rounder this year. That is the Belichick way and unless the Hoodie has gone completely crazy, it stands to reason we’ll see it happen again.
1.32 Kelsey, New York Giants - Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
The New York Giants, like most teams, will always go for the best available player when their turn comes in the first round of the draft. No matter what position they play (that is if they’re not a quarterback).
Konz is the top rated center in the upcoming draft and was part of that monstrous offensive line at Wisconsin. What the Giants’ biggest need in the line is an offensive tackle, but taking in a young and fresh new center can really help David Baas, who was riddled with injuries last season.
Konz is 22 years old, 6’5″ and 315lbs. No one gets through this kid. He protects the quarterback and makes a path for the running back with ease. With his size it’s very hard to take him down and will be a strong weapon for Eli Manning and the Giant offense.