Wednesday, April 11, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

"All the time, mocking, mocking, mocking, mocking, all the time...but now, it's Babu's turn to mock."

Helllloooooo April! If the Sox weren't sucking so much balls, I would say we've been having a pretty good month here in the Bay State. The B's and C's are locked into the playoffs, with both playing inspired as of late. What more can you say about the Masters that hasn't been said already? Absolutely riveting television that was capped off with the conclusion that despite there being really only three mainstream lefty golfers on tour, they have dominated Augusta in the past decade (Mikey Weir, Phil, and now Bubba have won five of the last ten Green Jackets).

Now back to the lecture at hand...the NFL Draft, which, let's face it, is the single most important event in the world...period. We are t-minus two weeks away from the three day extravaganza which makes watching hours and hours of watching guys in nice suits and adjustable hats must see programming. So, without any more delay, allow me to bring the ruckus...

Round #1:
  1. Indianapolis: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: My only question is why haven't they just given this guy a contract already and get those jerseys printed right now? Do they realize they could be making a shitload of money right now if they just announced what could possibly the most pain-stakingly obvious #1 pick perhaps in the history of the draft?
  2. Washington (via St. Louis): RG3, QB, Baylor: Dude's never going to go by his full name anyway, so let's stick with the abridged version.
  3. Minnesota: Matt Kalil, OT, Southern Cal: He's supposed to be better than his brother...and his brother is a Pro-Bowler...questions, comments, concerns?
  4. Cleveland: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama: This is the only spot where there is a slight chance I could be wrong. Maybe the Browns go with corner Morris Claiborne here, but when they let Peyton Hillis, a 1,000 yard back who was derailed by the Madden curse, just get up and go to KC, this had to be the backup plan right? Also, anytime literally everyone when they talk about Richardson says he's "the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson," that has to mean something right?
  5. Tampa Bay: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU: What has happened to Aqib Talib? Man, it's like receivers and corners, the guys who line up away from the line, are always the guys getting nabbed by the coppers for some kind of tomfoolery. In any event, Talib is looking more Pac Man Jones right now...and it took him like five years to steer his life right (one of the best draft moments in recent memory was when he was drafted...they flashed to him and his family in West Virginia, and he had a diamond encrusted Pac Man medallion necklace...that was amazing haha). Anyway, who knows what the dilly is with Talib right now, so Claiborne is the obvious choice here. What's great about where the Bucs are drafting is that they are guaranteed either Claiborne or Richardson here, which would fill a big need for them either way.
  6. St. Louis (via Washington): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State: Clearly the biggest pre-draft winners are the Rams, who have now turned their fans into Redskin haters (their next two first rounders will go to St. Louis). Blackmon was clearly the best receiver in the nation. There are apparent concerns about his measurables and being smaller than what was originally thought, but if you watch him in game action, this guy could really be special, and the Rams desperately need a big-play receiver now that Brandon Lloyd has moved on (to Foxboro baby!!!)
  7. Jacksonville: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame: This is the only pick thus far that I've made a slight hesitation about. Floyd, like Blackmon, is clearly a special athlete and player, and owns pretty much every receiving record at Notre Dame possible. The reason for the hesitation is the Melvin Ingram's tough for me to not put him here because a top 10 Gamecock is long overdue (I want to say (Pastor) Troy Williamson was the last one).
  8. Miami: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M: I feel like Tannehill is this year's Christian Ponder...he's gonna go way, WAY too high because he's a QB, and teams whose QB situation is even a little in flux are overcompensating like whoa to get one in. The Dolphins, like the Brownies, completely wiffed on the Manning/Matt Flynn/RG3 sweepstakes, and now are totally screwed...this makes me happy. What would make me even happier is if they get Tannehill, because I really think he's going to suck big yeah Miami...make it happen!
  9. Carolina: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis: Okay now it's getting kinda interesting. To me, the Panthers have to go DT here, but will it be Poe, the Combine beast, or Fletcher Cox from Miss St., the beast on film, here? Ever so slight advantage to Poe because I honestly think the freak athlete branding that came with Cam Newton will follow up here on this pick.
  10. Buffalo: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa: The Bills clearly made pass-rushing a priority in the offseason by getting Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, so now they will look to protect newly-annointed franchise QB Ryan Fitzpatrick by going tackle here.
  11. Kansas City: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State: There is waaaayyyyy too much buzz about Cox for him to slip anywhere past here. He's a guy teams will be burning the phone lines looking to move up to take him. Lots of different ways the Chiefs could go here. This team isn't nearly as bad as their record from last year indicates. Lose your best offensive (Jamaal Charles) and defensive (Eric Berry) players before the season really even starts, and tell me how good you're going to end up?
  12. Seattle: David DeCastro, G, Stanford: First off, he's a Pac-10 ( does that sound stupid) guy, and Pete Carroll clearly still has a a soft spot for west coast guys. Second, like Trent Richardson, DeCastro is simply summed up universally as "the best guard prospect since Steve Hutchinson." If you're making a list of guys who will be almost sure-fire Pro-Bowlers, he has to be in the top three or four coming out of this draft. The importance of interior linemen is finally getting first round play in the can thank Bill Belichick for that one when he shocked the world and took Logan Mankins at the end of the first round in '05 following our third Super Bowl victory (I know we're 0-2 in Super Bowls since then, but I can't see any way that Bill and Tom Brady don't win another one...I think quite frankly that's an impossibility).
  13. Arizona: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College: Kuechly could possibly be a target of both KC and Seattle, and there is no way he gets past Philly at 15. This guy is an absolute tackle machine, and will probably start posting 100+ tackle seasons immediately.
  14. Dallas: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina: I'm under the impression that unfortunately, Coples is higher on Dallas' board than Ingram due to Coples sack ability, whereas Melvin is much more of an all-around outside linebacker. If Coples did not have the character issues that he does, he would definitely be in the top 10.
  15. Philadelphia: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU: Word is that Philly is looking at DTs here, and while they hope Poe or Cox falls this far, Brockers is still an excellent value pick for the Eagles in the middle of the first round.
  16. New York Jets: Melvin Ingram, DE, THE University of South Carolina: After the signing of LaRon Landry, the Jets' biggest need, safety, was addressed. Now I think they will look to adding an outside presence,whcih unfortunately means that Melvin will wind up in Jersey, and I have to root against him basically all the time...please don't make this a reality. Ingram could be another guy teams may be looking to move up to snag, sooooooo please do that...don't let him go to the Jets!
  17. Cincinnati (via Oakland): Stephon Gilmore, CB, THE University of South Carolina: Back to back Gamecocks baby! This is going to be a very interesting race to see which CB goes off the board after Claiborne. It will be between Gilmore, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Janoris Jenkins, and all three can make equal cases here. Give the advantage to Gilmore based on his size and how smooth he is coming off the breaks.
  18. San Diego: Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama: The Chargers had absolutely no pass rush last season, so what's going to happen most likely is that they are going for the top-rated outside guy, which would be Upshaw. This is yet another excellent value pick in the middle of the first.
  19. Chicago: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor: It seems like the Bears are attempting to overhaul their entire offense, which may even include cutting Matt Forte loose if they can't get a long-term deal done with him. They added Brandon Marshall, but still really don't have a wealth of other passing options. Wright is being projected as DeSean Jackson-like, so the Bears will be able to build around him and Marshall on the outside for the next five years.
  20. Tennessee: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama: Not sure how the rest of the league feels about him, but Jenkins would have been in the top 10 if he stayed at Florida. Again, the whole "character concerns" issue rears its ugly head. You know, sometimes this concern is legit, but honestly, these kids are like 18 or 19 when most of this stuff goes down...they're still basically kids even though technically, they are adults. Also, if you were the king of a school that had like 25,000 kids, you're saying you wouldn't start some static just because you can?
  21. Cincinnati: Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia: After a breakout combine, I will be stunned if Glenn falls any further than this. Again, there is a renewed dedication to developing interior linemen and it's now the norm to go guard in the first round. Cincy has been rumored to perhaps be on the move with one of their first round picks in order to get Mike Wallace from the Steelers...imagine a scenario with A.J. Green AND Mike Wallace...that kind of firepower would give Pittsburgh and Baltimore a run for their collective money in the AFC North.
  22. Cleveland: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford: Does anyone know if Colt McCoy is going to be okay? I mean they have to be feeling semi-confident about his chances after attempting to low ball the Rams to move up to #2 to get RG3. They may stun people and go Tannehill at #4, but even if they do that, you would have to believe the line needs an upgrade opposite of Joe Thomas.
  23. Detroit: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama: The Lions' secondary was simply atrocious last year...and actually were a big reason why Matt Flynn was able to cash in this offseason. If the Lions are lucky, one of these mid-first round corners will fall to them here.
  24. Pittsburgh: Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama: Can you remember the last time the Steelers struck out drafting a linebacker?
  25. Denver: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin: This seems to be a consensus choice especially now that it's clear that Jeff Saturday will not be joining Peyton Manning in Denver. Konz is the best center prosepct, and Denver needs to do anything in its power to protect the new face of the franchise.
  26. Houston: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech: The only concern about drafting a GA Tech receiver is that they never get enough reps in school (a la Demaryius Thomas). Hill only had 49 catches for his entire career, but he has all the tools, plenty of size, and keep in mind last year, despite only having 28 catches, he had 820 yards, good for a 29.3 yards/reception clip.
  27. New England (via New Orleans): Devon Still, DE/DT, Penn State: Everyone has him going here to us...I've seen the film, and I am completely comfortable taking this guy. Big 10 defensive lineman of the year.
  28. Green Bay: Whitney Mercilus, OLB, Illinois: We all know about Clay Matthews, but can you name the other starting OLB for the Packers?...I didn't think so (it's Erik Walden if you were curious...yeah I never heard of him either).
  29. Baltimore: Rueben Randle, WR, LSU: Randle has unfortunately leap-frogged over THE University of South Carolina's Alshon Jeffrey as the #4 receiver in the draft. Baltimore would love to have Konz to upgrade at the center position, but once again, the Ravens are also in the market for a receiver. Torrey Smith has been the closest thing to a receiver that they have drafted who has panned out for them in basically the history of their franchise.
  30. San Francisco: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford: It seems like a lot of people are believing that with Alex Smith coming back, Harbaugh is going to really start to focus his attention up the middle, which could bring on investing in a 2-TE system, especially considering Vernon Davis is probably going to receive all the attention from opposing defenses. Again, copying the way the Pats do things is just the way to go in my humble opinion.
  31. New England: Mark Barron, S, Alabama: This would be a dream scenario for the Pats, who would be drafting two elite players at the bottom end of the first round. Unfortunately, I don't think it will happen because a.) Barron is the best safety in the draft, which is sure to attract attention from other teams, meaning it's highly unlikely he slips this far, and b.) I just cannot envision a scenario where the Pats are going to stay put and use both picks...they never have, and I don't think this year will be any exception unless this scenario plays out exactly.
  32. New York Giants: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State: Despite winning a Super Bowl, the G-Men have no real talent at offensive tackle to speak of. While teams at the end of the first usually have most of their ducks in a row in terms of their team's talent, and tend to go for the next best available player, I'll be shocked if the tackle position is not addressed here.
Okay, so there's the first round. The Pats also have two picks in the second round, and for my next update, I'll do a two-round mock for my final installment, but here are some possibilities in terms of where the Pats may be headed with their two second rounders (again, it will be hard for me to believe they use both of them, but it's fun to dream)...

  • Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
  • Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
  • Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall
  • Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
  • Mohammed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
  • Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
  • LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
  • Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina
  • Brandon Taylor, S, LSU
  • Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska
  • Tank Carder, OLB, TCU
Alright, so that was great to finally get to do again (and I did it all at work...and nothing really suffered...everybody wins!). Again, I'm looking to get a two-rounder down right before the draft begins...oh man this is absolutely my favorite time of the year. I finally finished this on Friday afternoon, so the Sox have been sucking more balls in the meantime, but we got the draft, and perhaps more importantly, two teams right now heading into the playoffs with legit chances of winning a title (B's got it done in an OT thriller to go up 1-0 in the series against the Caps, and the C's are playing their best basketball they have played in the post-Kendrick Perkins era). Good freggin' times. This weekend is going to be beautiful, so get out and enjoy it New England (okay non-New Englanders, you can enjoy it too I suppose). Take care everyone. Peace.