Comprehensive Mock NFL Draft

Contrary to popular belief, Super Bowls are won in April. Building your team through the draft is how teams can rise from the cellars to the playoffs. This class has some serious star power at the top; only time will tell how these prospects develop.

1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck – QB, Stanford. This one is a no-brainer. There hasn’t been this kind of quarterback prospect since the man he’s replacing, Peyton Manning, came out in 1998. The expectations will be high for Luck, but I expect him to become an elite quarterback immediately in Indianapolis.

2. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III – QB, Baylor. Washington showed that there is no price tag for a franchise quarterback by giving up three first round picks to move into this slot. He will give defensive coordinators nightmares with his combination of speed and accuracy. He has higher upside than Luck based on his athleti-cism, but I wouldn’t count on him capitalizing on it.

3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil – T, USC. Kalil is a brick wall at tackle. Even though the jury is still out on Christian Ponder, adding a mon-ster left tackle like Kalil would certainly help keep Ponder on his feet. Kalil would be a cornerstone of the Vikings line for the future.

4. Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson – RB, Alabama. Although I am not a proponent of tak-ing running backs this high in the draft, I think the Browns cannot pass on Richardson. After losing Peyton Hillis in the offseason, the Browns desperately need a playmaker at running back. Richardson should be a perfect fit for the Browns’ West Coast Offense.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne – CB, LSU. If the Browns pass on Richardson, the Bucs will definitely take him here; the Bucs’ defense needs a facelift. Claiborne is the best de-fender in the draft and will make an immediate impact in their defensive backfield. Despite his incredibly low Wonderlic test (four of 50!), he has good enough ball skills and field presence to succeed in the NFL.

6. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon – WR, Oklahoma State. Sam Bradford desperately needs a big weapon. Although Blackmon disappointed some by only measuring 6’1″ at the combine, he still has great hands and the ability to get open. A Blackmon/Bradford combo could be dangerous for years to come.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Melvin Ingram – DE, South Carolina. Their biggest need is a WR, but no player fits the mold at this slot (a trade down could be possible). Ingram is a safe pick for the Jags here. He is an explosive defender and should help the pass rush immediately in Jacksonville.

8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tanehill – QB, Texas A&M. I have never been a fan of Tanehill. I feel like he is getting a lot of offseason hype but is not a true franchise quarterback. If Matt Bar-kley or Landry Jones would have entered the draft, Tanehill may not even be a first-round quarterback. He looks great in workouts, but no game has ever been won in a workout. Having said that, all signs point to Tanehill becoming a Dolphin based on their glaring need at QB.

9. Carolina Panthers: Dontari Poe – DT, Memphis. Although they could use some help at WR, no player is worthy of the ninth pick. Carolina desperately needs help up front and Poe should help them in run support right away.

10. Buffalo Bills: Riley Reiff – OT, Iowa. The Bills improved their defense in the offseason and could fill the Jason Peters hole with Reiff. He’s a tough tackle who projects to be a good starter in the league. He’s a tad undersized, but should be able to get bigger once he gets in a NFL training program.

11. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Kuechly – LB, Boston College. Kuechly is a better athlete than some give him credit for. He’s a smart football player that should be able to rack up tackles in the league. He will team up with Derrick Johnson to create an intimidating duo at linebacker.

12. Seattle Seahawks: Michael Floyd – WR, Notre Dame. This is a stretch, but Floyd should be a good receiver for the Seahawks. Matt Flynn is going to need some targets in order to succeed in Seattle. Floyd has good hands and should be able to contribute as a rookie after a good senior year for the Irish.

13. Arizona Cardinals: Mark Barron – S, Ala-bama. Arizona’s defense needs improvement and Barron will be able to contribute as a rookie. If Tanehill somehow slips to this pick, don’t be surprised if the Cardinals give up on Kolb and pull the trigger on a quarterback.

14. Dallas Cowboys: Fletcher Cox – DT, Mis-sissippi State. Cox has been rising on draft boards and Jerry Jones loves taking defensive linemen in the draft. Cox is a big body that will plug holes in Dallas.

15. Philadelphia Eagles: Jonathan Martin – OT, Stanford. Don’t be surprised to see the Eagles select a defensive lineman if one slips in the draft. That said, I mock Martin because he is another good tackle in a division with great pass rushing (Ware, JPP, Tuck). Martin needs to add size but will still compete for a starting spot as a rookie in Philadelphia.

16. New York Jets: Quentin Coples – OLB/ DE – North Carolina. This is a big fall for Coples, who was once projected to be a top-5 pick. He’s more of a 4-3 DE, but I feel like Rex Ryan will find a spot for this talented defender. Scouts like his durability (didn’t miss a start in final three seasons), but his work ethic has been questioned at times.

17. Cincinnati Bengals: Whitney Mercilus – DE, Illinois. The Bengals’ Carson Palmer trade looks great after Andy Dalton produced a stellar rookie season. Mercilus is a strong DE, a position where the Bengals lack depth. His raw speed and pass-rushing ability project well at the next level.

18. San Diego Chargers: David DeCastro – G, Stanford. The Chargers offensive line needs work and DeCastro is considered the top guard in the draft. His strong frame and unique skill set will allow him to make an immediate impact for San Diego as a rookie.

19. Chicago Bears: Courtney Upshaw – DE, Alabama. A team can never have enough defen-sive linemen and Upshaw would look great lining up opposite Julius Pepper in Chicago. If an elite offensive lineman falls to them at 19, however, don’t be surprised to see them go that route.

20. Tennessee Titans: Dre Kirkpatrick – CB, Alabama. The Titans need help in the defensive backfield and Kirkpatrick should be able to con-tribute immediately. His size and tackling ability should allow him to compete for a starting job as a rookie.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Cordy Glen – G/ OT, Georgia. The Bengals need to protect their quarterback of the future and Glenn will do just that. His ability to play multiple positions due to his large frame (6′ 5″, 340) makes him more valuable.

22. Cleveland Browns: Stephon Gilmore – CB, South Carolina. Gilmore is a smart and good football player who started all four years for the Gamecocks. The Browns are looking to add an-other corner opposite Haden so Gilmore makes sense at 22. However, adding another offensive weapon is also very possible with this pick.

23. Detroit Lions: Mike Adams – OT, Ohio State. Ohio State always produces quality offensive linemen and Adams should continue that trend. Now that Stafford is proven, the Lions need to build an O-Line to protect him. Adams has the size and quickness to become a star, but he needs to work on his consistency.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Donta Hightower – LB, Alabama. Hightower is a monster in the mid-dle and will provide good depth for the Steelers at LB, where they need to add youth. Hightower is an athletic player who should fit perfectly as an inside backer for the Steelers.

25. Denver Broncos: Kendall Wright – WR, Baylor. The Broncos need to add weapons for Peyton Manning. They have solid weapons but Wright has the speed and hands to have a big rookie season under Manning.

26. Houston Texans: Stephen Hill, WR – Georgia Tech. The Texans have made it clear that they want to add another good receiver opposite Andre Johnson. Hill has a ton of upside and even though this is a bit of a stretch at 26, he should be able to complement their offense very well.

27. New England Patriots: Chandler Jones – DE/OLB, Syracuse. Bill Belichick will not allow his defense to be as poor as it was last season. Jones will help in the pass-rush and his long frame will allow him to get to the quarterback.

28. Green Bay Packers: Andre Branch – DE/ OLB, Clemson. Green Bay’s defense is not what it used to be. They need to add another pass rusher and Branch should be able to get to the quarter-back. A defensive end in college, I believe Branch should be able to make the transition to OLB in Green Bay’s system.

29. Baltimore Ravens: Harrison Smith – S, Notre Dame. Despite popular belief, Ed Reed will retire one of these years. Smith is not as ex-plosive as the future Hall of Famer, but will ben-efit from learning the position from Reed. Don’t be surprised to see them draft tackling machine Lavonte David at this spot as well.

30. San Francisco 49ers: Janoris Jenkins – CB, North Alabama. The 49ers will probably go best player available at this pick, but they do have a few weaknesses in their defensive backfield and guard. Jenkins has been rising on many teams’ boards and could make his way into the late first round. He’s had some off-the-field issues, but is a great football player that should be able to make the transition to the next level.

31. New England Patriots: Michael Brockers – DT, LSU. Belichick loves big defensive line-men and Brockers fits that mold perfectly. They need more size up front and should be able to improve their defense with two first round picks.

32. New York Giants: Lavonte David – LB, Nebraska. Lavonte David is a pure, hard-nosed football player and is a great tackler despite his small frame. He reminds me a lot of D’Qwell Jackson of the Browns based on his ability to find the ball and make the tackle. David should help a depleted Giants linebacker core.

Contact Will Biggar at [email protected].