First Round Grades and Updated Team Needs

With the first round of the draft completed, here are my initial grades for each of the first 32 picks. In addition, I’ve included the updated team needs for each team. This should provide a good indication of where the teams are likely to go in next couple of days.

1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck QB, Stanford

GRADE: A

You can’t give anything less than an A to Indy. Taking the best QB prospect since Peyton Manning to replace Peyton Manning.

Remaining Needs: WR, G/C, NT, CB, TE, LB

2. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III QB, Baylor

GRADE: A

The Redskins deserve an A for recognizing that there are only two franchise QBs in this draft and going after the last one.

Remaining Needs: RT, CB, S, ILB, G/C

3. Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson RB, Alabama

GRADE: B+

This would have been an A if they hadn’t traded up. Giving up 4th, 5th, and 7th round picks to move up one spot is just bad business. Even if a team was trying to jump them for Richardson, they lost too much to justify it. That said, Richardson is a great fit and should be productive for the Browns.

Remaining Needs: WR, RT, QB, DB

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Mychal Kendricks among the biggest winners at the NFL Combine

The Combine still has one more day to go but Mychal Kendricks stole the show for the LBs today. He ran an incredible 4.41 and showcased his remarkable athleticism in the broad jump and vertical. To go along with this great athleticism, Kendricks looked awesome in drills as well. Kendricks came into the combine as a fourth round prospect but should now be considered a second to third round prospect. After the jump see highlights on Kendricks and my updated ILB position rankings. Expect a player profile on Kendricks in the coming weeks.

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Defensive Line and Linebackers winners and losers

Hey guys. Another day of the combine is done and it is time to let yall know who won and who lost. Take the jump and find out.

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2 Round Mock

Finally got a 2 Round Mock done. I sprinkled in a few trades but this is more conservative than my last. Enjoy.

1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck QB, Stanford

Pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point.

TRADE: St. Louis Rams trade #2 pick to Washington for their 1st, 2nd and conditional 2013 2nd round pick.

2. Washington Redskins (from Rams): Robert Griffin III QB, Baylor

This is one of the more predictable trades I can remember as Washington moves up to get RG3. The 2013 pick will become a 1st round pick if RG3 leads them to the playoffs.

3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil OT, USC

The Vikings couldn’t be happier to see someone trade up for RG3 because then it means they get Kalil. He fills a big need and will protect Christian Ponder for the next 10 years.

4. Cleveland Browns: Justin Blackmon WR, Oklahoma State

I’m going on the record now, the worst thing the Browns could possibly do is to trade up for Robert Griffin. He will just be another talented young QB with no weapons to work with that will FAIL MISERABLY. Taking an elite receiver like Blackmon will actually give whoever their QB is a chance.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne CB, LSU

Tampa is in a good situation here since its unlikely any defensive players are taken in the top 4. Claiborne fills the biggest need for the Bucs and is the top talent available who’s not Trent Richardson.

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Ranking the 2012 Draft Prospects – Rush Outside Linebackers

Today I will rank the Rush LB class for the 2012 draft. This class lacks an elite pass rusher (see: Von Miller or Aldon Smith from 2011 as the definition of elite prospect) but has plenty of very good pass rushers. However, after the top 8, the dropoff is very steep in talent and potential.

1. Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama – Upshaw is the best pass rusher in the class. He combines a good set of moves, with good athleticism and great instincts.

2. Whitney Merciulus, DE/OLB, Illinois – Mercilus’ position is unknown (DE or OLB) but he is a fantastic pass rusher with good athleticism.

3. Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC – Perry has shot up draft boards after a strong season for USC. He is a very physical player with a good set of pass rushing moves.

4. Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina – Ingram is the most intriguing prospect in this draft. Is he going to be a DE or an OLB? Who knows, but what we do know is that he will likely be a very good pass rusher in the NFL. My player comparison for him would be Lamarr Woodley.

5. Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall – Curry is an intriguing prospect with a great set of pass rushing moves. He has excelled in Marshall’s defense as a DE but will likely switch to a OLB in the NFL.

All five of these prospects currently carry a first round grade from myself.

See the rest of the Rush LBs after the jump.

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2 Round NFL Mock Draft

Well I have gathered enough information to publish another mock draft. This one is of the two round variety. Anywhere you see a ? next to team needs, that means I still need help with those teams. Once I gather all that information, I can begin expanding the draft to 3 and 4 rounds.

Round 1

1.    Indianapolis (2-14) – Team Needs: QB, OG, OC, 2CB, WR, SS, TE, DE, LB, RB – Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford – This is an absolute no brainer and no explanation is really needed.
2.    St. Louis (2-14) – 2OT, 2WR, 2OLB, FS, CB, DT, OC, RB, FB – Matt Kalil, OT, USC – This pick is basically a no brainer. The Rams will consider Justin Blackmon but a franchise LT is more important and more valuable than a franchise WR.
3.    Minnesota (3-13) – LT, CB, WR, S, OG, 2LB, DT, FB, RB3 – Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State – If Kalil is taken by the Rams, this pick will also be a no brainer. Blackmon is a beast and would give Jake Locker a franchise WR.

4.    Cleveland (4-12) – QB, WR, RT, DE, CB, OLB, RB, OG, FS, DT, K – Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor – Again, another no brainer. If Blackmon is off the board, the Browns will have to take the 2nd best QB in the draft and someone that fits perfectly in Pat Shurmur’s West Coast offense. He has great accuracy, is very mobile, and has great intelligence.

5.    Tampa Bay (4-12) – 2CB, 2LB, RT, WR, OC, RB, LG, FB, DT, QB, K – Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU – Another easy pick. The Bucs biggest need is finding a CB and Claiborne is the best CB in the draft class and could be better in coverage than Patrick Peterson was in coverage.

After the jump see the rest of this mock draft

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Updated Position Rankings – DE’s

Last week we began to update the position rankings and finished through the offensive side of the ball. This week, the goal is to finish the defensive side of the ball and then move onto player profiles next week.

1. Donte Paige-Moss, DE, North Carolina: Moss started the season behind Coples in my rankings but after dominating the early portion of the season and Coples struggling mightily, I now have Moss just ahead of Coples.

2. Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina: Coples is still a very good prospect and could regain top 10 status with a strong finish.

3. Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State: Jenkins is a beastly pass rusher and should fit in well as a 4-3 DE in the NFL. He needs to improve as a run stopper to be an every down player.

Follow the jump to see the rest of the Defensive Ends

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