Post Free Agency MockPosted: March 19, 2012
Now that most big-name free agents have new homes here’s a mock to show how teams’ needs have shifted. I’ll address specific signings more in the comments for each team.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck QB, Stanford
Indianapolis might as well start negotiating its contract with Luck at this point.
2. Washington Redskins (from Rams): Robert Griffin III QB, Baylor
Did anyone think Dan Snyder would lose a bidding war? To those who think they gave up too much, you’re wrong.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil OT, USC
Almost as sure about this pick as I am that Luck will be a Colt. Minnesota can’t pass on Kalil.
4. Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson RB, Alabama
This is where things get tricky. After botching the trade for RG3 they need to restock just about every position on offense. Losing Peyton Hillis makes runningback a bigger need than receiver, as incredible as that sounds, and Richardson is a far better prospect than Justin Blackmon.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne CB, LSU
Another easy pick, Richardson to Tampa has been a common pick lately but with him gone they’ll sprint to the podium to grab Claiborne. Signing Eric Wright isn’t enough to solve their issues at corner and Claiborne is already a better cover corner than Patrick Peterson, who went 5th overall last year.
6. St. Louis Rams (from Redskins): Justin Blackmon WR, Oklahoma State
Blackmon is a great pick for the Rams since it has no one at receiver. They have to consider Riley Reiff as well, but Blackmon is higher on most boards right now and he’s head and shoulders above any other receiver prospect.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Melvin Ingram DE, South Carolina
After failing to bring Mario Williams in, the Jags still need a consistent pass rusher. I suspect Ingram has jumped Quinton Coples on most boards by now since Coples’ inconsistent play his senior year suggests a lack of motivation. Ingram, however, has a nonstop motor and is a proven pass rusher.
8. Miami Dolphins: Quinton Coples DE, UNC
Losing out on Manning and Flynn hurts, but I still can’t see them reaching for Tannehill here. Coples was inconsistent this year but when he plays he plays like a top 5 pick. With Cameron Wake demanding most of the offense’s attention, Coples should thrive in Miami.
9. Carolina Panthers: Riley Reiff OT, Iowa
Carolina has said they will consider a Tackle with this pick, and with Reiff available they have to jump at the opportunity. Definitely the best player available and will make Cam Newton a happy camper.
10. Buffalo Bills: Michael Floyd WR, Notre Dame
Signing SuperMario Williams lessens the need to grab a top-tier pass rusher, though they could still use one. Floyd is better than any such player available and at 6’3″, he’s a great complement to Stevie Johnson.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Kuechly ILB, Boston College
I’m on record as saying Kansas City is by far the best place for Peyton Manning, but they’ll have to move on without him. Kuechly would be a great addition to what is shaping up to be a great Linebacking core.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Courtney Upshaw DE, Alabama
This would’ve previously been my landing spot for Tannehill, but signing Flynn makes that less likely (though still possible). Instead, they can focus on their defensive line and take Upshaw, who should develop into a good pass rusher at DE.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Cordy Glenn G/T, Georgia
Glenn had a great combine and has some people wondering if he can’t play LT. Even if he can’t, he’ll make a damn good RT and an even better Guard. Its that versatility that has him moving ahead of DeCastro.
14. Dallas Cowboys: David DeCastro G, Stanford
Dallas was once considered one of the frontrunners in signing Carl Nicks, but since that didn’t pan out they’ll happily take DeCastro instead. He could be the best Guard in football in just a couple years.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Brockers DT, LSU
Brockers’ stock has dropped slightly after coming to the combine overweight and looking slow, but his talent is too great to ignore and fits a big need for Phili. With Kuechly gone, this is an easy choice.
16. New York Jets: Dontari Poe DT, Memphis
Rex Ryan saw first-hand what kind of impact Haloti Ngata had in Baltimore, and he’ll know how to properly use a
monster man like Poe. Even though they resigned Sione Pouha, he’s 33 and they can groom Poe as his replacement.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Raiders): Janoris Jenkins CB, North Alabama
Jenkins solidified himself as the #2 corner in this draft class at the combine, and he’d go much higher if it weren’t for character concerns. That has never mattered much to the Bengals, however, and they’ll happily take Jenkins to fill one of their biggest needs.
18. San Diego Chargers: Mark Barron S, Alabama
I previously had San Diego taking Courtney Upshaw, but signing Jarrett Johnson makes that less likely. His teammate Mark Barron is an even better player and would pair with Eric Weddle to form a great Safety duo.
19. Chicago Bears: Jonathan Martin OT, Stanford
After trading for Brandon Marshall the Bears can focus on retooling their offensive line, and with Martin falling to them at 19 it’s just too perfect. He’s one of the last guys who can develop into a quality LT. He and 2011 pick Gabe Carimi would be great bookend Tackles.
20. Tennessee Titans: Dre Kirkpatrick CB, Alabama
Tennessee just lost Cortland Finnegan to St. Louis, so they’ll need a replacement and with Kirkpatrick available its a great fit. He’s got elite size for a corner at 6’2″ which will make it easier to match up against Andre Johnson so this never happens again.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Kendall Wright WR, Baylor
With no Guards worth a pick this high, Cincinnati looks to bolster its offense by getting a weapon opposite AJ Green. Wright played much faster than his 4.6 40 time would indicate, and he could be the deep threat they’re looking for.
22. Cleveland Browns (from Falcons): Ryan Tannehill QB, Texas A&M
There’s a good chance Tannehill goes higher than this, but with no predicted trades he falls into Cleveland’s lap. I don’t think there will be much hesitation on Mike Holmgren’s part if he’s here since no one wants to see a Colt McCoy vs. Seneca Wallace QB battle in training camp next year.
23. Detroit Lions: Stephon Gilmore CB, South Carolina
I don’t care if Matt Flynn is the next Brady, you never let a backup QB throw for almost 500 yards and 6TDs. Gilmore has good size and the tools to become a solid corner in this league, and that would be a huge upgrade for this secondary.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dont’a Hightower ILB, Alabama
Even after cutting James Farrior ILB is only their #3 need, but with no linemen available (that is, no Guards or Nose Tackles), the Steelers stick to their philosophy and take the best player available. Hightower is a cerebral linebacker who wins through film study and instincts. He has shown the ability to excel in the box at stopping the run, as well as good blitzing ability on pass plays. He is not athletic enough to consistently drop into coverage but he fits what they’re looking for in an ILB.
25. Denver Broncos: Fletcher Cox DT, Mississippi State
Since Denver signed Manning they’ll be tempted to take a tight end or running back with this pick to give him a better supporting cast, but they have too many holes on defense to ignore. Cox had a great combine and is probably a better prospect right now than Poe, he just doesn’t have the insane measurables.
26. Houston Texans: Stephen Hill WR, Georgia Tech
Hill’s stock is flying high after his combine, and its no wonder Houston will reach for this 6’4″ receiver with a 4.36 40 time. He’s still extremely raw but with Andre Johnson demanding at least double coverage Hill can succeed as a deep threat until he refines the rest of his game.
27. New England Patriots (from Saints): Harrison Smith S, Notre Dame
Smith has had a great offseason and worked his way into first round discussion. Belichick desperately needs playmakers in the secondary after whiffing on defensive back picks for the past few years.
28. Green Bay Packers: Andre Branch OLB, Clemson
Branch is a great fit for Green Bay since he has the best chance to switch to OLB in their 3-4 out of any prospect available. A great pass rusher, he’ll succeed early with Clay Matthews taking all the offense’s attention.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Peter Konz C, Wisconsin
This is an easy pick since Baltimore lost Ben Grubbs to the Saints. Konz can play Guard for a year or two before taking over for Center Matt Birk, who will be 36 next season.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Kendall Reyes DT, Connecticut
San Francisco seems content addressing the receiver position through free agency, so they can take the best player available on defense. Reyes has been steadily climbing up boards this offseason and recently had a great combine. Justin Smith is playing phenomenally but he isn’t getting any younger, it’d be a good idea to take Reyes to develop for a few years.
31. New England Patriots: Whitney Mercilus DE, Illinois
Belichick should just go ahead and use this entire draft on his defense, because they need players just about everywhere. Mercilus is the best pass rusher available, but he’s a one-year-wonder who will need to prove he can sustain his production at the NFL level.
32. New York Giants: Lamar Miller RB, Miami
Jerry Reese has always been good at taking the best player available, and its hard to imagine its not Miller in this scenario. They could look at Coby Fleener, but having signed Martellus Bennett I think they’ll take Miller instead. Having the NFL’s worst rushing attack isn’t something the Super Bowl champs will be bragging about when looking back at their season.