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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Post Free Agency Mock

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.

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Wednesday Link Dump

From now until May, I will be posting a plethora of links every Wednesday.


Analyzing the Rush Linebacker Class

The rush LB class this year is very top heavy and lacks any sort of depth. Once you get outside of the top 6 to 8 prospects, you really don’t have many NFL prospects there. After the jump take a look at the breakdown of the Rush LB’s.

 

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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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Ranking the Draft Prospects – 4-3 Defensive Ends

Today I am going to rank both Defensive End positions. I am going to start with the 4-3 DE’s and later in the day, I will post the 3-4 DE rankings. Make sure to check back the rest of the week for the rest of the Draft rankings.

1. Quinton Coples, UNC – Coples came into the year as a potential top 5 pick, but after a dissapointing season where he looked to coast by, his stock has fallen to the 10 to 15 range.

2. Whitney Mercilus, Illinois – Mercilus burst onto the scene this season, recording double digit sacks and bringing Illinois to some early season success. His stock as of now is somewhere in the top 20 picks.

3. Melvin Ingram, South Carolina – Ingram has displayed an incredible motor and good athleticism. He will be picked likely in the 1st round but a bad combine could cause him to fall to the 2nd round. He reminds me of former Michigan star, LaMarr Woodley.

4. Nick Perry, USC – Perry had an awesome season at USC and has seen his stock soar to the top 20 picks. He is a fantastic pass rusher with the potential to be a 10+ sack per season kind of player.

5, Vinny Curry, Marshall – As far as pass rushing comes, Curry is the best in the draft. However, he is awful in run support and therefore will have to be a situational player. His stock ranges anywhere from the late first round to the middle of the second round.

After the jump, see the rest of the 4-3 DE prospects.

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4 Round NFL Mock Draft

I never mock trades but in this scenario I am going to mock one. The Redskins are going to give up their 1st, 2nd, and 4th round picks to move up from #6 to #2. Also note that this was written on 1/21, before the Championship games were played so the order of the draft reflects that. The final four picks were determined by Regular season record.  Note – because the order is wrong at the end I decided to forgo explanations for the final three rounds and just get this published.

Round 1

1.    Indianapolis (2-14) – Team Needs: QB, OG, OC, 2CB, WR, SS, TE, DE, LB, RB – Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford – Is an explanation really needed here?

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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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One Round NFL Mock Draft

Anyways, here is my first mock draft for 2012 and it will be of the one round variety. Why only one round? Because I need you guys to help me with something. As of know, I really only know the team needs for 5 to 10 teams. Wherever you see a ? down below the jump, that means I don’t know those teams needs. If you guys could, I would greatly appreciate it if you could list the teams needs in order of greatest importance to least importance in the comments section. Once I have all the teams needs filled out, I will move on to 4 or 5 round mock drafts.

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