Finally we’re less than a week away from the NFL Draft and I’m excited. I’ve got my big board ready and I’ve used it to create my entire 1st Round Mock Draft which you guys can use to follow on The Sports Genius Show this Monday from 5-6PM, remember 5-6PM THE TIME HAS CHANGED! With that said here it is, the entire 1st Round all teams plus I added one projected trade.
1. Indianapolis Colts- QB Andrew Luck Stanford- Is there really any doubt? I don’t give a crap what Jim Irsay is saying about any of the other QBs, the #1 pick for Indy is Andrew Luck, especially after hearing that Robert Griffin III rejecting a Private Workout. You got to love Luck with him being so modest of his abilities, which are through the roof for a young QB. Prototypcial size, Arm Strength and Accuracy, not to mention poise and presence as a QB in the pocket. Rare to find this from a QB out of college. First for me since Matt Ryan in 2008 (yes I’m serious).
Comparison- Matt Ryan to Tim Couch- If you haven’t heard what I think about Luck here’s what I believe. He truly is boom or bust more than Robert Griffin III. If he reaches it, he’s an Elite QB waiting to happen. I say Matt Ryan because I’m not going to go overboard on comparison and Ryan is an Elite QB in my mind. At his worst I see the world of potential that can’t be reached at the Pro level like Tim Couch.
2. Washington Redskins (via St. Louis)- QB Robert Griffin III Baylor- Okay if it isn’t Robert Griffin III then someone is smoking some amazing shit in that War Room and trust me I’d love to try some. You give up the farm for him and as of late has shown signs of being a selfish brat. With the rumors of Griffin demanding not to be drafted by Cleveland or even working out for the #1 Pick in Indy, that’s a red flag. He has the intangibles and talent, but for Washington’s sake you better hope he doesn’t become like Heath Shuler.
Comparison- Michael Vick- Originally I was against this comparison, saying he’s more of a shorter Daunte Culpepper, but when I think of Vick currently, Vick has a receiving core, unlike he did in Atlanta and now he throws. Griffin was amazing in college, but one of my concerns is that he lost big games and although he won some big games, I really would’ve loved to see what he could’ve done against Alabama or LSU. When he faces a Baltimore or Pittsburgh I bet he’s going to run first and then throw, especially with that WR core.
3. Minnesota Vikings- OT Matt Kalil USC- As much as the Vikings would love to deal this pick, the price will be too high. Teams like Cincy (for Richardson), Philly and Seattle (for Claiborne), St. Louis and Buffalo (for Blackmon) or Miami (for Tannehill) won’t pay the price. I think the Vikings want Kalil to anchor that line, which when they were successful that was their strength. Kalil would solidify that left line for years to come and make Adrian Peterson a much happier RB. Also it would significantly help Christian Ponder in his development.
Comparison- Joe Thomas- Both are outstanding blockers with athletism. Thomas was more proven though in the Big Ten at Wisconsin, but Kalil has the family genes in him (Brother, Ryan) which makes him such a better student of the game. Also he worked under Lane Kiffin, who coached the Raiders so he’s worked with a pro coach.
4. Cleveland Browns- RB Trent Richardson Alabama- I don’t think there is much doubt anymore within the Browns organization on who they are going to go with right here. What do the Steelers and Ravens have that the Browns are lacking? A great RB. Yes I’m counting Mendenhall, especially when healthy. Also in a West Coast system, setting up the tempo is huge and the Browns need a running game for that. Richardson is a bear to bring down, I could argue he’s harder to bring down than Hillis. He’s still developing as a student of the game, which means he’s still got upside. I truly think Richardson will bring back the line of great Browns RBs like Marion Motley, Leroy Kelly, Bobby Mitchell, and of course Jim Brown. By the time his career is over, he will be alongside those men as another legendary Browns RB.
Comparison- Stephen Jackson/Ray Rice molded together- It’s so hard for me to say a comparison without saying Adrian Peterson, which I won’t say. Richardson receives very well out of the backfield like a Ray Rice, which that elusiveness and also has more power than Stephen Jackson. Don’t believe me watch this, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyyO-_ndYts. That right there shows how amazing he is.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- CB Morris Claiborne LSU- Don’t be surprised here if Philly found a way to move up for this pick. Sometimes the teams who are the most quiet end up being the teams who actually trade. Anyways Tampa Bay needs to draft a CB here. Aqib Talib is awaiting trial for shooting charges. They signed Eric Wright to a ridiculous contract and neither is worthy of being the #1 CB. Claiborne is an elite talent who could be the pick as high as #3. Tampa Bay would be stupid if they didn’t draft him.
Comparison- Joe Haden- Both came into college as receivers and are great in lockdown coverage. Claiborne has a bit more size to him and longer arms, plus he’s coming from an amazing secondary coupe in LSU (not saying Florida’s bad, but LSU is that good). He could easily have the season former teammate Patrick Peterson did last year for Arizona.
6. St. Louis Rams (from Washington)- WR Justin Blackmon Oklahoma State- I don’t think this pick should take 5 seconds to make. I hope I’m not going to sit for 10 minutes waiting for the most obvious pick of the 1st Round. I don’t care what offers you get, this is the pick, no doubt, especially with Jacksonville behind them. Blackmon is the #1 WR on the board currently, but don’t be surprised if Michael Floyd flies up here within the next couple of weeks. Blackmon fits better though being more of a possession WR than a speed/physical guy.
Comparison- Brandon Marshall- Both guys have smaller size for the position and aren’t the fastest, but are great possession WRs. When they get the ball, anything is possible for them. He should at least be an elite #2, but could be a great #1 WR. The size here bothers me, especially with that lack of speed.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars- WR Michael Floyd Notre Dame- I feel this is one of the toughest picks here. I could see trades with teams who might want to jump Miami for Tannehill or either Kansas City and Carolina to get either an OT or DT. In the end I think Floyd is an easy pick for Jacksonville, who is desperately looking for a #1 WR. They spent the money for Laurent Robinson, but honestly I think they see him as the #2 guy for Blaine Gabbert. Plus they need to know this year if Gabbert is, “The Guy”. Getting Floyd gives him no excuses to not be successful. MJD, Robinson, and Floyd is good enough for a good QB. No excuses at this point.
Comparison- Much better Greg Little- I think that highly of Little in general. Both guys have size and speed, but the uncanny ability to break tackles and burst into the open field. Floyd is more polished and probably will be the better pro, but the comparisons to Little are very accurate.
8. Miami Dolphins- QB Ryan Tannehill Texas A&M- I think the Dolphins have made it known well enough that they are desperate for a QB and with Mike Sherman as the Offensive Coordinator, they have to get Tannehill. First off, it’s a West Coast system that will fit him and with Sherman he knows the playbook, since that was his coach at Texas A&M. It’s a perfect match, but the question is can he develop into a great QB with the lack of experience at QB.
Comparison- Better passing JaMarcus Russell- Now before you get mad, hear me out both are amazing athletes for their size, but both coming out are inexperienced and raw QBs. Tannehill is the better athlete though, being a former WR. In the end, Tannehill is better, but the comparisons coming out of college are pretty accurate.
9. Carolina Panthers- DT Dontari Poe Memphis- One of the big rising stars of the offseason. Once regarded as a 2nd Round pick, Poe has jumped up the boards into the Top 10 after great workouts. He started playing late in High School, so he’s still raw and has the potential to be great. For the Panthers the Defensive Line has to be addressed, whether it be DE (Couples) or with Poe here. DT is more of a need so they will go with Poe. I believe he’ll be very much like former Panther Kris Jenkins
Comparison- Kris Jenkins- Speaking of Jenkins, that’s who he reminds me of. Both men are guys, but the best thing about them is their athletic abilities. For big guys they can move around and have outstanding strength. Both are not just one dimensional DTs, they were Run Stoppers and Pass Rushers.
10. Buffalo Bills- Quinton Couples DE North Carolina- I think at this point if you’re Buffalo you got to think of the possibilities. You need another DE to help out Mario Williams. But remember you do have Shawne Merriman in the LB core. Here you got to get the other DE for the 4-3 scheme and Couples is a perfect fit. He has the prototypical size at around 6-6, 280 lbs. and has the brute strength to go with the speed. Having the Mario-Quinton duo would make the Bills defensive line very very scary for anyone in the AFC East.
Comparison- Julius Peppers- I really hate comparing guys to the best at their position, but there really is no one else truly compatible. Peppers and Couples have the same skill set and measurables. I don’t see Couples being like his fellow Tar Heel, I see him being successful at least.
11. Kansas City Chiefs- OT Riley Reiff Iowa- Okay this is Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel running this team and there is an Iowa OT on the board, a school Pioli knows well with its Coach. This is a no brainer to this duo because of how New England was built. Still needing another OT, Reiff is the 2nd best OT in this draft and could go much higher in this draft. Reiff is more of a RT which isn’t what they need the most, but they’ll make it work.
Comparison- Jordan Gross- Gross is an elite OT in my mind, but he’s nothing more than an elite RT, not an elite LT. Simply put that’s why the comparison is made to him.
12. Seattle Seahawks- DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw Alabama- This honestly isn’t a good pick, but it’s a pick I can see happening. Upshaw is more of a 3-4 guy, but this is a 4-3 defense. So in this case Upshaw will be a DE. He doesn’t have the size you want from a DE, but he has explosiveness and knows how to get to the QB. Was very successful and comes from that Nick Saban pedigree and that always is a bonus. Hopefully he doesn’t flop in the system.
Comparison- LaMarr Woodley- Woodley unlike Upshaw came from a 4-3 system in Michigan, but they had the lack of size to be the prototypical DE, but they have the explosiveness for the position and that’s all that matters at times.
13. Arizona Cardinals- OG David DeCastro Stanford- Arizona could trade in this spot for someone looking to get a Luke Kuechly or Kendall Wright, but the price won’t match. DeCastro is far and beyond the best OG in this draft class and rarely do you see a OG go this high in a draft. He has a long career ahead of him and for the Cardinals this will be a great pick for protecting their QB and opening up a running game for them.
Comparison- Steve Hutchinson- This guy is worthy of getting this high of a comparison. He is so polished and still has upside, his career is on the fast track like Hutchinson was back when he was drafted by Seattle. Both guys are once in a Decade players for this position and both could be in the Hall of Fame one day…I’m dead serious.
14. Dallas Cowboys- CB Janoris Jenkins North Alabama- The Cowboys are a team that tend to look past concerns off the field and get guys who have talent. Jenkins if he was playing for Florida was a Top 10 guy, but the concerns pushed him down. The need for a CB is needed for the Cowboys, especially with Terrance Newman now gone. The pick here is a perfect fit.
Comparison- Dunta Robinson- Both men are excellent in coverage and are great one-on-one CBs. The upside is there, but the concern is that he won’t be able to reach it.
15. Philadelphia Eagles- MLB Luke Kuechly Boston College- This is a guy who was been a tackling machine the past few years at Boston College and is a guy a lot of teams are targeting. For the Eagles they can’t go into next season depending on Casey Matthews on being the main guy at MLB. Unlike his father and brother, he’s too undersized and got overwhelmed easily in his rookie year. Kuechly proved it in the college ranks and should have no problems doing it at the pro level. Some have actually mocked him at #5 to Tampa Bay
Comparison- James Laurinitis- Both men dominated at the Collegiate level every year and are guys who get to the ball and tackle with furiousity. They won’t be the sexiest names for the position, but they will be among the most consistant. I wonder if they could have a wrestling match? Laurinitis vs. Kuechly, sounds good to me.
16. New York Jets- DE/OLB Melvin Ingram South Carolina- For the Jets this has to be the pick, it’s a perfect fit. Ingram is a 3-4 OLB in the perfect mold. Doesn’t have the tall size to be a DE, but he has the size speed combo to make himself an OLB in the 3-4 and Rex Ryan is the perfect fit for Ingram because he needs a defensive guru to make him into a star player. They could look at DT or a 3-4 DE to fill the role, but they need that outside pass rusher, it’s a better pick.
Comparison- DeMarcus Ware- This is a stretch in ways because again Ware is one of the elite guys at the position. Both men can play either system and they have the same skillsets. Ware will always be the better player, but overall this isn’t a bad comparison when you look at the type of player.
17. Cincinnati (via Oakland)- S Mike Barron Alabama- I think honestly it’s going to be tough for Cincy to pass up on Barron if he were to make it here. He could go as high as #13 because he’s that good of a prospect. Very instinctive and is very physical. Not to mention he can be a good pass defender when needed. The Bengals are continuously building that secondary right now and I won’t be shocked if they tried to fill that Safety role especially having #21.
Comparison- Bob Sanders- Sanders and Barron are physical and instinctive guys. Both aren’t exactly ball hawks like an Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu, but they strike fear into opposing players. Recievers don’t want to get in his path because they know they would get lit up.
18. San Diego- G/T Cordy Glenn Georgia- First off let me say this, Glenn is a Guard, but I’m only saying possibly tackle because I don’t want anyone criticizing me. Anyways San Diego suffered a bunch of injures to the Offensive Line last year and they are getting old. Glenn has high upside right now and could become a great tackle. I see him as a future star Guard for a team and San Diego needs the protection for the running game which hasn’t been the same since Tomlinson’s departure.
Comparison- Leonard Davis- Both men are mammoths and are a bear to get past, yet for their size they can move around well and push the line back. At his best, Davis was one of the Top 3 Guards in the NFL in my mind. Glenn has more upside, so he could be better.
19. Chicago- DT Michael Brockers LSU- What a great fit here in Chicago. Running a 4-3 defense and not to mention you got Julius Peppers running that pass rush. Brockers is a DE in a DT body. Standing in at 6-5 weighing over 300 lbs. He’s explosive and exploded up the draft boards the past few months. I could see him going at #8 to Carolina if they prefer Brockers over Poe. Huge upside and could turn into a star DT for the next decade.
Comparison- Ndamukong Suh- Now this is a compliment. The explosiveness and basically being a DE in a DT body makes this the perfect comparison. Both men at their best cannot be stopped and are pass rushers, which is rare for the DT position. You could also say Brockers is like Raiders DE Richard Seymour.
20. Tennessee- DT Devon Still Penn State- Some people actually have Still as the #1 DT on the board. It’s in his blood (cousin of standouts Art Still and Levon Kirkland). He has the ideal size you’re looking for in a DT. Not to mention he can be a pass rusher a little bit and also a good run stopper. Tennessee is still looking for Albert Haynesworth’s replacement and this is a perfect fit and also a value price, he’s project by some in the Top 13.
Comparison- Kevin Williams- Williams and Still are very much alike simply because they stop the run and rush the passer, which they almost can do one just as well as the other. Williams is still the anchor of that line in Minnesota and Tennessee would love to lock this position up for the next decade.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- WR Kendall Wright Baylor- To Browns fans it could be the bullet straight to the heart. Yes I know the Bengals got AJ Green, but after seeing Andy Dalton struggle down the stretch, especially with teams doubling AJ, they need another weapon to spread the field. Wright is small at 5-10, 190 but he runs a 4.4 40 yard dash. Great game speed and will cause teams nightmares having to worry about both AJ Green and Kendall Wright.
Comparison- Mario Manningham- Hear me out before you go criticizing me. Again I’m not going overboard on comparisons unless if I’m 100% sure of it. I still don’t know what to make of Wright ater that 4.6 40 at the combine. Manningham is smaller with great speed and is best suited as a #2 WR like Wright here as well. He needs work to become a Steve Smith (CAR).
22. Cleveland Browns (via Atlanta)- WR Stephen Hill Georgia Tech- Well lets look at the options…no Cordy Glenn, Kendall Wright or Michael Brockers so we’re left with the following. Trade down, Brandon Weeden, Jonathan Martin, Whitney Mercilus or Stephen Hill. Honestly they aren’t going OL until the 3rd Round with Zebrie Sanders. Weeden they know is too high here, especially if they expect to be in the Top 3 next year. Mercilus would be the pick if they trade down. That leaves Stephen Hill. You guys know my opinion on Hill. I love his talent and endless potential, it fits what we need. Putting that with Greg Little is one dangerous duo. A speed demon and a solid runner with power. Did I mention the Browns now would’ve added 2 playmakers in Richardson and Hill?
Comparison- Poor Man’s Calvin Johnson- I won’t say Demaryius Thomas because I haven’t seen enough to make that judgement. Although Calvin and Hill have burning speed and know how to use their size. Hill will take longer to develop and won’t be Johnson, but he could turn into one of the better WRs in the NFL.
23. TRADE Baltimore Ravens (via Detroit)- MLB Donta Hightower Alabama- Detroit trades down and receives the 29th pick along with Baltimore’s 3rd and 5th Rounders, Baltimore receives the 23rd pick along with Detroit’s 6th Rounder.
This is a move that I feel confident enough to predict could happen. With Donta Hightower on the board and the Steelers sitting at 24, don’t be surprised if the Ravens go after Hightower as Ray Lewis’ successor. Hightower has the similarities of Lewis and he would be a great mentor to the kid. People are sure Hightower would be the pick at 24, so in order to get one of the best MLBs in the past 5 years, they have to trade above the Steelers.
Comparison- D’Qwell Jackson- Both men are multi-purpose MLBs, they stop the run, rush the passer and can cover when needed. Jackson is much the same way when 100% healthy as proven last year that he can be an elite MLB. Hightower has that upside fortunately.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers- DT Jerel Worthy Michigan State- Well the ideal pick is Hightower, but he’s off the board and Mike Adams tested positive for Marijuana so he’s falling off the boards. So you got to go DL and the big thing is that they need a young future NT. At this point Still and Poe are gone and were the best NT available. Now the best one left is Worthy. At this point it’s a good value at 24. He’s a much better run stopper than pass rusher and fits the bill as a future starting NT.
Comparison- Ryan Pickett- Both men aren’t overwhelming at either skill set, but they are consistent players and can anchor a line for the next decade.
25. Denver Broncos- DT Fletcher Cox Mississippi State- What a run lately here on DTs right now, but that’s how deep this draft class is. Cox has been rumored to be a Top 10 player. He possesses rare pass rushing abilities and is developing his run stopping. The Broncos have a need on the DT position badly with the DTs that went on the market from their team. Cox brings that different style of DT to the table that could benefit in John Fox’s defense.
Comparison- Gerald McCoy- Take away his injuries and McCoy has shown flashes of brilliance. McCoy and Cox are more of one-style DTs and their specialty is pass rushing. If he stays healthy he could make an immediate impact on the pass rushing game.
26. Houston Texans- DE Nick Perry USC- He has flown up the draft boards lately with his impressive workouts. Has shown great speed for the position and for Houston they need someone who can play that 3-4 OLB. Perry is 6-3 250 and isn’t the size for the 3-4 DE, but for what the Texans need, he fits the bill. Getting Perry could negate some of the punch lost from losing Mario Williams. Besides they survived without him, so adding Perry only enhances what was working last year.
Comparison- Jabaal Sheard- Both men are small guys, but surprisingly, Perry is smaller. Perry probably can pull off the 3-4 OLB and Sheard could in time, but by looking at the skillsets and size, it’s an accurate comparison.
27. New England Patriots- (via New Orleans)- RB Lamar Miller Miami (Fla.)- I bet some of you are surprised, but why should you be? Who is the Patriots RB? Remember Green-Ellis is gone and don’t say Danny Woodhead. The Patriots need a true RB. Miller is explosive and has the ability to be great. He wasn’t on the best of teams, but he was the star of it. At his best he can make defenses worry about him alone, which for the Patriots is an added bonus. Imagine if they had a running game a year ago? It’s about time possession, not how many points you score.
Comparison- Clinton Portis- Portis coming out of the same school in, “The U” was the same player, explosive, talented, but lacked power. In time he learned it and was one of the Top 3 RBs at one point. Miller should develop a power style and when he does he’ll be dangerous.
28. Green Bay Packers- S Harrison Smith Notre Dame- This is a guy who lately has shot up the boards and for Green Bay is a good value here. They need a safety after losing Nick Collins and Smith is about the same player. Smith is 6’2 212 almost a lineback/safety hybrid player. He started 47 games for the Irish in his career so he’s experienced and that’s a plus for the Packers because they will need someone to start ASAP.
Comparison- Nick Collins- So basically you replace Collins with a player like him. They both are in the same mold of a player with the same skillset. As long as Smith becomes more of a ballhawk this accurate is right down the middle.
29. Detroit Lions (via Batlimore)- CB Dre Kirkpatrick Alabama- Don’t be surprised if this is Janoris Jenkins if he were to fall here (very possible), but after drafting Titus Young, regardless of how well he played he is a headache and the Lions need to be focused. Kirkpatrick isn’t just a good player, but he’s a great teammate. People have praised his work ethic and leadership. One of the things I like is that he has the size of a Safety, but he’s a true Cornerback. He not only covers, but he can hit. Doesn’t mind defending the run and coming from Alabama, he’s very disciplined.
Comparison- Al Harris- Both guys had the abilities of a safety, but were cornerbacks. Harris in time became a great leader. Kirkpatrick I believe will be the better pro, he has more size and talent than Harris originally had.
30. San Francisco 49ers- C Peter Konz Wisconsin- This wouldn’t be the fan favorite pick here, but it makes logical sense. The 49ers only Offensive lineman over 30 is their Center, Jon Goodwin. At this point you got to consider addressing the line. They upgraded the WRs and they just need to add depth at the DL. So Konz fits what they need to do in rebuilding that OL. They have 2 very young Offensive Linemen and adding Konz helps solidify that unit for the next decade. Don’t be surprised over a trade.
Comparison- Alex Mack- Both guys are the exact same player, I don’t need to say much more. Not the best, but they are better than 75% of the rest of the guys.
31. New England Patriots- DE Whitney Mercilius Illinois- The Patriots stay put both times and with both picks I believe here hit a Home Run. Getting a great young RB and now the best player on the board filling the need at DE, especially after losing Mark Anderson. Mercilius would be the young DE for the future and could contribute right away. Best thing is he plays both a 3-4 and a 4-3 defense
Comparison- Aaron Kampman- Kampman wasn’t the fastest, but was a good pass rusher and was versatile. Both men could play either scheme by playing the 3-4 OLB or 4-3 DE. For the Patriots that’s a huge plus.
32. New York Giants- TE Dwayne Allen Clemson- I’m tempted to say Coby Fleener, but Allen is the better fit. The Giants need a good blocking TE who has the explosiveness when he catches the ball. Allen impressed me as I watched his game film, he’s a great weapon for Eli Manning. It only makes the defending Super Bowl Champions stronger.
Comparison- Antonio Gates- Both men seem to be out of the same mold, both are solid blockers and know how to makes the catch and break loose afterwards. Both use their size well and know how to burn people with their speed, which is hard to find.
As you can see this draft is full of surprises, a trade and a lot of logical picks. But anything can happen before next Thursday. I got one thing to say now, TAKE THAT MCSHAY AND KIPER! ESPECIALLY YOU MCSHAY!
Make sure to tune in from 5-6PM for The Sports Genius Show where we will discuss this Mock Draft and what the Browns will do. Also next Thursday join the Streaming Sports Talk Crew downstairs at Winners at the Omni Building for our NFL Draft Party and you can bet The Sports Genius will be there ready to break down all the draft picks.