Over At Bleeding Green Nation we've taken a wisdom of the crowds approach to our mock draft. 32 different readers of the site have been assigned as GMs of the teams and are making their picks every day. Here are the top 10 with a snapshot of the explanations and links to the full work done by each drafter.
1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Andrew Luck had been given a tower of awards and praise upon praise over the last two years; how he hadn't suffocated from all of it is some kind of a miracle. In 2010, Luck was named Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, First Team All Pac-10, Second Team Pac-10 All Academic Team, and Second Team All-American. In 2011, he was named those once again and won the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year, and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm of the Year. Not to mention the high praise the guy gets. Over as CBS Sports, Clark Judge called him the "best QB prospect since John Elway," and Rob Rang said "he's the best quarterback AND elite prospect... I've scouted, including every Senior Bowl since 2001."
2. Washington Redskins - Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
This pick is even more automatic than the previous pick.
At least the Colts had the luxury of entertaining a Luck versus RGIII debate. The Redskins have no choice but to draft whomever the Colts don't. There is no decision to make. There is no question on whether you agree or disagree. This is the only pick the Redskins can make here.
If you're Vikings GM Rick Spielman, where do you go from here? Do you draft #1 tackle Matt Kalil, and protect the investment you've made at quarterback, giving Christian Ponder the chance to succeed in a functional offense? Or do you go after a possibly generational prospect at cornerback, giving the Vikings the cornerstone they need in the defensive backfield in order to actually give the offense a chance in a game (vs the QBs in the NFC North)?
Overall, Cleveland was absolutely horrible running the ball in 2011, finishing 28th in the league in total rushing yards and 31st in YPC. The Giants were last in case if anybody was wondering (go figure). Even though the NFL has become more of a passing league with passing numbers being put up by quarterbacks that we have never seen before, having a running back that can run between the tackles effectively on situations like 3rd and short is still a luxury.
Enter Trent Richardson, the 2011 All-American and Doak Walker Award winner who is by far the consensus number one running back in this year's draft. Draft analyst Mike Mayock even went as far as stating that Trent Richardson is the best running back prospect to enter the draft
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Matt Kalil, OT, USC
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers started the free agency period with a splash and overhauled their offensive line by signing Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks to a 5-year, $47.5M deal. The Bucs released center Jeff Faine and replaced him with guard Jeremy Zuttah. Tackle Jeremy Trueblood finished in the bottom 20 in ProFootballFocus' 2011 Pass Blocking Efficiency list, giving up 59 total pressures out of 596 pass block snaps. Drafting Matt Kalil would transform the Bucs front 5 and give them one of the most talented and dominant offensive lines in the NFL
6. St Louis Rams - Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State.
So, the St. Louis Rams get to trade the 2nd overall pick to the Washington Redskins for the 6th overall pick, their second round pick, and their 2013 and 2014 first round picks, plus the top player at the position of the greatest need for the Rams still falls to them.
As Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith would say, "I love it when a plan comes together."
Melvin Ingram will fit nicely into Mel Tuckers defensive game plan. Ingram will be able to use his low center of gravity to get the edge around tackles and use his explosiveness to get to the quarterback. He also has the ability to use his strength to line up closer to a defensive tackle position and power his way to a pass rusher. He will also be able to use his leverage to get and technique shove off blockers in order to wrap up ball carriers in the backfield. The Jaguars will be looking at draft to find a pass rushing lineman, and they will get it when they sign Ingram.
The Dolphins certainly have a need at almost every position on the field. But while Tannehill may be a bit of a reach with the #8 pick, it may be difficult for the Dolphins to look past his potential and the team's future at the position. Both quarterbacks on the roster, Matt Moore and David Garrard, have contracts that expire after the 2012 season. Neither is seen by anybody, outside of or inside of the organization, as being the team's future. Drafting Tannehill may not be a perfect move, but it's a move the Dolphins absolutely have to make.
Although the need at DL cannot be ignored, I'm going offense instead, and here's why. Both the Falcons and the Saints ranked higher overall in passing in the NFL. The league is a passing one, and even with the best defense, 9/10 times the best defenses don't win a championship. The Falcons, rated at 8th overall have explosive weapons Roddy White and Julio Jones. The Saints might be screwed this year, but they still have Marques Colston and a plethora of WR's that are made better by Drew Brees, who ranked 1st overall. The Bucs added enormous talent on the offensive side of the ball with former Saint Carl Nicks and former Charger Vincent Jackson, adding that to a really good offensive line, WR Mike Williams, and promising QB Josh Freeman, they will definitely be better than their 16th ranking last season. That means the Panthers need to keep pace with not only their division, but the entire league, that have 3 and 4 WR's that could be 2nd's on most other teams. That's why Michael Floyd makes the most sense for the value of their pick.
Dre Kirkpatrick is left on the board...problem solved. Kirkpatrick likes long walks on the field, defending passes, and smoking weed. While that last interest is discouraging, Kirkpatrick can thrive in either zone or man defense due to his unmatched size (6'2") and decent speed (4.51 in the 40 yard dash). Kirkpatrick size is extremely intriguing as you can put him in the slot to cover tight ends and not worry about his losing the size battle (remember: the Bills play the Pats twice a year).
Kirkpatrick has a great pedigree as a two-time BCS National Champion and a 2011 second team All-American (AP). He was also a star in high school and was recruited by college football heavyweights, Florida and Texas along with Alabama.
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