MIKE KAYEWith free agency starting Tuesday and the major trade this weekend, let’s take a look at how the 2012 Draft stacks up right now and who is going where.
*The Oakland Raiders gave up their third round pick this year when they drafted Ohio State QB Terrell Pryor in the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Luck is the pick; there is no doubt about it at this point. How fortunate is this team to essentially transition from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck with just a season in between.
2. Washington Redskins (STL): Richard Griffin III, QB, Baylor
RG3 better be the best player in the draft for what the Redskins paid for him (two 1st round picks and one 2nd round pick to move up four slots). With a lack of top-end college talent coming in over the next few years, the Skins need to sign veteran talent to bolster Griffin’s prospective career in D.C.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, USC
If this wasn’t such a QB-hungry league, Matt Kalil would be the 2nd pick at worst. While he has the frame of former top offensive tackle picks, his athleticism far-exceeds his predecessors. This will be a more important pick for the Minnesota than last year’s selection for Christian Ponder (who is competing with on-again, off-again QB Joe Webb for a shot at starting).
4. Cleveland Browns: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.
Blackmon looked like he was going fall after his so-so combine, but his pro day reopened eyes. The Browns have lacked a number one WR since the beginning of time and Blackmon can definitely fill that void. While he may not have the best hands or size, he is talented and can spread the field.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Ronde Barber’s future is looking cloudy with retirement looming and Aqib Talib may be facing a suspension or worst in the coming year; the Bucs need to look at other options. Claiborne is one the best cover corners to come out of college in a while and Patrick Peterson’s success will no doubt help hype up his former LSU teammate’s draft stock.
6. St. Louis Rams (WAS): Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
While this is almost definitely a reach when you consider Floyd’s off-the-field past, his talent is definitely top ten. The only issue with trading out of the top five is that the Rams miss out on what should be their top two targets (Kalil, Blackmon). Floyd will give the Rams a viable first option for Sam Bradford and could be just what Jeff Fisher needs to give the St. Louis offense a kick in the pants.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
The Jags have had issues for years getting to the quarterback. With Ingram in toe, the pressure is on for opposing QBs in the AFC South.
8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
The Fins, whether they land Peyton Manning or not, need a long term solution at QB. Tannehill has been injured since the draft process started but he has all the tools necessary to succeed at the next level. New Miami offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman, coached Tannehill at Texas A & M and should know him better than anyone else.
9. Carolina Panthers: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Brockers has a ton of potential and great size. With the Carolina defense hurting, a push up the middle could help the defensive line significantly. Brockers is defensive tackle prospect in the mold of defensive end and fellow college one-year wonder, Jason Pierre-Paul.
10. Buffalo Bills: Quinton Coples, DT/DE, UNC
The Bills are switching to a 4-3 and could no doubt use the versatility of Coples on their line. While Coples doesn’t have a defined position, he ability as a run stopper and pass rusher is unquestioned.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
Poe lit up the combine but has the makings of a major boom/bust prospect. Kelly Gregg is getting up there in age and the Chiefs have few holes. It’s time for an upgrade at nose tackle.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
Chris Cleamons is a good pass rusher but is getting older and with Red Bryant being the only other guy at DE, they need another. Mercilus has gone up and down draft boards more than anyone it seems. He has superior athleticism to most prospects and could do well in Pete Carroll’s defense.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
No matter who the QB is next season, Arizona needs to protect him. Part of the reason that Kevin Kolb was so injury prone, is because the Arizona offense line gave up the second most sacks in the league.
14. Dallas Cowboys: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Michael Jenkins has regressed significantly over the years and Terence Newman is as good as gone. Jerry Jones has never shied away from character issues and Kirkpatrick has been dropping due to his pre-draft weed issues, but has top talent.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Kuechly just seems like the perfect fit in Philly, which is why this pick won’t likely happen. If the pick is made though, he is a sure-tackler and can take hold of a defense.
16. New York Jets: Trent Richardson, HB, Alabama
Shonn Greene is a decent option at running back but he isn’t likely the THE GUY in the Jets backfield. Richardson has all the abilities of a top five running back and could be a good outlet guy for the struggling Mark Sanchez.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (OAK): Reilly Reiff, OT/OG, Iowa
Reiff played tackle in college but most scouts project him to play guard in the pros. The Bengals want to continue to run often, so a good interior presence could open up the flood gates.
18. San Diego Chargers: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
Antwan Barnes is the only pass rush in San Diego so he needs a running (or rushing) mate. Upshaw has a high motor and pass rush skills to match. This could be a major steal on the first day of the draft.
19. Chicago Bears: Fletcher Cox, DT, Miss. State
The Bears have shuffled defensive lineman for years, but Fox can serve as long term solution to the carousel that is the Bears defensive line. Cox is use to going against tough competition in the SEC, so the NFC North could be a less daunting for the big man for Mississippi State.
20. Tennessee Titans: Nick Perry, DE, USC
It’s been only two years, but I think it is fair to call Derrick Morgan a bust. The Titans haven’t been able to get him on the field, so Nick Perry can do the job. Perry is outrageously athletic and has the speed to get around offensive linemen.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
Chris Crocker got owned down the stretch last season and is at the downside of his career, so the Bengals need to upgrade. With Reggie Nelson likely to leave town in free agency, this move seems all but imminent.
22. Cleveland Browns (ATL): Lamar Miller, HB, Miami
Peyton Hillis has gone from feel good story to complete mess in just two years and the Browns have little to show with Brandon Jackson and Montario Hardesty. Lamar Miller is very fast back with the ability to catch and could serve a special role in Pat Shurmur’s West Coast offense.
23. Detroit Lions: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
It’s hard to decide what is more of a need for the Lions: cornerback or offensive tackle. The Lions go for value at 23 and draft Jenkins who has had character issues throughout his college career, but is likely a top prospect talentwise.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Stephen Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
Ike Taylor looked foolish in the playoff loss to Denver and the Pittsburgh secondary has begun to show their age. Gilmore is extremely impressive as a ballhawk and could be the perfect compliment to Taylor in the secondary.
25. Denver Broncos: Zach Brown, OLB, UNC
D.J. Williams is suspended for a large part of the 2012 season and Joe Mays is a free agent, so Brown would start right away on the weakside. He runs like a safety so his coverage skills are a plus, but his lack of size makes him hard to trust on running plays.
26. Houston Texans: Peter Konz, OL, Wisconsin
Incumbent starter, Chris Myers is likely to leave in free agency, so the Texans have to do their best to plus that hole. Konz is the best center prospect in the draft and play right away.
27. New England Patriots (NO): Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
The ever-changing offensive line in New England is constantly being upgraded with luxury picks. With rare size and speed for an offensive lineman, Glenn can play all over the line, giving the Pats some much appreciated versatility.
28. Green Bay Packers: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
Mark Tauscher is out in Green Bay, so the team needs to add a bookend to Derek Sherrod. Adams wasn’t really impressive at the NFL Combine, but his college play speaks for itself.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Devon Still, DT/DE, Penn St.
The Ravens normally pick for value this late in the draft and this year will be no different. Still can rush the passer, but is more of a run stopper.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
The 49ers need a lot of help at wide receiver with most of their own hitting the open market. Sanu has the ability to play inside or out and can be a valued asset to Harbaugh and Co.
31. New England Patriots: Jerel Worthy, DT/DE, Michigan St.
Another luxury pick goes for the defensive line in New England. Worthy can eat up blockers, allowing for serious pass rushing from the Patriot linebackers.
32. New York Giants: Chris Polk, HB, Washington
Brandon Jacobs is already gone and this season proved Ahmad Bradshaw can’t carry the load alone. Polk has a lot of skeptics but he has the talent to be taken here. He also gives the Giants a better pass-catching option out of the backfield.
33. St. Louis: Josh Robinson, CB, UCF
The Rams went through numerous DBs last season, so they need to add both depth and starters in the secondary. Robinson’s speedy forty should put him in position at this spot.
34. Indianapolis: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
The best way to make sure Andrew Luck is comfortable at the next level is to give him a safety net. What better way to replace Dallas Clark, then with Luck’s college teammate?
35. Minnesota: Alshon Jeffrey, WR, South Carolina
The Vikings dig South Carolina wide receivers (Sidney Rice, Troy Williamson) and Jeffrey is a big upgrade over Michael Jenkins.
36. Tampa Bay: Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
The Bucs are looking to add Vincent Jackson. If they can’t get him, Randle could be a nice consolation prize.
37. Cleveland: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
The Browns hit with Jabaal Sheard last season, now they can add another second round defensive end to the mix.
38. Jacksonville: Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma St.
Blaine Gabbert has been less than impressive, so Weeden can come in and give him some competition.
39. St. Louis (WAS): Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
As previously mentioned, the Rams secondary is a bit of a mess. Smith can learn from veteran Quintin Mikell.
40. Carolina: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
The Carolina cornerbacks were awful last year and Dennard has first round talent, so it should be a match.
41. Buffalo: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
Buffalo’s switch to the 4-3 is in need of more scheme-related talent and Jones fits the bill.
42. Miami: Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut
Miami hasn’t decided what scheme they want to run but Reyes fits both. He could be the replacement to Paul Soliai or Kendall Langford.
43. Seattle: Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
Thompson can offer an upgrade over the underwhelming play of Alan Branch.
44. Kansas City: Vinny Curry, OLB/DE, Marshall
Justin Houston was a great find last season and Tamba Hali is one of the best in the business, but everyone needs depth when it comes to the pass rush.
45. Dallas: Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin
The Cowboys offensive line continues to change. Zeitler comes from a program that practically manufactures offensive linemen.
46. Philadelphia: Bobby Wagner, OLB, Utah St.
Philly has a well-publicized need at linebacker and Bobby Wagner may be the best option as a strong side guy.
47. New York Jets: Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
With Bart Scott gone, the Jets need a new man in the middle. A victim of team’s needs, Hightower falls far past his projected draft position.
48. New England (OAK): Ronnell Lewis, OLB/DE, Oklahoma
The Pats need a pass rushing force and Lewis can be the answer.
49. San Diego: Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
Hosley is great value at this pick and Quintin Jammer isn’t getting any younger.
50. Chicago: Zebrie Sanders, OT, FSU
Jemarcus Webb has filled in admirably at left tackle for Chicago, but he could use some serious competition.
51. Philadelphia (ARI): Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
Joselio Hanson is a good slot corner, but Boykin would be a significant upgrade.
52. Tennessee: Kelechi Osemele, OG, Iowa St.
CJ2k could use some running lanes and Osemele is a top interior lineman. His small school status makes him slide.
53. Cincinnati: Doug Martin, HB, Boise St.
Cedric Benson is on the way out and the Bengals need a compliment to Bernard Scott.
54. Detroit: Cam Johnson, DE, Virginia
Cliff Avril may holdout after getting the Franchise Tag and Corey Williams is already a goner, so Johnson can enter the rotation and eventually take over for the aging Kyle Vaden Bosch.
55. Atlanta: Mychal Kendricks, ILB, California
Curtis Lofton appears likely to leave in free agency, so Kendricks may be able to take over his role.
56. Pittsburgh: Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin
Hines Ward has left and Mike Wallace could be signed despite the restricted tender, so the Steelers need a backup plan.
57. Denver: Orson Charles, TE, Georgia
John Fox loves pass catching tight ends and Charles is just that.
58. Houston: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
With Andre Johnson frequently missing time for injury, the Texans needs to have guys they can depend on at the WR position.
59. New Orleans: Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern St.
Carl Nicks is likely a free agent departure, the Saints need to develop his replacement.
60. Green Bay: Billy Winn, DE/DT, Boise St.
The Packers missed Cullen Jenkins last season and Winn might be able to solve their problems.
61. Baltimore: Jonathan Massoqui, OLB/DE, Troy
Jarrett Johnson is aging and a free agent, so Massoqui can add some youth to the pass rush.
62. San Francisco: Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian St.
Despite Sanu, San Fran needs to plug holes at wide receivers and Quick is a big body that can provide redzone help for Alex Smith.
63. New England: Bruce Irvin, OLB/DE, West Virginia
As mentioned, the pass rush needs to improve in New England and Irvin can continue that improvement.
With two tight ends injuring their ACLs in the Super Bowl, the Giants needs to replace some missing pieces.
65. Indianapolis: Bobby Massie, OT, Mississippi St.
66. St. Louis: Mike Martin, DT, Michigan
67. Minnesota: Mitchell Schwartz, OT, Cal
68. Cleveland: Isiah Pead, HB, Cincinnati
69. Tampa Bay: Antonio Allen, DB, South Carolina
70. Washington: Joe Adams, WR, Nebraska
71. Jacksonville: Lamichael James, HB, Oregon
72. Buffalo: Travis Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma
73. Miami: Tommy Streeter, WR, Miami
74. Chicago (CAR): Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia
75. Kansas City: Casey Heyward, CB, Vanderbilt
76. Seattle: Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina
77. Philadelphia: Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
78. New York Jets: Juron Criner, WR, Arizona
79. Oakland (Supplemental Draft)
80. San Diego: Brandon Washington, OG/OT, Miami
81. Chicago: Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska
82. Arizona: Tank Carder, ILB, TCU
83. Dallas: Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona St.
84. Tennessee: George Iloka, S, Boise St.
85. Cincinnati: Greg Childs, WR, Arkansas
86. Atlanta: James Brown, OT, Troy
87. Detroit: Bernard Pierce, HB, Temple
88. Pittsburgh: Brandon Mosley, OT, Auburn
89. Denver: Ben Jones, OL, Georgia
90. Houston: Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona St.
91. New Orleans: Tony Bergstorm, OT/OG, Utah
92. Green Bay: Ronnie Hillman, HB, Louisiana-Lafayette
93. Baltimore: Dwight Jones, WR, UNC
94. San Francisco: Marcus Fortson, DE/DT, Miami
95. New England: Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa St.
96. New York Giants: Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest