Mock Draft 2012: Picks 1-5
Throughout the coming weeks, I will be posting my entire mock draft with analysis of each pick and player. They will come in bunches; the number of picks per bunch will vary depending on the teams, the importance of the picks, and time constraints. Today, we look at picks 1-5 in the upcoming draft.
1. Indianapolis Colts select Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford Cardinal
Other options: None
Andrew Luck is the near-consensus number one pick and the near-consensus best quarterback to come out of college since Matt Ryan? Peyton Manning? John Elway? Ever?
If you ask the experts, Indy has a decision to make. If you ask this expert, they would be crazy to pass this guy up, and they won’t. He has all of the physical tools to be a top-15 quarterback in the league from the start. Throw in his football IQ, non-football IQ, work ethic and love of the game, and he has the chance to become an all-time top-15 quarterback.
Certainly, he has some areas to improve upon. His arm strength might not be the best. He has a tendency to over-think things sometimes. He never really won the “big game” while at Stanford. He may not be the prettiest guy to look at.
And there was that one time he threw the stick on a Spider 3 Y-Banana against USC.
All that aside, though, Luck has a chance to come in and make an immediate impact. If the Colts get him some decent pieces in the draft, it’s not unreasonable to see 6 or 7 wins in their future.
“You can’t go broke taking a profit,” says Mr. Luck in the above video. The Colts should follow the advice of their future star quarterback and pull the trigger on Luck.
2. Washington Redskins select Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor Bears
Other options: None
Most of these top-5 picks are pretty universal throughout any mock draft you may stumble across. 99% of those mock drafts will have Luck-RGIII going 1-2.
There’s not much to say about Griffin that I didn’t already say about Luck. This is clearly a guy that is ready to play in the NFL, and with Shannie’s backside on the burner in D.C., he better hope this pans out. If I was a betting man, my wager would be that it will.
RGIII has tremendous arm strength, accuracy and well-documented mobility. His 40 at the combine surprised some (including myself). It worries me a little that he only had one full year of great play, but Cam Newton did much the same thing and was selected #1 last year.
Any other year, Griffin would be the top pick. Unfortunately for him, Luck has been waiting to be picked number 1 for about three years, so life will go on in D.C. with a fully-capable guy at number 2. They gave up the house to select one of the two QBs. All eyes will be on RGIII in the nation’s capital this year.
3. Minnesota Vikings select Matt Kalil, OT, USC Trojans
Other options: Trade, Morris Claiborne
Word on the street is that the Vikes may be looking to trade down for more picks, as they have more needs than can be solved with the third pick in the draft. Some, including Colts Owner Jim Irsay, think that Ryan Tannehill is worthy of a third pick and teams need to trade up to snatch him or risk him being gone.
While it’s true that the Vikings need a whole lot more than just a left tackle to compete next year, the position needs filled, and Matt Kalil is clearly the best in this draft.
Christian Ponder was drafted last year to be the guy, and as is the case with all first round QBs, they need pieces around them to succeed. Often overlooked is the fact that an offensive line may the most important of those pieces, especially for a guy just one or two years out of college. Matt Kalil fits that need perfectly.
If they do trade down, expect Reilly Reiff as a possible selection at 8 (The Dolphins are the most likely to move up, but (Spoiler Alert) I have them getting Tannehill anyway.)) However, Matt Kalil is the type of guy you draft to hold down that spot for years, and with a quarterback you hope to have for years as well, tackle is the right way to go.
4. Cleveland Browns select Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama Crimson Tide
Other options: Ryan Tannehill, Morris Claiborne, Justin Blackmon
This draft seems to have more “best _____ since _____” type of guys than most years, and Richardson fits the bill.
2007 was the last time we had a running back this balanced and talented coming out, and Adrian Peterson has ended up doing alright for himself. I see Richardson making a similar early impact.
Richardson has the ideal balance of speed and strength, although there are some shades of grey when it comes to his forty time. This much we know — Richardson can run. Back and forth. Side to side. Up and down. (Click here if you don’t believe me.) He was the best back in college this year, and has a pro-ready body.
Cleveland loses Peyton Hillis, who recently completed a strange couple of years for the Browns, and they don’t have anyone close to established in their backfield. Granted, they don’t have much at all at any position, but Colt McCoy has shown flashes during the last two years, and I think he has bought himself one more chance to become what they drafted him to be. Disregarding Tannehill for this reason, Richardson is the best player on the board at this point and Cleveland is in a position to go with the best player available for much of the draft. Richardson tears it up for the Browns next year.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU Tigers
Other options: Trent Richardson, Justin Blackmon
If Cleveland goes with anyone but Richardson, expect him to go here. Even with LeGarrette Blount, the Bucs would go for Richardson to really reinforce their backfield. Blackmon is a possibility as they continue to help Josh Freeman along, but the Tampa defense needs as much help as any in the league.
Keep in mind that this was a team expected to continue to progress after a strong showing in 2010. Many picked them to make the playoffs and Josh Freeman to take his place among the NFL Elite. Heck, they won four of their first six last year. And then games 7 through 16 happened, and the Bucs final record of 4-12 would indicate that those games didn’t go too well.
During that streak, they gave up an average of 35 points per game, including their final five games where they gave up nearly 41 per and never got their losing margin closer than 16 points.
Ronde Barber is old. Aqib Talib, well, he tends to constantly find him self in the wrong place at the wrong time, albeit he often creates both the wrong place and wrong time in which he finds himself.
The point is, Morris Claiborne is a top-5 talent that can has tremendous upside, and Raheem Morris may not see the end of 2012 if his losing streak reaches 15 or 16. Tampa needs help now, and Claiborne can come in and provide that help. If Richardson is gone, Claiborne won’t last past the fifth pick.
Check back for the next round of picks Sunday evening or Monday
Click here for picks 6-10.
Click here for picks 11-15.
Click here for picks 16-20.
Click here for picks 21-26.