Free agency is here and over the next few weeks, the mock drafts will change based on what players each team signs. There are some changes after only a week of free agency. Let the fun begin.
1) Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck, QB: This is about as much of a lock as you can get. We already know the Colts are drafting a QB with this pick. It'd be a complete shock if they went with any other QB not named Luck.
2) Washington Redskins - Robert Griffin III, QB: The Redskins paid a hefty price for Griffin. Now they better hope he pans out or their franchise will be in a hole.
4) Cleveland Browns - Justin Blackmon, WR: The Browns could go RB or WR here, but I give Blackmon the edge. No matter who they have at QB, the Browns will have to give them a receiving weapon. Blackmon may be the first of many prospects to face scrutiny over his value, in part because of the combine performances of other WR prospects, but he is still the top WR prospect in the draft.
5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Trent Richardson, RB: Greg Schiano will be looking to run the ball a lot and Richardson gives him a tremendous RB prospect to do it with. Richardson is a more versatile weapon than LeGarrette Blount and will help form a very good RB duo.
6) St. Louis Rams - Morris Claiborne, CB: The Rams have many holes to fill and while they lose on two of them with Kalil and Blackmon in this scenario, Claiborne will help fill a major hole in their defense. Getting a boatload of draft picks from the Redskins will help make up for the loss of getting the top WR or OT.
7) Jacksonville Jaguars - Quinton Coples, DE: Re-signing Jeremy Mincey doesn’t mean the Jaguars won’t be looking for a DE in the draft. The Jaguars will need to get to the QB in a division that will have Matt Schaub, Jake Locker, and Andrew Luck as rival QB's.
8) Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill, QB: I don’t like this choice at #8 overall, but it looks more likely now that the Dolphins are going to be without Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn. Tannehill may not be able to start immediately, but could ultimately be Miami’s QB of the future. Even if the Dolphins do lure Alex Smith away from San Francisco they would still be in the market for Tannehill.
Previous pick: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB
9) Carolina Panthers - Michael Brockers, DT: The Panthers had to resort to starting Frank Kearse and Jason Shirley at defensive tackle in 2011. While they need help at CB as well, a solid CB won't be able to do much if Carolina can't generate any pressure on the QB.
10) Buffalo Bills - Riley Reiff, OT: They signed Mario Williams, but they still need someone that can man the RE position. While there are plenty of edge rushers available, the Bills will need to fill the OT position even more as it looks like Demetrius Bell is unlikely to return. This makes Reiff the logical choice in this scenario.
Previous pick: Andre Branch, DE
11) Kansas City Chiefs - Dontari Poe, NT: He was always the top NT prospect, but a spectacular combine performance has turned heads. He will do wonders for a defense that ranked 26th against the run in 2011.
12) Seattle Seahawks - Jonathan Martin, OT: The Seahawks would love to get their hands on someone like Melvin Ingram, but they have a much bigger hole at OT. Martin would be an immediate starter and huge upgrade for Seattle as a LT. They need someone to protect Flynn and Paul McQuistan is not the answer. They can live another year with Chris Clemons and Red Bryant as their edge rusher or find a DE in the second round.
Previous pick: Riley Reiff, OT
13) Arizona Cardinals - Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB: The Cardinals will be happy to take one of the top three OTs if available, but they locked up Levi Brown in case they don’t. With all of the top OTs off the board, the Cardinals address a critical need on defense. Calais Campbell (8), Sam Acho (7), and Daryl Washington (5) were the top three pass rushers for Arizona in 2011, but Acho is the only OLB of the bunch. Clark Haggans and Joey Porter combined for a total of 4 sacks last year.
Previous pick: Jonathan Martin, OT
14) Dallas Cowboys - Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB: The Cowboys have the luxury of filling a number of positions after a solid week of free agency when they shored up a number of holes, especially on the defense. While Janoris Jenkins is still a possibility even after signing Brandon Carr, they could go with Ingram to help with their pass rush. While the Cowboys placed a franchise tender on OLB Anthony Spencer, it was likely done more because of a thin OLB market instead of him being a true franchise OLB. A platoon of Ingram/Spencer across from DeMarcus Ware would tremendously help Dallas’ defense.
Previous pick: Janoris Jenkins, CB
15) Philadelphia Eagles - Luke Kuechly, MLB: The Eagles could go a number of directions with this pick, but Kuechly is exactly the player they need to help turn their defense around. Casey Matthews performed nothing like his brother and simply shouldn't be the starting MLB in 2012.
16) New York Jets - Michael Floyd, WR: They could also use a safety and pass rusher, but they just made Mark Sanchez they 7th highest paid QB in the NFL. Now they need to surround him with weapons to even come close to earning that paycheck.
17) Cincinnati Bengals - Janoris Jenkins, CB: Kirkpatrick was once considered as either the top or second best CB in the draft, but a strong showing by Jenkins during the Senior Bowl week helped him overtake Kirkpatrick. The Bengals have Leon Hall, but Nate Clements is 32 and has been inconsistent. Don’t bet former Dolphin Jason Allen to be the answer at CB either. Jenkins and Hall could quickly become one of the better CB duos in the NFL.
Previous pick: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB
18) San Diego Chargers - David DeCastro, OG: The Chargers could use someone like Mark Barron at S and could use another pass rushing OLB, but they desperately need help on the OL. The Chargers may hope Shaun Phillips will bounce back in 2012 and though newly signed Jarret Johnson isn’t a great pass rushing specialist, he is good enough to warrant a starting position opposite of Phillips. The Chargers will address the need for a pass rushing OLB, but it may not be in the first round.
Previous pick: Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB
19) Chicago Bears - Mike Adams, OT: The Bears no longer need much help at WR since landing Brandon Marshall in a trade with Miami, but they still need help protecting Jay Cutler. Cordy Glenn could be an option as well instead of Adams.
20) Tennessee Titans - Dre Kirkpatrick: Like many teams, the Titans need a pass rusher. Unfortunately, the Titans also have a glaring hole at CB with Cortland Finnegan departing in free agency. Kirkpatrick could start from day one opposite of Jason McCourty.
Previous pick: Whitney Mercilus, DE
21) Cincinnati Bengals - Lamar Miller, RB: Cedric Benson hasn't been very effective despite his rushing yards and he's a free agent. Miller is a home run threat and is quick to hit the holes. Miller is also a tough runner to bring down. It's possible Cincy could go with a guard or center like Cordy Glenn or Peter Konz, but there is a thin market for RB's in free agency and the Bengals need an upgrade in the backfield more than they do on the line.
22) Cleveland Browns (via Falcons) - Cordy Glenn, OG: The Browns could look at Miller if available, but they probably have faith in Montario Hardesty and Chris Ogbonnaya. The Browns can put Glenn at LG between Joe Thomas and Alex Mack to give them one of heck of an offensive line. The Browns wouldn’t need a big name RB with that trio.
Previous pick: Ryan Tannehill, QB
23) Detroit Lions - Stephon Gilmore, CB: The Lions also need help on the OL and at OLB, but they desperately need help at CB. OLB Zach Brown would be the only other player worthy of consideration in this scenario. Gilmore is a big CB with good quickness and will give the Lions much needed help in the secondary.
Previous pick: David DeCastro, OG
24) Pittsburgh Steelers - Dont’a Hightower, ILB: The Steelers need to get younger on defense and would love to have Poe available at this position to help replace Casey Hampton. They could also seek help along the OL at this pick, but Hightower is the best fit for the pick. He will continue the history of great Pittsburgh LB’s going for several years.
Previous pick: Cordy Glenn, OG
25) Denver Broncos - Devon Still, DT: Denver already has solid players on the outside for the future with Elvis Dumervil, Robert Ayers, and Von Miller. Still could bring a solid presence in the middle to team with Broderick Bunkley to help solidify the middle of the field and strengthen Denver's run defense. Kendall Wright could be an option, but I think Denver likes Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.
26) Houston Texans - Kendall Wright, WR: Teams won’t hold Wright’s poor performance at the combine against him. It’s no secret the kid has speed and can do a great job of creating separation. The Texans will finally find a capable WR to start opposite Andre Johnson with this pick.
Previous pick: Reuben Randle, WR
27) New England Patriots (via Saints) - Kendall Reyes, DT: The signing of Steve Gregory lessens New England’s need for a safety, but not by much. They could also look for a CB with the pick. Despite signing Marcus Harriston in free agency, the Patriots could do well with Reyes to build a solid rotation at the DT position.
Previous pick: Mark Barron, S
28) Green Bay Packers - Mark Barron, S: The Packers could also use another pass rusher, but safety will be a huge hole if Nick Collins is unable to return. Barron falling to this point is simply a gift for the Packers.
Previous pick: Harrison Smith, S
29) Baltimore Ravens - Stephen Hill, WR: The Ravens need help along the interior offensive line after losing Ben Grubbs. Peter Konz would be a great pick here, but the Ravens just re-signed Matt Birk to a three-year deal despite his age. While they have a temporary fix at center, they can look to a great WR prospect for the future with Hill.
Previous pick: Peter Konz, C
30) San Francisco 49ers - Reuben Randle, WR: The 49ers signed Randy Moss and Mario Manningham in free agency, but Moss is only a short term solution. The Niners could have the luxury of using Manningham in the slot while using Randle as the #2 WR after they move on from Moss. A CB like Alfonzo Dennard could be another possibility.
Previous pick: Kendall Wright, WR
31) New England Patriots - Vinny Curry, DE/OLB: The best pass rusher left on the board. The Patriots desperately need help rushing the passer and after addressing their need for an outside WR with speed, they finally look to shore up their lacking pass rush. He doesn't have the explosiveness of some other pass rushers in this draft, but he may have the most violent hands. His hands, not his speed, will be what he uses to get by OTs.
32) New York Giants - Zebrie Sanders: The Giants offensive line has been going through transition. Look the once dominant offensive line to try and speed up their recovery by drafting Sanders. They'd love to have Glenn available and may look for Dwayne Allen at TE, but they probably feel they have enough weapons.