The NFL Draft is so close you can almost taste it. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
The NFL Draft will be held this week in Radio City Music Hall this week in New York City. All I can say is that it's about time. The NFL Draft won't address all of our questions or ease all the concerns, but it'll at least change the direction of conversation we've had over the past month. I'm also a bit relieved this is the final mock draft. Of all that I have done, I think it's entirely safe to say that none of them will be accurate. I'd settle if I got 40% of the picks correct even. There will be surprise moves and trades. Regardless of who Miami selects, there will be plenty of people that don't agree with the pick. That just shows how many holes Miami has on their roster. Now to the final mock...
1) Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck, QB: I don't think this pick will be one of those surprising moves I mentioned... This is a free pick towards my 40% mark.
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.
3) Minnesota Vikings - Matt Kalil, OT: He is easily the best OT prospect in the draft. The Vikings could use help at WR and it would not be surprising to see them go with Justin Blackmon. There should be a few impact tackles available early in the second, but there should also be a few good WR's available as well.
4) Cleveland Browns - Justin Blackmon, WR: The Browns could go RB or WR here, but I give Blackmon the edge.Colt McCoy lacks talent all around him and the Browns are not blind to the fact. 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. It may be surprising to many to see a RB picked in the top 5, but Richardson is the best RB prospect in the NFL Draft since Adrian Peterson.
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 - Melvin Ingram, 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. I bounce back often with this pick with the high potential of Coples, but it appears that Ingram may be the safer pick.
8) Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill, QB: Many don't like him because he has limited production as QB and is simply a potential pick. Really though, everyone is drafted because of their potential in the NFL. Tannehill's potential may be just a bit tougher to judge.
9) Carolina Panthers - Fletcher Cox, DT: The Panthers had to resort to starting Frank Kearse and Jason Shirley at defensive tackle in 2011. Cox will not only help stuff the run game, but will be able to generate a pass rush from the inside. This pick will go a long way in improving Carolina's defense.
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 since Demetrius Bell signed with the Eagles. This makes Reiff the logical choice in this scenario. Michael Floyd would be a possibility, but he comes with somewhat of a risk thanks to his workouts.
11) Kansas City Chiefs - Dontari Poe, NT: It comes down to a tough decision between Poe and ILB Luke Kuechly. A stud 3-4 NT, which Poe can be, is much harder to find than a 3-4 ILB. Poe gets the nod here even though the Chiefs really couldn't go wrong with either selection.
12) Seattle Seahawks - Luke Kuechly, MLB: The kid is the top ILB/MLB in the draft and will be the staple of Seattle's defense for the next several years.
Previous pick: Quinton Coples, DE
13) Arizona Cardinals - Michael Floyd, WR: The Cardinals need help at OT and WR, but Reiff is gone and Jonathan Martin's stock is falling. Floyd would make a good compliment to Larry Fitzgerald and would help Kevin Kolb try and meet his expectations in Arizona.
14) Dallas Cowboys - Mark Barron, S: 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 Upshaw to help with their pass rush or with Barron to solidify their secondary. The Cowboys have quietly had one of the better off-seasons and have put themselves in position to go for the best player available.
15) Philadelphia Eagles - Michael Brockers, DT: The Eagles addressed their biggest need on defense by trading for DeMeco Ryans to be their MLB. Brockers would further help the run defense that ranked 16th in the NFL last season.
16) New York Jets - Quinton Coples, DE/OLB: They could use both Michael Floyd and Mark Barron, but they are both gone in this scenario. Rex Ryan has never been one to shy away from players that face some pretty tough questions. He'd love to have someone of Coples' talent on the roster and if either Coples or Ingram are available at this point in the draft, I don't see how Ryan doesn't select one of them.
Previous pick: Courtney Upshaw, OLB
17) Cincinnati Bengals - David DeCastro, OG: They could look at a number of CBs, but there are likely a few of them left on the board they really like. There is no guard as good as DeCastro in the draft and while rolling the dice and losing on a CB, DeCastro is about as safe a pick as any in the draft.
18) San Diego Chargers - Courtney Upshaw, OLB: The Chargers have Shaun Phillips and Jarret Johnson at OLB, but they won't rely on either to be the source of their pass rush. Upshaw could be San Diego's final solution to generating a consistent pass rush since Shawne Merriman's decline.
Previous pick: Cordy Glenn, OG/OT
19) Chicago Bears - Jonathan Martin, 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. The Bears will happily settle for Martin in this spot.
20) Tennessee Titans - Dre Kirkpatrick, CB: The Titans signed Kamerion Wimbley to play DE and I don't think they're ready to give up on Derrick Morgan after two seasons. While Janoris Jenkis and Stephon Gilmore may be better cover corners, Kirkpatrick should do very well in Tennessee's heavy zone defense. He won't make Titan fans forget about Cortland Finnegan, but it'd be a nice first step in filling the hole he left the Titans with his departure.
Previous pick: Luke Kuechly, MLB
21) Cincinnati Bengals - Stephon Gilmore, CB: By passing up on a CB with their 17th pick, the Bengals still get a choice between one of the top cover corners. While Jenkins is probably the better CB, Gilmore gets the nod ahead of him because of less concerns with his character. The last thing the Bengals want to do is draft more players that may ultimately become a nuisance for the team.
22) Cleveland Browns (via Falcons) - Cordy Glenn, OG/OT: They were able to help Colt McCoy with their first pick in Blackmon and with this pick they can solidify the OL for years. They already boast some of the best young linemen at their position with LT Joe Thomas and C Alex mack. Glenn at RT would finish out the three most important positions on the OL.
Previous pick: Stephon Gilmore, CB
23) Detroit Lions - Janoris Jenkins, CB: Jenkins is a risky pick and Detroit knows this. They also know Jenkins would be a top ten pick if he had a clean record. The Lions realize they're finally a true contender in the NFL and now it is time for them to take the risk to elevate their franchise to the next level. In order to do that, they must improve their weak secondary.
Previous pick: Whitney Mercilus, DE
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. While the Steelers could go with a number of different positions, Hightower is the perfect fit for their defense. Major score for Pittsburgh with this pick.
25) Denver Broncos - Jerel Worthy, DT: Denver already has solid players on the outside for the future with Elvis Dumervil, Robert Ayers, and Von Miller. Worthy 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. Stephen Hill could be an option, but I think Denver likes Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.
26) Houston Texans - Stephen Hill, WR: Hill has great size and has put up solid big play numbers, but he lacks the great numbers of some of the other top WR's. That may be due to Georgia Tech's unconventional offensive system. Hill was able to help out his stock by turning in an outstanding combine performance. The Texans will finally find a capable WR to start opposite Andre Johnson with this pick.
27) New England Patriots (via Saints) - Harrison Smith, S: Smith is a smart safety that New England would love to have on their roster. He would help bring stability to the secondary and has a very good chance to thrive in Belichick's defense.
28) Green Bay Packers - Andre Branch, DE/OLB: The Packers could use a pass rusher and a safety in case Nick Collins can't return, but New England knows Smith may be grabbed by Green Bay. The Packers are still able to fill a need though as quality pass rushers like Branch and Nick Perry are still on the board and the Packers will still find a way to improve their defense.
29) Baltimore Ravens - Kevin Zeitler, OG: 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 replace Grubbs with Zeitler. It may be a bit surprising to some, but their favorite targets are off the board.
30) San Francisco 49ers - Peter Konz, C: The 49ers signed Randy Moss and Mario Manningham in free agency, but Moss is only a short term solution and still leaves the possibility San Francisco will target a WR. A WR like Kendall Wright would be tempting, but an interior lineman would be the logical pick. There may not be a great guard left over, but Konz has the ability to shift to guard for now and ultimately replace the 33 year-old Jonathan Goodwin at center within the next few years.
Previous pick: Kendall Wright, WR
31) New England Patriots - Nick Perry, DE/OLB: Assuming the Patriots stay where they're at in the draft and still get two guys people absolutely love. They address both their needs with the secondary and a pass rusher in this scenario.
32) New York Giants - Bobby Massie, OT: The Giants offensive line has been going through transition. Mike Adams would've likely been a consideration here, but a failed drug test prior to the NFL Combine will knock him down quite a bit. Some may think Coby Fleener could be the choice, but I feel he's just not enough of a physical blocker for New York's taste. The Giants are still in the middle of assembling a new, younger OL and want to improve their running game.
Previous pick: Mike Adams, OT