In less than a year, all these picks will be entirely correct. All 64 of them.
MTD's top 100 for the 2012 NFL Draft is here.
1.) Washington Redskins - Andrew Luck: QB, Stanford (MTD rank: 1)
I had him at #1 a year ago, and I sure as hell didn't see anything from him this year to take him out of this spot in 2010. As to whether there's an ongoing conspiracy within the Redskins organization to take Luck first overall, I won't even go there. Although, Dan Snyder is one shady, shady cat.
Should Washington not end up here and take Luck at the top, QB is the obvious need. With a re-installed schedule of routine year-round football, I would expect Dan Snyder to return to form and fill the bigger needs through free agency. In that case, the D-line, wide receivers, cornerback and a replacement for MLB London Fletcher are prominent needs.
Sixty-three more picks after the jump.
2.) Tennessee Titans - Jerel Worthy: DT, Michigan St. (MTD rank: 7)
I agree with Music City Miracles in that I expect the Titans' corners to improve as a unit, but I wouldn't be surprised if their pass defense falls off the cliff. Their front four is one of the worst in the league as a whole, and Worthy would offer the degree of athleticism at the position that Tampa picked up with Gerald McCoy and Detroit similarly with Nick Fairley.
The D-line as a whole is there for the Titans in the 2012 draft, but don't discount the O-line or safety (though if they end up at #2 overall, you can throw safety out. And I wouldn't be surprised if they grab a wide receiver on day 2.
3.) Buffalo Bills - Landry Jones: QB, Oklahoma (MTD rank: 6)
I liked their 2011 draft class, but eventually the Bills have to go after a QB. And by eventually, I mean here. Jones has a great set to work for the Bills moving forward. Like QB, they will at some point in the future draft a talented tight end. It may be after I die, but it will happen. Probably. Maybe. Not happening.
4.) Arizona Cardinals - Matt Kalil: OT, USC (MTD rank: 17)
Whether it's Marc Bulger or Kevin Kolb or insert prayed-for QB savior here, the Cardinals need offensive line help as well. The brother of Ryan Kalil, who is a techinically-clean for the Panthers, Matt has the full set NFL teams are looking for in the modern left tackle.
Bear in mind, he started all 13 games on the left side last year, while Tyron Smith (who was just drafted by the Cowboys and is expected to take over their LT hole) played on the right. That in itself is a vote of confidence. And as an aside, this would be the fourth redshirt junior taken in as many picks. #stupidesthypotheticalnonfactever
5.) Carolina Panthers - Alshon Jeffery: WR, S. Carolina (MTD rank: 5)
Jeffery is just fun to watch. He can operate in all three facets of the receiving game, and can do so successfully and consistently. That's as boring of a way to describe what he does as I could think of.
And I'm inclined to agree with Cat Scratch Reader in that their defensive end play isn't as big of a priority as some have made it out to be (pointing at you, Michael Oher's BFF). I think Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy aren't as much of an issue as their defensive tackles (should their 2011 draft class not pan out), outside linebackers, cornerbacks or safeties. Yeah, the defense has holes.
6.) Jacksonville Jaguars - Quinton Coples: DE, N. Carolina (MTD rank: 2)
Jaguars fans, I expect, would be incredibly uncomfortable with this pick; having taken Derrick Harvey at #8 in 2008, I can understand why. Harvey has totaled just 8 sacks in his first three seasons in the NFL. Still, Jags fans should get behind this pick.
Coples is a natural 4-3 DE, and would improve the pass rush from day one. Big Cat Country, on the other hand, would prefer either Manti Te'o (MLB, Notre Dame), or a wide receiver they've heard of (i.e. not Jeff Fuller, WR - Texas A&M)
7.) Cleveland Browns - Dre Kirkpatrick: CB, Alabama (MTD rank: 4)
I hate this pick. Not because Cleveland couldn't use a partner with Joe Haden. Not because it doesn't fit the conventional wisdom as of right now. I hate it because I'm not seeing what others are seeing in Kirkpatrick. Were I to compile a CB big board today, he'd be roughly fifth. The reality is, though, I've learned to handicap my own fallibility ahead of time. This could be one of those times.
Should Kirkpatrick live up to expectations in the SEC (albeit a relatively easy schedule for Bama) this year, his stock should carry into the bowl season. And yes, the Browns took Buster Skrine, but if he turns into a starting corner that erases this need, I'll gladly concede this pick.
8.) Denver Broncos - Alfonzo Dennard: CB, Nebraska (MTD rank: 22)
A bit outside, I guess; but, what most see in Kirkpatrick, I see in Dennard. In fact, I thought he was the better corner at Nebraska last year, overshadowing Prince Amukamara who went to the Giants at 19th overall. I wouldn't be surprised if, now that he's paired with a young Ciante Evans, Dennard shines in 2011.
The real question here is quarterback. Will Kyle Orton shine this year? Will Tim Tebow capitalize on the hype? With John Fox now in town, I wouldn't be surprised if neither happens and he goes after his own franchise QB in this draft. If one of the aforementioned two does hold down the position to an acceptable degree, Dennard would be a solid replacement for Champ Bailey. And yes, Broncos fans, eventually, Bailey has to retire. Eventually. In 2019.
9.) Minnesota Vikings - Riley Reiff: OT, Iowa (MTD rank: 35)
While I can see Kalil as the top pass-first offense OT in the draft, Reiff looks to play the part for the position in a more balanced offense. That seems to be the plan for Leslie Frazier's Vikings, an understandable plan given a likely re-signing of Adrian Peterson after the season.
Reiff would balance the line well with Phil Loadholt and open the weakside of the passing game up for Christian Ponder...in theory. For the time being, Vikings are just dealing with the 2011 draft class and stadium rumors.
10.) Oakland Raiders - Matt Barkley: QB, USC (MTD rank: 13)
The Raiders have to grab a QB in the first round next year, right? No? Well sure, they haven't touched the position with issue since JaLeanus Russell. Sure, they can forward fill Jason Campbell through free agency, but it's not hard to look across the league to Washington and see how that worked out.
11.) Seattle Seahawks - Nick Foles: QB, Arizona (MTD rank: 28)
I still see Foles winding up in Arizona in my mind, but for this mock I don't see him slipping past the Seahawks. With Hasselbeck likely moving on and Charlie Whitehurst's contract set to expire after this season, a first round QB looks like a strong possibility for Seattle in next year's draft.
12.) Kansas City Chiefs - Vontaze Burfict: MLB, Arizona St. (MTD rank: 3)
13.) Cincinnati Bengals - Donte Paige-Moss: DE/OLB, N. Carolina (MTD rank: 12)
14.) Miami Dolphins - Luke Kuechly: MLB, Boston College (MTD rank: 11)
Zach Thomas redux, anyone? Kuechly is a tackling machine, logging 142 tackles in his freshman season and a ridiculous 183 tackles as a sophomore. He had at least 15 tackles in five games last season. Even though I'm not a huge fan of tackles as a stat, that's just ridiculous.
15.) San Francisco 49ers - Stephon Gilmore: CB, S. Carolina (MTD rank: 37)
16.) Dallas Cowboys - Marcus Forston: DT, Miami (MTD rank: 15)
17.) NY Giants - Jonathan Martin: OT, Stanford (MTD rank: 10)
18.) Chicago Bears - Justin Blackmon: WR, Oklahoma St. (MTD rank: 9)
Blackmon might be the most overrated prospect right now. That doesn't mean he's a bad WR, but he wouldn't be in my top 15 on my big board. He's another example of the power of inflated statistics. Still, he plays a good physical game for being just over 6' tall and working in the Cowboys' offensive juggernaut of a system.
19.) Houston Texans - Ryan Broyles: WR, Oklahoma (MTD rank: 42)
20.) New England Patriots (via New Orleans) - Jared Crick: DT/DE, School (MTD rank: 33)
We all know this isn't going to happen, because New England cannot use a pick without trading it first. Of course, they got this pick from the Saints, so maybe it's not Billegal (that's Belichick legalese). The Pats could use a top talent at the 5-tech, and Crick certainly could make the move from the Huskers' 4-3.
21.) St. Louis Rams - T.J. McDonald: FS, USC (MTD rank: NR)
A ridiculous athlete with the pedigree to match, McDonald had a wonderful sophomore season last year. He's got the size and range to work as the drop free safety in a cover 2. And he's got tackling technique, likely taught to him by his dad, Tim McDonald (former Pro Bowler and now HS head coach). If the Rams see a lack of productivity at FS this season (which is certainly a possible case), McDonald could be the kind of free safety Spags looks at early in the draft.
22.) San Diego Chargers - Brandon Jenkins: DE/OLB, Florida St. (MTD rank: 19)
23.) Detroit Lions - Courtney Upshaw: OLB, Alabama (MTD rank: 23)
24.) Indianapolis Colts - Ray Ray Armstrong: SS, Miami (MTD rank: 36)
What the Colts lost with Bob Sanders' departure, they would gain with Ray Ray (and yes, you have to refer to him as Ray Ray). An overtly physical hitter, Armstrong would provide the pop in run defense that the Colts have lacked the last couple of years. He's no slouch in the pass game either.
25.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Zach Brown: OLB, N. Carolina (MTD rank: 21)
26.) Cleveland Browns (via Atlanta) - Matt Reynolds: OT, BYU (MTD rank: 26)
27.) New York Jets - Travis Lewis: OLB, Oklahoma (MTD rank: 31)
28.) New England Patriots - Tank Carder: OLB, TCU (MTD rank: 48)
29.) Green Bay Packers - Trent Richardson: RB, Alabama (MTD rank: 8)
The rich get richer. Richardson is the most complete running back prospect since Adrian Peterson in '07. So why does he drop so low? I doubt it will end up happening this way, but it would make sense. Just like Ingram falling to the back of the first round until the Saints traded up for him (a horrible trade BTW), Richardson will wait as prospects from more valuable positions fly off the board.
As for the Packers taking Richardson, it would certainly be a luxury pick. As their championship ring proves, they obviously didn't need a stellar running back to take the Lombardi trophy. So why take one here? To strengthen the team, especially throughout the regular season. Richardson would provide some extra yardage and make the Packers' offense that much more potent. Scary.
30.) Pittsburgh Steelers - Alameda Ta'amu: NT, Washington (MTD rank: 39)
31.) Baltimore Ravens - Manti Te'o: ILB, Notre Dame (MTD rank: 18)
32.) Philadelphia Eagles - Orson Charles: TE, Georgia (MTD rank: NR)
Yes, I have the Cycle of Vicktory completing in 2012. The Eagles win the Super Bowl, Vick is given the Medal of Freedom, DeSean Jackson's feet actually light on fire, and Philly's patchwork defense outperforms the Ravens' talent-laden D.
As for Charles, he's a bit of a Lance Kendricks clone IMO. With more teams looking to add receiving potency at the tight end spot, Charles' value will rise independently of his play. If his showing against Florida was any indication of what's to come this year, Mark Richt won't be able to hold on to Charles much longer.
1.) Washington Redskins - T.Y. Hilton: WR, Florida International (MTD rank: NR)
It's just so crazy it might work... Hilton's the all-everything player for the Golden Panthers. Return man, WR extraordinaire - against Troy, he even rushed for 158 yards. Sure, FIU is stuck in the Sun Belt, where football goes to die, but Hilton's got a future. And I could see the Redskins grabbing Hilton to give Luck a young target to grow with. And just because the Redskins just drafted a trio of WRs doesn't make this impossible; if anything, a Luck-Hankerson-Hilton trio would be a great anchor for the Redskins' offense moving forward.
2.) Tennessee Titans- Chase Minnifield: CB, Virginia (MTD rank: 14)
3.) Buffalo Bills - Dwayne Allen: TE, Clemson (MTD rank: NR)
The Bills haven't taken a tight end before the 3rd round since 1994 when they took Lonnie Johnson out of Florida St. I thought Brandon Pettigrew could be a target for Buffalo back in the 2009 draft, but alas. Allen would be a solid option once Buffalo grabs a QB; he's overshadowed in Clemson by a bevy of young WRs, but he's got the skill set that will tempt teams on day 2.
4.) Arizona Cardinals - Ryan Lindley: QB, San Diego St. (MTD rank: 40)
This season will be a great test for Lindley, now that he's without Vincent Brown (drafted in the 3rd round by the Chargers) and DeMarco Sampson (drafted in the 7th by the Cardinals). With his two premier targets gone, Lindley will be the focus for defenses facing the Aztecs.
If we learned anything from Jake Locker's pre-NFL experience, it's the value of the struggles. Sometimes, not having premier talent accelerates the learning curve...at least that's the hope in Nashville. Arizona might end up walking the same fine line a year from now.
5.) Carolina Panthers - Cliff Harris: CB, Oregon (MTD rank: 26)
6.) Jacksonville Jaguars - Dont'a Hightower: MLB, Alabama (MTD rank: 24)
7.) Cleveland Browns - Devin Taylor: DE, S. Carolina (MTD rank: 44)
8.) Denver Broncos - Knile Davis: RB, Arkansas (MTD rank: 16)
9.) Minnesota Vikings - Jeff Fuller: WR, Texas A&M (MTD rank: 20)
10.) New England Patriots (via Oakland) - Kenny Tate: FS, Maryland (MTD rank: 30)
11.) Seattle Seahawks - Desmond Trufant: CB, Washington (MTD rank: NR)
This is my wild card. Trufant has a lot of work to do, but with improved play coming to the Huskies' D-line, I could Trufant jumping higher than most CBs this year. In terms of stock, not actual jumping ability.
Of course, as it pertains to the Seahawks, the opportunity for a two-font Trufant pair is just a fun idea. The Rams could still bring in Donovan Fletcher once the UDFA iron curtain is torn down. Really, though, I want to see quintuplets on the same team. Just have a ton of guys with the same last name on the field to confuse the coaches. Like the Asshole Family scene in Spaceballs.
12.) Kansas City Chiefs - Bobby Massie: OT, Ole Miss (MTD rank: NR)
13.) Cincinnati Bengals - LaMichael James: RB, Oregon (MTD rank: 43)
14.) Miami Dolphins - Kirk Cousins: QB, Michigan St. (MTD rank: 88)
15.) San Francisco 49ers - Tydreke Powell: DT/DE, N. Carolina (MTD rank: 66)
16.) Dallas Cowboys - Robert Lester: FS, Alabama (MTD rank: 38)
17.) New York Giants - Keenan Robinson: OLB, Texas (MTD rank: NR)
18.) Chicago Bears - Jayron Hosley: CB, Va. Tech (MTD rank: NR)
19.) Houston Texans - Nate Potter: OT, Boise St. (MTD rank: 50)
20.) New England Patriots - Michael Floyd: WR, Notre Dame (MTD rank: 25)
21.) St. Louis Rams - Baker Steinkuhler: DT/DE, Nebraska (MTD rank: NR)
Steinkuhler's going to have a huge opportunity this year playing next to Jared Crick. Tall and rangy, Steinkuhler plays very loose at the line, and impacts the passing game more than most tackles. Of course, that comes at the expense of his run defense, but isn't that the kind of tackle you would expect Spags to throw into his defensive line depth chart? And while Ram fans may be worried about repeating the Adam Carriker era, the intent would be to repeat Grant Wistrom's success albeit with a good 25 pounds in Steinkuhler's favor over Wistrom.
22.) San Diego Chargers - Mohamed Sanu: WR, Rutgers (MTD rank: 86)
23.) Detroit Lions - Andre Branch: DE, Clemson (MTD rank: 41)
24.) Indianapolis Colts - Dwight Jones: WR, N. Carolina (MTD rank: 91)
25.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Cyrus Gray: RB, Texas A&M (MTD rank: 27)
First off, the Aggies have some wacky names carrying the ball. Cyrus? Christine? Mister?! They can run, though. Christine Michael was one of the biggest names coming out of Texas high school football when he chose to go to A&M, and his freshman season was as impressive as advertised.
In year two, though, he broke his leg, requiring season-ending surgery. Stop me if you see where this is going - Gray stepped in and absolutely tore up the field starting in late October. And while the Bucs do have LeGarrette Blount, Gray would make a fine complement to fill out the Bucs' backfield, and maybe their offense as a whole.
26.) Atlanta Falcons - Michael Egnew: TE, Missouri (MTD rank: 45)
27.) New York Jets - Kelechi Osemele: OT/G, Iowa St. (MTD rank: 47)
28.) New England Patriots - Michael Brewster: C, Ohio St. (MTD rank: 34)
29.) Green Bay Packers - Jake Bequette: DE, Arkansas (MTD rank: 76)
30.) Pittsburgh - Omar Bolden: CB, Arizona St. (MTD rank: NR)
31.) Baltimore Ravens - Vinny Curry: DE/OLB, Marshall (MTD : NR)
Curry's one of my favorite sleeper prospects this year. He's got a great first step off
32.) Philadelphia Eagles - Janoris Jenkins: CB, Florida/N. Alabama? (MTD rank: 32)