1. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
There’s no surprise the Colts selected Luck as it was assumed since their season ended 2-14 and new GM Ryan Grigson confirmed the pick Wednesday. What’s important now is to make sure they give what they hope to be a replica of Manning’s success the protection he needs and the tools to succeed.
Fantasy Worth: Remember, seeing QBs succeed in Fantasy is a rarity. He’s not Cam Newton, but can succeed like or better than Dalton. Would take in Top 20 but around 15th QB after you already have a QB.
2. Washington Redskins – Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Another no-brainer. The Skins gave up this year’s first and second round picks as well as their first round picks next year and in 2014 to the Rams so they could draft the QB who is a perfect fit for the Mike Shanahan offense. Unlike Luck, Griffin is starting off with a better cast surrounding him and should see success early.
Fantasy Worth: More upside than Luck as a rookie. Given his dual-threat ability, he could surprise like Cam. Would take after Schaub comes off the board.
3. Cleveland Browns – Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Cleveland traded away their fourth (118), fifth (139), and seventh (211) round picks to move up one slot to select the Doak Walker Award Winner. The Browns needed help in their ground game, so they went all-in for the “next Adrian Peterson”.
Fantasy Worth: Big time impact in rookie season. Would draft BEFORE ADP. He is the complete package, can play every down & has little to no competition for carries.
4. Minnesota Vikings – Matt Kalil, OT, USC
So, Minnesota picks up three draft picks to move back one spot and still draft the player they had been coveting all along. Protecting last year’s first round investment in Christian Ponder had to be a priority.
Fantasy Impact: More about the development of Christian Ponder and eventual returning ADP. It helps, but Minn still needs more.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars – Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Jacksonville selects the two-time Biletnikoff winner after giving Tampa Bay their first (7) and fourth (101) round picks. Now either Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne will have another reliable target to throw to, after signing Laurent Robinson through free agency.
Fantasy Worth: Kid was a BEAST in college, but Floyd has a better NFL build. Also, hurt by QB (Gabbert). Fills a big need for JAX, but is no more than a WR4 on draft day. Does help MJD maintain value from last year w/ less in the box on D.
6. Dallas Cowboys – Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
For moving up to six spots to take the Jim Thorpe Award Winner, the Cowboys only had to give up the fourteenth pick and their second round pick (45). Seems like a small price to pay for a player they really needed to strengthen the secondary.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mark Barron, S, Alabama
With Trent Richardson and Morris Claiborne off the board, the Bucs fill a huge position of need with the best safety in the class, and picked up a fourth round (101) pick along the way.
8. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Could be considered a reach by many (including us) from a playing standpoint, it isn’t too much of a reach from a business standpoint: under the new CBA, the rookie wage scale is much lower. Never-the-less, Tannehill would benefit greatly by sitting a year or two, as he needs to work on his decision making abilities. The Aggies had several late-game losses in 2011 due to poor decisions by Tannehill that produced costly turnovers.
Fantasy Impact: Ryan Tannehill – For Redraft Leagues, close to none. Tannehill needs grooming and will sit behind Moore. Keeper/Dynasty leagues worth taking later half of draft.
9. Carolina Panthers – Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
The Panthers don’t need a ton of help on offense, but have a number of positions they need to fill on defense. Interestingly, LB was not thought to be an immediate need. With the starting MLB (Jon Beason) signing a $50 million contract last year with $25 million guaranteed, the best ILB in the draft may move outside as weakside linebacker Thomas Davis is trying to return from his third ACL surgery on the same knee.
10. Buffalo Bills – Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
Gilmore’s draft stock has been on the rise all month, but we primarily saw his best fit as a Safety. Gilmore needs to fine-tune his man coverage skills.
11. Kansas City Chiefs – Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
It’s no secret we’re not high on Poe, but we knew someone would be. He has potential and is a very athletic big man, but it doesn’t translate in the film. Romeo may be in love, but we all know how that eventually ended.
12. Philadelphia Eagles – Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
In order for the Eagles to get Cox they gave their first round (15) pick in addition to a fourth (114) and sixth (172) round picks. Just like Poe, Coz is a freak of an athlete. Unlike Poe, Cox is also a very good football player. Cox needs improvement against the rush, but he has all the tools to lead us to believe it won’t take time for that to develop.
13. Arizona Cardinals – Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
The Cardinals added one of the best receiver prospects to one of the best receivers in the game. Only question is, who’s going to protect the QB long enough so he can utilize them?
Fantasy Impact: Will surpass Blackmon production. Legitimate WR 3/4 playing alongside Fitzgerald.
14. St. Louis Rams – Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
The Rams were originally at two, but a pre-draft trade deal with Washington, sent them to six. After realizing how much fun it is to move back and take people’s draft picks, they decided to do it again with Dallas, this time adding another second rounder to their harem. They also happened to get one of the guys they were targeting at six.
15. Seattle Seahawks – Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB, West Virginia
This was the first shocker of the night. We had Irvin as the 71st best prospect on our Top 100 list. He has possibly the most insane change of direction and will get the angle on most tackles. With that said, the pick is still a shocker to many, while reports started surfacing that teams were high on him all along.
16. New York Jets – Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Coples has all the talent and athleticism you could ask for. He is also very inconsistent and plays with a low motor. However, we do feel he is best suited with a team that can motivate him and Bart Scott should be that guy.
17. Cincinnati Bengals – Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Kirkpatrick is one the best zone corners in this draft, so naturally the team that already has a plethora of CBs drafted in the first round took him. Kirkpatrick joins a cornerback unit that includes Leon Hall (Cincinnati 2007) and other first-round cornerbacks Nate Clements (Buffalo 2001), Adam “Pacman” Jones (Tennessee 2005), Terence Newman (Dallas 2003) and Jason Allen (Miami 2006).
18. San Diego Chargers – Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
Simply put, San Diego needs help everywhere. This is just one of the many holes they will look to fill.
19. Chicago Bears – Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State
One of the most versatile players in this draft. He can play inside linebacker, outside linebacker, and defensive end. Considering the LB core already in place, look for McClellin to add weight and challenge Israel Idonije to play opposite Julius Peppers.
20. Tennessee Titans – Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
We’ve always felt he would be an immediate slot receiver who could develop into a team’s number one. But, we also thought Tennessee needed to address the pass rush. If Jake Locker starts this year, this could turn out to be quite a tandem.
Fantasy Impact: Would take another Britt injury to have significant numbers this year. Good long term value, but 6-700 yards and a few TDs best to hope for, which makes him a WR4/5.
21. New England Patriots – Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
This is another prospect that started picking up steam late. New England’s pass defense was among the worst in the NFL last year, so adding a pass rusher was a definite need.
22. Cleveland Browns – Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State
In our last mock draft from March, we kicked around Weeden going here, but opted for Cleveland to select him with their second round pick (37). We felt if you need a QB to start immediately for a few seasons, this is the one. Age and health concerns won’t make him the franchise QB Luck or Griffin should become, but he will be a short term answer. He will battle Colt McCoy for the starting job, and will be the starter week one.
Fantasy Impact: Would take him in Top 20 for QBs & ahead of Luck in one-year league, especially with Richardson in backfield. If not for age, he would have been argued at the top of the draft. Ready to play and produce!
23. Detroit Lions – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
This is a smart pick by Detroit considering how successful they were last year when Matt Stafford stayed healthy season-long. Here’s where this could get interesting in Detroit: long time LT Jeff Backus re-signed a two year deal that could be worth $5.85 million dollars back in March. That deal has the potential to be worth $10 million because Backus can earn incentives of up to $4.4 million by playing 90% of the snaps over the next two years. 2008’s first round pick RT Gosder Cherilus is in a contract year. This could be a savvy business move for the Fords.
Fantasy Impact: This non-skill pick has value! Matthew Stafford will have more than 3 seconds now. Expect big numbers & Megatron will have another great year as always
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – David DeCastro, G, Stanford
For most people this is the second shocker of the night – and no one was more shocked than Pittsburgh. While guards aren’t valued as high as most positions, if you place a grade on DeCastro based on talent alone, he may actually belong higher than four on out Top 100 Draft Prospects list. Keeping Ben Roethlisberger has to be a priority for the Steelers, and DeCastro alongside Maurkice Pouncey strengthens the interior of the offensive line.
25. New England Patriots – Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
Hightower is projected to battle Rob Ninkovich for the strongside linebacker position, and if Dont’a can beat him out, that would make the Patriot LB core: Hightower, Brandon Spikes (MLB, ’10), and Jerod Mayo (WLB, ’08). With the previous selection of Jones, it’s very apparent Bill Belichik and Co. realized where their weakness was and is trying to address it early.
26. Houston Texans – Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois
We’ve liked Mercilus here for a while. Looking at the players Wade Phillips drafted on defense in ‘11, they all are high effort guys. Whitney Mercilus fits the mold perfectly. He’s disciplined, and goes all out on every play.
27. Cincinnati Bengals – Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin
Cincinnati just signed Travelle Wharton and Jacob Bell, which opens the question – would he back up lone C Kyle Cook? If that’s the plan why not draft his teammate C Peter Konz? When camps open these questions should be answered but in the meantime, I’m sure Andy Dalton is smiling.
28. Green Bay Packers – Nick Perry, OLB, USC
We liked Perry more as a DE in a 4-3, but he will be reunited with former Trojan teammate Clay Matthews and play opposite him at OLB. He has a better repertoire than most players at the DE/OLB position in the draft, but he needs to play with more drive and urgency. Matthews should help motivate him in that department.
29. Minnesota Vikings – Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
After trading their third overall spot to Cleveland while picking up several additional picks, Minnesota used their second (35) and fourth (98) round picks in a trade with Baltimore to get back into the first round for Smith. Although he played conservatively on film, he has the ability to become a very good NFL safety. We had him as our number two true safety (not converted CB), behind Mark Barron.
30. San Francisco 49ers – AJ Jenkins, WR, Illinois
With a deep WR class, this is quite a shock to us. Jenkins is a decent receiver, but we feel they could have gotten a better wide receiver later in the draft.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
Doug Martin has been our number two RB for some time, and we had him mocked to New York at 32. Tampa Bay lost out on Trent Richardson towards the beginning of the round, so they traded with Denver to come in and take Martin towards the end. Along with the 31st pick, the Broncos also gave up a fourth-round (126) pick in exchange for the Bucs’ second (36) and fourth round (101) picks.
32. New York Giants – David Wilson, RB, Va Tech
Remember how we just told you we had Martin here and one of the picks the Bucs traded to Denver was their second round (36) selection? Well, guess who we had the Bucs taking at 36? If you guessed Wilson you’d be correct. Wilson is a talented back that loses value due to the tendency to always look for a cut back when the hole is closed. But, he runs and catches effortlessly and hopely NFL coaching will make more disciplined.
Fantasy Impact: Upside capped by Bradshaw, but Wilson has more talent & nearly as good of a pass catcher. If Bradshaw hurt, could have a big season in that offense. A RB4 for now, but must have handcuff for Bradshaw owners.
Dory LeBlanc, co-hosts NFL Draft Cheat Sheet on RotoRadio and freelances for BourbonMeyer.com. Not just a college sports enthusiast, Dory is also a fan of NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB. Born outside Philly, she moved to Tampa, and now resides in Illinois, giving her a broad perspective on the sporting world. You may email Dory at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on twitter @DoryLeBlanc