New Two Round Mock Draft

Written by Ryan Lownes on January 29, 2012


1. Indianapolis Colts

 

Andrew Luck – QB – Stanford

 

A no-brainer pick for the franchise in the midst of a massive overhaul. The Bill Polian-Peyton Manning era is officially over in Indianapolis and whether Manning remains the starter or not, the future of the Colts will depend on the success of the Stanford prodigy. There won’t be any suspense surrounding the first pick in April, this one is already set.

2. St. Louis Rams

 

Matt Kalil – OT – USC

 

Many experts feel this pick will be up for sale with teams pushing hard for the next highest ranked signal-caller, Robert Griffin III. If the Rams keep this pick, they will be using it to aid Sam Bradford. Many expect the team to seek out a true #1 wide receiver here, but Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon is not in the elite Calvin Johnson/A.J. Green league. No offensive line allowed more sacks during the 2011 season and Matt Kalil provides St. Louis with an elite blind-side protector for the foreseeable future.

3. Minnesota Vikings

 

Riley Reiff – OT – Iowa

 

The Vikings are stuck between a rock and a hard place here. They will be shopping this pick to the highest bidder, presumably a team that would like to move up for Baylor’s Robert Griffin. If they are unable to trade out of this spot, it makes sense that the Vikings would attempt to supplement young Christian Ponder by drafting a receiver or offensive lineman. In this scenario, Minnesota reaches for one of the class’ elite pass blockers. Reiff steps in right away and provides a huge upgrade at left tackle.

4. Cleveland Browns

 

Robert Griffin III – QB – Baylor

 

It seems as if the Browns have been rebuilding perennially since the franchise returned to the NFL in 1999. At the root of their struggles: a tumultuous and mediocre history at the Quarterback position. Griffin, the Heisman Trophy winner, has the physical and mental tools to buck the trend in Cleveland. In addition to his ability to stretch the field with his arm, “RG3” possesses the speed the offense so desperately lacks.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

Trent Richardson – RB – Alabama

 

The argument could be made that the Buccaneers already have their franchise back in LeGarrette Blount, but don’t be shocked if the bowling ball from Alabama proves too tempting with this pick. Richardson is in an elite class in terms of running back prospects, possessing a rare combination of balance, power, vision, and burst. Tampa Bay and new head coach Greg Schiano would like to return to their smash-mouth roots and this pick gives Josh Freeman an incredibly potent weapon.

6. Washington Redskins

 

Ryan Tannehill – QB – Texas A&M

 

From my desk here in Ohio, I can almost hear the collective groan of Redskins fans and casual mock draft readers as they see this pick. Hear me out on this one: last year, very few expected four quarterbacks to come off the board in the first twelve picks. Washington is in dire need of a talented, young player under center and Ryan Tannehill fits the Mike Shanahan mold. Though he spent two years at wide receiver at Texas A&M, Tannehill possesses the necessary size, arm strength, mobility, and natural feel for the position needed to develop into an effective starter at the NFL level.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars

 

Quinton Coples – DE – North Carolina

 

If I were to list the names that currently comprise the Jacksonville defense, you would find yourself in awe with the mediocrity of the group. The Jaguars do have several solid players on that side of the ball, but few standouts. To say Quinton Coples would be an upgrade at left defensive end over free agent Leger Douzable would be a great understatement. Coples, a bit of an underachiever in 2011, has the length, power, quickness, and versatility to be a terror in the NFL if he is able to conquer the mental aspect of the game.

8. Carolina Panthers

 

Morris Claiborne – CB – LSU

 

With Cam Newton on board, Carolina certainly seems to be a franchise heading in the right direction. Unfortunately, however, their defense is filled with gaping holes everywhere from the line to the defensive backfield. After suffering key injuries early, the Panthers managed to finish only 28th in the NFL in total defense. Morris Claiborne is a steal here and as safe a pick as you could ask for. Though he lacks former teammate Patrick Peterson’s combination of size and athleticism, Claiborne may be the better true cover corner at this point.

9. Miami Dolphins

 

Justin Blackmon – WR – Oklahoma State

 

The Dolphins’ two top priorities with this pick are likely to be: 1) a franchise quarterback, 2) the best available pass-rusher. With Justin Blackmon on the board here, Miami will be forced to reconsider. While Brandon Marshall is still a formidable primary target, the team’s offense sure would look a heck of a lot better with a reliable and explosive #2. Blackmon is not a burner, but he is a polished route runner with suddenness, size, an understanding of coverages.

10. Buffalo Bills

 

Courtney Upshaw – OLB – Alabama

 

While no one knows for sure what defensive scheme the Bills will be running next season, the fact remains: adding a pass rusher will be the team’s top priority. Whether it is standing up or with a hand on the ground, Courtney Upshaw is among the most gifted edge rushers in this draft. His performances both at the Senior Bowl and in the National Championship reinforced Upshaw’s status as one of this draft’s best overall defenders.

11. Kansas City Chiefs

Jonathan Martin

 

Jonathan Martin – OT – Stanford

 

The Chiefs caught the injury bug especially badly during the 2011 season, losing key contributors Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry for the season early on. Luckily for Kansas City, their window of opportunity is far from closed in the competitive AFC West. If the team is able to come to terms with free agents Dwayne Bowe and Brandon Carr, the eleventh pick will be free to pursue an offensive lineman. With Branden Albert holding down the left side, Martin would face the responsibility of taking over for Barry Richardson on the right.

12. Seattle Seahawks

 

Brandon Weeden – QB – Oklahoma State

 

As I pass this notion along, I am gearing up for the worst. How can you justify taking a 28-year-old with a pick as high as twelfth overall? Simple: the Seahawks need a quarterback and Brandon Weeden can play. While Seattle is sure to make a strong push for free agent Matt Flynn, they must come out of the draft with a signal-caller should he sign elsewhere. Weeden is everything you want in a quarterback both physically and mentally. When it is all said & done, he may wind up with a career much like Kurt Warner’s.

13. Arizona Cardinals

 

David DeCastro – OG – Stanford

 

Whether or not the team won more games than many expected, the first year of the Kevin Kolb experiment in Arizona has to be considered a massive failure. To protect their huge investment, expect the Cardinals to address their struggling offensive line sooner rather than later. Ideally you would like to land a franchise left tackle with this pick, but David DeCastro is rare amongst offensive guard prospects. He could start from day one and give the team a stalwart on the line for years to come.

14. Dallas Cowboys

 

Michael Brockers – DL – LSU

 

Many will be clamoring for the Cowboys to select the highest rated defensive back on the board, but at this point that appears to be too much of a reach. By using this pick to address holes in their defensive front, Dallas figures to improve against the run and give All-Pro linebacker Demarcus Ware more space to maneuver. In Brockers, the team gets a high upside lineman with all the physical tools necessary to become a dominant force.

15. Philadelphia Eagles

 

Luke Kuechly – ILB – Boston College

 

It is no secret that both Philadelphia fans and coaches were appalled at the play of their linebackers during the 2011 season. The team juggled through rookie starters and was unable to find consistent production anywhere. For the Eagles, it may be time to invest earlier at the position. Luke Kuechly is a tackling machine. Though he has trouble shedding blockers, he has displayed tremendous instincts and range throughout his career at BC.

16. New York Jets

 

Michael Floyd – WR – Notre Dame

 

With reports that the Jets locker room was in complete turmoil late last season, expect some significant roster moves this offseason. Rex Ryan is putting his neck out for Mark Sanchez and it is likely that the team will put an emphasis on finding starting talent at running back, wide receiver, and offensive tackle. Michael Floyd is a tremendous talent with bona fide #1 potential. Though he comes with some character red flags, New York may be willing to set aside their concerns if they must replace both Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress.

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Ryan Lownes

Ryan is currently an undergraduate student at Ohio University pursuing a degree in Sport Management. He has been attending the NFL Draft in New York City since 2005 and has aspirations of a career in scouting. He is currently a draft writer and analyst on the Draft Breakdown team, posting his latest rankings, mock drafts, scouting reports, and more. Be sure to follow Ryan on twitter for year-round NFL Draft analysis. See all posts by Ryan Lownes.