NFL Free agency has just about wrapped up, and many of the burning questions that we have previously discussed regarding how the NFL landscape would change during the 2012 offseason have now been answered. Now team needs have become more defined and the NFL Draft has really began to take shape, which seems like the perfect time to issue a revised NFL Mock Draft, which will be much more cut and dry now, and no longer littered with free agency rumors, as I clearly got a little carried away with speculation last time around.
01) Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck, QB – Stanford – Peyton Manning is now in Denver and the future of the Colts belongs to the best pure quarterback prospect we have seen in over a decade, Andrew Luck, who will be selected with the first pick in the draft. The Colts will start fresh with Luck, but he will need a lot of help, as the only receiving threat they are really retaining from last season’s roster is Reggie Wayne. The Colts have lost receivers Pierre Garcon and Anthony Gonzalez and will likely lose tight ends Dallas Clark, and Jacob Tamme, as well as center Jeff Saturday and tailback Joseph Addai. The Colts will need to draft well in the other rounds to find players that can help Luck immediately.
02) Washington Redskins – Robert Griffin III, QB – Baylor – The Redskins were able to beat the Cleveland Browns offer and trade up to secure the second best quarterback prospect in the draft and ridiculous all around athlete Robert Griffin III, in an aggressive move that will cost the Redskins their first and second round draft picks in 2012 and their first round picks in 2013 and 2014. The Redskins are one of the most aggressive organizations in the league and they paid a huge price to have the right to select RGIII, then quickly added weapons for him in receivers Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan by way of the free agent market. This team still has some issues, especially along the offensive line and in the secondary, but if RGIII is as good as advertised this move will be a home run for Washington.
03) Minnesota Vikings – Matt Kalil, OT – USC – Not the most exciting pick of all time, however it is a cause of Best-Player-Available meets a huge need. Kalil is a prototype bookend left tackle who should quickly solidify Minnesota’s offensive line and become a Pro Bowl caliber player. The Vikings need to do a better job of protecting quarterback Christian Ponder, and Kalil instantly brings that to the table. NOTE: Minnesota also has needs at both corner and wide receiver here, so do not rule out Morris Claiborne or Justin Blackmon, however left tackle is a more valuable position and I think selecting Kalil is a no brainer. Most draft analysts have had this pick penciled in since day one, it’s value meets need. NOTE: As I am writing this a PFT report broke that Vikings general manager Rick Spielman really likes LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne as well, and if he’s leaking word out, he is likely trying to drum up trade interest in the pick (possibly in a swap with the Browns who are set at left tackle with Pro Bowler Joe Thomas and like Claiborne, so SMOKESCREEN ALERT).
04) Cleveland Browns – Morris Claiborne, CB – LSU – It is no secret that the Browns wanted Robert Griffin III (and I implored their front office to be aggressive and make the trade with the Rams in multiple mock drafts and articles) but they lost out. I am not sure who the Browns are targeting here, Justin Blackmon is the best receiver on the board, but at just 6’1 I think this is a little early for him (if he was a freak like Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald, he would be the pick). The Browns have a need at running back, however, they know you can find one later in the draft so they pass on Trent Richardson. In this scenario, I am giving them the best player on the board, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, pairing him with Joe Haden will give the Browns the best young corner tandem in the NFL and an elite secondary. With the luxury of multiple first round picks, the Browns do not need to reach for need here.
05) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Trent Richardson, RB – Alabama – The Buccaneers were big spenders on the free agent market, landing Pro Bowlers at two positions, offensive Guard Carl Nicks and wide receiver Vincent Jackson. They also added cornerback Eric Wright (overspent on him), which helped them fill any dire needs going into the draft, and they are now in a position where they can take the best player available at fifth overall. The Bucs could use a help at cornerback (because of multiple incents with the law involving former first round pick Aquib Talib) and at linebacker (I cannot rule out Luke Kuelchy here, the Boston College tackling machine might be the pick). In this scenario, new head coach Greg Schiano lands the best running back in the draft, Alabama’s Trent Richardson. Schiano loves to run the football and by landing Richardson, he has his tailback of the future, who is also a asset in the passing game.
06) St. Louis Rams – Justin Blackmon, WR – Oklahoma State – Early rumors have Jeff Fisher and the St. Louis brain trust evaluating defensive tackles at this selection and people claim that Fisher is enamored with LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers, who may remind him of a young Albert Haynesworth with his combination of size and athleticism. I’m not buying it. The Rams have desperately needed a true number one wide receiver for quite some time and have a gaping hole at the position on their roster (the only names – Brandon Gibson, Greg Salas, Austin Pettis, Danario Alexander, Danny Amendola). Sam Bradford needs a target that can open up this stagnant offense, and I think they look at Blackmon, who is as tough as they come and reminds me of a more explosive Anquan Boldin.
07) Jacksonville Jaguars – David DeCastro, OG – Stanford – The Jaguars are a franchise who have struggled greatly in the draft during recent years. They have drafted several players who have not panned out as expected, and they really need quarterback Blaine Gabbert to develop into a serviceable, if not solid pro. The Jaguars need two things out of this pick, someone who is low risk and can help right away and DeCastro is both of these things. I think DeCastro is a surefire Pro Bowl guard for multiple years in the NFL, he is excellent in both the run and pass game and plays with a nasty attitude. The Jaguars desperately needed help at wide receiver (signed Laurent Robinson in Free Agency) and pass rush (re-signed defensive end Jeremy Mincey) so those needs were lessened. Although I considered another pass rusher here, the Jags only have two guards on the roster (neither are any good), and DeCastro is as much of a sure thing as you can find in the draft. This franchise simply cannot afford to whiff on another first round pick, and DeCastro is a sure thing.
08) Miami Dolphins – Michael Floyd, WR – Notre Dame – The Miami Dolphins have had the worst offseason in the NFL, they missed out on quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn, and have done nothing to improve their roster. Then rumors emerged that players did not want to sign with the Dolphins because General Manager Jeff Ireland is not a good guy. They traded star wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears for two third round picks, and look to be the only team in the league worse off than they were at the end of last season. It may be rebuilding time in South Beach. I am not a Ryan Tannehill fan, and think that they would be making a mistake drafting him this early and throwing him into the fire right away. He is a talented kid, who reminds me a bit of Jake Plummer, but he needs time to develop. The Dolphins have other needs, such as a right tackle, so I considered Iowa tackle Riley Reiff here. If I’m running the Dolphins, I would start Matt Moore (or newly signed David Garrard) at quarterback for another season and try to hit the lottery in a good quarterback class in 2013. When you look at the wide receivers on Miami’s roster, you have Brian Hartline, Davone Bess, and five guys I’ve never heard of, so they are desperate for a go to wide receiver. This is why I have them reaching a bit for Michael Floyd, who could be a star in this league, and going with a veteran quarterback in a rebuilding year.
09) Carolina Panthers – Quentin Coples, DE – UNC – The Panthers found their franchise quarterback in the 2011 draft by selecting Cam Newton first overall, and they instantly became a feared offensive unit, although they could really use another playmaker at wideout opposite Steve Smith. Carolina’s problem was their defense, which was atrocious last season and turned every game into a shootout, and I expect them to focus heavily on this unit during the 2012 draft. Carolina has needs everywhere on defense and Quentin Coples is a local prospect coming out of North Carolina, who is as physically impressive as you’ll see, but was disappointing on the field in 2011. Coples is a huge lineman (6’6 285lbs) who can play outside on rushing downs and inside on passing downs, and while it worries me that he never consistently dominated or became an elite pass rusher, but he has all the tools to develop into a force in the NFL. Reminds me a little of Giants’ Pro Bowler Justin Tuck when he was coming out of Notre Dame due to his ability to play all over the defensive front.
10) Buffalo Bills – Riley Reiff, OT – Iowa – I have had the Bills selecting a pass rusher here since day one, but they filled that need in a big way during free agency, by making former Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams the highest paid defensive player in the NFL, and adding pass rushing specialist Mark Anderson. I know for a fact that they like Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd as a big target opposite Stevie Johnson, in this scenario the Bills grab Reiff who is surprisingly still on the board. Buffalo has ignored the offensive line early in the draft for years, and it has cost them, it’s now time to invest on the offensive line of the future.
11) Kansas City Chiefs – Dontari Poe, NT – Memphis – Scott Pioli and Romeo Crenell know the value of a big, space eating nose tackle in the center of the 3-4 defense, and while they have tried multiple players in this position over the past several seasons, none have ever held the job down. Poe can quickly fix this problem. He is arguably the most athletic big man I have ever seen at the combine (6’3 348lbs, 44 reps of 225lbs on the bench, 4.98 40 yard dash) and while his lack of production on the field is very a concern, he could potentially be the next great nose tackle. I commend the Chiefs for going out and signing right tackle Eric Winston, who was unexpectedly cut by the Houston Texans, and will greatly improve the offensive line in Kansas City. The work the Chiefs did during the free agency period eliminated several needs heading into the draft, and although I am not the biggest Poe fan, he fills a remaining need in their defensive scheme.
12) Seattle Seahawks – Luke Kuelchy, MLB – Boston College – I really like Seattle’s young core of players, they are solid defensively, have a great young offensive line and a nice collection of weapons on offense. The addition of quarterback Matt Flynn in free agency was huge, as Seattle finally has a competent signal caller on the roster, and they could make some noise next season. The Seahawks may lose middle linebacker David Hawthorne in free agency (he remains unsigned), and he is not a standout to begin with, why not grab a tackling machine like Kuelchy to replace him in the first round of the draft? This kid is the total package, he proved he is athletic at the combine, and there is no doubt that he jumps out when watching the tape. He would be a great addition to the Seahawks young defense. Another option is a pass rusher opposite Tamba Hali (Ingram or Upshaw), but in a 3-4 nose tackle comes first.
13) Arizona Cardinals – Jonathan Martin, OT – Stanford – I felt awful for the Cardinals quarterbacks last season, as it seemed the pass rush had them flustered the second they received the snap and forced bad throws on nearly every release. The quarterbacks were getting hit hard in Arizona, to the point where Kevin Kolb had to miss time due to injury, and John Skelton played (and well) causing a quarterback controversy. The offensive line needs a full overhaul, and a good place to start is Martin, who will be at worst a solid starting tackle in the NFL. I have my doubts that Martin will ever be a Pro Bowler, but he is a huge upgrade for a team that needs major help along the offensive line. Martin does not really stand out in any single area, but he is good at everything, and being well rounded and consistent is sometimes better in the NFL than being strong in one area and having to work on other areas. The Cardinals are also known to be looking at multiple wide receivers opposite Larry Fitzgerald, so if Michael Floyd is available, he is an option here. They are also one of the teams rumored to be discussing trades (I’ve heard both up and down).
14) Dallas Cowboys – Melvin Ingram, OLB/DE – South Carolina – One of my favorite players in the draft, Ingram is an explosive athlete who is also a fiery leader and ferocious pass rusher, and he would look scary off of the edge opposite DeMarcus Ware for the future. We have heard rumors that Dallas has long been targeting Stanford guard David DeCastro with this pick to solidify their interior offensive line, but in this situation, he is long gone. Many experts have projected Dallas to target a cornerback, as their secondary was a major issue last season, but they added cornerback Brandon Carr as an upgrade in free agency and can now target depth later in the draft. The Cowboys franchised current pass rusher Anthony Spencer this offseason, and I did not like the move, as he has never developed into a force. By adding Ingram, it instantly adds another pass rusher to the rotation with Ware and Spencer, and next offseason gives them an option if they decide not to keep Spencer long term.
15) Philadelphia Eagles – Michael Brockers, DT – LSU – Dream scenario for the Eagles here, as they land the raw but very gifted Brockers later than he is expected to be on the board (I have heard his name often as early as Rams at #6, Jaguars at #7, Panthers at #9). I wish Brockers went back to LSU for his senior year, if he dominated as expected, he is likely a top five prospect in the 2013 draft on a nasty LSU defense. He is huge (6’5 322lbs) and extremely athletic for his size, however, his numbers were not great at the combine (only 19 reps on the bench, 5.36 in the 40 yard dash, he improved to 21 reps and 4.98 at this Pro Day). If the whoever drafts Brockers works him into the rotation as a rookie and gets him into an NFL offseason training program with a coaching staff that can keep him motivated, they could have a monster on their hands quickly.
16) New York Jets – Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB – Alabama – The Jets get lucky here, they have lacked a consistent pass rusher at outside linebacker for a while now, and Aaron Maybin is clearly not the long term answer. Upshaw is sliding a bit, because he is not as fluid or athletic as some of the other pass rushers in this draft, but he is better on film than all of them. Upshaw is an instinctive player with a nasty streak, who is used to playing in the Jets style of defense, for a team that expects big things from their defenders (National Champions Alabama Crimson Tide and their head coach Nick Saban). Rex Ryan is similar to Saban in his defensive philosophy and in this case lands Upshaw, his style of player.
17) Cincinnati Bengals – Fletcher Cox, DT/DE – Mississippi State – The Bengals lost versatile defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene to the Patriots during Free Agency and although he is not a household name, he was more valuable to the Cincinnati defense than most people know. The Bengals get lucky and find not only a replacement, but an upgrade at the position, in this mock draft by landing Fletcher Cox. Cox is a top ten talent (I’ve heard him mentioned as early as sixth to the Rams), with a great motor and an explosive first step, who fits in any defensive scheme. The Bengals would be lucky to find him still available with the seventeenth pick in the draft.
18) San Diego Chargers – Steven Hill, WR – Georgia Tech – There is no doubt that the Chargers have several need areas, but the addition of a big target to replace Vincent Jackson opposite new addition Robert Meachem would go a long way in proving to quarterback Philip Rivers that this organization is still committed to can winning now. The Chargers do have some depth at wide receiver (they have added Meachem, a career underachiever and Eddie Royal, a slot/return man) they already have veteran receiver Malcolm Floyd and up-and-comer Vincent Brown on the roster (just four wide receivers on the roster), but none of these players can replace the game-breaking ability that Vincent Jackson gave Philip Rivers in the past. I have had an offensive lineman mocked here recently, as the Chargers lost left tackle Marcus McNeil and Pro Bowl guard Chris Dielman this offseason, but in this scenario they get a new toy for Rivers in Steven Hill (6’4 214), nobody has improved their stock more during the draft process than Hill.
19) Chicago Bears – Cody Glenn, OG – Georgia – The Bears added Brandon Marshall this offseason VIA trade to make things easier for quarterback Jay Cutler, a great move, which will make the entire offense better. That is, if the offensive line can protect Cutler and keep him upright, which has been difficult for them in the past. The Bears grab massive and versatile Glenn in this scenario, a player who can play either guard spot or right tackle immediately and should be a fixture of the offensive line for years to come. He is also a great run blocker and will open up holes for Matt Forte and new signee Michael Bush. I really like what the Bears have done this offseason, and it will be interesting to see how the suddenly powerhouse division of the NFC North Shakes out.
20) Tennessee Titans – Dre Kirkpatrick, CB – Alabama – Tennessee lost cornerback Cortland Finnegan in free agency, and although they already have some young depth on the roster, it’s a passing league and they could use another CB. If one of the big time defensive tackles like Brockers or Cox is on the board, they could be an option for the Titans here, however both are gone. Kirkpatrick is very talented and has great size to match up with the NFL’s bigger wideouts, plus he is fantastic in run support. He is a top fifteen talent in this draft class, who will slide a bit due to character concerns over a recent arrest, and would be a great find this late for the Titans.
21) Cincinnati Bengals – Kendall Wright, WR – Baylor – Following his disappointing performance at the NFL combine (looked doughy, ran a 4.67 40 yard dash) I had a feeling that Wright would fall into the second round, but scouts do not seem to be putting as much stock in his workout as I thought. Wright was unable to rebound at his Pro Day, but 40 times don’t mean everything, and scouts know how fast he plays. He would be a great addition to the Bengals offense, as his ability to stretch the field would open things up for quarterback Andy Dalton and star wide receiver AJ Green, and Wright is also an asset in the return game.
22) Cleveland Browns – Ryan Tannehill, QB – Texas A&M – The Browns fan base is disappointed that they were unable to trade up for RGIII, when they could have blown the Redskins offer out of the water if they really wanted. The team will not continue to march forward with just Colt McCoy and Senaca Wallace any longer, they select the athletic Tannehill who is a pretty good fit in Holmgren’s offense. I am not the biggest Tannehill fan, as I’ve said, he reminds me a little of Jake Plummer, but he needs time to develop. If he sits behind Colt McCoy for the first half of the season and develops, the Browns may find themselves a diamond in the rough down the road.
23) Detroit Lions – Stephon Gilmore, CB – South Carolina – I have had the Lions selecting Northern Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins here for months, however, I think his many character concerns are causing him to slide. Gilmore is bigger and just as athletic as Jenkins, but comes without the character concerns, and Detroit desperately needs help in their secondary. Jenkins is slightly more polished and better in coverage right now, but I think Detroit shies away due to his off field concerns. Gilmore would be a great fit.
24) Pittsburgh Steelers – Dont’a Hightower, MLB – Alabama – The Steelers are going through a major transition period, as many of their familiar faces (Hines Ward, Aaron Smith, James Farrior) are being replaced with new blood. The key to Pittsburgh’s defense is the linebacking corps, and Hightower would be a perfect fit in the middle of their 3-4 defense next to Lawrence Timmons. Hightower has really impressed me in the offseason, he is much more athletic and fluid than I thought he would be, and he reminds me of the Jets’ David Harris.
25) Denver Broncos – Jerel Worthy, DT – Michigan State – The Broncos did not get consistent enough play on the defensive front last season, and Jerel Worthy could help fill the void in the middle of their defense. Worthy was one of the best players in the country last season in spurts, and he is a beast when motivated, however he is notorious for taking plays off and has a questionable motor. The Broncos lost Brodrick Bunkley in free agency and they already needed help at defensive tackle, so landing one in the first round is a must. If head coach and defensive mastermind John Fox, reigning defensive rookie of the year and one of the hardest workers on the planet linebacker Von Miller and the presence of new quarterback Peyton Manning can’t motivate Worthy nothing will.
26) Houston Texans – Alshton Jeffery, WR – South Carolina – Star wiedout Andre Johnson has needed help in Houston for his entire career, and it is time for the Texans to finally help him out with another weapon at wide receiver. Jeffery has similar size (6’4 220lbs) to Johnson, and would really open up the passing game for quarterback Matt Schaub. An edge rusher such as Chandler Jones, Whitney Mercilus or Nick Perry is also a major option here, since the Texans lost superstar pass rusher Mario Williams in Free Agency, however Houston has drafted and developed a few edge rushers over the last couple of years who are ready to step in. The Texans could also use some developmental lighter and athletic offensive lineman for their zone blocking scheme later in this draft.
27) New England Patriots – Nick Perry, OLB/DE – USC – When Bill Belichick looks at Perry, he will see a young Willie McGinest, a similar player out of USC, who was a longtime fixture of the Patriots defense. Perry was once one of the top recruits in the country and is an absolute physical freak (6’3 271lbs 4.52 40 yard dash 38.5 inch vertical jump) who was a good player at USC, but never consistently produced as expected. The Patriots really need to upgrade their pass rush, and adding a physical freak like Perry could really help the cause.
28) Green Bay Packers – Janoris Jenkins, CB – Northern Alabama – Jenkins is a very talented player who is sliding on draft day due to a slew of personal problems and off the field issues (kicked out of University of Florida, several arrests including once where he needed to be tasered, four kids with three different women). His slide could be a blessing for Green Bay, which has zero nightlife, and who better to mentor him than once of the All-Time Greats on and off the field Charles Woodson? Jenkins is a little undersized, but he is an excellent cover corner, who should help a defense that allowed the most passing yards in NFL history in 2011.
29) Baltimore Ravens – Whitney Mercilus, OLB/DE – Illinois – The Ravens could use another excellent pass rusher opposite Terrell Suggs, and they would be very lucky if Mercilus falls this far, as he could be getting looks as early as #12 by Seattle. Mercilus is a 6’3 260lb pass rusher who had 16 sacks and 22.5 tackles for a loss last season, he was able to run a 4.68 40 yard dash at the combine, fourth among defensive ends. I am a big fan of Mercilus and think he is long gone by this point in reality, however in this scenario, he is a huge upgrade for the Ravens pass rush. He reminds me of a poor man’s Aldon Smith, who had 14.0 sacks as a rookie for the 49ers last season, and could upgrade a position where the Ravens lost Jarret Johnson in free agency.
30) San Francisco 49ers – Devon Still, DE/DT – Penn State – What do you get the team who has everything? I think that, top to bottom, the 49ers have the most talented roster in the NFL at the present time. They added wide receivers Randy Moss and Mario Manningham to improve their weakest unit from 2011. I considered giving them Stanford tight end Colby Fleener, who head coach Jim Harbaugh recruited and coached at Stanford with this pick, but they already have one of the best tight ends in the game (Vernon Davis) and a solid reserve (Delanie Walker) on the roster. I decided to give them another chess piece for their already nasty defense, Still is big and athletic and can play anywhere along the defensive front. His addition will make the defensive line rotation better immediately and he will be a starter down the road.
31) New England Patriots – Mark Barron, S – Alabama – It is a weak safety class, but Barron is clearly the best of the bunch, and New England has need to upgrade the safety position since Rodney Harrison retired years ago. Barron was one of the leaders of the National Champion Crimson Tide last season and could really help the back end of the Patriots defense for years to come. He is a heady player, which Belichick likes, and he could eventually become the quarterback of the Pats defense.
32) New York Giants – Mike Adams, OT – Ohio State – The Super Bowl Champs are thin at offensive tackle, after releasing longtime right tackle Kareem McKenzie this offseason, and could use the massive Adams if he unexpectedly falls to the end of the first round. Adams is huge, but athletic and very talented, but he is not ready to step in and play right away. If the Giants can get him into better shape and if he can get stronger and nastier under Tom Coughlin, he could become a multiple time Pro Bowl player down the road for the Giants.
Just Missed The Cut:
Zach Brown, OLB – North Carolina – Brown is an outstanding athlete (ran an official 4.50 40 yard dash at 6’1 244lbs) and notched 105 tackles 5.5 sacks and 3 interceptions last season at UNC. He is the a perfect fit as an outside linebacker in the 4-3 defense, and I do not see him lasting any longer than the first five picks of the second round of the draft. The Giants will take a long look at him with the final pick of the first round.
Mike Martin, DT – Michigan – A player who is having one of the best post seasons in the entire draft pool, Mike Martin (6’1 306bs) first dominated senior bowl week, then followed that up with an excellent combine. Martin was in the top four defensive tackles in every event at the combine (including a 4.88 40 yard dash and 36 reps on the bench press) and will not need to wait long to hear his name called in April.
Alfonzo Dennard, CB – Nebraska – Dennard is a very good player who is somewhat a victim of a very deep cornerback class. He is a solid all around player, who should blossom into an excellent pro. It would not surprise me if he snuck into the bottom half of round one, but if not, he won’t last long on day two.
Chase Minnifield, CB – Virginia – Bill Belichick is very familiar with Minnifield, as he coached his father, four time Pro Bowler and member of the NFL 1980′s All-Decade team, cornerback Frank Minnifield. Belichick desperately needs to upgrade the secondary in New England and, while everyone projects Minnifield to end up in more of a Cover-2 scheme, he can really play.
Lavonte David, OLB – Nebraska – If you have been watching college football over the last few years, you know the name Lavonte David, who was a tackling machine at Nebraska. The problem is, everyone thought he was too small to play linebacker in the pros, as he played in college at around 220lbs. David then showed up at the combine at 233lbs, did not lose any speed (4.56 40 yard dash), and once scouts study his tape you will start hearing his name a lot more.
Mohamed Sanu, WR – Rutgers – Most of the early mock drafts had Sanu penciled in as first round pick, however, Sanu struggled at the combine with a 4.67 40 yard dash (he improved at his Pro Day, running in the 4.4’s. Sanu has always been a big bodied wideout (6’2 215lbs) is more quick than fast, and has excellent hands. He is a second rounder in my book, but should be a good number two wideout in the pros.
Pete Konz, C – Wisconsin – The highest rated center in the class really disapointed me at the combine, with just 19 bench press reps, which is nothing for a 6’5 314lb monster offensive lineman. He has long arms, which is likely the reason for the low bench press reps, and is tough. He could easily hear his name called in the first round as early as the Chicago Bears at #19.
Colby Fleener, TE – Stanford – At 6’5 245lbs, Fleener ran a ridiculous 4.45 40 yard dash at his Pro Day. In a weak tight end class, I would not be surprised to see a team pressed for help at the position to select Fleener in the first round. I considered sending him to San Fran at pick #30, even though they already have Vernon Davis, because head coach Jim Harbaugh recruited and coached Fleener at Stanford.
Reuben Randle, WR – LSU – A player that I am not a huge fan of, but whose name keeps coming up, Randle was the former top wide receiver recruit in the country when he decided to attend LSU. He is a big receiver, who always looked a little stiff and bulky to me, and never stepped up and dominated in Baton Rouge. I would avoid him, but you can’t teach size and speed, so someone will grab him in round two.
Chandler Jones, DE/OLB – Syracuse – A very athletic defensive end who has great genes (his brothers are Baltimore Ravens Defensive Lineman Arthur Jones and UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones) I started thinking about Jones around the 3-4 defenses late in the first round (San Fran, Baltimore, New England) but he could play in either defensive front. He could be a bargain in round two.
Brandon Weeden, QB – Oklahoma State – I am very interested to see where Weeden is selected on draft day. He is clearly a first round talent, however, he is already 28 years old, following a stint in minor league baseball. He is already older than most of the starting QBs in the NFL by a few years. I think he would be a great fit in the second round for several teams with question marks at quarterback.
Honorable Mention: Andre Branch, DE – Clemson, Kendall Reyes, DT – UConn, Kevin Zeiter, OG – Wisconsin, Mychal Kendricks, MLB – Cal, Josh Robinson, CB – UCF, Jayron Hosley, CB – Virginia Tech, Harrison Smith, S – Notre Dame, Lamar Miller, RB – Miami, Doug Martin, RB – Boise State – Vinny Curry, DE – Marshall, Brandon Boykin, CB – Georgia, Brandon Thompson, DT – Clemson, Zebrie Sanders, OT – Florida State, Kelechi Osemele, OG – Iowa State, Ronnell Lewis, DE/OLB – Oklahoma, Dwayne Allen, TE – Clemson, Bobbie Massie, OT – Mississippi, Joe Adams, WR – Arkansas
You can find our mock on various databases as well: