Posted Sat Feb 11th by Mr.East
Here it goes, yet another futile attempt to predict and prejudge the finest the NCAA has to offer. Who will the Broncos pick at 25? Find out after the jump.
- 1. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
I’ll make no excuses. I’m an ardent Robert Griffin III fan. I would slate the Baylor Bear here, but he needs a strong combine to usurp Luck. If Griffin doesn’t have a Vernon Davis-eque combine, the Colts will undoubtedly select the “NFL-ready” Andrew Luck.
- 2. St. Louis Rams
Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Regardless of who is taken at number one, there will be a trade here. However, I won’t predict trades until the post-combine edition. In the mean time, the Rams are going with Sam Bradford as their future.
Priority number one should be protecting his well being. Despite missing six games his sophomore season, Bradford has been sacked 70 times in his first two years in the league. To put that in perspective, Matt Ryan was sacked only 36 times his first two seasons.
- 3. Minnesota Vikings
Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Jared Allen had a monstrous season where he almost broke the sack record. It all seemed in vain though, because the Viking secondary ranked 31st in passing touchdowns allowed at 28.1 points a game. Opposing quarterbacks also averaged a 107.6 passer rating, a league low defensively.
The Vikings can get the pressure, now they just need a corner who can actually cover. Morris Caliborne is a much better option than paying Chris Cook while he’s still in jail.
- 4. Cleveland Browns
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
No, he won’t fall this far. There is still a good chance Griffin will end up being a Brown.
Cleveland has invested 21 games into Colt McCoy. The return on McCoy has been 20 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, and 18 losses. Twenty-one games is more than a good sample size to demonstrate your starting abilities. McCoy has proven that he’s more suited for the back-up role and it’s time to give the reigns to another man. The Cleveland Browns would be mad not to make Robert Griffin that man.
There’s a lot to say about Robert Griffin. A lot has been said about Griffin’s speed, but I don’t think many comprehend has fast he is. Griffin actually started out as a track star. In high school he set the number two all time record in the 400 hurdles at 49.56. In 2008 as a freshman, he placed 3rd in the 400H national championship.
At the 2008 Olympic trials he placed 11th as an 18 year-old kid. Yes, Robert Griffin was supposed to be in the next wave of great American Olympic sprinters.
Instead he took the world of college football by storm. His senior year was beyond phenomenal, he passed for 4,293 yards, with a completion rate 72.4%, and his yards per attempt was above 10, at 10.68. Griffin is extremely accurate with the deep ball. After seeing what Cam Newton did this last year, it will be thrilling to see what Griffin might be able to do.
- 5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
The Buccaneers were a huge mess last season. Defensively, they had the worst pass defensive, allowing 30.9 points a game. It’s easy to label the secondary as a scapegoat, but the defensive line didn’t do them any favors either.
The Tampa Bay defensive was also the worst in sacks, only getting to the quarterback 23 times last year. Quinton Coples is an ideal 4-3 defensive end and would be a huge upgrade to this lethargic defensive line.
- 6. Washington Redskins
Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
The Redskins desperately need a quarterback, but they may not have more ammunition than the Browns to obtain Robert Griffin. What the Redskins do have is the insane tendency to sign expensive free agents. Peyton Manning, anyone?
If Manning is truly healthy, Dan Synder will pull out all the stops to make Manning a skin. One of the things Manning will need is an offensive line, and Reily Reiff is the best tackle available at this spot.
- 7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
This is a make or break year for Blaine Gabbert. When a new head coach comes in, he usually wants his guy at quarterback. However, Jacksonville is sort of stuck with Gabbert for the time being.
Jacksonville better provide their timid signal caller with a guy who can catch the ball, and one who’s damn good at doing so. Luckily for the Jaguars, Blackmon is one of the best players in the draft. With all of the chaos over the top two quarterbacks he may just fall this far.
- 8. Miami Dolphins
Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Regardless of what quarterback will be playing for the Dolphins next year, they could use Jonathan Martin to complete their bookend set of tackles. Jake Long is one of the best left tackles in the game and he would sure appreciate someone like Martin who would make his job a lot easier.
- 9. Carolina Panthers
Devon Still, DT/DE, Penn State
It’s amazing what one man can do for a team. Now it’s time to solidify the defensive foundation of Panthers. The big man Devon Still is a great place to start.
- 10. Buffalo Bills
Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Marcel Dareus was a great pick last year, but the rest of the line (besides injured Kyle Williams) couldn’t get anything going. The Bills need to get a player that can get to the passer. The Bills need to place a high importance on sacks since they play Tom Brady twice a year.
- 11. Kansas City
Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
The Chiefs were awful at getting pressure this last season. Adding a big man like Michael Brockers is a step in the right direction.
- 12. Seattle Seahawks
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Every year a quarterback is taken a lot higher than everyone thinks he deserves. Last year that was Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder. Ponder showed that he just might end up being worth the high selection. Whereas Gabbert, did not. This year a couple of teams will consider rolling the dice with Tannenill.
- 13. Arizona Cardinals
David Castro, G, Stanford
Kevin Kolb is hitting big on the Cardinals payroll. Whether or not the Kolb experiment will work is unknown, but Arizona is better off trying to help him as much as possible.
- 14. Dallas Cowboys
Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Janoris Jenkins may have had troubles with the law in the past, but he has stayed out of trouble since leaving Florida to play for North Alabama. Jenkins is extremely talented and could help shore up the abominable Dallas secondary.
- 15. Philadelphia Eagles
Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
The Eagles may have had an extremely disappointing season, but they are only a few pieces away from reaching the playoffs. The most noticeable of those pieces are at linebacker. If the Eagles can get a solid starter at this position they’ll be in position to challenge the Giants in the NFC East.
- 16. New York Jets
Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama
Meet Courtney Upshaw, Capital One Bowl and National Championship MVP, size of 3-4 player, and sack artist. This is a recipe for a great pick for the Jets.
- 17. Cincinnati Bengals
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
For the past few seasons running backs have fallen deep into the first round. Trent Richardson might just fall victim to this trend. The Bengals will be happier for it.
- 18. San Diego Chargers
Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
Three Alabama players in a row? When you’re that good, it’s possible. The Chargers are really hurting at the strong safety position and Mark Barron is possibly the best this draft has to offer.
- 19. Chicago Bears
Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
The Jerry Angelo era in Chicago is over. Perhaps this will finally be the year they take a talented wide receiver in the first round. Devin Hester has been mediocre at best, and the punt return position deserves his full time attention.
- 20. Tennessee Titans
Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia
The Titans were one of the surprisingly good teams of the 2011 season. One of the struggling parts of the team was the offensive line. Offensive line guru and head coach Mike Munchak wasn’t too happy about this and will likely look to upgrade wherever he can.
- 21. Cincinnati Bengals
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Dre Kirkpatrick is one of the best corners of the draft, but he was charged with marijuana possession this offseason. The charges were dropped, but that still isn’t the biggest reassurance for teams. However, the Bengals have never shied away from a player with troubles off the field. Adam Jones is still on the roster.
- 22. Cleveland Browns
Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
If the Rams land Robert Griffin, they’ll need to provide him with a better right tackle. Joe Thomas may be the best in the NFL and Alex Mack is a extremely talented. Therefore, it makes sense for Cleveland to complete the set and keep Griffin upright.
- 23. Detroit Lions
Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
Anyone who watched the Lions take on the Saints in the playoffs will understand this pick. Detroit needs to do some serious work in their secondary if they want to stay competitive against Aaron Rodgers twice a year. Perhaps they’ll get to face the Packers three times if they they play their cards right.
Dennard would also fit in nicely to the undisciplined Lions defense. During the Capital One Bowl, Dennard and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery broke out into a fight, and both were ejected.
- 24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
Casey Hampton and Aaron Smith run the risk of getting cut this offseason due to their persistent injuires, age, and large salaries. Combined, the two defensive linemen are 69 years old.
After being exposed the Broncos, the Steelers’ defense demands an injection of youth.
- 25. Denver Broncos
Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
In my opinion, the biggest hole on the defense was at inside linebacker. Joe Mays whiffed on too many plays. Mays produces highlight hits, but the problem is he bites on every play fake and every false adjustment the offense makes. Too many times the camera has caught Mays out of position while a running back breaks 30 yard run.
The Crimson Tide shed no tears over the loss of Rolando McClain. The state of Alabama has Dont’a Hightower to thank for that. After having his sophomore season cut short due to a knee injury, Hightower can back with a vengeance his junior year. Hightower is a dominant presence in the tackle box, he consistently sheds his blockers and gets to the ball carrier.
A former linebacker himself, general manager Brian Xanders will not hesitate to upgrade the position.
- 26. Houston Texas
Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Outside of Andre Johnson the Texans wide receiving corps have struggled. The Texans also lack a dominant punt and kick returner. Kendall Wright has the ability to solve both of these problems.
- 27. New England Patriots
Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
The Patriots had problems consistently getting the quarterback last year. They relied on players like Andre Carter, Rob Ninkovich, and Mark Anderson who all came on strong towards the end of the year. Despite the strong showing of the other pass rushers, New England could use a player like Whitney Mercilus. Mercilus is extremely versatile and he could play in either the 3-4 or 4-3.
- 28. Green Bay Packers
Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
The Green Bay defense had less than 30 sacks last season. Nick Perry has the ideal size to play in the Packers 3-4 defense. Fellow Trojan alumnus Clay Matthews could use some help on the other side of the field.
- 29. Baltimore Ravens
Zach Brown, ILB, North Carolina
Ray Lewis needs a successor, and speed demon Zach Brown is a great candidate. In 2009 during North Carolina’s strength and conditioning testing Brown recorded a 4.26 forty. He has put on some of mass since then, so he may not be in the sub 4.30 range anymore.
There are a lot of parallels to Zach Brown and Ray Lewis. Lewis was not one of the prominent players of his draft class and his size was highly questioned. Ozzie Newsome may like these similarities between then.
- 30. San Fransisco 49ers
Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
Alshon Jeffery is an extremely talented wide receiver who dominated games in college, despite poor quarterback play. However, his speed is a big concern. Also, his altercation with Alfonzo Dennard during the Capital One Bowl does not help his stock.
San Francisco is in need of a dominant wide receiver and at this spot Jeffery is a great value.
- 31. New England Patriots
Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa
Who really knows that the Patriots will do with two first round picks? Shoring up the secondary however, would be a great place to start. Devin McCourty is arguably the best corner on the team and he allowed over 1,000 yards against opposing receivers, despite only playing in 10 games.
Leonard Johnson is a tough corner, who plays with a chip on his shoulder. After falling short in the Super Bowl yet again, he’ll fit in well the the Patriots attitude for 2012.
- 32. New York Giants
Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
The Giants could use a linebacker, but Jerry Reese always goes for the best value at the position. Dwayne Allen is the best tight end in the draft. Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum have performed admirably, but both of them tore the ACLs in the Super Bowl. That leaves the Giants with Bear Pascoe as the only healthy tight end on the roster.
What do you think Broncos fans? Approve of Dont’a Hightower? Who else would you like to see at 25?