(Note: All picks in this mock draft based on team needs, as opposed to who teams might actually pick.)
The First Law of Draft Mechanics states that a draft board at rest remains at rest, while a draft board in motion remains in motion. Despite all the rumors, Jim Irsay decided on Luck about nine months ago, and anyone hoping to talk him out of it must overcome a lot of inertia. Chuck Pagano, Bruce Arians, and the other coaches who signed on with the Colts probably had Luck penciled in when they took the jobs, too, so don't assume that they are clamoring for a different quarterback who might be a step quicker and put an extra mile per hour on his passes.
2) Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
It's hard to say anything interesting about these first two guys: It has all been said and said again. So hey, have you seen the Obama-style "hope" posters that Redskins fans have made of RG3? They look cool, and you can make your own! All you need is an image of RG3, some Photoshop skills, and complete amnesia about the fact that you did the same thing for Donovan McNabb two years ago.
[ Les Carpenter: RG3 learned early he was destined to 'change the world of sports' ]
The Vikings had the worst pass defense in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders' DVOA rating. They ranked 28th at stopping top receivers, 30th at stopping No. 2 receivers, and dead last at stopping slot receivers. All this while Jared Allen was setting a sack record, so don't blame "lack of pressure." The Vikings may choose Matt Kalil over Claiborne, but they need Claiborne more.
Ah, how quickly we toss Colt McCoy into the compost heap after a season in which the Browns' top offensive weapon turned into a sulky underachiever and McCoy's top receiving target was a rookie who let perfect passes bounce off his chest. McCoy may never fit anyone's definition of "elite quarterback" (and everyone has their own definition), but he still has some upside, and the Browns can't grab Ryan Tannehill, throw him onto the field with no supporting cast, and expect everything to be hunky-dory. Give Richardson 20-25 carries per game, and the Browns can become a running-and-defense team: perfect for their division.
5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
Watching the Bucs' defensive line late in the year was like watching a road crew fix a pothole on a hot Friday afternoon: They didn't want to be there, and they were more interested in milking the clock than getting the job done. Cox brings versatility to a line that has more talent than its 2,497 rushing yards allowed indicates, but he also brings hustle. The Bucs did a fine job addressing some offensive needs through free agency, so they can work on their defense with this pick.
Which of the following were Rams wide receivers in 2011, and which were 19th century Congressmen from the state of Kentucky? The choices: a) Silas Adams, b) Austin Pettis, c) Greg Salas, d) Albert Berry, e) William Clayton Anderson, f) Mike Sims-Walker. If you knew that b, c, and f were the Rams, you are a huge Rams fan, had an awful fantasy team, or really know your Kentucky history. So yes, Sam Bradford needs a receiver, lest he be thrown on the Colt McCoy scrap heap of prematurely abandoned quarterback prospects.
Jaguars right tackle Guy Whimper was a complete mess last year, except when he was catching weird tackle-eligible passes. Eben Britton is penciled in at right tackle right now, but he might be better off at guard. Kalil can start his career at right tackle, or Eugene Monroe can slide from left to right so Kalil can grow naturally into his role. Whimper can be a goal-line tight end.
[ Roundtable: Who will live up to their draft hype — and who won't? ]
8) Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Watching Matt Moore and David Garrard while Tannehill develops will be like watching "Dora the Explorer" and "Blues Clues" before sending the kids to grandma's for the weekend: It's not great, but it's very tolerable because you know it will end soon.
The Panthers have several developing defenders who will help them improve this year, and Jon Beason's return will provide a big boost. Their biggest need is "impact defender at indeterminate position," and that is what Ingram is: They can use him as a linebacker or situational lineman, or both, depending on how the rest of their draft and minicamps play out.
10) Buffalo Bills: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
The Bills have spent the last three years sorting through young offensive linemen. Their line has slowly gotten better, the loss of Demetrius Bell (aka Demetress Bell or, for a half hour after an over-enthusiastic response to a midnight showing of "The Hunger Games," Katniss Bell), leaves them with untested Chris Hairston at left tackle and no Plan B. Reiff can make Hairston Plan B.
11) Kansas City Chiefs: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
Chiefs defensive linemen combined for seven sacks last year. Yes, 3-4 defenses are designed to funnel sack opportunities to the linebackers, but c'mon. Amon Gordon and Jerrell Powe are not the kind of tackle rotation that leads a team back to the playoffs. The only problem with this pick: The Chiefs have an awful track record when it comes to big defensive linemen with great workout results and little college production.
12) Seattle Seahawks: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
The Seahawks have invested heavily in offensive linemen in free agency, but when you come home from the grocery story with Deuce Lutui and Frank Omiyale in your bag, it is time to head to the farmer's market in search of something fresh. DeCastro, James Carpenter (if he returns from an ACL injury) and Russell Okung could form the nucleus of an excellent young offensive line.
13) Arizona Cardinals: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
Ken Whisenhunt really wants to get the tight ends involved in his offense, even if it means sewing Todd Heap together and pushing him onto the field whenever he can walk. Fleener would give the Cardinals two things incumbents Heap and Jeff King lack: youth and speed. Kevin Kolb could really use a security blanket, and Larry Fitzgerald would be thrilled to see a tight end who can make a safety think twice before vacating the deep middle.
14) Dallas Cowboys: Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia
This may not be a true "need" pick, but Glenn just looks like a Cowboys lineman. He's huge, he's ornery, and he is great at blocking straight ahead. That's just how Jerry Jones likes 'em.
15) Philadelphia Eagles: Mark Barron, S, Alabama
The Eagles safeties lacked instincts last year, but they made up for it by not being physical or having exceptional speed. There's nothing like breaking down game tape and watching a safety break straight for the line of scrimmage when the ball carrier is already through the hole. After three years of trying to replace Brian Dawkins with fond memories and wishful thinking, it is time for the Eagles to abandon econometric reasoning ("but players with the safety skill set become abundant commodities in middle rounds!") and draft an impact player in the secondary.
16) New York Jets: Whitney Mercilus, LB, Illinois
The Jets registered 35 sacks, and their leading sacker was Aaron Maybin, a Bills castoff who deserves kudos for rehabilitating his career but should not be the featured player in a defense that bills itself as the terror of the conference. Mercilus gives Rex Ryan a player who can flat-out rush the passer, without needing an intricate blitz package backing him up. Throw in the intricate blitz package, and he can really do some damage.
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