1. Indianapolis – Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
While there’s a ton of debate on if the Colts should take Luck, I expect that they will. Manning is be no means a guarantee to return, and Luck is a once in a generation QB prospect. Given Manning’s age and the state of this team, rebuilding around Luck makes a ton of sense.
2. Minnesota – Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Kalil is the by far the best offensive lineman in the draft, and the Vikings need O-line help to protect Ponder and open running lanes for Peterson.
3. St. Louis – Justin Blackmon WR, Oklahoma St.
The Rams need WR help as much as anything, though they need help all over the field so this is a tough pick to forecast. Blackmon is the top WR talent in this draft, and will finally provide a weapon for Sam Bradford.
4. Jacksonville – Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Jacksonville is another team with a lot of holes to fill, but one of the biggest for them is CB. Claiborne is a tremendous talent and a shutdown corner, the type that can completely take out the oppositions best WR.
5. Cleveland –
Matt Barkley, QB, USC Robert Giffin III, QB, Baylor
Barkley made the most sense here. His arm strength issues are meaningless in Holmgren’s offense, but he’s headed back to USC. Robert Giffin instead get’s his name called by the Browns. Griffin is an outstanding playmaker, and an instant upgrade over Colt McCoy.
6. Tampa Bay – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Tampa has to do a better job of protecting their young QB. Reiff is an instant upgrade that will be able to anchor their offensive line for years to come, and a good start to rebuilding that offense.
7. Washington – Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
DC needs a QB as much as anyone, so I expect them to reach a bit and take Jones. They’d love for Griffin to drop to them, but with Barkley staying in school that wont happen. Jones has a huge arm and can play in this league, but he’s a bit of a project.
8. Carolina – David DeCastro, G, Stanford
Carolina has a lot of needs, but protecting their franchise QB needs to be the primary one. DeCastro is a truly dominant guard that will have a Steven Hutchinson-esque impact on new team.
9. Miami – Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Jake Long is entrenched at LT for the phins, but their line is pretty week besides that. Martin provides nice upgrade at RT, and would give them an amazing get of bookends for their offensive line.
10. Buffalo – Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina
Buffalo’s defense would get a huge boost from Brown joining their defense. He’s a good all-around outside linebacker that fills on of their biggest weaknesses.
11. Philadelphia – Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
The Eagles will be eyeing Zach Brown, but with him gone, they’ll settle for Kuechly. This pick is a bit of a reach because MLB isn’t usually picked this high, but Kuechly provides a huge upgrade to their linebackers, and and will go a long way to fix their defense.
12. Kansas City – Devon Still, DT, Penn St.
With Kyle Orton filling the immediate QB need (and no good QB prospect available here), I expect the chiefs will look to their defensive line problems with this pick. Still is the best DT in this draft, and would be a huge presence inside for Kansas City.
13. Tennessee – Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Tennessee really needs help with their pass defense, and the chance to get a guy like Kirkpatrick will be way too much to pass up.
14. Arizona – Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
The Arizona passing game can use someone who can either prevent teams from always double or triple teaming Larry Fitzgarald, or at least take advantage of the single coverage other AZ WRs tend to get because of Fitz. Floyd’s presence would make any QB look good, as well as give opposing coaches fits trying to figure out how to stop both him and Fitzgarald.
15. Seattle – Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
If you’re expecting a QB, think again. This spot is WAAAY to high for Ryan Tannehill, who’s the next QB on the board. The Seahawks will have to take a really long look at Trent Richardson here, but as long as Lynch re-signs, the Seahawks can wait until then late round to worry about RB. Instead, I expect the Seahawks to fill their biggest need in this draft, and pick up a pass rushing DE. Coples would be huge upgrade on passing downs, and really have a major impact for the Seahawks.
16. San Diego – Mike Adams, OT, Ohio St.
The Chargers will have to really think twice about skipping over Richardson here, but their offensive line needs are greater than their RB needs, and Adams is an instant upgrade that will help keep Philip Rivers from getting crushed.
17. Cincinnati (from Oakland) – Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
I can’t see Richardson lasting this long without someone trading up to get him, but if he does the Bangles will be crying tears of happiness. Cinci desperately needs an upgrade at RB to take the pressure off of Dalton, and Richardson is an exceptional back.
18. Chicago – Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
The Bears need offensive lineman more than anything, but a chance to get Jay Cutler a legitimate weapon on the outside would be too much to resist. Jeffery is a big play receiver like the Bears haven’t had in a long time.
19. Dallas – Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia
It’s no secret that the Cowboys need interior lineman. Glen is the best available, and a great fit in Dallas. The only problem is the Glenn from the Cowboys perspective is that there isn’t 2 of him, since even after picking Glenn they’ll still need another interior lineman.
20. Cincinnati – Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
If the draft follows what I’ve set forth here, there wont be a more excited person in the NFL than Bangle QB Andy Dalton. He will get his RB, and another weapon at WR opposite of AJ Green. Suddenly the Bangles offense will be young and extremely talented.
21. New York Jets – Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
The Jets need a CB opposite of Revis more than you might think. Dennard is a major upgrade there, and will really allow Rex Ryan to dial up more blitzes.
22. Cleveland – (from Atlanta) – Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
Having already filled their QB need earlier, the Browns are free to do just about anything here, and Thompson is the best player on the board and will really strengthen the center of the Cleveland defense.
23. Detroit – Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
The Lions need interior lineman almost as much as the Cowboys do. Konz is the best center in the draft class, and the type of player who you can pencil into that spot on the depth chart for the next decade and just forget about.
25. Houston – Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
The Texans have been statistically one of the league’s top teams in 2011, and only losing their top 2 QBs to IR has slowed their march toward a possible superbowl. Jenkins is god enough to come in and solidify the Houston secondary and help them maintain their superiority in their division for another year.
26. New York Giants – Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
Upshaw is a perfect NYG player. All substance and no style. He’s a great tacker run defender, and a guy who just makes plays.
27. Denver – Nick Perry, DE, USC
If John Elway was a good GM, he’s consider picking Ryan Tannehill here, knowing that the Tim Tebow craziness wont last forever, and he’s going to need a real QB of the future at some point. The problem is that I don’t think he’s that smart of a GM, so I think he’ll skip QB and work to augment the rest of his team. Perry would provide a pass rushing couterpart to Von Miller, and set up an amazing pass rush in Denver.
28. Pittsburgh – Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan St.
The Stealers have to begin getting younger and more athletic on defense. Worthy is the type of big body with a constant motor that the Stealers love, and can eat up blocks and keep those offensive lineman off the Stealer linebackers.
29. San Francisco – Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
Despite the hype, Frank Gore isn’t as good as he once was. He’s lost a step, and has a tough time staying healthy. the Niners have to be looking to find his replacement and make sure the offense can continue to take the pressure of of Alex Smith.
30. Baltimore – Dant’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
It’s no secret that Ray Lewis is starting to get up there in age. Getting a ILB that can play next to him for a year or 2 before taking over the reigns is definitely a priority. Hightower is a perfect fit in Baltimore, a big physical LB who loves to hit people.
31. New England (from New Orleans) – Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
The Patriot offense has been good, but their defense has been pretty poor all season. Montgomery is the type of DE that can make an impact, even in NE’s constantly shifting 3-4 to 4-3 defense.
31. New England – Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
The Pats have been using a kicker returner at safety recently. They need a good young player who can step in and have an impact, and Barron is just that guy.
32. Green Bay – Whitney Marcilus, DE, Illinois
The Packer offense does a good job of hiding the considerable problems that they have on defense. Marcilus is an outstanding speed rusher who’ll be able to have a huge impact on the Packer defense.