Dale Lolley's Final Mock Draft
by Dale Lolley
OK, here's my much-anticipated, highly thought out final mock as we head into the draft.
1. Indianapolis, Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford - No surprises here. He's been the top pick all along and would have been the top pick last year had he come out.
2. Washington (from St. Louis), Robert Griffin, QB, Baylor - Again, no surprises. This is why the Redskins moved up, for the opportunity to take one of the top two QBs.
3. Minnesota, Matt Kalil, OT, USC - There has been talk in recent weeks that the Vikings are considering Justin Blackmon or Morris Claiborne here. Both would be good fits, but Kalil will be the pick.
4. Cleveland, Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama - Mel Kiper said in a conference call that the Browns have the worst skill position players in the league. Tough to argue that. Blackmon would help as well, but Richardson is the clear-cut best player at his position and receivers can be had later in the draft.
5. Tampa Bay, Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU - Tampa Bay gets a difference maker in the secondary. Who cares if he didn't test well on the Wonderlic. All he has to know is who to cover.
6. St. Louis, Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State - Blackmon has been described by Warren Moon as Dez Bryant with a brain. Good enough for me and a team with nobody who can get open down the field.
7. Jacksonville, Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina - Ingram is a solid pass rusher for a team that has been searching for a difference-maker up front for a number of years,
8. Miami, Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M - The Dolphins are in serious need of a quarterback and though Tannehill is going to take some time to develop, he's a tremendous athlete.
9. Carolina, Fletcher Cox, DE/DT, Mississippi State - The Panthers could put Cox at defensive tackle or end, it really doesn't matter. He's just a good football player.
10. Buffalo, Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame - Floyd has it all, size, talent and skill to be a great NFL player. Buffalo is beefing up its offense in the hopes that it can surround Ryan Fitzpatrick with studs that take him to the next level.
11. Kansas City, David DeCastro, G, Stanford - Kansas City's two biggest needs - other than quarterback - are interior linemen on both sides of the ball and at inside linebacker. DeCastro is a better player than Luke Kuechly, though Kuech could be the pick.
12. Seattle, Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina - There are some character concerns with Coples, but when has that ever bothered Pete Carroll? The Seahawks need to generate a pass rush and Coples could do that.
13. Arizona, Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College - Ken Whisenhunt gets a gift in a great, instinctive football player to plug into his 3-4 defense.
14. Dallas, Mark Barron, S, Alabama - Jerry Jones reportedly loves Barron, even though Stephen Gilmore would help his defense more. Nuff said.
15. Philadelphia, Stephen Gilmore, CB, South Carolina - It looks like Asante Samuel has played his last game with the Eagles, so there's a need. The Eagles could use linebacker help as well, so Courtney Upshaw makes some sense.
16. N.Y. Jets, Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis - This is a Rex Ryan kind of pick. Lots of flash, but possibly little action. Poe could be great. But he might have the biggest bust potential of any pick. Ryan will take him thinking he's getting the next Haloti Ngata. Maybe.
17. Cincinnati, Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois - The Bengals would have loved for CB Stephen Gilmore to drop to this spot, but take the best pass rusher available instead. He could play end or linebacker.
18. San Diego, Reilly Reiff, OT, Iowa - The Chargers found out in 2011 what happens if you don't protect Philip Rivers well. He turns into Bernie Kosar at the end of his career. Ugly. Then again, Bernie was ugly early in his career, as well. But at least he could play.
19. Chicago, Cordy Glenn, OT/G, Georgia - The Bears have to do a better job of protecting the quarterback than they have. Glenn is solid in pass protection, but not as strong in the running game. He's big, though, and should get better in that aspect.
20. Tennessee, Michael Brockers, DT, LSU - I wouldn't be surprised if Brockers goes much earlier than this. But he won't fall any farther. Philadelphia is a strong possibility at 15.
21. Cincinnati, Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama - The Bengals continue to improve their defense after having a strong offensive draft in 2011.
22. Clevleand, Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford - The Browns need an upgrade at right tackle. Martin should be OK there, certainly better than what they've had. A receiver such as Baylor's Kendall Wright would also make a lot of sense, but this draft is deep in receivers.
23. Detroit, Courtney Upshaw, DE/LB, Alabama - Upshaw would give the Lions a versatile defender who can line up at end or linebacker and get after the passer.
24. Pittsburgh, Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama - This would be ideal for the Steelers. Hightower could push Larry Foote for a starting spot right away. If he's not available, Jerel Worthy or Kevin Zeitler could be the pick - with a move down a possibility.
25. Denver, Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State - The Broncos need to get better up front.
26. Houston, Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor - Wright gets to stay in Houston and line up opposite Andre Johnson.
27. New England, Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse - Jones is athletic and can get after the passer.
28. Green Bay, Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State - A high-motor outside linebacker to line up opposite Clay Matthews
29. Baltimore, Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin - Konz is the best of a weak center group. He can start for a year at guard before taking over in 2013.
30. San Francisco, Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin - The 49ers are building around their defense and running game. As we saw when they played the Ravens on Thanksgiving, their line could use some work, particularly at right guard.
31. New England, Devon Still, DT, Penn State - Another big ugly for Belichick up front.
32. N.Y. Giants, Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame - The addition of Smith would help on the back side as well as stopping the run.
I think he is right with the three names he lists as options: Hightower, worthy and Zeitler. He clearly see Zeilter as a Round 1 candidtae like I do.
If the Steelers don't go defense and Glenn and Decastro are out of reach I really hope they go with Zeitler.
- Charles Harris-OLB, Missouri
- Rasul Douglas-CB, West Virginia
- Chris Godwin-WR, Penn State
- John Johnson-S, Boston College
- James Conner-RB, Pitt
- Nazair Jones-DT, North Carolina
- Garrett Sickels, DE/OLB, Penn State
I agree with Zeitler. The Steelers have to address the Guard situation now instead of taking a late round flier on a kid and hope he pans out. They won't find another Faneca at #24 but Zeitler would be a safe pick.
Mocks have been all over the place with DeCastro. I've seen him as high as #10 and as low as #21. It should be an interesting Thursday night.
There is somewhere between making a reach in round 1 and taking a late round flier. Its called rounds 2, 3, and 4. If DeCastro or Cordy Glenn are there at #24, we make them our pick. If Rieff falls, or the management thinks that Martin can get the job done, I'm fine with that too. If we trade down from #24 to the 30-35 range and pick up Zietler, or Silotulu, I'm ok with that.
But if we take Zietler or Silotulu straight up at #24, I would not consider that good value. I know its a need, I know we have to address it seriously, but the Steelers don't panic and draft in the first because they need something. They draft for value. Someone will fall. Maybe a corner, maybe an o-line man. Maybe It'll be a receiver. Maybe it will be Poe or Hightower. But it won't be a reach.
Worthy is a beast. He gets no love here due to people reading draft profiles about "inconsistency". When I read that I realize the person hasn't watched him play. He went from one gap to two gap responsibilities which is the reason his production went down. But, I watched him man handle the OSU line, get constant push, and the Buckeyes having to try to contain him with double teams. I would be very ok with all those picks except Hightower.