Height: 6’4 | Weight: 235 | Born: September 12, 1989 (age 22)
Despite speculation that the Colts might be thinking about taking Robert Griffin III with the first pick, Andrew Luck has always remained the top pick in this year’s draft. The Colts have now told him that he will indeed be the selection. Unfortunately for Luck, he won’t have the same weapons Peyton Manning did during his run in Indianapolis, but the young passer from Stanford is the most polished prospect to come into the league in a very long time and is a sure bet to be a future Pro Bowler.
Height: 6’2 | Weight: 231 | Born: February 12, 1990 (age 21)
Griffin has already met with the Redskins coaching staff and is in the early stages of getting ready to be Washington’s next starting quarterback. By the Redskins trading their first round picks for the next three years to St. Louis in exchange for the second overall selection, Washington might have taken the all excitement out of the top of the draft. It’s alright though, since Griffin will provide plenty of excitement when he takes the field in a Redskins uniform. However, the assumption is there will be plenty of trades come Thursday, involving multiple first round selections.
Height: 6’7 | Weight: 306 | Born: July 6, 1989 (age 22)
If the Minnesota Vikings hope to keep their young quarterback Christian Ponder alive in the pocket, they’ll need to draft a stud who can protect him on the edge. Kalil has spent his career at USC blocking for Matt Barkley and has emerged as the best tackle prospect in this year’s class. With a combination of hardwork and a willingness to improve at his craft, Kalil is on pace to become a premier player at the next level, and is the obvious selection here at number three.
Height: 5’9 | Weight: 228 | Born: July 10, 1990 (age 21)
While taking a running back so high in the draft is consider risky, scouts are calling Richardson the best player in this draft class, while others like me are very wary that a top ten selection is too high for any running back. Cleveland are keeping their cards close to the vest with this pick, but their offence needs a defibrillator shock to bring them back to life and Richardson may be able to provide that. With Montario Hardesty left to carry the load in the backfield for the Browns, Richardson has to be the pick here. Could they move down the draft here as well and still get Richardson? Anything is possible.
Height: 5’11 | Weight: 188 | Born: February 7, 1990 (age 21)
Richardson would be the pick if available. The Bucs have LeGarrette Blout, but he has had durability and fumbling issues, and Richardson is the most complete back to enter the draft since Adrian Peterson.
Height: 6’1 | Weight: 211 | Born: January 9, 1990 (age 21)
If Claiborne should fall, he would be a consideration for a team that struggled to defend the pass last season.
Height: 6’1 | Weight: 193 | Born: September 19, 1990 (age 21)
Gilmore has top-10 talent, and while he’s still developing in terms of instincts he has the size, athleticism and speed to become a No. 1 corner.
Height: 6’4 | Weight: 221 | Born: July 27, 1988 (age 23)
Tannehill has all kinds of upside with his athleticism and arm talent, and he played under new Miami offensive coordinator Mike Sherman in college. Getting him is the best-case scenario whether the Dolphins stay put or trade up.
Height: 6’4 | Weight: 298 | Born: December 13, 1990 (age 21)
Coach Ron Rivera needs an impact D lineman at some point, and Cox’s versatility, explosiveness and motor would be put to good use.
Height: 6’6 | Weight: 313 | Born: December 1, 1988 (age 22)
Reiff falling to this spot is the ideal situation for the Bills, who have not taken an offensive tackle in the first round since selecting Mike Williams fourth overall in 2002. Reiff is technically sound and would help solidify things in front of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Height: 6’5 | Weight: 316 | Born: January 11, 1990 (age 21)
Chiefs GM Scott Pioli knows the key to building a contender is to establish strong offensive and defensive lines. The Chiefs offensive line needs reinforcements and with the top two tackles off the board, they will turn to the best interior lineman that has come out of the NCAA in some time. DeCastro has the complete package to become one of the top lineman in the NFL and a perennial Pro Bowler. DeCastro is a good value at this point and fills a top need.
Height: 6’3 | Weight: 242 | Born: April 20, 1991 (age 20)
Kuechly is a slam dunk to fill a big need. The Seahawks let linebackers Leroy Hill and David Hawthorne depart via free agency. Those moves leave a huge gap in the centre of Seattle’s defence, but one that will be filled by Kuechly. The Boston College ballhawk would give them a leader on that side of the ball and someone who can provide consistent tackling. It’s rare to see a middle linebacker go off the board so high, but Kuechly is a rare talent. He’s instinctive, productive and athletic, and he could allow for some scheme versatility.
Height: 6’3 | Weight: 229 | Born: November 27, 1989 (age 22)
Do you remember the days when the Cardinals had Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald as one of the most dangerous receiving tandems in the league? Fitzgerald does. Since Boldin left, Fitzgerald has faced a lot more attention from opposing defences. The Cardinals will remedy that by taking Floyd, which will free up Fitzgerald and give quarterback Kevin Kolb a better chance to succeed, after a tough first year in Arizona. Floyd would be a solid complement to Fitzgerald, with the hands and downfield ball skills to take advantage of all the attention Fitzgerald attracts.
Height: 6’1 | Weight: 213 | Born: October 27, 1989 (age 22)
The Cowboys addressed their biggest deficiency when they signed cornerback Brandon Carr away from the Chiefs. With their secondary partially repaired, Jerry Jones’ team will find the strong safety they have lacked in recent years. Mark Barron was a vital part of the Crimson Tide’s defence, and if he is healthy, he would instantly contribute in Dallas next to Gerald Sensabaugh.
Height: 6’6 | Weight: 284 | Born: June 22, 1990 (age 21)
Coples is an extremely skilled pash rusher with a questionable work ethic. The Eagles are a team that loves to draft offensive and defensive linemen in the first round. As Coples slips down the draft, the Eagles have the good fortune of getting one of the most dominant college pass rushers in the middle of the first round. Coples also has the size to move inside on passing downs. Coples becomes a value pick at this point and will add a versatile presence who can both pressure the quarterback and hold up against the run when his motor is running high.
Height: 6’1 | Weight: 264 | Born: April 26, 1989 (age 22)
Jets head coach Rex Ryan has been vocal about his desire to add a “blue chip pass rusher” in the draft. Ingram is just that type of player and he has slimmed down to 264-pounds in an attempt to prove to teams he is able to play outside linebacker in the NFL. The Jets need another receiver for Mark Sanchez, but restoring the threat off the edge in their defence wins out.
Height: 6’2 | Weight: 185 | Born: October 26, 1989 (age 22)
When Johnathan Joseph left the Bengals for the Texans, he left a hole in Cincinnati’s defensive backfield. With their second pick in the first round the Bengals will go after a player who can help fix that. Kirkpatrick has the height to match up with any receiver, a valuable asset to defend jump balls in the end zone. Kirkpatrick also comes from a winning program in Alabama.
Height: 6’2 | Weight: 272 | Born: December 13, 1989 (age 21)
The Chargers pass rush ranked in the bottom third of the league last season and only one player on their club registered more than four sacks on the season. With those numbers staring them in face, the Chargers will upgrade on the edge by selecting Upshaw. The Alabama product doesn’t stand out on paper, but he has elite skills and is a great value in the second half of the draft. Take the best available pass-rusher, which in this case is Upshaw.
Height: 6’4 | Weight: 261 | Born: July 21, 1990 (age 21)
The Bears can use help on their offensive line, but they seem to be more interested in adding to their pass rush. Chicago has shown interest in Illinois prospect Whitney Mercilus, who is a pass rusher first and run defender second. Mercilus lacks experience but plays with passion and would give the Bears a bookend pass rushers to pair with Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers.
Height: 6’3 | Weight: 346 | Born: August 18, 1990 (age 21)
Poe was a shooting star after an outstanding combine performance that pushed him into the conversation in the top ten of this year’s draft. However, the hype surrounding him has burnt up recently after teams took a closer look at his in-game play. That being said, Poe is still a raw athlete, who has the ability to develop into a disruptive force on the interior of any defensive line. Defensive line might not seem like the top need, but Poe is the kind of young, versatile talent this team needs.
Height: 6’6 | Weight: 345 | Born: September 18, 1989 (age 22)
With BenJarvus Green-Ellis joining the team, it appears the Bengals are satisfied with a one-two running back punch of Green-Ellis and Bernard Scott. Instead of drafting a new tailback, they decide to find a replacement for veteran offensive guard Bobbie Williams. Glenn is the best lineman available at this point and has the size to play tackle, even though his athletic limitations make him more suited to guard.
Height: 6’6 | Weight: 312 | Born: n/a
Taking Richardson with the fourth pick will make headlines, but taking a steady offensive lineman with the 22nd pick is the kind of move that helps build a winner. Martin has the talent to become the Browns starting right tackle across from Joe Thomas. Martin would be an upgrade to help give quarterback Colt McCoy more time to make decisions down field, while opening holes for Richardson. Cleveland would like to see Wright fall here to give McCoy another playmaker to work with.
Height: 5’10 | Weight: 193 | Born: October 29, 1988 (age 23)
Character concerns surround Jenkins, who was dismissed from Florida in early 2011 after his second drug-related arrest in three months. After spending the 2011 season at the University of North Alabama, the skilled corner is still a top talent and the Lions have shown interest. After reaching the playoffs last season, Detroit may be willing to take a chance on a player with so much potential.
Height: 6’2 | Weight: 265 | Born: March 12, 1990 (age 22)
Unless the Ravens can find a way to move in front of the Steelers, Hightower will join Pittsburgh’s legendary defence. Hightower is the perfect fit in Pittsburgh’s 3-4 scheme with size, speed and the power to control the interior against the run. Hightower is exactly the kind of player that tough-minded defensive teams like the Steelers and Ravens desire. Hightower is big for a middle linebacker, and has the ability to shed blockers with ease. He is also a hard worker, which will make him an instant favourite of defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
Height: 5’9 | Weight: 223 | Born: January 13, 1989 (age 23)
The Broncos could go in a variety of directions when they are on the clock this Thursday. Peyton Manning could use a new centre and the defence is in desperate need of help at defensive tackle. However, with a win-now attitude, the Broncos will try to add playmakers to their defence through the draft. Martin is an complete player, who can pass protect and is a natural receiver out of the backfield.
Height: 6’3 | Weight: 260 | Born: August 1, 1989 (age 22)
Despite losing Mario Williams, the Texans defence is still in good position under Wade Phillips. They are in the hunt for a receiver to pair with Andre Johnson, but with no value to be found at receiver near the end of the first round, they will select a rush linebacker. McClellin is a versatile defender, who could join Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed and give the Texans a solid rotation on the outside.
Height: 6’3 | Weight: 311 | Born: September 16, 1988 (age 23)
The Patriots have been known to surprise in the first round and if they decide to hold on to their picks, they very well could shock the crowd again. Silatolu is not a flashy name, but he is the type of blocker who can play multiple positions on the offensive line and has the skill to produce at a high level. With the offensive line in New England hurting, Bill Belichick will be glad to get Silatolu.
Height: 6’2 | Weight: 213 | Born: February 2, 1989 (age 23)
Centre Peter Konz was a logical pick here, until the Packers signed veteran centre Jeff Saturday. Now, Green Bay can look at their defence and add depth in their secondary by taking Smith. The Packers dealt with several injuries to their safeties last season and were extremyl vulnerable as a result. Smith will give them another option at safety and can contribute on special teams as well.
Height: 6’4 | Weight: 215 | Born: April 25, 1991 (age 20)
The Ravens may have something special in Torrey Smith, but Anquan Boldin is no longer the playmaker he once was. If Joe Flacco is going to emerge as a top tier quarterback, he will need another target in the receiving game and Hill could be just that. The Georgia Tech wideout is fast and tall and could work well alongside Smith as the Ravens try to make another run with their veteran-filled squad.
Height: 6’5 | Weight: 322 | Born: December 21, 1990 (age 21)
It may seem surprising that the 49ers would add to arguably the league’s best defence, but that’s exactly what they will do when they select Brockers, a violent tackle who can be a disruptive force in the backfield. Brockers could develop into one of the best players in this draft class. The 49ers defensive unit will be one of the strongest in the league for the second straight season. He’s big and powerful and has good tape, and his best football is still ahead of him.
Height: 6’5 | Weight: 303 | Born: July 11, 1989 (age 22)
The Patriots have the luxury of two first round picks and assuming they don’t decide to trade back into the second round, they will use their second pick to bolster their defensive line. New England needs more of a push up front and as the first rounds nears its end, they will select a player that was the top-ranked defensive end heading into the combine and can take the field right away.
Height: 6’6 | Weight: 252 | Born: September 20, 1988 (age 23)
The Giants victory in Super Bowl XLVI was in part due to the injury to Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, which slowed the Patriots two-tight end attack. Pass catching tight ends are trending in today’s NFL and Coby Fleener is the most talented of this year’s crop. Despite being an average blocker, Fleener has the size and hands to give Eli Manning yet another target in the Giants’ passing game.