by SD Dirk
In a twist of fate that had them “luck” into the 1st pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts now have the opportunity to draft game-changing quarterback Andrew Luck. Their aging star quarterback Peyton Manning was injured for an extended period last year, ruining the team’s season, but the Colts won the lottery in the same year that one of the biggest quarterback prospects in the NFL history would come out. Andrew Luck has all the tools you need in your starting quarterback. The Stanford quarterback turned his team into a National Championship contender, and it seems as though it will not take too long for him to put the Colts back on top of the AFC South. Fellow quarterback Robert Griffin III, “RG3,” is a solid prospect, but there is no way the Colts pass up on this opportunity.
2. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
In order to move up to the No. 2 spot, the Washington Redskins had to trade three first-round picks and a second-rounder to the St. Louis Rams to move up from No. 6. Washington seems to have finally found its franchise quarterback in Robert Griffin III, dubbed “RG3.” Prior to his breakout year last season, which resulted in a Heisman Trophy, some experts doubted his skills to even be able to play quarterback in the NFL. But he put all those doubters to rest, and is now poised to be a star in the league. He is a perfect fit for Mike Shanahan’s offense, as the Redskins’ coach loves quarterbacks who can scramble out of the pocket and throw on the run. A lot of people have raved about his speed, but another part of his game that should be given equal attention is his ability to throw the ball. He has the ability to lead this team to the playoffs as soon as this season.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, USC
The Minnesota Vikings may have a number of holes they need to fill, but none is more pressing than their need for a starting left tackle to protect Christian Ponder. Matt Kalil is a sure thing at left tackle. He is 6’6″ and 360 lbs. and is a physical specimen who should only get better once he gets into an NFL training program. He does have some holes in his game, as he needs to improve his run blocking, but that will come with experience. The Vikings absolutely have to pick Kalil because he is the player they absolutely need at this position. He also has the potential to become the best left tackle in the league.
4. Cleveland Browns: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
This is definitely a pick that has a lot of mock drafts in confusion. Some of these mock drafts have the Cleveland Browns taking Alabama running back Trent Richardson. The player that they should be interested in is a playmaker at wide receiver. Justin Blackmon is that guy for them. Although it is always a risk to take a wideout this early, Blackmon is a special kind of player who can make an immediate impact right off the bat. Blackmon would give Colt McCoy a go-to guy when he is in trouble and a legitimate deep threat to keep opposing defenses from camping in the box to stop the run. It will also give the Browns the opportunity to erase their big mistake when they were unable to pick Julio Jones last year.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
If Richardson is still available when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still picking, then they will definitely jump at an opportunity to pick him. While Richardson seems ideal in Tampa, the Buccaneers have bigger holes to fill. Pass defense should be the No. 1 priority when the team is in an NFC South division that features Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton. Tampa Bay did add Eric Wright and re-signed Ronde Barber, but Barber is getting old and Aqib Talib is headed to prison. Morris Claiborne is the player that makes the most sense for the Buccaneers at No. 5. He is an elite cover corner with excellent ball skills who will make opposing quarterbacks pay if they throw in his direction.
6. St. Louis Rams: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
The St. Louis Rams need to find an elite receiver for Sam Bradford, but with Blackmon unfortunately no longer available at No. 6, they should look for their next biggest need, left tackle. The Rams’ current starting left tackle is better suited playing guard or right tackle since he is not your prototypical starter. Iowa’s Riley Reiff is the player ready to step in and start right away. He may not be the best player left on the board, but he is a safe pick that fills a huge need. Protecting Bradford should be the Rams’ No. 1 priority with this pick.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
The Jacksonville Jaguars have no other option but to take a shot on Michael Floyd from Notre Dame, as the Jaguars featured the worst receiving corps of any team in the NFL last year. Although the Jags may take him a few picks too early, Floyd is actually a pretty solid prospect whom they desperately need. At 6’3″ and 220 lbs., Floyd has the speed and size needed to play in the NFL. Had Floyd played with a better quarterback in college, some experts would be more inclined to project him a little higher than they currently do. In his final year for Notre Dame, he had 100 catches for 1,147 yards and nine touchdowns. The Jaguars could end up trading the pick to move down and pick Floyd later in the first round.
8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Ryan Tannehill might very well be headed to the Miami Dolphins, as they are still without a starting quarterback. Mike Sherman, who is now the offensive coordinator for Miami, was the head coach at Texas A&M last year, and Tannehill might just be perfect for the Dolphins as he will already have training in the offense Sherman will install. With all the holes Miami has on both sides of the ball, I believe that it will be far too risky to pick Tannehill at this draft slot. It would be better for them to take the best player available and address the quarterback situation elsewhere.