The Rams must improve the weapons for Sam Bradford and the passing game. While Trent Richardson wouldalleviate the transition from Steven Jackson, Blackmon is the top WR on the board, and he has the potential tobe a solid #1 WR, though he'd be a great #2 WR on most teams. He's not quite the player like AJ Green or JulioJones, but he'll be in line for at least 80 catches consistently. Blackmon is a physical route runner who worksbest in a the intermediate of the field, Bradford's strength.The Jaguars are in a bind at #7--the top players on their board are taken and they'll certainly try to trade downinto the middle of the first round. In the event that they stay put at #7, they'll select the best player on theboard (Gene Smith's forte), Fletcher Cox. While DT isn't the greatest need on roster, Cox would be a valuablepenetrating lineman who can amplify the pass rush. NT Terrence Knighton will miss most of the off-season andpossibly camp with an eye injury, so depth along the line must be addressed. Gene Smith places a premium oncharacter, which rules out the popular projection, Michael Floyd.The Dolphins have neglected the QB position for too long. Since Dan Marino's retirement in 2000, the Dolphinshave started 16 different quarterbacks. After missing out on Peyton Manning, and passing on Matt Flynn in freeagency, the Dolphins will select their franchise quarterback early, and all signs point to Ryan Tannehill.Tannehill is a converted WR with two years of experience in Mike Sherman's offense. He's athletic, he has areliable arm, and he's a smart and composed kid. It may take time for him to develop into a reliable NFL starter,but he has the tools to succeed.
RYAN TANNEHILLQBTEXAS A&MFLETCHER COXDTMISSISSIPPI ST
The worst case scenario happens for the Bucs--Claiborne and Richardson go 3rd and 4th. The Bucs have bigneeds at CB and RB, and there's a slim chance they'll trade up to #3 to get their guy. In the event that they stayat #5, they will likely select Matt Kalil. Although they have Donald Penn at LT, Kalil has the potential to be a 15-year franchise tackle. Penn could move to RT in place of Jeremy Trueblood, who struggled mightily in 2011.They have a need at LB, but this is far too early to select a middle linebacker like Luke Kuechly. They'll targetthe best player available, Matt Kalil.
MIKE BAND'S1ST ROUND MOCKPICKS #1 thru #8
(FROM WAS)(FROM STL)
USC JUSTIN BLACKMONWROKLAHOMA STQBBAYLORMORRIS CLAIBORNECBTRENT RICHARDSONRBALABAMAMATT KALILOT
The Browns must support Colt McCoy and the offense in the early rounds, and a solid ground game will be thekey to an effective offense. Despite the need to upgrade at the receiver position, the Browns cannot enter 2012with Montario Hardesty as their premier back. Richardson is arguably the top non-QB in the draft, and the bestback to come out since Adrian Peterson. He's a thick, strong, and quick back with great vision and patience. Hehas the potential to develop into the top back in the entire league.
The Andrew Luck era has started in Indy. With Peyton Manning out of town, Andrew Luck will step into arebuilt Colts team that looks much different than in year's past. Luck will be thrown into a talent-depletedroster, though Reggie Wayne will return after signing a 3-year deal instead of leaving in free agency. Luck isarguably the top quarterback prospect since Manning and his game has no major holes or weaknesses. His on-field composure and leadership is matched by none and it's not a stretch to predict multiple Pro Bowlappearences.The Redskins sent the #6 overall pick, #39 overall, as well as 2013 and 2014's first round pick to to the Rams forthe #2 overall pick, a trade that will likely turn around a struggling franchise into a consistent playoff contender.Robert Griffin III (RGIII) has all-world potential, and he's a terrific fit for Mike Shanahan's offense. Griffin is asuperb athlete, he's a former olympic track runner, and he's a much better pure passer than his most frequentcomparison, Michael Vick. He may have more success than Andrew Luck early in his career because of theroster support around him.The argument for Claiborne is clear--The Vikings play Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford, and Jay Cutler twice a year,each. Long-time corner Antonie Winfield will be 35 in 2012 and #2 CB Chris Cook could be cut due to off-fieldissues. Claiborne is a much needed upgrade for their cover-2 scheme, and his ability to play press, zone andman make him a needed asset for the Vikings. There's a chance Rick Spielman is bluffing in order to attract atrade so they could move down. If Kalil ends up the pick here, consider me fooled, though it would make sense.
ANDREW LUCKROBERT GRIFFIN III