By Don Banks
January 27, 2012

Giants and Patriots fans aren't yet in full-blown draft focus mode, but it seems like everyone else is. As Senior Bowl week in Mobile comes to a close, here's the first of our seven attempts to mock out how the April 27 first round will unfold at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan. Don't go trying to hold me to this version, NFL fans. If I got it all right in late January, I could only go downhill from there over the course of the coming three months, and where's the fun in that?

Pre-Super Bowl Mock Draft
1 Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford. So it's Luck for the Colts, who are hoping the celebrated Stanford quarterback turns into their next Peyton Manning, even if the original hangs around for a year or so to help speed the process along. You will help speed the process along, right, Peyton? No Brett Favre-type icing of the rookie quarterback, OK, No. 18? You were young and impressionable once.
2 Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns (projected trade with St. Louis)
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor. The Browns have the need and the extra first-round pick to move up and land RG III, and for that they can thank Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who reeled in Julio Jones with Cleveland's 2011 first-round slot. Washington and Miami figure to be in the same market for the Heisman winner, but if the Rams deal with the AFC-based Browns they wouldn't have to face Griffin as often.
3 Minnesota Vikings
Matt Kalil, OT, USC. The Vikings can't help but fill a major need with this pick, no matter which position they address. Kalil would provide an immediate answer at left tackle, but Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon or LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne would look great in purple as well. See what I mean? How can Minnesota possibly lose, other than letting the clock expire on draft night?
4 St. Louis Rams
St. Louis Rams (projected trade with Cleveland)
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State. If the Rams can swing this deal with the Browns and walk away with the draft's top receiver and Cleveland's pick at No. 22, what a wonderful world it will be in St. Louis at the start of the team's Jeff Fisher era. Sam Bradford and Blackmon were former rivals in Oklahoma, but I bet the Rams quarterback will make the rookie his new best friend.
5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU. The Bucs have plenty of options that make sense, but in a division where Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Matt Ryan come calling six times a season, landing the draft's top cornerback qualifies as a no-brainer, especially since Ronde Barber turns 47 any day now. Some mocks have Tampa Bay going for Alabama running back Trent Richardson, but a rusher in the top five sounds a little rich to me.
6 Washington Redskins
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M. So let's keep in mind that this is our first mock of the year, not our seventh, which runs the day before the draft. I'm aware that Tannehill's broken foot makes him a giant question mark at this point, and could possibly knock him out of the first round. But there's a quarterback every year who gets pushed up the board in the pre-draft scouting process (see Ponder, Christian in 2011), and my early read is that Tannehill is the most likely candidate. Washington's desperation at quarterback is obvious, and no Matt Barkley or Landry Jones means the Redskins might have to roll the dice on the former Aggie.
7 Jacksonville Jaguars
Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina. The Jaguars have often had their own version of conventional wisdom come draft time, but the pass rush is still one of their weakest links and Coples rates as something of a poor man's version of Julius Peppers. Of course, Peppers and poor man sounds a little funny being in the same sentence, because if nothing else, Peppers has gotten paid over the course of his NFL career.
8 Carolina Panthers
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama. The Panthers' statistically-challenged secondary needs another cornerback to start opposite Chris Gamble, and Kirkpatrick offers the size and athleticism to square off against the Marques Colston's, Roddy White's and Mike Williams's of the NFC South. One way for Carolina to step up in weight class in 2012 is to get better at defending the pass.
9 Miami Dolphins
Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa. I wrote back in mid-November that if the Dolphins hire a Packers offensive assistant like Joe Philbin or Tom Clements as head coach, it'll likely mean an attempt to acquire Green Bay free agent quarterback Matt Flynn is on the way. They did, and I believe it is. Which makes Reiff a logical option to fill the team's glaring need at right tackle, where the overmatched Marc Colombo presided last season.
10 Buffalo Bills
Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama. Each and every draft it seems half the league is desperately seeking more pass rush, and the Bills are right there toward the front of that pack in 2012. There might not be a Von Miller or Aldon Smith-level impact player this year, but Upshaw is the draft's best linebacker prospect and has edge-rush skills.
11 Kansas City Chiefs
Devon Still, DT, Penn State. Given the Chiefs' need for an offensive tackle, they could pounce on Iowa's Reiff if he falls past No. 9 Miami or opt for Stanford tackle Jonathan Martin. But Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli knows you can never have enough talented defensive linemen, and Still is a top-10-rated prospect who can provide a disruptive force in the middle of the Chiefs' 3-4 front.
12 Seattle Seahawks
Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina. Like Jacksonville and Buffalo above them, the Seahawks are seeking pass rush help, and Ingram seems a decent fit as a 4-3 end with top-15 value. The back two-thirds of the Seahawks defense grew up rapidly in the second half of this past season, but another threat up front is needed to balance out the unit.
13 Arizona Cardinals
Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford. With the Kevin Kolb experiment still very much a work in progress, the Cardinals need to improve on the protection front. At worst, Martin projects as a first-year starter at right tackle with the ability to grow into the glamor left tackle slot.
14 Dallas Cowboys
Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama. The Cowboys' secondary was the reason the Giants won the NFC East rather than Dallas. Jenkins, the ex-Gators cornerback, has some maturity issues that will scare some teams away, but the Cowboys usually aren't too skittish about such things. Alabama safety Mark Barron is another solid option, but he doesn't have Jenkins' elite cover skills.
15 Philadelphia Eagles
Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College. When you say the words "linebacker" and "Boston College" in the same sentence, Eagles fans still instantly think of Mike Mamula, the team's over-hyped first-rounder in 1995. But Kuechly is this year's finest inside linebacker prospect, and that's where the crying need lies on Philly's defense.
16 New York Jets
Mark Barron, S, Alabama. Being able to match up a big, athletic safety on the league's taller receivers and beast-like tight ends (Rob Gronkowski, we're looking in your direction) is the name of the game on defense these days. The Jets were at an obvious disadvantage on that front last season, but they'd be getting the best available talent upgrade in Barron.
17 Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland)
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama. This is the Carson Palmer pick, and for once we're not talking about a costly interception. The Bengals offense could use some fresh legs as a replacement for impending free agent Cedric Benson, and Richardson can help move the chains in a variety of ways.
18 San Diego Chargers
Whitney Mercilus, DE-OLB, Illinois. Mercilus is a bit of a one-year wonder, but, oh, what a year it was. He led the NCAA in sacks with 16, and forced fumbles (nine), and his potential as an outside linebacker with edge rush impact is exactly what the doctor ordered in San Diego. The Chargers have needs on the offensive line and receiver, but Mercilus might be too tempting for A.J. Smith to pass on.
19 Chicago Bears
Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. The Bears didn't get what they thought they'd get from Roy Williams last season, and I suppose they have Mike Martz to thank for that. Finding a big, go-to receiver for Jay Cutler is near the top of the to-do list in Chicago, and Floyd and/or Baylor's Kendall Wright look like the draft's No. 2 receiver after OSU's Blackmon.
20 Tennessee Titans
David DeCastro, G, Stanford. The Titans need a pass rusher, too, so keep an eye on USC defensive end Nick Perry in this slot. But DeCastro figures to be rated too highly to overlook, and giving the draft's top-rated interior lineman to a team that needs help at guard just makes too much sense. Especially with the Titans being coached by a Hall of Fame guard like Mike Munchak.
21 Cincinnati Bengals
Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska. If the Bengals can come out of the first round with a new starting running back and another cornerback to play against all the three-wide sets in today's NFL, they'll have hit a second consecutive jackpot at the top of their draft. Maybe not in an A.J. Green-Andy Dalton sense, but it'll still rate as a huge success on paper.
22 St. Louis Rams
St. Louis Rams (projected trade with Cleveland, via Atlanta)
Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State. This would be the other pick the Rams obtain from Cleveland in exchange for the No. 2 slot and the rights to RG III. St. Louis could opt for other fixes on the offensive line, like Wisconsin center Peter Konz or Georgia guard-tackle Cordy Glenn, but the Rams are desperate for help at offensive tackle with Jason Smith's status so uncertain and unreliable.
23 Detroit Lions
Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina. The Lions are another team showing its age on the offensive line, where Konz or Glenn could prove good value at No. 23. But the Lions also need another cornerback if they're going to challenge the likes of the Packers, Saints and Giants for NFC supremacy.
24 Pittsburgh Steelers
Cordy Glenn, OG-OT, Georgia. The Steelers are being given Memphis DT Dontari Poe in plenty of mocks, and he makes sense as a replacement for veteran Casey Hampton, who is coming off ACL surgery. But have you seen the state of the Steelers' offensive line the past two seasons? Until convinced otherwise, we consider Pittsburgh's OL issues to be its top priority.
25 Denver Broncos
Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State. For a team that made the NFL's final eight, the Broncos have a ton of needs. They could use help at three offensive line slots, cornerback, receiver, tight end, and another young running back would come in handy, too. But getting some interior pass rush is another problem area, and Worthy and Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox are the likely options.
26 Houston Texans
Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis. Though a receiver like Baylor's Kendall Wright might get the nod, Wade Phillips' vastly improved Texans defense could use a big body to hold down the fort at nose tackle. With a name like Poe, he should be a Raven, but the Texans might snatch him up first.
27 New England Patriots
New England Patriots (from New Orleans)
Michael Brockers, DT, LSU. The Patriots need more talent in their defensive front seven, and they love interchangeable players who can play anywhere on the defensive line. Brockers is capable of penetrating the backfield and creating some havoc against both the pass and the run.
28 Green Bay Packers
Andre Branch, OLB-DE, Clemson. Branch played defensive end for the Tigers, but he projects to a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. The Packers didn't get enough pass rush last season, and they need someone who can create some heat opposite Clay Matthews.
29 Baltimore Ravens
Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin. With reliable center Matt Birk perhaps hanging it up after 14 seasons in the league, getting the highly regarded ex-Badger represents quality bottom-of-the-round value.
30 San Francisco 49ers
Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor. Did you see the NFC title game? The 49ers completed one pass to a receiver the entire game, that going for all of three yards to the ineffective Michael Crabtree. Two words: Enough said.
31 New York Giants
Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State. The Giants could use an inside linebacker like Dont'a Hightower of Alabama, but I also think it wouldn't hurt to start looking for Kareem McKenzie's replacement at right tackle. And by the way, Giants fans, I'm not predicting a Patriots' Super Bowl win by slotting New York at No. 31, just going by New England's superior record at the moment.
32 New England Patriots
Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama. Again, the Patriots need more playmakers in their defensive front seven, and we know Bill Belichick tends to trust players who have been coached by either Nick Saban or Urban Meyer.

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