1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck QB, Stanford
This pick is a no brainer. Andrew Luck is the most polished QB to come out of college in a long time and the best Stanford prospect since John Elway. The Colts replace their old franchise QB with a new one in Luck.
2. Washington Redskins - Robert Griffin III QB, Baylor
St. Louis asked for a king’s ransom in return for this pick, and they got it. A great move by the Rams opens up the Redskins to get their QB of the future in Griffin. Some “experts” believe that Griffin has better upside than Luck. ESPN Analyst Merril Hodge said he would take Griffin over Luck, and he isn’t the only one.
3. Minnesota Vikings - Matt Kalil OT, USC
The Vikings have a lot of options here at pick No. 3. They could take a playmaker such as Justin Blackmon, or take the best defensive player in the draft, Morris Claiborne. I think that Kalil is the smart pick here, the Vikings really like Christian Ponder and they will need to keep him upright for the foreseeable future. Kalil is the best LT prospect to come out of the draft since Joe Thomas, he has franchise LT written all over him.
4. Cleveland Browns - Trent Richardson RB, Alabama
The Browns are the X factor in this draft. They have a ton of options here at pick No. 4. Blackmon and Claiborne both make a lot of sense here, but I would take Richardson. Richardson has a great combination of size and speed, and he is a back that can carry the load in the NFL. The greatest thing you can give a young quarterback is a good ground game, and that is what Cleveland should do with this pick.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Morris Claiborne CB, LSU
This is a no-brainer for the Bucs. They invested a lot of money in Vincent Jackson this offseason and young receiver Mike Williams is emerging as a solid target for Josh Freeman, so they don’t need Blackmon. The Buccaneers were 21st last season against the run and Claiborne will be a huge addition to the secondary for Tampa.
6. St. Louis Rams - Justin Blackmon WR, Oklahoma State
If the Rams get Blackmon they will complete one of the best trades in NFL history. The trade was already really good, but if they could get Blackmon (who they wanted at No. 2), it would be the icing on the cake. I believe that Blackmon will be an elite receiver in this league, and he would be a great addition to Sam Bradford and the Rams’ offense.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Michael Floyd WR, Notre Dame
This is my first real surprise here in the first round. Jacksonville has terrible wide receivers, even with the addition of Laurent Robinson. Michael Floyd has helped his draft stock immensely through his combine and workout performances. Last year the Atlanta Falcons traded up 20 spots to get Julio Jones. The Falcons’ offensive coordinator last season was Mike Mularkey, who is now the head coach of the Jaguars. The Jaguars could also use a playmaker for Blaine Gabbert.
8. Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannenhill QB, Texas A&M
Tannenhill could go has high as No. 3 if Minnesota trades out of their selection. The Dolphins are clearly in a rebuilding mode, they could use a franchise QB and Tannenhill’s stock is red-hot.
9. Carolina Panthers - Dontari Poe DT, Memphis
Perhaps nobody had a better combine than Dontari Poe, who ran a an official 40-yard-dash time of 4.87, at 346 pounds! The Panthers were 25th in the league against the run last year and Poe could come in and have an immediate impact for Carolina.
10. Buffalo Bills - Riley Reiff OT, IOWA
The Bills solidified their pass rush situation for the next few years with the signings of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson. In total, the Bills invested over 120 million dollars in their front four. They now need to invest some money in their offensive front five. The Bills opted to let Demetrius Bell walk so they have a glaring hole at LT. Reiff is the second best OT in the draft and would fit well here for Buffalo. Reiff has strong hands and quick feet and should do a good job keeping Ryan Fitzpatrick upright.
11. Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Kuechly ILB, Boston College
Kuechly is a tackling machine. He won the Dick Butkus award and the Vince Lombardi award in 2011 and is the best college linebacker in this draft. Matchup Kuechly with Derrick Johnson will give the Chiefs a deadly combination at linebacker.
12. Seattle Seahawks - Quinton Coples DE, North Carolina
Coples has drawn criticism from scouts and analysis for being inconsistent and taking plays off. Coples had 7.5 sacks in 2011 and finished his career at North Carolina with 24 sacks. When Coples plays to his ability there is no doubt he is an elite pass rusher.
13. Arizona Cardinals - Jonathan Martin OT, Stanford
The Cardinals biggest need in this draft is at offensive tackle. I feel that Martin is the right fit here, especially with Kuechly and Floyd off the board. If either of those players is available the Cardinals will take long looks at both as they have multiple needs and no second round pick.
14. Dallas Cowboys - Dre Kirkpatrick CB, Alabama
Even with the addition of Brandon Carr, the Cowboys still need help in the secondary. Dallas ranked 7th in the league in rushing defense in 2011, but 23rd in passing defense. Kirkpatrick makes a lot of sense here because he is a great talent with some off the field concerns. The Cowboys have had success with this type of pick before, most recently WR Dez Bryant.
15. Philadelphia Eagles - Michael Brockers DT, LSU
The Eagles gave up 112.6 rushing yards per game last year and their two starting defensive tackles combined for 61 tackles and 7 sacks (5 from Cullen Jenkins). Brockers has a lot of upside and would fit nicely beside Jenkins on that Eagles defense.
16. New York Jets - Melvin Ingram DE/OLB, South Carolina
In 2011, the Jets leader in sacks was Aaron Maybin, who had six. The Jets need to bolster their defensive line and Ingram makes sense here. Ingram has proven he can get to the passer when healthy would fit as an OLB in the Jets 3-4 defensive scheme.
17. Cincinnati Bengals - Janoris Jenkins CB, North Alabama
If Jenkins had not gotten kicked off the Florida football team in 2011 he would probably be going higher. Instead, he got released from his scholarship and finished his college career in relative obscurity, playing for North Alabama. Jenkins possesses a very good break on the ball and in 2010 held A.J Green and Julio Jones to an average of 38 receiving yards a game.
18. San Diego Chargers - David Decastro OG, Stanford
Guard Kris Dielman retired after 2011, leaving a hole in the interior of the Chargers offensive line. Decastro could go has high as No. 13 and is very good value here.
19. Chicago Bears - Courtney Upshaw DE/OLB, Alabama
Upshaw possesses a great burst off the line and has very good awareness for a defensive lineman. The Bears ranked 28th in passing defense and nobody aside from Julius Peppers is a proven pass rusher for Chicago. The Bears traded for Brandon Marshall so I see them added depth to the WR position in the later rounds.
20. Tennessee Titans - Stephon Gilmore CB, South Carolina
The Titans lost Cortland Finnegan to the Rams this offseason, leaving a glaring hole in the secondary. Gilmore ran a 4.40 40-yard-dash and possess superb awareness that makes him a dangerous defender to test.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Cordy Glenn OG/OT, Georgia
Glenn is one of the most versatile offensive lineman in this draft. In 2009, he played three positions on the line and Glenn started a total of 50 games in college. The Bengals have holes in the interior of their offensive line and Glenn would be a solid selection here.
22. Cleveland Browns - Kendall Wright WR, Baylor
Wright may very well be gone when the Browns pick here, but if he isn’t, he would be a very nice addition to a struggling Cleveland offense. The Browns were 24th in the league in passing and Wright put up gaudy numbers at Baylor in 2011. Wright had 108 receptions 1,663 receiving yards and 14 receiving touchdowns.
23. Detroit Lions - Mark Barron S, Alabama
As shown multiple times this season, the Lions secondary was terrible. In the 2011 playoffs, Drew Brees torched the Lions for 466 yards and three touchdowns and the Lions ranked 22nd in passing defense. Barron was a unanimous All-American in 2011 and is the only elite safety in the 2012 Draft.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Mike Adams OT, Ohio State
Max Starks tore is ACL against Denver in the playoffs last season, most likely ending his season. The Steelers have multiple holes in their offensive line and Mike Adams has been rising ever since his impressive Senior Bowl performance.
25. Denver Broncos - Peter Konz OC, Wisconsin
The Broncos have a hole in the middle of their offensive line and it just so happens a very good center is available for them here. Konz was a three-year starter at Wisconsin and is a very good run blocker.
26. Houston Texans - Dont’a Hightower ILB, Alabama
The Texans made the surprise move of the offseason when the traded DeMeco Ryans to to Philadelphia for a 4th-round pick. Hightower is the second best middle linebacker in the draft and Hightower possess good instincts an good mobility.
27. New England Patriots - Whitney Mercilus DE/OLB, Illinois
The Patriots have holes all over their defense, and it doesn’t help that they lost Mark Anderson and his 11.5 sacks to division rival Buffalo. Mercilus was a one year wonder at Illinois as he led the nation and Big Ten in sacks with 13.5, he also led the nation with eight forced fumbles in 2011.
28. Green Bay Packers - Nick Perry OLB, USC
Perry led the Pac-12 in sacks with 9.5 and was named a finalist for the Hendricks Award (Top Defensive End). Perry possess a good first step and and bursts off the snap.
29. Baltimore Ravens - Bobby Massie OT, Ole Miss
Massie had soared up draft boards and is now a bonafide first round pick. Massie played in every game over the last three seasons in college and has good size to be an offensive lineman in the NFL.
30. San Francisco 49ers - Dwight Bentley CB, Louisiana-Lafayette
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the first round is Bentley to the 49ers. Jim Harbaugh surprised many last season when he selected Aldon Smith in the top ten and that clearly turned out well. The Niners stockpiled wide receivers this offseason and they have a need at CB behind Carlos Rodgers.
31. New England Patriots - Fletcher Cox DT, Mississippi State
I highly doubt the Patriots will keep both of their picks in the first round, especially with some QB’s that might be available in the later first round. If the Pats stay here they will take the best defensive player available.
32. New York Giants - Coby Fleener TE, Stanford
Fleener is a solid pick for the Giants with the last pick in the first round. Fleener averaged 19.6 yards per reception in 2011 and caught 10 touchdowns in a pro-style offense for Stanford.