April 26, 2012 Leave a comment
I don’t know enough about all 32 teams and all of the 50 or so potential 1st round prospects to do a full 1st round mock draft but I follow all of the AFC East teams enough to know what they need, who they like, etc. So instead of trying to pick the 32 picks of the 1st round I will focus on the 5 that the AFC East teams currently hold. Here is my prediction for what happens tonight within the AFC East
8. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M -The Dolphins are desperate for a QB. They lost out on Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn this off-season. They desperately need a win in the PR column right now and that’s why they’ll reach by about 20 spots to take Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill. The problem the Dolphins have is that they hold the #8 pick in a draft where the two best quarterbacks are also the two best players. The drawback to taking Tannehill is that they have created so many holes in the off-season that they really need a guy who can come in and contribute right away. Tannehill will likely start the season playing behind Matt Moore, David Garrard, or both. It would probably be for the best as the Dolphins traded their best receiver and lost their starting right tackle to retirement. They are in year 1 of a rebuild and they can sit on their future franchise QB for a year while they build a team around him. The question that remains is whether or not Tannehill is a franchise guy. Some people feel strongly that he is and some feel strongly that he isn’t. He’s got a big arm but he lacks experience playing in NFL style systems. He hasn’t played the same competition that Andrew Luck played against at Stanford or Robert Griffin III played against at Baylor but Texas A&M is no slouch playing in the Big 12. I guess only time will tell whether or not he can be “the guy” for an NFL franchise. Back-up pick: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
10. Buffalo Bills – Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina – The Bills upgraded their pass rush in the off-season and need a few more players at key positions. Left tackle, wide receiver, and cornerback are the three most glaring needs. The left tackle crop isn’t all that strong and the Bills could probably get a similar player at tackle at the 41 spot as they can at #10. They need a big wide receiver with speed opposite Stevie Johnson and Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd would seem to fit the bill but the Bills had not engaged much with Floyd in recent weeks and didn’t even bring him to Buffalo for a visit. That leaves cornerback. The Bills are also very high on Alabama safety Mark Barron but at this point he is flying up the boards and I doubt that he even makes it to #10. The Bills have two aging corners, Drayton Florence and Terrence McGee, and can put Gilmore with 2nd year player Aaron Williams and match them up on the outside for many years to come. They play in the AFC East with the pass happy New England Patriots and their secondary has struggled against Mark Sanchez of the Jets. Getting a ball-hawk could be enhanced if the additions of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson do what they are supposed to do up front and put pressure on the passer. Despite their interest in Barron they are deep at safety and adding Gilmore would give them a great deal of youth mixed with some veteran leadership in the secondary. It would not shock me to see the Bills trade down and try to grab and extra 2nd rounder so they can fill the LT, WR, and impact secondary guy all within the first 2 rounds. But if they stay put and make the pick at #10 my prediction is that Gilmore will be the guy. Back-up pick – Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
16. New York Jets – Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina – The Jets have a few areas of need and are another team that has been rumored for a trade up but in the end I think they stay predictable and go for the pass rusher. Syracuse DE Chandler Jones is an intriguing option at this spot but I’m not sure that Jones projects well in the 3-4 scheme that Rex Ryan loves. Ingram has the skills to be a prototypical hybrid defensive end/linebacker. He is skilled at rushing the passer, which the Jets are looking for, and has the savvy to play in the Rex Ryan 3-4 defense. He’s got decent enough cover skills so that he won’t kill them but a match-up against a Gronkowski could be an issue. Still, the reason he would go here is his pass rush abilities and he has plenty of those. The Jets could use a receiver and Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd could still be in play but I doubt it. They could go secondary or they could go offensive line as well but at the end of the day I think the instincts of Rex Ryan win out and the Jets go and grab the pass rusher and put him with the outstanding trio of Bart Scott, David Harris, and Calvin Pace. It’s a safe pick and it makes the most sense. Back-up pick – Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans Saints) – Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame – I know that every Patriots fan in the world will be screaming for front 7, for someone to rush the passer but I don’t think it’s the pick here. Bill Belichick and his staff rarely do what you think they are going to do. I could see them trading this pick because it will have more value than the #31 pick but you’re probably not going to be able to get another 1st round pick next year for either pick so might as well use the higher one. The Pats biggest problem last year was in the secondary. They played poorly in pretty much all areas. They had no one at safety almost all year with Patrick Chung’s injury. Adding a player like Smith to the fold and assuming Chung can stay healthy for a season would make a huge weakness into a strength. The Pats still need help at corner as well but Smith may be a safer pick than the corners that will be left at the end of the 1st round. The Pats could go D-line here but I think that Belichick is weary about putting a rookie into his complex system, especially one that could be a 4-3 for several weeks then back to a 3-4 for another stretch. Smith is a versatile safety who could help with both the run and the pass. I just get the feeling that they are going secondary with this pick and in my opinion Smith is the best bet at this spot in the draft. Back-up pick – Nick Perry, DE, USC
31. New England Patriots – Trade down into the 2nd round. You know it’s coming. The Patriots love drafting players in the 2nd round and #31 is a prime spot for someone to move up 10 or so spots to get the player they want and Belichick will jump all over the opportunity. He’ll probably get more than he should for the pick too.
We’ll see how I do. If I am close enough maybe I will try the 2nd and 3rd rounds for tomorrow. Enjoy the draft.