The draft is six days away. Without further ado, here’s our latest mock first round.
1. Indianapolis Colts -- Stanford QB Andrew Luck
The Colts have informed Luck that he'll be their pick, and ESPN's Bill Polian -- the team's former president -- revealed Thursday that owner Jim Irsay made up his mind months ago. "He preferred Andrew because he thought RG3 was a little more of a running quarterback," Polian said. "I think that's a bit of a misnomer. ... (But) Jim had his heart set on Andrew. And that's fine. Great pick."
2. Washington Redskins -- Baylor QB Robert Griffin III
On March 9, Washington sent its first-round picks in 2012, 2013, and 2014, as well as its 2012 second-rounder to St. Louis in exchange for the Redskins' first franchise quarterback since Joe Theismann. "(Griffin) needs technique work and fundamentals," one scout told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
this week. "But ... he's got feet, touch downfield with accuracy, a strong arm. He's charismatic and smart as (expletive)." You'll want RG3 over Luck in fantasy football this year.
3. Minnesota Vikings -- USC OT Matt Kalil
Minnesota has narrowed its choices to Kalil, Morris Claiborne
, and Justin Blackmon
. The pick, ultimately, is an easy one. Adding Kalil not only gives Minnesota a potentially elite left tackle, he makes the Vikings better at two positions. Incumbent LT Charlie Johnson
kicks inside to guard, where he has historically played his best football. With Phil Loadholt
at right tackle, John Sullivan
at center, and Geoff Schwartz
at right guard, Minnesota would finally have a formidable front five.
4. Cleveland Browns -- Alabama RB Trent Richardson
Browns GM Tom Heckert revealed in his pre-draft presser Thursday that Cleveland has already decided on the No. 4 pick. "Right now, we hope to stay there and take a good player," Heckert answered when asked whether he wants to trade down. "I know who that four is going to be if we stay there. We are all on the same page." The Browns do like Ryan Tannehill
and may consider bundling the 22nd pick to move back up and land him. But they will take Trent Richardson
5. Tampa Bay Bucs -- LSU CB Morris Claiborne
The Bucs are a prime candidate to throw the draft's first curveball. They have a new coaching staff, and brand new schemes on both sides of the football. On the pre-draft meeting circuit, Tampa showed more interest in Trent Richardson
than any other player. A fine fallback option after missing out on a top target is always to draft the next best guy on the board. There are five elite players in this draft: Luck, Griffin, Kalil, Richardson, and last year’s Thorpe Award winner.
6. St. Louis Rams -- Mississippi State DT Fletcher Cox
Everyone wants to send Blackmon to the Rams. It makes some sense. The Rams need a wide receiver, and he's widely considered the best one available. But this is a deep, deep wideout draft, and Blackmon isn't a top-six overall talent in it. During Jeff Fisher's 17 seasons with the Titans/Oilers organization, the club used first-round picks on defensive linemen more than any other position. Fisher never used a top-15 pick on a receiver. Cox is loaded with upside. He just turned 21.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars -- South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore
The Jaguars want to trade out of this pick, so much so that they've broadcasted it in their local newspaper. If they don't find a trade partner, GM Gene Smith will select the highest rated player on his board. League execs are extremely high on Gilmore, a prototypically-built corner with solid tape. Like Fisher before him, Smith overlooks Blackmon because this is such a receiver-rich draft.
8. Miami Dolphins -- Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon
The only reason anyone believes Miami would draft Tannehill is because OC Mike Sherman was his college coach. There is no further evidence, and Sherman lacks say in personnel matters. GM Jeff Ireland runs the show, and he is a proponent of second-round quarterbacks. In Ireland's four years with Miami, the Fins have already selected two signal callers in the second round, and he was also on staff for a second-round QB with the Cowboys in 2001 (Quincy Carter
). A believer in first-round "singles and doubles" as opposed to swinging for the fences, look for Ireland to once again target a "value pick" quarterback later in the draft and opt for his top-rated player at No. 8.
9. Carolina Panthers -- North Carolina DE Quinton Coples
Entering the 2011 college season, no senior in the nation was rated higher than Coples by team-employed scouting services Blesto and National. Aware of the lofty grades, Coples played his final season not to get hurt. Effort concerns arose, though they've been largely overblown and are even somewhat understandable. He had a ton of money on the line. Coples fits the Panthers because he's a left end who kicks inside in passing situations. Carolina needs help at both end and tackle.
10. Buffalo Bills -- Georgia OT Cordy Glenn
Glenn was one of the first players the Bills hosted for a pre-draft visit. While that isn't necessarily a surefire indication of interest, Glenn's game is eerily similar to former Buddy Nix pick Marcus McNeill
's. Both are athletic, physically dominant "waist benders" whose technique is criticized despite exceptional down-to-down play. Glenn would be an upgrade on Erik Pears
at right tackle initially, and perhaps move to the left side if Chris Hairston
doesn't markedly improve in camp.