NFL Mock Draft post-Scouting Combine (with videos!)
The Combine does provide plenty of insights into what teams are looking for and how players respond to professional preparation, however. It also brings out truths about player's often-lied about sizes (Kellen Moore is 6'0", for all those wondering).
With about seven weeks until the draft, a lot can still change between now and then, but this projection is probably stronger than our January Mock Draft. There have also been a few logistical developments since January. Miami won the coin toss against Carolina for the No. 8 draft pick and Kansas City won the coin toss against Seattle for the No. 11 draft pick.
Onto the picks....
1. Indianapolis Colts, Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
This pick remains the same as the January Mock. It really doesn't matter what the Colts do with Peyton Manning. Luck and Robert Griffin III are easily thought of as the two best prospects in the draft, and it would be the blunder of the century to pass on Luck because of an aging Manning. Griffin created a lot of buzz at the Combine, but Luck remains the consensus best prospect in the draft. Griffin dazzled with a sub-4.40 40-yard dash time, but Luck's ~4.6 40 at 6'4" 234 lbs. is equally, if not more impressive. Oh, and when Luck does run the ball he is a bowling ball:
2. Cleveland Browns (projected trade with the St. Louis Rams), Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
I said in the January Mock Draft that I wouldn't project trades, but that was before St. Louis reportedly decided they would be trading the No. 2 pick. The Browns have two first-round picks this season, and St. Louis needs a lot of help at a lot of positions, so a Cleveland-St. Louis trade makes sense. The ability to draft the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner Griffin makes the second pick incredibly valuable for St. Louis. After all, Griffin, did run the fastest 40 of any quarterback since Michael Vick.
3. Minnesota Vikings, Matt Kalil, OT, USC
This pick remains the same as the January Mock. Kalil looked head and shoulders about all the other offensive tackles at the Combine, so if anything he helped his draft stock. The Vikings could look at Justin Blackmon here, but Kalil should be an all-pro left tackle for years to come, and with a young quarterback in Christian Ponder, having a tackle protecting his blindside and keeping him upright is vital.
4. St. Louis Rams (projected trade with the Cleveland Browns), Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
New Rams coach Jeff Fisher would be thrilled to get a downfield threat for his young quarterback Sam Bradford. The Rams' receiving corps were bruised and battered last season, so getting a man child like Blackmon, who should be durable and ready to play from day one will be a coup for St. Louis.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
This pick remains the same as the January Mock. With Aqib Talib going on trial in April and facing jail time and/or an NFL suspension and Ronde Barber getting old and considering retirement, the Bucs will likely need help in the secondary. Claiborne is the top corner in the draft, slotting in slightly above SEC-rival Dre Kirkpatrick of Alabama. Claiborne isn't as tall as Kirkpatrick, but he is more physical. He also ran faster than Kirkpatrick at the Combine.
6. Washington Redskins, Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
I originally had Alshon Jeffrey going here to the Redskins, but Jeffrey has been slip-sliding all over the draft board of late thanks to perceived weight fluctuations and the fact that he didn't run at the Combine. Floyd, on the other hand, has solidified himself as the second-best receiver in the draft. He's got the size (6'3" 220 lbs.) and speed (4.47 40) to make an immediate impact for the Redskins. The Redskins will be trying very hard to trade up to No. 2 to draft Griffin, as they desperately need a quarterback of the future. If they fail in that endeavor I wouldn't be shocked if they trade down and try and draft Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill or Floyd later, as both would likely be available a few picks down the road.
7. Jacksonville Jagurs, Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
This pick remains the same as the January Mock. Jacksonville needs a pass rush, and Coples is the best pass rusher in the draft. He is huge (6'6" 284 lbs., 33 1/4" arms) and can bullrush offensive linemen, but is also fast enough to create pressure off the edge.
8. Miami Dolphins, Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
This pick also remains the same as the January Mock. Kirkpatrick would arguably be the best player left on the board at No. 8 and also fills the Dolphins' need for a ballhawk in the secondary. Miami picked off just 13 passes last season, and by drafting Kirkpatrick the Dolphins would hope that number would rise in 2012.
9. Carolina Panthers, Devon Still, DT, Penn State
This pick also remains the same as the last January Mock--but only barely. Carolina desperately needs help on the interior defensive line, and Still is probably the top run stuffer in the draft, but he is being pushed by LSU's Michael Brockers and Memphis' Dontari Poe for that distinction. It would be a surprise to see the Panthers go anywhere but defense with this pick, so expect one of those three players to get picked at No. 9.
10. Buffalo Bills, Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
While some see Ingram as a 3-4 outside linebacker, the Bills are switching back to a 4-3 defense this year, and Ingram should work out just fine rushing the passer from a three-point stance as a defensive end. There have been questions about Ingram's stock since he declared for the draft, but he had a strong showing at the Combine which moves him into the top half of the first round.
Go to page 2 for picks 11-21