Luck to Indy is set but now where does RGIII land?
I’ve decided to start including trades in my 2012 NFL Mock Draft. Yeah, I know…predicting trades in a mock draft muddles things up, but I figure that if I’m going to do something as ridiculous (and sad) as guessing what players teams will select in the NFL Draft (three months before the fact), I may as well go that extra mile. Besides, the simple fact is that trades do happen…quite often, actually. Why not accept the challenge and take “hypothetical” to the next level?
In my recent stabs at no-trade mocks, RGIII lasted to #4 (won’t happen), and I often had Trent Richardson slipping well into the teens unless I forced him to Washington at #6 (also won’t happen). Those mocks just didn’t sit right. Throwing in a few, well thought-out trades has made for a more fluid, realistic mock that I’m much more comfortable with. The 2012 NFL Draft looks to be very top-heavy at QB, OT, and ILB, and one could argue that Trent Richardson, Dwayne Allen, Peter Konz and Mark Barron will be the only prospects that project as immediate NFL starters among this year’s crop of RBs, TEs, Cs, and safeties, so I expect to see a ton of trade action as teams vie for such a small handful of “sure things”.
1. Indianapolis Colts- Andrew Luck QB Stanford (Jr.)
With the firing of the Polians, the dominoes may have already begun to fall in Indy…the coaching staff and Peyton Manning will probably follow. The Polians’ ultimate downfall was their decade-long, Manning-centric approach to personnel decisions, and Manning’s absence in 2011 exposed the Colts as a team that simply lacked the coaching, talent or depth to compete without him. Huge changes are forthcoming. The new regime will look to overhaul the roster, and regardless of Manning’s fate, will draft Luck to be the cornerstone of the rebuilding process. I won’t end this paragraph with a scouting report singing the praises of Luck’s once-in-a-generation potential…I’ll defer to Brad’s expertise in that department. If you want concise, meat ‘n’ potatoes scouting reports on this year’s 2012 NFL Draft QB prospects, click the link above. Brad combs more game film than Joel Buschbaum and had RGIII in his top 10 back when most of us were still in love with Jeff Fuller and Kheeston Randall…trust me, he knows his stuff.
Also considered: None
Colt will get some serious competition in RGIII
2. TRADE!! Cleveland Browns (from St. Louis)- Robert Griffin III QB Baylor (Jr.)
Fans of the Dolphins, Redskins, Chiefs and Seahawks will hate me for making this prediction, but it makes perfect sense. The Browns have a talented, young nucleus, but to keep from becoming a complete afterthought in the rugged AFC North, where the Ravens and Steelers are annual playoff contenders and the Bengals are brimming with young talent, Holmgren and Heckert must find their answer to Roethlisberger, Flacco and Dalton. It’s obviously not Colt McCoy. (I’m not buying the old, “Colt just needs more to work with” argument anymore…Philip Rivers puts up 375 yards and 4 TDs with the likes of Legedu Naanee, Seyi Ajirotutu and Patrick Crayton at WR. Good QBs find a way. McCoy is mediocre…at best.) I have a hunch that the Browns will be aggressive in upgrading the QB position this offseason.
If the Rams trade down from #2 overall, Cleveland’s #4 slot would be the ideal landing spot. It’s the only trade scenario in which St. Louis would positively net either Justin Blackmon or Matt Kalil. Furthermore, the second first-rounder they would acquire (the one the Browns acquired from Atlanta in the Julio Jones trade) is #22…which jives almost perfectly with the trade value chart (if you’re into that sort of thing). The Rams could conceivably come out of the first round with Kalil and a quality WR (Kendall Wright, Mohamed Sanu, maybe even Alshon Jeffery), or Blackmon and a high-upside OT like Mike Adams or Zebrie Sanders. (A desperately-needed DT like Devon Still, Fletcher Cox, Dontari Poe or Jerel Worthy could even be an option with the second first-rounder.) Meanwhile, the Browns finally get their first legit franchise QB since Bernie Kosar was making QB coaches cringe with his ugly (but effective) passes back in the ’80s. RGIII is destined to thrive at the next level (regardless of scheme), and with his athletic upside, intelligence, work ethic and charisma, he has the potential to be the Browns’ first true superstar since Jim Brown. In the wake of “The Decision”, Jose Mesa, “The Drive”, etc., no city needs a promising new star more than Cleveland.
Also considered: Rams draft OT Matt Kalil or WR Justin Blackmon, trade down with Was./Mia./K.C./Sea.
3. Minnesota Vikings- Matt Kalil OT USC (Jr.)
You can make an argument for Justin Blackmon or Morris Claiborne here, but I firmly believe that Kalil would be the pick in this scenario. In all likelihood, the Vikings could find a big, WCO target to complement Percy Harvin (Sanu/Nick Toon/Dwight Jones) or a solid corner who fits the cover-2 scheme (Alfonzo Dennard) sitting at the top of the second round, but they certainly won’t find a potential franchise LT like Kalil there (or in free agency, for that matter). Kalil is a plug ‘n’ play blindside protector, and his presence would allow Charlie Johnson to move over to RG (his natural position) to replace the mediocre and injury-prone Anthony Herrera. Kalil/Hutchinson/Sullivan/Johnson/Loadholt would make for a rock solid O-line, maximizing protection for the fragile Christian Ponder, and offering a better push for A.P./Gerhart in the running game. Value, value, value.
Also considered: WR Justin Blackmon, CB Morris Claiborne Read the rest of this entry » «Profetta’s 2012 NFL Mock Draft: The I’m Back Edition»