Pre-Free Agency Mock Draft
Trent Richardson (Marvin Gentry/USP)

Posted Mar 11, 2012
Charlie Bernstein


We take our shot at our final Mock Draft prior to free agency. Find out who your favorite team might be selecting in next month's NFL Draft.



1. Indianapolis Colts- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

It’s a no-brainer.

2. Washington Redskins (From St. Louis)- Robert Griffin, III, QB, Baylor

Washington moved Heaven and Earth (and three first-round picks) to acquire the services of Robert Griffin, III. He will at least give them a fighting chance in the quarterback heavy NFC East.

3. Minnesota Vikings- Matt Kalil, OT, USC

If you’re going to draft a quarterback in the first round as the Vikes did last year with Christian Ponder it’s probably in your best interests to protect him. Matt Kalil can be a better player than his USC teammate from 2010, Tyron Smith. 4. Jacksonville Jaguars (From Cleveland)- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Morris Claiborne is a very good value at fourth-overall and he should step in and start right away. The Rams believe they can compete for an NFC West title immediately with a few key additions.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

Although many expected the Bucs to go with Trent Richardson in this spot, the depth is simply too great at running back to take one in the Top 5. It’s a passing league and Tampa needs to get Josh Freeman another weapon to find out if he’s the guy.

6. St. Louis Rams- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

The Rams attempt to trade back again but can’t and decide to take the second-best offensive tackle in the draft to try and better protect Sam Bradford.

7. Cleveland Browns- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A & M

Cleveland strikes out on trading for RG3 and feels compelled to select the next best quarterback. Since Tannehill won‘t be ready for immediate game action, Colt McCoy will get one last chance to save his job.

8. Miami Dolphins- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Trent Richardson is a Top 5 talent and although he doesn’t play a premium position he can still make an immediate impact on the Dolphins. You can’t pass on the next Adrian Peterson at the eighth pick.

9. Carolina Panthers- Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

The Panthers must get better defensively and Ingram is a perfect compliment to defensive end Charles Johnson.

10. Buffalo Bills- Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

The Bills are trying to build the next great, young defensive line and a rotation of Coples, Williams, Dareus and Troup is a nice start.

11. Kansas City Chiefs- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

No matter which mediocre quarterback starts for the Chiefs, they won’t have any success unless he’s protected. Jonathan Martin should project as a nice starting tackle.

12. Seattle Seahawks- Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

Seattle must affect opposing quarterbacks more and Mercilus is the guy to do it. The consensus All-America end is a nice value at the 12th pick.

13. Arizona Cardinals- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

One scout told us that DeCastro was the best interior line prospect he’s seen in years and whoever drafts him will get a 10-year starter. Why wouldn’t Arizona want that?

14. Dallas Cowboys- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

The Cowboys desperately need help in the secondary and Dre Kirkpatrick is a very talented player.

15. San Diego Chargers (From Philadelphia)- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Michael Floyd has the physical tools to be a number one wide receiver and he will somewhat mitigate the loss of Vincent Jackson.

16. New York Jets- Mark Barron, S, Alabama

The days of Jim Leonhard patrolling the secondary are over and New York needs a rangy safety. Barron is the top safety in this draft.

17. Houston Texans (From Cincinnati)- Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

The Texans need a complement to Andre Johnson and they have a strong affinity toward Kendall Wright. Wright is a polished route runner who plays quicker than his timed speed.

18. Philadelphia Eagles (From San Diego)- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

Kuechly is a lot more athletic than most people realize and he fills a position of immediate need for the Eagles.

19. Chicago Bears- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

The Bears get what could be a great value pick at 19th overall with Poe, a physical specimen that impressed at the Combine.

20. Tennessee Titans- Devon Still, DT, Penn State

Tennessee needs to plug up the middle of the defense and Still is the man to do the job. He will make life easier for Jason Jones.

21. Cincinnati Bengals- Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

With Cedric Benson walking in free agency, a legitimate speed back will make Andy Dalton’s life much easier.

22. Cleveland Browns- Janoris Jenkins, CB South Alabama

Jenkins is a Top 10 talent and off the field issues drop him to the Browns. Cleveland could have one of the league’s most talented secondaries as Jenkins lines up opposite Joe Haden.

23. Detroit Lions- Josh Robinson, CB, UCF

The Lions will either look like geniuses or morons with the star of the NFL Combine as they take a flyer on a cornerback with unlimited potential in J-Rob.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers- Donta Hightower, LB, Alabama

There really isn’t a better fit for Hightower as he can step in right away and play the role of the departed James Farrior.

25. Denver Broncos- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

Once rumored as a Top 10 pick, the Broncos are fortunate to have Brockers fall into their laps. He should pay immediate dividends as a run stopper.

26. Cincinnati Bengals (From Houston)-Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

It’s not a sexy pick, but the Bengals need to upgrade the interior of their line and they do so with the powerful center from Wisconsin.

27. New England Patriots (From New Orleans)- Doug Martin, RB, Boise State

The Patriots don’t normally take skill position guys early, but Doug Martin is a fantastic value here and he will be the best New England back since Corey Dillon.

28. Green Bay Packers- Chris Polk, RB, Washington

With Martin coming off the board, Chris Polk is the next best available running back. Polk’s presence should balance out the Packers offense and make them more suitable for bad weather.

29. Seattle Seahawks (From Baltimore)- Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State

Failing to acquire Peyton Manning or Robert Griffin, the Seahawks can’t afford to waste another season with Tavaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst. The trade up might be costly, but not as costly as another lost season.

30. San Francisco 49ers- Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech

The 49ers simply can’t pass on this physical freak who can blow the top off defenses. Hill is also a very good blocker which will assist the Niners rushing attack.

31. New England Patriots- Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama

The Patriots need to be better against the pass and Courtney Upshaw could be the pass rusher that they’ve been coveting. Upshaw is a great value pick at the end of the first round.

32. New York Giants- Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford

A playmaking tight end is the only thing missing in the Giants passing game and with two tight ends down from torn ACL’s, Fleener makes a ton of sense.



Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie


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