We are now less than a week away from the 2012 NFL Draft and teams are getting prepared for what is always a very big week for NFL teams and fans. As usual, I get very, very excited for the draft and this in a very crucial draft for the Dolphins and Jeff Ireland. The Dolphins got a starter in OC Mike Pouncey and contributors in RB Daniel Thomas, HB/TE Charles Clay and CB/S Jimmy Wilson.
Ireland will need to produce like he did in 2011, if not better in 2012.
With that said, let's take a look at how things could potentially work out in the upcoming draft.
1) Indianapolis - Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford - The Colts finally have come out and said Luck will be the pick, but this decision was pretty much made a few months ago. Peyton Manning was set free so the Colts could take Luck, who is considered the best prospect at QB since one John Elway. That high praise indeed.
2) Washinton - Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor - The Redskins gave up a bounty of picks to St. Louis to get up to the 2nd spot in the draft to take the Heisman Trophy winner. Smart, talented, athletic and charasmatic, this young man has everything you want in a franchise quarterback.
3) Minnesoata - Ryan Kalil, OT, Southern Cal - The Vikings are openly shopping to pick looking to move down. If not, they need to look to protect 2011 1st round draft pick QB Christian Ponder. Kalil is the best OT in this draft. There is some buzz that the Vikings may go with LSU CB Morris Claiborne, but Kalil makes a lot more sense.
4) Cleveland - Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama - The Browns got beat out by the Redskins for the right to take RGIII and had no interest in QB Matt Flynn, who signed with Seattle. They could look to take Texas A & M QB Ryan Tannehill, and Mike Mayock of the NFL Network has fallen in love with Tannehill and has said the Browns should take him. That being said, many pundits believe 19 career starts is not enough to justify taking Tannehill this high and Colt McCoy has not had a lot of talent around him to make a sound decision in to whether he can be the quarterback of the future for the Browns. Richardson is considered elite, the best back to come out since one Adrian Peterson.
5) Tampa Bay - Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU - CB Aquib Talib is in trouble with the law once again, and it is pretty serious this time. Claiborne is the best defensive back in this draft and his former defensive back coach from LSU is now on the Bucs staff. If Richardson get's past Cleveland, he could be the pick here.
6) St. Louis - Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State - The Rams need a lot of pieces, and got a bounty of picks from Washington. QB Sam Bradford needs some weapons at wide receiver, and Blackmon is considered by many to be the best in this draft. There is also buzz and mock draft showing DT Fletcher Cox of Mississippi State to the Rams. Once again, this would surprise me, but Jeff Fisher loves DT. He said he loves Bradford also, and once again, Bradford needs some weapons outside.
7) Jacksonville - Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina - This is another team that would be interested in possbilby trading down, and this could be an interesting pick. Gene Smith, the GM likes solid guys, high motor guys, but this may not be Smith decision to make alone as new owner Shahid Kahn could come into play. If he does, Michael Floyd could be the pick, as QB Blaine Gabbert could use some more talented wide receivers. OT Riley Reiff of Iowa could also be a consideration.
8) Miami - Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A & M - I think in the end, Tannehill makes it to Miami and the Dolphins get their young QB of the future. He has only 19 career starts, so even with him being familar with the West Coast offense, he is raw as a QB. Could a team trade up to get him, possibly. Seattle was at his pro day and there is talk about KC possible being interested. But Seattle just made a rather large investment in 26 year old QB Matt Flynn and the Chiefs have major money invested in QB Matt Cassell. I discussed the Browns earlier, and they could surprise and take him at #4. There is some speculation that the Dolphins could trade up to #3 to secure Tannehill, but I just don't see this happening. This teams has holes to fill and trading away multiple picks to take a QB that is not ready to start from Day 1 is not something Jeff Ireland will do in my opinion. With that being said, I would not be stunned if the Dolphins pass on Tannehill. Other possible options are WR Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State, DE Quinton Coples of North Carolina, DE/OLB Melvin Ingram of South Carolina, WR Michael Floyd of Notre Dame and OLT Riley Reiff of Iowa. Trading down is an option also, especially if Tannehill is off the board.
9) Carolina - Flecther Cox, DT, Mississippi State - The Panthers need to solidify their defensive line, and while a lot of mocks, mine included had Memphis DT Dontari Poe to the Panthers, GM Marty Hurney has said the Panthers want more of a sure thing. Cox stock is rising and he fits the bill. Philadelphia is said to be very interested in Cox also.
10) Buffalo - Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa - The Bills have spent big money addressing their pass rush with the signing of DE Mario Williams and Mark Anderson. The Bills move to the other side of the ball and provide some protection for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick with Reiff, considered by most to be the 2nd OT in the draft behind Southern Cal Ryan Kalil.
11) Kansas City - Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College - The Chiefs choose the cleanest player in the draft who had tremendous production while at Boston College.
12) Seattle - Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina - The Seahawks take the talented pass rusher here as he starts to slide due to questions about his motor. If Ryan Tannehill get's past Cleveland and Miami and KC, then surprisingly, Seattle could take Tannehill.
13) Arizona - David DeCastro, OG, Stanford - Cardinals add much need talent to a shaky unit. DeCastro is considered far and away the best OG in this draft, and one of the very best offensive linemen in this draft.
14) Dallas - Mark Barron, S, Alabama - Barron is the top rated safety in what is a very weak safety class. The one trip Jason Garrett took on a Pro Day in 2011 was to Southern Cal, and they ended up selecting OT Tyron Smith. Garret's only trip this year was to Tuscaloosa.
15) Philadelphia - Dontari Pox, DT, Memphis - The Eagles ended up addressing the lost of OLT Jason Peters with Buffalo OLT free agent Demetrius Bell. They now look to focus on the DL and add a talented kid that right now is showing freakish athletic ability, but not showing the production on the field that you would hope to see. Philly takes a chance of Poe if they can't get Cox.
16) New York Jets - Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame - The Jets did not bring back WR Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes and QB Mark Sanchez ended 2011 on a very bad note. And then the Jets added to what was a very toxic locker room by bringing in QB Tim Tebow in a trade. Point blank, Sanchez needs weapons outside, and while Rex Ryan is a defensive coach, the Jets need to help their young QB. Would not surprise me to see Rex Ryan take a defensive player here, but I will stick with Floyd.
17) Cincinnati - Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina - CB Leon Hall is coming off a season ending injury and Gilmore stock is on the rise. As talented as Alabama CB Dre Kirkpatrick with out the baggage, not that this tends to worry Cincy. There is some speculation that Gilmore might somehow end up in the top 10.
18) San Diego - Whitney Merciles, OLB/DE, Illinois - The Chargers were putrid in 3rd down defense efficiency, and Larry English has been a bust so far. San Diego needs to improve their pass rush.
19) Chicago - Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor - The Bears acquired WR Brandon Marshall in a trade from Miami, but they will likely be without WR Johnny Knox for a while after suffering a very serious back injury. Wright gives Jay Cutler another weapon.
20) Tennessee - Michael Brockers, DT, LSU - The Titans added Kamerion Wimbley to fortify their pass rush and add talented but raw Brockers to the mix.
21) Cincinatti - Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama - The Bengals continue to add to what is already a solid defensive team with a solid player from Alabama.
22) Cleveland - Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech - The Browns need to add more playmakers on the offensive side of the ball.
23) Detroit - Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama - The Lions have a need at cornerback and Kirkpatrick fills a need.
24) Pittsburgh - Donta Hightower, ILB, Alabama - The Steelers need to fill the void at ILB after releasing James Farrior. Hightower is a thumper with size.
25) Denver - Jerel Worthy, DT/NT, Michigan State - The Broncos just lost their best interior DT Broderick Bunkley to New Orleans and need to fill the void.
26) Houston - Rueben Randle, WR, LSU - Texans add another weapon to compliment WR Andre Johnson.
27) New England - Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State - The Patriots just lost DE/OLB Mark Anderson and his 10 sacks to Buffalo and DE/OLB Andre Carter is coming off an injury and was not re-signed. He also had double digit sacks.
28) Green Bay - Nick Perry, OLB, Southern Cal - The Packers desperately need someone opposite OLB Clay Matthews to generate pass rush pressure.
29) Baltimore - Peter Konz, OC, Wisconsin - The Ravens look to solidify there offensive line while getting the heir apparent for OC Matt Birk.
30) San Francisco - Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford - The Patriots have made the multiple tight end set work and the 49ers add another weapon in the middle of the field for QB Alex Smith.
31) New England - Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame - The Patriots added S Stephon Gregory in free agency, but the take the 2nd best safety in this draft in Harrison. Once again, we are talking about the Patriots and a possible trade, as they always like to acquire additional future picks.
32) New York Giants - Jonathan Martin, OLT, Stanford - The Giants look to address an aging offensive line. They could also go running back as well as possibly safety. Of course, they always like adding impact defensive lineman as well.
Dolphins remaining picks
2) Bobby Massie, ORT, Mississippi - Miami gave up 52 sacks and 95 hits on the quarterbacks. Only St. Louis and Arizona gave up more sacks. ORT Lyndon Murtha is a talented kid and can man the positon, but his major issue is staying healthy. Plus, if for some reason the Dolphins don't get OLT Jake Long signed, you have a talented kid that a lot of people believe can be an elite OLT on the roster.
3) Bruce Irvin, OLB/DE, West Virginia - Explosive pass rusher with 22.5 career sacks in 2 years with the Mountainers. Some off the field and conditioning issues, but this kid has Cameron Wake type of explosion off the ball.
3) Ladarius Green, TE, Lousiana-Lafayette - Miami version of Jermichael Finley. Smooth, fluid and he becomes an instant red zone threat and seem threat. Miami needs weapons, and adding Green to Clay and Fasano gives Miami weapons at the TE position.
4) Joe Adams, WR/PR, Arkansas - Miami has 5 wide receivers 6'0 or taller, 200 to 225 lbs. Clyde Gates comes in at 5'11, 197 lbs. and Davone Bess, one of the best slot receivers in the NFL is 5'10, 192 lbs. The Dolphins look to add another explosive player, this time at the slot WR position. Elite speed, explosive and can take a short pass and turn it into a big play. Career 164 catches, 2,402 yards for a 14.6 yard average and 17 touchdowns on an Arkansas team with many weapons. SEC Special Teams player of the year with 19 punt returns for 321 yards and 4 touchdowns for a 16.9 yard average.
5) Jake Bequette, DE, Arkansas - The Dolphins double down on pass rushers, and they get a kid with 23.5 career sacks and 31.0 tackles for loss in the SEC.
6) Desmond Wynn, OG, Rutgers - You don't give up 52 sacks and not have issues. I believeOG/OT John Jerry is finally ready to realize his immense potential coming off a 2011 season of growth. There are some concerns about Richie Incognito at the other OG spot, and the more talent and depth for Miami, the better and Wynn and fit into the new zone blocking scheme the Dolphins will look to implement.
7) Chris Greenwood, CB/S, Albion - At 6'1, 193 lbs, Chris fits the mode of what Miami wants and he has 13 career interceptions. He also has the size to move to safety position.
I will likely try to get a FINAL mock draft out Wednesday, the day before the draft.
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