Who doesn't love mock drafts? Especially mocks before the Scouting Combine. That's when most fans jump into the draft discussion, but for the rest of us, we've been going at it since Chris Crocker dropped that T.J. Yates interception. We've seen just about every mock scenario possible and I'm not here to come up with some wacky picks just to give us something to talk about. There are a few ways to do a mock. The most common ways are who you would pick, or who do you think the teams will pick? This particular mock is based on what I think would happen today. Also, as a little sneak peak to my big board that will be released shortly, I have put each prospect's ranking next to their names. Enjoy, feedback is always welcome.
11. Kansas City Chiefs - Jonathan Martin (27) - OT - Stanford
17. Cincinnati Bengals - David DeCastro (5) - RG - Stanford
You never plan to have a top five prospect fall into the second half of the first round, but when the Bengals desperately need new starters at Running back and Guard, and those two positions don't get drafted very high, there's a decent chance one of the two could be available. As the pick is approaching, you'd think the Bengals front office would be thrilled to see Richardson, DeCastro and Kirkpatrick all still available. In this scenario, the Jets jump all over Richardson in an attempt to relieve pressure from Mark Sanchez. My choice for the Bengals came down to the two highest rated players on my board. Both were at position of need. So it just came down to selecting the best player for the team.
David DeCastro is my 5th best player in the draft and I believe he starts day one as one of the best interior lineman in the NFL. By 2013, he'll be a Pro Bowl player. DeCastro has elite pulling ability and is a menace in the 2nd level for linebackers. He needs to clean up a few things like dropping his head on contact and absorbing contact in pass protection, but overall he's a rare player. He would provide athleticism to the Bengals line that they lost when Eric Stienbach left, while also adding the type of technician mentality that would cut down on the penalties and blown assignments.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Stephon Gilmore (15) - CB - S.Carolina
While adding a Guard like DeCastro makes this draft a win already, the Bengals need to come away with a premiere position prospect somewhere in their first three picks. Their only need that qualifies as premiere is Cornerback. As the 21st pick approaches, they would have their eyes set on Kirkpatrick, Gilmore and Jenkins. The 2nd-tier corners in this class.
Again a team snags a Bengals' target just before they can pick. This time the Titans selected Dre Kirkpatrick. The Stephon Gilmore bandwagon is filling up fast and the Bengals should be driving it after the 21st pick. He's my 15th overall prospect in the draft and his grade is just a shade lower than Kirkpatrick's. Gilmore could easily end up my number two CB after the combine. He's tall, long, and very aggressive. I believe he'll succeed in man coverage as he is already good in zone. Gilmore is a big hitter and a great blitzer. The draft's best all-around CB. Not the greatest in any particular attribute, but Gilmore has an excellent blend of skills. He's young and a little raw, but his upside exceeds most of the other cornerbacks in this class.
22. *TRADE* St. Louis Rams - Lamar Miller (18) - RB - Miami
26. Houston Texans - Reuben Randle (37) - WR - LSU
27. New England Patriots - Nick Perry (25) - DE/OLB - USC
31. New England Patriots - Jerel Worthy (31) - DT - Michigan St
33. St. Louis Rams - Coby Fleener (39) - TE - Stanford
34. Indianapolis Colts - Dontari Poe (34) - NT - Memphis
35. Minnesota Vikings - Chase Minnifield (41) - CB- Virginia
36. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - David Wilson (47) - RB - WVU
37. Cleveland Browns - Zach Brown (49) - OLB - UNC
38. Jacksonville Jaguars - Marvin Jones (50) - WR - California
39. Washington Redskins - Jared Crick (38) - DE - Nebraska
40. Carolina Panthers - Whitney Mercilus (35) - DE - Illinois
41. Buffalo Bills - Chandler Jones (53) - DE - Syracuse
42. Miami Dolphins - Vinny Curry (36) - DE/OLB - Marshall
43. Seattle Seahawks - Alfonzo Dennard (61) - CB - Nebraska
44. Kansas City Chiefs - Brandon Weeden (30) - QB - Oklahoma State
45. Dallas Cowboys - Kelechi Osemele (45) - T/G - Iowa State
46. Philadelphia Eagles - Dont'a Hightower (33) - LB - Alabama
47. New York Jets - Mohamed Sanu (44) - WR - Rutgers
48. New England Patriots - Harrison Smith (63) - S - Notre Dame
49. San Diego Chargers - Zebrie Sanders (52) - OT - Florida State
50. Chicago Bears - Ronnell Lewis (64) - LB - Oklahoma
51. Philadelphia Eagles - Brandon Boykin (54) - CB - Georgia
52. Tennessee Titans - Dwayne Allen (57) - TE - Clemson
53. Cincinnati Bengals - Chris Polk (42) - RB - Washington
Again, the best player available also fills a need for the Bengals. They would be biting their nails again as they watched four running backs get drafted before pick-53. Chris Polk and Temple's Bernard Pierce are the last of the day one starters in this draft at RB. Getting one of the two was a must at this point.
Chris Polk was the easy choice. Not only was he my best available, he fits Marvin's mold of the bigger back (5'11" 220 lbs) and also provides the ability to catch passes. Polk is an all-around RB that shouldn't have to come off of the field on 3rd downs. I've seen Corey Dillon comparisons and I think those aren't far off. To me, he flashes a lot of the same abilities as Matt Forte does. Polk can run with power between the tackles but he actually breaks tackles in the 2nd level and turns 8-10 yard runs into 15-25 yard runs. He might also be the draft's best receiving RB. That's rare for a guy of his size and abilities. Drafting Chris Polk would be an instant upgrade from Cedric Benson.
54. Detroit Lions - Vontaze Burfict (75) - LB - Arizona state
55. Atlanta Falcons - Kevin Zietler (43) - OG - Wisconsin
56. Pittsburgh Steelers - Amini Silatolu (55) - OG - M'Western State
57. Denver Broncos - Alameda Ta'amu (51) - NT - Washington
58. Houston Texans - Josh Chapman (62) - NT - Alabama
59. New Orleans Saints - Mitch Schwartz (80) - OT - California
60. Green Bay Packers - Casey Hayward (58) - CB - Vanderbilt
61. Baltimore Ravens - Cam Johnson (40)- DE - Virginia
62. San Francisco 49ers - Leonard Johnson (67) - CB - Iowa State
63. New England Patriots - Stephen Hill (70) - WR - Georgia Tech
64. New York Giants - Bobby Massie (84) - OL - Ole Miss
Best Available Bengals Targets for Round 3 (Pick 81)
46. Orson Charles - TE - Georgia
48. Brandon Thompson - DT - Clemson
59. Brandon Washington - G - Miami
66. Andre Branch - DE - Clemson
68. Sean Spence - LB - Miami
69. Trumaine Johnson - S - Montana
71. Bobby Wagner - LB - Utah State
72. Brian Quick - WR - App. State
77. Malik Jackson - DE - Tennessee
78. Markelle Martin - S - Oklahoma State
79. Dwight Jones - WR - North Carolina