Nawrocki's final mock draft

Posted April 26, 2012 @ 2:29 a.m.
Posted By Nolan Nawrocki

New owners could have a strong influence in the top 10, although trades could shake up the order, with many teams eagerly hoping to be able to acquire additional picks, slide down and still land the player of their choice at a better price. Juniors kick off the draft, with the top seven all expected to be underclassmen (denoted by an asterisk), and 19 in all projected in the first round. Interest that teams have expressed in trading up (U) or down (D) is indicated after each team. Despite the considerable interest in dealing, no trades have been projected, and instead concentration was placed on matching players with the teams where they're most likely to land.

1. Indianapolis Colts
QB Andrew Luck, Stanford*
Jim Irsay lands his successor to Peyton Manning.

2. Washington Redskins
QB Robert Griffin, Baylor*
Mike Shanahan puts his future in the hands of RG3.

3. Minnesota Vikings (D)
CB Morris Claiborne, LSU*
With better tackles available in the second round than cornerbacks, Rick Spielman plucks the draft’s top corner and looks for a blind-side protector at the top of the second round.

4. Cleveland Browns (D)
WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State* 
The way to bring the best out of Colt McCoy is to surround him with a better supporting cast, and Tom Heckert believes better runners will be available late in the round than will receivers.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (D)
RB Trent Richardson, Alabama*
Greg Schiano establishes a new identity with the draft’s bruising back. If the Bills sweeten the pot beyond the second-rounder they've offered, Buffalo may be able to land a replacement for OLT Demetress Bell at this spot.

6. St. Louis Rams (U)
OT Matt Kalil, USC*
With OTs Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold having battled injuries and Sam Bradford in need of better protection, Kalil falls into the lap of another USC alum, head coach Jeff Fisher, who is delighted to fortify the pocket. Trent Richardson is the apple of Fisher's eye.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars (D)
DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois*
An owner with strong Illini ties makes presence felt in the first Draft Day decision of his tenure, giving the Jaguars a pass rusher brimming with upside. GM Gene Smith hopes he can find an interested suitor willing to deal up for Ryan Tannehill or Mark Barron, with the Seahawks and Jets respectively standing as potential suitors.

8. Miami Dolphins (D)
QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
After years of striking out on quarterbacks with second-round picks, owner Stephen Ross sees that a quarterback is in place for the future over GM Jeff Ireland’s preferred choice of DE Quinton Coples.

9. Carolina Panthers
DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina
GM Marty Hurney made a statement by going against the grain last year and is empowered to take the best available talent again.

10. Buffalo Bills (U, D)
S Mark Barron, Alabama

GM Buddy Nix fills a pressing need with another SEC standout, although moving up for Matt Kalil remains possible with demand high for the draft’s only playmaking safety.

11. Kansas City Chiefs (D)
MLB Luke Kuechly, Boston College*
The safest pick in the draft makes an immediate impact for conservative GM Scott Pioli and becomes a team leader and fan favorite from Day One for Romeo Crennel.

12. Seattle Seahawks (U)
DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State
Word around the league is that Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider are enamored with Cox, who could play inside or outside for Carroll’s pressure-packed front.

13. Arizona Cardinals (D)
WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
Larry Fitzgerald has not been the same without Anquan Boldin. Floyd can fit the same role as a strong, complementary No. 2, elevating the performance of Kevin Kolb and sparking Ken Whisenhunt's offense. The Cardinals' serious OL need can be filled more easily in coming rounds.

14. Dallas Cowboys
NT Dontari Poe, Memphis
Poe could benefit from learning from Jay Ratliff, who overcame a similar underachiever reputation to become a Pro Bowl performer for Jerry Jones.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (U, D)
DT Michael Brockers, LSU*
Andy Reid lands a big, strong plugger to shore up the middle and strengthen the Eagles' run defense,

16. New York Jets (U)
OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
A bulldog-type edge rusher with the tempo, tenacity and football temperament that Rex Ryan loves.

17. Cincinnati Bengals
CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
A very talented cornerback with character concerns that will be overlooked by a sympathetic Mike Brown.

18. San Diego Chargers
OG David DeCastro, Stanford *
A tough, gritty, can’t-miss pick who can be immediately plugged in for the retired Kris Dielman, DeCastro is a personality fit with GM A.J. Smith.

19. Chicago Bears (U)
DL Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
A wild card stacked in different places on so many draft boards that he winds up sliding into the lucky hands of new GM Phil Emery, who may not need to deal up to secure an impact rusher.

20. Tennessee Titans (D)
WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
Could easily pluck the best defensive player off the board and seek to improve the pass defense, but a playmaking receiver could be equally enticing for new GM Ruston Webster.

21. Cincinnati Bengals
OL Riley Reiff, Iowa*
Sound technician with the ability to play inside or outside is appealing for an offensive line that OL coach Paul Alexander has had to shuffle quite a bit.

22. Cleveland Browns
RB Doug Martin, Boise State
A workhorse back who, paired with Justin Blackmon, could provide an immediate 1-2 punch to Pat Shurmur’s offense.

23. Detroit Lions (U, D)
CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina*
GM Martin Mayhew may have to move up to secure Gilmore’s services, as the Lions have inquired about doing. Gilmore has the size and physicality desired by defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers (D)
OG Cordy Glenn, Georgia
The Steelers have so many needs that GM Kevin Colbert has been seeking to slide down and acquire additional picks. Glenn could fill needs at guard or tackle and should be able to function best in a simple scheme such as the Steelers’.

25. Denver Broncos
DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State*
John Fox’s defense is best with a disruptive inside force, and Fox has proven capable of handling immature talent such as Worthy.

26. Houston Texans (U)
DE Chandler Jones, Syracuse*
Despite all the attention paid to the offensive side of the ball, the Texans lost Mario Williams, the pride of Gary Kubiak’s first draft class, and could use another impact pass rusher. Chandler Jones fills the bill and could be afforded time to develop his core strength in a talent-laden defense.

27. New England Patriots (U, D)
DE-OLB Shea McClellin, Boise State
A classic Bill Belichick pick, McClellin has the smarts, discipline and versatility to line up in a number of positions and overachieve in multiple fronts.

28. Green Bay Packers
DE Devon Still, Penn State
Still possesses the size, length and movement skill that defensive coordinator Dom Capers desires in his odd front.

29. Baltimore Ravens (U)
LB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama*
The Ravens will likely have to move up to land a versatile, impact performer like Hightower, who hails from GM Ozzie Newsome’s alma mater and possesses the football temperament, toughness and versatility that John Harbaugh seeks in his defense.

30. San Francisco 49ers (U, D)
OG Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
A big, strong, physical mauler well-suited for the Niners’ offensive line, Zeitler can plug and play for Jim Harbaugh’s smashmouth offense and build on GM Trent Baalke's strong draft record.

31. New England Patriots
TE Coby Fleener, Stanford
With Fleener targeted at the top of the second round in a very weak TE crop and the Giants in need of a playmaking tight end, the Patriots could draw great value from a team seeking to land the draft’s best and thereby re-stock for next year.

32. New York Giants
RB David Wilson, Virginia Tech*
Savvy GM Jerry Reese follows a value-driven approach and could find a steal in the back of the first round that makes Giants' fans forget about the departure of Brandon Jacobs.

Follow Nolan Nawrocki's knowledgeable draft analysis throughout the three days of the NFL draft at, in addition to commentary by the entire PFW staff and real-time tracking of the selections.