Two-round NFL mock draft
The emergence of quarterback Ryan Tannehill has changed the picture
For the first time this season, I'm going two rounds into the mock. In the next couple of weeks, I'll add another round of possible picks. Beyond the picks, a lot of the intrigue surrounding the board is where Ryan Tannehill, the rising quarterback out of Texas A&M, will land. I can see, and have heard about, up to a handful of possibilities, but I've put him where I think he makes the most sense right now based on what I know.
As always, there are still a ton of evaluations taking place as front offices and scouting departments debate and compare notes, and I'll always try to reflect a mix of what I'm hearing with where I think things could end up.
* The asterisk denotes underclassmen
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Regrading the 2011 NFL draft
No, the knowledge that Luck will be doing a private workout with the Colts doesn't change my thinking here. His pro day was as good as expected -- meaning, very good -- and Luck has little left to prove before draft day. I'll be interested to see if he and the Colts get something done contractually before the draft to further diffuse any suspense.
Last time I did a mock, the Redskins moved into this slot a day later. It wasn't an unexpected move, it was just a matter of which team was going to do it. Obviously, the Redskins see RG3 as a long-term answer, and I agree with the assessment that he can be an NFL starter in Week 1. Again, no surprises here.
This is one more I'm going to stick with. We know Minnesota needs an upgrade at left tackle, and Kalil is that rare rookie who doesn't need to spend some time on the right side. I think he can start his NFL career at left tackle and hold the position down, even though he'll face some serious competition in terms of NFC North pass-rushers. This pick is about giving Christian Ponder a chance to be successful.
At his pro day, Richardson confirmed that his knee is just fine, and while we know a running back is always a risk this high, here is a player gifted enough, and with such a remarkable physical profile and skill set that you're comfortable making him an exception to the trend. The Browns need an impact player at running back, and they can take the best one in the draft here, then look for a quarterback to push Colt McCoy later. They really take a QB here only if they feel he can beat out the one they have in Week 1. Richardson is going to make a difference.
A great player, an instinctive corner, a high-character kid and a guy who can make a sagging pass defense better from the day they draft him. What's not to like? Claiborne is hands down the best cover corner available in the draft, and the Bucs still need plenty of help with age and uncertainty dotting their secondary. This is a safe pick and a guy who should be very good for a long time.
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