Multi-option mock draft
Some teams have easy choices, others have a slew of possible picks
With two weeks remaining until the 2012 NFL draft kicks off, my final board is taking its final shape, but solidifying my prospect rankings doesn't mean the intrigue is subsiding for NFL teams.
There are still plenty of things up in the air as team needs are adjusted and players make final visits to NFL cities, working out for teams and interviewing with coaches, scouts and front-office personnel.
With that in mind, it's time for my annual scenario-based mock draft. I've broken down the possibilities for every first-round pick based on what I believe would be each team's ideal situation (within reason). That ideal is presented as Scenario 1, with others based on options for filling needs and the players available in this projection.
Some teams -- such as the Colts, Redskins and Buccaneers -- have two clear options, while trades and other considerations give some teams as many as five scenarios.
Here's how I see the first round unfolding as draft day approaches.* = draft-eligible non-seniors
Record: 2-14 | Top needs: QB, NT, CB, WR, TE, G, DE, LB
Scenario 1: Luck is a once-in-a-generation prospect, and adding him is the best option for a team that is starting over in the post-Peyton Manning era.
Scenario 2: The Colts could pull one of the all-time draft surprises and take Baylor QB Robert Griffin III instead, but that doesn't seem likely after Griffin declined to work out for the team.
Record: 5-11 | Top needs: QB, ILB, ROT, RB, S, CB, C/G, OLB
Scenario 1: The Redskins sent three first-round picks to the St. Louis Rams to move into this spot, and Griffin is their target. He's a perfect fit for coach Mike Shanahan's system.
Scenario 2: Should Indianapolis shock the world, Washington would happily settle for Luck.
Scenario 1: The ideal situation for the Vikings would be to get a blockbuster trade offer -- likely from a team looking to get ahead of the Cleveland Browns and draft Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill -- that keeps them in the top 10 and adds another first-round pick. That would allow them to get an offensive tackle such as Iowa's Riley Reiff or a receiver such as Notre Dame's Michael Floyd and address another need later in the first round.
Scenario 2: If Minnesota stays home here, it will be able to add a franchise left tackle in Kalil.
Record: 4-12 | Top needs: RB, WR, QB, ROT, OLB, DE, DT, C/G
Scenario 1: I've said all along that this pick will decide how much of the rest of the first round plays out, and I still feel that way. From an overall standpoint, Richardson ranks ahead of Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon and Tannehill, in that order, but from a positional-value standpoint the list would be reversed. The Browns face a tough decision, but Richardson is likely to be the pick.
Scenario 2: Blackmon would offer current QB Colt McCoy the kind of perimeter weapon he has been lacking since entering the league.
Scenario 3: Take Tannehill. It all comes down to how Cleveland feels about Tannehill and his potential, and whether the team is content to stand pat with McCoy and build around him.
Record: 4-12 | Top needs: RB, CB, OLB, SS, G, TE, ILB, WR
Scenario 1: Richardson would be the pick if available. The Bucs have LeGarrette Blount, but he has had durability and fumbling issues, and Richardson is the most complete back to enter the draft since Adrian Peterson.
Scenario 2: Claiborne is also one of the five elite prospects in this year's class, and his quickness, fluid hips and ball skills would solidify a secondary that faces questions about Ronde Barber (age) and Aqib Talib (off-field issues). Either way, Tampa Bay gets a top player in a major need area.
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