The PPI Mock Draft, Picks 1-10

When I got the assignment to write the mock draft I immediately started thinking of Ron Burgundy’s burrito. Do you remember that scene in Anchorman where Ron is humming down the interstate singing about a burrito with his trusted companion Baxter next to him? He makes it clear that while the burrito is delicious, it is also quite filling. He throws half of it out the window, injures a motorcyclist and ends up watching in horror as Baxter is punted off of a bridge.

Like Ron’s burrito, the mock draft column is very delicious but very filling. It’s fun to play general manager and fill in the picks, but once you are through about half of the burrito, the choices get harder and harder, and those educated guesses from the beginning turn into shots in the dark at the end.

Even those that are best at the mock draft usually only get around 6-8 hits. I am going to give it my best shot. I just hope my little gentleman Colston doesn’t get punted off a bridge if I make too many mistakes.

A few rules for the mock draft:
1. I am only going to play one GM at a time. That means I am not going to try to predict trades. I am sure there will be some, but one thing at a time.
2. All readers must promise to eat a burrito while reading the column. Fair is fair.

Let’s do this:

1 – Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck

The Pick: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Andrew Luck has been on a collision course with the Indianapolis Colts since Peyton Manning has his third neck surgery. Luck is considered by many to be the best quarterback prospect to enter the draft since… Peyton Manning.

2 – Washington Redskins (via St. Louis Rams)
The Pick: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

The Redskins paid the Rams a small fortune to move from the sixth pick to two for the right to select RGIII (read more about it: here). Griffin has started at Baylor since he was a freshman and has evolved from an athlete to a Heisman Trophy winning QB.

3 – Minnesota Vikings
The Pick: Matt Kalil, OT, USC

Last season the Vikings selected Christian Ponder to be their QB of the future and this year their focus should be on protecting him and putting as many weapons around him as possible. Justin Blackmon could make sense here, but Kalil projects to be a top OT in the league for the next ten years and prospects like that are hard to pass up.

4 – Cleveland Browns
The Pick: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

In 2007, the Browns passed on Adrian Peterson to pick Joe Thomas. Thomas has turned into one of the best tackles in the league, but the fans in Cleveland have never quite gotten over the thought of Peterson dragging a few Steelers down a snowy field at Cleveland Browns Stadium in a December storm. The Browns can’t afford to pass on Richardson this time. Richardson is projected to be better than his former teammate Mark Ingram, who was a first round pick (Saints) last season. On a recent episode of The Sports-Casters podcast, Dan Shonka from said that Richardson is built like “The Incredible Hulk.”

5 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Pick: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Tampa Bay has been very aggressive in the free agent marked adding a trio of stud free agents that should help the development of QB Josh Freeman and improve the team’s defense. The Bucs added WR Vincent Jackson, OG Carl Nicks, and CB Eric Wright. The Buccaneers play in the NFC South and that means six games a season against Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Cam Newton. The signing of Wright will help the secondary but Ronde Barber is nearing retirement and to compete in the NFC South the Bucs will need as many blue chip players in the secondary as possible.

6 – St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins)
The Pick: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

If Blackmon slips to the Rams this will be the classic example of the old cliche, “having your cake and eating it too.” Before the Rams traded their second overall pick to the Redskins for two extra first round picks (2013, 2014) and an extra second (2012), most mock drafts had the Rams picking Blackmon. The Rams need to get Sam Bradford some help and Blackmon is rated as the top WR in the draft.

7 – Jacksonville Jaguars
The Pick: Quinton Couples, DE, North Carolina

The Jaguars probably feel like the seventh boy at gym class in a room with six girls on square-dancing day. This year’s draft is said to have six blue chip prospects and the Jaguars are picking seventh. The best case scenario for the Jaguars would be for the Dolphins to trade into the top six and pick Ryan Tannehill. That would allow the Jaguars to pick one of the six blue chippers. If the Jaguars do have to pick seventh Couples makes sense. The Jaguars defense is thin at defensive end and getting pressure on Luck, Schaub, and Locker will be a priority going forward.

8 – Miami Dolphins
The Pick: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

The Dolphins offseason has been a disaster. The team missed out on Peyton Manning and then missed out on Matt Flynn. The team traded their best player Brandon Marshall and signed former Jaguar David Gerrard. Clearly, the Dolphins need to make a sexy pick to reenergize their fan base and Tannehill should do just that.

9 – Carolina Panthers
The Pick: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

The Panthers just extended the contract of WR Steve Smith and the team is committed to surrounding Cam Newton with as much talent as possible. The Panthers would love to see Newton stay in the pocket a little more than he did last season and the easiest way to accomplish that would be to give him help on the outside. Floyd has been flying up draft boards and probably won’t make it out of the top ten.

10 – Buffalo Bills
The Pick: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

The Bills have done a great job this offseason in improving the teams overall talent and becoming relevant. Mario Williams and Marc Anderson have helped improve the defensive line. In the first round, the Bills need to focus on improving the offensive line. The Bills lost Demetress Bell to the Eagles and Reiff could fill that position.

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