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Mock Draft, Round 1: Patriots in line to bolster pass rush

04.26.12 at 9:19 am ET
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Draft day is here, and with it comes the final WEEI.com mock draft. Be sure to follow our draft coverage from Gillette Stadium Thursday night, and look for projections for the second and third rounds Friday.

1. Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said Luck will be the guy, so  there are no more jokes left to make about how obvious this pick will be.

2. Redskins (from Rams): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Another obvious pick, but here’€™s something that isn’€™t so obvious: Griffin will be better than Luck. The Redskins will just have a tough time building a supporting cast with limited picks.

3. Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, USC

If anyone’€™s foolish enough to believe the Browns would be foolish enough to draft Ryan Tannehill fourth overall, the Vikings could trade the pick to a very foolish team.

4. Browns: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Drafting a running back in the first round often has proven to be a waste, but Richardson is the best prospect at the position since Adrian Peterson.

5. Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Ronde Barber is old and potentially moving to safety, Aqib Talib is a troublemaker and Claiborne might be even better than Patrick Peterson.

6. Rams (from Redskins): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

The Oklahoma State product should be able to get along fine with Oklahoma legend Sam Bradford. Blackmon should be the first receiver drafted, but don’€™t count out Michael Floyd.

7. Jaguars: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Riley Reiff has been the pick here in previous mocks, but reports have suggested that his lack of athleticism and short arms could lead to quite the slide. If the Jaguars can’€™t replace or protect Blaine Gabbert, they might as well give him a weapon.

8. Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

Tannehill isn’€™t close to being a top-10 talent, but there’€™s something to be said for the Dolphins investing a first-round pick in a signal-caller. The question is whether Tannehill is really that much better than Matt Moore.

9. Panthers: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

Don’€™t rule out the Panthers moving up and grabbing Floyd or Blackmon.

10. Bills: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

Laugh at the Bills all you want, but adding Mario Williams, Mark Anderson and Kuechly makes the defense not only terrifying but intelligent.

11. Chiefs: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

The Chiefs should really consider trading this pick if both Kuechly and Poe are off the board. Based on character concerns surrounding other top corners in this draft, Gilmore is a safer pick than the likes of Janoris Jenkins, Dre Kirkpatrick or Alfonzo Denard.

12. Seahawks: Quinton Coples, DE, UNC

A lot of people see Coples falling far, but he’€™s got better size and a better skill set than South Carolina’€™s Melvin Ingram. The fact that he ran nearly the same 40-yard dash as Ingram (in the 4.7s) despite being nearly four inches taller helps illustrate that.

13. Cardinals: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

If Floyd’€™s there, he could be an interesting pick, but the Cardinals might be better off adding O-line help anyway.

14. Cowboys: Mark Barron, S, Alabama

This is the guy the Patriots should trade up to get, but the last time Bill Belichick moved up in the first round was when he moved one spot in 2003.

15. Eagles: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

Cox could be the first defensive tackle taken, so if he falls to No. 15 the Eagles would gladly select him.

16. Jets: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

Ingram would be a great value here, so the Jets would gladly make him the latest pass-rusher to come to the AFC East.

17. Bengals (from Raiders): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Cordy Glenn would be the pick here, but the Bengals have addressed their need at guard by signing Travelle Wharton and Jacob Bell.

18. Chargers: David DeCastro, G, Stanford

They could also use cornerback help, but would it be worth it to take a chance on Jenkins at this point?

19. Bears: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

Martin would be a steal at 19th overall, and he’€™d certainly be an upgrade over J’€™Marcus Webb (12 sacks allowed last season).

20. Titans: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

The perfect fit, as the team with perhaps center as its weakest position (Eugene Amano) would get the best center in the draft.

21. Bengals: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech

Definition of a risk-reward pick. If Hill, who has great size, speed and blocking skills, can put it all together, the Bengals would have a monster to complement A.J. Greene.

22. Browns (from Falcons): Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

If the Browns pass on Blackmon with the fourth overall pick, they still can get a receiver for Colt McCoy at No. 22.

23. Lions: Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana

We’€™re really high on Johnson’€™s game. He’€™s big and hits hard, and his size (just shy of 6-foot-2, 204 pounds) allows for a potential move to safety.

24. Steelers: Dont’€™a Hightower, ILB, Alabama

The Steelers could also address the offensive line with Ohio State’€™s Mike Adams, but Hightower is the safer pick.

25. Broncos: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

Brockers was considered a top-10 pick prior to the combine, but he’€™s not a polished enough prospect to warrant selection that high. He’€™d be a good value pick for the Broncos here.

26. Texans: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

He isn’€™t out of shape and he runs well. His hands have never been in question, so what’€™s left to doubt about Jeffery?

27. Patriots (from Saints): Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

The Patriots never invest high picks on pure pass-rushers, but other teams have and it’s paid off. Will they learn and add a legitimate force like Mercilus, or will they continue to ignore what’€™s been a major weakness?

28. Packers: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama

The Packers need a legitimate complement to Clay Matthews. If it isn’€™t Upshaw, it could be Boise State’€™s Shea McLellin.

29. Ravens: Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia

The versatile offensive lineman — he could play right tackle or guard — would be a steal this late.

30. 49ers: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

Another guy people expect to see fall in the draft, but Adams would fill a need at right tackle.

31. Patriots: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse

So many people expect the Patriots to trade this pick, but if they stay at No. 31 they could continue to bolster the pass rush since Mark Anderson (and possibly Andre Carter) is not coming back. Trumaine Johnson would be a good pick at this spot if available.

32. Giants: Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin

The Giants could stand to upgrade at left guard, and Zeitler is a legitimate offensive line prospect from a factory that mass produces them.

Read More: 2012 NFL Draft, Andrew Luck, chandler jones, Mock Draft
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