2012 NFL Mock Draft Continued
6. St. Louis Rams Via Wash: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
This is a surprising pick, but both Richardson and Blackmon are gone and I do not think they would go with Claiborne because even thought he is an elite prospect, the Rams must take someone to help Sam Bradford with this pick. If Blackmon and Richardson are off the board, the Rams better take Floyd over Claiborne for the sake of Bradford.
This might be considered a bit of a reach, but Michael Floyd has been rising up draft boards lately. He has a rare combination of size and speed. He very explosive with the ball on his hands and uses his body well to separate from defender. If the Rams could get a true number one receiver as Michael Floyd, their offense, as Bradford, could really improve in the upcoming years.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
This is a steal for the Jaguars. I know everyone is projecting a pass rusher or a wide receiver with this pick. But you do not get elite prospects as Claiborne at 7, so if he is there, you better take him. Moreover, the Jaguars do have a slight need at corner because they signed the ineffective Rashean Mathis to a one year contract so they will need to someone across from the under-rated Derek Cox. With Claiborne, the Jaguars would automatically have one of the best, if not the best, cornerback duo in the NFL.
Claiborne is a complete shutdown corner. I have him rated third in my big board because he is just so great not letting the opposing receivers get separation. He will become an elite corner sooner than later. Maybe he does not have the speed of Josh Robinson or the size of Dre Kirkpatrick, but he has the best ball and cover skills in this draft by quite a margin.
Thinking about Claiborne’s Wonderlic score is just stupid. He understands the position better than ANY cornerback in this draft. Oh, by the way, I do not buy that the Jaguars like better Stephon Gilmore than Morris Claiborne, not at all.
8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
The Dolphins have bottomed. The status of the franchise is really worrying. Everyone turns them down; from Jim Harbaugh and Jeff Fisher, to Matt Flynn and Alex Smith. They also lost the opportunity to trade up for Robert Griffin. Oh, and they lost one of the top young coaches in the game in Todd Bowles. Stephen Ross does not know a bit about football and Jeff Ireland is a complete looser. If this franchise wants to start winning, both would have to go as soon as possible.
This is their opportunity to land a franchise quarterback. Ryan Tannehill is not the 8th best player in this draft by any means, but in today’s NFL, it is getting more difficult and important to get a franchise quarterback that someone who has the potential to turn into one, will gut pushed up draft boards.
Tannehill is a bit raw and inexperienced, but he has been getting better on every game and he has all the tools to become a a franchise quarterback. He has good arm, great athleticism, but the best thing about Tannehill is maybe his pocket presence, he has elite pocket presence. He will have to work on his decision making and accuracy, but the tools are there for him to be a solid starter.
9. Carolina Panthers: Fletcher Cox, DT, Miss State
The Panthers´ number one need is arguably defensive tackle, but they need help pretty much everywhere on defense, so they are in poise to just grab the top defensive player available. At this juncture, Fletcher Cox is the best player available as he has been raising up draft boards lately due to his ability to rush the passer from the inside of the line.
Last year the Panthers took Sione Fua and Terrell McClain, however, none of them has been impressive at all and while Fua figures as a good run stuffer, the Panthers will need a better pass rushing presence in the middle if they want their defense to compete with Drew Brees and Matt Ryan twice a year.
Fletcher Cox has great athleticism and he uses his hands better than any other tackle in this draft to take off blocks and get to the backfield. Cox would also be a great fit for Carolina’s defense.
10. Buffalo Bills: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
After bolstering their defensive line, the Bills now have to acquire a protector for Fitzpatrick’s blind side, especially in the wake of Demetress Bell’s departure. I could also see the Buffalo taking Michael Floyd if he is available, which is not the case, so this picks will be Riley Reiff, who would provide a rock-solid pass protector for their franchise quarterback. Adam Schefter recently pointed out that it would be a major surprise if the Bills did not take Reiff, so I guess this pick is almost set in stone.
Reiff’s stock has been suffering ever since the combine due to his short arms. In fact, there are teams considering Reiff as a guard according to Tony Pauline. I do not think his arms are a major problem, but they are certainly a concern. Nevertheless, I do not believe the Bills will pass on Reiff because of this. He has great feet and is solid in run-blocking. I can see Reiff turning into a very reliable blind side protector.