I don't like doing NFL mock drafts, to be honest. There are too many variables, and too many things I don't know about the other 31 NFL teams not named the New York Giants. Yet, the 2012 NFL Draft is only a few days away, so it is time to try my hand.
After the jump, my effort at a mock. Don't bet your rent money on my being right about any of this.
1. Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
2. Washington Redskins -- Robert Griffin III, QB Baylor
This is why the Redskins traded into the No. 2 spot.
3. Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
If Christian Ponder is going to succeed, the Vikings need to keep him upright.
4. Cleveland Browns -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Most consider Richardson the best player on the board here. If the Browns don't trade out, this is the pick
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, USC
This is the script. There is a Big Six in this draft, and Claiborne is No. 5
6. St. Louis Rams -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Blackmon is No. 6, and a perfect fit for the Rams, who are starved for a play-making wide receiver
7. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
The Jaguars have hitched their wagon to Blaine Gabbert as their quarterback. If Gabbert is going to succeed, he needs play-making weapons to throw the ball to. Floyd has the speed and the potential to be just that.
8. Miami Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
The 'Fins have to try to get a big-time quarterback. This might end up being a mistake, but you have to figure they will try.
9. Carolina Panthers -- Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
Most consider him the best defensive lineman on the board. He's a solid pick here.
10. Buffalo Bills -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Some say Reiff is falling, but this pick makes sense for the Bills. Franchise left tackles are not easy to come by, and the Bills need one.
11. Kansas City Chiefs -- Luke Keuchly, MLB, Boston College
Scott Pioli learned his trade in New England, and this just seems like the kind of player the Patriots would grab if they could.
12. Seattle Seahawks -- Melvin Ingram, OLB/DE, South Carolina
Those who know a whole lot more about the Seahawks tendencies that I do believe the Seahawks are a team that drafts based on need. Seattle's biggest need is pass-rush, and that makes Ingram the selection here.
13. Arizona Cardinals -- David DeCastro, G, Stanford
Arizona would have loved Reiff, but without him they take the best offensive lineman on the board. Wes Bunting of the National Football Post lists DeCastro as one of the top five players in this draft class.
14. Dallas Cowboys -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama
The Cowboys have needed safety help for years now, and they get it here with the guy who is clearly the top safety on the board.
15. Philadelphia Eagles -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
This is a high-risk, high-reward choice here. The Eagles, who need help against the run, roll the dice on the tremendously athletic 346-pound Poe. He could turn into Vince Wilfork, or he could bust. He is a good gamble for the Eagles here, however.
16. New York Jets -- Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
Upshaw has been the primary focus with this pick for a loooong time now. Some see Chandler Jones of SU here, but I think that is a huuuge reach. The Jets need a playmaker on the edge of their 3-4 defense, and Upshaw gives them that.
17. Cincinnati Bengals -- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
This is great value at a position of immense need for Cincinnati. Some analysts have Gilmore sneaking as high as No. 7 to Jacksonville or No. 10 to Buffalo. So, with him available at 17 the Bengals will pounce.
18. San Diego Chargers -- Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
The Chargers have holes on the offensive line, and the massive Glenn can fill one of them.
19. Chicago Bears -- .Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
The Bears have Julius Peppers on one end, but they take a page from the New York Giants playbook and try to book-end Peppers with Coples, who could become an explosive player opposite Peppers.
20. Tennessee Titans -- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
What is more important in today's NFL? Would you rather have a corner (in this case Kirkpatrick), or a defensive tackle (Michael Brockers)? I really think that's what the Titans' choice comes to here. I am biased toward corners, so Kirkpatrick is the pick.
21. Cincinnati Bengals -- Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
The Bengals gor their cornerback with Gilmore at No. 17. Now they add another weapon for quarterback Andy Dalton to line up opposite A.J. green.
22. Cleveland Browns -- Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State
The hot buzz on the Inter-Google is that the Browns love the 28-year-old Weeden. They grab him here to compete with Colt McCoy.
23. Detroit Lions -- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
QB Matthew Stafford is the franchise, and they have to try to protect him. Toss-up here between Martin and Mike Adams of Ohio State, which tilted to Martin with the news of Adams positive marijuana test at the Scouting Combine.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
A punishing run defender who fits the Steelers mold. The Steelers do something here that the Giants are also good at -- which is make sure the strength of their team stays that way.
25. Denver Broncos -- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
For a team that made the playoffs a season ago the Broncos have multiple needs on both sides of the ball. Offensive line is one of them, but Brockers is better value than either Wisconsin center Peter Konz or Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams. Plus, John Fox is still a defensive coach.
26. Houston Texans -- Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois
Word is that Houston really would like a receiver, and they could reach for Stephen Hill of Georgia Tech here. Mercilus is better value, though, and can help solidify the outside of Houston's 3-4 defense.
27. New England Patriots -- Nick Perry, DE/OLB, UCSC
The Patriots absolutely have to spend the early part of this draft upgrading the talent on defense. Perry is an edge rusher who can play 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker, and the Pats have been using both fronts. New England has nobody like this, and Perry has upside the Patriots should not pass on.
28. Green Bay Packers -- Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State
A late riser in the draft, McClellin is a pass-rushing outside linebacker seen as an excellent fit for the defensively-challenged Packers.
29. Baltimore Ravens -- Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
The Ravens need to prepare for the eventual retirement of center Matt Birk, which could be in another year. Konz could start initially at guard and then move over. He provides excellent value for the Ravens at this point at a position of need.
30. San Francisco 49ers -- Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
The 49ers could do a lot of things here. They could draft a guard like Kevin Zietler of Wisconsin. They could draft a wide receiver like Stephen Hill of Georgia Tech. The most immediate difference-making thing they can do, however, is to take Fleener and pair him with Vernon Davis. The fact that Fleener played for current 49ers coach John Harbaugh at Stanford clinches this one for me.
31. New England Patriots -- Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
This comes back to the Patriots overwhelming need to get better on defense to win another Super Bowl. Jenkins is a player who could have gone in the top 15 if not for off-the field issues. The Patriots need for talent in the secondary, and Bill Belichick's willingness over the years to take on questionable personalities, make Jenkins the choice here.
32. New York Giants -- Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Thoughts On My Selection For The Giants
In this draft scenario, with GM Jerry Reese turning in the real pick on Thursday night, I believe the pick could easily by Boise State running back Doug Martin. In all honesty, despite my belief in not using first-round picks on running backs, I wouldn't be upset if Martin was the choice here. He can do a lot of things, and should be able to help whatever team selects him fairly quickly.
I fully understand the Giants need to supplement -- and maybe overhaul -- the running back position. I just still believe you can get quality running backs later in the draft and, in terms of value, running back is now -- to me -- the lowest value position on an offense. Quarterback, wide receiver, tight end and any offensive line spot have more value the way the game is now played.
The selection of Hill is sort of the wide receiver equivalent of taking Jason Pierre-Paul a couple of seasons ago. Tremendous size, speed and athleticism -- but a huge gamble in terms of time it may take to develop him and the potential for him to bust. It is a classic swing for a home run, whereas Martin might represent the safer choice.
In this scenario, I also still believe Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams is a possibility. Top-tier offensive tackles don't grow on trees, and Adams could be one. It all depends on how teams -- specifically the Giants -- view the character and work ethic concerns raised about Adams.
I am also off North Carolina linebacker Zach Brown as a first-rounder. NFL Network guru Mike Mayock doesn't see Brown as first-round material, and that is good enough for me.
Things I Could Not Make Happen
I tried to be as fair as possible throughout this draft, and not set it up so that players I REALLY wanted to fall to the Giants would be available. That means no Mark Barron or Dont'a Hightower of Alabama. No Coby Fleener. No Peter Konz. No Jonathan Martin. I tried to do what Reese will have to do -- simply choose from what is left on the board after the other 31 teams have made their selections.
Other Players To Think About
Amimi Silatolu of Midwestern State, an offensive lineman, and Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith have been mentioned as possibilities here. So has Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones. Unless the Giants have one of those players ranked higher than most of the top draft analysts do grabbing one of them would be considered a reach -- something the Giants don't usually do and don't have a positional need to do at this point.