The much talked about, much anticipated, much ballyhooed 2012 NFL Draft will officially get underway tomorrow, April 26th at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The first round, which is scheduled to begin at 8:00pm ET on the NFL Network, will conclude on Thursday while rounds two and three take place on Friday. The final rounds of the draft, rounds four through seven, will happen on Saturday, April 28th beginning at 12:00pm ET. It is almost guaranteed at this point that Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will go one and two tomorrow night, but after that things should get interesting. According to the latest NFL Odds, USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil is favored at -250 moneyline odds to go third overall to the Minnesota Vikings.
To make any sort of meaningful top 10 draft predictions team needs must be the first consideration. So, with Indianapolis and Washington already set on Luck and Griffin, the evaluation process must begin with Minnesota at three before moving onto Cleveland, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Miami, Carolina, and Buffalo.
No. 3 Minnesota Vikings (3-13): When a team finishes 3-13 the needs are pretty glaring and usually at multiple positions. The Vikings ranked 31st in points per game allowed (28.1) and they gave up 251.2 pass yards per game despite producing 50 sacks. Given those numbers cornerback seems a realistic option; however, offensive line help is a need as well. Minnesota gave up 49 sacks on the season and never found a suitable replacement for Bryant McKinnie. Prediction: Matt Kalil.
No. 4 Cleveland Browns (4-12): It is no secret the Browns tried unsuccessfully to trade with St. Louis to move into the two spot. That is certainly an indication that general manager Mike Holmgren is not totally pleased with quarterback Colt McCoy, but most pundits believe the Browns will pass on a quarterback at No. 4. The general consensus has Cleveland selecting an offensive playmaker at another position to help bolster a unit that ranked 28th in rush yards per game and (95.7) and 30th in scoring (13.6 ppg). Prediction: Trent Richardson.
No. 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12): The Bucs, like the Browns, could be a candidate to trade down, but if they do stay at five there are a number of players on the board at that position capable of filling a hole. Tampa Bay will probably move to improve a defense that ranked 30th in the league in yards per game allowed (394.4) and since it has invested so heavily along the defensive line the last two drafts, a linebacker or corner seems like a logical pick. The Bucs ranked dead last in the NFL in rush yards per game allowed at 156.1, which gives every indication this team needs some help in the front seven. Prediction: Luke Kuechly.
No. 6 St. Louis Rams (2-14): The Rams, obviously, feel Sam Bradford can rebound from a difficult sophomore campaign hence the team’s trading down to No. 6. Bradford desperately needs some help, though, both upfront and outside. Should Matt Kalil slide this far St. Louis would probably grab him, but that seems unlikely. So, the more logical choice would have the team taking a difference making receiver, an area where it is sorely lacking. Prediction: Justin Blackmon.
No. 7 Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11): Jacksonville fielded one of the better defenses in the league last season, ranking sixth and 11th in yards and points per game allowed respectively, but the offense played at a small college level. Despite a disastrous rookie season from quarterback Blaine Gabbert, Jaguars brass has indicated they will give him more time to develop. Like St. Louis, Jacksonville is lacking difference makers on the outside, which makes receiver a strong possibility here as well. Prediction: Michael Floyd.
No. 8 Miami Dolphins (6-10): Miami spent the entire off-season trying to land a quarterback in spite of some solid numbers from Matt Moore. The Dolphins may finally get there man here, though, even if they have to reach to do it. Prediction: Ryan Tannehill.
No. 9 Carolina Panthers (6-10): Carolina got gashed by the run and pass last season, a development which counteracted the team’s surprisingly good offensive numbers. With most of the defensive draft talent along the defensive line and in the secondary, it seems like Carolina may go for a lineman or cornerback here. Some pundits have the team grabbing Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe, but Poe’s lack of production at the collegiate level makes him somewhat suspect. Prediction: Morris Claiborne.
No. 10 Buffalo Bills (6-10): The Bills could go any direction as they need help on both sides of the ball; however, with the high flying Patriots still ruling the division, defense is probably the proper course to chart. Buffalo has solid corners in place but the safety position could use an upgrade as could the defensive line (29 sacks). Prediction: Mark Barron.
NFL Draft 2012 Odds: Provided by Bovada.lv
Who will be the 3rd overall pick in the NFL Draft:
Matt Kalil (OT – USC) -250
Marris Claiborne (CB – LSU) +120
Justin Blackmon (WR – Oklahoma State) +500
Riley Reiff (OT – Iowa) +1200
Who will be the 4th overall pick in the NFL Draft:
Trent Richardson (RB – Alabama) -300
Ryan Tannehill (QB- Texas A&M) +250
Justin Blackmon (WR – Oklahoma State) +425
Morris Claiborne (CB – LSU) +600
Who will be the 5th overall pick in the NFL Draft:
Matt Kalil (OT – USC) +250
Morris Claiborne (CB – LSU) -200
Stephon Gilmore (CB – South Carolina) +525
Trent Richardson (RB – Alabama) +250
Who will be the 6th overall pick in the NFL Draft:
Fletcher Cox (DT – Mississippi State) +250
Justin Blackmon (WR – Oklahoma State) -150
Morris Claiborne (CB – LSU) +235
Trent Richardson (RB – Alabama) +300
Who will be the 7th overall pick in the NFL Draft:
Melvin Ingram (DE – South Carolina) +115
Justin Blackmon (WR – Oklahoma State) +150
Michael Floyd (WR – Notre Dame) +250
Quinton Coples (DE – North Carolina) +300
Who will be the 8th overall pick in the NFL Draft:
Ryan Tannehill (QB – Texas A&M) -225
Michael Floyd (WR – Notre Dame) +150
Riley Reiff (OT – Iowa) +450
Melvin Ingram (DE – South Carolina) +750
Who will be the 9th overall pick in the NFL Draft:
Fletcher Cox (DT – Mississippi State) +110
Luke Kuechly (LB – Boston College) +150
Michael Floyd (WR – Notre Dame) +350
Stephon Gilmore (CB – South Carolina) +235
Who will be the 10th overall pick in the NFL Draft:
Luke Kuechly (LB – Boston College) +600
Mark Barron (S – Alabama) +190
Michael Floyd (WR – Notre Dame) +200
Riley Reiff (OT – Iowa) -105