Finally. Year of the quarterback! This re-draft — the last one — was definitely the most interesting to re-mock, although the jury is still out on some of those picks.
See my page to see the 2007-11 re-mocks. Here’s my 2012 re-draft.
1. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Actual pick: same
Luck was a once-in-a-generation prospect and he’s been the best player, much less quarterback, from this draft class. With the exception of one year, the Colts will end up having just two quarterbacks over a span of about 30 years, provided that Luck stays healthy and plays well for the remainder of his career. From 1998 to maybe at least 2025, Colts fans have had the fortune of watching Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, and nobody else. The Colts ask Luck to do so much more than the Seahawks ask of Russell Wilson, and Luck still delivers.
2. Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Actual pick: same
I’m sure that most people would have Russell Wilson going to the Skins here. But I look at it this way — put Griffin on the Seahawks, and what will the result be? The Redskins ask much more of Griffin than the Seahawks do of Wilson. Wilson threw for under 200 yards for six games, and under 250 for 12 games in 2013. Wilson only had to throw 407 passes while Griffin threw 456 in just 13 games. At that rate, Griffin would’ve thrown 561 passes at the end of the year had he started those three games, 154 more than Wilson. That has to do with the fact that Seattle had the best defense in the league — much less would have been asked of RGIII if the Skins had a better defense. So I’m sticking with RGIII here.
3. Cleveland Browns
Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
Actual pick: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
With the above being said about the Redskins pick, Wilson is a very efficient quarterback. If he was two inches taller, he probably would’ve been a first round pick in the original draft. The Browns still don’t have a quarterback, and Wilson is a playmaker. He’s not a running quarterback — he’s a pocket passer with a running asset. He’s a smart player. The Browns’ original pick isn’t even on the team anymore and if he doesn’t step it up for his current team, he might be considered a bust, so anyone would be an upgrade here.
4. Minnesota Vikings
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Actual pick: Matt Kalil, OT, Southern California
Tannehill is not the fourth-best player in this draft class, but quarterbacks come at a premium and are generally overdrafted. The Vikings had two first round picks in 2012, so they can grab a tackle with the other one. But, as evident by the Christian Ponder situation — although he technically was the “leader” of 2012’s playoff team — the Vikings needed a quarterback. Tannehill actually played very well in 2013 with a mediocre supporting cast, including an NFL-worst offensive line. Tannehill is still developing as a quarterback, but he was a solid starter last year, and with some more weapons and a better line, he should improve even more this year.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars
Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
Actual pick: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Again, there’s no way Foles is the fifth-best player in the draft, but I’m not allowing the Jags to suffer one more year of Blaine Gabbert. While Foles isn’t close to the top four guys selected, he’s developing into a good starter under the right system — although he has a lot of things to fix, including his messy footwork. But even someone like Kirk Cousins would be an upgrade over Gabbert, so Foles isn’t a bad pick here. He’d definitely contribute more than the Jags’ actual pick — Blackmon’s status for the rest of his career is in doubt coming off two big suspensions.
6. Dallas Cowboys
Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Actual pick: Morris Claiborne, CB, Louisiana State
Maybe the Cowboys’ defense would be a lot better if inside linebacker Sean Lee could stay healthy. Other than Lee, there’s no depth at all on that defense. Dallas got lucky that Kuechly is still on the board; the top five picks were all quarterbacks and Kuechly is the best defensive player in this draft and probably the second-best player overall (behind Luck). He would play in the Cowboys’ defense either in place of Lee or right next to him.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Alfred Morris, RB, Florida Atlantic
Actual pick: Mark Barron, S, Alabama
Although this team went 4-12 in 2012, Josh Freeman wasn’t absolutely terrible. And I like Mike Glennon, and I think he should be given a fair opportunity to compete against Josh McCown this year, so I’m not giving the Bucs a quarterback here. Alfred Morris has been more efficient than Doug Martin and while Morris doesn’t help in the pass game as much, I think he’s a better running back. People can say that he was helped by Mike Shanahan’s system – he probably was, but he still put up 1,275 yards in 2013 when Washington was forced to throw the ball a lot in games because they were down. He averaged close to five yards per carry as well. I think Morris is a better runner than Martin, and Morris has been able to stay healthy too, so I’m giving the Bucs Morris here instead of Martin. Mark Barron may develop into a good starter, but Morris will have the more immediate (and more important) impact.
8. Miami Dolphins
Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State
Actual pick: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
I don’t like mocking players who are borderline second-round overall talent in the top ten, but this is necessary. Since quarterbacks were taken with the first five picks, and six out of seven, Miami missed out on Ryan Tannehill. Cousins is the next-best quarterback in this draft class, and although he’s not a starter now, he probably will turn out to be a solid one down the line. He’s shown flashes with the Redskins – his plays have either been really good or completely head-scratching. There’s no in-between. He’s a little like Rex Grossman, but at least he doesn’t have any “cabin fever”.