9. Carolina Panthers
Josh Gordon, WR, Baylor
Actual pick: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
You’re welcome, Cam Newton. Here’s your number one receiver. With Steve Smith gone, somebody needs to play receiver. Kuechly, as expected, is off the board, so there’s really no other position I’d go with here. I know Gordon was a supplemental draft pick, but I included him in the draft do-over because he’s still technically part of the 2012 draft class.
10. Buffalo Bills
Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
Actual pick: same
Gilmore has been injured for a little bit with the Bills, but he’s shown flashes of greatness at times. That being said, Leodis McKelvin has picked up some slack for him, but Gilmore has been good in man coverage. The jury is still out on Gilmore (which is why I didn’t want to do a 2013 re-mock – the jury is still out on so many players), so I’m sticking with the pick.
11. Kansas City Chiefs
Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
Actual pick: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
There’s not much depth behind Dwayne Bowe at receiver. Jeffery is essentially the Teddy Bridgewater of 2012 – a guy who slid since the end of the season, but turned out to be the best player at his position in the draft (which is what I think will happen with Bridgewater). But Jeffery is a true number one receiver with Chicago – he and Marshall are really 1A and 1B rather than 1 and 2. Dontari Poe has turned into a Pro Bowler for the Chiefs, but Jeffery has a more immediate and important impact for the team.
12. Philadelphia Eagles
Mark Barron, S, Alabama
Actual pick: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
The Eagles need some help on the back end. Barron is a safety who – again – the jury is still out on, but during the time that he’s played, he’s been a Pro Bowl-caliber player. The Nate Allen experiment didn’t work for the team, and there’s really nobody next to him either. Malcolm Jenkins has his own injury issues, and the secondary’s back end could use some help.
13. Arizona Cardinals
Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska
Actual pick: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
David should’ve been a Pro Bowler last year – it’s just that 4-3 outside linebackers aren’t favored; the voting prefers 3-4 outside linebackers who are mainly edge rushers. But David is right behind Kuechly in terms of being one of the best young linebackers in the NFL, much less just of this draft class. While the Cardinals didn’t really have a need at linebacker, David is the best overall player, and no quarterback is worth taking for at least the rest of the first round, as no other quarterback drafted in 2012 has played besides the six already re-mocked.
14. St. Louis Rams
Michael Brockers, DT, Louisiana State
Actual pick: same
Under Jeff Fisher, Brockers blossomed. He was widely regarded as the best defensive tackle prospect before the draft, and he seems to have backed that up. Dontari Poe may have something to say about that, but the way Brockers has played has helped guys like Robert Quinn become better as well. Brockers and Quinn are a dynamic defensive line duo, and we’ll know in a little bit if Clowney will be thrown into that mix also.
15. Seattle Seahawks
Bobby Wagner, LB, Utah State
Actual pick: Bruce Irvin, DE, West Virginia
Irvin was highly regarded as a reach at 15th overall, and he was suspended for four games to start 2013, but he actually wasn’t a bad pick. There are better players available here, however, in hindsight. Bobby Wagner is one – he’s been a solid inside linebacker for the ‘Hawks over the last two years and has helped both in run defense and pass coverage. He doesn’t get much attention with the Legion of Boom stealing the spotlight, but he’s easily a top ten inside linebacker.
16. New York Jets
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Florida Atlantic
Actual pick: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Rex Ryan sure likes taking Rex Ryan-like players early in the draft. By that, I mean tough defensive guys – press corners and pass rushers. Here was more of the same, but I have to disagree with Rex on the pick. The Jets need some speed on offense, and T.Y. Hilton has provided Andrew Luck with a ton of that. The offense has been the downfall of the team as of recent years, so getting a speedy receiver who’ll probably be a number two behind Santonio Holmes helps immensely.