FLOWERY BRANCH – Before we move on to my final mock draft, I’d like to thank all of the front office folks and scouts around the league who spoke to us at the NFL combine and after, all of our draftniks out there especially Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, Mike Mayock, Charles Johnson, Gil Brandt, Bucky Brooks and Nolan Nawrocki for helping us decipher the talent in this draft class.
Yeah, I’m off the hook this year since I don’t have to project a pick for the Falcons in the first round. I have Cleveland taking Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright with the pick they received from the Falcons.
In the second round, the Falcons will take the best linemen available. If you know who that is, go to Las Vegas right now.
If you need to prep some more for the draft, go to the DRAFT CENTRAL link. All of our position-by-position stories are Top 5 rankings available.
I saved this little story from Brian Billick for you all. I titled it, “Are you a Thug? Or are you stupid?”
Billick: “I’ve told this story a million times. I’ll tell it again.
We had a young man at the combine. We had our 60 interviews, it was late in the process and you’re tired. We have the information on these guys. I’m sitting with the kid and looking at his rap sheet and there’s nothing really serious, but enough stuff to know this guy
(had some issues.) So, I said ‘you’re tired, I’m tired let’s cut to the chase.’ Are you a thug or are you stupid? Which is it? He said, ‘Are those
my only options?’ I said, ‘well you’re not stupid.’ OK. I will tell you this kid went on played 10 years in the NFL and never had an issue.
“So the toughest thing is what are the issues. Young people tend to do stupid things. Do you have a sense he understands he has to change his behavior? Is he willing to have the people around him now change his behavior? Going forward is this an ingrained part of his character or did he just do some stupid things? If it’s the latter, you can be optimistic about the NFL and what’s at stake for him will help sort that out. If it’s an innate part of the character, that’s where you don’t want to make that mistake.”
I’m just start laughing every time I read it.
I think the moral of the story is young people do stupid things. But if they can learn from them, they can play 10 years in the NFL.
Drum roll please.
Here’s my Final 2012 NFL Mock Draft.
1. Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
2. Redskins: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
3. Vikings: Matt Kalil, LT, Southern California
4. Browns: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
5. Buccaneers: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
6. Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
7. Jaguars: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
8. Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
9. Panthers: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
10. Bills: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
11. Chiefs: Riley Reiff, LT, Iowa
12. Seahawks: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
13. Cardinals: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
14. Cowboys: Mark Barron, S, Alabama
15. Philadelphia: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
16. Jets: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
17. Bengals: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
18. Chargers: Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State
19. Bears: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
20. Titans: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
21. Bengals: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
22. Browns: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
23. Lions: Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia
24. Steelers: Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
25. Broncos: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
26. Texans: Whitney Mercilus, OLB, Illinois
27. Patriots: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
28. Packers: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
29. Ravens: Bobbie Massie, LT, Mississippi State
30. 49ers: Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin
31. Patriots: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
32. Giants: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog