A look at what Peter King of Sports Illustrated has the AFC South doing in his mock draft with a corresponding thought from yours truly.
WILL PICK: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
SHOULD PICK: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
PK: “Tough duty ahead for Luck, who'll be fortunate in 2012 to win as many games as the Colts' last No. 1 overall, Peyton Manning, did as a rookie in 1998 (three). Indy has been stripped bare of stars (except for graybeards Reggie Wayne, 33, and Dwight Freeney, 32) and needs to be sure it doesn't overhype Luck's arrival. It'll be a long road back to the playoffs.”
The other PK: Again, hard to have much to say about pairing the Colts with Luck. He’s the right guy and he will be the guy. An aside on King’s other comment -- he forgets Robert Mathis, also not young, but definitely a star-caliber pass-rusher.
WILL PICK: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
SHOULD PICK: David DeCastro, G, Stanford
PK: “Like Tampa, Jacksonville has a major hole at cornerback, and I hear the Jags like Gilmore a ton, which would have to be the case for them to reach for him here. Still, I'd solve a position of need for the next 10 years with the second-best offensive lineman in the draft — and a guy with the mean streak Jacksonville's O-line needs — then take the corner in round 2.”
The other PK: I look at Derek Cox, Rashean Mathis, Aaron Ross and Drew Coleman as the Jaguars’ top four corners and hardly see a “major hole.” The major holes are at receiver and defensive end. There may not be a solution sitting at No. 7, so anything seems possible. I wouldn't mind DeCastro. But a DeCastro-CB one-two punch King suggests would leave the two major holes unaddressed until round three.
WILL PICK: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
SHOULD PICK: Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State
PK: “This is a good season: 16 sacks, nine forced fumbles. That was Mercilus's breakout 2011 campaign at Illinois, and that's why he'll be a first-round pick this year. But he's not as versatile as McClellin, whose stock is rising because he has the speed (a 4.6 40 at 260 pounds) to be an edge rusher and is a sure-enough tackler to play inside if needed.”
The other PK: This is the first I’ve seen McClellin mentioned in this spot. If he projects as a 4-3 end and can get to the passer, I wouldn’t have any serious objection if the sense is the rest of the league sees him as worthy of this range. But another media outlet, Pro Football Weekly, ranks him 120th and a third- or fourth-rounder.
WILL PICK: Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
SHOULD PICK: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
PK: “Kendall Wright makes sense if he lasts this long, but Randle is a good fallback. Houston thinks that at 6-4 and 210 pounds he'll be another matchup problem along the lines of Andre Johnson. What team has the corners to cover two wideouts 6-3 or taller? Then again, if that's the logic, I'd take Hill, who's bigger (6-5) and a speed threat.”
The other PK: I’ve long thought Randle will be the choice, but could see them going with him, Wright or Hill if they have all the options. I think a Johnson-Randle pairing would create problems for secondaries, as King suggests, and that Randle could be a quality successor for Johnson down the road.