Thursday, February 16, 2012
Kiper's mock draft: Big 12 movin' on up
By David Ubben
ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released his second mock draft in anticipation of the real thing in April, and a handful of Big 12 players have seen their stock rise.
Here's a look at what Kiper had to say:
No. 2: St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State: I've said it before this pick could be in play. Cleveland, Washington or maybe even Miami could slide into this spot if they want to make a move at quarterback, but Blackmon goes here in this mock because I'm not able to reflect trades. It will be interesting to see if Blackmon is willing to run in the combine in Indy. He could bypass it and wait for his pro day given his current status. St. Louis is in desperate need of a weapon in the passing game, and will get one with one of its first two picks. Remember, it could also lose Brandon Lloyd in free agency.
My take: That's pretty high, but Blackmon's obviously one of the most talented guys in this whole draft. It's hard to see him failing to at least be a major contributor at the next level, considering his work ethic combined with other-worldly talent. He's physical and tough, definitely more so than any of the Big 12's other receivers.
No. 4: Cleveland Browns: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: Given the makeup of the roster, and the fact that they have two first-round picks and can really enhance the level of young talent, I think the Browns are far more likely to look at a young QB prospect than get into the bidding war for a veteran like Manning, or even Matt Flynn. One question I have is whether Cleveland stays at this spot and hopes Griffin is still around, or gets aggressive and moves up to No. 2 and guarantees it gets its guy. Given his experience, leadership qualities and overall skill set, I don't see it as much of a leap for Griffin to be a Week 1 starter in 2012.
My take: This could be an interesting selection for Big 12 fans. A Baylor quarterback being brought in and squeezing out Texas legend Colt McCoy, the Browns' current starter? Juicy. The success of Cam Newton definitely has NFL types salivating over what Griffin, an equally athletic but much more talented passer than his fellow Heisman winner, could do at the NFL level, and the possibilities for some innovative offense.
No. 22: Cleveland Browns: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor: Cleveland needs help at wide receiver but may not be able to get it in free agency, and Wright is a player who can provide an element the Browns don't have right now. The pick makes sense on both need and value. Wright quietly had a season that almost matched Blackmon's in the Big 12.Greg Little was inconsistent but certainly showed a lot of promise as a rookie, and Wright is a good complement. He's smaller at about 5-10, 190 pounds, but adds a speed threat this offense really needs. He'll stretch the field with speed. The Browns need weapons, and Wright fits the profile.
My take: Wright's stock is shooting up the boards for obvious reasons. He was easy to discount based on his size, but you can't argue with his unbelievable production. How many receivers in college football history led their team in receiving for all four seasons and improved each year, including grabbing the Big 12 receiving title as a senior? No small accomplishment in this league, which has two two-time Biletnikoff winners. Yet, somehow, Wright never cracked the list as a finalist.