In this week's edition of the NFL Draft Grapevine, I will examine some alternative possibilities for the first seven draft selections. Seven was chosen mainly because the top five would be pointless since we already know the results of the first two picks.
Andrew Luck, quarterback, Stanford: There is, oh, less than a 1 percent chance in my mind that Indianapolis opts for Robert Griffin III instead of Luck.
Robert Griffin III, quarterback, Baylor: Unless Luck miraculously falls to the 'Skins, RG3 is their guy. Such a profound statement, I know....
Matt Kalil, offensive tackle, USC: There is little doubt in my mind about this choice, but I'll entertain a few other possibilities. The next most likely response from the Vikes would be to trade down a few selections, which might be as probable as a Kalil selection. I don't give much credence to Justin Blackmon here, but the offense needs more weapons in a desperate way. Don't be surprised to see Minnesota trade back up in the first round if there is a wideout on the board they covet.
Plenty of potential suitors
Trent Richardson, running back, Alabama: To me, it is either Richardson or Justin Blackmon here, but Richardson makes more sense. He has a lower bust factor and plays into what the offense should be looking to do - pound the rock to ease the pressure on Colt McCoy, or whoever their quarterback is in 2012. A long shot here would be Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill. Cleveland probably will hold off until their No. 17 pick to choose him, if he is still available, or they will trade up for him after their fourth selection.
Morris Claiborne, cornerback, LSU: While his recently reported score of a four on the Wonderlic test may cast doubts about his intelligence, Claiborne has displayed football acumen on the field that shouldn't be questioned. Richardson will probably be their choice if he is available. I just don't see that happening. I will not be all that surprised if the Bucs, despite the coaching staff being fond of right tackle Jeremy Trueblood, chose Riley Reiff with this pick.
Justin Blackmon, wide receiver, Oklahoma State: The Rams need weapons to help Sam Bradford, and while I have reservations about Blackmon as a pro, I think he is worthy of this selection based on the Rams' situation. Don't discount Dontari Poe going here, even though it would be a reach. The same can be said for Michael Brockers. Melvin Ingram may be in the mix, too, but I don't think he projects well as a 4-3 weakside 'backer.
Quinton Coples, defensive end, North Carolina: I'll be the first to say that I think he is somewhat overrated, but the true defensive end class is rather weak this year. Coples should bring stability to a maligned Jags' D-line, but counting on him as a sack artist would be a mistake. I have to think Jacksonville would go with Justin Blackmon if he were to slide to the Jaguars. Cornerback is a concern, even with Aaron Ross coming aboard. Morris Claiborne or Dre Kirkpatrick are possible choices.
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
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