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Accuracy of first four picks will be tested when this year's draft airs

By Bruce Johnson & Thomas Knisley
On April 26, 2012

This is it. This is our last part of the mock draft. T.K. and I sincerely hope that you all enjoyed reading these as much as we enjoyed writing them. It's bittersweet really. Without stalling the end any longer, here are our top four picks.

4. Cleveland Browns

B ­- Trent Richardson/HB/Alabama: This is where T.K. and I have argued for days on end. Trent Richardson is a better football player than Justin Blackmon. Richardson, even though he is a running back and not a wide receiver in a passing league, brings more talent to the team than Blackmon. Drafting Blackmon would not be a miss, but it's all about drafting the best player in the draft.

Cleveland has also mentioned some interest in Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but it's not really clear if the Browns are intentionally trying to set up a smokescreen or if they're sincere in their interest. Regardless, Miami feels some pressure because of this and might be forced to trade to get their quarterback. One thing is for sure: Cleveland is in a great spot.

T - Justin Blackmon/WR/Oklahoma State: If the Browns expect Colt McCoy to break out at some point, he needs to have a go-to receiver he can turn to. Blackmon fits this mold well. When was the last time the Browns had an elite receiver? Can't remember? Me neither.

In a division dominated by playmakers such as Mike Wallace, A.J. Green and Anquan Boldin, the Browns must pick up a go to receiver if they ever want to contend. Even if McCoy doesn't pan out, having a big-time receiver in the back pocket during tough times can pan out later. Just ask Calvin Johnson.

3. Minnesota Vikings

B - Matt Kalil/OT/Southern Cal: A few years ago, the Vikings made offensive guard Steve Hutchison one of the highest-paid offensive linemen in the league. And once Adrian Peterson broke onto the scene, the running game took off. Now that Hutchison is gone, the Vikings need to add someone to the offensive line. Even though Kalil plays tackle and not guard, the Vikings still add an elite offensive lineman who will be an automatic starter from day one. It is possible that the Dolphins try to trade for this spot, but the Vikings will need to evaluate if the trade is worth potentially losing out on Matt Kalil in the same way that the Rams had to evaluate if their trade with Washington was worth possibly losing out on Justin Blackmon.

T - Matt Kalil/OT/Southern Cal: Kalil to the Vikings has been a lock for some time. He would fill a crucial hole in the Vikings line that Ponder desperately needs. He was solid at USC. I see nothing going out of the ordinary with this pick.

2. Washington Redskins

B - Robert Griffin III/QB/Baylor: I've watched film of this guy and seen him in multiple interviews and he looks phenomenal. Normally I'm not crazy about quarterbacks who come out of spread offenses in college, but I like RG3 a lot. There was something different about Baylor's spread that made it look more pro styled than most spread offenses run in the NCAA. Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will need to develop RG3 somewhat, but make no mistake about it, RG3 will be a starter for the Redskins. And if the Redskins can build around him, he can make things happen.

T - Robert Griffin III/QB/Baylor: The Redskins basically traded away every quality pick they had for the foreseeable future to put themselves in position to get RG3. Only time will tell if this move pays off, or if it is just another futile attempt by Daniel Snyder and Bruce Allen to gain instant glory and have it come crashing down.

1. Indianapolis Colts

B - Andrew Luck/QB/Stanford: For anyone who keeps up with the NCAA or the NFL Draft, this pick really is not that big of a shocker. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. said that Luck got his highest quarterback grade since John Elway. I'm not sure if I would go that far, but Luck certainly has everything you look for in a quarterback and he will be successful in this league. Will he be the next Peyton Manning? I highly doubt it. Will the Colts expect him to be the next Peyton Manning? Secretly, yes. But despite the high expectations, the Colts will get their successor to Peyton Manning.

T - Andrew Luck/QB/Stanford: Well here it is. How can a team pass up on a quarterback like Andrew Luck, who probably would've been the No. 1 overall pick had he come out of college last year. Furthermore, the man is already getting comparisons to John Elway and his work ethic is unquestioned.

Finally, if the Colts parted ways with the face of the franchise and one of the faces of the league in Peyton Manning, they had better be sure that Luck pans out, which he most certainly will.

 


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