Three quarterbacks in the first four picks of next month’s draft? Four first-round choices from Alabama, and three each from Stanford and Louisiana State? And the rarity of as many first-round guards (two) as tackles?
That’s the way Times’ NFL writer Sam Farmer sees it. Here’s how he thinks the opening round could go:
1. Indianapolis: QB Andrew Luck, Stanford — The Colts have made some noise recently about considering Robert Griffin III, but this pass has been telegraphed for months. It’s Luck.
2. Washington: QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor — Griffin has it all. He’s very bright, freakishly athletic and has pinpoint accuracy on his deep passes. Now, it’s on the Redskins to capitalize on that.
3. Minnesota: OT Matt Kalil, USC — The Vikings need a left tackle to hold down the spot that Bryant McKinnie maintained for the last decade. Kalil is a good fit here and will be reliable.
4. Cleveland: QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M — Mike Holmgren loves Tannehill, but Browns could go for an RB (Trent Richardson), WR (Justin Blackmon) or CB (Morris Claiborne).
5. Tampa Bay: RB Trent Richardson, Alabama — If Cleveland doesn’t take Richardson, the Buccaneers might find him too good to pass up, even though they also have a desperate need at corner.
6. St. Louis: WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State — Sam Bradford would love having this target. Blackmon had 121 catches last season. With an aging Steven Jackson, Richardson fits too.
7. Jacksonville: CB Morris Claiborne, LSU — The Jaguars need pass rushers too, but Claiborne is a safer pick than DE Quinton Coples. GM Gene Smith is the type to play this one safe.
8. Miami: DT Dontari Poe, Memphis — If you’re going to gamble, gamble on a huge guy who plays hard, and that’s Poe. Of course, if Tannehill is on the board, the Dolphins will go quarterback.
9. Carolina: DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina — At his best, Coples can be dominant. The question about him is whether he gives his maximum effort snap after snap.
10. Buffalo: OT Riley Reiff, Iowa — Reiff is smart and technically sound. He’s not as athletic as Kalil, but he has what it takes to lock down a starting job for the Bills for many years to come.
11. Kansas City: DT Michael Brockers, LSU — Lots of mock drafts have Poe going to the Chiefs, and that makes sense. Brockers can play inside or outside, and he upgrades the run defense.
12. Seattle: ILB Luke Kuechly, Boston College — The Seahawks have yet to re-sign middle linebacker David Hawthorne. Kuechly is instinctive and athletic enough to be the Day 1 starter in that spot.
13. Arizona: DE/OLB Melvin Ingram, South Carolina — With Joey Porter done and Clark Haggans near the end of his career, Ingram would be a welcome addition to a team needing pass rushers.
14. Dallas: CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama — If all the elite pass rushers are off the board, the Cowboys will look to solidify the back end of their defense. At nearly 6-3, he has very good size for a corner.
15. Philadelphia: DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State — If Cox is still around at this point, he will be hard to resist for the Eagles. He’s very agile and can put more weight on his 6-foot-4 frame.
16. New York Jets: WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame — The Jets need to give Mark Sanchez another receiving weapon. Floyd can stretch defenses and is big enough to go up and get the ball.
17. Cincinnati: CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina — Scouts say Gilmore is a little raw and still learning to play with his back to the ball, but he’s athletic and has huge potential.
18. San Diego: TE Coby Fleener, Stanford — With Antonio Gates nearing the end of his career, Fleener could take the baton and run with it. He might not last until the second round.
19. Chicago: OG David DeCastro, Stanford — Andrew Luck says DeCastro plays angry, and that’s just the kind of player who can help Chicago’s line. This also could be a spot for a receiver.
20. Tennessee: DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois — The Titans have only two true defensive ends on the roster, Kamerion Wimbley and Derrick Morgan. They also might use their top pick on a corner.
21. Cincinnati: OG Cordy Glenn, Georgia — The Bengals could use a running back and at least one pass rusher, but Glenn could help solidify the offensive line, something Andy Dalton would appreciate.
22. Cleveland: WR Kendall Wright, Baylor — Griffin’s top target would upgrade a lackluster Browns receiving corps. The speedy, field-stretching Wright caught 108 passes last season.
23. Detroit: S Mark Barron, Alabama — Think Detroit needs to improve against the pass? Matt Flynn threw for 480 yards on the Lions. Barron has the speed to play either corner or safety.
24. Pittsburgh: OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama — Upshaw is a physical 3-4 outside linebacker who’s a good fit for an aging defense. Reminds some of LaMarr Woodley.
25. Denver: RB David Wilson, Virginia Tech — Wilson has the breakaway speed that Knowshon Moreno doesn’t. The Broncos also could use a receiver for Peyton Manning and will consider a center.
26. Houston: WR Rueben Randle, LSU — Lined up opposite Andre Johnson, Randle could take some of the pressure off that Pro Bowl receiver. Randle is tall and lean at 6-4, 205 pounds.
27. New England: DE Nick Perry, USC — Scouts call Perry a relentless “high-motor” guy, and he appears to be just the type Bill Belichick likes. He had a Pac-12-high 9 1/2 sacks last season.
28. Green Bay: OG Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State — The Packers are always looking to upgrade their offensive line, and Silatolu would be a quality addition, although a lightly experienced one.
29. Baltimore: C Peter Konz, Wisconsin — The Ravens are looking for their next Matt Birk, and that just might be the reliable Konz, the best center in this draft class.
30. San Francisco: DT Devon Still, Penn State — The 49ers are a physical team who will look to build on what they established in their first season under Jim Harbaugh. Still fits that pattern.
31. New England: DT Kendall Reyes, Connecticut — Reyes might be around if the Patriots wait, and they also need secondary help, but his stock is climbing and he wouldn’t be a bad pickup here.
32. New York Giants: DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State — But for all the talent at defensive tackle in this draft, Worthy would go in the top half of the first round. The Giants need depth on the interior.