Getting a lot of draft questions these days, even from fans whose teams are still in the hunt. So I hereby present you with the gooseflesh-inducing fact that Todd McShay has posted his first 2012 mock draft. It's an Insider piece, which means you have to pay to read the whole thing. But I've been authorized to give you a glimpse of who Todd thinks our division's teams would take in the first round if the current draft positions held. Here it is:
11. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
17. New York Giants: Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State
20. Dallas Cowboys: Fletcher Cox, DT Mississippi State
Okay, now, before everybody goes and gets all excited, let's talk a little bit.
Todd has Griffin as the second quarterback off the board, with the Indianapolis Colts taking Andrew Luck of Stanford No. 1 and then a run of five teams before the next one is taken. (He has USC's Matt Barkley going 8th to the Dolphins, and acknowledges that the Redskins would have a tough choice at 7 if both Barkley and Griffin were still on the board.) Of the five teams currently slated to pick between picks 1 and 7, only the Cleveland Browns have a real need a quarterback, and he has them taking a running back. Now, if the draft order stays like this, teams like the Rams, Vikings, Jaguars and Buccaneers, who have quarterbacks they like, will be fielding all kinds of offers from other teams (including the Redskins) to trade out of their picks. So the story of the top of the first round is likely not going to be "Who do you pick at 7 between Barkley and Griffin?" but rather "How high do you have to trade up to make sure you get one of those guys?"
As for the Eagles and Giants taking linebackers, I'll believe it when I see it. As Todd points out, Andy Reid hasn't used a first-round pick on a linebacker in 13 years, and the Giants seem to value the position similarly. The Giants also could get middle linebacker Jonathan Goff back from injury next year and may decide they don't need a guy like Burfict. Regardless, you know the Giants will take the best player available in the first round regardless of need. That's how they roll.
And the Cowboys, I think, could go offensive line or safety or cornerback or even linebacker if free agency hurts them there. But if they think a guy like Cox can play 3-4 end for them, sure. Why reach for a guard or center just because that's a need when you can probably get one later?
Anyway, as has been made clear, this is a super-early very first mock based on a draft order that's 100 percent certain to change. So take it for what it's worth, and have some fun with it.