Check out this Insider piece with Todd McShay’s latest mock draft.
This one is a bit different than usual because McShay provides a few different scenarios for each team in the first round.
At No. 5, McShay has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. But he also says Alabama running back Trent Richardson is a possibility, if he’s available. In the current mock, Richardson isn’t an option for the Bucs because he’s going No. 4 to Cleveland. If Richardson’s available, would the Bucs take him? I don’t know exactly what general manager Mark Dominik and coach Greg Schiano are thinking and they’re not going to reveal their plans in advance.
If Claiborne and Richardson are both available, this is a tough call. The common logic in the NFL these days is that you don’t take a running back in the upper half of the first round, unless he truly is special. McShay, and others, are saying Richardson is the best running back to enter the draft since Adrian Peterson. If the Bucs agree, they may take a shot at Richardson. But I think Claiborne’s the safe choice. He’s the top cornerback in this draft and the Bucs are hoping they aren’t in position to draft top corners in the coming years. They can find a quality running back later in the draft. I’m also wondering if Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon could be a consideration here. I know the Bucs just paid big money to free agent Vincent Jackson, but it seems like they want to surround quarterback Josh Freeman with as much talent as possible.
At No. 9, McShay has the Carolina Panthers taking Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Makes sense and I can see this happening. But I also can see the Panthers going in an entirely different direction if they see a cornerback, linebacker, wide receiver or offensive tackle that they like better.