The first round of the 2012 NFL Draft is just over 24 hours away, and while there's little drama with the first two picks, teams are scrambling to figure out what will happen with the Vikings at No. 3 and the Browns at No. 4. There are plenty of smokescreens and rumors out there, with recent rumblings that both the Jets and Rams may try to move ahead of the Browns to take prize Alabama running back Trent Richardson.
But Mel Kiper's latest mock continues the conventional projection that Richardson will land with the fourth overall pick:
I'm sticking with Richardson here. The Browns are in serious need of help on offense, and given they have some talent along the offensive line, Richardson can be successful early, and take a lot of pressure off the quarterback. The Browns have other needs, but need and value line up here.
While Tom Heckert is said to be enamored with Justin Blackmon and Morris Claiborne as well, the Browns seem to be the likeliest destination for Richardson, barring a trade up to No. 3.
With the No. 22 pick, Kiper has the Browns addressing the quarterback position, selecting 28 year-old Oklahoma State product Brandon Weeden:
For weeks we've seen Weeden as a great fit for the Browns at No. 37 overall. The problem is Weeden is the last QB in the draft after RG3 that most front office folks believe can start games early if called on. The Browns really want to find competition for Colt McCoy. If they don't get Weeden here, they risk losing him. They know they can still get a good player early in Round 2. I think you secure the QB here.
Weeden has stated his desire to come to the shores of Lake Erie and compete for a job with Colt McCoy, and Kiper thinks that will come to fruition with Cleveland's second pick on Thursday night.