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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Post Senior Bowl Edition

Posted by Brad On January - 31 - 2012

**This version will not include any trades.  The trades took the focus off the actual picks and at this point it’s tough to accurately predict anything without free agency.  I have enacted a no trade clause until after the free agency period.  I will still make my picks based on my actual thoughts of where players end up in April.  Enjoy and offer solid feedback on your team’s pick.

Indianapolis Colts : Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Scouting Report

2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  After a 2-14 season, the Colts have needs all over the field.  The first pick is a virtual lock, so I won’t bother addressing the QB position.  Their top needs look to be in the defensive backfield at CB and the SS position.  With Jerraud Powers and Antoine Bethea the only core players amongst the DB’s it will be imperative that the Colts find some help in this area.  With Jeff Saturday exploring retirement the center position could become a major need area especially if they have a rookie QB under center (even if it is Andrew Luck).  The Colts will have to "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Andrew Luck"monitor free agency very carefully as they have a ton of expiring contracts.  With both Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon as potential free agents, they could be looking for WR help somewhere along the way.  Look for the Colts to address the guard spot at some point and it may be early if someone falls to them.  The Indy coaching staff is taking shape with former Baltimore DC Chuck Pagano assuming HC duties and Bruce Arians taking over as OC.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  Whatever Jim Irsay decides to do with Peyton Manning will matter zilch for this selection.  Andrew Luck will be the pick and they won’t hear any trade offers.  There is some hype building that Luck may be the clear cut top dog in Indy and Peyton may graciously be shown the door.  Either way, we could see a mass exodus of former Colt greats.

 

St. Louis Rams:  Matt Kalil, OT, USC

Scouting Report

2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Rams were a flat out mess this season.  They couldn’t do much of anything right and towards the end of the season looked like the worst team in the NFL.  Their offensive line was  a major disappointment this season and in particular former first round pick Jason Smith at LT.  The Rams could be investing the No. 2 pick in "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Matt Kalil"another LT just three seasons removed from Smith’s selection.  He was that bad.  If Brandon Lloyd leaves town via free agency, the cupboard is bare again at WR.  They invested some mid-round picks into average receivers in 2011 but need a true No. 1.  Aside from that they will look to improve a horrific defense.  Jeff Fisher will inherit a team that can’t stop the run and needs help at DT, OLB, FS, and CB…to name a few.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  St. Louis’ offensive line was atrocious in 2011 and Jeff Fisher made it clear that they will protect their franchise QB this season.  With the addition of Kalil, the Rams can move Roger Saffold to RT and Jason Smith inside or to the bench.  The Rams No. 2 spot will be a hotbed for trade action.

3rd pick in the 2012 NFL Mock DraftMinnesota Vikings :  Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Vikings were beat up in 2011 and lacked any semblance of an offense.  Christian Ponder looks to be the future for the Vikings but even he was outplayed by Joe Webb at times.  They are set at QB, either way, but they need to find someone to protect the QB.  The Charlie Johnson experiment is over at LT and he will be moved inside to guard.  They have to find a way to draft the best LT available in round 1 or 2.  They could also use a guard and"2012 NFL Draft prospect, Morris Claiborne" a true No. 1 receiver.  After losing Sidney Rice they were left with nothing at position.  Percy Harvin is a nice piece but not a No. 1.  On defense they should look for a lockdown CB in round 1 or 2 and then fill the ILB and S spots in the mid-rounds.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  The Vikings could go in a bunch of different directions with the No. 3 pick in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft.  They could look at Riley Reiff, Justin Blackmon, or trade out of this slot.  All three would be wise options.

That said, Claiborne is the best of the options in terms of talent.  With an aging Antoine Winfield (35) and the oft injured Cedric Griffin as starters, they will give Claiborne some serious consideration and could ultimately make him the No. 3 pick in April’s draft.

"4th pick in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft"Cleveland Browns:  Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  Hire an offensive coordinator.  Ok that doesn’t have anything to do with the draft but Pat Shurmur was clearly in over his head in year one playing HC and OC.  The biggest decision in the offseason will be to decide on what to do at QB.  Colt McCoy looked very average despite not having much to work with.  They will have to find a receiver that can stretch the field with his speed.  The trio of Greg Little, Jordan Norwood, and Josh Cribbs in a"2012 NFL Draft prospect, Robert Griffin III" nice 2-3-4 combo but none present the option of being a No. 1.  Mohamed Massaquoi should be cut despite wasting a second round pick on him.  The Browns should look to address this offense early and often.  They need a RT, RB, and OG to go along with WR and maybe QB.  On defense, Sheldon Brown is old and can’t keep up at corner.  They should look to find Joe Haden a partner in crime.  Haden is one of the up and coming corners in the league but needs someone opposite him.  They also need to get more athletic at the OLB spot and could use a DE to takeover for Jayme Mitchell.  Mitchell is decent but is clearly the weak link of an emerging defensive line.  Yeah, they have a lot of needs.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  Based on the no-trade clause that I have reached with myself, it clears the way for RGIII to Cleveland.

Brad Childress has had some experience with mobile QB’s in the West Coast and RGIII is just too good to pass on for the Browns.  Justin Blackmon and Trent Richardson would be nice pieces but if RGIII is there at No. 4 there’s no other options.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Bucs looked terrible towards the end of the season and may have been fighting the Rams for the worst team heading in the offseason.  Raheem Morris is gone and they have to look to add talented playmakers to both sides of the ball.  Their biggest needs are on defense.  Ronde Barber has seen his better days and Aqib Talib is Aqib Talib.  Who knows what is going to shake out at corner but they need to find one quick.  They also have to find an OLB or two and some depth at safety.  On offense, they should make it a priority to find some speed at the skill positions and address their offensive line.  They have solid pieces at WR and RB but lack playmakers at either position which really holds back their offense.  On top of that they need a RT and G on the OL.  Greg Schiano has his hands full with this roster.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  The Richardson pick makes a ton of sense now that Morris Claiborne is off the board.  LeGarrette Blount isn’t a special back and lacks the ability to change the game. Richardson is everything that Blount is not with his otherworldly combo of power and speed.  The wildcard in this scenario could be Justin Blackmon (WR not a need but they need offensive playmakers) but I’ll stick with Trent Richardson in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft.

"2012 NFL Draft"Washington Redskins:  Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.

Scouting Report

2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  John Beck and Rex Grossman didn’t exactly pan out.  The Shanahan’s have to find a franchise QB.  Either through free agency, trade, or the draft or it’s their jobs.  Dan Snyder is going to lose his patience "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Justin Blackmon"with his ultra-expensive coach if he keeps running bums out at QB position because of his ego.  Shanny will have to set ego aside and go get a QB.  They are prime to trade up for RGIII.  Aside from QB they need a WR, LG, and RT on offense.  On defense they were much improved.  That said, they have holes at ILB, CB, and need depth on the defensive line.  Folks inWashingtonhave to feel pretty good about the core of this defense.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  Washington could trade up ahead of Cleveland for RGIII but it’s too early to speculate on that.  After free agency we may be more comfortable with trade scenarios.

The Redskins could use a dynamic threat at the receiver position as they are left with an aging Santana Moss and Leonard Hankerson.  Blackmon is a solid value at pick number 6 in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft and would look good in D.C.

"2012 NFL Draft"Jacksonville Jaguars:  Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  Year one for Blaine Gabbert didn’t go as planned.  While I’m not ready to throw the towel on him yet, I did see some concerning aspects of his game and how it will translate to the NFL.  The Jags have to surround him with NFL caliber talent at the WR position. Mike Thomas is 5’8” and is their top receiver.  That would be fine if he "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Kendall Wright"was Steve Smith but he’s not.  Thomas would be a slot receiver on a good team therefore it’s imperative to find a nice No. 1 option before passing judgment on Gabbert.  Outside of WR and maybe a tackle for depth the offense isn’t bad.  The defense is another story.  They played well given the talent they have as a group.  They need one if not two corners, a free safety, and a defensive end and we’ll call it good.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:

Short receivers aren’t drafted this high…Blah…Blah.  Bottom line is that the Jags have to find weapons in this anemic offense.  Sure they need corners and pass rush options but they have to find out if Blaine Gabbert is the real deal.

Wright is a dynamic vertical threat that can run the entire route tree.  I would make the comparison of Mike Wallace but I think he’s better than Wallace was coming out of college.  Wright may be a reach at No. 7 in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft but Tyson Alualu was considered a gigantic Gene Smith reach when he was drafted.

"2012 NFL Draft"Miami Dolphins (coin flip):  Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Dolphins endless search for a franchise QB begins again this season.  Just like everyone since Dan Marino left the South Beach.  Matt Moore played well enough towards the end of the season to knock them"2012 NFL Draft prospect, Quinton Coples" out of the RGIII running.  With Joe Philbin’s hiring they should be the leaders in the clubhouse of Matt Flynn’s services.  Their offensive line left a bit to be desired as well and need upgrades at RT and RG.  On the defensive side of the ball they have to find a pass rusher at OLB to take the protection away from Cam Wake.  They should look for upgrades at CB, FS, and DT as well.  Sean Smith didn’t look good this season and may need moved to safety or to nickel.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  Joe Philbin has said he’s switching to the 4-3.  The Dolphins need to find 4-3 personnel and it starts at the end spot.  Coples is a bit inconsistent and may not be an electric edge rusher but he brings an intriguing skill set to the position that will make him a top 10 pick.

"2012 NFL Draft"Carolina Panthers (coin flip):  David DeCastro, G, Stanford

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Panthers scored with their selection of Cam Newton last season and will look to capitalize on the momentum they have going.  The offense was pretty good this season and doesn’t need much.  RT may be the biggest of needs on that side of the ball with Jeff Otah injuries and Jordan Gross aging.  A revitalized Steve"2012 NFL Draft prospect, David DeCastro" Smith and solid play from Brandon LaFell will ease the minds of Carolina fans at the WR position.  They may want to draft a high upside WR later in the draft.  The defensive side of the ball is another story.  They couldn’t stop the run and need a big time DT to plug the middle and apply pressure from the inside.  They were a mess at CB and OLB as well.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see their first three picks come from the defensive side of the ball.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  I have consistently mocked defense to the Panthers, either in the form of a DT or CB.  The more I look at it the more I think they could go offensive line.  I’m fully prepared for the comments on how stupid this pick with Brockers, Reiff, etc on the board.

DeCastro will be the highest drafted guard in the modern era of football and deservedly so.  Trust me Carolina fans, you won’t be complaining when you have a perennial Pro Bowler at guard for the next decade and you can say goodbye to Travelle Wharton.  It’s DeCastro with the No. 9 pick in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft.

"2012 NFL Draft"Buffalo Bills:  Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Bills switch to the 4-3 brings a whole need bag of needs.  They applied no pressure to opposing QB’s last season and should look for a rush DE early in this draft.  They could also look early for a CB.  On the offensive side of the ball a lot will depend on the status of Stevie Johnson’s free agency.  The Bills may decide that his "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Courtney Upshaw"on-field dramatics aren’t worth the headaches and allow him to walk.  The WR free agent class is loaded as well as the WR position in the 2012 NFL Draft.  Demetrius Bell looked good before losing the season to an ACL, so the Bills may have to find a LT early.  Bell is a free agent as well.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  Upshaw may not have prototypical size for a 4-3 end but he’s too talented not to give it a shot.

He may be the top pass rusher and has a nasty mean streak about him that the Bills could use.  He will reunite with Marcell Dareus in Buffalo and show he’s worth the 10th pick in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft.

"2012 NFL Draft"Seattle Seahawks:  Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina

Scouting Report

2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Seahawks rolled to a 7-9 record with Tarvaris Jackson at the helm.  No telling how good they could be with a good QB pulling the trigger.  The defense is young and promising, particularly in the defensive "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Zach Brown"backfield.  They could use a RDE and a LEO as Chris Clemons isn’t getting any younger.  They could look for an upgrade at the WILL LB spot early as well, with speed being the emphasis.  The Seattle defensive front (Brandon Mebane, Red Bryant, and Alan Branch) allow for the LB’s to roam and make plays unscathed…now they just need another LB that is capable of playing sideline-to-sideline.  On offense, the QB position will need addressed along with some depth at guard and running back.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  The Seahawks need to add speed to an up and coming defense.  Brown can certainly do that at the WILL LB spot.  I switched this pick from Ryan Tannehill three or four times before publishing it.

"2012 NFL Draft"Kansas City Chiefs (coin flip):  Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Chiefs will have a decision to make on Matt Cassell.  He doesn’t look to be a franchise QB and they need one.  While I don’t see them as a viable candidate to trade up to RGIII territory they could look to the "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Riley Reiff"second round for a guy that can sit a year or two behind Cassell.  The offensive line needs some attention as Barry Richardson is absolutely abysmal.  They have to find a RT to take his spot and could still use a guard.  On defense they need a plugger for Romeo’s defense.  Kelly Gregg was a nice stopgap but they need a young big man for the middle of the defense.  If they can’t re-sign Brandon Carr, they will need a starting CB.  They may look early for an ILB as well.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  The Chiefs can’t pass on Reiff sitting at 12 in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft.  He can man the blindside or right side for Matt Cassel.  This move allows Barrry Richardson to find a spot on the bench which should be Scott Pioli’s first objective in April’s draft.

"2012 NFL Draft"Arizona Cardinals:  Mike Adams, OT, Ohio St.

Scouting Report

2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Cardinals woes start with the offensive line.  They really need a LT to move Levi Brown to RT and find Brandon Keith a spot on the bench.  They may look to move up to secure the future of their offensive "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Mike Adams"line.  They also need help at RG and WR on the offensive side of the ball.  On the defense they really need depth at the linebacker positions and along the defensive line.  They could also look for a CB fairly early in the 2012 NFL Draft.

 

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  The Cardinals roll the dice on another Big 10 tackle.  This time to replace the one they drafted in 2007.  Brown will be freed up to play his more natural spot at RT with Adams manning the left side.  Adams is a massive human being with good feet but has to show he wants to be great for him to ever reach his potential.  It’s a worth risk taking with the 13th pick in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft.

"2012 NFL Draft"Dallas Cowboys:   Michael Brockers, DT/DE, LSU

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy: Dallas needs an overhaul of talent on the defensive side of the ball.  Not finding a corner in the 2011 draft or in free agency really wreaked havoc on this team.  They will or should find a solution at the CB spot "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Michael Brockers"early in this draft.  In addition to CB, they need some help at safety and defensive end.  On the offensive side of the ball they were beaten badly in the trenches and mostly on the interior.  They could look for a top notch guard or center in the first round and make it two years in a row for the OL.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  Janoris Jenkins or Dre Kirkpatrick? Ok, I’ll go with Brockers.

Clearly, there are bigger needs in Big D but I love Brockers potential in this scheme and I’m banking on the Cowboys brain trust to think the same.

"2012 NFL Draft"Philadelphia Eagles:  Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  It’s easy to just point out the failures of the Dream Team.  One could easily pin it on the linebackers or the safeties, etc.  But it comes down to a leader in the middle of the defense.  They need a tackling machine that is capable of calling a defense in the middle.  The Eagles will scour free agency and the draft for an ILB "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Luke Kuechly"that can tackle and more importantly lead the defense.  They have some young talent at safety but they underperformed and I don’t know that they can afford to sit and wait for them to develop.  They may look for a veteran presence in free agency for the safety position.  DT and a 3rd CB will be needed…Asante Samuel is long gone.  The WR spot is one of contention.  DeSean Jackson may choose to look for greener pastures and they may turn the page and look for a WR early in the draft.  Look for the Eagles to find a weapon for Mike Vick in round 2-ish at the WR or TE spot.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  We will wait and see what Philly does in free agency.  Each and every time I mock Kuechly to the Eagles the emailers blow me up with “we are getting an ILB in free agency.”  I’ll  hold my reservations on finding an ILB, better than Kuechly in free agency.  Kuechly is exactly what the Eagles need inside; a tough, tackling machine that is intelligent enough to lead this defense.

"2012 NFL Draft"New York Jets:  Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"

2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  Rex Ryan is still steaming at the play of his defense.  The lack of pressure applied to the QB was disturbing for a Rex Ryan defense.  They will look for a pass rushing OLB early in this draft.  Both safety spots need addressed either in free agency or the draft.  On offense the offensive line was bad at times.  RT Wayne Hunter isn’t "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Whitney Mercilus"cutting it, so they may look for a RT in the early rounds of the draft.  The WR spot is in a state of flux.  With players taking to the media to air team grievances it has become apparent that Santonio Holmes is not long for this squad.  They couldn’t afford to cut him but they need to be thinking long-term at the position.  Jeremy Kerley had a solid season but he looks like a slot receiver in the NFL.  They could use their first pick on a big target for Sanchez.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  The Jets could go in a ton of directions with this pick.  I’m not sure that Mercilus’ best position is standing up but I do know that he can get to the QB.  Rex Ryan will find a way to use Mercilus in that defense.  He’s a solid value with the 16th pick in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft.

"2012 NFL Draft"Cincinnati Bengals (f/OAK):  Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Bengals came out of nowhere this season to rock the NFL world.  Most expected them to be AFC North bottom dwellers until Andy Dalton and A.J. Green could gel.  Well it didn’t take too long and they appear to be a team on the rise in an aging division.  The Bengals need to find a guard early in this draft.  Cedric Benson isn’t likely to be back, forcing them to take a RB early or look to free agency.  On defense the lack of depth at corner was "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Janoris Jenkins"exposed when Leon Hall went down.  They should be thinking a cornerback in round 1 or 2.  Aside from that they will be filling in depth on a young, budding roster.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  The Bengals need a guard in the worst of ways but I think they look for a veteran guard rather than using a first round pick on the position.

The need at corner was fully exposed when Leon Hall went down with an injury.  Jenkins has some issues that he will need to work through with teams during interviews but has the talent to be top level corner in the league.  For that reason the Bengals pull the trigger on Jenkins at No. 17 in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft.

"2012 NFL Draft"San Diego Chargers:  Nick Perry, OLB, USC

Scouting Report

2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Chargers lack any semblance of a pass rush in 2011.  The Larry English experiment is officially over and they may be looking at taking a rush linebacker in round one again.  Corey Liuget didn’t do much of anything in year one but they are positive about his future.  They will need to find another five-tech that can pressure"2012 NFL Draft prospect, Nick Perry" the QB.  On offense, the offensive line was abysmal at times.  Marcus McNeill can’t be counted on in the long or short term.  Injuries have stripped him of far too many games and they have no reliable depth to speak of.  They could look for a tackle or guard early in April’s draft.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  The logical choice here would be Jonathan Martin but the Chargers were absolutely abysmal at rushing the QB in 2011.  Perry can get to the QB and may be the most impressive physical specimen in a long time.

"2012 NFL Draft"Chicago Bears:  Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Scouting Report

2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  After Jay Cutler went down, it wasn’t the same.  Their first priority should be to lock up Matt Forte and let the rest fall in place.  With a new GM in place, they have to focus on getting  younger on defense and "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Dre Kirkpatrick"giving Cutler a legit go-to guy at receiver.  On defense, the linebacking corps is getting old and they may need an end if Idonije leaves town (or even if he doesn’t leave).  They could also spend a top pick on the cornerback position.  On offense, finding a WR should be priority two after re-signing Forte.  Depth on the offensive line is also needed especially at guard.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  The Bears need a serviceable player opposite Charles Tillman.  Kirkpatrick slides a little because of concerns in off man coverage and some off-the-field issues.  He’s a good fit in Chicago’s defense and would be a solid value at No. 19 in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft.

"2012 NFL Draft"Tennessee Titans:  Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy: Tennessee almost made the playoffs with Matt Hasselbeck at the helm and a shell of Chris Johnson.  The best thing for them was being able to sit Jake Locker all season (at least most of it) and allowing him to learn for a vet.  Locker should emerge as the starter next season.  They need to find interior offensive linemen early in "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Peter Konz"this draft.  The guard and center spots are a mess and should be a priority.  On defense, they will have to find a speed rusher at end and a corner if Cortland Finnegan leaves town.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection: Tennessee has to strengthen the interior of the offensive line.  Konz is hands down the top center in this draft and should be an immediate starter.  He is an instant upgrade that will pay dividends in run and pass protection.

"2012 NFL Draft"Cincinnati Bengals:  Cordy Glenn, T/G, Georgia

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Bengals came out of nowhere this season to rock the NFL world.  Most expected them to be AFC North bottom dwellers until Andy Dalton and A.J. Green could gel.  Well it didn’t take too long and they appear "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Cordy Glenn"to be a team on the rise in an aging division.  The Bengals need to find a guard early in this draft.  Cedric Benson isn’t likely to be back, forcing them to take a RB early or look to free agency.  With Jerome Simpson’s future hanging in the balance, don’t be surprised if Cincinnati looks for a target at WR earlier than expected.  On defense the lack of depth at corner was exposed when Leon Hall went down.  They should be thinking a cornerback in round 1 or 2.  Aside from that they will be filling in depth on a young, budding roster.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  The offensive lineman will start getting thin after round one, so the Bengals elect not to chance a shot at a top guard.  They could look for a RB here but there will be plenty to choose from in round 2, so they elect to go with a mauling guard/tackle to open up holes for whoever is running in Cincy.

"2012 NFL Draft"Cleveland Browns (f/ATL):  Jonathan Martin, T, Stanford

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  Hire an offensive coordinator.  Ok that doesn’t have anything to do with the draft but Pat Shurmur was clearly in over his head in year one playing HC and OC.  The biggest decision in the offseason will be to decide on what to do at QB.  Colt McCoy looked very average despite not having much to work with.  They will have to find a receiver that can stretch the field with his speed.  The trio of Greg Little, Jordan Norwood, and Josh Cribbs in a"2012 NFL Draft prospect, Jonathan Martin" nice 2-3-4 combo but none present the option of being a No. 1.  Mohamed Massaquoi should be cut despite wasting a second round pick on him.  The Browns should look to address this offense early and often.  They need a RT, RB, and OG to go along with WR and maybe QB.  On defense, Sheldon Brown is old and can’t keep up at corner.  They should look to find Joe Haden a partner in crime.  Haden is one of the up and coming corners in the league but needs someone opposite him.  They also need to get more athletic at the OLB spot and could use a DE to takeover for Jayme Mitchell.  Mitchell is decent but is clearly the weak link of an emerging defensive line.  Yeah, they have a lot of needs.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  Martin falls due to concerns of him being a RT only.  Not a problem for Cleveland as they need a RT in the worst of ways.  A draft of RGIII and Jon Martin would be considered a win for Tom Heckert and Mike Holmgren.

"2012 NFL Draft"Detroit Lions:  Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Lions need to find guys to take them to the New Orleans, San Francisco, Green Bay, and Giants level.  On defense, a playmaker in the secondary is needed along with help at defensive end.  KVB is on his last legs and Cliff Avril is going to cost a ton of money to keep.  Monitor this situation as DE could wind up being their "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Mevin Ingram"biggest need area.  On offense it’s all about the offensive line.  Jeff Backus is about done and Dominic Raiola isn’t far behind.  They could look early for a LT and C.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  Ingram may be a man without a position but Detroit will gladly work around that fact.  KVB has seen his better days and Cliff Avril may look to “greener” pastures, leaving a gaping hole at DE.  Willie Young and Lawrence Jackson are nice options off the bench but not starters.  Ingram gives the Lions a ton of versatility to work with, scary thought for NFC North teams.

"2012 NFL Draft"Pittsburgh Steelers:  Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Steelers were an early exit from the Playoffs which won’t go over big in the Steel City.  Their QB was beaten and bruised and could barely stand after a season of play behind a ragtag OL.  A healthy Willie Colon may make a big difference but they have to find youth.  The guard spot is a mess and should be addressed early "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Dontari Poe"in the 2012 NFL Draft.  On the defense they need to find an ILB to groom and take over for James Farrior.  Casey Hampton isn’t getting any younger and may have a season or two (at the most) left in the tank.  Finding a NT that can fill those shoes is going to be tough.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  Casey Hampton is beginning to show his age.  Poe is a 6’5, 350 pound marvel.  He moves well laterally and has the strength to push OL into the QB’s lap.  Poe may go higher than this as it’s tough to find 350 pounders that move like he does.  Poe wasn’t overly productive in college but wasn’t asked to be.

"2012 NFL Draft"Denver Broncos:  Devon Still, DT, Penn St.

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  Mel Kiper says the Broncos will draft a QB in round 1.  I’m saying that’s a no on that one.  Tim Tebow earned at least another season as the Broncos starter considering he has started 14 games in his NFL career…not even a full season.  The Broncos have bigger fish to fry in the first round than QB.  They may look to address the "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Devon Still"defense at the DT or CB position.  Andre Goodman was relentlessly beaten by the Pats in the Playoff game and Champ Bailey isn’t going to play forever.  On offense, finding an electric back could be top priority.  Willis McGahee was great in 2011 but is passing the age of productivity for RB’s.  On top of that, John Fox loves to have two backs that he can rely on and they need some speed at the position to run the offense.  The OL needs work (LG/RT) and they could use another WR.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  This pick could go a variety of directions but with Still still on the board in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft, they opt for a DT.  Still had a very solid season and could easily go in the top 15.  That said, there will be some questions about position as he looks to be a more natural fit at five-technique.  At 25, he represents a very good value.

"2012 NFL Draft"Houston Texans:  Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Texans may be the most promising AFC team given their exit from the playoffs.  They started a rookie 5th round pick and were able to make it to the second round of the playoffs and barely were beaten by the Ravens.  On offense, they need a second receiving option to pair with Andre Johnson.  Jacoby Jones and Kevin"2012 NFL Draft propsect, Michael Floyd" Walter aren’t cutting it and they should look early for a replacement.  They also could use depth on the offensive line particularly at the guard position.  The defense was very solid this season.  Wade Phillips but together solid schemes and they made defense a priority the last two seasons in the draft and in free agency.  Shaun Cody was solid but unspectacular at NT and they really could use a one-gap penetrator at the position.  Depth in the secondary should be addressed in the mid to late rounds.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  Jacoby Jones and Kevin Walter aren’t cutting it as No. 2 options to Andre Johnson.  Floyd is a steal at this point in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft and I don’t envision him falling any further.  Houston fans will be ecstatic about this possibility.

"2012 NFL Draft"New England Patriots (f/NO):  Mark Barron, S, Alabama

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Pats defense was pretty miserable for most of the 2011 season.  Much of the offseason will be spent on addressing defensive holes.  They could really use help at the safety position and a couple hybrid "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Mark Barron"DE/OLB and DT/DE types for their multiple fronts.  On offense they should look for a WR that can stretch the defense vertically.  Wes Welker is a magician in the middle of the field but they rely on Gronkowski and Hernandez to stretch the defense.  A big downfield playmaker should open up more for Tom Brady and his stable of weapons.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  Barron is hands down the top safety in the 2012 NFL Draft and fills the Pats biggest need.  If Barron is there, I don’t see the Pats passing.

"2012 NFL Draft"Green Bay Packers:  Andre Branch, DE/OLB, Clemson

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  It was an earlier exit from the Playoffs than most expected.  The defense was underwhelming all season and could never catch up with the offense.  It doesn’t help that the offense scores so fast the defense doesn’t "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Andre Branch"have time to rest.  Good problem to have in the grand scheme of things.  Most of the Packers offseason focus should be spent on upgrading the defense.  A pass rusher opposite Clay Matthews should be found early.  A five-technique that can apply pressure along with a safety in case Nick Collins doesn’t make it back is needed.  They may also address the corner position as they didn’t get the productivity out of it that they are accustomed to.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  The Packers have to find a pass rusher early in this draft, whether it be on the defensive line or at OLB.  In this case, they look at a rush linebacker transition in Andre Branch.  Branch had a great senior season and could be long gone before this pick.  If he’s there, he should be the pick.

"2012 NFL Draft"Baltimore Ravens:  Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama

Scouting Report

2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Ravens age is beginning to show at key positions.  Easy to say about a team that made it to the AFC Championship game.  On defense they will look for an eventual replacement for Ray Lewis early.  Ray Ray is"2012 NFL Draft prospect, Dont'a Hightower" showing his age despite still being a factor from the middle.  They could also look to find a safety in this draft to take over for Ed Reed or Bernard Pollard.  On offense the offensive line is aging to say the least.  Matt Birk may retire and Bryant McKinnie isn’t getting any younger.  Finding a center and tackle has to be a top priority for Ozzie Newsome.  If the Ravens lose Ben Grubbs to free agency they could be looking hard at the guard position.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  Hightower can sit behind 52 and learn the intricacies of being a great ILB.  This pick is one for the future but could pay huge dividends down the road.

"2012 NFL Draft"San Francisco 49ers:  Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The 49ers were the shock of the NFL this season.  Many had written off John Harbaugh’s first season and had them picking atop this draft.  Alex Smith looked rejuvenated in this offense and the defense is lights "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Alshon Jeffery"out.  On the offensive side of the ball they could look early for a WR to give Smith another big play option opposite Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis.  The guard spot is another that could be looked at early in the 2012 NFL Draft.  On defense, it’s hard to find a hole.  They could use some depth on the defensive line and an rush linebacker.  Aside from that, some depth in the secondary and they can call it good.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  With Alshon Jeffery still available it makes too much sense not to fill a vacancy with the talented receiver.  His down year in 2011 has raised some major red flags about his work ethic and ability to separate.  All real concerns which is why he falls to 30 in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft.

"2012 NFL Draft"New York Giants:  Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona St.

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Giants turned it on at the right time.  The defense played well during the Playoffs as they were able to pressure QB’s with regularity.  They still need a long-term solution at ILB and may need some help on the "2012 NFL Draft prospect, Vontaze Burfict"corner despite drafting Prince Amukamara with their first pick in 2011.  On offense, they boast an aging offensive line that needs attention.  The tackle and guard positions could use an infusion of youth.  Jake Ballard played out of his mind in 2011 but they could look early for a legit receiving threat at the position given the state of TE’s in today’s NFL.  As we know, Jerry Reese will stick to his board come April and all this will get thrown out the window.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  If you’re the Giants, why not?  Burfict is ultra-talented and they can afford to take the risk at 31.

"2012 NFL Draft"New England Patriots:  Fletcher Cox, DT/DE, Mississippi St.        

Scouting Report

"2012 NFL Draft"2012 NFL Draft Strategy:  The Pats defense was pretty miserable for most of the 2011 season.  Much of the offseason will be spent on addressing defensive holes.  They could really use help at the safety position and a couple hybrid DE/OLB and DT/DE types for their multiple fronts.  On offense they should look for a WR that can stretch the defense"2012 NFL Draft prospect, Fletcher Cox" vertically.  Wes Welker is a magician in the middle of the field but they rely on Gronkowski and Hernandez to stretch the defense.  A big downfield playmaker should open up more for Tom Brady and his stable of weapons.

2012 NFL Mock Draft Selection:  The Pats need to get younger on the defensive line and Cox is a guy that brings some added versatility.  The Pats use their defensive lineman in a ton of different sets (see Baltimore game w/Vince Wilfork).  Cox could be used all across the line with his athleticism.

Click here for round 2

  • SilverNBlack

    I love that someone finally sees Jon Martin sliding down draft boards. I was worried that no one saw what I saw as a Stanford fan all season. He’s a RT only in the NFL and shouldn’t be taken in the top 15. I actually wouldn’t be shocked if he slid down to the Giants at 31/32. What do you think about that possibility?

    • Anonymous

      It would be hard for the Chargers, Browns, and Steelers to pass on Martin for him to make it all the way to the Giants. NYG fans would be jacked if that happened. I think the Browns are his floor as they need help at RT too bad to pass on him at that point.

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  • Tampagreg

    As a Tampa fan, I actually like your idea of Justin Blackmon to the Bucs. I could see that happening as they need some more dynamic weapons on the outside. Blackmon would be a nice Plan B to Claiborne. Thank God you didn’t give us Richardson with Claiborne still sitting on the board. I would turn in my Bucs season tickets if that happened. Richardson is good and all but our DB’s need help!

    • Anonymous

      I did give Blackmon some serious thought but I think TR helps out Freeman in a major way. Schiano leaned heavily on his backs at Rutgers and could look for a premiere talent early like TR. You weren’t a fan of TR over Claiborne either? Not many fans of that pick. It’s hit and miss but worthy discussion.

  • JustinTuck91

    I hope Luke Kuechly is still there for the Giants but i hope they don’t draft a DT in the first round But if they drafted Melvin Ingram that would be freakin sick

    • Anonymous

      It’s going to be tough for Kuechly or Ingram to drop down that far. If either one did, the Giants would pounce.

  • Colum Weiden

    I think this is a really solid mock, have to say. As a diehard Jets fan and NFL draft follower, here are some of thoughts in my humble opinion: I think there are a few players who, if they dropped to the NYJ, would not be passed on: DeCastro, Richardson, Upshaw. I think Rieff and Martin (Stan OT) might also be in that group. Wayne Hunter was truly god-awful last year, so I don’t think Martin falling to 22 is quite realistic, especially as you note, the dive from first round talent to second round talent at OT is scary this year. Last, I’m not sure the Jets brain trust would be comfortable drafting Mercelius. If the Jets sputter again, Woody Johnson team owner will clean house. I think the ghost of Vernon Gholston will scare Mike Tannebaum away, and Upshaw would be the only 3-4 OLB Gang Green would take. As Sporano (new OC) and Rex have said, this offseason is about getting Sanchez weapons…and therefore keeping their jobs. Overall I think it’s a great mock tho, just my humble opinions on the Jets.

    • Anonymous

      You and I shared the same concerns. Your thought process was pretty similar to mine. I worried about the ghost of Vernon Gholston showing up in Tannebaum’s dreams. I originally had Jon Martin there, then moved him to SD, and finally to the Browns. It’s tough spending a 1 on a RT when you have holes in major areas. The Jets defense is predicated on pressuring the QB off the edge. Not being able to apply consistent pressure really hurt them last year. I worry about Mercilus’ transition to standing up. He’s raw but definitely can find the QB. The one thing we knew about Gholston was that his motor wasn’t always running. At OSU, he took plays off and would go cold for quarters, then he would jump out of the TV with his ability to turn the QB. I don’t see that with Mercilus, he’s an effort player with a good motor. He may be a little raw in terms of playing experience but I love his upside. FYI…it was tough not putting Martin there as Wayne Hunter was tough to watch at times.

      Thanks for the feedback and your opinions may be humble but they are definitely accurate.

  • Rmccolgan

    As a Lions fan and from talking to you multiple times I would be happy with Melvin Ingram and Leonard Johnson/Chase Minnifield as the Lions first two draft selections. I worry about the OL but no prospects worth the selection. In round 3 Nate Potter or Phillip Blake would do well to Round the draft out. Do you think Cliff Avril will be resigned or do you think he will leave for more money? I think he is a 7-8 million a year player but it sounds like he will get 10-12. Lions should atleast franchise him…thoughts?

    • Anonymous

      I like Blake in the third or Matt McCants. McCants isn’t ready to jump in as a starter but he has a ton of upside. Potter would be a solid option as well. I don’t see how they swing signing Avril. He’s going to want in the 8-10 range and they will have some cutting to do get to that point. I don’t know the DE franchise number off the top of my head but it’s hefty as well. They have work to do on Avril but need to re-sign him in my mind.

  • King Doster

    Brad,

    Your a dick. Everytime I try to surprise with my picks on various forums you blow it by taking my guy to my surprise team. You did it with Kendall Wright to JAC a couple of weeks ago, now Brockers to DAL. Now I get busted out with the copycat tag

    • Brad

      I’m not sure if I should take this as a complement. Don’t worry it’s just you and I that like Kendall Wright to the Jags. I get more hatemail on that pick than any other. If you want to be popular in your forums you may want to steer clear of that pick.