2012 NFL Mock Draft

Posted by Brad On January – 17 – 2012
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1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
This pick appears already made and looks to be a formality of Roger Goodell walking it to the podium. I’m sure they will field offers for the pick but only to see just how much someone is willing to give up for the future of their franchise.
The Peyton Manning saga looks to be heading into at least March. I don’t envy the new G.M. or Jim Irsay in having to make the final decision on what to do with Peyton. In the end, I think they keep Peyton unless they are bowled over by an offer for a trade. But I also didn’t think they would ax the Polian’s.
Other selections: None
2. Washington Redskins (trade w/STL): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Washington’s QB position is in disarray. They could look the veteran route but I think they will be major players for RGIII. They give up #6, #39, and a 2013 2nd for the No. 2 spot and ultimately to land their franchise signal caller.
Robert Griffin III is a special talent and I don’t see him making it to Cleveland. For that purpose I decided to include trades in this mock. While he may not appear to be a fit in Shanny’s offense there is no way they could look past his talent. In the end, RGIII does enough to impress that Washington won’t be the only team looking to trade up for his services.
Other Selections: Stay put and take Justin Blackmon or Dre Kirkpatrick
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, T, USC

The Vikings have Kalil fall into their lap with STL trading out of the second spot. The Vikings have major issues along their offensive line with LT being the biggest. This pick kills two birds with one stone.
By selecting their franchise LT, they can move Charlie Johnson inside to guard and shore up two spots with one pick. Kalil has everything you look for in a franchise LT with some upside to get better. That’s a scary proposition for opposing teams. Either Christian Ponder or Joe Webb will be very happy with this pick in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft.
Other Selections: Justin Blackmon
4. Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
The Browns need too much to make the trade up for RGIII. They would likely have to give up both firsts to get up No. 2 and I just don’t see that happening.
The Browns have zero offensive weapons and will look early and often to solve their offensive woes. This pick comes down to Richardson and Justin Blackmon. WR may be a bigger need but I think they will look to add speed to the position in free agency. With Peyton Hillis on his way out in Cleveland the RB spot is left empty. Montario Hardesty can’t stay on the field and wasn’t that effective even when he played. Brandon Jackson should be back to full speed but isn’t a workhorse. Richardson is a special player.
Other Selections: Justin Blackmon
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Claiborne is a top 5 lock with Tampa being the floor. The Bucs need some help all over the defensive backfield. With Ronde Barber being done and Aqib Talib’s future hanging in the balance they take the top cover man in the draft.
Claiborne has been overshadowed since stepping foot on the LSU campus. But he is arguably the best pure corner in recent memory. Patrick Peterson is a special talent but doesn’t possess the pure cover skills of Claiborne. This season he had to deal with being overshadowed by the Honey Badger, who is nearly the NFL prospect that Claiborne is. Claiborne has taken it all in stride and has the look of a future star in the league.
Other Selections: Dre Kirkpatrick
6. St. Louis Rams (trade w/WAS): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.
The No. 2 pick may be up for grabs. The Rams need a ton of players to make this thing work in Jeff Fisher’s first season. They are not nearly ready to compete and aren’t one franchise LT away from it. Washington gives up #6, #39, and a 2013 2nd to move up to #2.
The Rams have to find playmakers on offense to take some heat off Steven Jackson and Sam Bradford. As bad as they need OL and defensive help they can’t pass on taking a talent like Blackmon. His is reminiscent of Dez Bryant minus all the extra headaches. Getting him at 6 would be an excellent value as I think he’s a better prospect than 2011 6th pick Julio Jones.
Other Selections: Stay put and take Matt Kalil
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Jacksonville needs to surround Blaine Gabbert with some legitimate options before they decide on his future. They have nothing at the WR position, so it becomes a focal point in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Kendall Wright is being lauded as a dynamic slot receiver with a ton of speed. I see a whole lot more than just that. He uses his body to shield defenders, has great hands, and runs crisp routes. His ability to track the ball vertically is reminiscent of another burner in Pittsburgh. I don’t see Wright making it out of the top 10 when it’s all said and done and Jacksonville is a logical landing spot.
Other Selections: Dre Kirkpatrick
8. Arizona Cardinals (trade w/CAR): Riley Reiff, T, Iowa
The Cards sense a run on the tackles and move up to grab one. Watching Levi Brown and Brandon Keith all season is sickening. Keith is a close second to Barry Richardson on my list of worst starting tackles in the league and has no business on the field.
Reiff should immediately displace Brown at LT, who will move to RT so Brandon Keith can find his rightful spot on the bench. Reiff is an athletic tackle that will have to get stronger to be considered dominate. His athleticism and technique more than make up for his lack of strength at the position. He’s a day one starter and should make life easier for one of the ARZ QB’s (Kolb or Skelton).
Other Selections: Stay at 13 and draft David DeCastro
9. Miami Dolphins (coin flip): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
I have had a RT here for a long time because of need but I’m beginning to see the light. With players on the board that fills other needs and hold more positional value, it makes sense for the Dolphins to look in another direction.
Kirkpatrick gives the Dolphins a legit option opposite Vontae Davis. Sean Smith can’t cover at the level necessary opposite a good young corner and was relentlessly picked on this season. Kirkpatrick is a perfect fit opposite Davis as he will be able to handle the load in coverage and is an excellent open field tackler.
Other Selections: Jonathan Martin
10. Buffalo Bills: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
With Dave Wannstedt’s welcome to Buffalo, expect to see the 4-3 base being played with a mix of amoeba looks in there. With that said, Buffalo is one end short of a solid 4-3 front four.
Coples may not be the pure pass rusher that many look for in top 4-3 ends but he brings the versatility that Wannstedt looks at in his players. Coples is solid against the run and looks to be an 8-10 sack/season guy. Coples has been seen sliding all the way out of first round mock draft but that demise is way overblown. He’s still solid at most everything and brings enough versatility to warrant a top 15 pick.
Other Selections: Jonathan Martin
11. Seattle Seahawks (coin flip): Devon Still, DE/DT
Alan Branch was the weak link on this defensive front and needs replaced. Pete Carroll may look to move Red Bryant inside at some point with Still taking over for Bryant. Still has a rare size/speed combo for a big man which should warrant this high of a pick.
Other Selections: Courtney Upshaw
12. Kansas City Chiefs (coin flip): Jonathan Martin, T, Stanford
Is there a worse starting tackle in the NFL than Barry Richardson? The answer is no.
This fact should make this pick a sprint to the podium as the Chiefs won’t field any offers or consider any other selection outside of the Stanford tackle. Martin is a tough-nosed road grader that looks like a natural fit at RT. He has the ability to play LT in the future but will need to work on some technique issues. He’s an immediate upgrade over Richardson which should make Matt Cassell and Jamaal Charles very happy.
Other Selections: David DeCastro
13. Carolina Panthers (coin flip) (trade w/ARZ): Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
The Panthers have needs that don’t warrant this selection. With Arizona looking to move up for one of the tackles it makes a ton of sense for the Panthers to move down and pick up a better value along their defensive line.
Brockers has emerged onto the scene with his surprise declaration. There is no denying his talent and upside. He’s a supreme athlete that could play in the 4-3 or 3-4. In this case he gives the Panthers a much needed threat on the interior of their defensive line. He explodes up the field and disrupts plays before they begin with a lightning quick first step.
Other Selections: Stay at 8 and draft Dre Kirkpatrick
14. Dallas Cowboys: David DeCastro, G, Stanford
The Cowboys broke their string of not taking OL in the first round in the 2011 draft when they drafted Tyron Smith. That worked out pretty well so far so they decide to make it two years in a row.
Kyle Kosier may have played his last downs in Dallas with DeCastro stepping in. DeCastro has the makings of a perennial Pro Bowler and will be a favorite of Tony Romo and Co. As Profetta aptly pointed out in his last mock update, I can’t find much to pick apart with DeCastro. If I needed a guard badly, I wouldn’t hesitate to take him in the top 10. He’s that good.
Other Selections: Peter Konz, Dontari Poe
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
I’m back to a familiar place in my 2012 NFL Mock Draft. Kuechly to the Eagles.
After a one week hiatus, I decide to go back to the old standby. Seriously, it makes so much sense. As easy as it would be to find a veteran ILB that is capable of leading this defense, they find a younger option. Kuechly is a tackling machine that is capable of leading this defense early on. He doesn’t possess the athletic skills that we have come accustomed to in top 15 ILB’s but he more than makes up for it with instincts and tackling abilities.
The Eagles propensity to avoid linebackers in the first round is broken in 2012 as they take the BC ‘backer.
Other Selections: Michael Floyd
16. New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
Let’s be honest. Rex Ryan hated his defense in 2011. Their inability to find the quarterback made him the joke of the dinner table at family functions, so he looks to find a pass rusher in this draft.
Upshaw is coming off a spectacular National Championship performance that garnered him defensive MVP honors. He can flat get after the quarterback with his blend of size and speed. He has the versatility to move all over the defense (I’ve predicted a late career move to inside LB ala Adalius Thomas). Upshaw is nasty which should fit well in Rex Ryan’s scheme.
I love this pick and fit for the team and player.
Other Selections: Michael Floyd
17. Cincinnati Bengals (f/OAK): Peter Konz, C/G, Wisconsin
The Bengals really need to find a guard in free agency or the draft. Wisconsin’s Peter Konz has the versatility to play either guard or center. At 6’5” 315 pounds Konz is a specimen that could be another building block for the young Cincinnati Bengals. The Ravens and Steelers are going to have to watch out for this team as they are only getting better.
Other Selections: Kelechi Osemele
18. San Diego Chargers: Nick Perry, OLB, USC
It’s safe to say that the Larry English experiment is over in SD. It’s tough saying someone’s a bust after such a short period of time but he’s made no impact on that team whatsoever.
Perry is an athletic dynamo that may set the combine on fire as he’s expected to run in the 4.4-4.5 range at just over 250 pounds. The Chargers have nothing else to speak of at the position so this one is a gimme. Which means it probably doesn’t happen.
Other Selections: Mike Adams
19. Chicago Bears: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
The Bears have needed a true No. 1 receiver for a long time and Floyd has that potential. If he can pass the interview process and ease the minds of NFL personnel on his personal issues, he should remain a top 20 pick. He’s a big target that has solid run after the catch abilities. Floyd will have to get over the occasional lapse in concentration but he’s a real threat for Jay Cutler and the Bears offense.
Other Selections: Andre Branch, Alshon Jeffery
20. Tennessee Titans: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Tennessee needs a speed rusher that can provide pressure off the edge consistently. Jason Jones will be moved back to his natural DT spot with this selection.
Ingram is a versatile prospect that could play all over the field. His propensity to create turnovers and big plays was legendary for his position in 2011. He is strong against the run and displays an array of pass rush moves. His ability to create timely turnovers may see him in the top 15 when it’s all said and done.
Other Selections: Whitney Mercilus, Mohamed Sanu
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
This pick comes down to selecting the best CB available and there are some good ones (Janoris Jenkins, Alfonzo Dennard, Chase Minnifield, and Stephon Gilmore). Gilmore is a physical freak (ala Dre Kirkpatrick) that really shined in South Carolina’s bowl game. I think that nudges him past Jenkins and Dennard and into the end of round one.
Other Selections: Lamar Miller
22. Cleveland Browns (f/ATL): Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
The Browns will focus on finding whoever the QB is in Cleveland some weapons to work with. Sanu is a reliable catcher that is still learning the WR position. The Browns lack a sure handed receiver that threatens the defense at all. Greg Little was inconsistent with his hands, Mohamed Massaquoi was either injured or a relative non-factor, and Josh Cribbs is an inconsistent route runner. Their most consistent WR this season was Jordan Norwood who lacks the big play ability. With Sanu, Little, and Norwood they would have the start to a solid corps of receivers.
Other Selections: Mike Adams, Janoris Jenkins, Whitney Mercilus
23. Detroit Lions: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Save the Martin Mayhew won’t draft a character risk for another day. The Lions were beaten badly in their secondary and mostly due to their inability to create turnovers. This back seven needs a playmaker and there may not be a better one than Jenkins at the CB position in this draft.
He’s got a ton of off-the-field baggage which is the only reason he’s available at 23 in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft. If not for that, he would be a top 15 pick and probably the second corner taken in this draft. Jenkins will have a lot to prove in predraft workouts (particularly the interviews) but there is no denying his talent.
Other Selections: Whitney Mercilus, Zebrie Sanders
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia
The Steelers have to come out of the draft with some OL help if they want to continue to compete in the AFC North. Their inability to keep Big Ben upright may have cost them a shot at another SB run. A LT would be ideal here but I don’t see them trying to stick a square peg into a round hole with Zebrie Sanders.
Guard is a huge need area and Glenn has the makings of a very good one. He may be a slight reach at 24 in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft but the Steelers have to realize the magnitude of this need area. The Steelers historically take BPA but can’t afford to pass on this massive guard prospect.
Other Selections: Zebrie Sanders, Vontaze Burfict, Dont'a Hightower
25. Denver Broncos: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
Andre Goodman didn’t have a good season and definitely didn’t have a good playoff game against New England. As bad as they need help on the defensive line, they need help at corner even worse. Champ may be experiencing a radical decline in the next couple of seasons so they will look for an eventual top corner.
Dennard is a physical press man corner that could slide due to his lack of production in 2011. Nagging injuries robbed Dennard of most of his senior season. He struggled a bit with speed but looked really good against bigger, more physical receivers.
Other Selections: Jerel Worthy
26. Houston Texans: Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
Shaun Cody was solid for the Texans this season but he doesn’t offer much in the way of spectacular at the position. With a healthy Matt Schaub, the Texans could be the class of the AFC. Their defense is really good and verging on great. Enter Dontari Poe.
Poe is a physical freak that has an enormous ceiling. His abilities to get upfield at 6’5” 350 pounds are unheard of and should create havoc for opposing offenses. Teaming Poe with J.J. Watt could be a very dangerous combo for many years.
Other Selections: Alshon Jeffery
27. New England Patriots (f/NO): Mark Barron, S, Alabama

The Pats secondary is in need of an overhaul. Mark Barron has been solid in 2011 after a down year in 2010. He could be just what the Pats need at the safety position. Barron can play SS with Patrick Chung manning the FS which could be a good combo. The Pats will look to address the defense early and often in this draft so don’t be surprised to see two more defensive picks in round 2.
Other Selections: Fletcher Cox, Alshon Jeffery
28. Green Bay Packers: Andre Branch, OLB, Clemson
The Packers need to get pressure from someone not named Clay Matthews. Eli Manning had all day to pick apart the GB secondary on his way to solidifying himself as an elite QB in the NFL.
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.
Other Selections: Fletcher Cox, Janoris Jenkins
29. New York Giants: Mike Adams, T, Ohio St.
Kareem McKenzie is serviceable but getting a little long in the tooth. After watching the Giants dismantle the Packers it’s hard to find a spot that needs filled. But their aging offensive line could use some work.
Adams is a physical freak at 6’8” with the ability to bend. He is a little inconsistent at times but that will be overlooked with his physical upside. He’s a RT in the NFL that will have to work on his feet if he wants to eventually move to the left side.
Other Selections: Zach Brown
30. Baltimore Ravens: Kelechi Osemele, G, Iowa St.
The Ravens may lose Ben Grubbs via free agency after they re-sign or franchise Ray Rice. They gave a pocketful of cash to Marshall Yanda last offseason and would have a ton wrapped up in guards if they load Ben Grubbs down with money. Their offensive line needs some work with the potential retirement of Matt Birk and Bryant McKinnie’s future hanging in the balance. They could be without three of their starting five.
Osemele played LT at Iowa St but doesn’t possess the athleticism to stay at that position in the NFL. He may be able play RT but looks more like a guard. Either way he should be able to fill an opening along the OL beginning day one.
Other Selections: Vontaze Burfict, Dont'a Hightower
31. San Francisco 49ers: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
The WR spot in SF is up in the air and needs addressed.
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 31 in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft.
Other Selections: Kelechi Osemele, Ronnell Lewis
32. New England Patriots: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
The Pats are looking for versatile defensive lineman to plug and play. New England sticks in their 4-3 base more often than not which will make Mercilus an obvious pick.
He’s a better 4-3 end than 3-4 OLB but has the athleticism to play both. He led the country in sacks and is still learning to play the game after a late start with football. The Pats need to find youth on defensive line in this draft and with Mercilus’ combination of youth and upside he should excel under Belichick.
Other Selections: Fletcher Cox, Jerel Worthy


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