2012 NFL Mock Draft: New Faces, New Places

Posted by Brad On December – 17 – 2011
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1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
It’s hard telling what the Colts will do with Manning but they have made it clear they intend on selecting Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. No one can disagree about that choice but what they do with Manning will be up for debate. Right now, Andrew Luck is shopping for homes in the suburbs of Indianapolis.
Other selections: None
2. St. Louis Rams: Matt Kalil, T, USC
Profetta talked some sense into on this one. I got a little hung up on the fact that St. Louis will have a ton of money racked up on the offensive line. What I forgot was just how bad St. Louis was at protecting Sam Bradford and Co this season. Kalil is just too much of a sure thing to pass on because of money that you have spent on the line already.
The Rams are likely to field trade offers and had I mocked trades in this mock draft I probably would have had this pick moved. As the draft draws near I will mock trades as they are sure to happen. If I were doing it this go around, I would have had the ‘Skins picking here and taking RGIII. That would drastically change the outlook of this version of the 2012 NFL Mock Draft.
Other Selections: Trade, Justin Blackmon
3. Minnesota Vikings: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
The Vikings would have loved for Kalil to still be here but he’s not. They will likely choose between Claiborne and Blackmon. Not a bad decision to make as both offer a ton of upside. Their secondary is atrocious, so the edge goes to the lockdown corner. Alabama stayed completely away from Claiborne as they respected his body of work in 2011. Claiborne has can’t miss written all over him.
If the Rams pass on the opportunity to trade out of their pick, the Vikings will field a ton of calls to get ahead of Cleveland for the services of RGIII. The Redskins, Dolphins, Seahawks, and Chiefs could all come calling.
Other Selections: Trade, Riley Reiff

8. Carolina Panthers (coin flip): Riley Reiff, T, Iowa
The Panthers have needs at areas that don’t warrant this high of a pick. They will likely look to trade out of this selection to move down for extra picks. Unfortunately for them, all the QB’s, Richardson, and Blackmon will be off the board. If they stay here, they could look at a tackle. Jordan Gross isn’t getting any younger and Jeff Otah can’t be counted on due to injuries. Cam Newton is the franchise and they look to ensure his health by selecting a tackle. Tackle is definitely not their biggest need but Reiff is loaded with potential. He’s an athletic guy that uses his hands as well as anyone in this draft. He will have to get stronger but he can rely on superior technique. If they trade down they could look at a corner, linebacker, defensive tackle or wide receiver.
Other Selections: Michael Brockers

6. Washington Redskins: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.
I fully expect the Redskins to either grab a veteran in free agency or make a major push for the No. 2 pick to draft RGIII. Their pass catching corps is average at best and they could use a weapon or two. Blackmon doesn’t fill the biggest need for this team but he is the best available and could be an immediate contributor for the ‘Skins. He instantly relieves pressure off whoever the QB is (Flynn…Hoyer…Manning).
Washington is prime for a trade up to 2 or 3 with the target being RGIII. It will cost them some picks but may secure a franchise QB for this starving organization. Dan Snyder will push for this move.
Other Selections: Trade, Tyler Wilson
4. Cleveland Browns: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
I would put the chance of this pick happening at about 10% at this point for two reasons. 1). Someone will be selecting Griffin at 2 or 3 in a trade. 2). Holmgren and Shurmur would have to alter their style of play to fit RGIII and that’s not happening. But as the board falls, they can’t pass on RGIII. Passing on a talent like RGIII would further set back this franchise and their fan base. But don’t worry Cleveland because Big Mike thinks you will just keep on hanging on, so continue to fill those seats.
I’m not sure I’d be buying all the smokescreens leading up to the draft from Holmgren and Heckert. They already have Cleveland media believing they don’t love RGIII. I’m not sure I would buy that smokescreen at this point. Heckert will be pulling the trigger on draft day so don’t fear the fact that Holmgren hasn’t taken a first round QB or that it takes three years for a QB to feel comfortable in the WC system.
Other Selections: Trent Richardson, Justin Blackmon
9. Miami Dolphins (coin flip): Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
The Dolphins could hang tight with Matt Moore or explore free agent options. If Wilson declares (and it looks like he’s leaning that way) he will be the 3rd QB off the board. HIs draft stock will take a 2011 NFL Draft feel to it as he has the physical tools to be a really good one. The only real downside to Wilson is his lack of playing experience as he sat behind Ryan Mallett at Arkansas. If the Dolphins pass they could look to address the OL as there aren’t any safeties or linebackers worthy of this spot.
Other Selections: Jon Martin
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Jacksonville’s win against the Colts turned out to be costly for their future. First, they will have to face Andrew Luck twice a year for the foreseeable future and they miss out on Justin Blackmon. Gene Smith isn’t afraid to reach for a player that he falls in love with (Tyson Alualu) and Kirkpatrick is easy to like. He’s not a finished product but brings enough skills to the table to make him a top 10 pick. He’s a big, physical corner that struggles a bit with speed but the upside is through the roof. Jacksonville really needs a corner to help out a struggling secondary that may lose Rashean Mathis to free agency.
Other Selections: Alshon Jeffery, Kendall Wright
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
In my last mock the Bucs had Claiborne falling to into their laps. Not again, sorry Bucs fans. The consolation prize is one of the most talented backs in football. Trent Richardson is as complete as they come. He can do it all and for that reason shouldn’t fall out of the first 5 picks. Tampa needs playmakers and their new coach needs someone to take the pressure off their young QB. LeGarrette Blount is a serviceable back but nothing special. TR is special.
Other Selections: Dre Kirkpatrick
12. Kansas City Chiefs (coin flip): Jonathan Martin, T, Stanford
Barry Richardson is not a starting tackle in the NFL. The Chiefs OL underperformed all season and were downright bad in the redzone and short yardage situations. Martin could man the RT spot for now until he was ready to take over the left side. If and when Martin can play LT, the Chiefs will have the luxury of moving Brandon Albert to RT or guard. Having Richardson on the bench instantly makes this offensive line better.
Other Selections: David DeCastro
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
I’m banking on the Eagles personnel to think along my lines. I have felt that Kuechly was a late first round LB and not worthy of a mid first round pick. I have had Kuechly to the Eagles for over two months because it’s such a good fit. My gut feeling has been that they will add a veteran MLB through free agency and look to acquire talented defensive prospects early.
Brockers is a redshirt sophomore that has flown under the radar for most of the season. The Alabama offensive line features three future first round picks in Barrett Jones, D.J. Fluker, and Chance Warmack. Brockers was virtually unblockable at times during the NC game. His stock will soar as his ceiling is so high. I would look for Brockers to possibly end up a top 10 pick when it’s all said and done.
The Eagles defensive line is in flux and will be throughout the 2012 offseason. Derek Landri, Antonio Dixon (RFA), and Juqua Parker are all free agents. Cullen Jenkins was a solid pickup but makes a lot of money. This pick is probably dependent on what they do with Jenkins as he could be a cap casualty. Out of Jenkins, Mike Patterson, Derek Landri, and Antonio Dixon they could find serviceable starters but not long term solutions to a problem for the Eagles.
While DT isn’t their biggest need, Jim Washburn may be able to turn Brockers into a star in the league as he’s had success working with top talents at the position.
Other Selections: Luke Kuechly
10. Buffalo Bills: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
My man crush on Sam Montgomery was killed by his announcement to stay at LSU for his junior season. After watching the NC Game, Upshaw appears ready to be a dynamic pass rusher in the NFL. He has a knack for finding the QB and gets there with nasty intentions. Buffalo can move him all around the defense as I think he could play a little ILB ala Adalius Thomas with the Pats circa 2007.
Other Selections: Nick Perry, Melvin Ingram
13. Arizona Cardinals: David DeCastro, G, Stanford
The Cards are the big winners of Tyler Wilson going in the top 10. They were looking at having to trade up to find an OL. In an ideal world, one of the tackles would have been sitting here for them but DeCastro is a nice consolation prize. They need guard help just as bad as tackle so this is an easy selection.
Other Selections: Kendall Wright
11. Seattle Seahawks (coin flip): Nick Perry, OLB/DE, USC
After last weeks pick of Ryan Tannehill, it never felt right. For those of you who put mocks together sometimes they don’t feel right and that was the lynchpin of my bad feelings. I went back and watched Tannehill’s games against Iowa St, Oklahoma, and Texas and just didn’t see a first round talent. Sure, he’s talented and could wind up being a starter but not worth the 11th pick. There is a ton of buzz after Tony Pauline commented on sources citing Tannehill as a top 15 pick but I have some reservations.
So with that said we move forward. Perry is a versatile prospect that has a knack for making big plays. He can play opposite Chris Clemons for now until Clemons hits free agency in 2013. Perry’s versatility and athleticism should be right up Pete Carroll’s alley.
Other Selections: Devon Still, Melvin Ingram
18. San Diego Chargers: Melvin Ingram, OLB, South Carolina
I’ve had Quinton Coples in this slot for over a month but with Ingram available it will be tough to pass on arguably their biggest need of OLB. Ingram’s versatility will make him soar the closer we get to the 2012 NFL Draft and he’s a great value with the 18th pick in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft.
The Chargers have to find ways to pressure the QB in 2012 if they want to compete in the AFC West and knock off the Broncos. James Harrison is still trying to find Tim Tebow and the AFC West teams will have to start gameplanning for stopping Touchdown Timmy.
Other Selections: Quinton Coples, Mike Adams
20. Tennessee Titans: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
Tennessee needs a speed rusher that can provide pressure off the edge consistently. Jason Jones should be moved back inside with Branch’s arrival and the Titans should do a better job of pressuring the QB off the edge with this selection. Branch is a fast riser that has an array of pass rush moves and holds the edge well against the run. He doesn’t have the elite first step of Von Miller but makes up for it with his short area burst.
Other Selections: Kelechi Osemele
26. New York Giants: Mike Adams, T, Ohio St.
Ok, so finally we can stop with the NO TE TO NYG emails. Dwayne Allen is history and I got you guys a tackle. Kareem McKenzie is serviceable but getting a little long in the tooth. 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.
Other Selections: Zach Brown
19. Chicago Bears: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
The Bears have needed a true No. 1 receiver for a long time. They have to find a weapon on the outside for Jay Cutler in the draft or in free agency. Jeffery has fallen significantly after a poor junior season. He’s still as talented as they come but he’ll have to answer questions about his conditioning and speed in pre-draft workouts
Other Selections: Andre Branch, Luke Kuechly
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
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
14. Dallas Cowboys: Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
The Dallas defense is in need of a talent upgrade at a ton of positions. Outside of DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee, no one is safe on this defense. Jay Ratliff is a shell of his former self as the years of double teams appear to have worn down the undersized NT. After watching Ratliff against the Giants it firmed up my belief that they will look for his replacement early in this draft. Poe is athletic phenom that is capable of pluggin the middle with the best of them. At 6’5 350 he could be this year’s Phil Taylor. Peter Konz will also gets some looks as he has the ability to play center or guard.
Other Selections: Peter Konz
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, Lamar Miller
25. Denver Broncos: Devon Still, DT, Penn State
If Still makes it to Denver, you can put it on the board. He fills a major need area and is the best of a bad bunch of DT’s in the 2012 NFL Draft. Still has come to the forefront of this class with a standout senior season but the reality was that he was solid since stepping foot on the Penn St. campus. He’s been well schooled and should be able to start immediately for a team in need of a playmaker in the middle of the defense.
Other Selections: Lamar Miller
27. Houston Texans: Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
I have mocked a WR or Brandon Thompson here almost exclusively. The more I watch of the Texans the more I believe they will look for a one-gap NT. Shaun Cody has played admirably but they really need a stalwart at the position. Thompson has a similar build to Jay Ratliff, who played in Wade Phillips system for years. I would expect a similar career for Thompson as Ratliff has had.
Other Selections: Nick Toon
16. New York Jets: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
This pick comes down to Melvin Ingram/Andre Branch and one of the WR’s (Jeffery/Wright). Wright looks to be a Santonio Holmes clone minus the issues. He has a ton of speed to stretch the defense and allow others to work the underneath routes. He has great hands and draws favorable comparisons to Mike Wallace. Some are saying he’s a slot receiver in the NFL but they haven’t watched this guy play. He’s well put together for only being 5’10”.
Other Selections: Melvin Ingram, Andre Branch
23. Detroit Lions: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
The Lions have some tough decisions to make this offseason as they have little cap room to upgrade positions and may not be able to keep their own players (Cliff Avril) without restructuring or cutting players.
That said, Stephen Tulloch will be a free agent. He looked solid but unspectacular in year one with the Lions. I can’t see the Lions offering much more than $3-4 million/year for a couple years. Tulloch may look for greener pastures as will the Lions.
With Kuechly still on the board at 23 in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft the Lions are set without Tulloch in the mix. They need a CB, DE (even if Avril is franchised or re-signed), and OL help. But their LB’s aren’t ideal and look to be stopgaps. Kuechly is a tackling machine that slides a little because of concerns with his playmaking ability and ceiling.
Other Selections: Whitney Mercilus, Janoris Jenkins
28. San Francisco 49ers: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
I have stayed away from the WR position and SF for awhile but I couldn’t resist on Floyd. With no pass rushers available (worthy of this pick), I opt for adding to Alex Smith arsenal. Teaming Crabtree and Floyd could really be a potent duo and give Alex Smith quite a few more options.
Other Selections: Kelechi Osemele, Ronnell Lewis, Fletcher Cox
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona St.
The Steelers address future holes in current drafts in the early rounds. Offensive line is their biggest need but without any value picks jumping out at them they decide to go with Burfict. He’s a mean, nasty AFC North LB that could take James Farrior’s place in the immediate future. Once considered a top 10 prospect he fell due to inconsistencies with play and demeanor. The Steelers veteran locker room would welcome the diminutive Burfict.
Other Selections: Mike Adams, Kelechi Osemele
31. New England Patriots: Fletcher Cox, DT/DE, Mississippi St.
The Pats find another versatile defensive lineman that adds talent to a defense in need. Cox is a perfect fit as a five-technique in the 3-4 and would be a nice addition aside Vince Wilfork in the 4-3. The Pats lean heavily on defensive front seven help early in this draft.
Other Selections: Janoris Jenkins
32. New England Patriots (f/NO): Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

Mark Barron has been a staple pick for me at this spot but he goes two picks ahead. Safety will remain a need but they may have to look in free agency for that position given the lack of quality in this draft.
Mercilus is a raw pass rusher that just needs some good coaching to soar to star status. I think he’s a steal at 32 in our 2012 NFL Mock Draft. Mercilus hasn’t played much organized football and is still learning the game which is dangerous considering his impact on the Big Ten in 2011. He has speed off the edge but lacks that elite first step to make him a top pick. New England is getting a good one with this pick.
Other Selections: Ronnell Lewis
29. Baltimore Ravens: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Not quite a Da’Quan Bowers-esque fall but not far from it. Coples shouldn’t fall this far but questions about his position in the NFL will hamper his draft stock.
He falls into a perfect situation in Baltimore as the defensive youth infusion continues. I think he’s a five-technique in the NFL which is what position he will primarily play in Baltimore’s multiple fronts. Many have him playing DT and some are even saying LDE. I see him as a picture perfect fit as a five-technique in Baltimore. Ozzie does it again as the rich get richer.
Other Selections: Dont’a Hightower
30. Green Bay Packers: Mark Barron, S, Alabama
Nick Collins future is uncertain at this point. Charlie Peprah was abysmal in coverage this season and the Pack will look for an upgrade early in this draft.
Barron is a strong safety that played his way into round one after a solid senior season. His junior year had many (myself included) questioning whether he could cover in the NFL. He has shown much improved technique and instincts in coverage and is always a threat in run support and blitzing.
Other Selections: Fletcher Cox, Janoris Jenkins

Click Here for Round Two of our 2012 NFL Mock Draft

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  • Rmccolgan

    Will you be adding a second Round?

    • Brad

      Thanks for reminding me, I left it off but here it is.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for reminding me, I thought it was attached. There it is, pick it apart.

  • Danny

    First off, awesome Mock here Brad. I love your takes and insight. Keep up the good work and I will be checking in regularly as you update throughout the season and offseason.

    As a Browns fan, I agree completely that if one of the QB’s is still around we trade down and amass picks. I think we give Colt one more year and add some more pieces before we commit to a top 10 QB next year if he doesn’t progress.

    I’m thinking Hillis will be gone, but I’ve heard he’s been making peace in the locker room and with the team since getting healthy. Still, he’ll probably leave and I wouldn’t mind Richardson. I think he is still there if we trade down into the teens, which would be ideal.

    I’m not very high on any of the top WR’s because they all lack big speed. We have Cribbs and Little who can do well in the short passing game and get the YAC in the West Coast. Someone to stretch the field once in a while would be nice and Wright can do that, but I’d target him in the 2nd.

    I’d like to see at least one O-lineman in our top 3 picks. We need to replace Pashos at RT since he can’t pass block at all. Hopefully Steinbach will get back next year, but overall Pinkston and Lauvao aren’t NFL starter quality, so a guard would be worthwhile too. They’ll make nice backups.

    We need a LB to replace Fujita as he is too slow to do much anymore. He’ll be a nice backup if we can find his replacement.

    We could use another CB opposite Haden, who I think is our best player hands down. Sheldon Brown is getting up there in age and has gotten beaten a lot this year.

    And we could also use a safety opposite of Ward. Ideally someone would could cover the tough TE matchups since Ward can’t do that at all. Adams has shown some flash at times, but I don’t think he is a starter. It seems they hoped Young would grow into a starter, but he has been less than impressive this year.

    Whatever happens I trust in Heckert completely. He has done an outstanding job the past couple years amassing picks and talent. For the first time since 99 I feel we have the management in place to build a winner. We will be good because of how well we draft. It’s just it may take another couple seasons.

    • Brad


      Thanks and I look forward to your comments as the draft draws near.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001517042506 Donte Taylor

    l like Minnifield and he may become the most underrated prospect in the draft, but i not sure hes a good fit for the browns. He struggles in man coverage and the seem to be playing a lot of man coverage. Also i think there are better players on the board like Vontaze Burfict, Dwayne Allen, and Cordy Glenn .

    • Anonymous

      Minnifield played well in man this season outside of the Miami game. He wasn’t horrible in the Miami game but lost a couple jump balls to Tommy Streeter that turned into big plays. No doubt he’s better in off man/zone but I think he’s a good compliment to Haden. I like Allen and Glenn to the Browns but not Burfict. He’s not a great fit in Jauron’s system, I think they look for disciplined, athletic OLB’s to fill for Fujita. TE isn’t a big need but we all know the Browns need playmakers. They use the TE a ton in Shurmur’s WC, so he could get a look from the Browns. Glenn fills a need, as I think he’s a guard in the NFL that could play RT. God knows they need both of those positions.

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