2012 NFL Draft Order: New Mock Draft for All First-Round Picks
NFL draft season is officially here, and we now have a clearer picture of what the 2012 NFL draft order will look like. Andrew Luck is the prized possession of the 2012 draft, but there are a lot of other players that are ready to be stars in the NFL.
This mock draft works under the assumption that Landry Jones is going to stay in school, and the order at the end of the first round is subject to change based on playoff performance.
Click through to see the first-round draft order and a prediction for each pick.
1. Indianapolis Colts
There is about a 97 percent chance the Indianapolis Colts will take Andrew Luck with the first pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
The only scenario where they do not take him is if they think Peyton Manning is going to be 100 percent healthy to start the season, and a team makes them an offer for the pick they cannot refuse. It would probably take three first-round picks and two second-round picks for Indy to trade the pick.
2. St. Louis Rams
The Rams have a lot of holes to fill, but there is no player that is more certain to be a staple for the next decade than Matt Kalil, OT, USC. They will not have to address their left tackle spot, one of the most important on the field, for a very long time after this selection.
St. Louis needs some help on defense as well, but they can address those needs in free agency later in the draft.
3. Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings have the best running back in the NFL and a young quarterback. The only thing they are missing to be a lethal offense is a great wide receiver. That is why they will select Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State.
The best way to ensure Christian Ponder is successful as an NFL quarterback is to give him weapons. Selecting Blackmon would do just that.
4. Cleveland Browns
There is very little chance Peyton Hillis will be back with the Browns in 2011. That means they are going to have a hole at running back. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama has the chance to be a really special one. He already has an NFL body and will be able to help the Browns the first day he steps on the practice field.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers were terrible on defense in 2011. Cornerback is just one of many positions where they need to upgrade. That is why they will grab Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU with this pick.
Claiborne can be a starter from day one. That is going to be especially important if they decide to part ways with Aqib Talib this offseason.
6. Washington Redskins
Mike Shanahan made the mistake of not adding a quarterback before the 2011 season. There is no way he makes that mistake again. In order to do things right, the Redskins will take Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor.
Griffin has a lot of upside, and there is no better coach to help him realize his potential than Griffin. The pressure will be on Griffin to perform early because Shanahan will enter the 2012 season on the hot seat.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars are going to hire an offensive minded coach to come in and help with Blaine Gabbert's development. The first priority for that coach will be adding weapons to the Jacksonville offense.
He would accomplish that goal by picking Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina. Jeffery is the prototypical NFL receiver and has the tools to be a difference maker right away.
8. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers do not necessarily have corner back as one of their top needs, but they would not pass up on the opportunity to add a shut down corner with this pick. That is why they select Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama.
Adding Kirkpatrick would solidify their secondary and automatically make their pass rush better because guys would be covered down the field longer.
9. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins are desperate for a quarterback, but there is not a guy left on the board that is worthy of the pick. They will instead solidify their offensive line with Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa. That will give them the bookend tackles necessary to protect whoever they add as a quarterback.
10. Buffalo Bills
If the Bills can get Ryan Fitzpatrick back on track, they will be set on offense. Their biggest needs will be on defense. For the second straight year they will look to the University of Alabama for help on defense. Last year it was Marcell Dareus. This year it is Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama.
Upshaw fills an immediate need and upgrades the Buffalo pass rush.
11. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have a lot of weapons on offense. They just need someone to open some holes for them. They will get that in Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford. He is another guy that will step in from day one and be a starter.
12. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks will run to the podium to make this pick. Quinton Coples, DE, UNC is going to be one of those guys that measures off the charts at the NFL combine.
Coples is not just a speed rusher. He has the athleticism and strength to be really good against the run and an effective pass rusher.
13. Arizona Cardinals
David DeCastro, G, Stanford is a reach here, but the Cardinals are desperate for offensive line help. They have stars at running back and wide receiver. They just need a guy that can protect them so they can be effective.
DeCastro will be the second member of Andrew Luck's offensive line that gets selected in the first round.
14. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys have entirely too much talent on their team to miss the playoffs, but that is exactly what they did. They will upgrade their defense in the first round by picking Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska.
Dennard is a bit undersized, but he is a very good football player. His instincts make up for what he lacks in size.
15. Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia's offense will be just fine next year after an offseason to work out some kinks, but they need some help on defense. The biggest problem the Eagles had this season was their linebackers. That is why they will select Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College with their first pick.
Kuechly will be a huge upgrade in the middle of that Philadelphia defense.
16. New York Jets
The Jets defense did not live up to the billing in 2011. Part of the problem was the back end of the defense was not as productive as it had been in previous years.
New York will address that problem by selecting Mark Barron, S, Alabama with their first pick. He is a physical player that will fit right in with Rex Ryan's aggressive style.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland)
This is a bonus pick for the Bengals that they acquired from the Raiders in the Carson Palmer trade. Cincinnati has bigger needs than wide receiver, but they will not pass up the opportunity to add Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame to their arsenal. He will be deadly opposite A.J. Green.
18. San Diego Chargers
Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State is one of the most athletic players in this draft. He plays well against the run and the pass.
The Chargers will have gotten a special player with this pick if they can get him to play within the system.
19. Chicago Bears
20. Tennessee Titans
The Titans have a very young defense that got better as the season went along. The one thing that was missing was a relentless pass rusher. They will feel that need with Andre Branch, DE, Clemson.
Tennessee will have a really good defense if Branch can come in and make a difference as a pass rusher.
21. Denver Broncos
There is a chance the Broncos could go with a guy like Kendall Wright from Baylor here, but that does not make much sense considering Tim Tebow cannot throw the ball far enough down the field to really use Wright.
The best bet for Denver is to build that defense, so they can win games playing defense and running the ball. Devon Still, DT, Penn State will give them a solid presence in the middle that will help stop the run.
22. New York Giants
This is the point in the draft where teams start taking the best player available. Outside linebacker is not a huge need for the Giants, but they will be looking to add a defensive playmaker. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia would give them exactly that.
23. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals do have a need at outside linebacker, and Kevin Reddick, LB, UNC would be a huge upgrade for them.
If it plays out like this for Cincinnati, they would have to be thrilled to walk away from the first round with Floyd and Reddick.
24. Detroit Lions
Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama would fit right in with the Lions. He has some character concerns coming out. That is the only reason he will still be on the board in the mid-20s.
He can be a shutdown corner in the NFL if Jim Schwartz can help him keep his head straight off the field.
25. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta)
If Colt McCoy is going to be a good NFL quarterback he needs some weapons. Adding a guy like Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor would give the Browns' offense a dimension they did not have in 2011.
Like the Bengals, the Browns would have to be thrilled to come away from the first round of this draft with two offensive playmakers that are ready to step in and play right away.
26. Houston Texans
The Texans are pretty set across the board, but Sanders is a perfect fit for their offensive line. He played is a zone read scheme at Florida State.
This is a value pick for Houston. You can never have enough depth on the offensive line.
27. Pittsburgh Steelers
It seems like the Steelers are always looking for help on their offensive line. This year they get that help with Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin.
Konz can play center or guard. He would make an immediate impact at a guard spot for Pittsburgh.
28. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens defense is still really good, but it is aging. Adding Ronnell Lewis, LB, Oklahoma will give them that pass rush threat they had when some of their aging stars were in their prime.
Baltimore could also look for an offensive lineman with this pick, but anyone they would take here would be a reach.
29. New England Patriots (from New Orleans)
The Patriots will be looking for the best available defensive player on the board with this pick. Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina is that guy.
He will most likely be an outside linebacker in the 3-4. This pick is a win, win for New England because they are getting the best player available at a position of need.
30. San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco far exceeded everyone's expectations in 2011. The sky is the limit for this team in 2012 if they can upgrade at a few key spots.
Corner back is one of those spots, and they address that need here with Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia.
31. New England Patriots
Dont'a Higtower, LB, Alabama is a perfect fit for the Patriots. He spent his college career playing for Nick Saban. That will prepare him for the challenge for playing for Bill Belichick.
Hightower has good football instincts and will push for a starting spot from day one.
32. Green Bay Packers
The Packers need a pass rusher to help improve their defense. They get just that in Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall.
It is scary to think about the Packers being able to send Curry and Clay Matthews off the edge at opposing quarterbacks who are already playing from behind.