2012 NFL Mock Draft: Complete First-Round Projections

Tony Santorsa@@TonySantorsaSenior Writer IIJanuary 2, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft: Complete First-Round Projections

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    With the 2011 NFL regular season coming to an end, that means that 20 fanbases will not be rooting on their teams in the playoffs as their season has just come to an end—but don't worry, we've got your back with a quick pick 'em up! 

    We're going to take a quick look at the 2012 NFL draft. 

    In that spirit, here is my very first 2012 NFL mock draft as I will be mocking the entire first round. 

1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck

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    In my opinion, this one is a given: The Indianapolis Colts will be drafting Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in the 2012. 

    The real question is, what will the Colts do with Peyton Manning

2. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon

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    Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams need a wide receiver badly, and the best available is Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon. 

    The Rams missed out on A.J. Green and Julio Jones a year ago, and they have to capitalize on acquiring the amazing talents and incredible potential of Blackmon. 

3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil

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    Matt Kalil to the Minnesota Vikings makes perfect sense.

    The Vikings have a young quarterback in Christian Ponder and an elite running back in Adrian Peterson—Kalil will do a fantastic job at protecting Ponder and opening up holes for A.P. for many years to come. 

4. Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson

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    Trent Richardson is the best available running back in the 2012 draft, and the Cleveland Browns will snag him up immediately.

    Forget Peyton Hillis, he's nothing but a fraud and a one-year wonder. 

    Richardson is the answer for a Browns running game for many years to come. 

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne

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    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are aging at the cornerback position with Ronde Barber unlikely to return for 2012—so what does that mean? There's an open spot opposite cornerback Aqib Talib.

    Morris Claiborne is the best available cornerback in this year's class, as he has the ability to emerge as one of the best cover-cornerbacks in the league for many years to come. 

6. Washington Redskins: Ryan Tannehill

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    The Washington Redskins need a quarterback and I don't see Mike Shanahan rolling the dice on Robert Griffin III—so who's the best available? Ryan Tannehill.

    Tannehill has the arm strength to make throws at the next level as well as all the tools necessary to succeed in the NFL. 

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dre Kirkpatrick

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    Dre Kirkpatrick is one of the best defensive backs available in the 2012 draft class, and I find it hard to believe that the Jacksonville Jaguars will pass on such a great talent with loads of potential.

    Kirkpatrick was one hell of a cornerback on arguably the NCAA's top defense run by Nick Saban—I don't see him having too much of a struggling in adjusting to the professional level. 

8. Carolina Panthers: Michael Floyd

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    It's time to start putting pieces around Cam Newton, and Michael Floyd is the perfect fit.

    Floyd is a physical, playmaking wide receiver who only has two knocks on him: durability and off-the-field issues. Other than that, he's one hell of a talent. 

9. Miami Dolphins: Robert Griffin III

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    This has to be a gift from above. 

    If Robert Griffin III falls to the Miami Dolphins, they will select him with no doubt in their minds. 

    RG3 could very well be this year's Cam Newton, as he's proved to be a solid prospect and has the ability to make plays on his feet. 

    Perhaps Griffin will solidify Miami's quarterback position for many years to come. 

10. Buffalo Bills: Courtney Upshaw

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    The Buffalo Bills desperately need a pass rush coming from the edge, and Courtney Upshaw should be able to fill that role.

    Upshaw was one of the best pass-rushers in college with Alabama, and he plays a well-rounded brand of football—he's definitely a potential elite pass-rusher, and can hold his ground against the run. 

11. Kansas City Chiefs: Riley Reiff

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    It's time to adjust the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive line, as Barry Richardson has struggled. 

    With that being said, the Chiefs will likely select offensive tackle Riley Reiff.

    The Iowa product is a very strong offensive tackle who has all the tools to dominate at the NFL level. 

12. Seattle Seahawks: Landry Jones

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    Much like last year's draft, quarterbacks went early and often, and the Seattle Seahawks will certainly reach on this one as three quarterbacks are already off of the board. 

    Landry Jones certainly has all the tools to play at the NFL level as he is one of the most accurate passers in the 2012 draft class. 

13. Arizona Cardinals: Jonathan Martin

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    The Arizona Cardinals need some serious help on their offensive line—especially with Levi Brown, as the fifth overall pick back in 2007 is nothing but a bust.

    Jonathan Martin is the best available offensive tackle available and is a definite upgrade over Brown. 

14. Dallas Cowboys: Alfonzo Dennard

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    The Dallas Cowboys secondary struggled for the most part in 2011, and Alfonzo Dennard would certainly boost the team's pass defense.

    Dennard is very versatile as he can play safety at cornerback, so he's a perfect fit with the Cowboys. 

15. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Kuechly

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    Luke Kuechly is the 2012 NFL draft's top middle linebacker and the Philadelphia Eagles need him the most.

    While watching the Boston College product play, he reminds me a lot of the San Francisco 49ers' Patrick Willis—and I am sure that the Eagles would love it if he could produce like Willis. 

16. New York Jets: Zach Brown

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    With Bart Scott getting another year older, Zach Brown could be a possible replacement.

    Zach Brown had a very productive career at North Carolina and should fit in well in Rex Ryan's 3-4 defense as an inside linebacker, despite being projected as a 4-3 linebacker. 

17. Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland): Lamar Miller

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    The Cincinnati Bengals already have a solid quarterback in Andy Dalton, they have an elite wide receiver in A.J. Green and all they need next is a running back.

    With Cedric Benson getting another year older, Lamar Miller appears to be the perfect selection.

    Miller had a stellar career with the Miami Hurricanes as one of the most elusive running backs in the 2012 draft class. 

18. San Diego Chargers: Quinton Coples

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    As of right now, Quinton Coples has the talent to be a top five draft pick, but he's still a raw pass-rusher who needs a lot of developing in order to be great at the next level.

    However, Coples can still be productive as a rookie with the San Diego Chargers as he'd fit perfectly in their 3-4 defense. 

19. Chicago Bears: Alshon Jeffery

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    Alshon Jeffery is one amazing prospect that has all the talent to be a great wide receiver in the NFL.

    Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears desperately need a top tier, true No. 1 wide receiver and Jeffery certainly is more than capable of filling that role. 

20. Tennessee Titans: Devon Still

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    Devon Still is the ideal defensive lineman in the 4-3 defense and would be a smart pick here by the Tennessee Titans.

    The Titans need some help developing a pass rush from the inside, and Still is one of the best available for doing so. 

21. New York Giants: David DeCastro

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    David DeCastro is one of the top offensive linemen from the 2012 draft class and would be a perfect pick for the New York Giants. 

    The Giants have been dealing with a makeshift offensive line all season and this offensive guard out of Stanford would certainly bring some stability to New York's offensive line. 

22. Cincinnati Bengals: Vontaze Burfict

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    Vontaze Burfict is a thumper—he's the kind of linebacker who will punish opposing teams each and every play—that is when he wants to play.

    With a few character issues, Burfict should be a top 10 draft pick, but the Cincinnati Bengals will gladly take him with the 22nd overall pick. 

23. Denver Broncos: Stephon Gilmore

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    With Champ Bailey getting older and older, his skills should figure to be diminishing sometime soon, so Stephon Gilmore is definitely a wise pick here for the Denver Broncos.

    Gilmore is very talented cornerback who has a real nose for the ball as he's one of the top playmaking defenders in the 2012 draft class. 

24. Cleveland Browns (via Atlanta): Kendall Wright

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    The Cleveland Browns are in some serious need of offensive firepower. 

    They have already drafted running back Trent Richardson, so why not keep building the offense? Colt McCoy needs it.

    Kendall Wright is a playmaker who can line up as the team's slot and should serve as a nice "safety-net" for McCoy. 

25. Detroit Lions: Peter Konz

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    The Detroit Lions need to make sure that they're rolling out an offensive line that is built to protect the injury-prone Matthew Stafford.

    With that being said, the Lions could use a center here as Dominic Raiola is aging and has struggled a bit in 2011—Peter Konz out of Wisconsin seems like a good decision here. 

26. Houston Texans: Janoris Jenkins

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    Janoris Jenkins is one of the most talented players in the 2012 draft, but has major character issues—he can only sit on the board for so long.

    The Houston Texans already have cornerback Johnathan Joseph and could certainly use Jenkins as the other starting cornerback.

    Joseph and Jenkins could be one of the most dominating cornerback tandems in the NFL. 

27. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dontari Poe

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers' aging defense could use a jolt of youth, and Dontari Poe could be the perfect match. 

    Poe could be the future replacement of Casey Hampton, as his skills are starting to diminishing—it's time to start looking at the future. 

28. San Francisco 49ers: Melvin Ingram

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    Imagine Melvin Ingram and Aldon Smith playing on the same defensive front together—yeah, that could cause a lot of nightmares for opposing quarterbacks and offensive coordinators. 

    Ingram has the right athleticism to be a top tier pass-rusher for many years to come at the NFL level. 

29. Baltimore Ravens: Dont’a Hightower

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    Could Ray Lewis' career finally be coming to an end? Who knows, but Dont’a Hightower is the best available player that suits the Baltimore Ravens' needs.

    Hightower may not start right away, but he could be the future replacement to the future Hall of Famer, Lewis. 

30. New England Patriots (via New Orleans): Dwight Jones

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    Standing in at 6'4", Dwight Jones is the exact type of wide receiver the New England Patriots need.

    Jones not only has great size, but he's one of the most explosive wide receivers in the 2012 draft—another thing that the Patriots could certainly use.

    If Bill Belichick doesn't trade this pick, then I could see him using it on Jones as he offers the most value at this point. 

31. New England Patriots: Jared Crick

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    Jared Crick is one prospect who has taken a blow to his draft value as he missed the second half of the 2011 season with a torn pectoral muscle. 

    However, the value is still there and Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots would likely love to have him aboard.

    Crick is a stellar talent at the defensive end position and could definitely start opposite of Andre Carter. 

32. Green Bay Packers: Jerel Worthy

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    The Green Bay Packers certainly could have used Cullen Jenkins in 2011, but in 2012 they could definitely play with Michigan State product Jerel Worthy.

    Worthy can play in any defensive front and is one of the most powerful and explosive defensive linemen in this year's draft class.