2012 NFL Mock Draft: Which Late First-Round Picks Will Surprise?

Michael DixonAnalyst IIIJanuary 4, 2012

OXFORD, MS - OCTOBER 15:  Defensive back Mark Barron #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide lines up against Mississippi on October 15, 2011 at Vaught- Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
Butch Dill/Getty Images

Just because someone isn't a high pick, doesn't mean that he won't make an impact in the NFL. Often times, the impact is felt by the players in the later part of the draft. The high picks go to better teams, get to play comfortable roles and aren't asked to do too much.

None of these players are going to be selected in the Top 16 of the draft. But by this time next year, we will be talking about the impact that they made.


Mark Barron

The Alabama safety has something that few other players have—diversity. He can play the run, as well as the pass, and that's what makes him valuable to a team like the Giants. 

The NFL has become a league that's dominated by offenses, specifically passing offenses. Many of those teams have defenses that can't do anything against the run. 

Barron is more than capable of coming up into the box to go against the run. He's also able to drop back and defend the pass, which is becoming more of a need in the NFL.

As a senior, Barron will step into the NFL and make a big impact on Sunday. 


Luke Kuechly

Kuechly is another player who will to step in and help a team that needs to defend the run better. There's no shortage of those teams in the NFL. Kuechly's best attribute is that there's very little risk around him.

He's a sure tackler and just doesn't make mistakes. Kuechly moves around the field well.

Teams picking in the later half of the draft are normally some of the better teams in the league. Kuechly won't be as needed to lead the defense. He'll have the players around him, and will just need to stay in the middle, tackling ball carriers. 


Peter Konz

Because he doesn't play a "premium position," Konz will fall to the second half of the first round. But when he's actually on the field, Konz is going to be one of the top immediate impact players, and will be good for a long time. 

It's hard to win in the NFL without a good center. Someone has to get the ball to the quarterback, and then protect the middle of the field for the running back. 

That's what Konz will do. The team that lands him will get an impact center for a long time. Few teams can't use that.

Order of picks 1-20 is here.

* denotes that a coin flip will be used to determine the order of picking.

Picks 21-32 will be officially determined by playoff finish.


Pick Team Player
1. Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck
2.  St. Louis Rams Matt Kalil
3. Minnesota Vikings Justin Blackmon
4.  Cleveland Browns Trent Richardson
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Dre Kirkpatrick
6. Washington Redskins Robert Griffin III
7. Jacksonville Jaguars Dre Kirkpatrick
8.* Carolina Panthers Vontaze Burfict
9.* Miami Dolphins Landry Jones
10. Buffalo Bills Jonathan Martin
11.* Kansas City Chiefs Riley Reiff
12.* Seattle Seahawks Alshon Jeffery
13. Arizona Cardinals David DeCastro
14.  Dallas Cowboys Alfonzo Dennard
15.  Philadelphia Eagles Zach Brown
16. New York Jets Cordy Glenn
17. Cincinnati Bengals (via Oak) Michael Floyd
18. San Diego Chargers Zebrie Sanders
19.  Chicago Bears Dont'a Hightower
20.  Tennessee Titans Mohamed Sanu
21. Denver Broncos Devon Still
22. New York Giants Mark Barron
23. Houston Texans Fletcher Cox
24. Detroit Lions Luke Kuechly
25. Cincinnati Bengals Lamar Miller
26. Cleveland Browns (via ATL) Kendall Wright
27. Pittsburgh Steelers Courtney Upshaw
28. New England Patriots Janoris Jenkins
29. Baltimore Ravens Peter Konz
30. San Francisco 49ers Stephon Gilmore
31. New England Patriots Jared Crick
32.  Green Bay Packers Melvin Ingram