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2012 NFL Mock Draft: How the Top 10 Looks Before the NFL Scouting Combine

Lee NoeContributor IIJanuary 12, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft: How the Top 10 Looks Before the NFL Scouting Combine

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    With over half of the 2012 NFL Draft order set in stone, predictions can begin to take some from of consistency and accuracy. As the NFL Playoffs begin, we can turn our heads to the NFL Draft and see the impacts it will have on our beloved teams floundering at the bottom or middle of the pack.

    The BCS Championship game in hindsight, have any players from the Crimson Tide or LSU seen their stock rise or fall?

No. 1 Indianapolis Colts

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    Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Stanford

    Even with the hype of Robert Griffin III all over the media these days, Andrew Luck is still the top pick. He has proven himself worthy of the #1 overall selection for two years now, and hasn't lost any steam. Unless Griffin truly wows scouts at the Combine and his pro day, he'll be the second quarterback off the board.

    There seems to be more negative news coming from the Manning camp as the months go by. Don't be surprised to see him in a different uniform next year... if he plays at all.

No. 2 St. Louis Rams

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    Matt Kalil, Offensive Tackle, USC

    Jason Smith is a bust. Too bad because I liked him coming out of Baylor a few years ago (as did everyone else).

    The Rams need to protect Sam Bradford, and Kalil is a stud on the blind side. Bradford got a big contract coming into the NFL the last year without a rookie cap and the Rams are stuck with that. This means they will do everything in their power to protect him.

    Justin Blackmon should get considerable consideration here, but wide receivers are easier to come by than rock solid tackle prospects.

No. 3 Minnesota Vikings

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    Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State

    While the Vikings have a decent group of receivers on their roster, the team could definitely stand to upgrade with Blackmon.

    He is a tremendous talent and should provide Christian Ponder with another valuable weapon alongside Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson.

No. 4 Cleveland Browns

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    Robert Griffin III, Quarterback, Baylor

    If the Rams and the Vikings didn't invest in first round quarterbacks over the past couple years, Griffin would likely be picked higher.

    Being compared to the likes of Michael Vick, Griffin has high expectations coming into the NFL. I think he will live up to those expectations... but it may take a bit longer than it did for Cam Newton.

    Colt McCoy is nothing more than a backup in the NFL, and the Browns have to see it as plain as day. He was a good story for a couple years, but it's time the Browns made a move in the AFC North.

No. 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Morris Claiborne, Cornerback, LSU

    What the heck happened to Tampa Bay? They looked so promising a year ago, and are now picking in the Top 5 once again.

    Aqib Talib is too much of a liability to rely on and Ronde Barber is going to retire any day now. With that, Claiborne will have the task of holding down the Bucs secondary for the foreseeable future.

    Unless Dre Kirkpatrick makes a drastic move up draft boards, Claiborne will be the first corner off the board.

No. 6 Washington Redskins

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    Alshon Jeffery, Wide Receiver, S. Carolina

    Jeffery will fly up the boards after the Combine and during workouts, and the Skins could use a playmaker on offense to pair with the veteran Santana Moss.

    With Landry Jones going back to Oklahoma for his senior season, the Skins will surely not take a quarterback unless Griffin falls to them.

No. 7 Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Quinton Coples, Defensive End, N. Carolina

    The Jags need to upgrade their pass rush, and Coples is one of the best available. Even with Matt Roth and Jeremy Mincey doing a decent job, Coples will help take pressure off of the Jags' young and talented defensive front.

    They could also make a play on Riley Reiff, seeing as though the team was tied for seventh in sacks surrendered this season.

No. 8 Miami Dolphins

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    Riley Reiff, Offensive Tackle, Iowa

    I had Jonathan Martin slated here, but Reiff has the edge for now. In the coming months, I wouldn't be surprised if Martin takes over the #2 tackle spot behind Matt Kalil.

    The Dolphins have former #1 overall pick Jake Long, so you would assume Reiff would be slated on the right side (where he fits better). Whoever is playing quarterback in Miami will have solid protection for the next few years.

No. 9 Carolina Panthers

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    Dre Kirkpatrick, Cornerback, Alabama

    The Panthers would have loved to get their hands on Morris Claiborne or Alshon Jeffery, but alas, they have played their way out of range.

    Kirkpatrick is a big corner at an estimated 6'2" and can measure up with most wide receivers in the NFL. I doubt he falls out of the Top 10 let alone the Top 15.

No. 10 Buffalo Bills

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    Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker / Defensive End, Alabama

    Buddy Nix has said the team is looking for a pass-rusher, tackle, wide receiver, and a corner, either in the draft or through free agency.

    Upshaw, Melvin Ingram, and Whitney Mercilus are all options for the Bills. They could also look toward Jonathan Martin or Alshon Jeffery if he is available. 

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