2012 NFL Mock Draft: Players Sure to be Picked in First Round

Eric Ball@@BigLeagueEballFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2012

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 8: Defensive tackle Jared Crick #94 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers draws a beed on running back Jordan Hall #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during their game at Memorial Stadium October 8, 2011 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska Defeated Ohio State 34-27. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

The purpose of this article isn’t to tell you that Andrew Luck will be drafted in the first round.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you that.

I’m here to provide you with information regarding players that are currently on the fringe of the first round. That is, players that have the talent, but may get knocked back to the second round due to a poor senior season, injury or something else.

Here are three players that are poised to wow the talent evaluators at the combine and vault themselves into the exclusive first round category: 

Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska

The 6'5", 285-pounder would have easily been a Top-20 pick if he didn’t tear his pectoral muscle in the middle of the season.

He has incredible strength, which allowed him to finish eighth on the Nebraska career sack list despite missing two months of his senior season. This guy is incredibly tough to move and will be able to be a force against the run at the next level.

There are never sure things when it comes to a pro prospect, but I’d be shocked if Crick wasn’t a giant contributor to an NFL team for the next five to 10 years.

Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

What a difference a year can make.

At this time last year, Jenkins was coming off a spectacular junior season at Florida, where he easily could have been a first-round pick had he decided to declare.

Instead, he came back, got busted for his second marijuana possession charge in the span of six months and got kicked off the team.

A year with no publicity has really crushed his stock, but that doesn’t erase all of the positives he brings to the table. He has incredible speed, athleticism and loose hips that make him incredibly smooth in coverage.

He has great hands for a corner and holds incredible instincts when the ball is in the air. 

Chris Polk, RB, Washington

Polk already announced his decision to forgo his senior season and enter the draft, and it was the right one.

He is already second on the Huskies all-time rushing list and posted his 21st career 100-yard game in the Alamo Bowl. He finished the regular season with 1,488 yards for the season.

His decision was really smart because of the thin class at running back.

How could the Patriots, with two late first-round picks, not take a stab at this guy?

2012 NFL Mock Draft

Note: The first 20 picks are set in stone (with the exception of a few coin-flips). Picks No. 21-32 are based off playoff projections.

1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford)

2. St. Louis Rams: Matt Kalil, OT (USC)

3. Minnesota Vikings: Justin Blackmon, WR (Oklahoma State)

4. Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson, RB (Alabama)

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB (Alabama)

6. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III, QB (Baylor)

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Morris Claiborne, CB (LSU)

8. Carolina Panthers (subject to coin-flip): Melvin Ingram, DE (South Carolina)

9. Miami Dolphins: Riley Reiff, OT (Iowa)

10. Buffalo Bills: Quinton Coples, DE (North Carolina)

11. Kansas City Chiefs (subject to coin-flip): Alshon Jeffery, WR (South Carolina)

12. Seattle Seahawks: Jonathan Martin, OT (Stanford)

13. Arizona Cardinals: David DeCastro, G (Stanford)

14. Dallas Cowboys: Courtney Upshaw, OLB (Alabama)

15. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Kuechly, ILB (Boston College)

16. New York Jets: Michael Floyd, WR (Notre Dame)

17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland): Cordy Glenn, OT (Georgia)

18. San Diego Chargers: Mike Adams, OT (Ohio State)

19. Chicago Bears: Lamar Miller, RB (Miami)

20. Tennessee Titans: Devon Still, DT (Penn State)

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Stephon Gilmore, CB (South Carolina)

22. Detroit Lions: Kendall Wright, WR (Baylor)

23. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta): Janoris Jenkins, CB (North Alabama)

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dontari Poe, NT (Memphis)

25. Houston Texans: Alfonzo Dennard, CB (Nebraska)

26. Denver Broncos: Vontaze Burfict, ILB (Arizona State)

27. New York Giants: Zach Brown, OLB (North Carolina)

28. San Francisco 49ers: Landry Jones, QB (Oklahoma)

29. Baltimore Ravens: Dont’a Hightower, ILB (Alabama)

30. New England Patriots (from New Orleans): Chris Polk, RB (Washington)

31. New England Patriots: Jared Crick, DE (Nebraska)

32. Green Bay Packers: Markelle Martin, S (Oklahoma State)

Follow BigLeagueEball on Twitter


    Brett Favre Looking to End Youth Tackle Football

    NFL logo

    Brett Favre Looking to End Youth Tackle Football

    Green Bay Packers
    via Green Bay Packers

    Players Under the Most Pressure at Minicamp

    NFL logo

    Players Under the Most Pressure at Minicamp

    Maurice Moton
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: NFL to Ban Winston 3 Games

    NFL logo

    Report: NFL to Ban Winston 3 Games

    Alec Nathan
    via Bleacher Report

    Tyrod Will Keep Baker on the Bench

    NFL logo

    Tyrod Will Keep Baker on the Bench

    Mike Freeman
    via Bleacher Report