2012 NFL Mock Draft: Shedding Light on the Most Unheralded First-Round Prospects

Zach KruseSenior Analyst IJanuary 11, 2012

EAST HARTFORD, CT - NOVEMBER 26:  Mohamed Sanu #6 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights carries the ball as Yawin Smallwood #33 of the Connecticut Huskies defends on November 26, 2011 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. The Connecticut Huskies defeated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 40-22.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

In our 2012 NFL mock draft, we shed some light on the guys you may now know but have the ability to be first round picks.

1.  Indianapolis Colts—Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

2.  St. Louis Rams—Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

3.  Minnesota Vikings—Matt Kalil, OT, USC

4.  Cleveland Browns—Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

5.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

6.  Washington Redskins—Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

7.  Jacksonville Jaguars—Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa 

8.  Carolina Panthers—Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

9.  Miami Dolphins—Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

10.  Buffalo Bills—Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama

11.  Kansas City Chiefs—Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

12.  Seattle Seahawks—Devon Still, DT, Penn State

With other defensive lineman—Jared Crick, Jerel Worthy, etc.—falling down draft boards, Still has seen his stock rise. He was dominating at times this season and can play in either style defense. 

13.  Arizona Cardinals—Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford 

14.  Dallas Cowboys—Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

15.  Philadelphia Eagles—Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College 

16.  New York Jets—Ronnell Lewis, LB, Oklahoma

17.  Cincinnati Bengals—Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

18.  San Diego Chargers—David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

19.  Chicago Bears—Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

20.  Tennessee Titans—Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

21.  Cincinnati Bengals—Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

Baylor's breakout receiver likely played himself into the first round with a huge 2011 season. Wright's ability to win in the slot and make explosive plays down the field will make him a wanted man come April.

22.  Cleveland Browns—Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State  

23.  Detroit Lions—Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

24.  Pittsburgh Steelers—Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia

25.  Denver Broncos—Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

26.  New York Giants—Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama

27.  Houston Texans—Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis

Consider Poe this draft's Phil Taylor. At 6'5", 345 pounds, he'll get looks in the first round. More and more teams are transitioning into the 3-4 defense, and Poe is the prototypical 3-4 nose tackle.      

28.  Baltimore Ravens—Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State

29.  New England Patriots—Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

30.  San Francisco 49ers—Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers

Sanu went back and forth on his decision to enter the draft, but he'll be happy with his decision come April. As the league becomes more pass-oriented, elite-level receivers will be in high demand. Sanu has the skill set to be a No. 1 receiver. 

31.  New England Patriots—Mark Barron, S, Alabama

32.  Green Bay Packers—Nick Perry, OLB, USC