2012 NFL Mock Draft: Projecting Mark Barron and the Best Safety Prospects

Chris Trapasso@ChrisTrapassoAnalyst IJanuary 12, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 05:  Chase Clement #88 of the LSU Tigers against Jerrell Harris #5, Mark Barron #4 and Nico Johnson #35 of the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Chances are you've heard about Morris Claiborne, Dre Kirkpatrick and Alfonzo Dennard, the top cornerbacks in the 2012 NFL draft class

How about a look at the best safety prospects? 

With the NFL clearly a pass-heavy league, teams know they need talented players in their secondary to be successful. 

Quarterbacks are throwing down the field more now than ever, so safeties will definitely be important in the future. 

Mark Barron, Alabama

Barron is the clear-cut top safety in the 2012 draft class. At 6'2'' and 220 pounds, he's not afraid to deliver the big hit on receivers crossing the middle or running backs reaching the last line of defense. 

He had 66 tackles and two interceptions during his impressive senior campaign. 

Barron was the leader of the Crimson Tide secondary and is equally stout against the run as he is against the pass. 

The Alabama standout should go in the late stages of the first round. 

Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State 

Because Barron's teammate Robert Lester and Georgia's Bacarri Rambo decided to return to their respective schools instead of entering the draft, the safety class is relatively thin compared to other seasons. 

Martin isn't a bad prospect, though. 

At 6'1'' and 200 pounds, Martin isn't as big as Barron and is more of a natural "center fielder" who can cover a lot of ground as a free safety. 

With that said, he's doesn't shy away from impact on deep balls down the field. 

Martin should be a second- or third-round pick. 

Winston Guy Jr., Kentucky 

After Barron and Martin, there is a considerable drop the prospectus of safeties in this class. Notre Dame's Harrison Smith is a name to keep in mind, but he was disappointing against Michigan or USC, two of the better opponents the Fighting Irish played this season. 

I have Guy has my third-ranked safety.

He played much more consistently than Notre Dame's Smith. 

At 6'1'' and 215 pounds, the Kentucky product has good size for his position and was extremely productive during his career with the Wildcats. 

Guy had a total of 225 tackles and five interceptions over the last two seasons. 

Because he's not the fastest sideline-to-sideline, Guy will be a mid-round pick, but he has the potential to be a solid starter at the next level. 

2012 NFL Mock Draft (Jan. 10 Update)

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: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

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

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

7.  Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

8.  Carolina Panthers: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

9.  Miami Dolphins: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

10.  Buffalo Bills: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama

11.  Seattle Seahawks: Nick Perry, OLB, USC

12.  Kansas City Chiefs: Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama

13.  Arizona Cardinals: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

14.  Dallas Cowboys: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

15.  Philadelphia Eagles: Vontaze Burfict, LB Arizona State

16.  New York Jets: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina

17.  Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland Raiders): Lamar Miller, RB, Miami  

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

19.  Chicago Bears: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

20.  Tennessee Titans: Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina

21.  Cincinnati Bengals: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

22.  Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta Falcons): Ronnell Lewis, LB, Oklahoma

23.  Detroit Lions: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

24.  Pittsburgh Steelers: Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia

25.  Denver Broncos: Devon Still, DT, Penn State

26.  Houston Texans: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

27.  New York Giants: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

28.  Baltimore Ravens: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

29.  New England Patriots (from New Orleans Saints): Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

30.  San Francisco 49ers: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

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

32.  Green Bay Packers: Chris Polk, RB, Washington


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