2012 NFL Mock Draft: Examining Possible Landing Spots for LSU's Morris Claiborne

Chris Trapasso@ChrisTrapassoAnalyst IJanuary 12, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 03:  Head coach Les Miles and Morris Claiborne #17 of the LSU Tigers celebrate their 42-10 win over the Georgia Bulldogs during the 2011 SEC Championship Game at Georgia Dome on December 3, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

LSU's stud cornerback Morris Claiborne declared for the 2012 NFL draft today and there's a great possibility he'll be the first defensive player taken on April 26th.

Where is he an ideal fit?

Where will he land?

Let's take a look.

Minnesota Vikings

Ideally, the Vikings would love to spend an early draft pick to help shorten the learning curve for quarterback Christian Ponder.

However, they might not be afforded that luxury depending on how the first two picks go.  

If the St. Louis Rams snag Justin Blackmon after the Indianapolis Colts select Andrew Luck, Claiborne will be the best available fit for Minnesota's secondary that allowed more than 250 yards per game through the air in 2011.

Playing in the same division as Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler, taking the standout corner would be an intelligent decision. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers need help on offense, but they especially need to bolster the second two levels of their defense. 

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons avoids Sean Jones #26 and Elbert Mack #33 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a touchdown during play at the Georgia Dome on January 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons won 45-24. (Photo by
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Their secondary gave up the most passing yards per game in the NFL this season, making Claiborne the logical selection. He can be an instant starter for a rebuilding team playing in the same division as Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton. 

At 6'0'' and 185 pounds, he'll need to add some bulk to match up with some of the bigger possession receivers in the NFL, but he has the instincts, athleticism and ball-hawking ability to contribute immediately.

Carolina Panthers

This is the most unlikely landing spot for Claiborne as the Panthers hold the No. 8 overall position. While the Panthers could be looking to add more offensive weapons to Cam Newton's arsenal, the defense is in need of major reworking.   

They allowed nearly 250 passing yards per game in 2011 and underrated corner Chris Gamble needs help in the defensive backfield. 

Carolina would likely welcome Claiborne if Blackmon and Jeffery are off the board. 

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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