2012 NFL Mock Draft: 5 Prospects from Alabama Projected in First Round

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2012 NFL Mock Draft: 5 Prospects from Alabama Projected in First Round
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With Trent Richardson, Dre Kirkpatrick and Dont'a Hightower making themselves eligible for the 2012 NFL Draft, it's likely that the University of Alabama will have, at the very minimum, four first-round picks in April's draft. Our mock draft currently has them at five first-rounders. 

Let's take a look at where these five players may end up come April:

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

The first members of the Crimson Tide come off the board in back-to-back picks. Upshaw is a man amongst boys at the rush linebacker position, and he'd be a perfect pick for the pass-rush challenged Bills. There's a chance he could be gone by pick 10 if he continues to impress in pre-draft workouts. 

Richardson could go much higher (No. 4 to Cleveland), but his slight free-fall would likely be stopped by Kansas City. The Chiefs need another impact running back to team with Jamaal Charles. If you remember back to 2010, the Chiefs won 10 games and the AFC West largely on a two-headed running attack of Charles and Thomas Jones. 

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

13.  Arizona Cardinals—Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford 

14.  Dallas Cowboys—Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

By the time April comes around, we could see Kirkpatrick as a surefire top-10 pick. He has the length and cover skills that any team in the pass-heavy NFL would love to have. The Cowboys get a gift with him falling to No. 14.

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

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

Hightower's lack of sideline-to-sideline speed will likely keep him further down in the first round. But don't underestimate Hightower, who you could likely call the best combination of instincts and physicality available at the linebacker position. The Giants need both in the middle three.

27.  Houston Texans—Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis 

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

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

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

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

I'm not sure that Barron would be a first-round pick in most years, but a weak safety class will inflate his value near the top 32. The Patriots, who had a constant rotation at safety in 2011, need help at the backend. Need meets value here for New England's second first-round pick. 

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

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