It's time to get bold with the traditional NFL mock draft. There are some teams out there that could stand to boost their station in life, and that is what we will examine here.
First off, there are far too many scenarios start switching things around. What we have here is a regular mock draft in the order the teams sit currently.
Second, we have included a sub-note that will make reference when and if a team should make a trade and why they would think of doing such a thing. Those teams at the top will be asking a costly sum, but as we will see, there are a few players that are worth the jump.
Here is a mock of the 2012 NFL draft with trade possibilities.
1. Indianapolis Colts (2-14): Andrew Luck, Stanford, QB
Andrew Luck gives us the easiest pick of the draft. There is no need to trade when you have the most proven quarterback in recent history sitting right there. In fact, if they are going to trade something, it will be Peyton Manning.
If you believe Reggie Hayes of The Boston Herald, that may not be the case. Jim Irsay may want Luck to start right off the bat. If you are going to get a premier quarterback, you don't sit him on the bench.
So we almost place the Colts in trade land, but not for the No. 1 pick—instead, possibly the legend they already have on the roster.
2. St. Louis Rams (2-14): Matt Kalil, USC, OT
Call me nuts, or just call me a dumb, biased Rams fan. Either way, I am still sold on Sam Bradford. The Rams quarterback was hit hard this season by crucial injuries on offense and an offensive line that couldn't keep out a thrown Kleenex.
Bradford may need a star receiver, but he needs to be assured of his health first. Kalil will buy Bradford enough time to target the bevy of young underrated receivers he already has.
The Rams hold a most valuable pick when you consider Robert Griffin III is chilling down on the board. They can flip this to any number of teams. This is the perfect chance to sell to any of a couple teams that will be bidding hard, so a trade could come here instead of the Kalil pick.
3. Minnesota Vikings (3-13): Morris Claiborne, LSU, CB
Claiborne was the pick for me a week ago and remains so today. The Vikings need a big strong corner that can shutdown receivers as well as invigorate fans with his play making.
4. Cleveland Browns (4-12): Trent Richardson, Alabama, RB
Trent Richardson is the real deal and will be that consistent force in the backfield this team is craving. The BCS title game showed that Richardson will not be denied, no matter how stout the defense.
And we come to the first team that will flirt heavily with swapping spots with the St. Louis Rams. If that happens, you can bet that the Rams take Justin Blackmon here. Here is how it will go down.
The Browns would take RG3, the Vikings would see great line help in Matt Kalil and take him. That leaves the Rams with a gift bag of picks and a great receiver in Justin Blackmon here.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12): Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama, CB
The Bucs need a cornerback badly, and one that will provide some physicality on the wings. There is no need to trade for Morris Claiborne when an equally talented Kirkpatrick looms.
6. Washington Redskins (5-10): Robert Griffin III, Baylor, QB
In Washington, there is a better chance that Griffin gets thrown into the fire immediately. I will take him and his skill set to succeed after some initial growing pains.
Griffin has the intangibles as a leader to infect a franchise that is in dire need of such things. This is a perfect match for player and team.
It is once again all about RG3. The Redskins are hot to trot for a quarterback, and it remains to be seen how hot they are.
If they even have a sniff the Browns are not enamored with their current quarterback situation, they will flip with the Rams. St. Louis still gets their wide receiver stud and the Redskins get the second-best quarterback on the board.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11): Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State, WR
Let me step out on a very long limb here and say that much of what ails the Jaguars offense is a bona fide star receiver.
After seeing Blackmon in the Fiesta Bowl, I am convinced he is the second coming of Julio Jones. He is big, strong and just wins possession.
If he wants a ball, he is going to get it. That type of tenacity will go well with a franchise that has been mired in the doldrums for far too long. If he is gone, you might see Michael Floyd make a drastic move up.
8. Carolina Panthers (6-10): Quinton Coples, North Carolina, DE
The Panthers need some youth in the defensive front and the jury is till very much out on Coples. If the Panthers can look past his label as a sluggish player, he is their man.
9. Miami Dolphins (6-10): Riley Reiff, Iowa, OT
The Dolphins could be major player on or before draft day. Matt Flynn gives the Packers a great chip to bandy about to prospective buyers. Miami is not in dire need as Matt Moore proved competent in 2011. The key now is to keep, whoever does take snaps, healthy.
10. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Luke Kuechly, Boston College, LB
The Bills need a great deal more toughness on defense. Kuechly has a mind for the game and is adept at being at the right place at the right time. The Bills proved they can score this season; now they just need to temper that with some defense.
This pick hinges on a great showing at the combine as many still grapple with Kuechly's size and speed. I feel he is a gamer.
11. Seattle Seahawks (7-9): Michael Brockers, LSU, DT
This is a tough one as the Seahawks continue to be the most volatile team out there. I am banking on the beast Brockers to win the day. But alas...
There is growing sentiment that the Seattle Seahawks want and need a quarterback. That could mean Ryan Tannehill who looms, but I just don't see him as a first rounder, yet.
That leaves to possibilities. NBC Sports reports Matt Flynn is very much in play for an Emerald City landing. If not, they may give the Rams or another top team to steal Robert Griffin III from the other would be teams hungry for a QB.
12. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9): Jonathan Martin, Stanford, OT
This would be a steal. In all reality, Martin could jump on this board into the top five with a solid combine. The best part about Martin is his run-blocking, which should help the Chiefs move the ball all next season. Well-regarded, Martin should see a bump in the next couple of weeks on boards.
13. Arizona Cardinals (8-8): Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State, LB
Yup, I am still very much sold on Vontaze Burfict and will continue until he shows otherwise in the draft process.
Burfict has the size, talent and tenacity to be the next Ray Lewis. The problem is his maturity and mental lapses that hurt his team in the way of penalties.
The Cardinals are craving a player that can step up and be a big ol' bad monster on the field. If he can be corralled into a team first ethos, Burfict may be the steal of the draft. At least, that is what the crystal ball in January says.
14. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Courtney Upshaw, Alabama, OLB
After a horrible final game in which their toughness was questioned, the Cowboys could use a workhorse who is as versatile as he is tough. Upshaw is a hungry player that would uplift a spiraling franchise.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8): Michael Floyd, Notre Dame, WR
Here is the thing—Floyd could be long gone by this point. If he kills it in the next couple of months, we might see Floyd reach top-10 potential. The Eagles still need a receiver, as nobody is buying into DeSean Jackson's apology.
The need for a linebacker is quite evident, I just don't see a plug and play beast at this point in the draft. The value play here is Floyd for now.
It's time for a new star to take the line at receiver. Floyd is it, but I think he will do very well in the draft process and may get snagged by a team like the Cardinals, who could use a stud like this.
This could all change with an awesome showing by someone like Kevin Reddick at the combine.
16. New York Jets (8-8): Devon Still, Penn State, DE/DT
Devon Still picked the right time to come out. He won't blow you away, but it doesn't mean he isn't a solid end. I like Still and think he will be a bruiser that any team can use. The rumblings call into question his athleticism. That is the kind of thing that will drop you from the first day.
It will take an elite showing at the combine to prove he has the top-end speed and power to bang with the big boys. Once he does that, he should be smiling on Day 1.
It gets a little funky here. The Jets just experienced what I would describe as a season of doodoo. Santonio Holmes quit on them in public fashion and Mark Sanchez is being called out by anonymous teammates.
Here's the thing, they are not likely to swap with the Rams for RG3 at this position. They would have to sweeten the deal considerably.
More likely is floating Holmes out there for any takers willing to part with a couple of picks later in the draft. There is little chance that the malcontent returns.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (via 8-7 Oakland Raiders): Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska, CB
The book on Dennard isn't all that great. The Cornhusker is seen as a versatile player that doesn't overpower in one aspect.
In a nutshell, Dennard is good at all thing but not great in any of them. That is a label that can be thwarted or validated at the combine.
18. San Diego Chargers (8-8): David DeCastro, Stanford, G
19. Chicago Bears (8-8): Andre Branch, Clemson, DE
With some possible turnover on defense likely, they should draft Branch. He has great instincts and a fantastic first step. The Bears would keep up their ethos of defense first with this pick. I could also see them taking some help on a porous offensive line.
20. Tennessee Titans (9-7): Cordy Glenn, Georgia, G
Size and the ability to stay in front, that's Cordy Glenn
*Playoff Teams Subject to change
21. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7): Mark Barron, Alabama, S
I still like Barron for the Bengals. Barron is a versatile safety that comes highly regarded and would add depth to a team growing defensively.
22. Cleveland Browns (via 9-6 Atlanta Falcons): Kevin Reddick, North Carolina, LB
By our estimation, the Browns would have settled the running back issue. They could still take a quarterback, and Tannehill may not be a bad pick at this point. If, of course, they did not make good on a trade.
The defense must be addressed. Reddick is a smart player who just knows where to be. The Browns can build off that as this young team continues to grow.
23. Detroit Lions (10-6): Zebrie Sanders, Florida State, G
Sanders is big and fast. The one thing he lacks is lower body strength. He still gives you everything you want in someone who will keep Matthew Stafford safe.
Sanders has a great motor, so I expect him to surprise some people when the draft process starts. If he can prove that mountains are movable, look for him to shoot up the boards.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4): Zach Brown, North Carolina, OLB
I initially had the Steelers taking what was a gift in Vontaze Burfict. I am still high on Zach Brown, I just don't see his ceiling as high as the Arizona State bruiser.
25. Denver Broncos (8-8): Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama, CB
The Broncos are far too elderly in the secondary and need somebody to come in and infuse the defense with energy. I can also see them drafting Mark Barron who sits on the board as well. Safety help would be vital moving forward.
26. New York Giants (9-7): Lamar Miller, Miami, RB
This pick here is up for grabs. I now have either Lamar Miller or LaMichael James sharing this pick. If the Giants go with a running back, they would be wise to err on the side of Miller who, if healthy, is a machine.
27. Houston Texans (10-6): Kendall Wright, Baylor, WR
I have back-to-back receiver picks here and think Wright wins the battle. He has better separation skills in my estimation but this will be decided shortly during an intensive draft process.
28. Baltimore Ravens (12-4): Alshon Jeffrey, South Carolina, WR
It's time to be a bit silly. The Ravens have some needs elsewhere, but Jeffrey is the best player on the board and Baltimore can still use a burner on the wings. The call for a superstar receiver is very much alive, and Jeffrey may just be it.
He will be drafted here only if he can prove he has breakaway speed. There are questions about his ability to distance himself, and that is why the second round may be calling.
29. New England Patriots (via 12-3 New Orleans Saints): Jarvis Jones, Georgia, OLB/DE
Jones needs to add some bulk to his frame. Some think another year would do well. The Patriots still get a versatile player who can play a couple positions and add to a Patriots defense that was far too suspect on 2011.
30. San Francisco 49ers (13-3): Jared Crick, Nebraska, DE
The Niners get a versatile machine in Crick that will go nicely with the new team motif of killing quarterbacks.
31. New England Patriots (13-3): Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State, S
God, that secondary was awful. The Patriots simply have to address their pass defense, which was once again deplorable. Martin goes a long way to shoring up such things.
32. Green Bay Packers (15-1): Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State, DE/DT
Cox is flying under the radar and shouldn't. He plays the run as well as he hones in on the quarterback. The Packers do what they always do, and that's grab a solid player late.
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