2012 NFL Mock Draft: Skill Position Players Ready to Make Instant Impact

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IJanuary 14, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 02:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal reacts against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2012 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Oklahoma State won 41-38 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

There are going to be a handful of rookies that become fixtures on the highlight reels next season. That is going to be due to the fact that they are amazing athletes ready for the NFL, and that they play skill positions that allow them to showcase their goods in a way that no one can miss.

Below is my full first-round mock draft with a special attention paid to the skill position players that are going to light up the NFL.

1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

It is rare that a QB is ready to step onto an NFL field and make an instant impact. Rookie QBs that do play almost always spend their time being protected by their team while everyone hopes that they do not make too many mistakes. 

Well, there is a reason that Luck is the walkaway consensus No. 1 selection. He is a rare QB.

Like any QB that is selected No. 1, Luck has all the physical tools, but he also has the polish that few before him have offered. Luck has flawless mechanics, four years of college experience in a pro system and poise beyond his years.

This QB is ready to step onto an NFL field and not only make all the throws, but make all the reads to make the right throws.

2. St. Louis RamsMatt Kalil, OT, USC

Kalil is the most promising tackle in the draft. He is a physical beast with ideal size and nimble feet. 

3. Minnesota VikingsMorris Claiborne, CB, LSU

The Honey Badger may have gotten all of the hype and highlights from the LSU defensive backfield, but it is Claiborne that NFL scouts are drooling over. 

4. Cleveland BrownsJustin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

Blackmon doesn't have mind-numbing speed or size, but that isn't going to keep him from producing some breathtaking highlights. 

What he does have is great strength, remarkable hands and the natural ability to go up and get the ball. He is a potential game-changer any time the ball is thrown his way. 

Blackmon is strong enough to shed tacklers on quick-hitting routes to turn them into big-gainers, and while he does not have sprinter speed, he is also not going to get caught from behind many times on a football field. 

He is also a big threat on the deep ball. His timing, ability to judge the ball in the air and his hands allow him to go up and over defenders to come down with huge catches. 

5. Tampa Bay BuccaneersTrent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Richardson can do anything and everything a team would ever want their back to do. 

His powerful running style makes him a great short-yardage option. His quickness, elusiveness and vision means he can break off big runs on any downs, and his hands and blocking make him an excellent third-down back.

Richardson is not going to have to come off the field in any situation, and he is going to produce in a big way.

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

Griffin is a dynamic prospect. The Redskins will be doing backflips if he is still on the board when they draft.

7. Jacksonville JaguarsRiley Reiff, OT, Iowa

Reiff is a pro-ready prospect with a high ceiling.

8. Carolina PanthersDevon Still, DT, Penn State 

Still is a strong and disruptive force on the interior of the line. He will be excellent in the run game and provide decent pressure on the QB in passing situations.

9. Miami DolphinsJonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

The Dolphins will be on the lookout for a tackle to line up opposite of Jake Long. Martin will be a perfect fit for the this role the moment he steps onto the field. 

10. Buffalo Bills: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Kirkpatrick is a physical corner that is good in coverage and solid in run support. Both of those will be welcomed in Buffalo. 

11. Kansas City ChiefsDavid DeCastro, OG, Stanford 

DeCastro is easily the best interior offensive lineman in this draft. He will step in right away and help the Chiefs reestablish their dominant ground game. 

12. Seattle Seahawks Vontaze Burfict, LB, ASU

Burfict is a terrific athlete that can play sideline to sideline. He is the kind of all-around player the Hawks need to become a dominant defense. 

13. Arizona CardinalsKendall Wright, WR, Baylor

The Cardinals need a receiver to help take attention off of Larry Fitzgerald. Wright has the speed to do just that. 

14. Dallas Cowboys: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

This heady linebacker is exactly what the Cowboys need. He has the potential to be the glue for their complicated defensive schemes. 

15. Philadelphia EaglesQuinton Coples, DE, UNC

Coples is a strong defensive end that will be a force in the run game and pressure on the QB with a dominant bull-rush. 

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

The Jets need athleticism and a pass rush. This is exactly what Ingram offers NFL clubs. 

17. Cincinnati Bengals via OAK: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

The Bengals need a young and dynamic back to pair with their young studs Andy Dalton and AJ Green.

Miller is a tremendous and explosive athlete. He will give the Bengals a big time playmaker on all levels of their offense. 

Miller hits the hole hard and he runs through tackles. This will allow him to be an effective short-yardage back. Where he is going to be really dangerous, though, is in the open field. 

He is explosive enough to turn any play into six points. He will be a threat to do this on handoffs and short passes. 

18. San Diego Chargers: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

Denard is a gifted athlete with a huge upside. His addition would give the Chargers a formidable secondary. 

19. Chicago Bears: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

The Bears have to get an offensive lineman. When their name is called they will take the best available and move. Konz is the best center on the draft board, and the clear-cut choice for the Bears here.  

20. Tennessee TitansMark Barron, S, Alabama

Barron is everything a team looks for in a safety. He has the feet to cover and the muscle to add firm run support. 

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

Jenkins is a raw and promising corner. He has a high ceiling, but also some character concerns. His potential won't allow him to slide beyond the Bengals. 

22. Cleveland Browns via ATL: Zach Brown, OLB, UNC

Brown to the Browns, it's a natural! Cleveland needs a multi-talented linebacker that can rush the passer and play solid pass defense. This is a perfect fit for Brown's skill set. 

23. Detroit Lions: Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia

At 340 pounds, Glenn has the body to be road-grater in the NFL, and the Lions need just that to help spring their running game to life. 

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

Adams has some character concerns, but he also has big potential. He moves his feet well for his size, and with good coach and a solid system, he could develop into a Pro Bowl player. 

25. Denver Broncos: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

The Broncos need to add some beef in the trenches. Cox will help Denver solidify their rush defense and occupy blockers to allow their pass rush to get to the QB. 

26. New York Giants: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State

Worthy is a strong interior lineman. He will instantly be a big boost for the Giants' run defense.

27. Houston TexansMichael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Floyd is an amazing combination of size and speed. He will give the Texans a playmaker that opposing defenses have to account for, which will really help open things up for Andre Johnson. 

This receiver has solid hands and great strength. He needs to become more polished on his routes, but his athleticism will allow him to make an instant impact. 

Floyd can turn routine catches into six points. He can shed tackles and has the moves and vision to make people miss in the open field. 

28. New England Patriots via NO: Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

Upshaw is a freaky athlete that can rush the passer. He is an ideal fit for an OLB in a 3-4. 

29. Baltimore Ravens: Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama

Hightower is a solid athlete with a rare skill set that will allow him to play as an inside or outside linebacker.

30. San Francisco 49ers: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

Jeffery will give the 49ers exactly what they need: someone that can stretch the field. 

31. New England Patriots (12-3): Jared Crick, DL, Nebraska

Crick is a solid and well-rounded defensive lineman. He will be a great fit for an end in a 3-4. 

32. Green Bay Packers: Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC

Perry's athleticism will offer the Packers a chance to lineup someone for Clay Matthews to meet at the QB.


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