2012 NFL Mock Draft: How Many Running Backs Go in the First Round?

Zach KruseSenior Analyst IJanuary 19, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 09:  Trent Richardson #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Louisiana State University Tigers during the 2012 Allstate BCS National Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

While the running back position has slowly been devalued in the NFL, the 2012 draft class has at least two running backs—Trent Richardson and Lamar Miller—that are first-round worthy and another (Chris Polk) that could sneak in with good pre-draft numbers.

In our 2012 NFL Mock Draft, we take a highlighted look at where those running backs may get picked 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

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 24:  Trent Richardson #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

11.  Kansas City Chiefs—Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

If you look at a bunch of mock drafts, Richardson has been one of the toughest guys to project early on. He has the talent of a top-five player, but running backs have taken such a hit value-wise that it's hard to see a team taking him that soon. Nonetheless, mocks have had the Alabama running back going to Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Miami and Cincinnati.

We like him in Kansas City, where Richardson can team with Jamaal Charles to form another top one-two punch that can jolt the Chiefs back to the top of the rushing rankings. Back in 2010, when Kansas City won 10 games and the AFC West, the Chiefs were the No. 1-ranked rushing offense. 

12.  Seattle Seahawks—Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

13.  Arizona Cardinals—Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford 

14.  Dallas Cowboys—Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

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

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 24:  Running back Lamar Miller  #6 of the Miami Hurricanes rushes upfield against the Kansas State University Wildcats September 24, 2011 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

25.  Denver Broncos—Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

Miller could have a chance to land in either Cincinnati or Cleveland before the Broncos pick at No. 25. And in all reality, the Broncos have more pressing needs than adding another running back to the mix.

But if Denver is truly building around Tim Tebow, he has to have more punch in his backfield. Miller and his game-breaking skills could provide just that. 

26.  Houston Texans—Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis

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

28.  Green Bay Packers—Nick Perry, OLB USC

29.  New York Giants—Dont'a Hightower, LB Alabama    

30.  Baltimore Ravens—Vontaze Burfict, LB Arizona State

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

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