2012 NFL Mock Draft: Latest Predictions After Divisional-Round Weekend
Well, the 2012 NFL draft just became a major priority for four more teams. On divisional weekend, the Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers all lost.
So, time to take a gander at who to consider for the draft and where they will land as preparing for the 2012 season begins now. That said, here's a look at who each team needs to consider drafting in Round 1.
Denver Broncos: Chase Minnifield, CB (Virginia)
If there's one major area of need, the New England Patriots exploited that against the Denver Broncos in their AFC divisional game on Saturday.
And that's the need for a stud cornerback. Champ Bailey isn't getting any younger and the need for depth on the outside of the secondary is a big need. Plus, the Broncos can't expect to keep pace with an opponent unless the defense locks it down.
Therefore, unless they try to trade up for a stud defensive back, Virginia's Chase Minnifield isn't a bad option late in Round 1. He has good awareness when in zone coverage and is athletic enough to stick in man coverage.
Denver also needs a solid corner to defend the run like Bailey. Well, Minnifield can provide that as well. In 2011 he recorded 50 tackles and 48 in 2010.
Against the pass he defended 11 balls in 2011 and 10 in 2010, while also intercepting nine the past two seasons. With a lot of potential and a solid front seven in Denver, Chase can really make an immediate impact for the Broncos.
Houston Texans: Jerel Worthy, DT (Michigan State)
Make no mistake about it, the Houston Texans will be AFC title contenders for at least the immediate future. Their road loss to the Baltimore Ravens had nothing to do with anything other than turnovers.
The offense ran the ball exceptionally well and the defense played almost lights-out. Include their injuries and Houston has no reason to be disappointed about how 2011-12 ended. To that end, there's not too many holes to fill anywhere on the Texans.
So, why not add some solid talented depth to the defensive line with Michigan State's Jerel Worthy?
Worst-case scenario is that Worthy gets primarily used in short-yard situations as well as in the red zone, so he can only help make one of the NFL's best defenses even better. From the defensive tackle standpoint, Worthy is a good pass-rusher and solid run-stuffer.
He's not going to get a lot of numbers but drawing a double-team while also causing a pile is what he can offer to free of the linebackers.
Worthy's also quite quick for his size and uses that kinetic energy to his advantage as he's also rather strong. In turn, this allows him to make most of his tackles in the backfield or at least force the running back outside the intended gap.
The Texans would literally be impenetrable with Worthy assisting in the trenches.
New England Patriots (From N.O.): Nick Perry, DE (USC)
One of the better defensive ends in the draft, the New England Patriots get the New Orleans Saints' first-round pick because of a trade from the last draft, and USC's Nick Perry is a great choice.
For one, New England needs to bring in some and talented young blood along the defensive line. Vince Wilfork and Co. are only getting older and youth of a nation needs to take over sooner than later in Bill Belichick's 1-5-5.
On the year New England may have recorded 40 sacks, but 10 of those came from the aging Andre Carter, so eventually replacing Carter with some youth is needed.
With the potential of Mark Anderson (10 sacks) opposite of Perry in New England, the Patriots will have one of the better pass-rushing duos in the league. In turn, this will help the vulnerable pass defense throughout the course of a season.
In three seasons Perry recorded 21.5 sacks and forced five fumbles combined between 2010 and 2011. Becoming a more complete defensive end in 2011, Perry recorded 54 tackles (31 solo) and defended three passes.
Surely, Belichick will find use for the versatile edge pass-rusher.
Green Bay Packers: Melvin Ingram, OLB/DE (South Carolina)
When the Green Bay Packers went on their magical Super Bowl run in the 2010-11 NFL season, the defense had recorded 47 sacks in the regular season.
Look ahead to 2011 and the same Packers recorded just 29 sacks and had to live off forcing turnovers, which—as we saw—doesn't bode well in the playoffs. Well, that's where South Carolina's Melvin Ingram comes into play.
He's arguably the most dynamic and versatile player in the draft, as Ingram fits well in a 3-4, 4-3, 1-5-5 or even a 4-2-5 look. The man can pass rush from anywhere (19 sacks last two seasons) but also drop into coverage when needed.
In 2011 he recorded two interceptions, defended four passes and scored three TDs (two fumble recoveries, one fake punt run). Melvin goes all out on every snap and would be the ideal complement opposite of Clay Matthews.
Additionally, he can help improve the intermediate pass coverage as that's arguably Green Bay's weakest area, while also being a solid anchor in defending the perimeter against the run. One of the most complete players in the draft, Ingram is exactly what the Packers need to improve defensively.
2012 First-Round NFL Mock Draft
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford)
17. Cincinnati (From OAK): Riley Reiff, OT (Iowa)
2. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR (Oklahoma State)
18. San Diego Chargers: Courtney Upshaw, LB (Alabama)
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT (USC)
19. Chicago Bears: Alshon Jeffery, WR (South Carolina)
4. Cleveland Browns: Morris Claiborne, CB (LSU)
20. Tennessee Titans: Mohamed Sanu, WR (Rutgers)
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trent Richardson, RB (Alabama)
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Cordy Glenn, OG (Georgia)
6. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III, QB (Baylor)
22. Cleveland (From ATL): Vontaze Burfict, LB (ASU)
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Michael Floyd, WR (Notre Dame)
23. Detroit Lions: Zach Brown, LB (UNC)
8. Miami Dolphins: David DeCastro, G (Stanford)
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Zebrie Sanders, OT (Florida State)
9. Carolina Panthers: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB (Alabama)
25. Denver Broncos: Chase Minnifield, CB (UVA)
10. Buffalo Bills: Alfonzo Dennard, CB (Nebraska)
26. Houston Texans: Jerel Worthy, DT (Michigan State)
11. Kansas City Chiefs: Quinton Coples, DE (UNC)
27. New England Patriots (From NO): Nick Perry, DE (USC)
12. Seattle Seahawks: Kendall Wright, WR (Baylor)
28. Green Bay Packers: Melvin Ingram, DE (South Carolina)
13. Arizona Cardinals: Jonathan Martin, OT (Stanford)
29. New York Giants: Devon Still, DT (Penn State)
14. Dallas Cowboys: Janoris Jenkins, CB (North Alabama)
30. Baltimore Ravens: Dont'a Hightower, LB (Alabama)
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Kuechly, LB (Boston College)
31. San Francisco 49ers: Mark Barron, S (Alabama)
16. New York Jets: Brandon Thompson, DE (Clemson)
32. New England Patriots: Jayron Hosley, CB (Virginia Tech)
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