2012 NFL Mock Draft: Division Winners That Need Big Draft for Title Defense

Michael Mill@@MikeMill23Senior Analyst IIIJanuary 20, 2012

With the NFL season finally wrapping up, it's time to start looking ahead to the offseason.

Over the next couple of weeks the media will be flooded with talks about the 2012 NFL draft and upcoming free agents.

Leading those talks will be rumors about Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, but it really gets interesting when you look further down the charts.

There are some teams, like the Denver Broncos, that had fantastic years and managed to capture division titles.

However, they will need to have top-tier drafts in order to stay on top.

Here is our second edition of the 2012 NFL mock draft.


1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

If the Indianapolis Colts don't trade the first overall pick in the draft, Andrew Luck will be heading to Indy to become the eventual heir to Peyton Manning.

Luck is going to be the No. 1 pick no matter what. The only question, is whether the Colts will hold on to the pick or trade it away.

Luck is considered by many experts to be the best quarterback to come out of college since Peyton Manning in 1998.

It looks like the Colts could have another franchise quarterback fall right into their lap.


2. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

The Rams got their franchise quarterback two years ago in Sam Bradford. Now, they need to get him a dangerous target on the outside.


3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, Southern California

The Vikings had an inconsistent season. Christian Ponder looked like he had potential to be a starting quarterback, but the team needs to get him an elite tackle to protect his blind side.


4. Cleveland Browns: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

This is going to be one of the more difficult decisions that a team early in the draft will have to make.

The Browns need to decide if they are going to stick it out with Colt McCoy or move on.

McCoy may be a solid quarterback, but Robert Griffin III has the potential to be an elite quarterback in the NFL.

He has everything you could want in a stud quarterback—size, accuracy, power and character.

It's time for the Browns to move on in a new direction with their new franchise quarterback.


5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Claiborne isn't quite the physical beast that Patrick Peterson was out of LSU a year ago, but he has the skill set to become a Pro Bowl-caliber corner.


6. Washington Redskins: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Luck and Griffin are off the board. With Barkley and Landry electing to stay in school, there aren't any quarterbacks worth going after this high. It's too early to reach for a quarterback, so the Redskins get an elite running back to fit Shanahan's offensive approach.


7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

Much like St. Louis, the Jaguars have a quarterback they want to build around in the upcoming years. They need to get him some help at wide receiver.


8. Miami Dolphins: Devin Still, DT, Penn State

The decision by Barkley and Landry hurts a lot of teams in the Top 10 of this draft. It's too early to reach for a quarterback, so the Dolphins will start building in the trenches.


9. Carolina Panthers: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

Panthers need to focus on defense, and Coples is the best defensive player available.

He will bring a force opposite of Charles Johnson that will give opposing offenses a fit. The Panthers have lacked an elite pass rush since losing Julius Peppers.

Coples will help bring some of that intensity back in the front four.


10. Buffalo Bills: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

Brockers' decision to declare for the draft will end up being a good one. He will squeak into the Top 10, landing in Buffalo.


11. Kansas City Chiefs: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

The third offensive lineman will come off the board right outside the Top 10. The Chiefs will likely want to go quarterback here, but with no top prospects available Crennel will look to find the best player available in the trenches.


12. Seattle Seahawks: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Here's another team that wants a quarterback, but the Seahawks will choose to address some of the issues in their secondary.


13. Arizona Cardinals: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

The Cardinals are in desperate need of some help on the offensive line. If they are going to stick with Kevin Kolb at quarterback, they need to be able to keep him upright.


14. Dallas Cowboys: Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State

Vontaze Burflict is one of the most exciting players in this year's draft class. His aggressive attitude has made him a key piece on the Sun Devils defense.

Burfict isn't necessarily the best linebacker in the class, but his aggressive approach will attract Jerry Jones.

He has the kind of attitude that will allow him to fit in well in Dallas.


15. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

If the Philadelphia Eagles are going to have a chance next season, it's going to take a miracle. Andy Reid will need to change his ways.

That all starts in the draft. Reid has never placed much value at the linebacker position, but the team will need to go out and get a top-tier linebacker if the nine wide is going to stay.


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

The Jets defense just wasn't the same this season. They used to be one of the most feared defenses in the NFL. Now, some are saying they look soft.

Melvin Ingram will bring some intensity back to the defense that could get a bit of a makeover this offseason.


17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland): Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

The Bengals had one of the best run defenses in football this season. The secondary was solid but could still use some key additions.


18. San Diego Chargers: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama

Upshaw was one of the key pieces on one of the best defenses that college football has ever seen. The Chargers need some help at outside linebacker.


19. Chicago Bears: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

The Chicago Bears were plagued by injuries late in the season. Those injuries kept them out of the playoffs.

The team still needs help on the offensive line and at wide receiver. With the top lineman off the board, the Bears look at the chart and still see Wright.

Wright was RG3's top target throughout his career at Baylor. 


20. Tennessee Titans: Nick Perry, DE, Southern California

Matt Barkley may have chosen to stay at USC, but Perry is walking away. It's a walk that will land him as a first-round pick in the upcoming draft.


21. Cincinnati Bengals: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

Lamar Miller is a special talent that has gone widely unnoticed due to Miami's lack of recent success. He has been almost the entire offense for the team in the last two seasons.

The Bengals have weapons at quarterback, wide receiver and tight end. They just need a solid running game to make them fierce competitors in one of the toughest divisions in football.


22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta): Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

The Browns were staring down Lamar Miller until he was snagged away by their division rivals one pick before they went on the clock.

Instead, the Browns get Michael Floyd to be the No. 1 receiver for their first pick in Robert Griffin III.

They can always take a running back in the early second round to complete the trifecta.


23. Detroit Lions: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

The only center worth taking in the first three rounds. The Lions start building their offensive line with an interior pickup.


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

How much longer will Ben Roethlisberger be able to survive behind this offensive line? Much of that is his fault for holding on to the ball too long, but offensive line is still a big need for Pittsburgh.


25. Denver Broncos: Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina

Broncos go linebacker in the first round for the second year in a row. Brown fits the scheme in Denver better than any linebacker available.


26. Houston Texans: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State

Worthy is going to make this Houston Texans top-ranked defense even more dangerous next season. Worthy has the flexibility to play multiple positions on the line.


27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans): Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

The ex-Florida Gator isn't one of the more talked about prospects in this class after his decision to head to North Alabama.

However, his talent is undeniable. It's something that Bill Belichick will look to capitalize on.

The Patriots pass defense was atrocious this year. That goes on both the secondary and the defensive line. New England will use their first pick to help with holes in the secondary.


28. Green Bay Packers: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

Cox isn't going to take the place of Raji in the middle, but he has the ability to move outside and play defensive end in the Packers' 3-4 scheme.


29. San Francisco 49ers: Mark Barron, S, Alabama

The San Francisco defense has been the reason the team has had so much success this year.

However, they still have a weakness in the secondary that will ultimately cost them in the playoffs. With Jenkins taken two spots ahead of them, the 49ers will go safety instead.

Barron is one of the only safeties that is getting much attention as a possible first-round selection. He has been making plays in the best defense in college football for years.


30. Baltimore Ravens: Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia

The Ravens will have to think hard about Ryan Tannehill here after Flacco blows another postseason game for the team. They will get somebody to help protect him instead.


31. New York Giants: Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama

The run that the New York Giants made to close out the season was impressive. However, there are still many holes in the roster. Hightower will fill one of them.


32. New England Patriots: Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska

Part of the reason that the Patriots have struggled on defense has been the lack of pass-rush. Crick fits the mold of a defensive lineman for the Patriots, with the ability to play tackle or end.


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