2012 NFL Mock Draft: Full First-Round Predictions with Pro Comparisons

Josh Toyofuku@jtoyofuku8Contributor IIIJanuary 24, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft: Full First-Round Predictions with Pro Comparisons

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    The 2012 NFL draft is fast approaching, and teams and fans alike are scouring the nation for who will fit in right away on their team.

    Well, let's take it a step further and not only take a look at possible selections, but also at who the players could possibly turn out like, if their careers pan out in a best-case scenario.

    Read on to see all 32 first-round picks and their current NFL comparisons. 

1. Indianpolis Colts

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    Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Stanford

    Andrew Luck plays much like Peyton Manning—only with more athleticism. 

    Luck has good decision-making skills and great leadership ability. He can also run—just ask Cal's Sean Cattouse.

    Luck could have been drafted No. 1 overall last season as well.

2. Washington Redskins (from St. Louis Rams)

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    Robert Griffin III, Quarterback, Baylor

    The second overall pick belongs to the St. Louis Rams, but I believe they are very likely to trade back with the Washington Redskins. Assuming that happens, Baylor's Robert Griffin III will be the player the Redskins select.

    Griffin has amazing athleticism—at one point in time, he was a candidate for the Olympics in the hurdles—and an even better arm. He can throw the deep ball very accurately and can throw on the run.

    He's a right-handed Michael Vick.

3. Minnesota Vikings

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    Matt Kalil, Left Tackle, USC

    Matt Kalil possesses great footwork and blocking ability and could be one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL.

    Because of that, he can be compared to one of the best in the league, Jake Long from the Miami Dolphins. 

4. Cleveland Browns

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    Trent Richardson, Running Back, Alabama

    Trent Richardson was one of the most dominant running backs in the NCAA during the 2011 season, so it only makes sense that one of the worst rushing teams in the NFL would select him.

    Richardson's patience and ability to break tackles resembles the Vikings' Adrian Peterson.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Morris Claiborne, Cornerback, LSU 

    Despite being overshadowed by other cornerbacks the past two seasons at LSU, Claiborne could be the best of the trio.

    The 2011 Jim Thorpe winner is most like a better Michael Huff, with greater abilities at the same size.

6. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins)

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    Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State

    By trading their original pick, the Rams would move down to the sixth spot, where they can get the player they've been targeting all along in Justin Blackmon at a cheaper price.

    Blackmon is built like Michael Crabtree but has the skills to be even better than Crabtree or fellow OSU Cowboy Dez Bryant. 

7. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Riley Reiff, Left Tackle, Iowa

    The Jaguars provided little protection and few weapons for rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert in 2011, so in 2012, it's time to shore up the front line.

    Iowa's Riley Reiff would do a great job of that and is of similar size to the Texans' Eric Winston but with less athletic ability.

8. Carolina Panthers

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    Quinton Coples, Defensive End, North Carolina

    The Panthers need to focus on improving their defense in 2012, and drafting Quinton Coples would be a huge step forward.  

    Coples has great size and athleticism and is very much like Carlos Dunlap of the Cincinnati Bengals thanks to his solid pass rush ability and long arms.

9. Miami Dolphins

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    Jonathan Martin, Left Tackle, Stanford

    Jonathan Martin did a great job protecting his quarterback, Andrew Luck, all season long.

    He brings a combination of size and athleticism that can be seen in Denver's Ryan Clady.

10. Buffalo Bills

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    Devon Still, Defensive Tackle, Penn State 

    Penn State has made a name for itself on the defensive side of the ball, and it's safe to say Devon Still is in prime position to join that list. 

    Still is solid at stopping the run and could resemble Oakland's Tommy Kelly

11. Kansas City Chiefs

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    David DeCastro, Offensive Guard, Stanford

    David DeCastro is great at blocking and opening up holes for the run. With Jamaal Charles slated to return for the Chiefs, the run game will be a big part of the Chiefs attack. 

    He is similar to Jahri Evans of the New Orleans Saints. 

12. Seattle Seahawks

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    Nick Perry, Defensive End, USC 

    Nick Perry to Seattle makes sense because the Seahawks need a little more youth on their defensive line, and Pete Carroll is familiar with Perry on and off the field.

    Perry could eventually be compared to the Raiders' Richard Seymour.

13. Arizona Cardinals

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    Cordy Glenn, Offensive Guard, Georgia 

    Cordy Glenn (No. 71) is an excellent run blocker.  He should open up holes to help running back Beanie Wells reach his potential.

    Glenn is similar to Saints guard Carl Nicks.

14. Dallas Cowboys

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    Alfonzo Dennard , Cornerback, Nebraska

    The Cowboys need serious help at the corner. Dre Kirkpatrick is a better talent, but after his recent run-in with the law, he will drop significantly.

    Alfonzo Dennard would definitely help Dallas out. He could project to be similar to Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets, but likely not as dominant.

15. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Luke Kuechly, Linebacker, Boston College

    Luke Kuechly's smart and has a nose for the ball—he led the NCAA with 191 tackles. 

    Kuechly would pay immediate dividends for the shaky Philadelphia linebacking corps. He has been compared to the Rams’ James Laurinaitis.

16. New York Jets

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    Mark BarronStrong Safety, Alabama.

    The Jets need help deep in their secondary, and by selecting Mark Barron, they could add a hard hitter.

    Barron projects to be like the Bengals’ Taylor Mays, but with much better football instincts.

17. Cincinnati Bengals

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    Lamar Miller, Running Back, Miami 

    The Bengals are in need of a dominant running back, and thanks to his pass-catching ability, Lamar Miller could become that back. 

    On a good day, he compares to Arian Foster of the Houston Texans.

18. San Diego Chargers

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    Dont’a Hightower, Linebacker, Alabama

    Dont'a Hightower is a brute who can help any team with his strength, toughness and instincts.

    He could fit into almost any defensive scheme and is similar to A.J. Hawk of the Green Bay Packers.

19. Chicago Bears

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    Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame 

    Michael Floyd is a big receiver, who has shown he has a nose for the ball in crowded situations.

    The Bears could use a big receiver like him to pair up with Johnny Knox and Devin Hester.

    Floyd is very similar to Plaxico Burress of the Jets.

20. Tennessee Titans

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    Andre Branch, Defensive End, Clemson  

    The Titans need help at getting to the quarterback after finishing 31st in the league in 2011. Andre Branch should do a nice job filling that void.

    He can be compared to a bigger Osi Umenyiora of the New York Giants.

21. Cincinnati Bengals

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    Mike Adams, Offensive Tackle, Ohio State 

    The Bengals need help up front, and look for Adams to be the man to fill that need. 

    He might frighten some GMs off due to his seven career suspensions, but he’s too big and too skilled to pass on.

    Adams resembles Duane Brown of the Houston Texans. 

22. Cleveland Browns

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    Alshon Jeffery, Wide Receiver, South Carolina

    Could you imagine having a stud like Alshon Jeffery catching passes from Colt McCoy with Trent Richardson running the ball in 2012?

    It sounds like a very much improved offense for the Browns.

    Jeffery is huge with speed, much like Houston's Andre Johnson

23. Detroit Lions

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    Peter Konz, Center, Wisconsin

    Peter Konz would be a great pick for the Lions at 23, because he could be a franchise center in the future.

    Konz is a big center but very fundamentally sound, which makes him comparable to Nick Mangold of the New York Jets. 

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Dontari Poe, Defensive Tackle, Memphis  

    Dontari Poe should be a serious run-stopper at the professional level, similar to Antonio Garay of the San Diego Chargers.

25. Denver Broncos

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    Coby Fleener, Tight End, Stanford 

    John Elway has to be impressed by his alma mater’s Fleener. The Broncos need a short passing threat for Tebow when he gets into trouble.

    This pick could be a little high for Fleener, but the Broncos need him that much, and he has great potential.

    He is very much like Zach Miller of the Seattle Seahawks, but he could be even better.

26. Houston Texans

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    Kendall Wright, Wide Receiver, Baylor 

    At 5'10" with good speed, Kendall Wright would look great in the slot alongside Andre Johnson and Jacoby Jones.

    By taking Wright, they could possibly be getting a player as good as the Steelers' Mike Wallace.

27. New England Patriots

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    Courtney Upshaw, Linebacker, Alabama

    Although he missed part of the season due to injury, when healthy, he’s a game changer.

    Upshaw brings a presence both up the middle and on the edges as a pass-rusher. Character issues might scare off a few GMs, but an upstanding organization like the Patriots won't shy away from him.  

    Upshaw is similar to Keith Rivers of the Cincinnati Bengals but has more potential thanks to his ability to come off of the edge, much like Aldon Smith of the 49ers.

28. Green Bay Packers

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    Whitney Mercilus, Linebacker, Illinois.

    Tying Simeon Rice’s school record of 16 sacks is sure to open some eyes. Whitney Mercilus is big and physical on the pass rush and could see a great deal of success coming in off of the edge.

    He is similar to Brian Cushing of the Houston Texans

29. Baltimore Ravens

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    Vontaze Burfict, Linebacker, Arizona State 

    Vontaze Burfict has some attitude issues and needs to learn how to keep his emotions and rage in check.

    If he can do that, he will be wildly successful.

    Because of his immense talent and intensity, he is very much like Ray Lewis, who he would be tagged as ultimately replacing.

30. San Francisco 49ers

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    Stephen Gilmore, Cornerback, South Carolina

    The 49ers have a good cornerback duo in Carlos Rogers and Dashon Goldson, but they need to draft depth and youth at the position in April.

    If Stephen Gilmore fell to No. 30, the Niners would be able to get away with a steal—and an immediate replacement for Kyle Williams as a return man. Gilmore is physical with good instincts, like Lardarius Webb of the Ravens. 

31. New York Giants

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    Dre Kirkpatrick, Cornerback, Alabama

    Dre Kirkpatrick drops this far because of his recent marijuana arrest and subsequent appearance in the news media.

    Beyond that off-field issue, Kirkpatrick is a good man-to-man coverage corner with size.

    He is much like the Jets' Antonio Cromartie thanks to their similar size and abilities.

32. New England Patriots

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    Janoris Jenkins, Cornerback, North Alabama 

    Much like Dre Kirkpatrick, Janoris Jenkins has had issues off of the field that will see him drop on draft day.  

    Regardless, he is still a good corner, and after starting wide receiver Julian Edelman and kick returner Matt Slater at corner in 2012, the Pats need Jenkins.

    He is a small cornerback at 5’9”, but he can fly, similar to Brandon Flowers of the Kansas City Chiefs.