2012 NFL Mock Draft: Projecting Every First Round Pick

Tony Santorsa@@TonySantorsaSenior Writer IIFebruary 9, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft: Projecting Every First Round Pick

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    It's that time of year again: It's mock draft season! Everyone's favorite time of the year.

    Fans all across the NFL get to dream of the possibilities of drafting the next Tom Brady or the next Ray Lewis.

    Now that the Super Bowl is over with, we now have a concrete look at the entire first round of the 2012 NFL draft.

    With that being said, let's take a look at my latest mock draft. 

1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck

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    I think there's only one negative with Andrew Luck—his name isn't Peyton Manning. Other than that, Luck is the perfect prospect.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the Indianapolis Colts will be drafting Luck with the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft.

    Luck is a once-in-a-decade quarterback who's 100 percent NFL-ready and a must-draft player, no matter if you have a guy like Peyton Manning on your roster. 

2. St. Louis Rams

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    Taking a look at the St. Louis Rams roster, I firmly believe that they need to improve their offensive line to ensure that Sam Bradford has quality protection moving forward in his NFL career.

    USC's Matt Kalil is an NFL-ready offensive tackle who would likely replace Jason Smith as St. Louis' starting left tackle which would ultimately end Smith's era as the team's left tackle of the future, despite being the second overall pick in 2009. 

    Kalil is the real deal as he's a solid run blocker as well as an outstanding pass protector. 

3. Minnesota Vikings

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    The Minnesota Vikings no longer has an elite defense as their aging in multiple positions as well as having one of the worst secondaries in the NFL.

    With that being said, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne would be a wise decision for the Vikings at third overall.

    Claiborne is NFL ready and has all the tools to be a shutdown cornerback at the NFL level.

    As Minnesota plays in the NFC North against Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler, they're certainly going to need help defending the pass. 

4. Cleveland Browns

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    I highly doubt that Robert Griffin III will be available at fourth overall as a team like the Washington Redskins or the Miami Dolphins could very well trade up, but if he's there then the Cleveland Browns would have no choice but to draft him.

    RG3's skill set is something that we have never seen at the NFL level and could very well end up being what Michael Vick should have been but even better.

    Griffin is an unbelievable athlete and has just as good as an arm as Luck but simply played in a spread offense at Baylor, which is his only true downfall. 

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    With Morris Claiborne off the board, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would likely go with Alabama's Trent Richardson with the fifth overall pick.

    The Bucs may have LeGarrette Blount as their running back, but I don't believe he's the long-term answer as Tampa Bay's starting running back—he's almost comparable to Brandon Jacobs.

    Richardson is just as powerful as Blount but is certainly more well-rounded and is by far more athletic and elusive. 

6. Washington Redskins

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    I see the Washington Redskins trying to make a play for Robert Griffin III, but if they don't and they decide to hold this pick, then Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick makes a lot of sense.

    The Redskins have a pretty solid defensive unit but could use some help in the back end of it. 

    Kirkpatrick is an athletic physical cornerback who can match up well against the majority of the wide receivers the NFL has to offer. 

7. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    If Justin Blackmon is available at this point for the Jacksonville Jaguars, then they will have no choice but to draft him.

    Blaine Gabbert needs someone to throw to. He needs an athletic, physical, well-rounded wide receiver to throw to, and Blackmon is the best that the 2012 NFL Draft has to offer. 

    This would be an ideal situation for the Jags to see Blackmon available at this point of the draft. 

8. Carolina Panthers

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    The Carolina Panthers had the worst run defense in 2011 and will need to address that moving forward into 2012.

    With that being said, LSU's Michael Brockers is an ideal pick for the Panthers.

    Brockers is not only an athletic, physical run defender, but he can also penetrate the interior of the line and rush the passer. 

9. Miami Dolphins

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    Iowa's Riley Reiff would immediately start at right tackle for the Miami Dolphins in 2012.

    With Reiff at right tackle and Jake Long at left tackle, Miami would then have the NFL's most dominant pair of tackles. 

    The Dolphins have many needs, including quarterback, but building a reliable offensive line for the future is one way to attract free-agent quarterbacks like Matt Flynn or even Peyton Manning. 

10. Buffalo Bills

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    Pair Courtney Upshaw up with a healthy Shawne Merriman, then the Buffalo Bills will have one of the most dangerous pair of pass-rushers the NFL has to offer.

    Drafting Upshaw makes perfect sense as the Bills plan to move to a 4-3 defense, and they would simply be only adding to their strength as their front seven is pretty impressive anchored by Marcell Dareus. 

11. Seattle Seahawks

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    Many don't believe that Ryan Tannehill should even go in the first round—but I firmly believe in this quarterback.

    Tannehill may not be an immediate starter for the Seattle Seahawks, but he will have the chance to sit behind Tarvaris Jackson for a year or two as he'd continue to develop into one athletic quarterback with a great arm. 

12. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Stanford's Jonathan Martin may not be as athletic or powerful as Matt Kalil or Riley Reiff, but he's one intriguing prospect who would be an immediate starter for the Kansas City Chiefs at left tackle. 

    Believe it or not but the Chiefs don't have too many glaring weaknesses besides their offensive line.

    If they want to invest in Matt Cassel or any quarterback for that matter, then they need to ensure that they have quality protection—Martin will provide that. 

13. Arizona Cardinals

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    If Stanford offensive guard David DeCastro is sitting here at 13th overall for the Arizona Cardinals, then they will have no choice but to draft him.

    DeCastro is very similar to Andrew Luck—he's once a decade offensive guard.

    Not very often do you see interior linemen drafted in the top 15 of the draft, but this year the Cardinals will be taking DeCastro as he's an immediate starter next season and will dominate the NFL. 

14. Dallas Cowboys

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    Taking a look at the Dallas Cowboys, you can tell their biggest weakness is their secondary, and it needs to be addressed this offseason.

    With Morris Claiborne and Dre Kirkpatrick off the board, the next best available cornerback is Nebraska's Alfonzo Dennard.

    Some may feel that this is a stretch for the Cowboys, but Dennard is a physical cornerback who will immediately improve their struggling secondary. 

15. Philadelphia Eagles

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    I like to believe that DeSean Jackson is as good as gone which leads me to believe that the Philadelphia Eagles will look to grab Notre Dame's Michael Floyd with the 15th overall pick.

    Floyd is quite the physical specimen as he's such an athletic wide receiver as well as being so powerful that he will likely beat any press man-coverage that the NFL has to offer.

    Floyd is a first-year impact kind of player.  

16. New York Jets

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    One of the New York Jets glaring needs heading into the 2012 NFL draft will be outside linebacker.

    With that being said, South Carolina's Melvin Ingram is a perfect fit for Rex Ryan's defense.

    Ingram is not only an effective pass-rusher that has all the tools to be successful at the NFL level but is also pretty solid against the run.

    This would be a safe pick for the Jets at this point of the draft. 

17. Cincinnati Bengals

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    The Cincinnati Bengals sit in a good spot in the 2012 NFL draft as they have two first-round picks and could address several areas—but they don't have too many weak points.

    With that being said, Georgia's Cordy Glenn would be a wise decision here for the Bengals.

    The Bengals will ultimately need to replace aging offensive guard Bobbie Williams which makes Glenn the perfect pick. 

18. San Diego Chargers

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    At least—the fall of Quinton Coples comes to an end.

    Entering the 2012 draft, I feel that the stock value of Coples will dramatically fall as teams begin to realize that he's not a pure pass-rusher as he lacks elite speed to beat opposing tackles at the NFL level.

    However, the San Diego Chargers would love to have him aboard as he's still a talented prospect that help out as the Chargers struggled to get after the quarterback last season. 

19. Chicago Bears

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    The Chicago Bears biggest need heading into the 2012 offseason is their offensive line as they desperately need upgrades if they want to keep Jay Cutler healthy. 

    Ohio State's Mike Adams is the best available at this point to suit Chicago's needs.

    Adams is a solid offensive tackle who can player either left or right tackle and could very well be the team's future franchise left tackle. 

20. Tennessee Titans

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    Penn State defensive linemen Devon Still is an absolute freak of nature.

    He's such a powerful defensive linemen but still remains to be extremely athletic for a guy his size. 

    Adding Still to the Tennessee Titans defense would certainly create a ton of pressure for opposing team's interior offensive lines. 

21. Cincinnati Bengals

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    North Carolina's Zach Brown may be limited to weak-side linebacker at the pro level but he's certainly fast enough to be dominate at that position. 

    Brown will likely flourish in covering opposing tight ends for the Cincinnati Bengals and is simply too much value to pass on. 

22. Cleveland Browns

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    If the Cleveland Browns do end up with Robert Griffin III, then why not draft his No. 1 wide receiver from Baylor, Kendall Wright? It makes perfect sense.

    Even if the Browns don't end up with RG3, then drafting Wright would be a smart decision as well. 

    Cleveland has one of the worst wide receiver corps in the NFL, and Wright would immediately turn that group around. 

23. Detroit Lions

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    Luke Kuechly was an absolute stud for Boston College and should turn into a stud for the Detroit Lions.

    The Lions really need a tacking machine at linebacker, and Kuechly certainly brings that to the table.

    This is a very wise decision for Jim Schwartz and Detroit.  

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Casey Hampton is not getting any younger and drafting Dontari Poe to be his future replacement would be a wise decision for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Poe is a massive object who would fit perfectly in Pittsburgh's 3-4 attack. 

25. Denver Broncos

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    With Tim Tebow at quarterback for the Denver Broncos, they're going to likely continue to run the ball in 2012.

    With that being said, Willis McGahee is a great power-runner in between the tackles but isn't great running outside. The Broncos will have to find a guy that can do so, and Miami's Lamar Miller certainly can.

    Miller is great at making plays in open space and certainly has elite speed to be successful at the NFL level for the Broncos. 

26. Houston Texans

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    The Houston Texans may already have Andre Johnson, but they do not have too many weaknesses on either sides of the ball.

    South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery would bring another layer to Houston's already elite offense. 

    Jeffery would play very well opposite of Johnson, and this duo will create havoc against opposing secondaries. 

27. New England Patriots

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    If North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins is sitting here at 27th overall, then Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots will certainly pull the trigger. 

    Jenkins may have some character issues as he was dismissed from Florida's football team a year ago but is still one amazing talent and played very well under Urban Meyer—a coach who Belichick truly respects. 

28. Green Bay Packers

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    The 15-1 Green Bay Packers head into 2012 with major holes in their secondary as they desperately need upgrades over Tramon Williams and Jarrett Bush. 

    Sitting at 28th overall, drafting Stephon Gilmore out of South Carolina appears to be a wise decision for the Packers.

    Gilmore is a solid cornerback with all the tools to be great and will likely start his first year, but he's also one hell of a return man who will make him even more appealing to teams come the draft. 

29. Baltimore Ravens

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    With Matt Birk aging right before our eyes, the Baltimore Ravens need to address that but drafting Wisconsin's Peter Konz.

    Birk was absolutely embarrassed by Vince Wilfork in the AFC Championship and shows a real sign of aging—that's were Konz comes in—the team's starting center of the future. 

30. San Francisco 49ers

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    The San Francisco 49ers already have a solid defense but could use some help in their secondary, but their biggest need is their wide receiver corps.

    Rutger's Mohamed Sanu would start opposite of Michael Crabtree, and the duo will make one of the top young and promising pairs in the NFL as they'll be huge complements to the team's tight end Vernon Davis. 

31. New England Patriots

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    Throw Dont’a Hightower right next to Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes and the New England Patriots would immediately have one of the best linebacker corps the NFL has to offer.

    Hightower played his college ball at Alabama under Nick Saban—a coach who Bill Belichick respects and also runs a very complex defense, much like Belichick. 

    This would be one incredible selection for the Patriots if they do go this direction, as their linebacker corps would likely dominate for many years to come. 

32. New York Giants

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    The Super Bowl winning New York Giants don't have too many holes on either side of the ball, but upgrading from Chase Blackburn to Vontaze Burfict would be an interesting idea. 

    Burfict is a playmaker who has all the talent in the world, but his only downfall is his football IQ.