NFL Mock Draft 2012: Full First Round Heading into the NFL Scouting Combine

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NFL Mock Draft 2012: Full First Round Heading into the NFL Scouting Combine
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How long will Trent Richardson stay on the board?

1. Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Regardless of whether Peyton Manning dons the horseshoe again in 2012, Andrew Luck has to be the pick here. He is the most NFL-ready quarterback that we have seen since Manning himself.

Luck already reads defenses so well; his transition to the NFL should be a quick one.

 

2. St. Louis Rams

Matt Kalil, OL, USC

The Rams should actively be trying to shop this pick. If nobody bites, upgrading the offensive line is imperative to protecting the future of quarterback Sam Bradford. Kalil needs to fill out a bit but has elite skills.

Wide receiver and cornerback could be other options if they are able to trade down.

 

3. Minnesota Vikings

Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

Reiff is impeccably coached and has great physical and mental traits. Christian Ponder will certainly appreciate having some more time to throw the ball, although the Vikings might be a bit short on weapons next year as well.

If the Vikings are able to trade down with a team needing a quarterback, cornerback also becomes an option. 

 

4. Cleveland Browns

Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

The Browns might have to swap spots with St. Louis to land Griffin, but he is the dynamic player on and off the field that Cleveland needs. If the Browns can build an offense around Griffin, the Ravens, Steelers and Bengals might have some company near the top of the AFC North.

Getting Griffin the weapons he needs will be the next order of business.

 

5. Tampa Bay Bucs

Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Claiborne was fantastic in coverage and returning the ball on kickoffs at LSU. He is a great man-corner but has the closing ability to play in zone as well.

His ball skills will result in extra possessions for Josh Freeman and the Bucs offense—something they desperately need.

 

6. Washington Redskins

Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

The Redskins might be actively trying to trade up for a quarterback, but upgrading the corner position is also on the docket.

Kirkpatrick is a big cornerback that can help deal with the big receivers in the NFC East. His impressive frame allows him to press, while his long arms make him effective in zone as well.

 

7. Jacksonville Jaguars

Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

The Jaguars badly need weapons for Blaine Gabbert, and Blackmon being available here would be a dream come true for Jacksonville.

If Jacksonville is scared of Blackmon’s off-field issues—I’m certainly not—then Kendall Wright or Alshon Jeffery could be other options.

 

8. Carolina Panthers

Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

Coples answered a lot of questions for me during his trip to the Senior Bowl. He impressed in interviews and on the field.

For a team still looking to replace Julius Peppers, Coples could provide an impact straight out of the box.

 

9. Miami Dolphins

Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

The Dolphins quarterback situation is certainly up in the air. Regardless of who is throwing the ball in 2012, Miami needs more weapons than they currently have.

Wright has incredible speed and a certain fluidity to his game that makes things look so easy. Matt Flynn, Peyton Manning, Matt Moore or anyone else would love to have Wright on board.

 

10. Buffalo Bills

Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama

With a defense in transition, Hightower would bring invaluable versatility to the Bills. He can play inside and outside in both the 3-4 and 4-3, while also being able to put his hand in the dirt and rush the quarterback.

The Bills have a lot of holes on their team; trading down is certainly a possibility here. Wide receiver, cornerback, linebacker, quarterback and offensive line all could use upgrades.

 

11. Kansas City Chiefs

Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama

Upshaw lining up across from Tamba Hali is nothing that AFC offenses want to see for the next ten years. Romeo Crennel’s defense will find creative uses for Upshaw’s versatile skill set.

If an offensive lineman that the Chiefs like falls to them, expect them to consider replacing the forgettable Barry Richardson at right tackle.

 

12. Seattle Seahawks

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst, two names that strike fear into the heart of Seahawks fans nationwide.

If the Seahawks are unable to somehow land a top-notch quarterback in free agency or in the draft, Ryan Tannehill is a good long-term pick.  He might not be ready day one, but I think he can make the jump by the bye week.

 

13. Arizona Cardinals

Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

This Buckeye is just a mammoth human being. Coincidentally, the Cardinals have a mammoth hole on their offensive line. After serving his suspension at Ohio State, Adams has shown he belongs with the elite tackles in the class.

If the Cardinals don’t target the tackle position, I’m not sure what they are doing.

 

14. Dallas Cowboys

David DeCastro, OL, Stanford

Brutally strong, mobile and smart, DeCastro is a top-10 talent that happens to play a non-premium position. The Cowboys have some good, young running backs that will love the blocking that DeCastro can provide.

Cornerback should get some attention here as well, especially if Dre Kirkpatrick starts to fall down the board.

 

15. Philadelphia Eagles

Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

While not having the overt athleticism of a Patrick Willis, Kuechly’s instincts and tackling prowess make him one of the best college linebackers that we’ve seen.

If Kendall Wright is still available, the Eagles might also look to replace DeSean Jackson.

 

16. New York Jets

Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Richardson has the insane skills to be a star anywhere in the NFL, but the Jets could really commit to using him as the featured star in their offense.  His presence would give both Shonn Greene and Mark Sanchez a break from handling all the pressure.

Linebacker and wide receiver could also be options for Rex and company.

 

17. Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland)

Doug Martin, RB, Boise State

Cedric Benson is a serviceable running back, but Doug Martin will have Bengals fans thinking they are seeing their own version of Ray Rice. Martin can block, run, catch and probably cook the pregame meal as well.

Defensive back is a concern, but with two selections in the first round the Bengals can take a luxury pick here.

 

18. San Diego Chargers

Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC

An ideal fit for the Chargers 3-4 defense, Perry is the explosive edge-rusher that the Chargers have lacked since Shawne Merriman was around.

Defensive line and wide receiver may be options as well—especially if Vincent Jackson hits the open market.

 

19. Chicago Bears

Michael Brockers, DT/DE, LSU

A surprise entry to the draft, Brockers has instantly shot himself to the top of a somewhat weak DT class. He has the ability to play both the 3-technique and the 5-technique and is still developing as a football player.

The Bears have some issues on the offensive line, but Brockers is too good to pass up here.

 

20. Tennessee Titans

Devon Still, DL, Penn State

Still is a versatile prospect that can play multiple positions across the defensive front.

If Cortland Finnegan ends up playing elsewhere in 2012, cornerback may be a target here as well.

 

21. Cincinnati Bengals

Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

Jenkins has some issues in his past but some serious talent as well. Jenkins showed the tenacity, ball skills and closing speed at the Senior Bowl that make NFL scouts stand up and take notice.

While the Bengals may shy away from Jenkins due to character issues, his play on the field stands for itself.

 

22. Cleveland Browns (via Atlanta)

Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Michael Floyd is a dynamic pass-catcher whose only knocks are durability and off-field stuff.

Although this pick might have to be moved in order to secure the Baylor quarterback, Floyd has the chance to be special if paired up with Griffin.

 

23. Detroit Lions

Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

The Lions can certainly upgrade the center position, as well as save some money against the cap. Konz is very talented, but the injury red flags are very real.

Other than the front four, the Lions may also consider upgrading their defense. Zach Brown will probably get some looks if available.

 

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

Jonathan Martin, OL, Stanford

Martin is a prospect that can play both left and right tackle—Pittsburgh would love to have him play both at the same time.

If they once again eschew upgrading the offensive line, the Steelers need to add some youth on defense.

 

25. Denver Broncos

Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

Knowshon Moreno has proven unreliable on and off the field, and Willis McGahee isn’t getting any younger.

Miller is a home run-hitting back with an explosive burst that can add a dimension to the Broncos' ground-based offense.

 

26. Houston Texans

Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

Upgrading the receiver spot across from Andre Johnson has to be among the top priorities for the Texans.

Jeffery could be the best receiver in the 2012 NFL Draft class, but his speed and 2011 production might scare a few teams.

 

27. New England Patriots (via New Orleans)

Fletcher Cox, DL, Mississippi State

Adding a dynamic piece to the defensive line should be a priority. Cox can contribute right away from the 4-3 DT spot, playing the run and the pass. In the future, Cox has the skills to become a two-gap DE.

If a wide receiver falls, this could be the spot to target them, although the speculated acquisition of Brandon Lloyd could allay some of the fears at that position.

 

28. Green Bay Packers

Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

We’re not sold on Ingram as an OLB in many 3-4 systems, but the Packers seem like a good fit.

Ingram has an elite first step and will certainly put some pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but he doesn’t seem nearly as effective in space as he does when rushing from inside.

 

29. Baltimore Ravens

Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina

The Ravens can always use talented linebackers, and Brown’s 4.3 speed might be too hard to pass up—even if there are more pressing needs.

Brown is a bit undersized, but you can protect him with the likes of Ngata and Cody and let him fly around the field.

 

30. San Francisco 49ers

Alfonzo Dennard, CB/S, Nebraska

Talented and versatile, Dennard would provide Harbaugh’s defense with a press-corner that also can play some safety if Goldson and Whitner end up elsewhere in 2012.

 

31. New England Patriots

Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall

Unless the rest of the NFL has wised up over the last 12 months, the Patriots will try and trade this pick for a future first-round selection and another selection in the 2012 NFL Draft. 

If they do select a player, Vinny Curry provides the motor and sudden athleticism that the Patriots need on the edge. Our scouting report on Curry gives us confidence that Belichick might actually pull the trigger on an OLB this year.

 

32. New York Giants

Chase Minniefield, CB, Virginia

With Terrell Thomas and Aaron Ross looking at free agency this spring, adding a smooth cornerback like Minnifield would be extremely prudent.

Minnifield has a few technique issues to clean up (especially on deep balls) but has the physical and mental talent to be a starter for years to come.

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