2012 NFL Mock Draft: Ideal Picks for Every Team
Most mock drafts are predicting what will happen, not what should happen.
This mock is different. This mock is what would happen if I were running each team's draft without the ability to trade.
Many of these picks are greatly different from what will happen in the actual 2012 NFL draft. Some of the selections may be surprisingly accurate, though.
People will disagree with a lot of these picks because, after all, they are largely based on my personal board.
That board tends to disagree with the general consensus.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Is it really worth the time to explain this? The Colts need a quarterback, and Andrew Luck is the draft's best player. No other selection makes sense, and this is an easy pick.
There are a few people saying Indianapolis could, or should, take Robert Griffin, but Luck is easily the superior player. There isn't much of a justification for picking Griffin with Luck on the board.
2. St. Louis Rams: Matt Kalil, OT, USC
A lot of people think the Rams could take Justin Blackmon here, but I don't see Blackmon as being worthy of the pick. Matt Kalil fills a huge hole for St. Louis at left tackle, and he is a solid pick at No. 2.
With Kalil at left tackle, Rodger Saffold could kick inside to guard, where he could develop into a solid player. This pick solidifies several positions along the offensive line.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
The Vikings need a cornerback. Morris Claiborne happens to be one of the best players in the draft, so he makes sense here on multiple levels.
The LSU cornerback is athletic and technically-sound, so he can immediately play at a high level. Tampa Bay also just signed Claiborne's former defensive backs coach.
4. Cleveland Browns: Robert Griffin, QB, Baylor
Colt McCoy was dreadful in 2011, and Cleveland is in desperate need of a quarterback. Griffin dominated in his final season at Baylor, and he can do anything on the field.
The Heisman winner is an incredible athlete, and he can throw downfield or short. At just 6'2", 210 pounds, Griffin isn't overly big, and there are some concerns about his durability in the NFL. However, Griffin is still a definite top-five pick.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
LeGarrette Blount has already proven he isn't reliable, and Trent Richardson is simply too talented to pass on here. The 5'11", 225-pounder is the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson, and he is an immediate difference maker.
If Morris Claiborne is available, he is the logical pick. However, Tampa Bay's only good options here are Richardson and a wide receiver, and Richardson is easily the better value.
6. Washington Redskins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
This may be seen as a reach, but is it really possible to reach for a quarterback? John Beck and Rex Grossman are both awful, and Washington needs to do something at quarterback.
A former wide receiver, Ryan Tannehill possesses tremendous upside. The 6'4", 235-pounder is still raw, but his potential is too good to ignore. Tannehill is also a perfect fit in Mike Shanahan's offense.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Kendall Wright ahead of Justin Blackmon may seem weird, but Wright is the more dynamic player. The Jaguars don't have a single legitimate wide receiver, so the position certainly makes sense.
A 5'10", 190-pound speedster, Wright can do anything from the wide receiver position. Few players are better at stretching the field, and Wright can also make plays underneath. He is a potential star.
8. Carolina Panthers: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
Carolina's defensive ends aren't bad, but their defensive tackles make up one of the NFL's worst units. Most people don't see Fletcher Cox as a top-10 pick, but he is a terrific penetrater and a potential star.
At 6'4", 295 pounds, Cox is incredibly quick and terrorizes the backfield. Cox isn't exactly stout against the run, but his playmaking ability more than makes up for this flaw.
9. Miami Dolphins: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
Vernon Carey was moved inside to guard this year, and Marc Colombo was as bad at right tackle as Carey was at guard. If they can't add a quarterback, the Dolphins should be looking at right tackle or defensive end.
Mike Adams isn't being talked about as an elite prospect, but he is. No offensive lineman has more upside than the 6'7", 323-pounder, and Adams could develop into an absolute beast. The Ohio State product is risky, but the reward is tremendous.
10. Buffalo Bills: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Buffalo's pass rush was awful in 2011, and the team needs to add some more defensive talent. The 6'6", 281-pound Quinton Coples is a terrific athlete, and though he isn't a great pass-rusher, he does possess elite upside.
The Bills don't have many other options here. Coples can move around in Buffalo's hybrid scheme, and he is already outstanding against the run with the talent to improve.
11. Seattle Seahawks: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Seattle doesn't have a ton of needs outside of quarterback, so they take the best defensive player left on the board. Lofa Tatupu is no longer a Seahawk, and the team could stand to improve at linebacker.
Luke Kuechly doesn't possess elite upside, but he is one of the safest players in the draft. The Boston College star has a nose for the ball, and he could end up as Defensive Rookie of the Year.
12. Kansas City Chiefs: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
Kansas City's nose tackle situation is dependent upon a sixth-round pick—Jerrell Powe. Even at 11, Dontari Poe is a potential steal.
Men weighing in at 6'5", 350 pounds simply should not move like Poe does. The Memphis star is unbelievably talented, and though he is raw, he is worth the pick here.
Riley Reiff is an intriguing option to replace Barry Richardson at right tackle, but Poe is simply the better player.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Even casual NFL fans know the Cardinals' offensive line is awful. Levi Brown shouldn't be playing at all, and he starts at left tackle. So it only makes sense that the team would add an offensive lineman here.
Riley Reiff has some issues, and his footwork is not great, but he isn't a reach here. A former tight end, Reiff is an excellent athlete, and he could conceivably play either left or right tackle.
14. Dallas Cowboys: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Dallas's secondary is, at best, inconsistent, and, at worst, downright bad. Dre Kirkpatrick is probably the best player left right here, and the Cowboys' defensive back needs make him an even more logical pick.
A 6'3", 190-pound cornerback, Kirkpatrick is a fantastic athlete. There are some questions surrounding Kirkpatrick, but he has outstanding upside, and he could develop into one of the game's best defensive backs.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Ideally, the Eagles would take a linebacker like Luke Kuechly here, but that isn't an option. So instead, they opt for another great defensive value in Michael Brockers.
Brockers is a 6'6", 310-pound athletic phenom, and he is a terrific talent. He isn't as explosive as the Eagles would like for him to be, but he is more than capable of playing in Philadelphia's 1-gap defense.
16. New York Jets: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
With Plaxico Burress on his way out, the Jets need to add a wide receiver. Despite his issues, Santonio Holmes is still a solid player. Holmes does, however, need someone to play opposite him.
Michael Floyd is a bigger and more talented player than Justin Blackmon is. Unlike Blackmon, Floyd is a deep threat capable of stretching the field.
The Notre Dame star is riskier than Blackmon is, but he also offers more upside.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland): David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
Cincinnati's offensive line isn't exactly awful, but David DeCastro would make it a lot better. DeCastro is the best guard prospect to come along in a long time, and he will probably be drafted well before this point in the real draft.
The Stanford product has perfect size, weighing in at 6'5", 315 pounds, and he can play in any blocking scheme. There is nothing not to like about DeCastro.
18. San Diego Chargers: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
It's possible that Courtney Upshaw will be gone by now, but his lack of elite pass-rushing ability could hurt him. The 6'1", 271-pounder is a great fit in San Diego's 3-4 defense, and he faces less of a transition than most 3-4 outside linebackers do.
Because he already played in a 3-4 scheme, Upshaw can star immediately. Few players are better against the run, and Upshaw can rush the passer or play in coverage, too.
19. Chicago Bears: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Finally, Justin Blackmon goes. The Oklahoma State star isn't explosive enough to warrant an earlier pick, but he is a good value here. It also just so happens that Chicago needs a wide receiver.
At 6'1", 215 pounds, Blackmon isn't overly fast and is limited to playing the underneath in the NFL. However, Blackmon's yard-after-catch ability does make him a valuable player, and he will be an above-average player for a long time.
20. Tennessee Titans: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
By all accounts, Cortland Finnegan is leaving in free agency, and Tennessee's other cornerbacks are just OK. If it weren't for his off-the-field issues, Janoris Jenkins would be gone long before now.
At Florida, Jenkins was arguably college football's best cornerback. The star is still as talented as ever, but he is risky, too. At this point, though, Jenkins is worth the chance.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Mark Barron, S, Alabama
I'm not wild about this pick.
Mark Barron is a bit of a reach here, but he fits a huge need and won't last much longer. The 6'2", 218-pounder would fill in perfectly next to Reggie Nelson, and he would help out Cincinnati's run defense from the get go.
The Bengals would prefer to add a better player here, but no one else fits both need and provides a decent value. It's a reluctant pick, but a decent one.
22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta): Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
If Alshon Jeffery is in shape, he's a dynamic player. Few wideouts are better at catching the football, a sometimes overlooked aspect of the game. Cleveland's need for a wide receiver is well documented.
At 6'3", 230 pounds, Jeffery occasionally struggles to separate, but he is an incredibly smooth player. In all honesty, Jeffery probably has the most upside of any wide receiver in this draft. He is incredibly risky, though.
23. Detroit Lions: Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina
In a perfect world, the Lions would draft a cornerback here. However, there isn't a good one available, and the Lions instead address another need—outside linebacker.
A ridiculous athlete, Zach Brown is basically a safety in a linebacker's body. The 6'2", 245-pounder can run with the fastest of tight ends or attack the line of scrimmage against the run. Brown isn't great at shredding blocks, but he flows to the ball like few others do.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
Rashard Mendenhall hasn't developed into a star, and he is now coming off a torn ACL. The Steelers need to add young talent any way they can, and Lamar Miller is as dynamic as any player still on the board.
At 5'11", 212 pounds, Miller possesses decent size to go along with his game-breaking speed and receiving ability. Miller is a perfect complement to Mendenhall, and, in time, he could develop into a LeSean McCoy-esque player.
25. Denver Broncos: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
If Lamar Miller were still here, he would be the pick. However, the Broncos are forced to add a safety net—albeit a good one—for Tim Tebow in the form of Coby Fleener.
Fleener is more athletic than he is given credit for, and the 6'6", 245-pounder has terrific length. The Stanford star isn't much of a blocker, but he can contribute in many ways as a receiver.
This pick isn't sexy, and it would be criticized, but it just might be the right move.
26. Houston Texans: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
Even if Andre Johnson weren't frequently injured, the Texans would need a wideout to play opposite him. As it is, though, Houston desperately needs a wide receiver.
The 6'2", 215-pound Mohamed Sanu isn't a game-breaker by any means, but he is a solid player with incredible versatility. Sanu has played all over the field, and he is as consistent as it gets.
27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans): Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
Starting center Dan Koppen is coming off an injury and entering free agency. The Patriots rely on their offensive line, and Peter Konz could step in and start as a rookie.
The 6'5", 315-pounder plays with a mean streak, and he is a terrific run-blocker. Konz isn't as dominant in pass-protection, but he is more than adequate. Konz's overall ability does make him worthy of a first-round pick, though.
28. Green Bay Packers: Melvin Ingram, OLB, South Carolina
Clay Matthews is Green Bay's lone pass-rusher. The Packers don't need another star linebacker, but they do need someone.
At 6'2", 275 pounds, Melvin Ingram can play defensive tackle, defensive end or linebacker. The South Carolina star will never be great at sacking the quarterback, but he will contribute in a variety of ways.
With Matthews on one side and Ingram on the other, Green Bay's defense could actually be decent in 2012.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
It seems impossible, but Ray Lewis will soon be retiring. Baltimore doesn't have a great replacement in line, and Vontaze Burfict legitimately has the potential to replace the legend.
Burfict is the most violent player in football. At 6'3", 255 pounds, Burfict is a powerful linebacker with terrific athletic ability. Only Burfict's over-aggressiveness holds him back, but that is a significant concern.
If it weren't for that issue, though, Burfict might be a top-10 pick, so he could be a steal here.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
With no great wide receiver options here, the 49ers look at their second biggest need—cornerback. If Carlos Rogers leaves in free agency, San Francisco will really need a cornerback. If Rogers stays, San Francisco will still need a cornerback.
An inconsistent player, Stephon Gilmore could become a stud or a dud in the NFL. The South Carolina product scheme-diverse and would serve to further solidify an already-formidable 49ers defense.
31. New England Patriots: Devon Still, DT, Penn State
The Patriots have used both 4-3 and 3-4 looks, and they need defensive line help in both schemes. Fortunately, Devon Still can play in either defense.
The 6'5", 310-pounder is a powerful defensive tackle with excellent athletic ability. However, Still has been inconsistent throughout his career, and, even now, he's far from a sure thing.
The Patriots also need a pass-rusher, though, so Vinny Curry or Andre Branch would make a ton of sense.
32. New York Giants: Kelechi Osemele, OT, Iowa State
The Giants need upgrades at both offensive tackle positions, and Kelechi Osemele can definitely play right tackle. The 6'5", 333-pounder probably can't play left tackle, but no player available can.
Most people would take Jonathan Martin here, but I'm no more sold on his pass-blocking ability than I am on Osemele's. Osemele is also a much better run-blocker, and at worst, he would be a better guard than Martin would be.