2012 NFL Mock Draft: Projecting the First Round, Combine Edition with Trades
With the NFL combine is under way, there is an emergence of risers, fallers and rumors.
The combine is an essential tool in the evaluation of college prospects and after this week, there will only be pro days before the draft itself.
Some players who have risen this week include Dontari Poe, Melvin Ingram and Michael Floyd.
Players who did not fair as well and have not impressed include Kendall Wright and Vontaze Burfict.
However, the question on everybody's mind is who will be trading up with the St. Louis Rams to grab Robert Griffin III.
While the process leading up to the draft is far from over, teams have begun to make their approach public as they show interest in prospects via interviews and visits.
1st Overall: The Indianapolis Colts Selcect QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
Regardless if Peyton Manning is back or if Robert Griffin III lights it up at his pro day, Andrew Luck will be the first pick.
2nd Overall: The Cleveland Browns Select QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
With Luck being penciled in at one, it is safe to bet Robert Griffin III will be selected second.
However, who is on the clock when RG3 is selected is a question that makes this draft process more exciting then years' past.
The Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins are likely to show the most interest with some outside teams such as the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks as possibilities.
The Browns have two first round picks and offering both of these with some other picks should be more attractive then anything Washington or any other competitors can offer.
If Cleveland does pull the trigger, it is the end of the Colt McCoy era and the beginning of the molding of a dual-threat quarterback into a West Coast offense signal caller.
This should not be a huge concern for Pat Shurmur as a player who Griffin often draws comparisons to, Michael Vick, runs a variation of the West Coast offense in Philadelphia.
The Browns will need to get some weapons for whoever is quarterback though. Greg Little is a solid number two and Mohamed Massaquoi could be a three.
3rd Overall: The Minnesota Vikings Select OT Matt Kalil, USC
The Minnesota Vikings catch a lucky break as they will land the top tackle prospect since Jake Long.
Charlie Johnson was brought in as a stopgap starter after Bryant McKinnie was cut last summer.
Kalil will likely add a bit of size in the process leading up to the draft to fill out his frame and be prepared to start from day one.
An exceptional pass-blocker and solid run-blocker, Kalil should hold down the left side for Christian Ponder, Joe Webb and or whoever else takes snap from under center in the near future.
This pick is a no-brainer as although both Justin Blackmon and Morris Claiborne fill needs, Kalil is much more polished and plays a more significant position.
4th Overall: The St. Louis Rams Select WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
With St. Louis moving down to fourth overall, they can fill their biggest need by grabbing Justin Blackmon and fill others with the other picks received.
In some eyes, Blackmon is a bit of a reach here as he does not have the elite size or speed as other wideouts selected in the Top Ten in other drafts.
However, Blackmon does not carry the diva label and is a hard worker.
Some project Blackmon as a similar payer to Hakeem Nicks who is a great player. However, not many GMs would be willing to use a Top Five selection on a player of Nicks' caliber.
Others believe Blackmon is the second coming of Terrell Owens, minus the baggage and the drops.
Blackmon is a physical receiver who extends plays as well as a willing blocker. If he truly becomes as productive as T.O., this pick would not be so much a reach.
5th Overall: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Select CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be in a position to move down if the Redskins fail to get RG3 and a team wants to move up to grab Ryan Tannehill before Washington's selection.
However, if the Bucs stay, Morris Claiborne will likely be the pick as he is an above average cover-corner with elite size.
Also, he does not carry the same baggage as Dre Kirkpatrick and Janoris Jenkins.
Tampa Bay will likely be bringing Aqib Talib back as he and head coach Greg Schiano had a sit down. However, Ronde Barber will not be around much longer and another starter will be needed as early as next season.
Trent Richardson is a wild card pick as he provides value and LaGarrette Blount has been inconsistent in the run game and is not very good in the pass game.
6th Overall: The Washington Redskins Select QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
If the Washington Redskins fail to move up to select RG3, Ryan Tannehill could be the pick regardless if the team signs Peyton Manning.
Tannehill is relatively raw as he is new to the position switching from wide receiver.
That being said, he should still have room for improvement and is a good quarterback to be subject to the Aaron Rodgers or Jake Locker development.
If Manning is brought in, Tannehill would sit behind one of the greatest for two years or so before becoming the starter.
If Peyton is not signed, another stopgap quarterback like the two that were on roster this year could be brought in for one year and Tannehill could be thrown out there a year earlier.
7th Overall: The Jacksonville Jaguars Select WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
Michael Floyd moved up draft boards with week after solid speed and hands to go along with his elite size.
Last week it was Kendall Wright who was believed to be moving up the boards. But after posting a disappointing 4.61 40, his stock is in question at the moment.
The Jacksonville Jaguars really need to find multiple weapons for Blaine Gabbert as Mike Thomas, the best receiver on the roster, is an above average slot receiver.
The only reliable target on the team for Gabbert is Mercedes Lewis, who had a disappointing season one year removed from a career season.
Floyd is the first step in making the Jaguars offense balanced as the only thing going at the moment is Maurice Jones-Drew.
8th Overall: The Miami Dolphins Select OT Riley Reiff, Iowa
The Miami Dolphins will likely look at the free-agent quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn.
While some Dolphins fans have made their desires for Manning known by the billboard purchased, Flynn could be a more logical fit with his ties to new head coach, Joe Philbin.
Miami may also explore putting a package together to select Robert Griffin III and Ryan Tannehill could be available at eight.
However, the Dolphins have a solid roster already and bringing in a veteran and making a playoff push as soon as possible would be logical.
Riley Reiff is a logical pick because of the struggles on the right side of the line. Reiff would be an upgrade from day one.
Over the last five drafts, Miami has spent first round picks on both Jake Long and Mike Pouncey.
Solidifying the right side of the line for whoever is playing quarterback is a priority and Reiff is a good value at eight.
9th Overall: The Carolina Panthers Select DT Michael Brockers, DT
The Carolina Panthers have a number of needs and could go in a few different directions.
Michael Brockers is a good fit for where the defense is going because he can play at the tackle in the 4-3 or slide to the outside at end in the 3-4.
While Carolina ran the 4-3 last season, head coach Ron Rivera ran a 3-4 as the Chargers defensive coordinator.
The Panthers spent two 3rd round picks at the defensive tackle position last year in Sione Fua and Terrell McClain. If Carolina does move to a 3-4, Fua has experience at the nose and McClain could also slide outside with Brockers.
Brockers is a bit raw, however he has elite size and if well coached could become dynamic against the run.
10th Overall: The Buffalo Bills Select DT Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
The Buffalo Bills started off last season strong, but struggled tremendously later.
While talks with Stevie Johnson are not moving at the moment, if re-signed the defense needs to be addressed.
The Bills had been linked to Stanford Routt so a corner could be in play. Mario Williams could draw attention from Buffalo and if he is not signed, a pass-rusher could also be a possibility.
Melvin Ingram presents value at ten after a strong Senior Bowl and combine.
Ingram is also scheme flexible being labeled a "tweener." However, if the Bills move to a 4-3 he can play from the line of scrimmage or rush the outside as a 3-4 linebacker.
Quinton Coples could be in play as an end. But as a pick in the Top Ten, his motor and consistency make him a gamble.
11th Overall: The Kansas City Chiefs Select DL Dontari Poe, Memphis
Dontari Poe has been rising on draft boards and would be a good fit for the Kansas City Chiefs 3-4 scheme.
Poe has drawn comparisons to Haloti Ngata and could lineup at the nose taking over for Kelly Gregg or could replace the disappointing Tyson Jackson at the end.
A defensive pick is logical because of new head coach Romeo Crennel's defensive background. Adding Poe and having a healthy Eric Berry in the backfield would improve the defensive drastically.
Some mocks have Kansas City selecting Trent Richardson to replace Thomas Jones for the Chiefs' two-back scheme. However there are solid backs in the later rounds to be a secondary back including David Wilson and Lamar Miller.
12th Overall: The Cincinnati Bengals Select RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
The Cincinnati Bengals trade up five spots with the Seattle Seahawks to grab Trent Richardson packaging the 17th pick with a third round selection.
Richardson would add a new dynamic to the young Bengals defense as Cedric Benson got the job done but was not dynamic.
Richardson has drawn comparisons to Adrian Peterson and adding a player of that caliber to an offense with the likes of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green would be fun to watch.
Seattle trades down after missing out on Ryan Tannehill and will target a pass-rusher to compliment Chris Clemons.
If the Seahawks let Marshawn Lynch walk, they could be in a position to stay put and grab Richardson for to bolster their own offense.
13th Overall: The Arizona Cardinals Select OG David DeCastro, Stanford
The Arizona Cardinals were disappointing last year as Kevin Kolb's subpar season was cut short by injury.
The Cardinals defense has improved and the focus has to be on the offense side of the ball, in which the team could go in a number of directions.
The offensive line is the most obvious need and there are a number of good prospects on the board.
The pick could come down to two lineman from the Stanford Cardinal: tackle Jonathan Martin and guard David DeCastro.
While tackle is usually the favored position on the line, adding DeCastro would improve the play of whoever is playing tackle next to him.
14th Overall: The Dallas Cowboys Select S Mark Barron, Alabama
While the Dallas Cowboys improved last season, the defense is far away from a Super Bowl contending unit.
Another pass rusher to compliment DeMarcus Ware is a huge need and any of the starters in the backfield could be upgraded.
Insert Mark Barron, a hard-hitting safety with improving coverage and ball skills. In the mold of Troy Polamalu, Barron has the potential to be a special player in the backfield.
Dre Kirkpatrick or Janoris Jenkins could be the selection as well as Terrence Newman could be subject of release.
15th Overall: The Philadelphia Eagles Select LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College
After spending big in free agency, the Philadelphia Eagles had a poor season—especially on the defensive side of the ball.
The defense especially against the run was particularly weak as Jim Washburn brought in the Wide Nine technique.
The linebacking core of Moise Fokou, Casey Matthews, Jamar Chaney and Brian Rolle will not be able to get it done against the run.
Luke Kuechly answered question about his speed with a 4.5 40 time and while he is not as athletic as other first round linebackers from past drafts, he posses the instincts to be an effective starter.
Some mocks see a defensive tackle in play for the Eagles, however the awful run defense did not stem from the play of Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins but rather their role in the Wide Nine.
A wide receiver could also be in play if DeSean Jackson is traded upon signing the franchise tag.
16th Overall: The New York Jets Select OT Mike Adams, Ohio State
The locker room of the New York Jets has some issues and the team could undergo some changes to restore positive team chemistry as some players consider others arrogant.
A right tackle is a player of need as Wayne Hunter was not particularly effective and Vladimir Ducasse has been a disappointment.
This pick could come down to tackles Jonathan Martin and Mike Adams. Either projects as an effective starter at right tackle across from D'Brickashaw Ferguson.
Finding a pass rusher is a need. But the Jets trying to develop Nick Perry or Whitney Mercilus into rush linebackers does not make a ton of sense for a team trying to win now.
Courtney Upshaw has experience in the 3-4, however his stock has been tumbling after a poor combine.
17th Overall: The Seattle Seahawks Select DE Nick Perry, USC
After trading down with Cincinnati, the Seahawks find themselves in a position to add a pass-rusher while accumulating a couple extra picks.
A defensive end is a need as Chris Clemons will be a free agent this time next year.
Clemons has been dynamic when healthy while Red Bryant and Raheem Brock have been serviceable, but could be upgraded.
Nick Perry has been a riser after a strong combine that included running a 4.6 in the 40. With a strong pro day, Perry could become a surprise early pick similar to Aldon Smith last draft.
18th Overall: The San Diego Chargers Select OLB Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
Since Shawne Merriman was released, the San Diego Chargers have had a need at the rush linebacker.
Larry English was drafted but was a bust while Travis LaBoy, brought in last season, is a situational pass-rusher at best.
Whitney Mercilus has the "one year wonder" label after a dynamic season, but has as much upside as any of the other pass-rushers in the class.
Mercilus would be a logical fit and instant upgrade over English and LaBoy.
If Vincent Jackson walks, a receiver would become a huge need, however he is likely to get the tag again eventually.
19th Overall: The Chicago Bears Select DE Quinton Coples, UNC
Quinton Coples is a top five talent when he wants to be. However, his inconsistency will likely caution many evaluators.
After a disappointing season statistically, Coples had a great week leading up to the Senior Bowl and performed well in the game as well.
With elite size at 6'5" and 285 pounds and posting a 4.72 40 time, Coples should be a special talent similar to Tar Heels alumni and current Bear, Julius Peppers.
Peppers himself has questions about his effort in terms as an every down pass-rusher, but there is no guarantee Coples will still become a dynamic player like Peppers if he takes plays off.
Chicago has been speculated to make potential big moves to address the need at receiver. But pass rush is also a need and Coples' upside is worth the risk at 19th overall.
20th Overall: The Green Bay Packers Select OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
The Green Bay packers move up and trade with the Tennessee Titans to grab Courtney Upshaw.
While the Packers offense was automatic last season, the defense was awful and should be the focus this draft.
Adding a pass-rusher across from Clay Matthews would be a logical move and Upshaw has experience in the 3-4 so that he could step up right away as a starter.
Upshaw falls after a poor combine despite a strong Senior Bowl week and game.
With the current stock of Upshaw fluctuating, a strong pro day could bring him back to the middle of the first round.
21st Overall: The Cincinatti Bengals Select CB Janoris Jenkins, Northern Alabama
Janoris Jenkins was at the podium at the combine and was questioned about his previous off-the-field problems.
Jenkins is easily a top 15 prospect if not for these issues, however he claims to be done with marijuana and is focused on football and providing for his four children.
The Bengals traded up to snag a dynamic rusher in Trent Richardson and snagging a starting corner to lineup across from Leon Hall in the long run would be huge.
While Hall could be out with an injury, Nate Clements is solid and could start until Hall is healthy.
A safety is a need and if Mark Barron is on the board, he could be the selection. If not, there are no other safeties that carry a first-round grade and a corner would be the pick.
22nd Overall: The St. Louis Rams Select DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State
After adding the long-awaited weapon Sam Bradford has been deprived of, the Rams can focus on the defensive side of the ball.
Outside of a handful of recent high picks in Chris Long, Robert Quinn and James Laurinaitis, the defense is awful.
Defensive tackle is a huge need despite the dynamic pass rush of Long and the flashes by Quinn. For whatever reason, some consider Quinn a bust despite missing an entire season and coming back with five sacks as a rookie.
Fletcher Cox could be better suited as an end in the 3-4, however inside at the tackle he is still a better prospect than the others available in Jerel Worthy and Devon Still.
While adding a corner will be a huge need, there are solid second and third round prospects such as Chase Minnifield.
23rd Overall: The Detroit Lions Select OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford
With Jeff Backus an impending free agent, now is the time for the Detroit Lions to replace him.
Adding a young player early in the draft with experience blocking for a stud quarterback would be huge for Detroit.
Martin was once regarded as a top ten pick, however questions if he could continue to block on the left side or if he will be restricted as a right tackle has hurt his stock a bit.
An above average run blocker, Martin still has room to improve as a pass-blocker and could eventually become a blindside tackle.
Cornerback is a need and Dre Kirkpatrick could fall to Detroit like Nick Fairley did last April.
24th Overall: The Pittsburgh Steelers Select OL Cordy Glenn, Georgia
Cordy Glenn is an interesting prospect because he has experience at many different positions on the offensive line.
Whether he will be a mammoth guard or a team likes him as a tackle is yet to be seen, Glenn has great athleticism for his side and could line up anywhere.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have used a number of picks on offensive linemen in recent drafts in Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert.
Adding Glenn to either start as a tackle across from Gilbert or slide in at guard next to Pouncey would bolster the offensive line.
A defensive selection is possible as the unit is aging.
25th Overall: The Denver Broncos Select CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
Dre Kirkpatrick falls to the end of the first round after questions about his character as well as his decision making as a whole circulate.
Kirkpatrick has elite size and athleticism, however his man-to-man coverage as well as his ball skills are not superb.
The Denver Broncos have a need at corner as Champ Bailey continues to age and the depth chart was thin to begin with.
There will be questions whether or not Denver will use an early pick on a quarterback. But bringing in a veteran such as Jason Campbell and adding a quarterback in the later rounds will likely be the approach.
The defensive backfield was a weakness despite early selections in Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter. If both safeties continue to develop and Kirkpatrick is added, the backfield should improve.
26th Overall: The Houston Texans Select WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
Kendall Wright's stock was really improving after measuring in at 5'10", however a disappointing 40 time, 4.61, has him all over the place.
A strong 40 time at Baylor's pro day could improve his stock. But he is not likely to crack the top 15 as he drops passes.
The Houston Texans have long needed to get a legit receiver across from Andre Johnson as Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones are not effective.
If Mario Williams leaves adding another pass-rusher could be a possibility despite the emergence of Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed as pass-rushers come at a premium in the National Football League.
27th Overall: The New England Patriots Select DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State
The New England Patriots defense struggled mightily and multiple upgrades are needed.
Bringing in a defensive tackle such as Jerel Worthy, who is scheme flexible, would be huge as pairing him with Vince Wilfork could stuff the run effectively.
Devon Still could be an option and it would come to Bill Belichick's preference over the two tackles.
Worthy provides more upside in the pass rush while Still is limited as a run defense specialist.
28th Overall: The Tennessee Titans Select DE Andre Branch, Clemson
After trading down, the Titans look to add a pass-rusher as Derrick Morgan has been a disappointment thus far.
Karl Klug and Jurrell Casey stepped in to stabilize the interior of the defensive line last year as rookies and finding an outside rusher is a priority.
Andre Branch had a solid combine, however questions about his size and ability to be effective against the bigger offensive tackles could damage his stock.
Adding a receiver for Jake Locker across from Kenny Britt could also be a possibility.
29th Overall: The Baltimore Ravens Select C Peter Konz, Wisconson
The Baltimore Ravens will need to replace center Matt Birk eventually.
Andre Gurode could be a stopgap center, however adding Peter Konz would allow Gurode to be a swing lineman or could become a stopgap guard if Ben Grubbs leaves in free agency.
Konz was a solid anchor for the Badgers line and has the size to translate his game to the NFL.
The Ravens could look to add another receiver as Torrey Smith drops passes and Anquan Boldin has the tendency to disappear in games.
30th Overall: The San Francisco 49ers Select TE Coby Fleener, Stanford
Jim Harbaugh loves running two tight end sets and while Vernon Davis is one of the league's best, Delanie Walker could be upgraded.
Coby Fleener has experience in Harbaugh's system and though there are questions around his blocking ability, the big plays he brings are a need in San Francisco.
While a wide receiver is a bigger need, no prospects provide value here as Alshon Jeffery has questionable speed and Mohamed Sanu struggles to separate in man coverage.
Comparisons to Greg Olson are logical and adding another reliable target for Alex Smith should boost the offense a bit especially in the red zone.
31st Overall: The New England Patriots Select DE Chandler Jones, Syracuse
The Patriots add another defensive lineman to improve the defense.
Chandler Jones is versatile and can rush the quarterback from the line of scrimmage as well as standing up.
Bill Belichick could elect to move one of these first rounders again for future picks, however in the late stages of Tom Brady's career the team must use these selections to bolster the defense.
A cornerback could be an option as Devin McCourty struggled and the position is thin.
32nd Overall: The New York Giants Select LB Zach Brown, UNC
The Super Bowl Champion New York Giants tend to add athletic defensive studs in the draft.
Zach Brown presents a need and fills the profile of a Giants first round pick running a 4.5 40 time.
Drafting Brown and another linebacker or signing one in free agency would allow Mathias Kiwanuka to slide back to end giving the Giants more depth on the line.
A tight end could be in play draft night or in free agency as the trio of Jake Ballard, Travis Beckham and Bear Pascoe was a weakness on the offense.