2012 NFL Mock Draft: Players That'll Have to Wait to Hear Their Names Called

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 29, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 09:  Trent Richardson #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Louisiana State University Tigers during the 2012 Allstate BCS National Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Every year at the NFL Draft there are a couple marquee players who are left to wait in the green room. This generally results in Chris Berman and the ESPN crew showing that player on camera roughly 50 times until he is finally taken at some point late in the first round.

While waiting can be a bit embarrassing for the player, it can also be a good thing since the player tends to end up in a winning environment. I'm sure that if anyone were to ask Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers if he is happy that he fell in the draft, he would answer with an emphatic "yes".

The same will happen this year, and while some of those players will go on to greatness like Rodgers, others will justify the slide in draft position.

In addition to a full first-round mock draft, here are three players who will have to wait longer than expected to hear their names called in the draft.

1. Indianapolis Colts (2-14): Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

If it wasn't already obvious, Luck cemented himself as the top quarterback in the class at the combine.

2. Cleveland Browns (4-12): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor (Projected trade w/ STL)

The Browns desperately need a franchise player, so they will make a power move by trading up to No. 2 and selecting Griffin.

3. Minnesota Vikings (3-13): Matt Kalil, OT, USC

Without a left tackle, quarterback Christian Ponder is doomed to fail, so taking Kalil is a no-brainer.

4. St. Louis Rams (2-14): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State (Projected trade w/ CLE)

The Rams are able to accumulate some extra picks and still get the weapon that quarterback Sam Bradford needs at No. 4.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12): Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

With Ronde Barber on his last legs and Aqib Talib in perpetual legal trouble, the Bucs will breathe new life into the defensive backfield.

6. Washington Redskins (5-11): Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Quarterback is a need, but it will have to be filled by Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn. Floyd's stock skyrocketed after the combine.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11): Quinton Coples, DE, UNC

For the past several years the Jaguars have lacked a good pass rush. They have missed on a lot of defensive ends, but Coples is the real deal.

8. Miami Dolphins (6-10): Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

Jake Long has things locked down on the left side, but the addition of Reiff could give Miami an elite offensive line.

9. Carolina Panthers (6-10): Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

Carolina hasn't had a good defensive tackle since Kris Jenkins left, but Brockers has the potential to be like Albert Haynesworth in his prime.

10. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

The Bills are switching back to a 4-3, so an explosive pass rusher like Ingram is a must to make the transformation successful.

11. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9): Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

After releasing Jared Gaither for no reason last year, the Chiefs have a big need at offensive tackle, but it can be satisfied by Martin.

12. Seattle Seahawks (7-9): Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama

Chris Clemons is a solid pass rusher, but aside from him the Seahawks have nothing, making Upshaw an obvious pick.

13. Arizona Cardinals (8-8): Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

The Cardinals have lost a lot of defensive pieces over the past few years, but Kuechly can be the cornerstone of the rebuild.

14. Dallas Cowboys (8-7): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Dallas' defensive backfield is aging and incompetent, and while Kirkpatrick has character issues, he also has elite skill.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8): Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

Wright didn't run as well as hoped at the combine, but he plays fast enough to replace DeSean Jackson as Michael Vick's deep threat.

16. New York Jets (8-8): Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois

The Jets' pass rush took a big step back this past season, but Mercilus has the potential to thrive in Rex Ryan's defensive system.

17. Cincinnati Bengals (via OAK 8-8): Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Many are calling Alabama's Trent Richardson the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson, and that may be true, but the value placed on running backs is at an all-time low. Over the past several years it has become commonplace to find starting-caliber running backs late in the draft and as undrafted free agents.

With that in mind, there is much less focus on taking backs early in the draft. Additionally, there are very few teams near the top of the draft this season that need a running back. The Buccaneers could take Richardson, but they have a ton of other holes to fill. The Seahawks are a possibility if Marshawn Lynch signs elsewhere, but that seems unlikely.

The first team on the board who has a true need at the position is the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 17. Cedric Benson is on his last legs, so Richardson would be a welcome addition. All signs point to Richardson being a good NFL back, but based on value, he's going to have to wait longer than initially anticipated.

18. San Diego Chargers (8-8): Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC

Shawne Merriman is long gone and Larry English is a bust, so the Chargers badly need a rush linebacker like Perry in the first.

19. Chicago Bears (8-8): Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

Had South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery entered the draft last season he may have been the second receiver off the board behind A.J. Green. Due to a very poor junior campaign, however, Jeffery's value has taken a hit. Part of the reason why he dipped under 800 yards in 2011 was poor quarterback play, but he didn't hold up to his end of the bargain either.

Jeffery came in leaner than expected at the combine at 6'3" and 216 lbs., which is a plus, but he didn't run or jump at the combine. He was already behind Justin Blackmon in the consensus rankings, but it seems as though Michael Floyd and Kendall Wright both surpassed him as well. Because of that, he is likely to slide.

Even with all the question marks surrounding him, the Chicago Bears will be ecstatic to get Jeffery at No. 19. Chicago has some decent receivers in Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett, but they need to get quarterback Jay Cutler a go-to guy. If Jeffery lives up to his potential, then he could be a Terrell Owens-esque player and a steal at this juncture.

20. Tennessee Titans (9-7): David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

The Titans have some major issues on their interior offensive line, so they'll take the best guard in the draft in DeCastro.

21. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7): Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

The Bengals already clogged one hole with the selection of Richardson, and they'll take care of another with the troubled, but talented Jenkins.

22. Cleveland Browns (via ATL 10-6): Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers

With RG3 in the fold, the Browns need to get him some weapons. Sanu has great size and leaping ability, and can be Griffin's go-to receiver.

23. Detroit Lions (10-6): Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

Long-time Lions left tackle Jeff Backus is a free agent, and whether he is re-signed or not, a tackle like Adams is a necessity.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4): Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia

The Steelers' offensive line continually allows quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to get destroyed, but Glenn could be a steadying force.

25. Denver Broncos (8-8): Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

J.D. Walton certainly isn't getting the job done at center for the Broncos, but Konz would give quarterback Tim Tebow a great battery mate.

26. Houston Texans (10-6): Mark Barron, S, Alabama

Glover Quin is one of the few weak links left on the Texans' defense, so taking the best safety in the draft in Barron makes sense.

27. New England Patriots (via NO 13-3): Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall

The Patriots' pass rush was far too inconsistent last season, making a rush linebacker like Curry an absolute must in the first round.

28. Green Bay Packers (15-1): Devon Still, DE/DT, Penn State

As recently as a month ago Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still was being mentioned as the top tackle in the draft and a likely top-10 pick. While Still hasn't done a lot to hurt his own value, LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers has taken off due to his supreme athleticism and is now the cream of the crop at the position.

Still was up for plenty of defensive awards this past season and was certainly a game changer for the Nittany Lions. He has excellent size and burst and is capable of playing either 4-3 defensive tackle or 3-4 defensive end. The need for that type of player isn't pressing, though, so it seems likely that he will slide.

The Green Bay Packers have a penchant for getting great value in the draft, and they would love for Still to slip to them. Green Bay's defensive ends have been pretty ineffective, so Still could be an immediate starter. Not only would he occupy blockers, but he can get to the quarterback as well, making him a potential steal.

29. Baltimore Ravens (12-4): Dont’a Hightower, OLB, Alabama

While Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs are still elite linebackers, the Ravens' corps could use an upgrade in the form of Hightower.

30. San Francisco 49ers (13-3): Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech

It's no secret that the 49ers need a receiver, and while Hill may be a project, he showed at the combine that he has all the tools to be great.

31. New England Patriots (13-3): Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

With the pass rush addressed, the Patriots need an infusion of talent in the secondary, and the physical Dennard fits the bill.

32. New York Giants (9-7): Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson

Both Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum's statuses are up in the air, so the Giants will be inclined to grab the top tight end in Allen.


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