NFL Mock Draft 2012: Post-Scouting Combine Top 10 Selections
After the 2012 edition of the NFL Scouting Combine left us with a good indication of who's a top prospect and who isn't, the top 10 picks are looking clearer by the day.
With many interesting storylines (including the Rams' asking price for their second overall pick), this draft promises to be a highly anticipated event.
Look for top-notch players to find their new homes in April as they are tabbed as first-round draftees and eventual franchise cornerstones.
Without further ado, here are the mocked top 10 picks of the NFL draft.
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1. IND: QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
Andrew Luck grades out better than any prospect right now, receiving high marks in throwing power, accuracy and athleticism.
The intangibles are there and this Stanford quarterback is the type of player that any team would build their franchise around for the next 10-15 years.
Luck makes the Colts an instant playoff contender in 2012. Look for Indianapolis to build their franchise around this young signal-caller.
2. WAS (via STL): QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
With Andrew Luck's draft status a foregone conclusion at this point, Robert Griffin III remains the most talked-about player in this draft class.
While the Cleveland Browns remain lukewarm on the Rams' asking price, the Washington Redskins are willing to trade whatever it takes to get Robert Griffin III.
Mike Shanahan loves mobile quarterbacks and he can certainly make a Pro Bowler out of the shifty Griffin, who combines his aforementioned athleticism with a rare arm and undeniable charisma.
3. MIN: OT Matt Kalil, USC
Southern California tackle Matt Kalil is a special player and will anchor the left side of the line for the Vikings for years to come.
Personally, I don't think Kalil is a top-five talent, though the Vikings make a need-based pick here and try to protect Christian Ponder's blind side.
This offensive lineman will be a great player for Minnesota—there's no doubt about that—but I'm not expecting the world from this player.
4. CLE: RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
After originally writing off Trent Richardson as an average runner who would be a one-dimensional player in the league, I went back to watch the tape and was made a believer.
"T-Rich" has smooth cuts, fluid hips and a nose for the end zone; the running back knows how to make a play in space and he is a true force to bring down.
Cleveland needs to do their due diligence in finding out about Richardson's surgically-repaired knee, but he is the best pick here at number four.
5. TB: CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
Morris Claiborne, like Trent Richardson, was a player that I wasn't sure about until I went back and watched the tape.
Unlike Richardson, though, I've come to the conclusion that Claiborne isn't an elite corner and that he'd have been a second-round pick if it wasn't for the excellent work of Tyrann Mathieu on LSU's other side.
Nonetheless, Claiborne is a good playmaker and he will fit in nicely with the opportunistic defense that the Buccaneers are going about building in Tampa Bay.
6. STL (via WAS): WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
Last year, St. Louis hoped that top receiver prospect Julio Jones would fall to them at the 14th pick and they were mistaken.
They take another leap of faith here, trading down four slots to the sixth overall pick, but are able to land their man this time.
If anyone watched the Fiesta Bowl, it was clear that Blackmon could take over a football game. The Rams will be happy to add this solid wideout to Sam Bradford's arsenal of weapons.
7. JAX: DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
Melvin Ingram may not have the size of a prototypical pass-rushing linebacker/defensive end, but he is an explosive player who would make the Jaguars defense a truly fearsome unit.
Though the team has problems on offense with incapable quarterback Blaine Gabbert, no available offensive player would warrant selection here (though tackle Riley Reiff will get a look).
Jacksonville's defense is on the verge of being a solid group. The addition of this SEC pass-rusher would put their battalion over the top.
8. MIA: QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
Our first huge surprise of the draft occurs with the eighth overall pick and the Miami Dolphins' selection of quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Instead of focusing on rumored interest in free-agent quarterbacks, realize that the team has a chance to bring in a signal-caller who could be a 10-year starter.
Tannehill is an above-average athlete who throws the ball very well, making great decisions and displaying true football IQ despite a lack of experience at quarterback.
9. CAR: DT Dontari Poe, Memphis
After an astounding performance at the combine, it's fair to say that Poe has elevated himself into the top 10 or 15 picks in the draft.
Ron Rivera would love to draft a true nose tackle to build his 3-4 defensive scheme around. Poe is just the guy to give him that opportunity.
The Memphis lineman has great feet and is a raw prospect who would thrive under a fiery coach like Rivera, who demands the most of his players.
10. BUF: OT Riley Reiff, Iowa
Bills fans have fallen in love with Courtney Upshaw at this point, but after watching him at the combine I was just unimpressed by this athlete.
Buffalo needs a pass-rusher here, but with a player as talented as Reiff still on the board, there's no way that Chan Gailey can afford to pass up this Iowa lineman.
Despite the ability of players like Upshaw and the also-available Quinton Coples, GM Buddy Nix needs to address a below-average offensive line before concentrating on rushing the other team's passer.