2012 NFL Mock Draft: Which Teams Will Make Big Gambles

Jon Siddoway@@JSiddowayCorrespondent IMarch 12, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 22: Nick Perry #8 of the University of Southern California Trojans brings down Tyler Eifert #80 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on October 22, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With all the uncertainty leading up to this year's NFL draft, at least one thing is for sure:

The Washington Redskins really, really, really want a franchise quarterback.

One not named Rex Grossman. Or John Beck. 

Friday's deal with the St. Louis Rams may have ended the prolonged search. The Redskins packaged three first-round draft picks and a second-rounder in exchange for what is expected to be the selection of Robert Griffin III.  

They didn't suck enough for Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning failed to reciprocate interest, but owner Daniel Snyder remained aggressive in pursuing a quarterback capable of leading the team to their first playoff berth since 2007.

A lot will be sent away for Griffin's services, but the Redskins believe they are getting much more in return.   

Draft analyst Mel Kiper agrees: "You’re not giving [those picks] away. You’re getting a quarterback who has star power,” he said Thursday when asked about the deal. “I don’t care about the spots you move up. It’s a quarterback-driven league. Griffin is red-hot right now. . . . Dan Snyder knows what [the Redskins] need, and they’ve got to get a quarterback. They beat the Giants twice, and they beat Green Bay a year ago. He knows the missing link in Washington is quarterback.”

The bold move is a result of three consecutive double-digit loss seasons with a heavy dosage of inadequacy at the quarterback position. It's also a huge gamble that may take decades to properly evaluate.

It won't, however, be the only gamble of the 2012 NFL draft.

Here are four other teams ready to make some risky moves of their own.   


St. Louis Rams, Pick No. 6: WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State

The Rams, on the other side of the blockbuster trade, showed unwavering support in quarterback Sam Bradford by passing on Griffin. It's a risk/boost of confidence that hopefully translates into more success on the field. Now they just need to acquire a receiver to help him out.

Blackmon has been the been the best receiver in college for the past two seasons and instantly becomes Bradford's top target.


Miami Dolphins, Pick No. 8: DE/OLB Nick Perry, USC

Look for the Dolphins to solve their quarterback ineptitude during free agency, but their biggest gamble will be when they select this pass-rusher with the eighth overall pick.

Perry has been a workout warrior throughout the pre-draft process and has the on-field production to back it up (9.5 sacks his junior season). He has great size, athleticism and the versatility to line up in multiple spots on defense.


Seattle Seahawks, Pick No. 12: DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus 

Mercilus, despite leading the NCAA in sacks, is viewed by most as a fringe first-round prospect, but will hear his name called in this slot. He reminds me of Aldon Smith with his burst off the line, strength and ability to beat blockers and hit opposing quarterbacks.

The Seahawks struggled with their pass-rush in 2011, but will be a lot better after this gamble pays off. 


Dallas Cowboys, Pick No. 14: CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama

"The Cowboys will be Super Bowl contenders next season." How many times have you heard that before? Every year, and this year is no different.

This gamble, however, is what finally pushes them in the right direction. Jenkins comes with his fair share of character concerns, but has the physical makeup of a shutdown corner. He's fast, quick and has very fluid hips. He can also contribute in the return game, which is a big plus.