2012 NFL Mock Draft: First Round Predictions, Post-Tim Tebow to Jets Trade

Chris Trapasso@ChrisTrapassoAnalyst IMarch 22, 2012

Tim Tebow being traded to the New York Jets won't have a major influence on the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, but it's important to keep mock drafts as up-to-date as possible. (Yes, the deal is finally official, according to Adam Schefter's Twitter.)

Wednesday was one of the most insane days in NFL offseason history.

Along with the stunning Tebow-to-Jets news that hit a major snag and wasn't completed until around 9 p.m EST, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton was suspended one year by the league for his role in "BountyGate." St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended indefinitely.

The Buffalo Bills added to their now-menacing defensive front by signing Mark Anderson to a four-year deal.

The Saints grabbed Broderick Bunkley away from the Denver Broncos and the Cincinnati Bengals inked running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis to a three-year contract. 

Here's an up-to-the-minute mock draft, taking all the recent developments into consideration: 


1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

This morning on SportsCenter, NFL analyst Merril Hoge gave Robert Griffin III the 3-to-1 edge over Andrew Luck in a handful of important quarterback categories. He then said that he'd take RG3 No. 1 overall and that we can't count out the possibility of it actually happening. 

The Colts should thoroughly research Griffin III, but sorry, Merril, Luck's going to be in a Colts uniform in a little over a month.

2. Washington Redskins (trade with St. Louis Rams): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

The Redskins signed two receivers at the start of free agency for Griffin III to throw to, and actually, I think he and Pierre Garcon will be a great pairing. I'm totally psyched to watch RG3 play on Sundays this fall. 

Are you?

(One piece of info worth passing along: B/R's NFL Draft lead writer Sigmund Bloom heard from ESPN's Todd McShay on Wednesday that Washington is still getting interest in their No. 2 overall pick from other teams. 

What the?

3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, Southern California

No. Brainer. The Vikings were relatively quiet in free agency and are ready/hoping for drastic improvement in Christian Ponder's game in year two. They increase those chances by drafting Kalil.

None of Wednesday's action impacted them. 

4. Cleveland Browns: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

They missed out on Matt Flynn. So, the Colt McCoy era continues. Nothing wrong with that—I've got faith in the University of Texas legend. He can't do it alone, though. He needs receivers. Another no-brainer. Blackmon's the ideal wideout for the West Coast Offense and will work wonders on those short drag routes next year. 

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

This mock draft thing isn't so hard after all. Another pick that is simply too perfect not to happen. Although they brought in Eric Wright, they're in dire need of more cornerback depth. Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Matt Ryan are the reasons why. 

However, I will not be surprised if this is the spot in which Alabama's Trent Richardson lands. 

6. St. Louis Rams (trade with Washington Redskins): Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Initially, this was a spot for Dontari Poe, but I really couldn't find another spot for Richardson in Round 1. The Rams would like to add talent to their defense, but will be able to find a quality defensive lineman at the early stages of the second-round. 

Richardson learns the ropes from Steven Jackson, a back with an eerily similar running style. 

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

This is not too early for Floyd. He's got a big body, was productive in college, is a premier "jump-ball gatherer" and has great speed.

Blaine Gabbert's one happy man.

He dodges a Tim Tebow parade in Jacksonville and is rewarded with a guy that could become his No. 1 receiver.   

8. Miami Dolphins: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, Alabama

No one wants to go to Miami? Do they know it's 80 degrees down there like every day and has a nightlife scene to die for? Guess not. Either way, Ingram has no choice. He goes to Miami. How sad for him. He stood out at the combine and will fit perfectly into the team's attacking defense. No, I don't think Ryan Tannehill is an option. 

After seeing the remodeling job the Bills did to their pass-rush, the Dolphins are tempted to add more talent to their defensive front, too.

9. Carolina Panthers: Michael Brockers, DL, LSU

The word with Brockers is "upside," and the Panthers are a young team filled with that specific attribute. 

Cam Newton can deliver highlight-reel runs and soft-touch lobs to Steve Smith all he wants—that doesn't mean the Panthers will consistently win. 

Their defense was ranked 29th in the NFL last season and allowed more than 130 yards rushing per game. Mr. Brockers to begins the defensive "shoring up" process. 

10. Buffalo Bills: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

The Bills added Mark Anderson to their extremely frightening defensive line, so they'll either go offensive tackle or wide receiver here. It's unlikely that 2011 left tackle Demetrius Bell is re-signed, and Michael Floyd is already off the board.

Buffalo's offensive line was surprisingly stellar last season, but Bell's departure would leave a void in front of Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Martin's a mauling run-blocker and the big man upstairs blessed him with great athleticism and footwork, meaning he's got what it takes to become a great pass-blocker, too. Any initial deficiencies will be masked in Chan Gailey's quick passing attack. 

11. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

Maybe I'm crazy, but whenever I look at the Chiefs roster, I don't see many holes, if any at all. I guess I'm banking on Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry and Tony Moeaki returning to 100 percent after their season-ending injuries.

They grabbed the best right tackle in the game, Eric Winston, and inked running back Peyton Hillis. They'd love to pair a linebacker next to Derrick Johnson, right?

12. Seattle Seahawks: Nick Perry, DE, Southern California

The Seahawks were major players in free agency. They got their quarterback and re-signed Red Bryant, an underrated move that will pay dividends next season.

Now, if they grab Perry, one of the better, more polished edge rushers in this class, they have a real chance to compete for a playoff spot in the NFC. No joke.  

13. Arizona Cardinals: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

The Cardinals apparently like Levi Brown more than any of the offensive tackles in this year's draft class. Now that's crazy. 

Getting a complement to Patrick Peterson isn't a bad option at No. 13. Some Cardinals fans are asking for more pass-rushing help—their team registered 42 sacks last year, tied for seventh in the NFL. 

14. Dallas Cowboys: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford 

DeCastro is the best guard prospect since, I don't know, Steve Hutchinson? Yeah, that sounds about right. The Cowboys are loaded at the skill positions on offense, but need to protect Tony Romo

End of story. 

15. Philadelphia Eagles: Fletcher Cox, DL, Mississippi State

Dont'a Hightower was the ideal selection before the Eagles swooped in and grabbed DeMeco Ryans in a trade on Tuesday. 

Now that Bunkley is gone from their interior defensive line, they get the next best thing with the multi-dimensional Fletcher Cox. Andy Reid will be able to utilize him in a variety of ways next season. 

16. New York Jets: Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama

The team continues to shop Bart Scott in trade talks and could release him if they can't find a suitor. That means the Jets will have a major gap in the middle of their defense. 

Enter Dont'a Hightower, the 6'4'', 255-pound inside linebacker who was one of the leaders on the nation's best defense in 2011. 

A great match. 

17. Cincinnati Bengals: Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB Alabama 

I've had Trent Richardson here for what seems like forever, but sadly, I've come to terms with the fact that he's going in the top 10. Actually, good for him, he's a fine young player, I hope he has a long and successful career. 

Now to the new pick, Mr. Upshaw. He's experienced a slight dip in his draft stock since the national title game, but is still a safe selection in the first round. 

The Bengals lost Jonathan Fanene and Frostee Rucker in free agency, so they'd like to add more talent to their defensive front seven. 

With Upshaw, they get a player who has great pass-rushing instincts that isn't a liability against the run. 

18. San Diego Chargers: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

The Chargers were as active as anyone during free agent frenzy and Jarret Johnson is a quality acquisition. However, he's a much better run defender than he is at getting to the passer. Shaun Phillips can't do it all. 

19. Chicago Bears: Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia

Jay Cutler is thanking the Bears front office for providing him with a true No. 1 receiver. They did so in the form of buddy Brandon Marshall. Now, they've got to keep Cutler upright. Glenn's a versatile big man with fantastic footwork.  

20. Tennessee Titans: Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina

Brown's staggeringly fast from sideline-to-sideline. Though not the surest tackler, they'll need his speed when playing the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars running backs. 

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Janoris Jenkins, CB, Alabama 

It'll be Jenkins or Stephon Gilmore here, you watch. The Bengals take pride in their exemplary defense and need a future replacement for Nate Clements. Jenkins will slowly work his way into the starting lineup and is one of the more gifted corners in this class. I do believe Cincinnati's history of taking "troubled" prospects will play a role. 

22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta): Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

Yes, Browns fans, two wideouts in Round 1. That's how badly your team needs premier wide receivers. If you're going to give McCoy a chance at QB, you might as well make the environment conducive to success. 

Blackmon and Jeffery are the building blocks for the future. A possible landing spot for Kendall Wright. If he goes here, Jeffery could be playing in Houston next season. 

23. Detroit Lions: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

The Lions lost Eric Wright to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (not that great, anyways) so they need to add depth to their secondary. 

Gilmore's a ball-hawking corner who doubles as a willing run defender. Perfect. 

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa 

Ben Roethlisberger must be protected—that simple. Reiff can play guard or right tackle, before making the transition to the left side. He fills a major need for Wiz Khalifa's favorite team. 

25. Denver Broncos: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

The Broncos must get beefier up front on defense, especially with the loss of Bunkley. Dontari Poe is a mammoth defensive tackle who has the ability to be a disruptive force. 

26. Houston Texans: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

The Texans lost some of their key pieces in free agency but still need to find a complementary piece to Andre Johnson. Wright's got elite speed (don't be fooled by his combine numbers, watch the tape) and brings more creative possibilities to the team's offensive game plan.  

27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans): Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

New England must grab some cornerbacks in the draft. They have to. Dennard's great one-on-one and will give Bill Belichick more flexibility on defense.

28. Green Bay Packers: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin 

I initially had Janoris Jenkins at this spot for Green Bay, but with the departure of long-time center Scott Wells, they'll need to find a new pivot.

Konz is a home-town kid and a mighty fine interior line prospect. He'll be starting from day one.  

29. Baltimore Ravens: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse

No Cory Redding. No Jarret Johnson. The Ravens must grab a quality defensive end with this pick. Jones is the guy. He's got loads of potential and his learning curve will be shortened playing with Baltimore's trio of elite defenders. 

30. San Francisco 49ers: Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin 

No more Stephen Hill here for the 49ers. They're set in the "throwing down field" department with Randy Moss and Mario Manningham. They would like to upgrade the guard spot on their offensive line after Adam Snyder was signed by the Arizona Cardinals. 

Zeitler is a underrated guard in this year's class. He'll work well in the 49ers' run-heavy offense. 

31. New England Patriots: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

The Patriots still need pass-rushing help—it'll benefit their young cornerbacks. Mercilus led with nation with 16 sacks in 2011. He's an ideal situational guy coming off the edge. 

32. New York Giants, Kelechi Osemele, OL, Iowa State

The Giants don't have a ton of holes and could look at Stephen Hill here. However, I think the team makes the more intelligent move by grabbing Osemele, a versatile offensive lineman that will infuse youth into their offensive front. 


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