2012 NFL Mock Draft: Franchises That Will Reach on 1st-Round Picks

T.J. Mcaloon@@tjmcaloonContributorMarch 23, 2012

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 24:  Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Texas A&M Aggies throws a pass against the Texas Longhorns in the second half of a game at Kyle Field on November 24, 2011 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)
Darren Carroll/Getty Images

The NFL draft is the perfect time for a desperate team to make a reach and grab the best player on the board at the time, not the best player for their team. 

That is why a team like the Miami Dolphins will reach at No. 8 to select a quarterback, while there will be a better player on the board who could help them fix some of the holes they made when they traded away Brandon Marshall and Yeremiah Bell.

However, they will not be the only team who reaches up and makes a stretch pick in the first round. These other teams may have their fans scratching their heads, wondering what they were thinking.  


1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Luck is the best player in the draft this year and will be selected by the Colts to be their quarterback for the future. With Peyton Manning gone, Indianapolis will move onto the Luck Era. 

2. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

The Redskins went all-in for RG3 when they traded their next three first-round picks for the No. 2 spot in the draft. Griffin III had a great combine and will be expected to be the leader of the Redskins for the next 10 years. 

3. Minnesota Vikings: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

The Vikings were awful in pass defense this year, giving up a league-high 34 touchdowns this year. Claiborne is the best corner in the draft and should go to Minnesota at No. 3.

4. Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Richardson is the best running back in the draft, and with the Browns losing Peyton Hillis to free agency, the smart move is to take Richardson at No. 4. 

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Kirkpatrick comes into Tampa Bay and is their best cornerback from day one. With Tampa giving up 30 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks this year, they will have to take Kirkpatrick at No. 5. 

6. St. Louis Rams: Matt Kalil, OT, USC

The Rams cannot afford to lose their franchise quarterback Sam Bradford to another injury. Taking Kalil, will help keep Bradford healthy. 

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

The Jaguars had the worst passing offense in the NFL last year. Drafting Blackmon gives them a legit target for Blane Gabbert or if they trade for Tim Tebow. They have to take Blackmon at No. 7. 

8. Miami Dolphins (subject to coin flip): Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 24:  Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Texas A&M Aggies leads his team on to the field prior to a game against the Texas Longhorns  at Kyle Field on November 24, 2011 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)
Darren Carroll/Getty Images

Miami needs a quarterback, and Tannehill is the best one that will be available. With Dolphins' offensive coordinator Mike Sherman now with the team, drafting his quarterback while at A&M is the smart move. However, the Dolphins could take the second-best receiver in the draft, Alshon Jeffery, or cornerback Stephen Gilmore.  

9. Carolina Panthers (subject to coin flip): Devon Still, DT, Penn St. 

The Panthers need help on their run defense, and Still is the best tackle in the draft. They will take the PSU run stopper at No. 9.

10. Buffalo Bills: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

Buffalo needs help on their offensive line to keep running back Fred Jackson and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick healthy. Taking Martin is the right and smart move.  

11. Kansas City Chiefs: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

The Chiefs need help on their offensive line, and Reiff is one of the best player on the board in this position. 

12. Seattle Seahawks : David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

Seattle gave up 50 sacks to their quarterback last year. DeCastro will help in fixing that problem. 

13. Arizona Cardinals: Quinton Coples, DE/DT, North Carolina

Coples is a fierce pass-rushing defender that the Cardinals desperately need. Taking Coples here will help keep a Cardinals defense that ranked in the middle of the NFL in passing defense.  

14. Dallas Cowboys: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 13: Janoris Jenkins #1 of the Florida Gators gets the crowd up during a game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Cowboys have been known to take a risk on players with checkered pasts. Jenkins is a great cornerback who has a past that has him down on a number of mock drafts. Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones will take a risk on Jenkins at No. 14.

15. Philadelphia Eagles: Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama

Hightower is a high-energy player who hits anything that moves. He can help a rushing defense that ranked 16th last year. 

16. New York Jets: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

The Jets need help with their run defense which ranked 22nd in the NFL. Poe would fill that hole in their defense.  

17. Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland Raiders): Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska 

The Bengals did have the ninth-best passing defense in the league, however, they were torched for 21 touchdowns last year to receivers. They should take Dennard with No. 17 and fix the cornerback position. 

18. San Diego Chargers: Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State

The Chargers allowed teams to constantly hit QB Philip Rivers, which was a reason why they finished at 8-8. Taking Sanders at No. 18 will help correct this and improve their record next year. 

19. Chicago Bears: Vontaze Burfuct, LB, Arizona State

Brian Urlacher isn’t getting any younger, and they need to find a replacement for him soon. Burfuct can come in and be the understudy to Urlacher, while the linebacker starts to wind his career down.

Burfuct may have not done himself any favors by his off-the- field behavior and poor combine showing. But, he has a mean streak and plays very physical. With Urlacher tutoring the young player, he could blossom into a great player.  

20. Tennessee Titans: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

Ingram will come in to help a Tennessee defense that ranked 24th in rushing and 14th in passing. His speed and aggression will help improve this Titans defense.  

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami (FL)

Miller is the second-best running back in this draft, and with the Bengals potentially losing Cedric Benson to free agency, they can add the speedy back from Miami (FL). With Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, Miller could be the third piece to their young nucleus on their offense. 

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

Jeffery is the best receiver in this draft who isn’t named Justin Blackmon. Cleveland needs a receiver and drafting Jeffery is the smart decision. 

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

The Lions were awful in defending the pass this year. They have to address this need by drafting Gilmore at No. 23. 

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

The Steelers are getting older on the defensive side of the ball. Taking Kuechly to replace James Farrior will help keep this defense as one of the best in the NFL.  

25. Denver Broncos: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

The Broncos need a No. 1 receiver to be Peyton Manning’s go-to guy. Picking Floyd, who impressed at the combine behind his 4.47 40-yard dash, at No. 25 will be the best move for the Broncos. 

26. Houston Texans: Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

Houston has a good defense, but adding Thompson would make them an elite defense. They can add the run-stopper from Clemson at No. 27 and watch as teams fail to run on them next year. 

LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 25: Defensive tackle Jared Crick #94 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers is greeted by Head Coach Bo Pelini on senior day before playing a  game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Memorial Stadium November 25, 2011 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska
Eric Francis/Getty Images

27. New England Patriots (via New Orleans Saints): Jared Crick, DE/DT, Nebraska

The Patriots did not have a pass rush this year, only sacking the quarterback 40 times. Crick can help in adding a great pass rush to a defense that ranked 31st last year. Crick had an injury plagued senior year but when he is healthy he is a great pass-rusher. However, the Pats will be reaching when they take Crick at 27.  

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

Green Bay needs a Center, and Konz is the best one in the draft. It’s a match made in Heaven for the Packers. 

29. Baltimore Ravens: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

The Ravens gave up 33 sacks last year and could use some help keeping quarterback Joe Flacco upright. Taking Adams will help cut this number down. 

30. San Francisco 49ers: Cody Glenn, Guard/T, Georgia

If the 49ers lose quarterback Alex Smith free agency, they will be moving to first-year starter, Colin Kaepernick. They’ll have to do everything they can to give him as much time as possible.

31. New England Patriots: Courtney Upshaw, DE,OLB, Alabama

The Patriots need a pass rushing defender, and selecting Upshaw with their second first-round pick will be exactly what they’re looking for.  

32. New York Giants: Mark Barron, S, Alabama

Barron is one of those combination defenders who can defend the pass just as good he defends the run. The Giants have to take him at No. 26 and improve an already good defense.


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