2012 NFL Mock Draft: Justin Blackmon to Buffalo & Other Potential Surprises
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With less than a month to go, we can start projecting scenarios to gauge the likelihood of a player falling to a team in a dream scenario.
1. Indianapolis - Stanford QB Andrew Luck - Nothing to see here, move along.
2. Washington (from St. Louis) - Baylor QB Robert Griffin III - Nothing to see here either.
3. Minnesota - USC OT Matt Kalil - GM Rick Spielman would love to get even one extra first-round pick to move down within the top 10. He won't, and the Vikings will take the best pass-blocking left tackle in the draft by a good margin.
4. Cleveland - LSU CB Morris Claiborne - I covered this possibility yesterday, and it seems to be mutually agreeable to both teams, assuming the Browns zero in on Ryan Tannehill or are equally satisfied with Justin Blackmon and Trent Richardson.
5. Tampa Bay - Alabama RB Trent Richardson - On offense, Greg Schiano wants a bell cow back and he wants to use the deep passing game. Richardson will give him the ability to do the first part, Josh Freeman and Vincent Jackson, the second.
6. St. Louis - Mississippi State DT Fletcher Cox - I have to give Lance Zierlein of The Sideline View credit for planting this idea in my head, although I have never been sold on Justin Blackmon as an autopick for the Rams or any team in the top seven.
7. New York Jets (from Jacksonville) - South Carolina DE/OLB Melvin Ingram - The Jets were out in force for Ingram's pro day, and GM Mike Tannenbaum is not shy about making big moves in the first round. This move also represents the urgency of a regime that might be in its last days.
8. Miami - Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill - Unless someone wants to trade up ahead of Dolphins, or the Browns are bold enough to take him at No. 4, Tannehill will be a Dolphin.
9. Carolina - North Carolina DE Quinton Coples - The Panthers faithful thinks "we got Blackmon!", but Blackmon isn't really the kind of receiver that Cam Newton needs. A potential home run bookend for Charles Johnson is more attractive to Marty Hurney.
10. Buffalo - Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon - Blackmon is much more like Michael Crabtree, selected 10th in 2009, than AJ Green and Julio Jones, selected in the top six last year. His flaws aren't as important to a team like Buffalo that wants to run a lot of three- and four-wide sets.
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11. Kansas City - South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore - Stanford Routt may work out, but when you compare his contract to Brandon Carr's, the Chiefs didn't make a huge commitment to him. As our own Matt Miller said today, Gilmore's stock is red-hot and no one should be surprised to see him go this high.
12. Seattle - Alabama DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw - A former Crimson Tide player manning the "elephant" position in the Seahawks defense? Sounds right to me. I've had Upshaw falling, but the Seahawks fell in love with a 'Bama player in the first round last year.
13. Arizona - Iowa OT Riley Reiff - Reiff is best-suited for right tackle, but he would be a massive upgrade at left tackle. Need meets value.
14. Dallas - Stanford OG David DeCastro - Jerry Jones might be itching to trade down, but his personnel guys convince him that you can't pass on a player like DeCastro.
15. Philadelphia - Alabama CB Dre Kirkpatrick - It looks like Asante Samuel will be traded and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was a disappointment last year. Time for the Eagles to re-stock at corner after having a "dream team" at the position last year.
16. Jacksonville (from New York Jets) - Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd - Gene Smith looks like a genius passing on Blackmon and getting Floyd, who is a better fit for the Jaguars WR need.
17. Cincinnati (from Oakland) - Boston College LB Luke Kuechly - The Bengals have an elite player at an undervalued position fall into their laps and happily move Rey Maualuga back to the strong side.
18. San Diego - Memphis DT Dontari Poe - The Chargers call an audible from looking for a pass rusher or offensive tackle when Poe and his versatility in a 3-4 front ends up still on the board for their pick.
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20. Tennessee - Wisconsin C Peter Konz - Konz will be a day one starter and huge help for Chris Johnson.
21. Cincinnati - Baylor WR Kendall Wright - A terrific complement to AJ Green, Wright's deep speed and run after catch ability will eat single coverage up.
22. Cleveland - Stanford OT Jonathan Martin - The Browns fans won't like coming out of the first round without a back or wide receiver, but if the team really wants to give Colt McCoy a shot, they have to plug the hole at right tackle.
23. Detroit - Alabama SS Mark Barron - He'll made a terrific deep secondary partner to Louis Delmas.
24. Pittsburgh - Georgia OG/OT Cordy Glenn - The Steelers pass on Dont'a Hightower in this scenario because a solid player that can handle four positions on the offensive line is still there.
25. Denver - LSU DT Michael Brockers - The Broncos should get terrific DT value if they choose to target the position in the first round.
26. Houston - South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery - He has rehabilitated his draft stock with a great Pro Day, so the Texans should be pleased to add a deep threat and jump ball monster to their offense.
27. New England (from New Orleans) - Penn State DT Devon Still - Still and Brockers have the talent to go much much higher, but they lack the production. The Patriots should be more than happy to add a huge talent infusion to their defensive line.
28. Green Bay - USC DE/OLB Nick Perry - Perry is a good enough raw talent to go in the top 15, but Upshaw and Ingram and Mercilus are too. The Packers profit no matter who falls.
29. Baltimore - Wisconsin OG Kevin Zeitler - Ozzie Newsome has kept his job in part by not missing on first-round picks very often, and Zeitler is the kind of high floor player that fits his style.
30. San Francisco - Stanford TE Coby Fleener - Prepare to get bored seeing this combo in my mocks. The talent, fit and connection between Fleener and Harbaugh are just too strong to ignore.
31. New England - LSU WR Rueben Randle - Brandon Lloyd can start for now, but Randle can be groomed as a long-term deep threat for the team.
32. New York Giants - Boise State RB Doug Martin - I am starting to love this combination, and I don't think the Giants will want to come into the season with Ahmad Bradshaw having to assume a feature back role.
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