2012 NFL Mock Draft: Players That Deserve to Slip in First Round
The 2012 NFL draft is less than a month away, and a handful of prospects are beginning to descend down draft boards everywhere.
Although no one can say for sure how great a prospect will be at the next level, some are deserving of their sliding stock.
So, which players will go where? Who deserves to slip in the first round?
Join Bleacher Report for a full first-round mock of the 2012 NFL draft.
No. 1. Indianapolis Colts (2-14): Andrew Luck, Stanford, QB
Andrew Luck is still the most polished passer out there to lead the Colts in 2012.
No. 2. Washington Redskins (from St. Louis Rams 2-14): Robert Griffin III, Baylor, QB
The Redskins guaranteed themselves a franchise quarterback when they traded for the No. 2 pick.
If you were the Colts, who would you take No. 1 overall?
No. 3. Minnesota Vikings (3-13): Matt Kalil, USC, OT
It's hard to see any team going wrong with taking USC's Matt Kalil. A big body who can do it all up front on the offensive line.
No. 4. Cleveland Browns (4-12): Trent Richardson, Alabama, RB
Although people will find a way to diminish his accomplishments, Alabama's Trent Richardson is a physical monster in the back field, and last time we checked, the Browns were lacking that.
No. 5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12): Morris Claiborne, LSU, CB
A playmaker that is too good to pass on in the top five, Morris Claiborne can affect a game in more ways than one.
No. 6. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins 5-11): Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State, WR
With the considerable lack of talent around former No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford in the St. Louis offense, the Rams would be hard-pressed to pass on an all-around threat like Justin Blackmon.
No. 7. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11): Quinton Coples, North Carolina, DE
The Jags could use a dominant defensive end like Quinton Coples to get some pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
No. 8. Miami Dolphins (6-10): Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M, QB
The Dolphins missed on Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn during free agency, so they will likely settle for a quarterback prospect in Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill.
No. 9. Carolina Panthers (6-10): Melvin Ingram, South Carolina, DE
Considering that the Panthers have needs at OLB and DE, South Carolina's Melvin Ingram is a wise pick at No. 9. Ingram would be close to home and a versatile prospect for Carolina.
Will the Bills make the playoffs in 2012?
No. 10. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Riley Reiff, Iowa, OT
Offensive tackle is a pressing need for Buffalo, and if Reiff is still on the board, he will certainly go to the Bills, who will be happy to see him there.
No. 11. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9): Luke Kuechly, Boston College, LB
An athletic linebacker like Boston College's Luke Kuechly would bolster the Chiefs' defense in 2012, and give them something to build around for the future as well.
No. 12. Seattle Seahawks (7-9): Courtney Upshaw, Alabama, LB
Courtney Upshaw has the pass-rushing ability that Seattle wants, and invaluable leadership.
No. 13. Arizona Cardinals (8-8): Jonathan Martin, Stanford, OT
The Cardinals need to keep their quarterbacks upright in 2012, especially after allowing 50-plus sacks in each of the past two seasons. Even though they would be reaching on Martin at No. 13, they must address the offensive line. Martin is lacking the physical traits to be an elite NFL OT, but he has promise. For now, though, he is a player deserving of a first-round slip.
Who is the best DT available in 2012?
No. 14. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Dontari Poe, Memphis, DT
Dontari Poe is rising up draft boards everywhere, and he would be a can't-miss pick for the Cowboys towards the middle of the first round.
No. 15. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8): Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State, DT
The Eagles were run over in 2011 before hitting their stride late in the regular season. Fletcher Cox is a big body capable of shutting down inside running lanes for the opposition.
No. 16. New York Jets (8-8): Mark Barron, Alabama, S
The Jets have a need at safety, and one of the Crimson Tide's more underrated defenders can hopefully fill that for Rex Ryan's ball club.
No. 17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland Raiders 8-8): Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama, CB
Troubled defensive back Janoris Jenkins deserves to slip in the first round. Jenkins used to be a Florida Gator before his character issues led him to North Alabama, where he was able to use his physical talents to avoid being forgotten by NFL coaches and scouts. Although Cincinnati has had its fair share of run-ins with troublemakers, Jenkins fills a critical need for the Bengals at CB.
No. 18. San Diego Chargers (8-8): David DeCastro, Stanford, G
The Chargers need to build on their offensive line if they are to once again be considered an underachieving Super Bowl contender in 2012.
No. 19. Chicago Bears (8-8): Michael Floyd, Notre Dame, WR
Michael Floyd is another example of a player that deserves to slip in the first round. Floyd has been gaining momentum as the draft nears simply because of the lack of wide receiver talent available, but his off-field concerns, such as alcohol-related charges and arrests, suggest that he could be a potential risk if taken early.
No. 20. Tennessee Titans (9-7): Cordy Glenn, Georgia, G
Glenn is a massive offensive lineman, and he would be a solid first-round pick for the Titans, who barely missed the playoffs last season.
Who is more worth the risk?
No. 21. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7): Kendall Wright, Baylor, WR
The Bengals drafted A.J. Green early last spring and have a golden opportunity to improve their wide receiving corps for Andy Dalton even more this year.
No. 22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta Falcons 10-6): Mike Adams, Ohio State, OT
Offensive tackle prospect Mike Adams certainly deserves to slip in the first round. The Ohio State big man struggled to demonstrate his strength at the combine and will need to work on his physicality if he is to become an elite protector at the next level.
No. 23. Detroit Lions (10-6): Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama, CB
Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick fills an important need for the Detroit Lions, their secondary, which was torched towards the end of the 2011 season.
No. 24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4): Dont'a Hightower, Alabama, LB
Hightower has Pittsburgh Steelers written all over him. He has tremendous size for an athletic linebacker and will fit the Steelers' 3-4 defense superbly.
Which school will have more prospects drafted in the first round?
No. 25. Denver Broncos (8-8): Michael Brockers, LSU, DT
The interior of the defensive line has been a need for the Broncos for some time now, and LSU's gargantuan defensive tackle Michael Brockers is more than capable of wreaking havoc against opposing offensive fronts.
No. 26. Houston Texans (10-6): Rueben Randle, LSU, WR
Most experts have Rueben Randle going early in the second round, but the Houston Texans could really use someone to take the pressure off Andre Johnson, and Randle is a big target with long arms and massive hands.
No. 27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans Saints (13-3): Andre Branch, Clemson, DE
The Patriots lack an outside pass-rusher, but Clemson's Andre Branch can change that. He should be available at No. 27 and if he is, expect New England to take a good, hard look at him.
No. 28. Green Bay Packers (15-1): Chandler Jones, Syracuse, DE
A huge reason why Green Bay's season ended prematurely in 2011 was its lack of a significant pass-rusher other than Clay Matthews. Jones is versatile and will be excited to play with such a fast defense.
Which Conference Championship loser will have the better draft?
No. 29. Baltimore Ravens (12-4): Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina, CB
Stephon Gilmore is rising up draft boards, and for good reason—he can play. We know what the Ravens do best, and what they like to do is play defense.
No. 30. San Francisco 49ers (13-3): Whitney Mercilus, Illinois, DE
The Niners need to stock pile talent on defense if they hope to continue their recent string of success. Mercilus is far from being a dominating talent, which means he will likely slip in the first round, but on the other hand, San Francisco can afford to lend him time to develop his skills.
No. 31. New England Patriots (13-3): Jerel Worthy, Michigan State, DT
Vince Wilfork is only getting older, and Worthy would be another solid body to plug up the middle and make life easier for the Pats' defense.
No. 32. New York Giants (9-7): Zach Brown, North Carolina, LB
The defending Super Bowl champions have a need at linebacker, and North Carolina's Zach Brown is one of the more underrated prospects available. He is viewed by many as a second-round pick, but there's no reason why the Giants would pass on him with the final first-round pick.
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