2012 NFL Mock Draft: Full 3-Round Predictions
This updated mock draft finally features Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill in the first round. I've avoided this projection based on the fact that I have him rated as a third-round prospect. However, the need for teams to address their quarterback situation will cause some desperation.
At this point in the draft process, it's better to avoid all rumors. Most teams have already put their draft board together and are beginning to spread some false reports. This tactic is typically used to sink the stock of a player they may covet.
No. 1 Indianapolis Colts
Pick: Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Stanford
This upcoming season, the Indianapolis Colts will be breaking in a new quarterback. Stanford's Andrew Luck might not be Peyton Manning, but he should have a solid rookie season. His tireless work ethic and high football IQ are the type of traits that help ease the transition into the NFL.
Indianapolis is in rebuilding mode, but they made efforts to have some talent in place for Luck. Their ability to retain Reggie Wayne might have been one of the more underrated offseason moves. His presence ensures Luck will have at least one top-level target.
There's still some chatter that the Colts are considering passing on Luck for Baylor's Robert Griffin III. I'm sure there's some internal discussion, but Luck is still the superior prospect.
No. 2 Washington Redskins (from STL)
Pick: Robert Griffin III, Quarterback, Baylor
The Washington Redskins surrendered five draft picks in order to move up and land a quarterback. Baylor's Robert Griffin III, and his enormous potential, were the main reason they decided to trade into the No. 2 pick. Mike Shanahan finally finds himself a long-term answer for Washington's putrid quarterback situation.
Griffin III's an explosive athlete who also possesses the ability to hurt a defense with his arm. His long accuracy allows him to consistently threaten the deep part of the field. He's going to really open up the Redskins' entire offensive attack.
The talk of Griffin III possibly going No. 1 shouldn't really bother the Redskins. I'm sure they'd be equally thrilled to add Andrew Luck.
No. 3 Minnesota Vikings
Pick: Matt Kalil, Offensive Tackle, USC
An opportunity to land a franchise left tackle like USC's Matt Kalil doesn't happen very often. The Minnesota Vikings find themselves in a position address a major need and get value at No. 3.
Kalil will immediately be inserted into the starting lineup and expected to protect Christian Ponder's blind side.
He doesn't only bring the ability to protect the passer, as he also does a good job opening running lanes. Kalil is a well-rounded prospect who'll consistently contend for a spot in the Pro Bowl. Ponder's development heavily depends on having the time to locate open targets.
Minnesota might field some calls from teams looking to move up in the draft. Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill, Alabama's Trent Richardson and Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon would be the potential targets at No. 3.
No. 4 Cleveland Browns
Pick: Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State
The Cleveland Browns' biggest need is at the wide receiver position, an area that must be addressed early in the draft. There's depth at the position, but Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon brings a ton of upside and is the most NFL ready.
Cleveland needs someone who's capable of coming in and making an immediate impact.
Blackmon's wide range of skills allows him to hurt a defense in a variety of ways. His run-after-the-catch ability is what will make him such a productive player, and a favorite of Colt McCoy. Adding Blackmon should help the Browns finally get a feel for McCoy's overall potential.
Alabama's Trent Richardson and Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill are also possibilities for the Browns. However, it might be in Cleveland's best interest to avoid selecting either player this early in the draft. They'd get better value by adding a running back later in the draft—someone like Boise State's Doug Martin makes sense.
Based on my evaluation, Tannehill carries a third-round grade and would be a major reach at No. 4.
No. 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pick: Trent Richardson, Running Back, Alabama
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a solid running back in LeGarrette Blount, but he's nowhere near as talented as Alabama's Trent Richardson. Greg Schiano's preference to feature a strong running attack means he needs an elite player at the position. It also wouldn't hurt to have good depth at the position.
Adding Richardson gives the Buccaneers versatility, as he's capable of both grinding out the tough yards and breaking off a long run. His pass protection and receiving skills make him an every-down player who doesn't need to come off the field in passing situations.
Tampa Bay is able to pull the trigger on Richardson because of their free-agent additions.
No. 6 St. Louis Rams (from WAS)
Pick: Morris Claiborne, Cornerback, LSU
The St. Louis Rams have a lot of draft ammunition to ensure they really improve their roster. This also allows them to employ a best-player-available strategy. LSU's Morris Claiborne is the top player remaining and also fits a need. Jeff Fisher knows the importance of having a strong defense, and more specifically a solid secondary.
Claiborne is a terrific athlete who possesses the size and fluidity needed to excel in the NFL. He projects as an instant starter capable of locking down his size of the field. The combination of Claiborne and Cortland Finnegan will make it tough for opposing offenses to gain yards through the air.
Ideally, St. Louis finds a way to land Justin Blackmon. This team desperately needs to bring in a top-notch wide receiver, but Blackmon is the only prospect worthy of a top-10 pick.
No. 7 Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick: Quinton Coples, Defensive End, North Carolina
North Carolina's Quinton Coples is a well-rounded player who can generate a ton of pressure on the quarterback. He uses his size, speed and strength to employ a wide range of pass-rush moves. The Jacksonville Jaguars can address their long-standing need for a pass rusher by adding Coples.
Jacksonville's defense played exceptionally well last season, and appears only another pass-rusher away from becoming among the finest in the NFL. Coples doesn't only pressure the quarterback, he also does a great job holding up against the run.
The consensus among draft analysts is that the Jaguars will select either Coples or South Carolina's Melvin Ingram. Coples gets the nod in my mock because he possesses more upside.
No. 8 Miami Dolphins
Pick: Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, Texas A&M
Desperation surrounds the Miami Dolphins because of the absence of a long-term quarterback solution. This desperation, and the hope of saving his job, will force GM Jeff Ireland to select Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill. Adding Tannehill gives Miami some hope for the future, but does little to improve their chances for next season.
Currently, I have Tannehill rated as a third-round prospect. However, there's something to all the hype surrounding him. He's a good athlete who possesses the size and arm strength needed to developed into an effective NFL quarterback. Still, Tannehill's on-the-field production doesn't warrant a top-10 selection.
Miami would be better off adding a pass-rusher like Melvin Ingram or Quinton Coples. Later-round quarterbacks like Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden and Michigan State's Kirk Cousins would offer some good value.
No. 9 Carolina Panthers
Pick: Luke Kuechly, Linebacker, Boston College
The Carolina Panthers have a terrific linebacker in Jon Beason, but the rest of the unit lacks consistency. Coach Ron Rivera knows the importance of having strong linebacker play, which makes adding Boston College's Luke Kuechly a strong possibility.
Bringing Kuechly into the mix would allow Beason to shift outside, a spot many feel better suits his skill set. The combination of Kuechly and Beason gives the Panthers two excellent leaders who will always be around the football.
Projecting what direction the Panthers will go in the draft is very difficult. They have a wide range of needs and could basically just add the best player available.
No. 10 Buffalo Bills
Pick: Jonathan Martin, Offensive Tackle, Stanford
The Buffalo Bills recently lost Demetrius Bell in free agency, making their situation at left tackle very alarming. At this point, Chris Hairston is slated to open the season as the starter. Hairston showed promise last season, but he's better suited to play right tackle.
Stanford's Jonathan Martin's athleticism makes him the ideal candidate to protect a quarterback's blind side.
Pulling the trigger on Martin gives the Bills a young and promising tackle tandem. Solidifying the offensive line will help Buffalo ensure their offense continues to improve. Ryan Fitzpatrick needs time to locate open targets, just as Fred Jackson needs room to run.
Adding a wide receiver like Notre Dame's Michael Floyd is a possibility, but they can find good value at that position early in the second round.
No. 11 Kansas City Chiefs
Pick: Dontari Poe, Defensive Tackle, Memphis
Adding a space-eating defensive tackle is one of the main needs for the Kansas City Chiefs. Kelly Gregg showed them a glimpse of how well the defense can play with an effective nose tackle. Memphis' Dontari Poe possesses both the size and anchor to man the middle of a 3-4 defense.
Poe's stock continues to rise after his impressive combine performance. He showed that he's an excellent athlete who could fill multiple roles. Adding Poe gives Kansas City someone who'll both occupy blockers and penetrate the pocket.
There's a possibility that Poe isn't available at No. 13. If this is the case, the Chiefs could look to move back and add extra picks. Dropping back a few spots would allow them to target someone like Alabama's Dont'a Hightower.
No. 12 Seattle Seahawks
Pick: Melvin Ingram, Defensive End, South Carolina
Landing South Carolina's Melvin Ingram would be a dream scenario for the Seattle Seahawks. This team desperately needs to add another pass-rusher to help Chris Clemons. Even with Clemons' 11 sacks, the Seahawks only managed to bring down the quarterback 33 times.
Ingram is a versatile player with experience lining up at defensive end, linebacker and defensive tackle. His high motor and snap awareness makes it tough for offenses to keep him out of the backfield. Pete Carroll and company won't have any issues finding ways to utilize Ingram.
If Boston College's Luke Kuechly is still available at No. 12, Seattle would likely make him the pick. However, there's also the possibility of trading down.
No. 13 Arizona Cardinals
Pick: Riley Reiff, Offensive Tackle, Iowa
The Arizona Cardinals need to come out of this draft with someone capable of protecting the quarterback. Last season, the offensive line allowed 54 sacks, which contributed to the struggles of Kevin Kolb. Iowa's Riley Reiff boasts the athleticism and balance needed to anchor the left side of the line.
Adding Reiff will allow Levi Brown to shift to right tackle, effectively improving two spots on the offensive line. Kevin Kolb doesn't have a chance to succeed if he's stuck behind the same unit as last year.
Reiff is also a strong run-blocker, an area of increasing focus for the Cardinals.
No. 14 Dallas Cowboys
Pick: Courtney Upshaw, Linebacker/Defensive End, Alabama
This offseason, the Dallas Cowboys decided place the franchise tag on Anthony Spencer, which cost them roughly nine million dollars. Spencer is a nice player, but isn't worth that type of salary. Due to the league-imposed cap penalty, the Cowboys need to find a way to save some cash.
Alabama's Courtney Upshaw would be a young and cheap replacement for Spencer.
Upshaw possesses the same type of run-stuffing ability, but brings better pass-rushing skills to the table. He would be a nice complement for DeMarcus Ware and would help open some one-on-one pass-rush situations for him.
Picks No. 15 to No. 32
15. Philadelphia Eagles- Fletcher Cox, Defensive Line, Mississippi State
16. New York Jets- Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame
17. Cincinnati Bengals (from OAK)- Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback, South Carolina
18. San Diego Chargers- Cordy Glenn, Offensive Line, Georgia
19. Chicago Bears- David DeCastro, Guard, Stanford
20. Tennessee Titans- Dre Kirkpatrick, Cornerback, Alabama
21. Cincinnati Bengals- Michael Brockers, Defensive Tackle, LSU
22. Cleveland Browns (from ATL)- Coby Fleener, Tight End, Stanford
23. Detroit Lions- Mike Adams, Offensive Tackle, Ohio State
24. Pittsburgh Steelers- Dont'a Hightower, Linebacker, Alabama
25. Denver Broncos- Kendall Wright, Wide Receiver, Baylor
26. Houston Texans- Alshon Jeffery, Wide Receiver, South Carolina
27. New England Patriots (from NO)- Mark Barron, Safety, Alabama
28. Green Bay Packers- Whitney Mercilus, Linebacker/Defensive End, Illinois
29. Baltimore Ravens- Peter Konz, Center/Guard, Wisconsin
30. San Francisco 49ers- Stephen Hill, Wide Receiver, Georgia Tech
31. New England Patriots- Chandler Jones, Defensive End/Linebacker, Syracuse
32. New York Giants- Doug Martin, Running Back, Boise State
33. St. Louis Rams: Rueben Randle, Wide Receiver, LSU
34. Indianapolis Colts: Kendall Reyes, Defensive Line, Connecticut
35. Minnesota Vikings: Janoris Jenkins, Cornerback, North Alabama
36. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Robinson, Cornerback, UCF
37. Cleveland Browns: David Wilson, Running Back, Virginia Tech
38. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mohamed Sanu, Wide Receiver, Rutgers
39. St. Louis Rams (From Washington): Devon Still, Defensive Tackle, Penn State
40. Carolina Panthers: Jerel Worthy, Defensive Tackle, Michigan State
41. Buffalo Bills: Tommy Streeter, Wide Receiver, Miami
42. Miami Dolphins: Nick Perry, Defensive End/Linebacker, USC
43. Seattle Seahawks: Mychal Kendricks, Linebacker, Cal
44. Kansas City Chiefs: James-Michael Johnson, Linebacker, Nevada
45. Dallas Cowboys: Harrison Smith, Safety, Notre Dame
46. Philadelphia Eagles: Lavonte David, Linebacker, Nebraska
47. New York Jets: Kelechi Osemele, Offensive Line, Iowa State
48. New England Patriots (From Oakland): Jamell Fleming, Cornerback, Oklahoma
49. San Diego Chargers: Andre Branch, Defensive End/Linebacker, Clemson
50. Chicago Bears: Vinny Curry, Defensive End/Linebacker, Marshall
51. Philadelphia Eagles (From Arizona): Trumaine Johnson, Cornerback, Montana
52. Tennessee Titans: Brian Quick, Wide Receiver, Appalachian State
53. Cincinnati Bengals: Lamar Miller, Running Back, Miami
54. Detroit Lions: Jayron Hosley, Cornerback, Virginia Tech
55. Atlanta Falcons: Dwayne Allen, Tight End, Clemson
56. Pittsburgh Steelers: Amini Silatolu, Guard, Midwestern State
57. Denver Broncos: Brandon Thompson, Defensive Tackle, Clemson
58. Houston Texans: Alameda Ta'amu, Defensive Tackle, Washington
59. Green Bay Packers: Zebrie Sanders, Offensive Tackle, Florida State
60. Baltimore Ravens: Shea McClellin, Outside Linebacker, Boise State
61. San Francisco 49ers: Kevin Zeitler, Guard, Wisconsin
62. New England Patriots: Mike Martin, Defensive Tackle, Michigan
63. New York Giants: Jeff Allen, Offensive Line, Illinois
65. Indianapolis Colts- Chase Minnifield, Cornerback, Virginia
66. St. Louis Rams- Zach Brown, Linebacker, North Carolina
67. Minnesota Vikings- Brandon Taylor, Safety, LSU
68. Cleveland Browns- Kirk Cousins, Quarterback, Michigan State
69. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Bobby Wagner, Linebacker, Utah State
70. Washington Redskins- Bobby Massie, Offensive Tackle, Ole Miss
71. Jacksonville Jaguars- Mitchell Schwartz, Offensive Tackle, Cal
72. Buffalo Bills- Nick Foles, Quarterback, Arizona
73. Miami Dolphins- Marvin Jones, Wide Receiver, Cal
74. Miami Dolphins (from CHI, CAR)- Orson Charles, Tight End, Georgia
75. Kansas City Chiefs- Brandon Brooks, Offensive Line, Miami
76. Seattle Seahawks- Brandon Weeden, Quarterback, Oklahoma State
77. Houston Texans (from PHI)- Ronnell Lewis, Linebacker, Oklahoma
78. New York Jets- Bruce Irvin, Linebacker/Defensive End, West Virginia
79. Oakland Raiders- Malik Jackson, Defensive End, Tennessee
80. San Diego Chargers- LaMichael James, Running Back, Oregon
81. Chicago Bears- Josh Norman, Cornerback, Coastal Carolina
82. Arizona Cardinals- Nick Toon, Wide Receiver, Wisconsin
83. Dallas Cowboys- Jared Crick, Defensive Line, Nebraska
84. Tennessee Titans- Tyrone Crawford, Defensive End, Boise State
85. Cincinnati Bengals- Alfonzo Dennard, Cornerback/Safety, Nebraska
86. Atlanta Falcons- Dwight Bentley, Cornerback, Louisiana-Lafayette
87. Detroit Lions- Terrell Manning, Linebacker, NC State
88. Pittsburgh Steelers- Billy Winn, Defensive Line, Boise State
89. Denver Broncos- Chris Polk, Running Back, Washington
90. Philadelphia Eagles (from HOU)- AJ Jenkins, Wide Receiver, Illinois
91. New Orleans Saints- Ron Brooks, Cornerback, LSU
92. Green Bay Packers- Brock Osweiler, Quarterback, Arizona State
93. Baltimore Ravens- Antonio Allen, Safety, South Carolina
94. San Francisco 49ers- George Iloka, Safety, Boise State
95. New England Patriots- Joe Adams, Wide Receiver, Arkansas
96. New York Giants- Vontaze Burfict, Linebacker, Arizona State
97. Oakland Raiders- James Brown, Offensive Line, Troy