2012 NFL Mock Draft: Best Playmakers Your Team Should Target in Round 1

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 05:  Trent Richardson #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against Stefoin Francois #23 of the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The 2012 NFL draft is filled with superb talent, but it's no secret the stud playmakers get the bulk of the attention.

It's easy to see why that's the case, though, when these guys are making big plays and have awesome highlight reels. 

While some teams will draft based on needs, others will focus on the best overall player available. More often than not, the stud playmaker is going to get the nod over the lineman.

That being said, here's my 2012 NFL mock draft, with info on each pick and a more in-depth look at the best playmakers in the draft. 

2012 NFL Mock Draft 

1. Indianapolis Colts (2-14): Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford   

The top prospect in the draft, the Colts would be very wise to secure their future by selecting Luck, a rocket-armed QB ready to thrive in the NFL. 

2. Washington Redskins (5-11): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

This dual-threat Heisman Trophy winner thinks pass first, making him the most dangerous player in the draft. 

Washington needs a franchise QB, and Griffin is that guy for them. He's a dynamic force with the football in his hands.

Griffin can beat you with his arm or his legs, and he's sure to do a great deal of that right away for the Redskins. 

3. Minnesota Vikings (3-13): Matt Kalil, OT, USC

Minnesota may trade this pick, but if they keep it, drafting Kalil to protect Christian Ponder is the right call for the Vikings. 

4. Cleveland Browns (4-12): Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama 

The Browns have to improve their offense, and they would be insane to pass up on Richardson.

As the best running back in the draft class, Richardson is sure to be highly coveted by a number of teams. Cleveland has a major need at the RB position, and bringing in Richardson would significantly help the Browns offense. 

Richardson has impeccable vision on the field, allowing him to run free and make monster plays. A playmaker like this is exactly what the Browns need. 

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12): Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Despite a poor Wonderlic score, Claiborne knows how to play the game extremely well. He'll be an instant upgrade to the Bucs secondary and may even get a chance to make some plays in the return game. 

6. St. Louis Rams (2-14):  Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

The Rams may think about drafting a wide receiver here, but that's a huge risk in the top 10. Brockers is the safer pick here, especially with St. Louis having aging defensive tackles. 

7. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State 

Blackmon is the top receiver in the draft, but with every WR taken in the top 10, it's a big risk. The Jaguars will take the gamble, hoping it pays off in a major way.

Jacksonville has to surround Blaine Gabbert with playmakers, and Blackmon is one of the best in the draft. He excelled in college, but against tougher talent in the NFL, he could easily falter.

Still, Blackmon has proven he can make big plays, and the Jaguars are very desperate for a player like him.  

8. Miami Dolphins (6-10): Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina 

After trading Brandon Marshall, the Dolphins don't have many weapons to work with in 2012. This is why Miami needs to draft Jeffery, a big target at WR with exceptional hands. 

Sure, the Dolphins need a QB, but Ryan Tannehill is a major risk here, especially when Miami can just float on this season and be in prime position to get Matt Barkley next year. 

9. Carolina Panthers (6-10): Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

Coples would love to stay in his home state, but there's no guarantee it happens. He fits a big need for the Panthers, and it would be smart for them to get a beast of a player like Coples, who could also help put more fans in the seats. 

10. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama

The Bills might think about a WR here, but if they're going to make big strides in their division, they have to improve the defense. Upshaw is the best available here, and he'll be a great fit in Buffalo. 

11. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9): Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

The Chiefs have plenty of options here, but giving Matt Cassel more protection as he comes back from injury would be a fantastic move. 

12. Seattle Seahawks (7-9): Nick Perry, DE, USC

Perry is an explosive defensive end that lives to disrupt plays in the backfield. The Seahawks have a huge need for a skilled DE, and Perry will fit right in with Pete Carroll. 

13. Arizona Cardinals (8-8): Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

Another team with several options, the Cardinals would be wise to give Kevin Kolb extra protection. They'll get just that and a phenomenal run-blocker with Martin.

14. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

The Cowboys have to be thinking defense here, and the secondary should be the primary focus. While the safety position is an option, Kirkpatrick has tremendous value, and Dallas would be dumb to pass on him. 

15. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8): Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

Further strengthening the depth on defense ought to the main focus for Philadelphia, and adding a guy like Kuechly will do that and more for the Eagles. Kuechly is a sure-fire future star in the NFL. 

16. New York Jets (8-8): ): Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Floyd has the ability to be a touchdown machine in the NFL, with his superb hands and great big frame.

Luckily for the Jets, he's still on the board, and drafting him will help make life easier for Mark Sanchez and New York's offense. 

Then again, Sanchez could still flop, but Floyd will certainly be there to help bail him out on a number of occasions in 2012. 

17. Cincinnati Bengals (via OAK 8-8): Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama 

Jenkins has some big character concerns, but he also has immense talent. This is a huge dilemma for some teams, but the Bengals will look right past it and hope they can turn around this troubled young star. 

18. San Diego Chargers (8-8): Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

Adams would be a great fit in San Diego, but don't be surprised if the Chargers look to the defensive line here. Still, I think Adams is the best available right here, and the Chargers do the right thing and pick him over reaching for a defender. 

19. Chicago Bears (8-8): David DeCastro, G, Stanford 

DeCastro fills a need for the Bears, as Chicago has to do a better job of protecting Jay Cutler in 2012. 

20. Tennessee Titans (9-7): Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina 

Ingram could certainly go higher, but a run of offensive players sees him drop to the Titans. Tennessee will definitely take it, though, as it has a big need for a disruptive end like Ingram. 

21. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7): Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

With his blazing speed, Miller is destined to make some huge plays in the NFL this coming season. Cincinnati needs a new running back, and Miller is the best option here. 

Miller will get plenty of looks throughout the year, and it's not going to be easy for defenders to bring him down. 

The Bengals will be very young, but at the same time, they'll be very dangerous in 2012. 

22. Cleveland Browns (via ATL 10-6): Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor 

The Browns continue to do the right thing and draft offensive standouts. Wright is a true deep threat who will significantly help Colt McCoy's numbers in 2012. 

23. Detroit Lions (10-6): Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia   

Cornerback is an option here, but for me, the Lions' best bet is to get Glenn, a versatile offensive lineman who will keep Matthew Stafford safe for a long time. 

24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4): Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

After getting burned by Tim Tebow in the playoffs, the Steelers have to add depth in the secondary. Getting younger is also a necessity for Pittsburgh, so look for the Steelers to get Dennard. 

25. Denver Broncos (8-8): Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

Defensive tackle is a huge need for the Broncos, and Poe is the best available here at No. 25. He's a powerful player in the trenches and also has the quickness to get off the ball well. 

26. Houston Texans (10-6): Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech

The Texans' biggest need isn't at wide receiver, but getting a guy like Hill would really improve Houston's offense, which has to be done if the Texans are going to make a strong push towards the Super Bowl.  

27. New England Patriots (via NO 13-3): Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin  

The Patriots might trade this pick, but should they keep it, they'll select the best player on the board. Bill Belichick won't pass on the chance to stockpile more talent on his offensive line to ensure Tom Brady has the best protection possible. 

28. Green Bay Packers (15-1): Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina  

Clay Matthews needs a partner in crime, and Brown definitely has the skills to help the Packers defense terrorize opposing teams in the backfield. 

29. Baltimore Ravens (12-4): Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama 

Hightower can be the Ravens' next Ray Lewis, which is why they need to get him. Offensive line is also a need, but Baltimore must also keep its defense at an elite level. 

30. San Francisco 49ers (13-3): Mark Barron, S, Alabama

The 49ers upgraded the offense big-time this offseason, so in the draft they'll wisely help the defense. Barron would be a stellar fit for the depth of the 49ers secondary. 

31. New England Patriots (13-3): Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

The Patriots are highly likely to trade this pick away, but the smart move would be to hold onto it and upgrade the secondary with a guy like Gilmore. 

32. New York Giants (9-7):  Chris Polk, RB, Washington  

With Brandon Jacobs off to the 49ers, Ahmad Bradshaw needs another running back to help him get the job done in New York. Polk can easily be that guy, bursting off big runs with ease. 

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