2012 NFL Mock Draft: Seeing Through the Smokescreens

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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Seeing Through the Smokescreens
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Miami-Florida RB Lamar Miller speeds into the first round to the Denver Broncos

It doesn't take much knowledge about the NFL draft to say that this is the "lying season" when a lot of information thrown out to the media is false and meant to misdirect attention or make players fall on draft day to anxious teams eager to land them.

There is still some good information floating around in April; it's just a question of sorting through the stories to see what passes the sniff test.

 

1. Indianapolis - Stanford QB Andrew Luck 

The Colts aren't considering Robert Griffin III, that is one of the most obvious pieces of misinformation floating around right now.

 

2. Washington (from St. Louis) - Baylor QB Robert Griffin III 

No suspense yet.

 

3. Minnesota - USC OT Matt Kalil 

The latest Adam Schefter talk on NFL live of Claiborne and Blackmon being in play here is a smokescreen to get a team to pay on the new RG3 scale for moving up. They won't and the Vikings will take Kalil.

 

4. Cleveland - Alabama RB Trent Richardson 

Like Minnesota, Cleveland will trade back a few spots for the right price, but they won't get it. I'm not sensing the boldness to take Tannehill here. Richardson is a layup for Holmgren/Heckert and their interest is not a smokescreen.

 

5. Tampa Bay - LSU CB Morris Claiborne 

No need for a smokescreen here, the Bucs get Richardson, Claiborne, or Kalil no matter what happens ahead of them.

 

6. St. Louis (from Washington) - Mississippi State DT Fletcher Cox 

Maybe I'm skewing things here because this is the pick I would make. My honest belief is that it's the pick Jeff Fisher would make too.

 

7. Jacksonville - Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon 

I'm honestly stumped as to what direction GM Gene Smith will go if he doesn't trade this pick. Blackmon works, but so do at least five other guys. I don't think the Jaguars are creating a smokescreen, I think they genuinely want to move down.

 

8. Miami - Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill 

Two bits of suspense here: (1) Will Miami or another team trade ahead of No. 8 to snag Tannehill? (2) Will Miami actually take him if he's there, or will we have another "gasp" moment like 2007, when Cam Cameron took Ted Ginn over Brady Quinn? Lots of smoke to see through.

 

9. Carolina - North Carolina DE Quinton Coples 

Something about Coples here just feels right. I believe his ceiling is higher than Michael Brockers and Dontari Poe, and his floor is also higher.

 

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Cordy Glenn might be the second best left tackle in the draft

10. Buffalo - Georgia OL Cordy Glenn 

Put me in the minority that believes Glenn projects just fine as a left tackle, and better than Riley Reiff. His ability to kick inside and play guard only enhances his value.

 

11. Kansas City - Memphis DT Dontari Poe 

I really want to put Poe lower because he's a lot lower on my board, but his potential to be a dynamic nose tackle/end in the Chiefs defense may be too much for them to pass up.

 

12. Seattle - South Carolina DE/OLB Melvin Ingram 

Seahawks fans should be praying for Ingram to fall to them.

 

13. Arizona - Stanford OG David DeCastro 

Michael Floyd will be a consideration, but DeCastro can be a top-end starter from day one, maybe even at right tackle.

 

14. Dallas - LSU DL Michael Brockers 

I should be giving more weight to Mark Barron, but he doesn't match the usual elite profile of a safety that breaks into the top 15.

 

15. Philadelphia - South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore 

Asante Samuel may not be an Eagle by the end of the draft and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will be a free agent next year. Gilmore fits, and this is about as far as he'll fall.

 

16. New York Jets - Iowa RT Riley Reiff 

Another team that will take a long look at Michael Floyd, but the change to have an instant solution at right tackle is too good to pass up.

 

17. Cincinnati (from Oakland) - Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd 

Floyd could go off the board as early as No. 7, but wide receiver is a luxury item for a lot of the teams picking in the top half of the first. The Bengals won't be scared off by Floyd's past and he would be even more valuable as a No. 2 receiver with A.J. Green drawing so much attention.

 

18. San Diego - Alabama DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw 

Upshaw's high floor and the need for a stalwart OLB in the defense make it tough for A.J. Smith to pass here.

 

19. Chicago - Boston College LB Luke Kuechly 

Kuechly could settle somewhere in the late teens/early 20s because the relatively low value of ILBs around the league. He could start on the strong side and eventually replace Brian Urlacher.

 

20. Tennessee - Illinois DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus 

Signing Kamerion Wimbley was only part of the work the Titans needed to do at defensive end.

 

21. Cincinnati - Alabama CB Dre Kirkpatrick 

The Bengals should have a good shot at Kirkpatrick at 21. I laid out why their slew of veteran CB signings won't keep them from taking Kirkpatrick here.

 

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Kendall Wright would give the Browns the deep threat that they sorely lack.

22. Cleveland - Baylor WR Kendall Wright 

Justin Blackmon is too much like last year's second-round pick Greg Little. Wright is exactly the kind of talent they need at wide receiver. Holmgren/Heckert will likely roll the dice on Brandon Weeden lasting until No. 37.

 

23. Detroit - Ole Miss OT Bobby Massie 

Like Yahoo's Doug Farrar, I am ready to put Massie ahead of Jonathan Martin in my offensive tackle rankings. A battle-tested right tackle prospect is worth more than we think it is.

 

24. Pittsburgh - Alabama LB Dont'a Hightower 

Unless Seattle trades down or Luke Kuechly falls to 24, Hightower is looking like the pick.

 

25. Denver - Miami-Florida RB Lamar Miller 

My general football partner-in-crime and Broncos insider Cecil Lammey put this out there, and with Fox's penchant for overvaluing running backs, I can believe it. Imagine Miller on Peyton Manning's patented stretch running play, and it makes sense.

 

26. Houston - USC DE/OLB Nick Perry 

The Texans are set to go best player available, and the premium on edge rushers plus Perry's natural talent make him a possibility here.

 

27. New England (from New Orleans) - Alabama SS Mark Barron 

I'm not buying the recent buzz about Barron because he doesn't seem like a special talent, but he's more than good enough to justify a pick here.

 

28. Green Bay - Boise State DE/OLB Shea McClellin 

Feels more and more right with every passing day. A perfect complement to Clay Matthews.

 

29. Baltimore - Wisconsin C Peter Konz 

As long as his ankle checks out, Konz shouldn't fall any farther than this.

 

30. San Francisco - Stanford TE Coby Fleener 

Just like the McClellin pick, Fleener to the 49ers feels right. Sacramento Bee beat writer Matt Barrows lays out an excellent case for him here.

 

31. New England - Penn State DE Devon Still 

A vastly needed inclusion of talent on the defensive line.

 

32. New York Giants - Stanford OT Jonathan Martin 

I like him a lot better at right tackle, which is where the Giants would try to plug him in right away.

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