The NFL teams in contention for the playoffs will use the first round of the 2012 NFL draft to find the best possible talent to help them immediately.
Not every team ends up being a big winner on draft day, but those that play it smart will be able to get an impact player that instantly makes them better than the year before.
Most playoff-ready teams don't need much, as they typically use the draft to ensure their future stays strong. However, getting a stud athlete can certainly push a team towards reaching the Super Bowl.
That being said, here's my 2012 NFL mock draft with info on each pick and a more in-depth look at who some of the playoff contenders will be drafting.
2012 NFL Mock Draft
1. Indianapolis Colts (2-14): Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
The Colts would be insane to pass up on Luck, the prototypical QB that will help bring the Colts back to the top.
2. Washington Redskins (5-11): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
The Heisman Trophy winner has the arm and legs to beat several defenders at the next level, which makes him very enticing. Griffin is a much better option than Rex Grossman or John Beck.
3. Minnesota Vikings (3-13): Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Kalil is a fantastic pick for Minnesota, as he'll make sure Christian Ponder remains upright and safe in the pocket.
4. Cleveland Browns (4-12): Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Richardson is the best running back in the draft by far, and this is an area of need for the Browns. They have to get better on offense if they're going to make it through the tough AFC North.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12): Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
The top defender in the draft, Claiborne will be an instant upgrade to the Bucs secondary. He is also very skilled in the return game, which is something Tampa Bay will love.
6. St. Louis Rams (2-14): Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Drafting a WR is too risky here, especially with a beast like Brockers available. He can anchor St. Louis' defensive front for many years to come.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Blackmon is boom or bust all the way, but the Jaguars are do desperate for playmakers they'll take the gamble and hope for the best.
8. Miami Dolphins (6-10): Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
This is another risky pick, but with Brandon Marshall gone, the Dolphins need someone to fill the void. Jeffery can be that guy, and besides, he's a much safer pick than Ryan Tannehill.
9. Carolina Panthers (6-10): Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Like Blackmon, Coples has boom or bust written all over him. The Panthers buy into the hype and select the hometown kid, hoping he prospers in the NFL.
10. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
Defense has to be the main focus for the Bills in the draft. In oder to win in the AFC East, Buffalo has to have a top-notch defense, and adding Upshaw to the mix will put them well on their way.
11. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9): Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Reiff is a monster up front, and he'll definitely be able to keep Matt Cassell out of harm's way.
12. Seattle Seahawks (7-9): Nick Perry, DE, USC
An explosive defender off the edge, Perry will step in and fill a position of need for the Seahawks, making a major impact right away.
13. Arizona Cardinals (8-8): Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Martin is a superb blocker, and drafting him will make Kevin Kolb happy, as well as Beanie Wells, since the former Stanford lineman will be creating a ton of lanes to run through.
14. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Dallas has the offensive talent to go far, so improving the defense is a must.
Kirkpatrick is a very skilled defender with the ability to shut down any receiver that comes his way. He'll have to adjust to the bigger and stronger wideouts of the NFL, but he's fully capable of accomplishing that.
If the Cowboys are going to get to the postseason, their defense needs to be legit, and bringing in Kirkpatrick will significantly help.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8): Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Kuechly is a tackling machine that is sure to have a long and great career in the NFL. The Eagles need the best possible depth on defense to reach the Super Bowl, and Kuechly will help make them better.
16. New York Jets (8-8): ): Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Michael Floyd is a phenomenal wide receiver who will have no trouble dominating at the next level, especially in the red zone.
He drops because of character concerns, but the Jets will select him because they can't afford to pass up on his talent.
Not only will Floyd give Mark Sanchez another fantastic weapon, he could also help ensure Sanchez doesn't lose out on his job to Tim Tebow. There's nothing like having a wideout save a QB from disaster time and time again.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (via OAK 8-8): Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
The Bengals will ignore Jenkins' major character concerns and praise his talents instead. He's got a ton of skill, and if he stays out of trouble, he'll be one of the best from this draft.
18. San Diego Chargers (8-8): Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
The Chargers have several options here, but Adams is a guy that will prevent defenders from terrorizing Philip Rivers, which is a must.
19. Chicago Bears (8-8): David DeCastro, G, Stanford
If the Bears are going to beat out the Packers in the NFC North, they have to find a way to keep Jay Cutler off the ground. DeCastro is a fine offensive lineman, and he'll easily boost Chicago's line.
20. Tennessee Titans (9-7): Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
The Titans have the offensive studs to make a run at the playoffs, but their defense is lacking. By adding Ingram, Tennessee will have a player who thrives on disrupting plays in the backfield, which is a huge need right now.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7): Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
Miller's blazing speed will be a warm welcome to Cincinnati. The Bengals offense is very young, but loaded with talent.
Adding Miller to the mix will ensure that the Bengals are a force to be reckoned with the NFL, and the mighty Steelers and Ravens need to watch out in the AFC North.
22. Cleveland Browns (via ATL 10-6): Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Wright is a home-run threat all the way, which the Browns could definitely use. Colt McCoy needs all the weapons he can get, and by having Wright on his team, Cleveland would be able to put a lot more points on the board.
23. Detroit Lions (10-6): Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia
Glenn's versatility on the offensive line makes him dangerous. Cornerback is an option here, but the Lions' best bet is to had great depth to keep Matthew Stafford from being pulverized by opposing defenders.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4): Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
After Tim Tebow burned the Steelers secondary, it's rather apparent the position needs an upgrade, as well as some much-needed youth. Enter Dennard.
25. Denver Broncos (8-8): Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
The biggest need the Broncos have is at defensive tackle, and while they've got plenty of guys to chose from, Poe is the way to go.
He tore threw the combine, impressing everyone in attendance. Poe has great size, strength and speed for his big body, and the Broncos will buy into his added hype from the combine and select him in the first round.
26. Houston Texans (10-6): Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Another player who shredded the combine, Hill is sure to be a first-round pick because of his great hands and astonishing speed.
The Texans have to have a true threat out wide besides Andre Johnson if they're going to ever reach the Super Bowl.
27. New England Patriots (via NOLA 13-3): Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
The Patriots need help on defense; this is no secret. But with Konz still on the board, they won't pass on the chance to give Tom Brady the best offensive line depth possible.
28. Green Bay Packers (15-1): ): Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina
Getting Brown to team up opposite of Clay Matthews would be a wise decision for the Packers in their quest to get back to the Super Bowl. Consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks will allow that great Green Bay offense more chances to score.
29. Baltimore Ravens (12-4): Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
Extra depth on defense never hurt anyone, especially when it's a guy that can turn into the next Ray Lewis. Offensive line is also a need, but it's too risky to select one here since the Ravens would be reaching on a guy. Take the best available player, which is Hightower.
30. San Francisco 49ers (13-3): Mark Barron, S, Alabama
The 49ers boosted their offense big-time in free agency, so now they'll look to further improve the defense. Barron can step in and give San Francisco tremendous depth.
31. New England Patriots (13-3): Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
This pick may get traded away because that's what the Patriots love to do. However, keeping it and upgrading the secondary with Gilmore is the right call.
32. New York Giants (9-7): Chris Polk, RB, Washington
With Brandon Jacobs gone, the Giants need another strong running back to split carries with Ahmad Bradshaw. By himself, Bradshaw wouldn't be able to carry the Giants back to the Super Bowl, so drafting Polk to fill the void left by Jacobs would be a solid pick for the defending champs.
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