2012 NFL Mock Draft: How Trent Richardson Could Fall out of the Top 5

Ethan ArnoldCorrespondent IApril 15, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft: How Trent Richardson Could Fall out of the Top 5

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    The 2012 NFL Draft is only days away, and this year's draft contains some of the most impressive talent the NFL has seen in years. Pro Bowls and even Super Bowl rings look to be in the future for players such as Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Trent Richardson.

    Trent Richardson is being dubbed the best running back to come out of college since Adrian Peterson. If the Buccaneers pass on Richardson with the No. 5 pick, Richardson could fall a long ways. Here's a look at how the 2012 NFL Draft could pan out on April 26th. 

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1. Indianapolis Colts, QB Andrew Luck (Stanford)

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    Described as the best quarterback prospect since John Elway, Andrew Luck takes the top pick in this years draft. Luck can make all the throws and has even shown an impressive amount of athleticism, running a 4.6 40-yard dash in the combine.  

2. Washington Redskins, QB Robert Griffin III (Baylor)

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    Robert Griffin III has exceptional athleticism at the quarterback position. The difference between RG3 and past quarterbacks with Griffin's level of athleticism (JaMarcus Russell and Michael Vick) is his work ethic. It is hard to find a bad quality in this guy. Expect to see him off the board within the first two picks. 

3. Minnesota Vikings, OT Matt Kalil (USC)

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    Left tackle is considered to be the most important position on the offensive line because it protects the quarterbacks blind side.

    Matt Kalil is unusually athletic for his large frame and is capable of becoming an elite tackle in the NFL right out of the gate. 

4. Cleveland Browns, WR Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State)

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    Justin Blackmon is already a well-rounded receiver and has the ability to make plays right away in Cleveland. Blackmon is said to be even more talented than former Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant, which speaks volumes considering Bryant has already developed into an elite receiver in just his second year. Colt McCoy needs more options in Cleveland, and Blackmon is a great place to start. 

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, CB Morris Claiborne (LSU)

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    It can be argued that the Bucs could go with Trent Richardson here, but LeGarrette Blount is only 25 years old and is still a solid back. Ronde Barber is near the end of his career and the Bucs would be smart to take an elite prospect in Morris Claiborne. Claiborne is a converted wide receiver, and with a combination of size, quickness and speed, will transform into an elite defensive back in the NFL.

6. St. Louis Rams, DT Dontari Poe (Memphis)

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    The Rams could go with Justin Blackmon here if he is still on the board, but the Rams need to desperately improve their run defense and Dontari Poe is the guy for the job. Poe is sensationally athletic for a defensive tackle and for a guy his size. Look for Poe to have a successful career disrupting backfields and taking down quarterbacks in the NFL.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars, OLB Melvin Ingram (South Carolina)

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    Melvin Ingram is arguably the best linebacker in the draft. The Jaguars do need a wide receiver, but could address that need later in the draft. One of the Jaguars obvious weaknesses is defense. Ingram could help the Jags stop the run and in turn, improve their defense as a whole. 

8. Miami Dolphins, QB Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M)

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    Matt Moore is the current quarterback in Miami, but he does not provide the team with a long term option at the position. Tannehill has the potential to become a great quarterback in the National Football League, and eventually bring the Dolphins back to the playoffs.

    But if the Dolphins decide to take their chances with Moore, they could go with Trent Richardson with pick No. 8.

9. Carolina Panthers, CB Stephon Gilmore (South Carolina)

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    The Carolina Panthers took a big step towards success last year after drafting quarterback Cam Newton with the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. The secondary is a big weakness that should be addressed early in the 2012 draft by the Panthers front office.

    Stephen Gilmore is a well-rounded cornerback and could give the Panthers some much needed help in the secondary. The team could also decide to go with a defensive lineman with the ninth pick. 

10. Buffalo Bills, OT Riley Reiff (Iowa)

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    After the signing of defensive end Mario Williams, the Bills will more than likely address their issues on the offensive side with their first round pick in the draft. Riley Reiff has Pro Bowl potential and would be a good addition to the team to help protect franchise quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

11. Kansas City Chiefs, ILB Luke Kuechly (Boston College)

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    Luke Kuechly is a good pick here because of his good size and ridiculous speed at the linebacker position. Kuechly is the kind of guy that offensive players fear due to his unbelievably explosive power. The sky's the limit for Kuechly, and that's exactly why the Chiefs should take him with pick No. 11 in the 2012 NFL Draft.   

12. Seattle Seahawks, DE Quinton Coples (UNC)

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    The Seattle Seahawks could really use a solid pass rusher on the outside and Quinton Coples is just that. He has the size, speed, strength, and finesse to become a powerful force on the outside for years to come. It is unlikely that Coples falls any farther than pick 12 in this year's Draft. 

13. Arizona Cardinals, WR Michael Floyd (Notre Dame)

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    This would be a big pickup for the Cardinals. The addition of Floyd would take attention away from the great Larry Fitzgerald, as well as give Kevin Kolb another option.

    Floyd is big, physical and has great ball skills. This pick could give the Cardinals one of the best wide receiver duos in the league if Floyd is able to unlock his star potential.

14. Dallas Cowboys, DT Fletcher Cox (Mississippi St.)

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    The Dallas Cowboys could use some help in the run game and are weak at the nose guard position. Fletcher Cox is the guy that can fill this void for the Cowboys on defense. Cox is explosive and should string together some very impressive seasons in the NFL.

15. Philadelphia Eagles, OT Jonathan Martin (Stanford)

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    When Michael Vick is healthy, the Eagles are as good of a team as any in the NFL, and in order to keep him healthy, the Eagles will need to strengthen their offensive line. Martin played a big role in protecting Andrew Luck at Stanford and can provide the same kind of protection for Vick. 

16. New York Jets, RB Trent Richardson (Alabama)

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    Even though the running back position is not necessarily the Achilles heel of the New York Jets, they would gladly take Trent Richardson if he were to fall this far. Richardson could easily go in the Top Five, but if he managed to get passed by the buccaneers at No. 5, he could fall a long ways. Richardson could very well become the top rusher in the National Football League someday. If the Jets decide that they'd rather stick with Shonn Greene and address another need, Richardson would without a doubt be taken by the Cincinnati Bengals at pick 17.   

17. Cincinnati Bengals, S Mark Barron (Alabama)

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    The Cincinnati Bengals dream pick at 17 would be running back Trent Richardson. But if safety Mark Barron were to fall into their hands instead, the Bengals would be anything but disappointed.

    The safety position has been a weakness in Cincinnati for the last few years now and Barron has superstar potential. Barron has the quickness and speed to drop into coverage but also has the size and power to stop the run. It is possible that the New York Jets could take Barron with the 16th pick.

18. San Diego Chargers, G David DeCastro (Stanford)

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    David DeCastro is ranked as the No. 1 guard in the draft for 2012, according to ESPN's Mel Kiper. Phillip Rivers had a down year in 2011 and bringing in DeCastro could give Rivers a much needed confidence boost.

    DeCastro has a quick first step and he could give Ryan Mathews some room to run between the tackles. An effective run game will open up the passing game, which would be ideal for the Chargers.

19. Chicago Bears, DE Chandler Jones (Syracuse)

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    Julius Peppers is one of the best, if not the best, defensive ends in the National Football League. Drafting Chandler Jones at 19 would take some attention off Peppers and transform the Bears d-line into one of the most feared in all of football. Jones is versatile and can rush the passer as well as stop the run. If he can stay healthy, Chandler Jones could become a Pro Bowl caliber player.

20. Tennessee Titans, CB Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama)

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    With the departure of Cortland Finnegan, Dre Kirkpatrick would be an appropriate replacement for the Pro Bowl corner. Kirkpatrick is big at 6'2" and has above average cover skills. What makes him such a valuable player is his ability to stop the run from the outside.

    The Titans will quickly forget about Finnegan if they were to take Dre Kirkpatrick at pick 20 in the 2012 NFL Draft.

21. Cincinnati Bengals, WR Kendall Wright (Baylor)

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    The Cincinnati Bengals couldn't be any happier with last years draft. A.J. Green really lived up to the hype after a 1,000+ yard season and an appearance in the Pro Bowl. Jerome Simpson also showed the ability to make plays down the field, but the missing piece in Cincinnati is a solid slot receiver.

    Wright's play underneath will open up receivers like Green and Simpson downfield. The Bengals could use a running back but with the signing of BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the Bengals can afford to wait until later rounds to address that need. 

22. Cleveland Browns, OT Cordy Glenn (Georgia)

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    If the Browns could add Justin Blackmon with the fifth overall pick then the next step would be to strengthen the line. Cordy Glenn is another solid offensive lineman to come out of the University of Georgia. The combination of Blackmon and Glenn joining the squad could be just what the doctor ordered for the young Colt McCoy. 

23. Detroit Lions, OLB Courtney Upshaw (Alabama)

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    The Detroit Lions defense was the laughing stock of the league just two years ago. Since then, there have been drastic improvements throughout. Ndamukong Suh has already proven that he is a top defensive tackle in the National Football League, but last season Suh saw a decrease in sacks due to offenses double and even sometimes triple-teaming him. Adding another skilled pass rusher like Courtney Upshaw would open the door for Suh.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers, ILB Dont'a Hightower (Alabama)

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers defense is aging as many already know and in order to maintain their dominant status, the Steelers are going to need to bring in some young talent.

    Dont'a Hightower is another talented Alabama player that could immediately make an impact in the NFL. Hightower is the complete package of size and speed which would suit the Steelers defense well.

25. Denver Broncos, DT Michael Brockers (LSU)

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    The Broncos defense was illustrious last year and did a great job of getting to the quarterback. Rookie Von Miller amounted 11.5 sacks and proved that he is everything that the Denver Broncos expected him to be when they drafted him with the second overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. The only true weakness that the Broncos have on defense is in the interior of the defensive line. Adding Brockers could put the Broncos D at the pinnacle of the league in 2012 and years to come.

26. Houston Texans, WR Stephen Hill (Georgia Tech)

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    With Andre Johnson's recent injury issues, the Houston Texans could use another capable wideout for Matt Schaub's sake. Similar to former Georgia Tech phenom Calvin Johnson, Stephen Hill has a rare mixture of size and speed, standing 6'4" and having a 40-yard dash time in the 4.3 to 4.4 range. With Gilmore added to the roster, an Andre Johnson injury won't mean the end of the world for the Houston Texans. 

27. New England Patriots, DE Nick Perry (USC)

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    It is amazing that the New England Patriots were able to advance all the way to the Super Bowl last year with one of the worst defenses in the the National Football League. One area of extreme weakness was the defensive end position.

    Nick Perry could be a good fit to help cause disruption in the backfield and rush the passer in 2012. Perry may not be considered an elite end yet, but his work ethic and natural ability could lead him to be just that.

28. Green Bay Packers, DE Andre Branch (Clemson)

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    Clay Matthews compiled 23.5 sacks in his first two seasons in the NFL after being drafted 26th overall out of USC in 2009. But last year, Matthews only managed 6.0 sacks, not because his speed and strength took a decline, but because he saw more double teams from the opposing teams.

    Adding another pass rusher like Andre Branch will immediately add another dimension to the Packer's defense. If the Pack are able to add Branch, look for Clay Matthews to record 10+ sacks in 2012.

29. Baltimore Ravens, C Peter Konz (Wisconsin)

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    Ray Rice is the x-factor for the Baltimore Ravens. In order for Rice to succeed, he needs a young adept offensive line. With the aging Matt Birk at center, the Ravens should have no problems or restrictions when it comes to drafting center Peter Konz.

30. San Francisco 49ers, DT Jerel Worthy (MSU)

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    Jerel Worthy is a two-time All-American and could help the 49ers improve their run defense. With the acquisitions of wide receivers, Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, offense is not necessarily a dire need in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft. Worthy may not make an immediate impact but given the time, could turn into an elite run-stopper.  

31. New England Patriots, DT Kendall Reyes (Connecticut)

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    Once again, defense should be the priority for the Patriots with their second first-round pick. Vince Wilfork is the Pats only prominent defensive lineman and has fell victim to double teams from opposing offensive lines the past two seasons. Reyes is big at 6'4" 300 pounds and would do well lined up next to Wilfork.

32. New York Giants, OT Mike Adams (Ohio State)

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    The New York Giants could go with a tight end here but during the second half of last season, Jake Ballard proved to be perfectly capable of handling the job. Eli Manning would truly appreciate taking Mike Adams at pick No. 32. Adams is huge at 6'8" 323 pounds and has quick feet for his size. He has all the tools and ingredients to become an elite left tackle in the National Football League.