2012 NFL Mock Draft: Why This Could Be One of the Most Active Drafts Ever
As we draw ever closer to the 2012 NFL draft, the buzz around potential trade moves continues to heat up.
With a bevvy of value players set to be available in the middle rounds of this year's draft and a number of teams looking for extra picks to build with, we probably haven't seen the last of the draft trades for 2012.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB
This pick is locked in. Hands down, stone cold, no conversation. It's happening. Don't listen to the Robert Griffin chatter, amusing as it may be.
Luck will be the next face of the Indianapolis Colts, so let's move on.
2. Washington Redskins (from St. Louis Rams) Robert Griffin III, QB
This pick will be the direct result of the signature trade of the 2012 NFL draft.
Everybody comes away a winner in the trade. The St. Louis Rams get a first- and second-rounder this year and a 2013 first-rounder, and the Washington Redskins bought themselves a franchise quarterback.
If Robert Griffin turns out to be as good as the pundits are saying he is, this trade could one day be praised on the same level as the Eli Manning trade pulled off by Ernie Accorsi.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT
Matt Kalil is such a sure thing, and Christian Ponder's current protection is so bad that it's almost inconceivable to think that the Minnesota Vikings will select anyone else with this pick.
What they might do, however, is trade this pick to a team desperate for Justin Blackmon or Ryan Tannehill. With as many holes as they have, extra picks wouldn't be a terrible thing.
In this new league dominated by passing offenses, plenty of clubs could fit the desperation bill to attempt a deal with the Vikings—especially since Jim Irsay says so.
4. Cleveland Browns: Justin Blackmon, WR
The Browns already refused to trade their 22nd overall pick in a package to try and get Robert Griffin III, so it's highly unlikely they will make any moves in this draft.
This pick could also end up being Ryan Tannehill, though the smartest move for Cleveland would be to take the best offensive weapon available.
Blackmon could either to help the beleaguered Colt McCoy or whatever quarterback they choose to take in the late first or early second round (AHEM, Brandon Weeden).
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trent Richardson, RB
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have patched up their biggest hole on offense by adding wide receiver Vincent Jackson to go alongside Mike Williams. All they lack now is a running back who can share the load with bruiser LeGarrette Blount.
Trent Richardson is a three-down back in any system, so pairing him with a guy like Blount will maximize his ability to stay healthy while adding necessary explosive speed to the Tampa Bay backfield.
6. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): Morris Claiborne, CB
The St. Louis Rams became the owners of this pick when they gave up No. 2 to the Washington Redskins, and they're still probably going to get their man.
Having signed Cortland Finnegan to a monster deal in free agency, the Rams can form a dynamic duo in their secondary by signing the highly touted LSU prospect.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Michael Floyd, WR (or Trade)
This Jacksonville Jaguars pick is a prime candidate to end up being traded. Justin Blackmon is the preferred prospect of a Jags team that is decidedly awful on offense and would provide a great weapon for Blaine Gabbert.
Having said that, it should be quite difficult for Blackmon to fall all the way to No. 7 with the Rams, Browns and Vikings all coming first.
The Jaguars could add yet another trade to the list of this draft's transactions by trading with Minnesota to assure their pick of Blackmon. Minnesota would likely demand a fourth- or fifth-rounder in return and still be able to select Matt Kalil at this spot.
If the Jaguars' new management chooses not to trade up, expect them to take 6'4'' prospect Michael Floyd, who is arguably the next best receiver prize in this class.
8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB
For the second year in a row, there will be three quarterbacks taken in the top 10. Whether Ryan Tannehill is a viable franchise prospect really doesn't matter anymore at this point.
The Dolphins simply screwed up way too much with their offseason quarterback hunt. They have no choice but to take Tannehill and hope for the best, or they risk completely alienating the Miami fanbase.
9. Carolina Panthers: Dontari Poe, DT
Dontari Poe has rocketed up draft boards after his stellar combine performance last month.
The showing he gave, combined with his size and raw skills, has instantly made him the most desirable defensive tackle in this draft.
He'll be the pick to shore up Carolina's run defense.
10. Buffalo Bills: Riley Reiff, OT
The Bills' offensive line is in sore need of an upgrade on the outside.
Riley Reiff will fill that need and provide athleticism and size to help protect Ryan Fitzpatrick.
11. Kansas City Cheifs: David DeCastro, OG
David DeCastro is one of the safest prospects in the 2012 draft. Andrew Luck's former guard can instantly contribute to both the run and the pass.
With Jamaal Charles coming off an ACL tear, the Chiefs will need DeCastro to provide dependable protection.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Melvin Ingram, DE
The Seattle Seahawks need an additional pass-rusher to help out Chris Clemons and Red Bryant. Ingram is the best pass-rusher available and will instantly upgrade the Seattle defense.
He will help them get to the quarterback more often by providing fresh legs and athleticism into the lineup.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Luke Kuechly, LB
Luke Kuechly inherited the title of the 2012 draft's best linebacker prospect when everyone realized Vontaze Burfict is not very smart or very good.
The Arizona Cardinals would likely prefer a wide receiver or offensive lineman with this pick, but with David DeCastro and Michael Floyd gone, they wouldn't be getting great value here by reaching for somebody else.
Kuechly will be the pick and help shore up an ailing defense.
14. Dallas Cowboys: Mark Barron, SS
The signing of Brandon Carr has been a terrific addition to the Dallas Cowboys' secondary.
With Dontari Poe off the board, Mark Barron can help solidify their secondary overhaul, making their passing defense a true force to be reckoned with.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Fletcher Cox, DT
The Philadelphia Eagles have gotten on the road to fixing their horrendous run defense with the trade for DeMeco Ryans (another pre-draft trade!).
Adding a second reliable defensive tackle alongside Cullen Jenkins should be the next order of business. Fletcher Cox was the consensus top DT before Dontari Poe shocked us all with his 4.8 40-yard dash time.
He'll be a steal at No. 15
16. New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB
Rex Ryan's New York Jets once prided themselves on their aggressive blitzing defense that hassled opposing quarterbacks. They weren't very good at doing that in 2011.
Upshaw fills a massive need on their defense and instantly upgrades what has become an anemic pass rush.
17. Cincinnati Bengals: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB
The pot charges against Dre Kirkpatrick have been dropped.
Good for him.
It's still very bad that he's hanging out with the people who put him in that position, so there are still character concerns about the Alabama prospect. Some teams, however—cough, the Bengals—won't care.
Nate Clements will be turning 32. They need an infusion of young blood.
18. San Diego Chargers: Trade to Miami Dolphins
The San Diego Chargers won't find much that they deeply value from their draft board at this point, and the Dolphins will be desperate to land a top-flight receiver to pair with rookie Ryan Tannehill.
With two third-round picks, thanks to the Chicago Bears, and their own second-rounder still in hand, the Dolphins could make a competitive offer for this spot.
The possibility of two or even three third-round picks (or two second-rounders and two thirds) might be too much for the Chargers to ignore.
Assuming such a trade is pulled off, the Miami Dolphins will draft Kendall Wright.
19. Chicago Bears: Quinton Coples, DE
The Chicago Bears have one of the great pass-rushers of our era in Julius Peppers, but much of their defensive roster is beginning to age.
Quinton Couples can ease into the system and learn from Peppers while providing an instant contribution.
The best-case scenario for both parties.
20. Tennessee Titans: Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB
The addition of Kamerion Wimbley does not signal the end of the Titans' defensive reboot. Whitney Mercilus will help continue rebuilding a defensive corps that has completely been retooled since their dominant 2008 campaign.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Cordy Glenn, OG
The Bengals' offensive line needs an overhaul to protect Andy Dalton and allow their new running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis to find some running lanes.
Cordy Glenn can serve as a versatile option on the offensive line for years to come.
22. Cleveland Browns: Johnathan Martin, OT
The Cleveland Browns have their new receiver. They'll take their new quarterback in Brandon Weeden with the fourth pick in the second round.
Now they need somebody besides Joe Thomas to protect him. Jonathan Martin protected Andrew Luck and is a steal at this spot.
23. Detroit Lions: Stephon Gilmore, CB
The Lions lost their only viable corner, Eric Wright, during free agency.
Stephon Gilmore has great measurables and will go a long way towards helping the Lions in their attempt to claim a second straight playoff berth.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dont'a Hightower
The Pittsburgh Steelers just let James Farrior go. Dont'a Hightower is the best inside linebacker available at this spot in the draft.
To keep their historical defensive dominance up, they'll need a new middle man.
25. Denver Broncos: Devon Still, DT
The Denver Broncos got all of the offensive firepower they could need when they brought on the legendary Peyton Manning. Now they just need to plug up that defensive line.
Devon Still is the best tackle on the board and will go a long way towards keeping Peyton Manning in a rhythm by stuffing opposing run games.
26. Houston Texans: Stephen Hill, WR
Simply put, the Houston Texans have no dependable wide receiver talent outside of Andre Johnson. Stephen Hill has all the signs of being a major sleeper, had a terrific combine, is huge and went to Calvin Johnson Jr.'s alma mater.
Only overlooked because he played in an option system for his whole college career, Hill is ready to start immediately.
He will make a great addition to their high-powered offense.
27. New England Patriots: Nick Perry, DE/OLB
Bill Belichick loves defense. Bill Belichick also has two first-round draft choices. Perry is the best defensive player on the board.
You do the math.
28. Green Bay Packers: Shea McClellin, OLB
The Packers need serious help at pass-rusher alongside the mighty Clay Matthews, and Bill Belichick just took Nick Perry.
The Packers happen to love Shea McClellin, and though first round may be a slight reach, he likely wouldn't make it all the way down to their No. 56 pick.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Peter Konz, C/OG
Ben Grubbs is gone. That leaves a 300-plus-pound hole in the Baltimore Ravens' offensive line. Peter Konz is a safe prospect as an interior offensive lineman.
He'll make a solid replacement.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Coby Fleener, TE
Coby Fleener is hands down the best tight end in this draft. The San Francisco 49ers have all 11 starters returning from their 2011 defense, so offense is obviously the way to go.
31. New England Patriots: Jerel Worthy, DT
The New England Patriots' defensive line overhaul continues. With Jerel Worthy being the best defensive tackle remaining (again), they will select him to shore up their porous defense.
32. New York Giants: Mike Adams, OT
The New York Giants have gaping holes in their offensive line. Tackle Mike Adams can step in immediately and take over for the departed Kareem Mackenzie.
This creates an upgrade at the right tackle spot, as Mackenzie saw one of his worst seasons ever during the 2011 campaign.