2012 NFL Mock Draft: Teams That Will Benefit More from Trading Down

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2012

Not every NFL team has to be stuck with their current pick in the 2012 NFL draft. Trading up or down is a strong possibility for a number of teams, and actually pulling the trigger on a deal to do so would be very wise for some. 

Of course, it's not easy getting these deals done, but with the ability to trade players in the draft this year thanks to no lockout, there's a great chance we see a plethora of trades in the first round. 

Sometimes it's a smart move for a team and other times a franchise will make a call that leaves you scratching your head and wondering what just happened. 

That being said, here's my 2012 NFL mock draft with info on each pick and a more in-depth look at those teams who would benefit more from trading down. 

2012 NFL Mock Draft 

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

This might blow your mind, but the Colts definitely need to trade down. (Insert hysterical laughter here.) 

Seriously, I'm only kidding on that. This is a no-brainer pick for the Colts, as Luck will be the face of the franchise, helping Indianapolis to get back on top. 

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

The Redskins traded up to No. 2 to fix their biggest need, which is at QB. Griffin knows what it takes to be a winner, and he'll continue to work hard and get better to ensure Washington wins the NFC East someday.  

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

The Vikings aren't completely set on the No. 3 overall pick. They're open to moving down and are currently listening to offers like all teams with a high draft pick.

Whether they actually listen to any of the others is uncertain, but the Vikings would be better off moving back. Should they stay put, drafting Kalil is their best bet to keep Christian Ponder safe. 

Trading down would give Minnesota more draft picks to use this year and possibly next. When a struggling team like the Vikings can load up on draft picks, they have to do it. 

There are several players up for grabs that Minnesota would love to have, and they'd still be able to get one by moving back a few spots and picking up more draft picks. 

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

Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer reports the Browns are getting interest from the Eagles and Rams for the No. 4 pick, but staying put is the right move for Cleveland. 

The Browns have to improve their offense, which means getting the best possible talent. With two first-rounders, Cleveland has a chance to get superb talent, such as Richardson here at No. 4, a player that would work wonders for the Browns. 


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

Claiborne is the top defender in the draft, and he'll be an instant upgrade to the Bucs secondary. 

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

The Rams might be trading up, but should they stay put; getting the sure thing in Brockers is their best bet. With an aging defensive line, the Rams need to get young, and Brockers will be able anchor the defensive front for many years to come. 

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

The Jaguars are in dire need of playmakers, so look for them to select a wideout with their first-round pick. 

Chances are they'll stay put at No. 7, but it would be very wise to trade down to acquire more picks. The best way to build an elite franchise is through the draft, and the Jaguars need all the picks they can get. 

There are quite a few wide receivers in this draft that would thrive in Jacksonville, and the Jaguars would still be able to get a great one even if they dropped back a few spots. 

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

With Brandon Marshall gone, the Dolphins need a big target out wide for whoever ends up being QB. My gut says Matt Moore will start and the Dolphins ride it out, hoping to end up with the top pick next year to get Matt Barkley, but don't be surprised if Miami does something crazy like drafting Ryan Tannehill here. 

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

This Carolina kid has all the tools to be elite in the NFL, but after some ups and downs during his college career, Coples could turn into a bust. I think the Panthers take the risk and draft the hometown kid anyway. 

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

The Bills need to get serious about winning the division, and the best way to accomplish that is by stacking the defense with superb talent, such as Upshaw. 

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

The Chiefs have several options here, and trading down is one of them. 

Kansas City needs to stay healthy in order to win big, so right now the Chiefs' best bet is to load up with depth. 

Trading back a few spots to a team looking for a wideout or a particular defender they know won't fall their way would give the Chiefs more draft picks to work with, which is always a brilliant move.  

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

Coming from USC, Perry has the connection with Pete Carroll, which is why I think he jumps to No. 12. The Seahawks need an explosive guy off the edge, which is exactly what Perry is. 

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

The Cardinals have plenty of options here at No. 13, but staying put and drafting the best overall player is their best bet. 

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

Dallas has to improve the defense in order to win big in 2012, and getting Kirkpatrick is a great start. He would step in for the Cowboys and be a great contributor right away. 

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

The Eagles may not be picking here when is all said and done, but if they don't trade up, adding depth to the defense is a must. Kuechly would be a fantastic pickup for the Eagles. 

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

There's a strong chance Floyd gets picked higher, especially with the possibility of trades. If that happens, look for the Jets to go defense here, but if Floyd is still on the board, New York won't pass on the chance to have such a skilled red-zone threat out wide. 

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

Jenkins has done nothing but hinder his chances of being a first-round pick, but despite his character concerns, the Bengals will look past it all and focus on his on-the-field talents, which are remarkable. 

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

Defensive tackle is an option for the Chargers, but they'd be reaching for on here.

Trading down would be really smart for San Diego, as it would give the Chargers more picks to work with and allow them to not reach on a player. Should they stay put, though, Adams would be a solid pickup. 

Adams is slipping some as draft day draws near, but that's mainly because others are rising. I still think he land in the middle of the first round because of his massive frame and willingness to protect.

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

DeCastro is the best interior lineman in the draft, which means he could go higher. After a run at defenders, though, he falls to No. 19, which the Bears will love because they're in dire need of offensive line help for Jay Cutler.  

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

Ingram is a stud defender who lives to disrupt plays in the backfield, which just so happens to be something the Titans really need to help them win the AFC South. 

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

Miller's blazing speed will fit right in with the Bengals, giving them even more youth on offense. The future is certainly bright in Cincinnati. 

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

The Browns help their offense once again, this time adding a deep threat in Wright. Colt McCoy will be able to stretch the field much more in 2012 and beyond with Wright on his team. 

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

Cornerback is a strong possibility for the Lions, and should Glenn be gone, I think that's where they'll go. He's still on the board in this mock, and Detroit won't waste any time adding great protection for Matthew Stafford

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

The Steelers have to get younger, especially in the secondary. Adding youthful depth will ensure Pittsburgh doesn't get burned in the playoffs again. 

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

The Broncos' biggest need is at defensive tackle, and Poe makes a lot of sense here. He tore through the combine and Denver won't forget that as it selects him at No. 25. 

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

The Texans' biggest need isn't at wide receiver, but taking the gamble on Hill to strive for more offensive production out wide other than Andre Johnson is what Houston has to do. 

27. New England Patriots (via NOLA 13-3): Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin  

The Patriots know that Tom Brady has to be safe in order for the team to excel, so stacking the offensive line with more depth is a good call. Defense is the big need, but Bill Belichick won't pass on exceptional talent like Konz. 

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

Brown fills a need for the Packers as they hope to get back to the Super Bowl. Clay Matthews needs another guy to get after the QB so the pressure on him goes down some, and Brown will definitely help in that area. 

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

There's no denying that the Ravens need an offensive lineman, but it would be a reach here. This means they could opt to trade back a few spots, but all that will depend on how the draft has gone thus far. 

Still, I think the Ravens should get the best overall player here, which is Hightower. He'll easily step in and make his presence known, helping to keep Baltimore a powerful defensive unit. 

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

The 49ers helped their offense in a big way this offseason, so using the draft to help the defense is a must. Barron would provide the team with great depth. 

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

This pick is probably going to be traded, but the Patriots are better off keeping it to improve the defense. Upgrading the secondary by adding Gilmore would be New England's best bet. 

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

Brandon Jacobs left, meaning the Giants have a huge hole to fill on their offense. Polk is a solid every down back that will fill the void left by Jacobs. He'll split carries with Ahmad Bradshaw before eventually taking his place as well. 

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