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Todd McShay 2012 Mock Draft: Biggest Hits and Misses from McShay's Latest Mock

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystApril 18, 2012

Todd McShay 2012 Mock Draft: Biggest Hits and Misses from McShay's Latest Mock

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    The 2012 NFL Draft is just over one week away and as the first night of the three-day extravaganza approaches mock draft season has hit the stretch run, with draftniks across the land releasing their latest predictions as to how the first round will shake out.

    ESPN draft expert Todd McShay is no exception and he recently released a mock draft containing a number of potential scenarios for each team on April 26th.

    As is the case with any mock, some selections appear to be dead-on while others just seem to be dead wrong.

    Here's a look at some of the best and worst of McShay's first round.

HIT: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (Cleveland Browns, 4th Overall)

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    McShay's Take

    I've said all along that this pick will decide how much of the rest of the first round plays out, and I still feel that way. From an overall standpoint, Richardson ranks ahead of Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon and Tannehill, in that order, but from a positional-value standpoint the list would be reversed. The Browns face a tough decision, but Richardson is likely to be the pick.

    Why the Pick Is a Hit

    The Browns may be more desperate than any team in the NFL for offensive firepower, and some believe that the Browns may be torn between wide receiver Justin Blackmon and quarterback Ryan Tannehill. However, the team's best chances of not screwing their first pick up is to use it on a player that's easily the best option at his position, like Richardson is.

MISS: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College (Kansas City Chiefs, 11th Overall)

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    McShay's Take

    Kuechly is a slam dunk to fill a big need. He can be plugged in next to Derrick Johnson immediately to form one of the best 3-4 inside tandems in the league. He's instinctive, productive and athletic, and he could allow for some scheme versatility.

    Why the Pick Is a Miss

    McShay himself admits that nose tackle is a bigger area of need for the Chiefs. If the Kansas City were dead-set on selecting a linebacker here, Alabama's Dont'a Hightower has experience playing in the 3-4 and is built better for the SILB spot next to Derrick Johnson.

MISS: Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis (Dallas Cowboys, 14th Overall)

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    McShay's Take

    Defensive line might not seem like the top need, but Poe is the kind of young, versatile talent defensive coordinator Rob Ryan would like to develop. And with Kenyon Coleman on the downside of his career and Jay Ratliff able to move to 5-technique/DE, Poe would bring some depth and flexibility to the defensive front.

    Why the Pick Is a Miss

    Poe's draft stock has been slipping since his monstrous showing at February's NFL Combine. Even if the 346-pound beefeater is available here, the Cowboys have much more pressing needs in the secondary than they do on the defensive front.

    That said, it makes much more sense for Jerry's boys to look at a player like South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore or Alabama safety Mark Barron than a defensive tackle who may take time to develop and has the "workout warrior" red flag hanging over his head. 

MISS: Chandler Jones, DE/OLB, Syracuse (16th Overall)

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    McShay's Take

    If the Jets are stuck here, Jones isn't the ideal pick but is a versatile prospect with good length and pass-rush potential, and he's one of the most underrated players in the entire class.

    Why the Pick Is a Miss

    I'll have to confess that I'm not getting all the Chandler Jones love from the guys at ESPN, as both McShay and Mel Kiper have the Syracuse standout among the top-20 picks in their latest mocks.

    This isn't to say that Jones isn't a solid player with a bright future in the NFL. However, in this mock draft Alabama outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw is still on the board and the 272-pound All-American had nearly as many sacks last year as Jones had in his entire collegiate career.

HIT: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford (Cincinnati Bengals, 17th Overall)

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    McShay's Take

    DeCastro is a good value at this point and fills a top need. He can step in right away and help stabilize things in front of second-year QB Andy Dalton.

    Why the Pick Is a Hit

    One of the Bengals' biggest areas of need is along the interior of the offensive line. DeCastro is a two-time consensus All-American and the top guard prospect in this year's draft. The Cardinal star would be an excellent choice here.

HIT: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU (Denver Broncos, 25th Overall)

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    McShay's Take

    The Broncos have a glaring need in the middle of their defense, and Brockers is a great fit. He's big and powerful and has good tape, and his best football is still ahead of him.

    Why the Pick Is a Hit

    McShay is spot-on that Brockers has a ton of potential and it's entirely possible that the 322-pounder will be long gone by the time the Broncos pick at No. 25. However, that need in the middle of the Denver defense that McShay alluded to is no mirage, and if Brockers is still on the board then he'd be a steal for the Broncos this late in the first round.

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