2012 NFL Draft: Mock Draft Picks 1-17

Sam Tastad@@samtastadCorrespondent IIIApril 26, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: Mock Draft Picks 1-17

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    The 2012 NFL draft is hours away as teams are preparing to draft players that could help change the future of their franchises to make them Super Bowl contenders. 

    The NFL draft begins on April 26 with the first round. The second and thirds are on April 27. Rounds four through seven are on April 28. 

No. 1: Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

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    It's official, the Indianapolis Colts have told Andrew Luck that he will be the first pick in next year's draft. 

    Luck, 6'4" and 234 pounds, finished his career at Stanford with 9,430 passing yards, 82 touchdowns, 22 interceptions, a 67 percent completion percentage and a 162.8 quarterback rating. Luck also showed his versatility, as he rushed for 957 yards and seven touchdowns. 

    Perhaps the only question is he receiving too much hype, as he is being likened to the best quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning, for whom he will take over for in Indianapolis. 

    Luck is familiar with the pro-style offense and is very accurate, as he has completed over 70 percent of his passes the last two years at Stanford. 

    Colts draft needs: QB, CB, WR, RB

No. 2: Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin, III, QB, Baylor

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    The Washington Redskins traded up for the second pick with St. Louis Rams and exchanged the sixth pick, two future first-round picks and a second-round pick to draft Robert Griffin III out of Baylor.

    Griffin had 4,293 passing yards, 37 touchdowns, six interceptions, 72.4 completion percentage and a 189.5 passer rating. In his career, he had 10,366 passing yards, 78 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, 67.1 completion percentage and a 189.5 passer rating. 

    Griffin is 6'2" and 220 pounds. Despite his speed (Griffin ran a 4.41 at the combine in the 40-yard dash, fastest among quarterbacks), his accuracy is what amazes scouts. He can get out of pocket and still can make long throws, instead of always taking and running the ball always. He is not your typical mobile quarterback, as he possesses a strong arm with the ability to throw deep ball. 

    Draft needs: QB, S, CB, OL

No. 3: Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, USC

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    Regardless of saying they might take Morris Claiborne or Justin Blackmon, the Vikings need to protect Christian Ponder. The Vikings just lost Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera. Kalil has potential to be a Pro Bowl tackle. Build your franchise around Ponder, Minnesota.

    This draft is deep; get a stable offensive lineman that can hold down the line for years to come and draft a cornerback or wide receiver later. Draft receivers like Rueben Randle or Mohammed Sanu, or corners like Janoris Jenkins or Trumaine Johnson in the second round.

    If they take Claiborne, look for the Vikings to draft a guy like Kelechi Osemele, an OT/OG out of Iowa, State possibly.

    Another possibility is trade down with Tampa Bay and get an extra pick (like a third-rounder) and take Kalil. 

    Draft needs: OL, WR, CB, MLB, DL 

No. 4: Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

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    Trent Richardson is 5'11 and 224, yet possesses a strong frame that makes him a powerful back that is elusive and can accelerate fast. He ran a 4.45 to 4.49 at his pro day and reports have shown he can bench 465 pounds and squat 600 pounds. Had 1,679 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns to galong with 338 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

    The Browns lost Peyton Hillis and currently have Montario Hardesty, Chris Ogbonnaya and Brandon Jackson. 

    If Cleveland drafts Justin Blackmon, it could draft Doug Martin late in the first round or early second round. 

    It has also been rumored that the Jets are interested in Richardson. It would probably take a Falcons-like move when they traded up with Cleveland last year to get Julio Jones.

    Draft needs: WR, RT, RB, QB, FS, CB

No. 5: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

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    If the Vikings don't take him, Claiborne is the Buccaneers' guy. Ronde Barber is getting old and Aqib Talib has legal issues.

    Claiborne had six interceptions and 51 tackles. He has strong hands and long arms along with great speed, a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash. He could have a similar rookie season like Patrick Peterson did for Arizona last year.

    Draft needs: CB, RB, WR, OLB, RT

No. 6: St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

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    Sam Bradford needs a No. 1 wide receiver and Justin Blackmon was just that at Oklahoma State for Brandon Weeden.

    He is 6'2" and 207 pounds, with nine-and-a-quarter inch hands. He has been compared to Dez Bryant. He scored 38 touchdowns in his last 25 games. He was twice named the best wide receiver in college football.

    The big concern is focusing on the field, as he has some off-field issues while at Oklahoma State.

    Draft needs: OL, WR, DT, SS

No. 7: Jacksonville Jaguars: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

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    The Denver Broncos have contacted the Jaguars about the seventh pick and drafting Gilmore, per source Shawn Zobel of NFL Draft Headquarters.

    So the Jaguars could trade out this pick. 

    Gilmore, a South Carolina defensive back, is supposedly liked by the Jaguars per Peter King. He is 6'1" and 190 pounds. He ran a 4.4 40-yard dash at the Combine, and his awareness on the field is what makes him so good. 

    He surpassed Dre Kirkpatrick as the second-best cornerback in the draft. 

    The Jaguars could also take a offensive lineman, like Riley Reiff, to protect young quarterback Blaine Gabbert. 

    Draft needs: WR, SS, DE, FS, CB, LB

No. 8: Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

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    Tannehill only made 19 career college starts and had a disappointing senior season. He is a developmental quarterback that needs time, and could do so behind veterans David Garrard and Matt Moore.

    Draft needs: QB, RB, OL, OLB, DE

No. 9: Carolina Panthers: Fletcher Cox, DT Mississippi State

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    Dontari Poe may be an athletic freak, but Cox dominated the SEC with 19.5 sacks and tackles for a loss last season. Ever since Julius Peppers left, the Panthers have desperately needed a pass rush, especially with an offense that scored points last year.

    Draft needs: OLB, DE, CB, DT, WR

No. 10: Buffalo Bills: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

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    The Bills could opt to draft Luke Kuechly or Michael Floyd, but choose to protect Ryan Fitzpatrick.

    He has short arms, but a big frame and quick feet. He is 6'6", 313 pounds and has 10-inch hands.

    Draft needs: OT, TE, CB, WR, LB, DE

No. 11: Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

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    Kuechly is the all-time leading tackler in ACC history, and Scott Pioli found a gem to pair with his defense that has to stop Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers now.

    He is 6'3" and 242 pounds, with great instincts and intelligence. He is fast (ran a 4.5 first, then a slower 4.78), aggressive and is around the ball and tracks the ball to sidelines.

    Draft needs: QB, DT, OLB, QB

No. 12: Seattle Seahawks: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina

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    Seattle went out and got a quarterback (Matt Flynn) and now look to bolster a pass rush, which includes a re-signed Red Bryant. 

    Ingram is 6'2" and 264 pounds and is great against the pass though he might need some work against the run. Against Auburn last season, he had 11 tackles, 4.5 for a loss and 3.5 sacks. Against Georgia, he showed great handling in returning a fumble for a touchdown and versatility in running back a fake punt for a touchdown. 

    He could be used on inside and outside. 

    Draft needs: DE, LB, CB, OL

No. 13: Arizona Cardinals: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

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    DeCastro is 6'5" and 315 pounds and provides an offensive line that had Kevin Kolb on the ground a lot last season.

    With Michael Floyd is available, the Cardinals could be tempted to go that route as well.

    Draft needs: OL, WR, OLB, QB

No. 14: Dallas Cowboys: Mark Barron, S, Alabama

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    Barron is clearly the best safety in the draft and great pick for a Cowboys secondary that is on the rise, especially with acquiring Brandon Carr via free agency.

    Barron is a physical All-American, great in zone coverage, good in acceleration and has great straight-line speed.

    Draft needs: CB, DE, OLB, S

No. 15: Philadelphia Eagles: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

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    Coples' junior season is where scouts noticed him, and in his senior season, he was switched to defensive end and his numbers dropped, as he had seven sacks and 15 tackles for a loss.

    He is 6'6" and 284 pounds. He needs to be consistent and have a desire on every play.

    Peter King said a coach called Coples "gifted and sporadic." He is Mike Mayock's second-best defensive end in the draft. 

    He could play in a 3-4 or 4-3, or as a outside linebacker in a 3-4. 

    Draft needs: LB, OL, DE

No. 16: New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama

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    The Jets have been rumored to be interested in Trent Richardson, but would require giving up much, like the Falcons had to do last year.

    Instead, they select Courtney Upshaw, 6'2" and 272 pounds, who supposedly wants to play for the Jets, telling Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger, "The way he comes out basically every time and (says), 'I’m going to guarantee a championship,' I kind of like that because he’s confident in his team. I’d like to play for a coach like that."

    Upshaw had 15.5 sacks and was Defensive MVP of the BCS title game.

    Like Nick Saban, Rex Ryan is a defensive-minded coach.

    Draft needs: OLB, S, RT, WR, TE, OG, ILB

No. 17: Cincinnati Bengals: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

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    The Bengals love SEC players, as they have picked at least one the last 14 years.

    Kirkpatrick is 6'2" and 186 pounds, and had no interceptions last year. He played in Nick Saban's defense, and knows both man and zone coverage.

    Kirkpatrick has some off-field questions, so he needs a good system that can help him stay on his feet.

    The Broncos also like Kirkpatrick, so a trade might be possible.

    Draft needs: CB, DE, RB, WR, TE