2012 NFL Mock Draft: Prospects That Will Outshine Andrew Luck
Quarterback Andrew Luck is the best player in this year's NFL draft, but that doesn't mean there won't be players in the 2012 class who will end up having a better career than the Stanford Cardinal star.
This is a very deep draft, especially on defense, and there are several prospects who could end up being enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame at the end of their careers.
Let's look at a fresh first-round mock draft.
*Denotes players who will have a better career than Andrew Luck
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
The Colts have reportedly told Andrew Luck that they will take him with the first pick in the 2012 NFL draft. It's certainly the best move for the team moving forward.
2. Washington Redskins (via STL): Robert Griffin III*, QB, Baylor
The Redskins can't go wrong with Robert Griffin, who will excel as a rookie thanks to his strong arm and ability to extend plays with his running prowess.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Matt Kalil will be a reliable left tackle for a decade and is the perfect choice for the struggling Vikings.
4. Cleveland Browns: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Blackmon has the talent and size to step into the NFL and play at a high level right away, which is exactly what the Browns need out of this high pick.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne*, CB, LSU
Claiborne's poor score on the Wonderlic test should not scare the Buccaneers out of drafting him, since his talent is absolutely sensational.
6. St. Louis Rams (via WA): Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
Poe would give the Rams' defensive line a big boost of size and pass-rushing at the defensive tackle position.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
The Jaguars could do something different with this pick, but Ingram will be a reliable pass-rusher at the NFL level.
8. Miami Dolphins: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Richardson won't satisfy a need on the Dolphins roster, but he's the best player available at this point.
9. Carolina Panthers: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Coples has a lot to prove in the NFL after many people have labeled him a bust, and the Panthers will hope this turns into extra motivation for him.
10. Buffalo Bills: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Reiff will be a reliable rock on the Buffalo Bills offensive line at right tackle for a long time.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
Kuechly will add youth and smarts to a Kansas City Chiefs defense that is really stocked with exciting young talent.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Tannehill is considered the third-best quarterback in the draft and could be trade bait if the Seahawks don't want to make him the starter.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Michael Floyd*, WR, Notre Dame
Wide receiver isn't the biggest need on the Arizona Cardinals, but passing on a possible Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate in Michael Floyd isn't an option.
14. Dallas Cowboys: Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
The Cowboys need a lot of help at safety, which makes the selection of Barron, a very good player at Alabama, one of team owner Jerry Jones' easier picks to make.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
Upshaw will be able to give the Eagles defense another pass-rusher to help Trent Cole in an NFC East division full of strong quarterbacks.
16. New York Jets: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Brockers' ability to play defensive end and defensive tackle will add some much-needed versatility to the Jets defensive line.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (via OAK): Whitney Mercilus, OLB, Illinois
Mercilus would add some youth and athleticism to a much-improved Cincinnati Bengals defense that is turning into a fantastic unit.
18. San Diego Chargers: David DeCastro, G, Stanford
The Chargers must protect franchise quarterback Philip Rivers better next season, and that starts with adding some fresh talent at the guard spots along the offensive line.
19. Chicago Bears: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
The Bears cannot afford to have quarterback Jay Cutler suffer any more injuries, so improving the offensive line is a big priority in the draft for them.
20. Tennessee Titans: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
Gilmore would be the perfect replacement for cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who left the Titans in free agency this offseason.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
The Bengals would be smart to draft Baylor star wide receiver Kendall Wright at pick No. 22 to give young quarterback Andy Dalton another quality target in the passing game.
22. Cleveland Browns (via ATL): Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
Perry would immediately help a struggling Browns defense that needs to rush the passer more effectively at the defensive end spots.
23. Detroit Lions: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
The Lions desperately need to upgrade at the cornerback position to become a legitimate Super Bowl contender next season. Kirkpatrick could be an elite cornerback in just a few years.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dont'a Hightower*, ILB, Alabama
The Steelers build their defenses around talented linebackers who play the game hard, which is why Dont'a Hightower is the perfect fit for Pittsburgh.
25. Denver Broncos: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
The Broncos added linebacker Von Miller to their defense last year and will make another strong selection in Jerel Worthy of Michigan State.
26. Houston Texans: Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
Randle has good hands and is a reliable player in big-pressure situations, which would be a good addition to the Texans receiving corps.
27. New England Patriots (via NO): Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
The Patriots would love to trade up and select Alabama safety Mark Barron, but offensive line is another need for them in this draft.
28. Green Bay Packers: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
The Packers could look at running back with this pick, but Branch's ability to dominate offensive linemen would be hard to pass on.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Cordy Glenn, OG/OT, Georgia
Glenn would be a nice addition to the Ravens offensive line and help open up running lanes for Ray Rice in the rushing attack.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
I've had Hill at No. 30 to the San Francisco 49ers for a while now, and with the team's need for a receiver who can make plays down the sideline, he's a great fit for them.
31. New England Patriots: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
Chandler Jones will be the best pass-rusher available to the Patriots at pick No. 31, if they don't trade this selection beforehand.
32. New York Giants: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
The Giants could certainly upgrade on the offensive line given their injuries in recent seasons, and Mike Adams of Ohio State will be the best tackle available at the end of the first round.
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