2012 NFL Mock Draft: Latest Analysis and Pick-by-Pick Guide to First Round

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2012

The 2012 NFL draft is thankfully just around the corner, meaning that all the speculation will soon come to an end and we'll get to see which prospects land where. 

It's a very exciting event, as the months leading up to it have been filled with anticipation. Fans are hoping for the best, and every team believes that will happen.

Of course, some team will do something insane. It's a part of the draft these days, and it's always fun to talk about it the days after it occurred.

That being said, here's my 2012 NFL mock draft with info on each player and a more in-depth look at a few certain studs.


2012 NFL Mock Draft 


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

The best prospect in the draft, Luck is a lock for the Colts, and he won't take long in showing everyone why he's the top player. 


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

There will be a ton of pressure on the Heisman Trophy winner win big, but Griffin's dual-threat skills will carry him far. 


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

Kalil is destined for greatness in the NFL, and the Vikings would be insane to pass on such a sure thing like him. 

According to the the Pioneer Press, the Vikings have narrowed their options down to Kalil, Claiborne and Blackmon. 

All three fill a big need for Minnesota, but Kalil is the safest bet, which is why the Vikings have to take him. 


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

Richardson is the real deal, and for a team like the Browns in dire need of help on offense, he'll be a warm welcome to Cleveland. 


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

The best defender in the draft, Claiborne has the size, speed and strength to be elite in no time. He'll be an instant upgrade to the Bucs secondary. 


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

The popular pick here is Blackmon because the Rams do need a wide receiver. However, that's too risky and quite the gamble. 

Blackmon excelled against weak talent in college, and transitioning to the pros will be difficult. He doesn't explode off the line, and his separation skills could be better. 

Brockers is a beast on the defensive front, and he'll be the anchor Jeff Fisher so badly needs on the line. With aging defensive tackles, Brockers makes perfect sense for St. Louis since he isn't such a risk. 

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

The Jaguars are desperate for playmakers, which is why they'll take the gamble on Blackmon and hope it pays off. With a struggling QB, though, this could be a disaster. 


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

Ryan Tannehill is the popular pick here, but he's just not worth it. Miami doesn't need a project QB right now, so the smart move would be to draft talent that can make an impact right now. 

That is Jeffery, whose exceptional hands and great leaping ability will make the Dolphins quickly forget they traded away their best weapon in Brandon Marshall

If Miami is that high on Tannehill, trading back into the first round for him would be ideal, not drafting him in the top 10. The QB won't be able to live up to the expectations that come with this pick.  

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

A Carolina kid gets to stay at home, which will hopefully help him prosper in the NFL. Coples has tremendous talent, but his work ethic is in question. The Panthers really need help on the defensive front, so they'll gladly draft Coples and hope he doesn't bust. 

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

The Bills have to be serious about winning, which means they need to load the defense with immense talent in order to take down their mighty division rivals.

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

The Chiefs have several options here, but Reiff is too good to let walk away, especially when Kansas City needs more big bodies to keep Matt Cassel safe. 

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

Perry is extremely explosive off the edge, and the Seahawks will plug him in right away and get an immediate impact. 

13. Arizona Cardinals (8-8): Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

The Cardinals may think about a wide receiver here, but boosting the pass rush to help the defense survive is a must. 

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

The Cowboys are pretty much good to go on offense, so using this pick to upgrade the secondary with Kirkpatrick is the right call.

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

If the Eagles are going to win it all, they need the best possible depth on defense, which is exactly what Keuchly will provide. 


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

A run at defenders causes Floyd to drop, but make no mistake about it, he has elite star status written all over him. 

He's the most NFL ready wideout in the draft class, but his character concerns are a bit of an issue. If he stays away from the booze, he'll be just fine. 

With Mark Sanchez fighting for his job in all of 2012, he'll need to be surrounded with better weapons, and Floyd has all the tools to help carry the Jets to the postseason.  


17. Cincinnati Bengals (via OAK 8-8): Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

Miller's blazing speed will be a spectacular complement to BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The Bengals may be young on offense, but boy they sure are dangerous. 

18. San Diego Chargers (8-8): David DeCastro, G, Stanford 

Defensive line help is a need for the Chargers, but they'd be reaching on one here. That means settling for the best overall prospect is their best bet, and luckily for San Diego, DeCastro is still there to help fill a need on the team.  

19. Chicago Bears (8-8): Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

Martin's stock has been dropping, but there's no denying his talents. He'll be a warm welcome in Chicago from both Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, as Martin has the skills to please both. 

20. Tennessee Titans (9-7): Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

With the best pass-rushers off the board, the Titans would be wise to use this pick on a talented corner. Cortland Finnegan left in the offseason, and replacing him with a guy like Gilmore is a step in the right direction. 

21. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7): Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama  

Jenkins raises red flags because of his character concerns, but the Bengals will look solely at his talents, which are remarkable. He's a special talent, and some teams will avoid him, but Cincinnati will take the troubled Jenkins and hope he focuses only on football. 


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

Wright has the speed to burn NFL corners and make huge plays wherever he lands. The Browns will select him to further strengthen their offensive firepower.


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

Glenn is the Lions' best bet here, although they could think about getting a cornerback instead. Keeping Matthew Stafford safe and healthy has to be priority No. 1, though. 


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

The Steelers have a few defensive needs, but adding youthful depth to the secondary is the greatest in my opinion. Dennard is the best available corner here, and he'll be a solid fit in Pittsburgh. 

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

The Broncos' biggest need is at defensive tackle, and while they have a few different guys to choose from here, Poe's combine success will help him land in the first round with Denver. 


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

Houston needs to focus on getting to the Super Bowl, which means getting pressure off Andre Johnson. Hill has superb speed, and he'll serve as a decoy to Johnson and help make huge plays here and there in his rookie season while continuing to develop as an all round wideout. 

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

With Konz still on the board, Bill Belichick won't pass on the chance to stockpile more talent on the offense line and ensure Tom Brady has the best possible protection. 

28. Green Bay Packers (15-1): Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois

Clay Matthews needs another head hunter to play opposite of him, and Mercilus fits that mold to a tee. 

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

Hightower is the best overall prospect here at No. 29, and picking him to be the next Ray Lewis is smarter than reaching on an offensive lineman. 

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

Barron will provide the 49ers with great depth. He's the best prospect on the board here, but if the 49ers don't want him, trading this pick is also a good option. 


31. New England Patriots (13-3):  Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

Speaking of trades, the Patriots are very likely to move this pick, as it's just what they do. However, keeping it and addressing the glaring need on the defensive front by adding a beast like Branch would be an incredibly wise decision. 


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

With Brandon Jacobs going across the country, the Giants need another back to split carries with Ahmad Bradshaw if they play on getting back to the Super Bowl. 



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