2012 NFL Mock Draft: Monster Draft-Day Trades Nobody Would See Coming
General managers love imploding mock drafts.
How many 1st-round trades will go down this year?
NFL draft-day trades are nearly impossible to predict (I say "nearly" because I’m about to successfully do just that). And that’s why every year, mock drafts are quickly tossed in the trash after blockbuster trades are executed. Here is a 2012 first-round mock and a handful of huge deals that will blow fans’ minds.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford)
This selection isn’t exactly mind-blowing. Despite the media’s push to make fans believe that RGIII is an option, Luck is a lock—bet your life on it.
2. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III (QB, Baylor)
Dan Snyder didn’t propose a Herschel Walker-like offer to the St. Louis Rams to get anything less than a Hershel Walker-like athlete. RGIII will be the face of the Skins franchise from day one.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil (OT, USC)
Rumors are swirling that the Vikings are considering Morris Claiborne. However, no NFL GM is unintelligent enough to select a cornerback to play in a Cover-2 system at third overall, right? Right?!
Cleveland wanted Matt Kalil and can’t decide between Ryan Tannehill, Trent Richardson and Justin Blackmon. The Dallas Cowboys, on the other hand, know exactly whom they want.
4. Dallas Cowboys: Morris Claiborne (CB, LSU)
Does Dallas really expect to slow down the duos of Hakeem Nicks-Victor Cruz and DeSean Jackson-Jeremy Maclin with Mike Jenkins in the starting lineup? Claiborne across from Brandon Carr, though, would give the Cowboys a puncher’s chance.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trent Richardson (RB, Alabama)
LeGarrette Blount is a bum after all. With Claiborne off the board, igniting their offseason with Adrian Peterson 2.0 is the Bucs' only option.
6. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon (WR, Oklahoma St.)
Sam Bradford bawls…with tears of joy, of course. St. Louis finally gifts its franchise quarterback with a No. 1 wide receiver.
Jacksonville—i.e. Blaine Gabbert—would’ve loved Blackmon to fall, but that didn’t happen. Trading back becomes the Jaguars' best option and the bold Eagles won’t hesitate to pull the trigger on a swap.
7. Philadelphia Eagles: Fletcher Cox (DT, Mississippi St.)
Cox is a perfect fit for Jim Schwartz's wide-nine defensive line scheme. A starting front of Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins and Fletcher Cox would give Eli Manning, Tony Romo and Griffin III nightmares.
8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill (QB, Texas A&M)
Fun Fact: Matt Moore and David Garrard will never lead the Dolphins to a Super Bowl. While you struggle to comprehend that astonishing phenomenon, Miami brightens its future by adding Tannehill.
9. Carolina Panthers: Luke Kuechly (LB, Boston College)
Carolina’s defense is a joke. One of their numerous needs is at linebacker and Kuechly is without a doubt the top defensive prospect on the board.
Peyton Manning is All-World, but even he isn’t going to shred defenses throwing to Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. Denver must select a receiver that is capable of producing right away.
10. Denver Broncos: Michael Floyd (WR, Notre Dame)
And that’s where Michael Floyd comes in. The Fighting Irish wide out would instantly become Manning’s go-to guy.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: Dontari Poe (NT, Memphis)
With such a massive hole at defensive tackle, it’s difficult to imagine the Chiefs passing on the massive Dontari Poe. The physical freak would take KC’s stop unit to another level.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Melvin Ingram (DE, South Carolina)
Outside of Chris Clemons, Seattle’s pass rush is pitiful. Ingram is talented enough to start right away and wreak havoc in opposing backfields.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Riley Reiff (OT, Iowa)
Injury Update: Kevin Kolb dislocated his throwing shoulder on Thursday after a violent fist-pump following the Cardinals' selection of Riley Reiff. Yeah, two predictions for the price of one—you’re welcome.
14. Cleveland Browns: David DeCastro (G, Stanford)
Cleveland must protect Colt McCoy’s replacement. DeCastro is an elite guard prospect who will form a Bryan McKinnie-Steve Hutchinson-like pairing with Joe Thomas for years to come.
15. Jacksonville Jaguars: Quinton Coples (DE, UNC)
Jacksonville seems to need an upgrade on the defensive line every year and 2012 is no different. Coples is too talented to pass on at this point in the draft despite character concerns.
16. New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw (OLB, Alabama)
Rex Ryan’s defensive reputation as a QB killer is fading. Upshaw played in a 3-4 defense at Alabama and would supply Ryan with the weapons necessary for his defense to do damage.
17. Cincinnati Bengals: Mark Barron (SS, Alabama)
With major needs at safety and cornerback, how do the Bengals choose which weakness to prioritize? No, not by rap sheet—there are three remaining first-round caliber-CBs compared to only one safety.
18. San Diego Chargers: Chandler Jones (OLB, Syracuse)
Jones is rising up draft boards at a more rapid pace than any other prospect right now. The pass-rushing fiend fills a gaping hole at outside linebacker for the Chargers.
19. Chicago Bears: Stephon Gilmore (CB, South Carolina)
Believe it or not, Chicago needs a defensive makeover. That starts at the cornerback position and Gilmore is another prospect whose stock is on fire as of late.
20. Tennessee Titans: Michael Brockers (DT, LSU)
Albert Haynesworth’s imprint still hasn’t been filled in Nashville. Michael Brockers would form a talented, young interior line rotation with Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug for the Titans.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Dre Kirkpatrick (CB, Alabama)
And on to that need at corner. For obvious reasons, Cincinnati isn’t swayed away from selecting the gifted Kirkpatrick despite red flags—they’re never swayed away.
22. Cleveland Browns: Kendall Wright (WR, Baylor)
Cleveland must upgrade the arsenal of Colt McCoy’s replacement. Wright gives the Browns the deep threat that they’ve been lacking as well as a potential No. 1 wideout.
23. Detroit Lions: Jonathan Martin (OT, Stanford)
Detroit has needed a left tackle for years and never bothered to spend a first-round pick on one. If—excuse me, when—Martin drops to No. 23, the Lions would be insane to pass on upgrading Matt Stafford’s blind side, again.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Cordy Glenn (G, Georgia)
Dont'a Hightower is the consensus selection here, but the Steelers released road-grader Chris Kemoeatu this offseason. Glenn is powerful enough to slide right in as Kemoeatu’s replacement.
25. Buffalo Bills: Mike Adams (OT, Ohio St.)
Buffalo is sure paying a mediocre quarterback an immense amount of money to be lying face-first on his back (yeah, you read that right). The Bills must fill the hole left by Demetress Bell’s departure at left tackle.
26. Houston Texans: Stephen Hill (WR, Georgia Tech)
Matt Schaub’s job just got a great deal more difficult. In years past, all he had to do was lock on to Andre Johnson. Now, with two capable receivers, he actually has to make reads.
27. New England Patriots: Shea McClellin (OLB, Boise St.)
Sorry Gisele, not the Pats’ wide receivers, but their defense is what cost them the Super Bowl. They have holes everywhere, but improvement starts with their pass rush.
28. Green Bay Packers: Whitney Mercilus (OLB, Illinois)
Clay Matthews can fight through double-teams, but he will blow by a single blocker. Mercilus blitzing on the opposite side would make it incredibly tough to double Matthews consistently.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Dont'a Hightower (ILB, Alabama)
The best available player just happens to fill a key need for the Ravens. Hightower is talented enough to start next to Ray Lewis right away and eventually replace him as the defensive captain.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Peter Konz (G, Wisconsin)
San Francisco doesn’t have any crater-like holes on its depth chart, but it could afford to upgrade its offensive line. Konz is capable of playing guard and center.
TRADE: the New England Patriots swap their first-round pick for a Cleveland Browns’ second.
New England never keeps all of its early selections. And with the Browns still without a replacement for Colt McCoy, this trade isn’t exactly unforeseeable.
31. Cleveland Browns: Brandon Weeden (QB, Oklahoma St.)
At 28 years old, Weeden is older than McCoy, but the Browns must attempt to upgrade the position. The former Texas Longhorn isn’t the long-term answer.
32. New York Giants: Doug Martin (RB, Boise St.)
Brandon Jacobs is history and Ahmad Bradshaw is injury prone. Without any dire needs, selecting the top running back available is the best choice for the Giants.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.
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