In just a few days, all of these mock drafts will go into the dustbin of history as the real draft takes over and teams fill specific needs.
Most experts are going to be proven wrong once again, while others are going to have an ability to gloat after they get a vast majority of the first-round picks correct. Well, maybe not a vast majority, but at least a good amount.
This is going to be my final 2012 NFL mock draft. Most of my picks have remained the same over the course of the last couple weeks, but there are bound to be some surprises mixed in with the obvious selections.
Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Stanford
How are you doing, Captain Obvious? This is Mr. Reality calling. The Indianapolis Colts are going to make Andrew Luck the 76th No. 1 pick in the history of the draft.
The only question here is whether or not the Colts are going to take the full amount of time allocated for every pick. Wouldn't it seem rather foolish for them to do so? Of course, this would make the crazed fans at Radio City Music Hall a little impatient, as it should.
Once Luck hears his name called, the Colts will have to go deep into their war room book of tricks in order to find more immediate upgrades on the offensive side of the ball.
Robert Griffin III, Quarterback, Baylor
Now that the Washington Redskins have added Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan to the mix, it is time for them to get their quarterback of the future. In reality, they made those two signings fully understanding that RGIII would be their man under center.
Griffin should have immediate success in the NFL due to exceptional athleticism and a strong arm. These two indicators lead me to believe that the Baylor product might actually have a better rookie season than the aforementioned Andrew Luck.
Obviously, comparisons are going to be drawn between these two elite quarterbacks for what promises to be a pair of long careers.
Player Comparison: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Morris Claiborne, Cornerback, Louisiana State
Remember, this mock draft focuses on what I think teams are going to do, not what I would do. If it were the latter, Matt Kalil would be the pick here.
Various reports have indicated that the Minnesota Vikings are seriously torn between the two, which leads me to believe that they are leaning in Claiborne's direction here. After all, it had been a foregone conclusion over the course of the draft season that Kalil would be the pick here.
While it could be pure smoke and mirrors in terms of the Vikings' decision-making process, maybe to draw up interest in a possible trade down, I believe there is smoke to this proverbial fire.
Claiborne would fill a position of serious need along a vastly inferior Vikings defensive secondary. He would immediately become their No. 1 cover guy on the outside and possesses the skill set to make an immediate impact.
Shutdown corners are hard to come by, and Claiborne fits the bill.
Player Comparison: Champ Bailey, Denver Broncos
Trent Richardson, Running Back, Alabama
I am having a hard time believing that the Cleveland Browns would pass up on the opportunity to select a "once in a lifetime" running back prospect.
It just makes too much sense.
Of course, these are the Cleveland Browns that we are talking about, so anything is possible. In fact, they could fool the entire football world and go with Ryan Tannehill here. Then again, that would be stunning, even for the Browns.
In Richardson, they get a back that has the ability to not only shoulder the load, but to be a dynamic force on the offensive side of the ball. Give it to him 25 times a game and you are looking at a 1,700-yard running back.
They can't pass up on that, right?
Matt Kalil, Offensive Tackle, Southern California
This wouldn't be an ideal scenario for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I am pretty sure that they would rather have either Trent Richardson or Morris Claiborne. In reality, they will probably look to trade down from No. 5 if the board plays out like I project.
If the Buccaneers do keep this pick, they will probably go with Kalil here despite the fact that he doesn't represent a tremendous need.
That being said, Kalil could come in and immediately protect the blindside of Josh Freeman for the next decade. You really cannot ask for much more than that.
Player Comparison: Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns
Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame
Floyd is my No. 1 receiver in the draft and the St. Louis Rams are probably going to go in this direction. So, this pick is pretty much a no-brainer at this point.
The talented receiver will give Sam Bradford a truly consistent target on the outside, helping the Rams open up their offense a great deal.
You can switch out Floyd for Justin Blackmon and the general theme would be the same.
Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback, South Carolina
They have been mocked to go with Claiborne here, but that just isn't in the cards right now.
Instead, they address a need in the form of the South Carolina product, who should be able to contribute right off the bat.
Player Comparison: Carlos Rogers, San Francisco 49ers
Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, Texas A&M
This pick has remained unchanged over the course of my last few mock drafts. While Tannehill doesn't represent any value here, he is a pick that the Miami Dolphins cannot afford not to make.
Moreover, some scouts around the NFL really like the skill set that the Texas A&M product brings to the game, no matter how raw it might be.
Tannehill should sit for a season or two in order to learn the nuances of the NFL, but he has what it takes to be a stellar starting quarterback down the road.
The converted wide receiver is a project, and the Dolphins fully understand that. This selection could be boom or bust, but only time will tell.
Fletcher Cox, Defensive Line, Mississippi State
It goes without saying that the Carolina Panthers are in need of help against the run on defense. I originally had either Michael Brockers or Dontari Poe slated to go here, but it seems that Cox is a much better fit and value.
He will not only provide stout run support, but get into the offensive backfield on a consistent basis.
Pretty much a perfect fit in Carolina.
Player Comparison: Richard Seymour, Oakland Raiders
Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State
The Buffalo Bills would be ecstatic in the war room if this scenario were to play out. After failing to get a No. 2 wide receiver in free agency, the most logical option for them is going in this direction early in the draft.
Blackmon is still the No. 1 receiver on most draft boards, meaning that Buffalo would be getting an excellent value here. You can swap Blackmon with Michael Floyd here should the former go to the St. Louis Rams at six.
Player Comparison: Anquan Boldin, Baltimore Ravens
David DeCastro, Guard, Stanford
I flirted with going Dontari Poe here because he is the type of player that the Kansas City Chiefs have been attempting to acquire this offseason.
However, it is nearly impossible for them to pass up on the need and value that David DeCastro would give them here. He is the No. 6 overall prospect on my big board and is the best guard prospect to enter the league in over two decades.
Player Comparison: Steve Hutchinson, Tennessee Titans
Quinton Coples, Defensive End, North Carolina
I am nowhere near as high on Coples as other draft pundits. In fact, I think he is a tremendous risk in the first round. This is a player that didn't show the level of consistency that teams should value early in the draft.
What Coples does bring is a tremendous amount of talent that, if tapped into, could lead to him to being a dominating defensive end. He also fits a position of need as a pass-rusher along their front seven.
Player Comparison: Julius Peppers, Chicago Bears
Riley Reiff, Offensive Tackle, Iowa
There have been indications that Reiff might fall to the end of the first round or early in the second round, but I just don't see this as a possibility because of team needs from 12 to 30.
The Arizona Cardinals are one of those teams in desperate need of better pass protection. They allowed the most an NFL-leading 54 sacks last season.
Reiff would immediately become their best pass-protecting offensive tackle, which speaks volumes about their lack of talent at the position and his ability to make an immediate impact.
Player Comparison: Joe Staley, San Francisco 49ers
Mark Barron, Safety, Alabama
The signing of Brandon Carr did fix one glaring weakness on the Dallas Cowboys defense. With that said, they still have multiple holes to fill on the underperforming unit.
While the signing of Brodney Pool was a great move, he isn't the long-term answer at safety. Barron would be able to come in and start right away, turning into a Pro Bowl-caliber player sooner rather than later.
Player Comparison: Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs
Luke Kuechly, Linebacker, Boston College
This pick is once again unchanged.
Why trade for DeMeco Ryans and then draft another inside linebacker? Doesn't make much sense, right?
The reasoning behind this logic is that the Eagles can play Kuechly outside in their 4-3 defense because of his above-average tackling and pass defense skills.
Player Comparison: James Laurinaitis, St. Louis Rams
Jonathan Martin, Offensive Tackle, Stanford
However, they cannot possibly look at game film of the Alabama product and think that he would be a fit in their 3-4 defensive scheme.
Player Comparison: Trent Williams, Washington Redskins
Melvin Ingram, Defensive End, South Carolina
This is a value pick more than anything else. I have Ingram as a top-10 player, so him falling here would be a coup for the Cincinnati Bengals.
The South Carolina product also fills a position of need as the best pure pass-rusher in the draft. He should be able to come in immediately and provide double-digit sacks.
Player Comparison: Jabaal Sheard, Cleveland Browns
Dontari Poe, Nose Tackle, Memphis
This isn't a huge position of need for the San Diego Chargers as they need help along the offensive line, at linebacker and in the secondary.
But it is hard to ignore the fact that Poe represents great value here and would be a perfect fit as a nose tackle in the Chargers 3-4 defensive scheme.
He will help out a great deal as a rotational player against the run early in his career before taking the step to every-down player relatively quickly.
Player Comparison: Haloti Ngata, Baltimore Ravens
Chandler Jones, Defensive End, Syracuse
The Chicago Bears are in an interesting situation here. I fully expect them to explore trade-down options, but I will not project that in this mock draft.
They already acquired a true No. 1 receiver in the form of Brandon Marshall, and the board didn't fall too well in terms of grabbing an offensive lineman.
With those positions out of the picture, the Bears address a need that they have been looking at throughout the entire offseason.
Though they missed out on Mario Williams, Jones would be a great threat opposite Julius Peppers along their defensive line and fits their scheme to a T.
Player Comparison: Jeremy Mincey, Jacksonville Jaguars
Peter Konz, Center, Wisconsin
This pick is not sexy, but it is smart. The Tennessee Titans are in need of an anchor along the interior of their offensive line, and Konz could fill that role.
Konz is the consensus No. 1 center in the 2012 NFL draft and it really isn't that close. He should be a perennial Pro Bowl performer right out of the gate.
Quality pick at a position of tremendous need.
Player Comparison: Jeff Saturday, Green Bay Packers
Cordy Glenn, Offensive Line, Georgia
There really shouldn't be any worries about this prospect. Glenn is as solid as they come and will be a good player right out of the gate.
I envision him playing inside at the next level even though he has surprising athleticism that could translate well at the tackle position.
At this point in the draft, Glenn represents the best value available and would be a great addition for the Bengals.
Player Comparison: Leonard Davis, Free Agent
Alshon Jeffery, Wide Receiver, South Carolina
While I can envision a scenario where Jeffery falls out of the first round, that is extremely unlikely at this point.
It is really hard to ignore the upside that the South Carolina product possesses. While there is a bust factor, some team is going to overlook that.
The Cleveland Browns are in desperate need of adding skill position players to the offensive side of the ball. Jeffery would team up with Greg Little to make a nice young receiving tandem.
Player Comparison: Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans
Dre Kirkpatrick, Cornerback, Alabama
Kirkpatrick might translate to playing safety in the long run, but he will be drafted to play his natural position. He has the skill set to be an intimidating force on the outside, only needing to hone his technique to be successful at the next level.
The Detroit Lions don't really have much talent or depth at the corner position. If Kirkpatrick falls to them here, there is no way that Martin Mayhew and company pass up on the talented corner.
My comparison to Woodson is solely based on the way the two play on the outside. It isn't an indicator that Kirkpatrick is going to be that valuable of a player in the NFL.
Player Comparison: Charles Woodson, Green Bay Packers
Mike Adams, Offensive Tackle, Ohio State
If the board plays out like I project, the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to be one unhappy franchise. With holes in their offensive and defensive lines, drafting Adams will be out of need more than anything else.
The Buckeye star is going to struggle going up against speed rushers on the outside because of his raw technique and pedestrian lateral movement. Though he does have the skill set to be a solid tackle at the next level, it is going to take some time for him to learn the nuances of the NFL.
Player Comparison: Anthony Davis, San Francisco 49ers
Michael Brockers, Defensive Tackle, Louisiana State
It goes without saying that Brockers has the best natural talent of any defensive tackle in the draft. The issue with the young prospect is the technique and ability to make an immediate impact.
The Denver Broncos are in the market for help along the defensive line. Adding a player of considerable talent like Brockers would help out Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller in the pass-rushing aspect of the game.
Player Comparison: Jay Ratliff, Dallas Cowboys
Kendall Wright, Wide Receiver, Baylor
The Houston Texans are definitely going to go after a complementary receiver early in the draft. It would open up their offense a great deal and help out in the passing game. Most importantly, it would take some pressure off of Andre Johnson, who has been their only major threat at wide receiver.
Wright translates extremely well in the slot and can stretch the field with his dynamic route-running ability. Hence, the Walker comparison.
Courtney Upshaw, Defensive End/Linebacker, Alabama
If the New England Patriots were able to land Upshaw here, they would be one excited war room. He is one of the best natural pass-rushers in the draft, and would dramatically improve the Patriots defense.
Player Comparison: Anthony Spencer, Dallas Cowboys
Nick Perry, Defensive End/Linebacker, Southern California
While I am not sold on Perry playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, I am pretty much alone in that belief. This means that some team running that scheme might take him to play that position.
The Green Bay Packers' pass defense bordered on horrendous last season and a lot of that had to do with their inability to get a consistent pass rush. At the very least, Perry would provide that.
Player Comparison: Brooks Reed, Houston Texans
Stephen Hill, Wide Receiver, Georgia Tech
Before you attack me for comparing Hill to Calvin Johnson, just keep in mind that the comparison is only meant to represent what type of receiver Hill represents. In no way am I expecting Hill to have as great of a NFL career as Johnson has had up to this point.
The Georgia Tech prospect has the size, speed and athleticism to be a dominating force on the outside at the next level. He has everything you look for in a true No. 1 receiver. The only issue is that he ran a limited route tree at Tech and might have a considerable learning curve heading into the NFL.
Player Comparison: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
Coby Fleener, Tight End/Wide Receiver, Stanford
I simply can't shake the idea of Fleener teaming up with Vernon Davis at tight end for the San Francisco 49ers. While the Niners do need help at guard, I don't see them reaching for one of the second-tier prospects at that position here.
The Stanford product would open up the team's offense a great deal in the passing game, creating a dynamic that this team has not had since their Super Bowl years.
Player Comparison: Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
Trumaine Johnson, Cornerback/Safety, Montana
Janoris Jenkins would be the pick here if all things were equal. However, consistent off-field issues disable my ability to project the talented but troubled prospect to go in the first round.
This doesn't change the fact that the New England Patriots need help at cornerback. Johnson continues to rise the draft boards and has the look of a first-round, shutdown talent. This might not be a popular pick in the greater New England area, but it might be a huge coup moving forward.
Player Comparison: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Philadelphia Eagles
Dont'a Hightower, Linebacker, Alabama
I fully understand that the New York Giants traded for linebacker Keith Rivers a couple of weeks ago. However, they still need to find upgrades for their linebacker corps. If it weren't for injury issues, Hightower would have been a top-15 pick and probably the first inside linebacker off the board.
He should be a really good player at the next level and fits the Giants system to a T.
Player Comparison: Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh Steelers