2012 NFL Mock Draft: Incredible Choices for Every NFL Franchise
Every NFL team dreams of hitting on all of its draft picks. Obviously that is not a realistic scenario, but the reason we go through the whole process of reading, writing and evaluating talent is to show what teams could be getting on draft night.
This year's class has its share of high-upside players who could become outstanding NFL stars.
What we wanted to do was provide you with an ideal look at the first round of the draft with quick takes on all the best choices for the 32 picks that will happen on Thursday night.
1. Indianapolis Colts (2-14): Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
If you want incredible, look no further than the best quarterback prospect the NFL has seen since John Elway. The Colts know that Luck is the right player to lead them back to the promised land, which is why they will make him the top overall pick on Thursday night.
2. Washington Redskins (5-11): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Griffin might be the most athletic quarterback to come out of college since Michael Vick in 2001. He has a lot of pressure on his shoulders, but is more than capable of handling thanks to a good mindset.
3. Minnesota Vikings (3-13): Matt Kalil, OT, USC
If you want to help your second-year quarterback take the next step in his development, the easiest way to do it is plug in a potential All-Pro left tackle who can play right away.
4. Cleveland Browns (4-12): Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
With so many skill positions to fill, the Browns will go with the best player on the board and take Richardson to be the focal point of the offense for the next decade.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12): Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
When the Buccaneers were at the top of the NFC in the early 2000s, they had a great defense, particularly in the secondary that always played in your face and made you feel uncomfortable.
Claiborne may not be able to change the fortunes of an entire unit on his own, but he is as safe a bet as anyone to save the Buccaneers' lackluster defense.
6. St. Louis Rams (2-14): Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
In a perfect world, Brockers would be the man for the Rams. He may not fill the need at wide receiver, but he is a better fit for them than Blackmon, whose ceiling is too limited to take him at this spot.
Who Will Be The Best Value Pick In The 2012 NFL Draft?
7. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
The Jaguars, on the other hand, have absolutely no problem reaching for a player early in the draft. Blackmon is going to be Blaine Gabbert's new best friend thanks to his size, speed and sure hands.
8. Miami Dolphins (6-10): Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
It doesn't matter where the Dolphins pick. Tannehill is going to be their choice. He has the kind of upside teams crave when picking this high and fills the biggest need the franchise has going into the 2012 season.
9. Carolina Panthers (6-10): Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
The Panthers are going to look to the defensive line with this pick. Coples' combination of present ability and upside gives him a slight edge over Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe, who never looked as good on the field as he did in shorts and a T-shirt.
10. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Another reach, Floyd could end up being the best receiver taken in this draft. He has size and is as sure-handed as any pass-catcher coming out this year. He uses his body to create problems for smaller cornerbacks, allowing him to make plays in the red zone.
11. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9): David DeCastro, G, Stanford
DeCastro's versatility up front makes it like you are taking four players in one convenient package.
12. Seattle Seahawks (7-9): Nick Perry, DE, USC
Perry's raw potential as a pass-rusher is astounding, and Pete Carroll loves to go after USC products whenever he can.
13. Arizona Cardinals (8-8): Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
While offensive line is a bigger need, the value just isn't there at this spot. Instead, the Cardinals will have to settle for the best and most dominant pass-rusher in this class.
Ingram has to work on his all-around game, but there is no denying what he can do in the backfield when he breaks through the line.
14. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Mark Barron, S, Alabama
With Barron likely going to Dallas, the Cowboys can finally get that edge back to their secondary they desperately need.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8): Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
A rebuilt linebacking corps has made it apparent the Eagles are selecting a defensive tackle. Poe showed what he is capable of becoming at the NFL Scouting Combine with a brilliant workout that had everyone talking. He just has to find a way to make that ability translate in games.
16. New York Jets (8-8): Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
The Jets just look lost right now, which makes the addition of Kuechly critical to this defense. Not only is he an incredible tackler and playmaker in the middle of the field, but he has a great mental makeup and leadership skills to command a huddle right away.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (8-8, via OAK): Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
Despite signing BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the Bengals are going to poach one of the two first-round backs left (Miller or David Wilson). Despite some inconsistent play at Miami, Miller has the best all-around game of the two and will be the choice.
18. San Diego Chargers (8-8): Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Philip Rivers got abused last year like never before in his career. Reiff has some red flags physically, but he is as mentally sound as any offensive tackle available in this draft.
19. Chicago Bears (8-8): Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Martin has been sliding some due to concerns about his blocking technique. His size and athleticism will play in the NFL and the Bears will be more than happy to see him at No. 19.
20. Tennessee Titans (9-7): Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
Gilmore is the second-best cover cornerback in this draft. He has underrated speed to go with prototypical size for the position. The Titans need to repair their secondary to compete for a playoff spot in the AFC.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7): Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Getting Jenkins will fix the two biggest problems with the Bengals secondary: age and potential. The team patched together its unit with older players who are well past their prime. Jenkins isn't the most stable person to bank on, but if you hit with him, the sky is the limit.
22. Cleveland Browns (10-6, via ATL): Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
At some point the Browns have to get someone on the outside who can make plays. Wright has great hands and arguably the best route-running of any receiver in this draft.
23. Detroit Lions (10-6): Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia
As a versatile guard, Glenn would add youth and athleticism to an old, immobile Lions offensive line.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
The Steelers need help on the offensive line, but the value isn't there with this pick. Instead, they will get the No. 3 cornerback available.
Kirkpatrick doesn't have the ceiling of Claiborne or Gilmore because he doesn't fully understand man-to-man, using instincts rather than great coverage skills. If he can even adapt his game slightly, he will be a steal at this spot.
25. Denver Broncos (8-8): Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
Cox could end up being the best defensive tackle in this draft. He has the size and athleticism of a defensive end with the strength and run-stopping ability to play in the middle of the field.
26. Houston Texans (10-6): Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Hill gives the Texans the perfect complement to Andre Johnson. He doesn't have to go over the middle, with No. 80 commanding double teams on the opposite side of the field.
If Hill does end up being the pick, the Texans are going to have one of the best and most diverse offenses in the NFL.
27. New England Patriots (13-3, via NOLA): Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
An off-the-wall choice, Konz gives the Patriots some flexibility up front especially since they have an aging offensive line that needs to get more athletic.
28. Green Bay Packers (15-1): Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois
The Packers need to find another pass-rusher off the edge to take pressure off Clay Matthews in the middle of the field.
Mercilus is still raw, but his speed and versatility will play perfectly in Green Bay's 3-4 defensive scheme.
29. Baltimore Ravens (12-4): Shea McClellin, LB, Boise State
The Ravens have a knack for finding fast, underrated linebackers to plug into their system who can produce right away.
30. San Francisco 49ers (13-3): Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut
As great as Justin Smith was for the 49ers last year, he is getting older, and the Niners' defensive line could use more depth. Reyes brings the versatility to play defensive end and an incredible feel for the game.
31. New England Patriots (13-3): Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
Don't sell Branch down the river. He is a fast, powerful and versatile edge-rusher who can give the Patriots what they had in Andre Carter last season.
32. New York Giants (9-7): Chris Polk, RB, Washington
With the Giants releasing Brandon Jacobs, they have to find a running back somewhere for their two-back system. Polk is an underrated player with great hands and the vision to see the whole field.
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