Updated 2012 NLF Mock Draft: Could Robert Griffin III Go Number One?
Although the first two picks of the 2012 NFL Draft are no mystery to the football world, the rest of the draft is. Questions still remain on where players like Trent Richardson and Justin Blackmon will be drafted. Many speculate that Richardson will undoubtedly be swiped by the Cleveland Browns with the 4th overall pick but history says otherwise. Cleveland Browns President Mike Holmgren's draft history shows that he is not big on drafting running backs in the early first round. With the draft nearing, here are some possible outcomes for the 2012 NFL Draft.
1.) Indianapolis Colts, QB Andrew Luck (Stanford)
The Indianapolis Colts have already verbally committed to drafting Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in this years draft. Luck has every trait that a team desires out of their quarterback and should make an immediate impact in the NFL.
2.) Washington Redskins, QB Robert Griffin III (Baylor)
Robert Griffin III has exceptional athleticism at the quarterback position. The difference between RG3 and past quarterbacks with Griffin's level of athleticism (JaMarcus Russell and Michael Vick), is his work ethic. It is hard to find a bad quality in this guy. Expect to see him off the board within the first two picks.
3.) Minnesota Vikings, OT Mat Kalil (USC)
Left tackle is considered to be the most important position on the offensive line because it protects the quarterback's blind side. Matt Kalil is unusually athletic for his large frame and is capable of becoming an elite tackle in the NFL right out of the gate
4.) Cleveland Browns, RB Trent Richardson (Alabama)
With the departure of Peyton Hillis, Cleveland looks to be the prospective home for Alabama running back Trent Richardson. Richardson has a variety of attributes that make him a dangerous back. He weighs in at 228 lbs. and has impressive speed and agility for such a big back (similar to Adrian Peterson). Richardson looks primed and ready to become the next big thing in the NFL. The Browns could also go with Oklahoma State receiver, Justin Blackmon here.
5.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, CB Morris Claiborne (LSU)
It can be argued that the Bucs could go with Trent Richardson here, but LeGarrette Blount is only 25 years old and is still a solid back and there is always a chance that he will be off the board by the fifth pick. Ronde Barber is near the end of his career, and the Bucs would be smart to take an elite prospect in Morris Claiborne. Claiborne is a converted wide receiver, and with a combination of size, quickness and speed will transform into an elite defensive back in the NFL.
6.) St. Louis Rams, WR Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State)
Justin Blackmon is without a doubt the best receiver in this year's draft class. At 6' 1", 207 lbs, Blackmon has the ball skills and athleticism to become an elite receiver in the NFL. Sam Bradford is a very competent quarterback but doesn't have any serious weapons around him. Blackmon can be that guy to help revive the St. Louis offense as well as jump-start Bradford's career.
7.) Jacksonville Jaguars, OLB Melvin Ingram (South Carolina)
Melvin Ingram is arguably the best linebacker in the draft. The Jaguars do need a wide receiver, but could address that need later in the draft. One of the Jaguars' obvious weaknesses is defense. Ingram could help the Jags stop the run and in turn, improve their defense as a whole.
8.) Miami Dolphins, QB Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M)
Matt Moore is the current quarterback in Miami, but does not provide the team with a long-term option at the position. Tannehill has the potential to become a great quarterback in the National Football League and eventually bring the Dolphins back to the playoffs. If the Dolphins decide to take their chances with Moore, they could go with Trent Richardson with pick number eight.
9.) Carolina Panthers, CB Stephon Gilmore (South Carolina)
The Carolina Panthers took a big step toward success last year after drafting quarterback Cam Newton with the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. The secondary is a big weakness that should be addressed early in the 2012 draft by the Panthers' front office. Stephen Gilmore is a well-rounded cornerback and could give the Panthers some much-needed help in the secondary. The team could also decide to go with a defensive lineman with the ninth pick.
10.) Buffalo Bills, OT Riley Reiff (Iowa)
After the signing of defensive end Mario Williams, the Bills will more than likely address their issues on the offensive side with their first-round pick in the draft. Riley Reiff has Pro Bowl potential and would be a good addition to the team to help protect their franchise quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick
11.) Kansas City Chiefs, ILB Luke Kuechly (Boston College)
Luke Kuechly is a good pick here because of his good size and ridiculous speed at the linebacking position. Kuechly is the kind of guy offensive players fear due to his unbelievably explosive hit power. The sky's the limit for Kuechly and that's exactly why the Chiefs should take him with pick number 11 in the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Seattle Seahawks could really use a solid pass-rusher on the outside, and Quinton Coples is just that. He has the size, speed, strength and finesse to become a powerful force on the outside for years to come. It is unlikely that Coples falls any farther than pick 12 in this year's draft.
13.) Arizona Cardinals, WR Michael Floyd (Notre Dame)
This would be a big pickup for the Cardinals, because the addition of Floyd would take attention away from the great Larry Fitzgerald, as well as give Kevin Kolb another option. Floyd is big, physical and has great ball skills. This pick could give the Cardinals one of the best wide receiver duos in the league if Floyd is able to unlock his star potential.
14.) Dallas Cowboys, DT Dontari Poe (Memphis)
The Cowboys could use some help in the interior of their d-line and Dontari Poe would give opposing teams fits in the run game. Poe is big-bodied at 6' 4", 350 lbs. but is deceivingly fast and agile for his size. This addition would give the Cowboys a dangerous defensive line.
15.) Philadelphia Eagles, OT Jonathan Martin (Stanford)
When Michael Vick is healthy, the Eagles are as good of a team as any in the NFL, and in order to keep him healthy the Eagles will need to strengthen their offensive line. Martin played a big role in protecting Andrew Luck at Stanford and can provide the same kind of protection for Vick.
16.) New York Jets, S Mark Barron (Alabama)
Safety is an obvious weakness for the Jets. Barron displayed the ability to drop back into coverage but he also has the recognition and tackling ability to stop the run. With Revis and Cromartie at the corners and the addition of Barron to provide help over the top, the Jets would cause problems for any opposing team's pass game.
17.) Cincinnati Bengals, G David DeCastro (Stanford)
If DeCastro were to be available at pick 17, the Bengals would more than likely take him. Rated the number-one guard in the 2012 NFL Draft class by ESPN's Mel Kiper, DeCastro would immediately give assistance in the run game as well as provide second-year quarterback Andy Dalton with some added protection.
18.) San Diego Chargers, DT Fletcher Cox (Mississippi State)
Fletcher Cox is another big-bodied nose tackle at 6' 4", 300 lbs. He has ridiculous athleticism and speed for his size; blocking five kicks during his stay at Mississippi State. Cox could help in the run game but also compile his fair share of sacks in the pass game.
19.) Chicago Bears, DE Chandler Jones (Syracuse)
Julius Peppers is one of the best if not the best defensive end in the National Football League. Drafting Chandler Jones at 19 would take some attention off of Peppers and transform the Bears D-line into one of the most feared in all of football. Jones is versatile and can rush the passer as well as stop the run. If he can stay healthy, Chandler Jones could become a Pro Bowl caliber player.
20.) Tennessee Titans, CB Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama)
With the departure of Cortland Finnegan, Dre Kirkpatrick would be an appropriate replacement for the Pro Bowl corner. Kirkpatrick is big at 6' 2", and has above-average cover skills. What makes him such a valuable player is his ability to stop the run from the outside. The Titans will quickly forget about Finnegan if they take Dre Kirkpatrick at pick-20 in the 2012 NFL Draft.
21.) Cincinnati Bengals, WR Kendall Wright (Baylor)
The Cincinnati Bengals couldn't be any happier with last year's draft. A.J. Green really lived up to the hype after a 1,000+ yard season and an appearance in the Pro Bowl. Jerome Simpson also showed the ability to make plays down the field,but the missing piece in Cincinnati is a solid slot receiver. Wright's play underneath will open up receivers like Green and Simpson downfield. The Bengals could use a running back but with the signing of Benjarvus Green-Ellis, the Bengals can afford to wait until later rounds to address that need.
22.) Cleveland Browns, OT Cordy Glenn (Georgia)
If the Browns could add Justin Blackmon with the fifth overall pick, then the next step would be to strengthen the line. Cordy Glenn is another solid offensive lineman to come out of the University of Georgia. The combination of Blackmon and Glenn joining the squad could be just what the doctor ordered for the young Colt McCoy.
23.) Detroit Lions, OLB Courtney Upshaw (Alabama)
The Detroit Lions defense was the laughing stock of the league just two years ago. Since then, there have been drastic improvements throughout. Ndamukong Suh has already proven that he is a top defensive tackle in the National Football League, but last season Suh saw a decrease in sacks due to offenses double and even sometimes triple-teaming him. Adding another skilled pass-rusher like Courtney Upshaw would open the door for Suh.
The Pittsburgh Steelers defense is aging, as many already know, and in order to maintain their dominant status, the Steelers are going to need to begin to bring in some young talent. Dont'a Hightower is another talented Alabama player who could immediately make an impact in the NFL. Hightower is the complete package of size and speed which would suit the Steeler defense well.
25.) Denver Broncos, DT Michael Brockers (LSU)
The Broncos defense was illustrious last year and did a great job of getting to the quarterback. Rookie Von Miller amounted 11.5 sacks and proved that he is everything that the Denver Broncos expected him to be when they drafted him with the second overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. The only true weakness that the Broncos have on defense is in the interior of the defensive line. Adding Brockers could put the Broncos D at the pinnacle of the league in 2012 and years to come.
26.) Houston Texans, WR Stephen Hill (Georgia Tech)
With Andre Johnson's recent injury issues, the Houston Texans could use another capable wideout for Matt Schaub's sake. Similar to former Georgia Tech phenom Calvin Johnson, Stephen Hill has a rare mixture of size and speed, standing 6' 4" and having a 40-yard-dash time in the 4.3 to 4.4 range. With Gilmore added to the roster, an Andre Johnson injury won't mean the end of the world for the Houston Texans.
27.) New England Patriots, DE Nick Perry (USC)
It is amazing that the New England Patriots were able to advance all the way to the Super Bowl last year with one of the worst defenses in the the National Football League. One area of extreme weakness was the defensive end position. Nick Perry could be a good fit to help cause disruption in the backfield and rush the passer in 2012. Perry may not be considered an elite end yet but his work ethic and natural ability could lead him to be just that.
28.) Green Bay Packers, DE Andre Branch (Clemson)
Clay Matthews compiled 23.5 sacks in his first two seasons in the NFL after being drafted 26th overall out of USC in 2009. But last year, Matthews only managed 6.0 sacks, not because his speed and strength took a decline but because he saw more double-teams from the opposing teams. Adding another pass-rusher like Andre Branch will immediately add another dimension to the Packers' defense. If the Pack are able to add Branch, look for Clay Matthews to record 10+ sacks in 2012.
29.) Baltimore Ravens, C Peter Konz (Wisconsin)
Ray Rice is the X-factor for the Baltimore Ravens. In order for Rice to succeed, he needs a young, adept offensive line. With the aging Matt Birk at center, the Ravens should have no problems or restrictions when it comes to drafting center Peter Konz.
30.) San Francisco 49ers, DT Jerel Worthy (MSU)
Jerel Worthy is a two-time All-American and could help the 49ers improve their run defense. With the acquisitions of wide receivers Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, offense is not necessarily a dire need in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft. Worthy may not make an immediate impact, but given the time could turn into an elite run-stopper.
31.) New England Patriots, DT Kendall Reyes (Connecticut)
Once again, defense should be the priority for the Patriots with their second first-round pick. Vince Wilfork is the Pats' only prominent defensive lineman and has fallen victim to double-teams from opposing offensive lines the past two seasons. Reyes is big at 6' 4", 300 pounds and would do well lined up next to Wilfork.
32.) New York Giants, OT Mike Adams (Ohio State)
The New York Giants could go with a tight end here but during the second half of last season, Jake Ballard proved to be perfectly capable of handling the job. Eli Manning would truly appreciate taking Mike Adams at pick number 32. Adams is huge at 6' 8", 323 pounds and has quick feet for his size. He has all the tools and ingredients to become an elite left tackle in the National Football League.
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