2012 NFL Mock Draft: Justin Blackmon and Stars Who Will Struggle with Transition

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 26: Wide receiver Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State gets ready during the 2012 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 26, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Not every NFL prospect will enter the league with smooth sailing.

Transitioning from college to the pros is no easy task, and some of the best athletes to ever play at the college level never amounted to much in the NFL. 

It's a harsh reality, but the fact of the matter is, the 2012 NFL draft (like every year) will feature several first-round busts. 

Much will be expected of these rookies, but some will have a hard time adjusting to the new game.

That being said, here's my 2012 NFL mock draft with info on each pick and a more in-depth look at those players who will struggle with the transition to the NFL. 


2012 NFL Mock Draft 

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

The best prospect in the draft, Luck is ready to shine in the NFL and help put the Colts back on top. 

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

Griffin knows how to win and thrive in high-pressure situations, which makes him a dangerous threat at the next level.  

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

It's a mystery as to what the Vikings will do, but getting someone to secure Christian Ponder's blind side for many years to come would be a wise decision. 


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

Richardson may not be available if some team trades up with Minnesota, but if he is, it's a no-brainer for the Browns to pick him. They need a stronger backfield, and Richardson will make an impact right away. 


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

Claiborne is the real deal, with great coverage skills and the ability to make an impact in the return game—something the Bucs will love.  


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

With recent news that the Rams are looking to trade Steven Jackson, I firmly believe that they will trade up to draft Richardson. 

If they're unable to deal Jackson and stay at No. 6, upgrading the aging defensive front with a beast like Brockers is the safest bet the Rams can make. 


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

This is a gamble pick, but the Jaguars are very desperate for playmakers, so they'll take the risk and hope for the best. 

Unfortunately, Blackmon is going to struggle transitioning into the NFL. He dominated at the college level, but the type of talent he faced was incredibly lower than what he'll see in the NFL. 

His separation skills aren't the best and he doesn't have elite speed, which will hurt his chances of living up to such high expectations. 


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

Ryan Tannehill is the popular pick, but you won't find him in my first-round mock draft. With Brandon Marshall gone, the Dolphins need someone to fill the void, and a big threat with exceptional hands and leaping ability like Jeffery is the right call. 

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

The Panthers have to get after the opposing QB much more in 2012, so drafting this Carolina kid will significantly help in that area as well as put more butts in the seats. 

10. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame 

The Bills might think about defense here, but instead of trying to stop their opponents, they'll add Floyd and hope to be able to just outscore them all. 

11. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9): David DeCastro, G, Stanford 

DeCastro is the best interior guard in the draft, and he fills a big need for the Chiefs. 

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

Perry is very explosive off the edge, which is exactly what the Seahawks are in dire need of right now. 

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

If Floyd is still on the board, look for Arizona to draft him. Since the top WRs are gone, the Cardinals would be wise to upgrade the pass rush with Ingram. 


14. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Mark Barron, S, Alabama

The secondary in Dallas needs help, and Barron has the skills to step in and make an immediate impact. 

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

Kuechly plays all over the field, which is why he is the perfect fit for the Eagles. He'll give them superb depth as they continue to fight for a Super Bowl. 


16. New York Jets (8-8): Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama  

New York is in need of a boost at the outside linebacker position, and Upshaw is the best available here at No. 16. 

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

Miller's blazing speed makes him a major threat at the next level, and he'll be a great complement to BenJarvus Green-Ellis. 

18. San Diego Chargers (8-8): Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa 

Reiff is the best available prospect here, and even though he's at a position that isn't the Chargers' biggest need, adding strong depth to the offensive line is never a bad idea. 

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

Jay Cutler needs all the protection he can get, so bringing in a stud like Martin would be a fantastic pick. 


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

The best pass-rushers are off the board, so the Titans will wisely use this pick to fix another need. Gilmore is the best available here at No. 20, plus he fills a need for Tennessee. 

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

Jenkins has some big character concerns, and because of that, some folks don't believe he'll be a first-round pick. 

I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't happen, but my feelings are that the Bengals will ignore the issues and focus on his talents in the secondary and in the return game, which are quite remarkable.

Jenkins has a ton of skill, and the Bengals will look to get a steal and try to mold him into a better person. 

One thing the Bengals, or whoever ends up drafting Jenkins, need to be cautious about is the fact Jenkins will have so much more freedom in the NFL. 

There is no school forcing him to learn and go to class, meaning he can go as he pleases and do what he wants, which could lead to him getting into more trouble. 


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

Wright is a true home-run threat who will be a warm welcome in Cleveland as he helps Colt McCoy get better. 


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

Cornerback is a strong option here, especially with Kirkpatrick still up for grabs. However, Glenn's versatility on the offensive line makes him the better pick. 


24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Pittsburgh needs to get younger on defense, and the Steelers also can't afford to get burned by a guy like Tim Tebow, so drafting Kirkpatrick makes perfect sense. 

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

Denver's biggest need is at the defensive tackle position, and Poe is the best one on the board here at No. 25. 


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

Hill has a amazing speed, which is why the Texans will take the gamble on him. He also has great hands and is a good blocker on the outside. 

However, Hill's route-running needs a great deal of work, and Houston will hope he can learn a great deal from Andre Johnson. 

Unfortunately, in his rookie campaign, Hill will serve mostly as a decoy to try and distract opposing defenses from Johnson. 

In time, I think Hill can turn into a stud, but transitioning to the NFL from an option offense where he either blocked or ran deep routes will be a daunting challenge for HIll. 

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

The Patriots need to focus on defense, but with Konz falling their way, they won't pass up on the chance to stockpile talent on the offensive line to ensure Tom Brady is safe at all times. 


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

Green Bay needs someone to play opposite Clay Matthews and thrive, and Mercilus is just the guy for the job. 

He'll need time to adjust to the NFL, considering he had just one year to shine at the college level. However, working with Matthews and that defense will help Mercilus thrive. 


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

Hightower is the best available player here, and the Ravens would be better off drafting him as opposed to reaching on an offensive lineman. 

30. San Francisco 49ers (13-3): Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State 

This pick is strictly for depth, as the 49ers have filled their biggest needs via free agency. Adding Cox to the trenches will make this 49ers team even scarier. 


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

The Patriots are likely to trade this pick away, but should they keep it, boosting the defensive front with Branch would be a terrific move. 


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

Now that Brandon Jacobs is gone, Ahmad Bradshaw will try to run the show in New York. The Giants would be wise to ensure he has good help, so drafting Polk to finish out the first round would be the right call. 



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