Todd McShay 2012 NFL Mock Draft: Last-Minute Look at Where the Expert Screwed Up
Every year, NFL analysts provide their best interpretations of how the first round of the draft will break down. It has become one of the many traditions in sports that fans love to see, hear, read, and most of all, criticize.
Todd McShay of ESPN releases one of the more popular NFL mock drafts every year—this is his fifth edition—and over that time he has had some stellar selections, and some that he will likely want to forget.
This year will be no different. There will be picks that he saw coming despite everybody's skepticism, while there will be others that he misses on completely.
With the unpredictability of the NFL draft—or any draft for that matter—trying to pinpoint who will be taken with each selection is no simple feat.
McShay often does a solid job, but what fun would there be in the draft process if we didn't get a chance to look at where he might be off the mark?
With the draft set to begin tomorrow night, here are five selections that McShay may like to have back once the opening round comes to an end.
Arizona Cardinals (13th Overall): Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
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This is one prediction that has divided opinion amongst those breaking down McShay's take on the 2012 edition of the draft.
Those in favor of the pick will note that Floyd could be an excellent second option behind all-world receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Indeed, the two men could create an intimidating tandem for opposing defenses if the Cardinals decide to go down that route.
For a team that hasn’t had a legitimate second option at the position since the departure of Anquan Boldin to Baltimore, Floyd is certainly an intriguing prospect. The Cardinals have relied on the services of Early Doucet and Andre Roberts to fill Boldin's role, but the two have been unable to replicate his success so far.
The 6’3”, 224-pound youngster would be an immediate upgrade on both Doucet and Roberts.
If you ask Larry Fitzgerald, the decision is a simple one. According to the Arizona Republic, Peter King of Sports Illustrated spoke with the six-time Pro Bowl receiver and was told that the 28-year-old star wants his team to draft Floyd.
But the other side of the discussion brings into account the needs on Arizona’s roster. With Fitzgerald in place, the wide receiver position is simply not a glaring hole in the Grand Canyon State.
Help on the offensive line is, however.
The Cardinals gave up 54 sacks last season, the second worst total in the NFL—behind only the St. Louis Rams and their 55 sacks. If the Cardinals hope to keep Kevin Kolb off his back in 2012-13, they would be wise to select an offensive lineman and take a pass on the wide receiver out of Notre Dame.
Dallas Cowboys (14th Overall): Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
A 6'5" nose tackle, Dontari Poe is a physical specimen, to say the least. His draft stock went through the roof after he clocked a 4.98-second 40-yard dash. More impressively, he put up 44 reps on the 225-pound bench press, a total that places him amongst the upper echelon in recent combine history.
But based only on his production and game tape from his days in college, the Memphis Tiger was projected to go off the board late in the first round. For that reason, this pick is slightly concerning, given that an impressive workout at the combine is far from a surefire sign of a dominant player.
Throw in the fact that the Cowboys are in desperate need of some help in the secondary, and it seems like McShay could be left regretting this pick when he looks back on the 2012 draft.
It’s not that the former Memphis Tiger will be a bad NFL player. Instead, it simply comes down to the Cowboys searching for help in the wake of Terrence Newman's departure to the Cincinnati Bengals. That makes Alabama teammates Mark Barron and Dre Kirkpatrick more logical choices, as each would fill a glaring need on America’s Team.
The former has already been named as a possible selection for the Cowboys, while the latter can play both cornerback and safety, giving him added value to a Dallas team that needs help in those positions.
All signs point towards the Cowboys going against the thoughts of McShay, and passing up on the physically gifted lineman.
New York Jets (16th Overall): Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
The selection of Chandler Jones here is an odd one because of the talent McShay says will still be on the board when Rex Ryan and the Jets are on the clock.
According to the ESPN analyst, Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw will still be available at this point in the draft, and all signs point towards him being the pick over Jones.
While the Syracuse defensive end does bring the valued asset of versatility to the roster, Upshaw brings with him a familiarity playing the 3-4 defense, as well as an ability to contribute immediately to Rex Ryan’s team, thanks to his physical attributes.
In addition, the Alabama pass-rusher—who was named the 2012 BCS National Championship Game Defensive MVP—recorded 8.5 sacks last season. By comparison, Jones could only muster 10 sacks during his collegiate career.
If all things are equal, Upshaw looks like the better fit as a member of Gang Green.
Cleveland Browns (22nd Overall): Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
This pick doesn’t make sense for the Browns on a couple of different levels.
For starters, Jonathan Martin’s stock has dropped heading into the draft on Thursday night. The Stanford junior was projected to be in the top 10 immediately following the recent collegiate season, as his work protecting Andrew Luck’s blindside was well recognized.
But his inability to perform drills at the combine in Indianapolis—due to food poisoning—along with his poor showing at his pro day have seen the 22-year-old slide down the first-round board in recent weeks.
Despite Cleveland’s need to add a right tackle—which is where Martin will likely play when he reaches the NFL—they have a more significant issue at the receiver position. The Browns need a skill player to help out an offense that put up less than 300 yards and just under 14 points per game last season.
Colt McCoy is likely set to get a potential star running back in Trent Richardson when Cleveland makes the fourth overall selection in the draft. Look for the Browns to complete the package by adding a promising receiver as opposed to the big offensive tackle with this pick.
San Francisco 49ers (30th Overall): Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut
The San Francisco 49ers can take the 30th overall pick in a few different directions come Thursday night. Unfortunately for McShay, 299-pound defensive lineman Kendall Reyes doesn’t seem like he is one of them.
The greatest strength of the team that came so close to a Super Bowl appearance last season was its defense, and that doesn’t look likely to change heading into the new campaign.
Last season, the 49ers’ defensive line was the foundation of the fourth-best defense in the NFL. The team allowed the fewest rushing yards per game at 77.3, which helped them hold opponents to a measly 14.3 points per game.
Reyes may not hurt those numbers, but it would be unwise for San Francisco to waste a first-round pick on a position in which they are so strong, for a player who will not make them significantly better in that area.
Look for the club to focus on the offensive side of the ball with this selection and try to provide more weapons in the receiving core for quarterback Alex Smith.
Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
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