2012 NFL Mock Draft: There Will Be...Trades
Anyone who puts together a mock draft that doesn't have a little chaos in it doesn't know the NFL draft. Unless you're Mickey Loomis, no one ever could have seen (or heard) Tyson Alualu being chosen in the top 10.
Well, here's my attempt at the crap-shoot that is mock drafts. Smokescreen here, smokescreen there. I am starting to wonder if football wasn't concocted by Native Americans and Pilgrims long ago. Think about it. There are always games on Thanksgiving, and Pocahontas could have been the head cheerleader who fell in love with the opposing squad's quarterback, John Smith.
Okay, enough of the history lesson, let's get down to this latest attempt at Mock Draft royalty, shall we?
Note: These picks are based on team needs and information that I have heard over the past couple of months.
1st Pick: Colts—Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
This pick is too simple. It already has been been announced that Luck will be the guy to lead the Colts with another decade or so of elite play at the quarterback position. The best QB prospect since John Elway gets to prove that he is going to be just as good as the guy that Elway just got in free agency.
2nd Pick: Redskins (from STL)—Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
This pick is the last of my "chalk" picks. The real fun begins after the Redskins pick the Baylor quarterback. Griffin will immediately become the face of a franchise that has fallen on more tough than easy times since their Super Bowl glory days.
Washington has some nice young pieces on offense (Roy Helu, Fred Davis), meaning Griffin's impact could be felt immediately, not unlike Cam Newton last year.
TRADE: 3rd Pick: Jets (from MIN)—Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
"Jets trade their first-, second- and fourth-round picks this year and next year's first-round pick for the Vikings' No. 3 overall selection."
This is the first big shocker. The Vikings are a team that has plenty of holes for a team that made the NFC championship game a couple of years ago. They don't stay in the top 10 of the draft like they would prefer, but getting an extra second- and fourth-rounder this year and a first next year would be brilliant.
The Jets are infatuated with Richardson, and they are not afraid to trade up into the top 5 to get their guy. With the addition of Tim Tebow and Santonio Holmes as the only option out wide, look for the Jets to go to a more run-oriented, ball-control offense that a defensive coach like Rex Ryan would prefer.
This is an older team that is in win-now mode, especially with their roommates, the Giants, winning two Super Bowls in five years. Richardson, Tebow and Shonn Greene should form a very formidable rushing attack.
4th Pick: Browns—Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
With the Jets getting Richardson in front of them, the Browns will scramble to come out of the top 5 with a playmaker on offense. Blackmon is the best still on the board.
Don't be fooled by the Tannehill smokescreens, Cleveland will go after a quarterback later in this draft, but will still try to put weapons around Colt McCoy to see if he can grow.
5th Pick: Buccaneers—Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
I went back and forth on putting Matt Kalil here, but in a division filled with elite receivers and quarterbacks, Claiborne is the choice. Ronde Barber has one foot in the retirement door, and who knows what's going on in Aqib Talib's head.
Claiborne is a better pure cover corner than former teammate Patrick Peterson and the right choice for a horrific defense.
TRADE: 6th Pick: Bills—Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Note: Bills trade their first-, second- and fifth-round picks to St. Louis for the sixth overall pick.
I can see all of Upstate New York jumping for joy when the Bills trade up to get the franchise tackle in this draft. And, no, Chris Hairston is not the answer at LT.
I know they are interested in Michael Floyd, but the wide receiver position is very deep this year. Buffalo's offense just got a lot tougher with Kalil's addition.
TRADE: 7th Pick: Eagles—Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Note: Eagles trade their first, second- (51st) and fourth-round picks for Jacksonville's first-rounder.
I'm not the biggest of Tannehill fans, but I have a feeling Andy Reid is going to find a way to prolong his stay in Philly. What's the best way to do that? Draft a first-round quarterback.
Tannehill would be in a perfect situation in Philly, being able to sit behind the "Vick Experience." Vick's durability issues are going to be the death of him in the City of Brotherly Love. Reid doesn't have the luxury of being patient with a 30-something, injury-prone quarterback. But he could have a longer leash with Tannehill.
8th Pick: Dolphins—Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
It wouldn't be a mock draft if Dolphins owner Stephen Ross didn't get what he wants. What he wants is Tannehill, what he will settle for is one of the best pass-rushers in this draft. So I guess it's a lose-win situation?
9th Pick: Panthers—Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
The Panthers are in desperate need of help on their defensive front four, with Charles Johnson their only quality defensive lineman. That being said, they have to get guys who can actually take blockers off Johnson while still rushing the passer. Cox is a very versatile lineman who could play defensive end if needed.
10th Pick: Rams—Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
I had the Rams trading down with the Bills mainly because Blackmon was off the board and could use more picks. So St. Louis drops down to No. 10 and still ends up with, some may say, the top receiver in this draft. The Sam Bradford-to-Floyd combo could be the start of a great relationship.
11th Pick: Chiefs—David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
I was torn between DeCastro and Luke Kuechly at this spot, but I think there are enough "sleepers" at inside linebacker to justify picking the best offensive guard to come around in quite some time. Adding him to an offense that landed Eric Winston and Peyton Hillis in the offseason has the makings of a grind-it-out type of attack.
12th Pick: Seahawks—Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
Coples is one of the many enigmas in this draft. Will he play up to his potential or fade to the black when he gets that first paycheck? Someone is going to take that chance, and I would say taking it at No. 12 is much better than at No. 7.
The Seahawks will be willing to take that chance because they are in desperate need for pass-rushing help opposite Chris Clemons.
13th Pick: Cardinals—Cordy Glenn, OG/OT, Georgia
The Cardinals offensive line is just that, offensive. It needs an infusion of youth and talent. Cordy Glenn could fill that role, and he would bring versatility to the offensive line. He also played right tackle in college.
14th Pick: Cowboys—Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
The Cowboys will happily take the second-rated cornerback on most boards at No. 14. Dallas' secondary was horrendous. Overpaid, underplayed is their motto. Gilmore will help at least one side of the field be a no-fly zone.
15th Pick: Jaguars—Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama
Jacksonville might have made the sensible choice in trading down with Philly, but usually that's not the case. Usually, Gene Smith takes who he wants regardless of value or where experts think a prospect can play. This pick falls into the latter category.
Upshaw is mostly seen as a 3-4 rush outside linebacker, but I could see Jacksonville using him with his hand in the dirt in a base 4-3.
16th Pick: Vikings—Riley Rieff, OT, Iowa
The Vikings trade down, recoup picks and still end up with second-rated tackle prospect, according to most draft sites. Rieff can start from Day 1.
17th Pick: Bengals—Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama,
With the first of two first-rounders, I have the Bengals getting immediate help across from Leon Hall. Kirkpatrick is a very physical corner who also will help out in the run.
18th Pick: Chargers—Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
Poe drops a little lower than expected, or did he? He looks to me like a workout wonder who doesn't show up much on tape. The Chargers need help with a mediocre defense, and it all starts upfront.
19th Pick: Bears—Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
20th Pick: Titans—Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Brockers would have been better served going back to LSU, and having another year under defensive coordinator John Chavis. But the Titans are in luck to have Brockers slide to them here. On potential alone, Brockers is a top-5 pick.
21st Pick: Bengals—Mark Barron, S, Alabama
Looks like Barron will be joining fellow 'Bama product Kirkpatrick in Bengals stripes next year. Cincy could go wide receiver here. But with that position being so deep, they couldn't afford to pass up the best safety in the draft. Taylor Mays is not the answer at any position.
TRADE: 22nd Pick: Dolphins—Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State
Note: Dolphins trade their second-, third- and sixth-rounders for the Browns' 22nd overall selection.
Make no mistake, Stephen Ross will come out of this draft with a first-round quarterback. Now, whether that be Tannehill or the ageless wonder Weeden remains to be seen. They are high on both. Weeden would be the mature leader the Dolphins have been looking for since you know who.
23rd Pick: Lions—Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
The Lions need help on the offensive line, especially the left tackle position, with Jeff Backus declining ever so slightly. Martin fills that need and can learn under Backus until he's ready to start.
24th Pick: Pittsburgh—Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
I think the smokescreens involving Kuechly sneaking into the top 10 is ridiculous. Yes, Kuechly is a heck of a player, but no inside linebacker should be picked in the tp 10 unless they are the second coming of Brian Urlacher or Ray Lewis. He is neither.
You can chalk this up as a no-brainer pick given the Steelers' age at one of the inside linebacker positions.
TRADE: 25th Pick: Packers—Nick Perry, OLB, USC
Note: Packers trade their first-round selection and their third for Denver's first-rounder.
With Nick Perry still on the board, the Packers move up to secure the former Trojan so he can take pressure away from another former Trojan, Clay Matthews.
26th Pick: Texans—Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
The Texans need to take some coverage away from Andre Johnson. Hill could be that burner on the other side who teams must cover.
27th Pick: Patriots—Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State
I debated on trading this pick because the Patriots always trade a first-round pick. But I decided McClellin could be just the pass-rusher they need off the edge. He could help out a team that was ranked near the bottom in a lot of defensive categories.
28th Pick: Broncos—Devon Still, DT, Penn State
The Broncos trade down, pick up an extra third-round pick and still get one of the players they originally targeted at the 25th pick. Still would instantly upgrade the position while helping offset the loss of Brodrick Bunkley to the Saints.
29th Pick: Ravens—Don'ta Hightower, ILB, Alabama
The Ravens jump all over their eventual successor to Ray Lewis, and what a get for this late in the first round. Hightower will play alongside Lewis until he retires. Then it will be Hightower's defense.
30th Pick: 49ers—Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
Fleener will not get past his old coach, Jim Harbaugh, at the 30th pick. Not that the 49ers need a tight end, but this team has very few holes. The holes that they do have come at some of the deepest positions in the draft (receiver, cornerback) that could be take care of later.
TRADE: 31st Pick: Browns—Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
Note: Browns trade their second-round pick (36) and a fourth-rounder to the Patriots for their 31st overall pick.
The Browns traded down from 22 and got more picks. But with Martin sitting at 31, they just had to trade up and secure him. Missing out on Richardson in the first stung a little, but getting this year's Ray Rice-type back could pay just as big a dividend.
32nd Pick: Giants—Mitchell Schwartz, OT, Cal
Mitchell Schwartz will be a surprise to some here. But those who saw him dominate at the Senior Bowl will disagree. He might well end up being the second-best tackle in this draft, behind only Kalil.