2012 NFL Mock Draft: Predicting Top Offensive Rookie of the Year Candidates

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 02:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal prepares to snap the football during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl against the Oklahoma State Cowboys on January 2, 2012 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

On Thursday night, we'll find out where the top prospects in the league will go in the 2012 NFL draft.

This will give us a great indication as to which stars have the best shot at winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. 

Just because an athlete dominated in college, it doesn't mean he's a lock to shine bright at the next level. 

A lot of times, a player's shot at winning the ROY all depends on which team selects him on draft day. Sure, a guy may be talented, but if he doesn't have good help around him, his shot at winning the award will be doomed. 

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 contend for the Offensive ROY Award. 


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

Of course the best prospect in the draft is going to be the top contender for offensive ROY. 

Luck is the real deal, and luckily for him, he has good talent to work with in Indianapolis. Look for Luck and Reggie Wayne to connect early and often, resulting in big stats for the rookie QB.

Wit his great football mind and rocket arm, Luck is destined big thing in the NFL.  


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

The Heisman Trophy winner can get the job done with his arm and his legs, which makes him a lock to be a big threat in the quest for the Offensive ROY Award. 

Griffin is an electrifying athlete that will put on a show week in and week out.

With Santana Moss, Fred Davis and the newly acquired Pierre Garcon, the Redskins will have plenty of talent for Griffin to work with. 


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

Kalil is a stud offensive lineman that will be the cornerstone of a great line for many years, which is exactly why Minnesota needs to pick him. However, the Vikings could end up trading back. 


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

Richardson sees the field like nobody else. He's able to make quick cuts, stopping on a dime if need be, and also running through defenders. 

The Browns have a major need for a future elite running back like Richardson, so they better not screw things up and miss the chance to draft him. 

Cleveland will have a sure-fire offensive ROY candidate in Richardson, and the Browns will make sure he gets a ton of carries to build up his stats. 


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

The top defender in the draft, Claiborne will be an instant upgrade to the Bucs secondary. 


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

Brockers is a safer bet here than taking a gamble on a wide receiver. He's a massive man, standing 6'5" and weighing 322 pounds. He'll provide some much-needed youth to the Rams, as well as anchor the defensive line for many years to come. 


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

The Jaguars are in dire need of playmakers, which makes them willing to take the risk on Blackmon. With Blaine Gabbert as his QB, though, don't expect Blackmon to be putting up big-time stats. 

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

The popular pick here is Ryan Tannehill, but the Dolphins would be better off drafting Jeffery to help the team now as opposed to getting a project QB. Jeffery will do well, but not enough to contend against the incredibly talented offensive studs in this draft. 

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

Coples has had his ups and downs, but he'll step up and thrive for his hometown team. 

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

The Bills should probably focus on defense here, but they'll be too intrigued by Floyd's skills. 

You can't really blame them either, because Floyd has the makings of a touchdown machine in the NFL. 

With a good quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing him the ball plus another WR in Steve Johnson that defenses have to worry about, Floyd would put up killer numbers in his rookie campaign in Buffalo.  

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

The Chiefs have a number of options here, but they'd be foolish to pass on the best interior lineman in the draft. 

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

Perry explodes off the edge, thriving on disrupting plays in the backfield, which is something the Seahawks will love. 


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

Arizona would prefer Floyd to fall its way, but if he doesn't, using this pick to get Ingram to boost the pass rush is just as good. 

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

Fixing the secondary should be the Cowboys' main goal in the first round, and Barron has all the tools to become the next great NFL safety. 

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

Kuechly could get drafted before this pick depending on how the top 10 shakes out, but if he's still available, the Eagles will waste no time in strengthening their depth. 

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

New York needs someone on the edge to bring the heat, and Upshaw can do exactly that. He knows the game of football well, which will please Rex Ryan

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

Miller's blazing speed makes him very enticing. He would be considered a ROY contender if he weren't going to be splitting a ton of carries with BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Still, he'll be a fine addition for the Bengals. 

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

Reiff is the best available player here, and it never hurts to stockpile more talent on the offensive line. 

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

Jay Cutler needs to be kept safe, and adding a beast like Martin will help ensure the Bears QB isn't sacked as much. 

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

Since the top pass-rushers have been drafted, the Titans will look to fix another area of need, the secondary. The could reach on a DE here, but Gilmore is too good to let walk away. 


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

Jenkins has major character concerns, which may force him out of the first round. However, I think the Bengals will ignore his issues and focus on his talent. 

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

Wright will definitely make an immediate impact should he land in Cleveland. The Browns need to give Colt McCoy more weapons, and Wright will be an massive help. 

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

Glenn's versatility makes him a wise pick here, as he'll be able to make sure Matthew Stafford stays upright and healthy. Cornerback is also an option here. 


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

Kirkpatrick slips on draft day, but he should be OK with that since he'll land with a better team. Pittsburgh needs to improve its secondary with younger players to help the depth on the team. 


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

Denver's biggest need is at defensive tackle, and at No. 25, the Broncos could choose from a number of different ones. However, I think Poe is their best bet, as he plays with great intensity and has all the makings of a star. 

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

The Texans have to draft a WR to take pressure off Andre Johnson, and Hill would be a terrific fit in Houston. His killer speed will force opposing teams to worry about him, freeing up space for Johnson from time to time. 

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

Bill Belichick won't pass on the chance to stack his offensive line with the best possible talent. Konz has the potential to be a big-time NFL stud and he'll learn a great deal in New England. 


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

The Packers need to focus on defense with this pick, and getting a relentless defender like Mercilus to pair with Clay Matthews would be a fantastic move. 


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

Hightower is the best available prospect here, and learning from Ray Lewis would ensure he becomes the next smash-mouth linebacker in the NFL. 

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

This pick is all about adding depth. The 49ers boosted their roster in a big way during free agency, so they'll use the draft to add depth. Cox is the best on the board here at No. 30, and San Francisco's defense would be even scarier with him in the trenches.  

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

The Patriots are more than likely going to trade this pick, but keeping it and drafting Branch to upgrade the defensive line would be the wise decision. 

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

Brandon Jacobs is gone, meaning Ahmad Bradshaw must carry the load. He won't be able to do it by himself, so splitting carries with a guy like Polk would allow New York to remain elite. After all, if the Giants' run game isn't working, the rest of the offense will suffer. 



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