NFL Mock Draft 2012: Ryan Tannehill and the Riskiest Picks in the 1st Round
The NFL draft has no sure things. Every pick carries some risk, but some selections carry more than others.
Sometimes the players that are the riskiest can yield the biggest reward. For every team set to make a risky selection tonight, they are hoping their risk pays huge dividends.
Here is a spotlight of the riskiest selections (in italics) within a full mock draft.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
The Colts have already said that Luck will be the pick. A good prop bet would be guessing how long it takes them to announce it.
2. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor (via trade with St. Louis)
The Redskins selection of RG3 should follow closely behind the announcement of Luck.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, USC
This should be the pick for Minnesota. Their pass protection is their biggest weakness.
4. Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Richardson is ready to contribute from day one, but I believe the Browns should take a WR, or trade down.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Claiborne can be a great addition to the Bucs' defense. He could start for the Bucs in Week 1.
6. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Sam Bradford needs a No. 1 receiver, and Blackmon fits the bill.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
What should the Jags do with this pick?
Ingram has tremendous upside, but if the Jags neglect their receiving needs to go for him, it's a risk.
Blaine Gabbert needs weapons, but Ingram could be a major star. He has the athleticism to turn into a top notch pass-rusher.
If that happens, critics won't blast the Jags for not selecting a WR.
If it doesn't, this will be one of those picks Jags' management is criticized for in the future.
8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
This year's poster child for risk is Tannehill. Are the Dolphins considering him here because they truly believe in him, or because they are just that QB starved?
I think they would be better off trading down.
I don't see Tannehill as a much better prospect than Kirk Cousins—whom they could get in the second round or later.
If I'm right, this is a huge reach for the Dolphins. If I'm wrong, they look like geniuses as Tannehill leads them to the playoffs in the future.
9. Carolina Panthers: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Brockers has great size and a solid motor. The Panthers need a difference-maker on the line of scrimmage. Brockers could be that guy.
10. Buffalo Bills: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
The Bills' weakest area is OT. It would not be wise to neglect this deficiency.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
DeCastro will be one of this draft's best, provided he stays healthy. He is one of the most ready-to-play prospects available.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Luke Kuechly, MLB, Boston College
Kuechly to the Seahawks would make sense. If he is still on the board, the Seahawks would do well to solidify the middle of their defense.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald would give the Cards a great set of WR.
14. Dallas Cowboys: Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
Despite his amazing performance at the combine, Poe is a risk. His on-field production simply doesn't match the player he appeared to be at the combine.
Which DT will have the biggest impact?
Because of that, he has perhaps the most boom-or-bust potential in the draft.
If the Cowboys take him, we will know soon enough, as the pressure will be on him from day one.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
Cox proved he is one of the best athletes at DT in the draft. His versatility could be a huge asset for the Eagles.
16. New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, OLB/DE, Alabama
The Jets must address the pass rush. Drafting Upshaw would do just that.
17. Cincinnati Bengals: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Cincy needs youth and depth in the secondary. Kirkpatrick could push Leon Hall and Terence Newman for playing time early on.
18. San Diego Chargers: Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
Perry's combine performance has flown under the radar in my opinion. He has shown the potential to be a solid pass-rusher.
19. Chicago Bears: Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois
The nation's sack leader would be a solid pick for the Bears. Chicago is looking for another pass-rusher to place with Julius Peppers.
20. Tennessee Titans: Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia
This would be a safe pick, but the Titans could also look at a receiver here.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
Martin would have a shot at Rookie of the Year, if he lands with the Bengals. The Bengals don't have a standout at the position and Martin has tremendous versatility.
22. Cleveland Browns: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Martin and Joe Thomas would represent a solid set of bookend tackles.
23. Detroit Lions: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
The Lions must make pass coverage a priority. If Gilmore is available, I think they draft him.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
Hightower would be a great pick for the Steelers. He could be the replacement for Larry Foote.
25. Denver Broncos: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Wright's speed and agility is an interesting mix with Peyton Manning. He also has some value as a kick returner.
26. Houston Texans: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Based on what we saw at the NFL combine, Hill looked like a future star. But like Poe, his on-field production doesn't match up.
He had under 30 receptions in 2011 while at Georgia Tech.
Yet he blew most scouts socks off with his workout.
If the Texans take him, and he pans out, he and Andre Johnson will be a terror.
If not, they can only wonder what stud they let pass them by.
27. New England Patriots: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
I would like to see Coples succeed. I think being drafted by the Pats could improve his chances. He needs to be surrounded by veterans and a winning environment. New England can offer him that.
28. Green Bay Packers: Mark Barron, S, Alabama
With Nick Collins released, the Packers now have depth and talent issues at the safety position. Selecting Barron would be a logical solution.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
With the aging Matt Birk at center, the Ravens would be smart to draft Konz as his eventual replacement.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
Fleener has the talent to be an excellent receiving TE. He and Vernon Davis could cause major matchup problems.
31. New England Patriots: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
To continue the resurgence of their defense, the Pats could take Worthy. He has shown the ability to get in the backfield consistently and stuff the run.
32. New York Giants: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
A dynamic presence in the backfield is something the Giants' offense doesn't have. Wilson could offer the G-Men a home run threat.
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