2012 NFL Mock Draft: An Early Look at Next Year's Top 10
As we all know, Andrew Luck was the favorite to go No.1 overall this year. He decided to return to school, citing his degree as a reason.
But in 2012, many of the player, like Luck, who decided to return to school will get another opportunity to join the draft.
The draft order will be determined using my own odds for the football season.
Though it's hard to tell who will emerge as stars in the NFL, but we already have an early look at who will be the stars next season for the college football world.
1. Carolina Panthers: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
Yet again, the Panthers have the No.1 pick. If they use it on a QB, which they won't, Panthers fans will be screaming for change.
Although Justin Blackmon had the better production this season, that is in part due to the great play of quarterback Brandon Weeden and Dana Holgorsen's Air Raid offense.
Jeffery is a big receiver who also has the necessary speed. He runs routes sharply and has dominated against several top notch cornerbacks.
He can go up and grab the jump balls and was one of the more productive WRs this year.
2. Washington Redskins: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
The Redskins have a horrible QB situation and holes all over the offense and defense.
Luckily for them – no pun intended – Luck is still available at No.2.
Even if someone offered their entire draft for Luck á la Ricky Williams, the Redskins still wouldn't budge.
The Stanford Cardinal is called the best QB prospect since Peyton Manning and displayed pretty much everything you want in a QB coming out of college.
Luck would be the immediate starter for a team who desperately needs some sort of QB.
3. Cleveland Browns: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
By no means should anyone believe that Colt McCoy is a franchise QB. He just simply doesn't have what it takes.
Barkley is the No.2 QB prospect heading into this season, and is primed to have a nice junior year.
Though Ronald Johnson departs from USC, they are still one of the best recruiting colleges in the country.
Barkley will get a new toy to play with in five star recruit George Farmer and that will only boost his numbers.
If they deem Barkley unready, then the Browns have the option to start McCoy another year. A QB like Barkley would be too much to pass up on here.
4. Denver Broncos: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
The 6'6", 275 pound product from UNC is drawing comparisons to another Tar Heel. That player, Julius Peppers, is one of the best defensive ends in the NFL.
Though Coples might need to bulk up in order to play defensive end in the NFL, he is still the best defensive player in the draft.
Coples has a blend of speed and strength that allowed him to get to the opposing quarterback with ease.
He recorded 10 sacks this past season and is only expected to improve on that.
5. Tennessee Titans: Brandon Jenkins, DE, FSU
Unfortunately for the Titans, their man Quinton Coples was selected one pick earlier. So they have to settle for another DE who could fit into their 4-3 scheme.
Originally, I was skeptical of Jenkins because of his weight. But he reportedly bulked up to around 260 pounds from his previous 234 pounds.
Jenkins has a long frame and used it to rack up 13.5 sacks last season.
If he gets similar results as last season, but at 25 pounds heavier, Jenkins stock could soar up to here.
6. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, USC
How good would it be for your college if you produced two Top 10 offensive lineman in consecutive drafts?
Well that's what USC is primed to do, even if Tyron Smith was a reach at No.9.
Kalil is truly a dominant tackle and forced Tyron Smith to the other side of the line in college.
The Vikings need to upgrade their line, especially if they want to keep Christian Ponder healthy.
7. Seattle Seahawks: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
Though some feel Billy Winn is the better defensive tackle in this draft, there is no doubt in my mind that Worthy is the best.
The Seahawks need a defensive tackle that can disrupt the middle and allow others to make big plays.
Worthy isn't ultra-productive, but he was good enough to record 40 tackles and four sacks.
The Seahawks have needs on both the offensive end and the defensive end but really need to bolster their front seven.
8. Cincinnati Bengals: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Martin is one of those players that looks better because of his quarterback.
That said, he has still done a fine job of protecting Andrew Luck, the staple of the Cardinals offense.
The Bengals need a new lineman to protect Andy Dalton/Carson Palmer. So what do they do? Take an offensive lineman of course.
Martin is a sound lineman who could stand to improve on his footwork among other things, but nonetheless he's a solid player.
9. Arizona Cardinals: Donte Paige-Moss, OLB/DE, UNC
Playing opposite Quinton Coples will only help his draft status and could vault him up to here with an impressive junior season.
At 260 lbs, Paige-Moss is more suited to play outside linebacker, something the Cardinals are in need of.
If they haven't figured out their quarterback situation by next year's draft they may wish to address that, but Ken Whisenhunt will likely bring in a QB with some sort of experience whenever the lockout gets resolved.
10. Buffalo Bills: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
This may end up being a bit of a reach for Landry Jones, but the Vikings reached for Ponder at No.12, so why can't the Bills reach a little for Jones?
Jones is going to put up ridiculous numbers. We know that.
But when the least amount of times you've thrown the ball in a game is 29, it's expected.
Coming out of the spread offense, the Oklahoma star may not be immediately ready for the pros.
Bills fans may have to sit through another year of Ryan Fitzpatrick.