NFL Draft Insider: A Way Too Early 2012 Mock Draft

Bryan DietzlerSenior Analyst IJune 13, 2011

NFL Draft Insider: A Way Too Early 2012 Mock Draft

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal throws pass against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Stanford won 40-12. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    The 2011 NFL Draft has been over for a few weeks now, and people are already focusing on next year’s draft.  The draft has become one of the most popular events in the NFL, and it’s an important part of a team’s ability to rebuild and reload for their next season.

    There will be a bevy of good college football talent available for NFL teams to get in next year’s draft, and even though the 2011 college season hasn’t started and the NFL season is in a state of flux, it’s never too early to start looking at how things may shape up for next year.

    Here is my first version of my 2012 Mock Draft.

    (Note: This mock goes in order of my 2011 NFL Power Rankings for the preseason)

1. Washington Redskins-Andrew Luck-QB-Stanford

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal throws a pass under pressure from Chris Drager #33 of the Virginia Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Stanford won 40
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    The Redskins will find out that there isn’t a quarterback on their roster that can help them win on a consistent basis.  So with the first pick in the draft, they will take the best quarterback available in Luck.

2. Cincinnati Bengals-Quinton Couples-DE-UNC

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    The Bengals will take a fall this year especially if quarterback Carson Palmer doesn’t come back. 

    After filling some needs on offense in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Bengals will turn to their defense in 2012 and grab the guy who should be the best pass rusher in the draft next year in Couples.

3. Carolina Panthers-Justin Blackmon-WR-Oklahoma State

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    STILLWATER, OK - SEPTEMBER 05:  Wide receiver Justin Blackmon #81 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys warms up before the college football game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Boone Pickens Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  The Cowboys defe
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Panthers are going to want to give new quarterback Cam Newton a solid wide receiver to throw the ball to, and Blackmon should be the top receiver in this draft.

4. Buffalo Bills-Matt Barkley-QB-USC

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    PASADENA, CA - DECEMBER 04:  Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans drops back to pass against the UCLA Bruins during the first half at the Rose Bowl on December 4, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    The Bills are going to find out that current starter Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the long term answer for them at quarterback. So if they pick here (and miss out on Luck), they will take the Barkley at this spot.

5. Arizona Cardinals-Matt Kalil-OT-USC

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    LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 29:  Matt Kalil #75 of the USC Trojans looks on against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on November 29, 2008 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  USC won 38-3.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)
    Jeff Golden/Getty Images

    If there is a quarterback available for the Cardinals when they make their pick in the draft, then they should go that route, but upgrading their offensive line next year is their second biggest need.  Look for them to get the best offensive tackle available in 2012.

6. Denver Broncos-Jerel Worthy-DT-Michigan State

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    EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 23: Jerel Worthy #99 of the Michigan State Spartans moves past a block attempt by Brian Mulroe #72 of the Northwestern Wildcats with his sights set on Dan Persa #7 at Ryan Field on October 23, 2010 in Evanston, Illinois. Michigan St
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Von Miller was a great pickup for the Broncos, but they will find out that they really need that interior linemen to help them with their defense.  Worthy could be a good pickup for them here, giving them what they will be lacking in the middle.

7. Cleveland Browns-Alshon Jeffery-WR-South Carolina

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    ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31:  Alshon Jeffery #1 of the South Carolina Gamecocks pulls in this reception against Greg Reid #5 of the Florida State Seminoles during the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl at Georgia Dome on December 31, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Browns are going to need a receiver that helps them stretch defenses and gives their starting quarterback a solid option to throw the ball to.  Jeffery could be that guy and could step in and start right away.

8. Tennessee Titans-Brandon Jenkins-DE/OLB-Florida State

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    CHESTNUT HILL, MA - OCTOBER 03:  Brandon Jenkins #49 of the Florida State Seminoles walks off the field after the game against the Boston College Eagles on October 3, 2009 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Boston College defeated Florida
    Elsa/Getty Images

    If Jenkins decides to come out early, the Titans may want to add him to their defense to give themselves another option rushing the quarterbacks as well as having someone that can play the run.  Jenkins can do both well.

9. Minnesota Vikings-Jonathan Martin-OT-Stanford

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    PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Jonathan Martin #55 and Richard Sherman #9 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrate after they beat the Oregon State Beavers at Stanford Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    The Vikings offensive line is going to need an upgrade in 2012, and they could take a long look at Martin as a part of this rebuilding project.  He has great skill and knows how to block for a star quarterback.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars-Donte Paige-DE/OLB-UNC

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    CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 13:  Donte Paige-Moss #98 of the North Carolina Tar Heels against the Virginia Tech Hokies during their game at Kenan Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    The University of North Carolina is producing some great talent lately, and the Jaguars could take advantage of that by taking Paige.  They missed out on taking a much needed defensive end in the 2011 NFL Draft and will have to get one next year.

11. Seattle Seahawks-Landry Jones-QB-Oklahoma

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Landry Jones #12 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks to throw the ball against the Connecticut Huskies during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Ronald M
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Seahawks failed to get quarterback in this year’s draft, and after a season in which they are assured to experience problems at that position, the Seahawks will not let one get by them in the first round in 2012.

12. San Francisco 49ers-Dre Kirkpatrick-CB-Alabama

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 16:  Dre Kirkpatrick #21 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Ole Miss Rebels at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The 49ers secondary is going have it’s problems this coming season, and they are going to want to upgrade their cornerback position in the 2012 NFL Draft. 

    Kirkpatrick could end up being the best cornerback to come out of this draft and would be a good way for the 49ers to upgrade their pass defense.

13. Miami Dolphins-Trent Richardson-RB-Alabama

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 11:  Trent Richardson #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide rushes against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Dolphins did end up getting a running back in the middle of the 2011 NFL Draft, but they are going to want someone who is capable of making a huge impact running the ball on a consistent basis. 

    Richardson would be the ideal fit and could replace what they will probably lose in Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.

14. Oakland Raiders-Stephon Gilmore-CB-South Carolina

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    ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31:  Stephon Gilmore #5 of the South Carolina Gamecocks against the Florida State Seminoles during the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl at Georgia Dome on December 31, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Raiders are probably going to lose Nnamdi Asomugha this offseason, so they will be in the market for a new shutdown cornerback. 

    If Gilmore has a good season this year, the Raiders may be interested in taking him and shoring up their secondary.

15. Dallas Cowboys-Jared Crick-DT-Nebraska

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    LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 13: Jared Crick #94 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers runs down D.J. Beshears #20 of the Kansas Jayhawks during first half action of their game at Memorial Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska.  (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty I
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    Solidifying the middle of their defensive line is going to be something that the Cowboys have to take care of in the 2012 NFL Draft.  They could end up selecting a guy like Crick. 

    Crick, with a good season this year, should end up being one of the most sought-after players in the 2012 NFL Draft and would fit the Cowboys well.

16. St. Louis Rams-LaMichael James-RB-Oregon

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks runs down field against the Auburn Tigers during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christia
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Rams are going to want to try to find someone to start taking away some of the carries that Steven Jackson has been getting to help keep him fresh and healthy. 

    James won’t be able to stand up to the pounding that Jackson has been subject to during his career thanks to his size, but he would be a good option on the outside and catching passes.  He can give the Rams another option in the running game and give defenses something else to be concerned about.

17. Houston Texans-Alfonzo Dennard-CB-Nebraska

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    LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 26: Paul Richardson #80 of the Colorado Buffaloes beats Alfonzo Dennard #15 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers for a touchdown during the second half of their game at Memorial Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska def
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    The Texans will be on the lookout for a good cornerback after not grabbing a good one in the 2011 NFL Draft. 

    Dennard, with a good season next year, could be a first round pick and one that the Texans pick up depending on where they end up picking in the first round.

18. New York Giants-Mike Brewster-C-Ohio State

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    CHAMPAIGN, IL - OCTOBER 02: Mike Brewster #50 of the Ohio State Buckeyes waits to snap the ball against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on October 2, 2010 in Champaign, Illinois. Ohio State defeated Illinois 24-13.  (Photo by Jonathan Dan
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    We know that the Giants had a lot of interest in Mike Pouncey in the 2011 NFL Draft, but they didn’t get him, so is it possible that they try to get a new center in the 2012 NFL Draft? 

    If so, Brewster may be just the guy that they are looking for and may end up getting taken at this point in the draft.

19. Detroit Lions-Vontaze Burfict-LB-Arizona State

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    MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 18: John Clay #32 of the Wisconsin Badgers is tackled by the fask mask by Vontaze Burfict #7 of the Arizona State Sun Devils at Camp Randall Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Image
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Lions need to get a good linebacker to help them clean up plays that get past their soon to be stellar defensive line. 

    There are some experts that feel Burfict would be a good fit for the Lions, and he could end up being the perfect first round pick for them.

20. Kansas City Chiefs-Riley Reiff-OT-Iowa

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    IOWA CITY, IA - NOVEMBER 20:  Quarterback Ricky Stanzi #12 of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes throws under pressure from defensive lineman Solomon Thomas #98 of the Ohio State Buckeyes as offensive lineman Riley Reiff #77 defends during the first half of
    David Purdy/Getty Images

    The Chiefs didn’t go after an offensive tackle in the 2011 NFL Draft and will be in the market for one. 

    Iowa is known for producing some strong talent at the offensive tackle position, and Reiff could be just the guy that they are looking for.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Cliff Harris-CB-Oregon

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Cameron Newton #2 of the Auburn Tigers runs down field against Cliff Harris #13 of the Oregon Ducks during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The problems with Aqib Talib are going to force the Bucs to go after a cornerback in the draft in 2012. 

    If Harris decides to come out, he will be one of the most sought-after cornerbacks in the league, and with his ability to return punts, the Bucs will find that they could really use a player with his skills.

22. Philadelphia Eagles-Chase Minnifield-CB-Virginia

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    CLEMSON, SC - NOVEMBER 21:  Chase Minnifield #13 of the Virginia Cavaliers runs with the ball during the game against the Clemson Tigers at Memorial Stadium on November 21, 2009 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    The Eagles are going to be in the market for a cornerback (it seems like they always have a need at that position), and Minnifield might be attractive to the Eagles in the first round. 

    With a good season in 2011, Minnifield’s stock should shoot up, and the Eagles could be better in the secondary if they take him.

23. Chicago Bears-Andre Branch-DE-Clemson

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    TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 28: Defensive end Andre Branch #40 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates a sack against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets  in the 2009 ACC Football Championship Game December 5, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    If there is a solid offensive guard worth taking for the Bears in the first round then they might go that direction. 

    But if they feel that they need to improve their defensive end position (opposite Julius Peppers), then they might be interested in someone that could help them do that.  Branch could be just the guy for them.

24. San Diego Chargers-Ryan Broyles-WR-Oklahoma

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Ryan Broyles #85 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks on against the Connecticut Huskies during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty I
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Chargers are heading into this season with three free agent wide receivers (Malcolm Floyd, Legedu Nanee and Vincent Jackson) and are sure to not end up with all of them when the 2011 season ends. 

    Adding a wide receiver may end up being their top priority in the draft depending on what happens next season.

25. Indianapolis Colts-Mohammed Sanu-WR-Rutgers

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    With Reggie Wayne getting older and injuries effecting what the Colts have at the wide receiver position, you could expect them to make a move for a solid receiver in the first round of the 2012 draft. 

    Sanu has started to cement himself as one of the top receivers in college football, and with a great 2011 season, he will be a surefire first round pick.

26. New York Jets-Courtney Upshaw-OLB/DE-Alabama

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 02:  Courtney Upshaw #41 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Florida Gators at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 2, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Jets defense is an ever-changing and ever-improving unit and is the clear focus of head coach Rex Ryan. 

    They are going to want to add some starting power to that group of linebackers, and putting a guy like Upshaw in the lineup may help them take care of some of the issues they could have at the linebacker and defensive end positions.

27. Baltimore Ravens-Luke Kuechly-ILB-Boston College

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    CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Virginia Tech Hokies scrambles with the ball as Luke Kuechly #40 of the Boston College Eagles defends on September 25, 2010 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty
    Elsa/Getty Images

    The Ravens are going to be looking to improve their defense, especially their inside linebacker position, where it looks like Ray Lewis is close to retirement. 

    Kuechly could be the kind of guy that they are looking for and may be the long term solution for their defense.

28. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta)-Jerry Franklin-ILB-Arkansas

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    FAYETTEVILLE - SEPTEMBER 25: Darius Hanks #15 of the Alabama Crimson Tide tries to get around a tackle attempt by Jerry Franklin #34 of the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Alabam
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The Browns will need to do some work to enhance their linebacking corps for the 2012 season, and they should try to get a good inside linebacker to help themselves out on defense. 

    Franklin has quietly become one of the top linebackers in college football, and  he should be a first rounder with a strong season.

29. Pittsburgh Steelers-Matt Reynolds-OT-BYU

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    SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 6:  (L-R) Matt Reynolds #70, Ray Feinga #76 and Dallas Reynolds #65 of the BYU Cougars look on during a break in game action against the Washington Huskies on September 6, 2008 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Cougars defea
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    The Steelers are going to take a long look at first round talent at the offensive tackle position and could have some interest in BYU’s Reynolds.  Problems on the offensive line cut into their ability to play well at times last season, so beefing up that part of their offense up should be a top priority for them.

30. New England Patriots (from New Orleans)-Marcus Forston-DT-Miami (FL)

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    DURHAM, NC - OCTOBER 18:  Marcus Forston #99 of the Miami Hurricanes jogs off the field during the game against the Duke Blue Devils at Wallace Wade Stadium on October 18, 2008 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Patriots may end up losing Vince Wilfork at some point and will want to look for either his replacement or a backup. 

    Forston has been mentioned by some as having the potential to be the best nose tackle in the draft next year, which means that the Patriots could take a serious look at him.

31. New England Patriots-Dwight Jones-WR-UNC

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    CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 13:  Jayron Hosley #20 of the Virginia Tech Hokies makes an interception as teammate Rashad Carmichael #21 watches on with Dwight Jones #83 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Kenan Stadium on November 13, 2010
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    The Patriots are going to try to find a wide receiver in 2012 and have them be their true number one guy.  Adding another solid target for quarterback Tom Brady to throw the ball to would be huge.

    Jones could end up being someone that they have their eye on depending on his growth and development this coming season. 

32. Green Bay Packers-Greg Reid-CB-Florida State

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    RALEIGH, NC - OCTOBER 28:  Greg Reid #5 of the Florida State Seminoles against the North Carolina State Wolfpack during their game at Carter-Finley Stadium on October 28, 2010 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Let’s face it: All-Pro cornerback Charles Woodson does not have that much time left in the league, so it’s time that the Packers started grooming his replacement.  Reid wouldn’t be a bad fit in Green Bay and could help them out on special teams.