2012 NFL Mock Draft: Andrew Luck and the Top 3 QBs in Next Year's Draft

Joseph HealyCorrespondent ISeptember 25, 2011

TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 17:  Quarterback Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal prepares to snap the football during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. The Cardinal defeated the Wildcats 37-10.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The football season on both the college and pro levels has just begun, but it's never too early to start thinking about the NFL draft.

The draft is the best way for a team to rebuild quickly and as such, teams value their draft picks very highly.

This is particularly true of teams that are looking for a quarterback. Good quarterbacks are tough to find in free agency or through trades. You almost always have to draft one to get one.

The following are the top three quarterbacks heading into next year's draft.

Andrew Luck- Stanford

Luck would have been the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft this past year had he entered the draft, but he decided to go back for his redshirt junior year at Stanford to work on completing his architecture degree. That's not a bad way to spend a year.

So far this season, he has done very little to change the minds of those that think he is the best prospect in the draft. On the way to leading his Stanford team to a 3-0 start, Luck has thrown for 786 yards and eight touchdowns.

Unless something changes drastically, Luck will be the first player off the board in next year's draft.

Matt Barkley- USC

In the end, Matt Barkley's career at USC has gone pretty much according to plan. Sure, he had planned on winning more games on campus and I doubt he could foresee that Pete Carroll wouldn't be coaching him, but the plan all along was for him to spend three years on campus and then move on to the NFL.

LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 17:   Head coach Lane Kiffin and quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans confer during the game with the Syracuse Orangemen at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 17, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. USC won 38-17
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

USC's decline is certainly not the fault of Barkley. He has done everything that could have been asked of him. He was thrown into the deep end as a freshman before he was ready, but after that he has flourished. In his career, he is zeroing in on 7,000 passing yards and he has 51 touchdown passes.

The best thing about Barkley is his maturity level on and off the field. He has been a leader from day one and during all of the chaos that has gone on at USC, Barkley has stayed focused on football.

Landry Jones- Oklahoma

Jones is something of a forgotten quarterback in college football. All he has done is pile up yardage and touchdowns since taking over for Sam Bradford, but he is always overshadowed by someone else. Even in this draft class, he will be overshadowed by the likes of Luck and Barkley.

Few quarterbacks have been as prolific as Landry over the last several years. In his OU career, Jones has thrown for 8,938 yards and 69 touchdowns. He spreads the ball around effectively to all of his targets and he faces pressure well.

At 6'4" and 229 pounds, Jones has the size benchmarks you like to see. He is clearly the third best quarterback in this draft class, but the team that selects him will be more than happy with the results.

2012 NFL Mock Draft- First Round

1. Kansas City Chiefs: Andrew Luck- QB, Stanford

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 24:  Quarterback Landry Jones #12 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks to throw against the Missouri Tigers on September 24, 2011 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma.  Oklahoma defeated Missouri 34-14.  (Photo b
Brett Deering/Getty Images

2. Indianapolis Colts: Matt Kalil- OT, USC

3. Seattle Seahawks: Matt Barkley- QB, USC

4. Cincinnati Bengals: Trent Richardson- RB, Alabama

5. Denver Broncos: Jonathan Martin- OT, Stanford

6. Cleveland Browns: Vontaze Burfict- LB, Arizona State

7. Carolina Panthers: Quinton Coples- DE, North Carolina

8. Miami Dolphins: Landry Jones- QB, Oklahoma

9. Minnesota Vikings: Alshon Jeffery- WR, South Carolina

10. San Francisco 49ers: Dre Kirkpatrick- CB, Alabama

11. Jacksonville Jaguars: Justin Blackmon- WR,Oklahoma State

12. Arizona Cardinals: Riley Reiff- OT, Iowa

13. Washington Redskins: Brandon Thompson- DT, Clemson

14. Tennessee Titans: Manti Te'o- LB Notre Dame

15. St. Louis Rams: Alfonzo Dennard- CB, Nebraska

16. Oakland Raiders: Stephon Gilmore- CB, South Carolina

17. New York Giants: Jared Crick- DT, Nebraska

18. Chicago Bears: Kelechi Osemele- G/T, Iowa State

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne- CB, LSU

20. Dallas Cowboys: Janoris Jenkins- CB, North Alabama

21. Buffalo Bills: Luke Kuechly- LB, Boston College

22. Houston Texans: Bruce Irvin- DE/OLB, West Virginia

23. Detroit Lions: Zach Brown- LB, North Carolina

24. San Diego Chargers: Cliff Harris- CB, Oregon

25. New York Jets: Brandon Jenkins- DE/OLB, Florida State

26. Cleveland Browns (from ATL): Michael Floyd- WR, Notre Dame

27. Philadelphia Eagles: David DeCastro- G, Stanford

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kheeston Randall- DE/DT, Texas

29. Baltimore Ravens: Jeff Fuller- WR, Texas A&Mm

30. New England Patriots (from NO): Cordy Glenn- G, Georgia

31. New England Patriots: Devin Taylor- DE/OLB, South Carolina

32. Green Bay Packers: Donte Paige-Moss- DE/OLB, North Carolina


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