The Bright Future of the NFL: 2012 Mock Draft

Jackson DworakContributor IIINovember 10, 2011

The Bright Future of the NFL: 2012 Mock Draft

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    There are a whole lot of intriguing prospects in the 2012 NFL Draft class. From the speedy Robert Griffin III, to the highly-touted Trent Richardson, or even the huge offensive guard Cordy Glenn, there are a lot of players who will be very exciting to watch when they enter the pros.

    Here is my first 2012 NFL mock draft.

    Draft positions are based on current league standings, not by predictions.

Round 1 Pick 1/Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford)

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    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 235 lbs.

     

    It seems like no matter who has the number one pick, that Andrew Luck will be the selection. This will work out nicely for the Colts being in this slot, because if Peyton Manning can come back and be at full health next season, then they can develop Luck behind him.

    It would be a much better situation for Luck, rather than starting right away, because he would have the opportunity to learn from Manning, the smartest quarterback to ever play the game.

    Luck's draft range: Won't drop past No. 1

    NFL comparison: Matt Schaub 

Round 1 Pick 2/St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon (WR, Oklahoma State)

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    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 215 lbs.

     

    The Rams traded with the Broncos to get receiver Brandon Lloyd midway through this season. However, Lloyd appears to just be a "one hit wonder", referring to his performance last season, because he never put up numbers even close to those in any other season.  

    Blackmon is a receiver of an ideal build, he's got the good speed to match with consistent hands. Sam Bradford would be happy to finally have a satisfying target to throw to, and a lot of pressure would also be taken off of Steven Jackson, who year after year is forced to carry the St. Louis offense.

     Blackmon's draft range: No. 2-9

    NFL comparison: Dwayne Bowe

Round 1 Pick 3/Miami Dolphins: Robert Griffin III (QB, Baylor)

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    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 220 lbs.

     

    Chad Henne put up good numbers early in the year before a season ending injury. However, Miami can't count on Henne to give a similar statistical performance next year. Miami is a talented team, without a doubt. It often appears that they are just a quarterback away from being a respectable team again.

    Miami has experimented with a few mobile quarterbacks over the year, but none were talented enough to keep a spot on the roster long enough. Robert Griffin III, on the other hand, looks like a potential superstar. RG3 extremely quick, and also is a very accurate passer. However, his very thin frame turns some scouts off.

    Griffin III's draft range: No. 3-9

    NFL comparison: Michael Vick 

Round 1 Pick 4/Seattle Seahawks: Trent Richardson (RB, Alabama)

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    Height: 5'11"

    Weight: 224 lbs.

     

    A year after a division title, the Seattle Seahawks are now one of the most mediocre teams in the NFL, talent wise. Their offense lacks any form of explosiveness.

    Lucky for them, Trent Richardson is the most explosive player in the draft. No running back has been projected by the majority of scouts to be a top five pick since Darren McFadden, and it's always a rare occurrence. Not even Adrian Peterson was projected this high, and that shows you just how much potential Richardson has. 

    Richardson's Draft range: No. 3-9

    NFL comparison: Maurice Jones-Drew

Round 1 Pick 5/Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil (T, USC)

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    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 295 lbs.

     

    Aside from Steve Hutchinson, the Vikings don't have much of anything in regards to talent on the offensive line. It is definitely their weakest position, and Matt Kalil is hands down the best lineman in this class. He excels most notably as a pass blocker, which would be good news for Christian Ponder as he tries to develop with as little pressure as possible.

    Kalil's draft range: No. 2-5

    NFL Comparison: Jordan Gross

Round 1 Pick 6/Jacksonville Jaguars (WR, South Carolina)

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    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 233 lbs.

     

    The Jaguars offense has been awful thus far. Maurice Jones-Drew is the only consistent playmaker on Jacksonville's roster. Blaine Gabbert is going to need a reliable target if he wants to be a good quarterback.

    So, if Alshon Jeffery is available, he will be difficult for the Jaguars to pass up. He's got the height to go up and get the high balls, and the speed to burn you. That combo is very rare in a receiver, and Jacksonville would be striking gold by taking Jeffery.

    Jeffery's draft range: No. 2-12

    NFL Comparison: Brandon Marshall

Round 1 Pick 7/Carolina Panthers: Morris Claiborne (CB, LSU)

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    Height: 6'0"

    Weight: 185 lbs.

     

    The pass defense of the Carolina Panthers has only managed to get four interceptions so far this season. If a talent like Morris Claiborne is available, he is almost a no-brainer pick. He looks and plays like an exact replica of Arizona Cardinals cornerback and former LSU teammate Patrick Peterson. Claiborne also has sensational return abilities, which Carolina could definitely benefit from, given they are in the bottom five in the league in return yard average.

    Claiborne's draft range: No. 5-11

    NFL comparison: Patrick Peterson

Round 1 Pick 8/Arizona Cardinals: Jonathan Martin (T, Stanford)

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    Height: 6'6"

    Weight: 304 lbs.

     

    Jonathan Martin is a solid, consistent offensive lineman. The Cardinals lack any of those, and to help improve their run and pass offense, they'll need to try and prevent too much pressure. Martin is a more balanced blocker than Matt Kalil, and was a big part of why Andrew Luck was is such a successful quarterback.

    Martin's draft range: No. 5-14

    NFL comparison: D'Brickashaw Ferguson

Round 1 Pick 9/Washington Redskins: Matt Barkley (QB, USC)

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    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 220 lbs.

     

    Before this season started, I predicted the Redskins to have the worst record in the National Football League. They started off on a completely different foot, however, but since then have plummeted.

    The Redskins will need a quarterback to lead the team to more victories, because John Beck doesn't cut it. Matt Barkley has one cannon of an arm, and he won't fall any further than the Redskins at No. 9.

    Barkley's draft range: No. 3-9

    NFL comparison: Philip Rivers

Round 1 Pick 10/Philadelphia Eagles: Vontaze Burfict (LB, Arizona State)

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    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 250 lbs.

     

    The Eagles are stacked with big name, talented players at almost every position. However, if you took a look at their list of linebackers, you would wonder why they haven't tried to obtain a talented linebacker by now.

    That's exactly what I am wondering, too.  

    Vontaze Burfict has great tackling ability and outstanding play recognition. He could anchor the linebacker unit in Philadelphia for years to come.

    Burfict's draft range: No. 10-21

    NFL comparison: David Harris

Round 1 Picks 11-14

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    Eleventh overall/Denver Broncos: Quinton Coples (DE, North Carolina)

    Denver will work this offseason on trying to continue improving their defense, and drafting the best defensive lineman in this years class in Coples would be a great way to do that.

     

    Twelfth overall/Cleveland Browns: Landry Jones (QB, Oklahoma)

    Colt McCoy just isn't a quarterback who will really ever get your team to the playoffs. Although his stock is slipping a bit, Cleveland would be happy to get Landry Jones as their new signal caller.

     

    Thirteenth overall/Tennessee Titans: Dre Kirkpatrick (CB, Alabama)

    The Titans often draft the most talented player available when their pick comes along, and taking the quality prospect Dre Kirkpatrick definitely would keep that trend going for them.

     

    Fourteenth overall/Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Zach Brown (LB, North Carolina)

    The defense in Tampa Bay could really use improvement, even though that was the main focus in last year's draft as well. The Bucs lack quality linebackers, and Zach Brown would fill that void.

Round 1 Picks 15-18

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    Fifteenth overall/San Diego Chargers: Michael Floyd (WR, Notre Dame)

    Philip Rivers could use another target at wide receiver, and Floyd's presence would definitely take a lot of pressure off of workhorse Vincent Jackson.

     

    Sixteenth overall/Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland): Janoris Jenkins (CB, North Alabama)

    As we all know by now, Cincinnati isn't afraid to take risks on players with a haunted past. This would be a gamble by the Bengals that would likely pay off big dividends.

     

    Seventeenth overall/Dallas Cowboys: David DeCastro (OG, Stanford)

    Dallas drafted Tyron Smith in the top ten last year, but definitely could still stand for some improvement on the offensive line. DeCastro is one of the best prospects at his position to come along in a while.

     

    Eighteenth overall/New York Jets: Brandon Jenkins (LB, Florida State)

    Outside linebacker is hands down the biggest position need for the Jets. Although this may be a bit of a reach for Brandon Jenkins, he will be a quality starter for them.

Round 1 Picks 19-22

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    Nineteenth overall/New England Patriots: Luke Kuechly (LB, Boston College)

    The Patriots don't really need an inside linebacker, they are always looking to add as much talent as they can. Kuechly could transition to the outside in the 4-3 defense that we are seeing more often from New England.

     

    Twentieth overall/Chicago Bears: Cordy Glenn (OG, Georgia)

    At 6'5", 348 lbs., Glenn is a mammoth of a man. Like the Cowboys, Chicago spent a first round pick last year on an offensive lineman but could still use a lot of improvement there.

     

    Twenty-First overall/Kansas City Chiefs: Alameda Ta'amu (NT, Washington)

    I was surprised last year when the Chiefs past up on the opportunity to draft nose tackle Phil Taylor and instead traded the pick to Cleveland. They won't miss that opportunity again, getting a force in Ta'amu.

     

    Twenty-second overall/Buffalo Bills: Riley Reiff (T, Iowa)

    Buffalo has been one of the biggest surprises in the league so far this year, but just imagine how good they could be if their offensive line wasn't so bad. Reiff would help improve it greatly.

Round 1 Picks 23-27

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    Twenty-third overall/Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta): Courtney Upshaw (DE, Alabama) 

    This pick was obtained last year in the trade that landed the Falcons Julio Jones. Upshaw is an insane linebacker for the tide that would play end in the Browns' four man front.

     

    Twenty-fourth overall/New England Patriots (from New Orleans): Brandon Thompson (DT, Clemson)

    Thompson is very versatile and could play a lot of different positions along the Patriots defensive line, as they often alternate between a 3-4 and a 4-3.

     

    Twenty-fifth overall/Pittsburgh Steelers: Manti Te'o (LB, Notre Dame)

    Ever since Lawrence Timmons has been playing more on the outside, the Steelers have been in big need of an inside linebacker, and they would be happy if Te'o dropped to them this far.

     

    Twenty-six overall/Houston Texans: Mike Adams (T, Ohio State)

    The Texans have the number one defense in the league right now, so instead of taking a defensive player, they will look to improve their offensive line by taking Adams.

     

    Twenty-seventh overall/New York Giants: Jerel Worthy (DT, Michigan State)

    Without any first round quality linebackers available, the Giants go with Jerel Worthy, the quality defensive tackle that they need.

Round 1 Picks 28-32

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    Twenty-eighth overall/Detroit Lions: Alfonzo Dennard (CB, Nebraska)

    Even though Detroit has surprisingly become one of the best teams in the league, they still have a huge need at the cornerback slot opposite Chris Houston. Dennard is their guy.

     

    Twenty-ninth overall/Cincinnti Bengals: Lamar Miller (RB, Miami)

    Cedric Benson has been putting up decent numbers so far this year, but Cincinnati needs to start developing another running back. Lamar Miller should be their guy.

     

    Thirtieth overall/San Francisco 49ers: Dontari Poe (NT, Memphis)

    The 49ers have gotten incredible production out of defensive end Justin Smith this season. Now, just imagine if they added the massive Poe at nose tackle. Their defensive line would be an even bigger force.

     

    Thirty-first overall/Baltimore Ravens: Devon Still (DT, Penn State)

    Like the Patriots, the Ravens have been implementing many different defensive schemes. Devon Still is a good enough player that he could be great in whatever scheme Baltimore wants to use him in.

     

    Thirty-second overall/Green Bay Packers: Jared Crick (DE, Nebraska)

    Ryan Pickett can't hold down the fort at end for too much longer, and the Packers haven't really had anyone step up since the loss of Cullen Jenkins. Nebraska is known for producing great defensive line prospects like Crick.