2012 NFL Mock Draft: Predicting All 32 First-Round Picks
Everyone knows that Andrew Luck is the star of this draft, but with an exciting list of players filled with quarterbacks this could be one of the more memorable draft classes in recent history. This is a mock draft based on how I think the season will turn out.
Who will your team pick? Let me know what you think, if you agree or disagree.
1. Indianapolis: QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
2. Miami: QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma
Miami hoped to get a full season out of Chad Henne to see if he was the QB of the future, but when an injury sidelined him it seemed to make the decision for them. The Dolphins can't wait any longer and Landry is the best QB in the draft outside of Luck.
3. Washington: QB Matt Barkley, USC
This makes it three straight QBs, which is unusual but the talent is deep this year, and the Redskins desperately need a signal-caller. Dan Snyder might be one of those guys that tries to trade up to get Luck, but Barkley should suit them just fine.
4. Jacksonville: WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St.
This guys is lighting it up every week. The Jaguars hope they have their QB of the future with Gabbert; now he needs someone to throw to. Blackmon is by far the best WR in the draft this year and could be a star immediately.
5. Cleveland: OT Matt Kalil, USC
While Kalil is more of a left tackle, which the Browns already have in Joe Thomas, Kalil is just too good to pass up, especially since they could put him on the right side and have what could be the best duo of tackles in the league. It's possible a team tries to trade up to get Kalil as he is a special player and a franchise left tackle is hard to come by.
6. St. Louis: CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
The Rams have really taken a step back this year, and a big part of that is the fact that teams can pass all over them. Claiborne is the best defensive back in the draft this year. He is a great cover corner who can also be a ball hawk.
7. Minnesota: OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford
The Vikings will need to upgrade the offensive line fast. Martin would give the Vikings a great boost and would keep Christian Ponder protected for years. Not only is he a great pass-protector but he's great on the run as well, which bodes well for the Vikings, seeing as they have the best running back in the league.
8. Kansas City: OT Riley Reiff, Iowa
Chiefs can't seem to protect their backfield and will need to address that in the offseason. A good first step would be with a great all around talent like Reiff. He may not have the star status of Kalil or Martin, but may be just as ready and is a solid all around offensive lineman.
9. Denver Broncos: DT Brandon Thompson, Clemson
One of these days the Broncos will finally have a strong defensive line. Thompson is the best defensive tackle in the draft and would be a nice player to build around for Denver. We know that John Fox likes his big guys in the middle, and he may a great fit for the Broncos.
10. Carolina: DT Devon Still, Penn State
The Panthers have had a hard time on defense this year, especially stopping the run. Ron Rivera is a defensive-minded coach and one would think that defense will be his top priority. Still may be a bit of a reach here, but has shown the upside and is a player that can wreak havoc up front.
11. Arizona: WR Alshon Jeffrey, South Carolina
Kevin Kolb hasn't succeeded as much as fans had hoped in Arizona, but one of the reasons might be that Fitzgerald is always double-teamed. A wideout like Jeffrey could take pressure of of Fitz and give the Cards a deadly duo of receivers.
12. Seattle: QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
It's possible that Carroll tries to trade up to get Barkley, but if not Griffin would be hard to pass up. Seattle needs a QB, and Griffin is an exciting prospect. Some have compared him to Cam Newton, but he's more of a pocket-passer than some believe. He may not have the pure athleticism as Cam, but he does project to be a dynamic quarterback.
13. Philadelphia: ILB Luke Kuechly, Boston College
The Eagles have been what could be the biggest disappointment in the NFL this season. The defense looks lost at times and a big part of that is a very weak linebacking corps. Kuechly makes tons of tackles and always seems to be around the ball. He should be a great middle linebacker to build around.
14. Tampa Bay: CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
Ronde Barber will have to retire eventually and with the character issues of Aquib Talib, the Bucs will need a strong cornerback soon. Kirkpatrick has impressive size and while he can get beat at times he has the skills to improve in that part of the game.
15. Tennessee: OG Cordy Glenn, Georgia
While some of the blame has to go to Chris Johnson, a big part of his disappointing season is because of the offensive guards struggling to block. While Cordy could possibly be a OT, his true strength seems to lie in being a guard. I believe the Titans still have faith in Johnson and will do their best to try and get him some help inside, Glenn could be a great pick.
16. Buffalo: OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
Buffalo will need a good 3-4 OLB, and Upshaw as really shown that he could fit that system well. Shawn Merriman looks like he is about finished especially after the injury, and Upshaw could be a great replacement. His style is designed to be a pass-rusher and could really help the Bills out in that department.
17. Cincinnati (from Oakland): RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
Richardson seems too talented to drop this far, but running backs don't get picked as high as they used to. Cedric Benson has been a serviceable running back for Cincy the past few years but Richardson could give them a talented, all-around back to go along with their young QB and WRs. This just seems to be a perfect fit.
18. New York Giants: OG David DeCastro, Stanford
The New York Giants are always a difficult team to figure out in the draft. Their interior line could use an upgrade and depth, and DeCastro is an underrated guard that could actually be better than this draft position. While Stanford is thought of as a passing team under Luck, they pound the ball more than people realize and a big reason for that is DeCastro.
19. Cleveland (from Atlanta): WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
The Browns really need to get some reliable weapons on offense if Colt McCoy is going to have any success. Michael Floyd has the physical tools to be a top WR in the NFL. He doesn't have blazing speed, but his ability to go up and get the ball will make him a top target for years to come, as long as injuries to derail him.
20. Cincinnati: CB Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska
Cincinnati has a good corner on one side with Leon Hall, but the other side is weak. Dennard could fill in the spot and make what is an underrated defensive unit even better. His size may be a concern to some, but his ability to stay with wideouts usually masks his short frame.
21. Detroit: CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
The Lions' biggest need is offensive tackle, but unless they trade up to get one, there isn't one good enough to take here. The defensive line has made the secondary look better than they are and a great cornerback would just make this defense one the best in the league. Jenkins could be the best corner in the draft but character issues that led him to transfer to a Division II school will make him a risky pick. The Lions seem to be risk-takers lately and could make this pick one of the steals of the draft.
22. Chicago: WR Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M
It would be unlike the Bears to draft a wide receiver, but one of these days they are going to realize that in order for Cutler to be as successful as they hope, they will need to get him a playmaker. Fuller isn't as good as the top three wideouts on the board but shows tremendous upside. Last year I had the Bears reaching a bit to get Randall Cobb (they didn't, but I still think he would have been huge for them). This year I say they reach a bit for Fuller.
23. Baltimore: ILB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona St.
24. New York Jets: DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina
Every year it seems like there is a surprise slide in the draft and right now I think that could be Coples. One reason is that teams have more pressing issues than defensive end, but also that Coples has had a down year and some may shy away. Rex Ryan loves defense though, and just wouldn't pass up a guy like Quinton.
25. San Diego: OLB Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma
San Diego seems a bit out of sync this year and the defense looks sluggish at times. The Chargers could use a pass-rushing OLB and Lewis might fit that mold. He has played defensive end but looks like more of a pass-rushing linebacker.
26. Dallas: S Mark Barron, Alabama
The Cowboys have some good talent in the front seven but their secondary could use some cleaning up. Barron is the best safety in the draft and while Dallas may need a CB more, it would be hard to pass up someone like Barron.
27. Houston: DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan St.
Houston's change to the 3-4 has worked pretty well so far. They could use a great DT and while Worthy is inconsistent, he is a force when he is playing at a top level. He reminds me of Shaun Rogers in the fact that he has tons of talent but doesn't always use it.
28. San Francisco: WR Nick Toon, Wisconsin
While I could see Harbaugh wanting to try and trade up for Andrew Luck, he might also be comfortable with Alex Smith and just want to get him some more weapons. Crabtree has shown some flashes but Braylon Edwards looks like he could be on his last legs. Nick Toon has the bloodline and has shown that he could be a very reliable receiver in the NFL.
29. New England (from NO): OLB Zach Brown, North Carolina
The Patriots would prefer a cornerback here, but assuming there isn't one worth the pick they can help their secondary by getting a great pass-rusher. Not a big linebacker, but doesn't need to be with what he does. Can really fly at times and can be a big playmaker.
30. Pittsburgh: ILB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
The Steelers really need some offensive line help, but they are a team that drafts on value more than needs. Te'o fits the Steeler mold as he is always all over the field and always by the ball. If an offensive lineman falls to them they would snatch him up, otherwise don't look for Pittsburgh to reach and should just take the best available.
31. New England: DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
As stated before, the Pats need some secondary help, but won't reach, so upgrading the front seven will help the secondary. Ingram may start right away for New England as their defensive ends aren't extremely impressive.
32. Green Bay: OLB Kevin Reddick, North Carolina
The Packers defense doesn't look as good this year. The loss of Nick Barnett hurt more than they thought and they could use another linebacker in that 3-4 scheme to go along with Matthews, Hawk and Bishop. Reddick would fit perfectly and is a consistent, tough player.