2012 NFL Mock Draft

Mario Cuadros@@mario_cuadrosContributor IINovember 24, 2011

2012 NFL Mock Draft

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    As we approach December, some of us have already realized that our teams will not make it to the Super Bowl. Heck, they won't even make it to the playoffs. So what can we look forward to if not the playoffs?

    The NFL Draft.

    The Draft is arguably the second most exciting event in football after the Super Bowl. It gives fans of below average teams hope that next year will be the one. We make mock drafts to try to analyse what players our teams may pick. We actually try to give advice to the coaches and GM's to pick the players we want.

    April is still 5 months away, but it's never too early to start "mocking."

1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

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    This pick has been assured since Andrew Luck first put on a Stanford uniform. 

    It's not clear whether Peyton Manning will be in a Colts uniform, but no matter what, the Colts can't pass on Luck. Luck posesses all the skills needed to play quarterback in the NFL and is considered by many the best prospect since John Elway.

    He will be the quarterback for the next ten years and the Colts will be relevant again.

2. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

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    I have the Rams picking Justin Blackmon simply because of the productivity he has had these last two years. However, I believe Alshon Jeffery will be a better pro player than Blackmon due to his size.

    Blackmon is a great receiver that will go up and get the ball and isn't afraid to get hit. He has great speed and runs crisp routes.

    Sam Bradford might be the happiest man in the state of Missouri if the Rams were to pick him (that is if Albert Pujols doesn't get a $300 million contract).

3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, USC

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    Matt Kalil is the best tackle prospect in this draft. There's not even an argument to be made. He has protected Matt Barkley's left side admirably and will look to do the same at the next level.

    He has great strength and quick feet for a guy that's this big. The Vikings are looking to protect the investment they made on Christian Ponder and Kalil is the perfect guy for the job.

    Remember that Tyron Smith, who was a first round pick last year, was playing right tackle because he couldn't beat Kalil for the left tackle position.

4. Carolina Panthers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

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    Morris Claiborne is one of the leaders in one of the best defene's in the country and will definitely be a top 10 pick this year. He's not as highly regarded as Patrick Peterson but will be a very good corner back for years to come.

    He has great speed an acceleration, and boasts some of the best coverage skills in this year's draft. He has a nose for the ball and is always around to cause turnovers.

    The Panthers look like they have their man at quarterback and will now be looking to upgrade on defense.

5. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

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    He may be one of the most exciting players in college football this year. Robert Griffin III, better known as RG3, has had unbelievable production this year for the Baylor Bears. I mean, at one point he had more touchdowns than incompletions. Are you kidding me?

    He has a great arm and good accuracy. He also shows great touch when he he throws deep balls. He is extremely athletic and bright, which it shows in his decision making.

    Mike Shanahan loves mobile quarterbacks and there is none better than RG3 in this draft. He might decide to return to school, but if he comes out, Shanahan will definitely pull the trigger.

6. Miami Dolphins: Matt Barkley, QB, USC

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    Well the Dolphins couldn't manage to get Andre Luck, but they manage to get the next best quarterback available. Matt Barkley has been overshadowed by Luck's greatness but is still a great quarterback prospect.

    He is a pure pocket passer with good accuracy and pocket awareness. He has that "it" factor when it comes to being a quarterback and would be a huge upgrade at the position for the Dolphins.

    USC will not have any sanctions next year which means they can play for a BCS bowl and Barkley can have a shot at the title. He might also be the first pick in 2013 so it's still not clear whether he will return for his senior year.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

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    Alshon Jeffery is another great wide receiver prospect that has prototypical size to be a great wide receiver in the NFL.

    His productivity has suffered this year due to poor quarterback play at South Carolina but he has all skills needed to be successful at the next level. Did you see that touchdown catch he had against the Citadel?

    He can go up and get the ball and can rack up yards after the catch. He reminds me a lot of Brandon Marshall with better hands.

8. Arizona Cardinals: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

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    Jonathan Martin is another great tackle prospect that has been guarding Andrew Luck's blind side. Talk about pressure.

    Martin also has the size of a prototypical left tackle in the NFL and will transition quite easily. Like the Vikings, the Cardinals are looking to protect their million dollar man Kevin Kolb, who has been knocked around a lot this year.

9. Seattle Seahawks: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

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    The third best quarterback in this year's class and maybe the most intriguing. Landry Jones possesses all the skills needed to be an NFL quarterback. He is even praised by Skip Bayless, which doesn't happen to often.

    Jones has a rocket of an arm and great accuracy. However, he is really inconsistent and becomes too inaccurate when he is pressured in the pocket.

    Pete Carrol will finally have somebody that can get the ball to Sidney Rice.

10. Cleveland Browns: Quinton Coples, DE/LB, North Carolina

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    Quinton Coples may be the best defensive end prospect in this draft. The Browns look like the have a good defensive tackle in Phil Taylor and will look to add to their pass rush.

    They have drafted quality defensive players in the last two years, and it will continue this year with Coples.

    He has an excellent motor and is relentless when going after the quarterback. His ability to rush the passer is above average and also has good ability to stop the run.

11. Kansas City Chiefs: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

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    Riley Reiff is the third best tackle prospect in this draft and will help the Kansas City Chiefs protect Matt Cassel as well as open holes in the running game.

    Reiff is strong, athletic, and a very good downhill blocker that can help Jamal Charles next year. He has good feet that will come in handy at the next level.

12. Philadelphia Eagles: Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State

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    This may be the best class of inside linebackers in recent memory. There are four players that will probably be drafted in the first round in no guaranteed order. I have Vontaze Burfict being drafted first because I think he has the highest ceiling out of the three.

    He's tough, physical, and has a motor that is reminiscent to that of Ray Lewis. He has the swagger that the Philadelphia Eagles need on the defense and fits a big need at linebacker.

    He has had some attitude issues which may drop his stock a little bit, but his upside will draw teams to draft him early.

13. San Diego Chargers: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

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    Dre Kirkpatrick will be an impact corner back in the near future for whoever drafts him. In this case, it's the Chargers. The Chargers need help in the secondary as their players aren't getting younger and have given up some big plays.

    Kirkpatrick is a physical corner that displays good speed and leaping ability which allows him to keep up with the taller receivers.

    He has good coverage skills and comes from a great defensive program at Alabama.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

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    The Buccaneers need a lot of help at corner back. Ronde Barber isn't get younger and it is still uncertain what might happen with Aqib Talib. They have a few choices here but I think they pull the trigger on Dennard.

    He has good coverage skills and is very good at stopping the run. He would fill one of the biggest needs for the Bucs and would help improve a struggling defense.

15. Denver Broncos: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

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    Trent Richardson is clearly the best running back prospect in this year's draft class. He has the strength of former teammate Mark Ingram, but is more explosive. It is evident that Knowshon Moreno is not a lead back and Willis McGahee is getting up there in age.

    Tim Tebow definitely needs play makers on offense other than himself.

    Richardson possesses incredibly burst and is excellent at running in between the tackles. He can run through you or around you, and is an excellent pass catcher. Tim Tebow will be incredibly happy if the Broncos can get their hands on Richardson.

16. Tennessee Titans: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

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    Luke Kuechly is another one of the four great prospects at inside linebacker. The Titans lost Stephen Tulloch and have clearly missed him. Kuechly would help fill a need on the inside for the Titans and would give them a line backer for years to come.

    Kuechly has been incredibly consistent in his tenure at Boston College and is a tackling machine. He rarely misses a tackle and is always around the football. 

17. Buffalo Bills: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame

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    Manti Te'o is also an excellent linebacker prospect that will be an impact player as soon as he steps on an NFL field. The Bills rank 27th on total defense and will certainly take someone that will help in that area.

    Their linebackers are not young and Te'o would give them a linebacker for years to come. With Marcel Dareus and Te'o, the Bills are building a scary front seven.

    Te'o has been a tackling machine at Notre Dame since he was a freshman. He has great speed to chase runners from side to side and has the ability to keep up with tight ends. He has excellent tackling technique which allows him to rarely miss a tackle.

18. Cleveland Browns (Atlanta): Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

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    Michael Floyd is another great prospect at wide receiver this year. The Browns certainly need help at the position since they don't have a consistent #1 receiver. Floyd can be a great addition to the receiving core and Greg Little can fit in nicely into a secondary receiver role.

    Floyd is explosive with great size, and can catch practically anything thrown at him.

    He has had some off the field issues but I think the Browns desperately need an impact player at wide receiver to help Colt McCoy.

19. Cincinnati Bengals (Oakland): Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

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    Stephon Gilmore is a good corner back prospect that will probably be drafted late in the first or might even slip to the second round. Cincinnati likes for their corner backs to be big and physical and Gilmore possesses both of those aspects.

    Gilmore has great ability to stop the run which will transfer well to the NFL. He can return punts, kicks, and has great coverage skills.

    He will be a great addition to an already good defense in Cincinnati.

20. Detroit Lions: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

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    Janoris Jenkins is a really good corner back prospect that could have been a top ten pick had he stayed in Florida and not had off the field issues. The Lions would love to add a good cover corner to their defense and become one of the most intimidating.

    Jenkins possesses great coverage skills and was able to hold Alshon Jeffery and A.J. Green in check while he was at Florida.

    If he can manage to stay out of trouble, he will probably be drafted in the first round.

21. Houston Texans: Alameda Ta'Amu, NT, Washington

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    Alameda Ta'Amu is an absolute monster. I didn't know they made a uniform that big. He has been eating up double teams all year long and would be a great addition to the Texans improved defense.

    He has a great ability to stop the run he also has the ability to get through offensive linemen and get to the quarterback.

    He will cause havoc from the moment he puts on an NFL uniform and the Texans will love to have him alongside Mario Williams, and Brian Cushing.

22. New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama

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    Courtney Upshaw has increased his productivity from last year and has become a leader for the Alabama defense. The Jets drafted a good tackle in Muhammad Wilkerson last year and will look to improve their pass rush this year.

    Upshaw possesses great size for a 3-4 rush linebacker and will help Rex Ryan's defense blitz less often to get pressure on the quarterback.

    Brandon Jenkins from Florida State can also be a possibility here, but I think Upshaw has bigger upside and comes from a better defensive program.

23. Dallas Cowboys: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

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    David DeCastro is without a doubt the best guard prospect in this draft. He has helped protect the most popular quarterback in college and has done it in dominating fashion. The Cowboys went with a RT last year in Tyron Smith and could go with another offensive lineman in this draft.

    Tony Romo certainly wouldn't have a problem with that.

    DeCastro has unbelievable run blocking ability and can get to the second level of the defense to make blocks. He also has outstanding pass blocking skills that will help the Dallas offense put up a lot of points.

    He will be one of the best guards in the NFL in a short period of time.

24. Chicago Bears: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

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    Peter Konz is one of the best centers in the draft along with Michael Brewster. He has been playing lights out for the Badgers and is a big reason why they have one of the top offenses in college football.

    The Bears are in desperate need of offensive linemen. They drafted Gabe Carimi last year and could very well follow with Konz this year.

    Konz has great pass blocking skills and his run blocking is absolutely fantastic. He regularly gets to the second level of the defense and constantly puts defensive linemen on the ground.

    Wouldn't that be a pretty picture for Jay Cutler to see?

25. Cincinatti Bengals: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami (FL)

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    Lamar Miller is the first Miami Hurricane to reach 1,000 yards since Willis McGahee in 2002. That's quite an accomplishment when you consider the running backs that have come out of Miami in the last decade.

    The Bengals are probably going to get rid of Cedric Benson at some point and give Andy Dalton a true running back.

    Miller possesses great speed and is a threat to score on every play. He also has good receiving ability that will give the Bengals offense another weapon.

26. New York Giants: Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia

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    Cordy Glenn is another great guard that will help any team with protection. He started the year slow against Boise State and South Carolina, but has improved every week which says a lot about his work ethic.

    The Giants would love to have David DeCastro fall to them, but if that's not the case, they would love to take Cordy Glenn.

    Glenn has great strength and a big body to help Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs in the running game. He has some trouble with pass protection but will improve at the next level.

27. Baltimore Ravens: Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama

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    Dont'a Hightower makes perfect sense at this spot. Sadly, Ray Lewis is nearing retirement and they will need to find a replacement for him. Hightower comes from a great program at Alabama and has been one of their leaders.

    He has good speed and size to play in the NFL. He does a great job stopping the run and constantly beats offensive linemen. He is more suited to play in a 3-4 scheme rather than a 4-3.

    He will probably play a couple years next to Ray Lewis which will help his experience and leadership for the future.

28. New England Patriots (Saints): Melvin Ingram, DT/DE, South Carolina

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    Melvin Ingram has been one of the most dynamic defensive linemen in college football this year. He has returned fumbles for touchdowns, intercepted passes, and scored on a fake punt.

    The patriots are looking to apply more pressure on the opposing quarterbacks and drafting Melvin Ingram would definitely help.

    He has great size, quickness, and a high motor. He never gives up on a play and will always be around the ball to make a tackle. He has great pass rushing skills and also does a good job stopping the run.

29. San Francisco 49ers: Ronnell Lewis, DE/OLB, Oklahoma

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    Ronnel Lewis has been an integral part of Oklahoma's defense this season. He has been excellent at defensive end and has made a lot of big plays. San Francisco has one of the best defense's in the league and would love to add Lewis.

    He could play defensive end or outside linebacker and has great speed and strength. He has the ability to rush the passer as well as stop the run.

    His addition will make the San Francisco defense a lot scarier than it already is.

30. New England Patriots: Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina

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    Zach Brown is probably the best OLB prospect in this year's class and I'm not quite sure he will drop this far. For now I'll put him here, but he probably will be higher in later mocks.

    He has been outstanding for North Carolina and has racked up a lot of tackles. New England needs to put constant pressure on the opposing quarterback and drafting Ingram along with Brown would be a start.

    He's an incredible athlete that also has good instincts to make the right plays at the right time. He comes from a program that has produced great defensive players and he has the ability to easily transfer his skills to the NFL.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers: Josh Chapman, NT, Alabama

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    Josh Chapman is another member of that Alabama defense that might get drafted in the first round. He looks like he could be a quality NT.. Casey Hampton, as well as the Steeler's defense, is getting older and could use a boost at any position.

    Chapman has a great ability to stop the run, but might lack some pass rushing skills. He would be a good fit for the Steelers as they can generate pass rush from many areas.

32. Green Bay Packers: Devon Still, DE/DT, Penn State

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    Devon Still is a great defensive end prospect that is most suited to play defensive end in a 3-4 defense or defensive tackle position in a 4-3 defensive scheme. He has been productive in his time at Penn State and will look to do the same at the next level.

    He has great size and speed and can disrupt the backfield. He can take on double teams and has recorded a tackle for loss in every game this season. He would be a great addition to the Packer defense who have below average defensive ends.

    Imagine a pass rush that includes B.J. Raji, Clay Mathews, and Devon Still. Scary.