This will be the first of a series of mock drafts I will post throughout the rest of the season, leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft.
Remember to leave your thoughts and comments. It's always good to hear what fans think about the picks of their respected teams.
Note that this is all personal speculation, with some insights from various sites and "experts," as well as my own personal opinions.
Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Stanford
This is pretty much a no-brainer unless Luck goes into some unforeseen downward spiral before the draft.
Indy needs help in other areas too, especially at corner and in the trenches. Conceivably, the Colts could trade this pick to a team in need of a franchise guy such as Miami, Cleveland or Washington for a handful of picks. This would allow them to upgrade around Peyton Manning in the hopes of busting out another championship before he retires.
Matt Kalil, Offensive Tackle, USC
The Vikings spent a high first-round pick on Christian Ponder; therefore, they will want to make sure he is off the turf as much as possible. Kalil is the top tackle available by all accounts at this point, assuming he declares.
Don't be surprised if the Vikings shoot for Justin Blackmon instead. The team lacks offensive weapons outside of Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson.
Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State
This pick will likely come down to Justin Blackmon, Alshon Jeffery or Morris Claiborne. With Blackmon having the edge at this point in the process, he is the pick.
Aside from Brandon Loydd, what do the Rams have at receiver? If you answered with "nothing," you are correct and have won today's grand prize.
Matt Barkley, Quarterback, USC
The Redskins passed on a quarterback last year because? No way Mike Shanahan passes on a quarterback this year...unless he wants to be unemployed, that is.
The Skins really blew it this year. With any sort of competence under center, the division probably would have been theirs for the taking.
Alshon Jeffery, Wide Receiver, South Carolina
I seem to be the only person in the costal United States that thinks Blaine Gabbert is being unfairly judged. The poor guy was thrust into a starting position far too quickly, he lost his coach and he has a bunch of bums at receiver.
Coming out of last year, I thought Gabbert was a solid prospect who needed some time to develop. Perfect for a team like Buffalo, Jacksonville or New England who had veterans in place to teach the young signal caller. All I can say is that cutting David Garrard was the stupidest thing the Jaguars could have done for Gabbert's development.
With all of that off my chest, the Jags cannot give up on Gabbert after only one season. Bring in some quality talent (Alshon Jeffery) and see what the kid can do.
Morris Claiborne, Cornerback, LSU
Carolina loses out on the Blackmon-Jeffery sweepstakes in this mock, but they need help in the defensive backfield as well. Claiborne will sure up their secondary (save for an upgrade at safety perhaps) and help this defense to build for a brighter future.
Robert Griffin III, Quarterback, Baylor
JP Losman, no. Matt Moore, don't think so. RG3 is the guy for Miami.
Let's face it, no matter how outstanding Matt Moore played this year, the Dolphins will be bringing in a new head coach and almost assuringly a new starting quarterback. Griffin has taken the country by storm this year and has Michael Vick and Cam Newton written all over him.
Quinton Coples, Defensive End, North Carolina
Dick Jauron's defense failed in Buffalo a few short years ago because it lacked quality pass-rushers. With Quinton Coples terrorizing the pocket, coupled (pun intended) with the Browns solid secondary, this defense will be (almost) as fearsome as the rest of their division.
Luke Kuechly, Linebacker, Boston College
Poor Tampa Bay couldn't stop the run even if they wanted to at this point. With Kuechly manning the middle of their defense, the Bucs will have a potential star linebacker to build around for years. Not to mention their promising defensive line.
Riley Reiff, Offensive Tackle, Iowa
The next time I hear "Jason Peters is a top..." I will scream. He is a solid athlete; however, that does not make him a "top" offensive tackle in the NFL.
With Reiff, the Eagles can do some shifting in the trenches and have a much-needed tackle prospect to pair with Danny Watkins on their line.
Dre Kirkpatrick, Cornerback, Alabama
Wide receiver, cornerback, quarterback, linebacker, guard, running back, etc. Which way will the Bills lean on draft day? It is honestly frustrating making this pick because the team has so many needs (the running back thing was a joke).
Assuming that George Edwards gets his papers, the defense will be an even bigger wreck than it already is. If one thing is certain, it's that the Bills could use some help in their secondary.
Drayton Florence is a quality corner, but if he is your No. 1, there is some depth issues behind him most likely. With Kirkpatrick, Florence and Aaron Williams in the fold, the Bills will have a solid and fairly young secondary to build around.
Jonathan Martin, Offensive Tackle, Stanford
Martin could very well be selected before this, but for now, I'll give him to Arizona. The Cardinals need help on their offensive line; no doubt about that. Seeing as though they dished out some big bucks to Kevin Kolb, the team would be wise to protect him.
Landry "Lance" Jones, Quarterback, Oklahoma
There is a good chance this is just me, but picture Landry Jones in a Seahawks uniform. Doesn't that look right? Well, I think it does.
The Seahawks have struggled with Tarvaris Jackson and Jesus Whitehurst at the helm, meaning they'll be looking for a young, tested signal caller to lead the promising Seahawks into the future.
Courtney Upshaw, 3-4 Linebacker, Alabama
The Chargers need some help getting to the quarterback, and Courtney Upshaw is my top rated 3-4 OLB. He might be a bit short for a prototypical rush linebacker, but things like that can be thrown out the window if you have seen him play. An absolute stud defender.
Devon Still, Defensive End/Tackle, Penn State
This pick could easily be Whitney Mercilus; however, the team recently drafted Derrick Morgan in the first round. Still is a capable pass-rusher who can help collapse the pocket and take pressure off of Tennessee's defensive ends.
Trent Richardson, Running Back, Alabama
There is no reason to take a running back in the Top 10, ever. They do not have a long shelf life, and you can get equal value in later rounds.
With that, Richardson is special. He is big and has the speed to outrun defenders. I doubt he falls out of the Top 20 as former teammate Mark Ingram did.
Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame
How long have we been mocking offensive linemen and wide receivers to the Bears? I feel like I do this every year, and it is getting ridiculous.
The Bears need some quality wideouts unless they desire to "grind Matt Forte to a pulp."
They could stand to grab a versatile lineman such as Barrett Jones or Cordy Glenn as well.
Janoris Jenkins, Cornerback, North Alabama
Jenkins has some off-field issues, but everyone and their mother knows the Bengals don't really care about that.
Losing Jonathan Joseph hurt the Bengals secondary, but Jenkins (assuming he stays out of trouble) will definitely help.
Dwayne Allen, Tight End, Clemson
Yes, I guarantee you Dwayne Allen comes off the board in the first round. He is a tremendous all-around tight end and was called the best player in the ACC by Virginia Tech's defensive coordinator.
With the success of Rob Gronkowski and a seemingly ever-increasing importance on the tight end these days, Allen will see his stock rise come draft day.
Whitney Mercilus, 3-4 Rush Linebacker/Defensive End, Illinois
I had to go back and find a team to give Whitney Mercilus. He is just too good this year to leave out of the first round. While he doesn't fit the prototypical 3-4 linebacker, I would trust Rex Ryan to find a spot for him in the defense. Just look what he did with Aaron Maybin...
David DeCastro, Guard, Stanford
Just from futzing around the web, it seems like Lions fans want an interior lineman. Well, David DeCastro is one of the top players available and fills a need for Detroit at the same time.
Guards typically do not go high, but DeCastro's stock could rise in the coming months due to his production.
Zach Brown, Outside Linebacker, North Carolina
Jerel Worthy is definitely a consideration here, but the Giants could use some linebacking help.
Though the defense was riddled with injuries this year, the team could still use some young playmakers to pair with Jason Pierre-Paul and Prince Amukamara.
Jerel Worthy, Defensive Tackle, Michigan State
With Von Miller flying all over the field, Jerel Worthy can help clog the middle of the field and stuff the run. The Broncos defense is good now; imagine it with Worthy...
Cordy Glenn, Offensive Guard/Tackle, Georgia
Glenn is a very versatile lineman who projects as a guard or right tackle. There are some who think he can play the left; however, we will likely have to wait until the combine to see his athleticism in action.
Houston could use some chips on defense too, depending on what happens in free agency.
Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback, South Carolina
The Patriots secondary is trash. With Gilmore in the fold, the team will have a solid young core with Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty to build around.
I wouldn't rule out a pass-rusher here; however, the Patriots have made a habit of taking them in later rounds.
Barrett Jones, Offensive Guard/Tackle, Alabama
Jones has played multiple positions for the Crimson Tide over the past couple years, making him a perfect fit for the Steelers abysmal offensive line.
However, with Jones presumably kicked out wide and Pouncey in the middle, the team looks to have a solid foundation. Bottom line, they need to keep Roethlisberger healthy.
Chase Minnifield, Cornerback, Virginia
The Packers could go a couple directions here, but Minnifield seems to fit a need at corner and kick returner (not like that matters anymore, though).
A defensive or offensive lineman could be in the fold as well.
Lamar Miller, Running Back, Miami
The "Hyphen" and Danny Woodhead combo doesn't always get the job done. Miller is more talented, and Belichick will definitely utilize him to his full potential.
Dwight Jones, Wide Receiver, North Carolina
The 49'ers could take a shot at a quarterback here, but I think Alex Smith has earned his spot for the time being.
With that, the team still could use some options at receiver or a corner.