2012 NFL Mock Draft: 5 Teams That Need to Trade Up

Wes ODonnell@wesodonnellFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2011

There are and always will be big surprises in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Whether it be a complete reach (Jacksonville was always good for that but things could change with new ownership and management), an awkward pass on a player or position of need (Washington has had their moments) or an out-of-the-blue trade that allows a contender to steal a player everyone else wanted; the first round simply never disappoints.

Sometimes the surprises really aren't surprises at all, and teams that need to trade up, do.

Here are five teams this year that would be wise to move up in the draft to assure themselves the player they really need.


*Draft order determined by combination of current record and projected finish. Trades not reflected in draft, but will be discussed.


1. Indianapolis Colts (1-13): Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Should the Colts earn No. 1, their best bet is to add the best QB prospect since their own Peyton Manning.

2. St. Louis Rams (2-12): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

Could easily go tackle, but they desperately need a top-notch playmaker out wide.

3. Minnesota Vikings (2-12): Matt Kalil, OT, USC

The Vikes need a new blindside protector and Kalil is a can't-miss. So is Morris Claiborne at CB, though, and Minnesota needs a shutdown corner.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10): Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

This is actually a trade-down scenario for a team desperate at a number of positions. If they sit tight, they take best player on the board.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Another trade-down scenario, Tampa wanted the top WR or CB, but both are gone. This is a bit of reach, but Kirkpatrick has elite potential.


6. Cleveland Browns (4-10): Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

The Browns don't need to trade up if they truly believe in Colt McCoy, but if they don't think he's the answer, they have two first-round picks this year and could easily find a way to still have a pick and move up Andrew Luck.

They're starting to put other pieces together and although Trent Richardson is a great addition for the team, the value on first-round running backs is extremely low.

There is absolutely no substitute for elite quarterback play in the NFL and Luck is the best prospect in some time.

Again, it is not necessary if they believe in McCoy, but they may never see a better opportunity than this.


7. Buffalo Bills (5-9): Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

The Bills don't need to trade up either, but depending on what happens with Chan Gailey and Ryan Fitzpatrick, this could easily be a QB. If not, they take best tackle on the board.

8. Miami Dolphins (5-9): Matt Barkley, QB, USC

Miami should be safe anywhere in the top eight for one of the top three quarterbacks, so they don't need to trade up. It wouldn't hurt to be safe though.


9. Washington Redskins (5-9): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Mike Shanahan and the Redskins cannot afford to come out of this draft without a quarterback. In this scenario, they get very lucky and cannot leave it to chance. Luck, Barkley and RGIII are all franchise quarterback material and Washington has to find a way to land one of them.

Luck is all but assured to go No. 1, so they should target a team like Jacksonville or Tampa Bay, who could look to move down depending on how the board falls.

They'll be in direct competition with the Dolphins, possibly the Bills and maybe even the Jaguars for the No. 2 and 3 QBs.

The Redskins cannot come out of this first round without a QB.


10. Carolina Panthers (5-9): Quinton Coples, DE, UNC

Best available defensive player.

11. Philadelphia Eagles (6-8): Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Big, able-bodied receiver with knack for scoring touchdowns and making big catches. Ideal fit alongside speedy weapons already in house, but can also help replace big plays should DeSean Jackson truly punk out.

12. Kansas City Chiefs (6-8): Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

Athletic tackle prospect who helps Chiefs fortify their ever-changing line once more.


13. Seattle Seahawks (7-7): Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

We've actually seen Pete Carroll do a lot of good in Seattle. He's put together a solid group of young, talented and fast players on both sides of the ball. They still need another legitimate weapon on the outside, but getting a signal-caller is what is truly holding them back.

Oklahoma's Landry Jones is an interesting prospect who has fallen down some draft boards of late. He should still be a first-round pick, but he's not in the Luck or Barkley/RGIII classes right now either.

Coach Pete Carroll knows Matt Barkley well and could look to reunite, or he could move up for a more mobile QB in RGIII.

Either way, Carroll has been putting the pieces together with each draft and now is the time to strike with a rookie quarterback who can put this team over the top.


14. San Diego Chargers (7-7): Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

Landing the future replacement for 32-year-old Quentin Jammer is a must for this team.

15. Arizona Cardinals (7-7): Devon Still, DT, Penn State

The threat of losing Calais Campbell should make this team jump on the top DT available.

16. Tennessee Titans (7-7): Vontaze Burfict, LB, ASU

Adding another linebacker after the loss of Stephen Tulloch last offseason still has to be on their mind.

17. Cincinnati Bengals (via OAK 7-7): Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

Miller would be an ideal complement to Cedric Benson, but could also be a potential replacement. The starting running back was only signed to a one-year deal.

18. Chicago Bears (7-7): Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

Bears need o-line help and this would allow them to move Roberto Garza back to his natural position at guard. Their interior line, with Chris Spencer at right guard, would be set.

19. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6): Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

Supremely talented, but questionable character. Yup, sounds exactly like the Bengals.

20. Dallas Cowboys (8-6): Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

Interesting options for Dallas at this point in the draft, but adding the eventual replacement for Bradie James/Keith Brooking could never come easier. Alongside Sean Lee, this duo would be one of the league's best.

21. Detroit Lions (9-5): Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

Potential replacement for Cliff Avril should he leave in free agency and/or the replacement for Kyle Vanden Bosch.

22. New York Jets (8-6): David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

Jets can never allow their running game to flounder the way it did early in the year. DeCastro is the draft's best interior lineman.

23. Denver Broncos (8-6): Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

Versatile run-stopping defensive lineman is an ideal fit for the Broncos defensive makeover.

24. New York Giants (7-7): Zach Brown, OLB, UNC

There is nothing more pressing than another athletic linebacker for the Giants.

25. Houston Texans (10-4): Mark Barron, S, Alabama

Houston still needs a safety and Barron is the best overall prospect.

26. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4): Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia

The perennial contenders consistently need offensive line help. Glenn can help at both tackle and guard.

27. Cleveland Browns (via ATL 9-5): Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

If the Browns don't trade their picks or find a way to hold onto this one by trading some combination plus next year's first, they could use a true No. 1 playmaker outside.


28. New England Patriots (via NO 11-3): Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

What if, for once, the Patriots take advantage of their two first-round picks and move up in the draft rather than back.

No team is more adept at trading picks for future picks than Bill Belichick's Patriots, but there comes a time when he'll have to finally cash in.

The Patriots secondary is in shambles and although Belichick can certainly find some playmakers at this stage of the first round, he could move up to land one of the top-flight corners or another player of his choosing.

Maybe, just maybe. (Don't count on it though)


29. Baltimore Ravens (10-4): Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama

Landing an eventual replacement for Ray Lewis is a must. Going with Crimson Tide stud never hurts.


30. San Francisco 49ers (11-3): Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

Coach Jim Harbaugh has almost everything in place. The Niners' biggest need, however, is a true, scare-the-defense, No. 1 receiver. Braylon Edwards doesn't do that. Michael Crabtree isn't doing it. Ted Ginn will never do it. Josh Morgan, Kyle Williams ... you get the picture.

There are some very intriguing wide receiver prospects in this draft Blackmon, Floyd and Jeffery would be all be upgrades for this team.

San Francisco will likely opt for the best available defensive player to keep that unit strong, but they could immediately contend again next year if they help balance their offense a bit more.


31. New England Patriots (11-3): Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers

If they don't trade away their picks a versatile offensive or defensive weapon would be on Belichick's wish list. Sanu is exactly that.

32. Green Bay Packers (13-1): Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC

Best available player will fall to Green Bay here regardless of position.


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