2012 NFL Mock Draft: Easy Picks for Your NFL Team

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 02:  Quarterback Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal looks to pass against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2012 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Most teams tend to agonize over their first-round picks in the NFL Draft since there are tons of options to look at and little margin for error. Making the wrong selection can set a franchise back many years, so scouts, general managers and coaches do their due diligence to ensure that they are getting the player they think they are.

With that said, there are likely some teams who enter the draft with little doubt about who they want. Sometimes there just happens to be a natural fit that even the most novice observers can identify. Teams don't always go with the obvious choice, but sometimes that is the best route to take and it results in the best selections.

In addition to a full, first-round mock draft, here is some analysis on easy picks that teams cannot afford to pass up.

1. Indianapolis Colts (2-14): Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

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It has been more or less a foregone conclusion since the Indianapolis Colts released long-time quarterback Peyton Manning that they would select Stanford signal caller Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick. General manager Ryan Grigson made it official and that should come as no surprise to no one. The Colts need a new face for their franchise, and Luck seems like the ideal and obvious choice.

Not only was he a two-time runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, but he's seen as the most polished quarterback prospect to enter the draft since perhaps Manning himself. Luck has everything that you look for in a quarterback as his arm is both strong and accurate, he has great mobility and he is extremely intelligent.

If the Colts were to release Manning and not follow it up by taking Luck, the entire fan base would likely revolt. Getting rid of Manning couldn't have been an easy decision, but the possibility of transitioning from one franchise quarterback to another was too much to pass up, and it is clearly the best option for Indianapolis.

2. Washington Redskins (5-11): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor (via STL)

The Washington Redskins made a huge power move a couple months ago when they traded up from the No. 6 spot to No. 2 in this year's NFL Draft. They paid a hefty price giving up a couple future firsts and a future second but they have obviously identified a player that they love at that spot. With Luck going first, there is no doubt that Washington will select Baylor quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III.

There is no guarantee that Griffin's skill set will translate to the next level, but after Cam Newton's success last season coming out of a spread offense, there is a ton of optimism regarding RGIII's prospects. He is a more accurate passer than Newton and while he may not be quite as mobile, he is perfectly capable of making plays with his legs.

The 'Skins have been without a truly good quarterback for a couple decades and getting a guy like Griffin is long overdue. The Redskins didn't trade up and mortgage part of their future for fun. They did it because they are confident that Griffin can be the guy to lead them to the promised land, and if they believe that to be true then this pick is a no-brainer.

3. Minnesota Vikings (3-13): Matt Kalil, OT, USC

Minnesota may have the option of trading out of this spot, but with left tackle being a major need, the Vikes should stay put and take Kalil.

4. Cleveland Browns (4-12): Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

It may not be en vogue to take a running back this high in the draft, but the Browns badly need one and Richardson may be the surest thing in the draft.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12): Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

There has been a lot of backlash since LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne's low Wonderlic test score was leaked to the public, but it ultimately shouldn't matter at all. Claiborne is unquestionably the top corner in the draft and has the ability to become an elite player at the position in the mold of Darrelle Revis. With that in mind, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers simply can't afford to pass on him at No. 5.

Not only is Claiborne the best player on the board at this point, but he fills a huge need for the Bucs. Ronde Barber may very well be playing his last season and there is talk of moving him to safety so he certainly doesn't have a spot locked down. And with Aqib Talib constantly in legal trouble, the Buccaneers have shopped him and may not have much more patience when it comes to his shenanigans.

All signs point to the Buccaneers wanting and needing Claiborne, so there is no reason why they shouldn't take him. You can't often say that a player has the potential to be the best player in the league at his position, but Claiborne very well could develop into the NFL's top corner, and because of that Tampa has to grab him.

6. St. Louis Rams (2-14): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State (via WAS)

I believe that the Rams always intended to take Blackmon for Sam Bradford's sake and they'll still get him despite trading down four spots.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11): Quinton Coples, DE, UNC

The Jaguars just can't afford to botch another first rounder, and while there are some questions surrounding Coples, his ability as a pass rusher is undeniable.

8. Miami Dolphins (6-10): Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

There is no way that the Dolphins should take Tannehill this early, but after missing out on a host of free agents this offseason, they'll panic and reach for him.

9. Carolina Panthers (6-10): Fletcher Cox, DL, Mississippi State

Cox may be better suited as a defensive end in a 4-3 defense, but his skill is immense as a penetrating lineman so the Panthers will take him to be a defensive tackle.

10. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Mark Barron, S, Alabama

Taking a wide receiver may be the better option for Buffalo, but Barron is the best safety in the draft and should make a big impact on the Bills' defense.

11. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9): David DeCastro, G, Stanford

The Chiefs are a good sleeper team as they are stacked pretty much everywhere and they won't hesitate to solidify the offensive line with DeCastro.

12. Seattle Seahawks (7-9): Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

Seattle struggled to pressure the quarterback last season, but a pass-rushing duo of Ingram and Chris Clemons should really shake things up.

13. Arizona Cardinals (8-8): Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

The Cardinals were at their best when Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald were tearing up opposing defenses, so they'll get Floyd to be their new Boldin.

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

Dallas has a lot of needs on defense, and with its interior defense getting long in the tooth, a youthful tackling machine like Kuechly is the perfect fit.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8): Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

The Eagles probably would have loved to have gotten Barron or Kuechly, but with both of them off the board, the Eagles will take a disruptive tackle in Brockers.

16. New York Jets (8-8): Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

New York won't be able to get by with Aaron Maybin as its only pass rusher, so the Jets will strengthen the defense by selecting Upshaw.

17. Cincinnati Bengals (via OAK 8-8): Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

With Leon Hall injured and new free-agent acquisition Terence Newman declining, the Bengals absolutely must grab Gilmore to solidify the cornerback position.

18. San Diego Chargers (8-8): Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

The Chargers probably weren't expecting Reiff to fall this far, but since the offensive line has plenty of question marks, the Bolts won't hesitate to take him.

19. Chicago Bears (8-8): Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia

Quarterback Jay Cutler has taken a beating over the past couple years, so the Bears would be wise to get him a capable protector like Glenn.

20. Tennessee Titans (9-7): Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

The Titans haven't had a great outside pass rusher since Jevon Kearse was in his prime, so they'll roll the dice a bit and hope that Mercilus becomes a similar player.

21. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7): Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

Cincinnati could get by without another receiver, but it certainly wouldn't hurt Andy Dalton's development if he had a speedy weapon like Wright.

22. Cleveland Browns (via ATL 10-6): Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

It may not be the most exciting pick, but Martin would lock down the right side of Cleveland's offensive line in the physical AFC North.

23. Detroit Lions (10-6): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

The Lions are in desperate need of a cornerback after getting killed by the pass late last season and Kirkpatrick has Pro-Bowl potential at pick No. 23.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4): Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis

Casey Hampton may never play another down at nose tackle for the Steelers, so it's time to move on with Poe, who happens to be an athletic freak.

25. Denver Broncos (8-8): Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

The Broncos can't be happy with J.D. Walton, so they'll get Peyton Manning a center who can develop into one of the league's best, and Konz is precisely that.

26. Houston Texans (10-6): Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech

Houston has neglected its no. 2 receiver spot for far too long, but now is the time to get Andre Johnson some support in the form of Hill.

27. New England Patriots (via NO 13-3): Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State

Not only does he seem like a Patriot type of player, but McClellin has been shooting up draft boards as of late and would be a perfect pass rusher for New England.

28. Green Bay Packers (15-1): Chandler Jones, DE/OLB, Syracuse

The Packers suddenly couldn't get to the quarterback last season, but Jones will rectify that by getting sacks of his own and taking some of the focus away from Clay Matthews.

29. Baltimore Ravens (12-4): Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama

Baltimore is better than perhaps any other team at drafting defensive players and it will put Hightower in a position to succeed behind Ray Lewis.

30. San Francisco 49ers (13-3): Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

The 49ers don't really have any pressing needs, but the right side of their offensive line is pretty shaky, so they'll go ahead and nab Adams.

31. New England Patriots (13-3): Devon Still, DL, Penn State

He may never ascend to his heights, but due to his versatility and ability to get into the backfield, Still could become the next Richard Seymour for the Pats.

32. New York Giants (9-7): Rueben Randle, WR, LSU

Winning the Super Bowl means that you can do whatever you want, and the Giants will exercise that right by replacing Mario Manningham with Randle.