2012 NFL Mock Draft: Pre-Draft Day Edition

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 26: Quarterbacks Andrew Luck of Stanford and Robert Griffin III of Baylor meet during the 2012 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 26, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The 2012 NFL draft kicks off on Thursday night, and it's sure to be an exciting and unpredictable event. 

Knowing that, it seems crazy to try and predict the draft, but it's just too much fun to speculate on what teams should and should not do. 

Once it's all said and done, some teams will be big-time winners and others will strike out. It's the simple truth, as we see it happen with each draft. 

That being said, here's my 2012 NFL mock draft with info on each pick and a more in-depth look at a few particular selections. 

2012 NFL Mock Draft 

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

Luck is the real deal, and he'll waste no time in putting on a show for the Colts. 

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

Speaking of putting on a show, that's all Griffin knows how to do. He'll be a warm welcome for Redskins fans who happened to be extremely loyal despite all the struggles. 

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

Kalil is the safest bet for the Vikings, but don't be surprised if Minnesota trades back a few spots. 

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

Richardson is a beast and has all the skills and tools to make an immediate impact in the NFL, which is great because the Browns are in dire need of help on offense. 

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

Claiborne is the top defender in the draft, and he'll be an instant upgrade to the Bucs' secondary. 

6. St. Louis Rams (2-14): Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

Brockers is a monster in the trenches and a safe pick for the Rams here at No. 6. 

Of course, the Rams may not even be picking here as recent news states the Rams are looking to deal Steven Jackson, which means they would want Richardson on draft day.

If the Rams keep this pick, they would be wise to steer clear from Blackmon, because Brockers is a better bet. He'll bring much-needed youth to the defensive front in St. Louis and anchor that line for many years to come.  

7. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State 

The Jaguars are desperate for playmakers, so they'll easily take the gamble on Blackmon. It may not pay off though, especially considering they have Blaine Gabbert as their QB. 

8. Miami Dolphins (6-10): Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

Brandon Marshall is gone and instead of using this pick on a QB like Ryan Tannehill, who will flop with no weapons around him, the Dolphins should give the decent QB they already have more playmakers to work with. 

It makes no sense to get Tannehill, a project QB, this high because too much will be expected of him, and he'll fail to live up to it all. 

Jeffery has exceptional hands and great leaping ability. All Matt Moore will need to do is throw it up, and he'll bring it down. 

9. Carolina Panthers (6-10): Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

Coples has had his ups and downs during his college career, which has people doubting him. Still, the Panthers need help on the defensive line, and they'll love getting the Carolina kid to help out up front as well as help put more butts in the seats. 

10. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame 

The Bills do need help on defense if they're ever going to win the division, but Floyd is a special talent and pairing him with Steve Johnson will make the Bills harder to stop. Their hope will be to just outscore all their opponents since they'll still struggle to stop some of them. 

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

DeCastro is the best interior lineman in the draft, and the Chiefs will not pass up on such a talent. 

12. Seattle Seahawks (7-9): Nick Perry, DE, USC 

Perry explodes off the edge, doing his best to get to the backfield and disrupt opposing teams. This is exactly what the Seahawks need, and if they feel they can trade back and get him, that would be a smart move. 

13. Arizona Cardinals (8-8): Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

Ingram thrives on getting after opposing QBs, which is something Arizona needs to be better at. They'd prefer for Floyd to fall their way, but if it doesn't happen strengthening the pass rush with Ingram is a solid option. 

14. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Mark Barron, S, Alabama

Barron is the top safety in the draft, and I don't see him going past Dallas on draft day. They need an upgrade in the secondary, and Barron is the perfect fit.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8): Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College  

Kuechly is a tackling machine that will provide the Eagles with superb depth—something that is a must if Philadelphia is going to win it all. 

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

Upshaw plays with great passion and intensity, which Rex Ryan will love. He may not be the fastest out there, but he knows the game well and the Jets will thrive with him on the outside. 

17. Cincinnati Bengals (via OAK 8-8): Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

This is a gamble to select Miller so high, but it's going to pay off. Miller's stellar speed will help make the Bengals even more dangerous on offense, something that has to be done in order to hang with the mighty Steelers and Ravens in the AFC North. 

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

The Chargers would prefer a defensive tackle, but it's too much of a reach to get on here. They could look to help other areas of the defense, but Reiff's talents are too good to pass on. 

19. Chicago Bears (8-8): Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

Jay Cutler needs better protection, and Martin would be a huge splash here at No. 19. 

20. Tennessee Titans (9-7): Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina 

The Titans will hope that Coples, Perry, Ingram or Upsahw falls their way, but that doesn't seem likely. With the top pass rushers gone, Tennessee wisely drafts Gilmore to fix its need in the secondary. 

21. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7): Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

Jenkins has character concerns like they're going out of style. In fact, several people believe he won't be a first-round pick. 

It may not happen, but there's no denying that Jenkins is a first-round talent. Unfortunately, baggage around him will bring him down. 

Still, I could see the Bengals saying, "forget it, let's get him and hope for the best." They've been known to accept troubled players in the past, and you can't blame them for getting hooked on Jenkins' coverage and return skills. 

22. Cleveland Browns (via ATL 10-6): Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor 

Wright will instantly make Colt McCoy better, but that's only if the Browns do the right thing and draft him to further boost their struggling offense. 

23. Detroit Lions (10-6): Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia                              

Glenn's versatility on the offensive line makes him very enticing and even though the Lions need better depth at corner, passing on Glenn would be a huge mistake. 

24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Kirkpatrick will give the Steelers some much-needed youth in the secondary, as well as provide them with exceptional depth, something they lacked last year when Tim Tebow torched them in the playoffs. 

25. Denver Broncos (8-8): Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis  

Poe's draft stock soared after the combine, and the Broncos will jump at the chance to have him fill their biggest need. 

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

Another athlete whose stock skyrocketed after the combine, Hill's blazing speed is what makes him so dangerous. 

He'll be a great deep threat as a rookie while he continues to hone his route running and separation skills. 

The Texans need another threat on the outside opposite of Andre Johnson if they're ever going to make it to the Super Bowl. Johnson can't do it alone, so adding Hill will help make the Texans even stronger contenders in the AFC. 

27. New England Patriots (via NOLA 13-3): Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin 

With Konz still on the board, the Patriots blow everyone's mind again and select him, ignoring the fact they need help on defense. Bill Belichick loves to stockpile talent on the offensive line for Tom Brady

28. Green Bay Packers (15-1): Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois 

Green Bay needs another good pass rusher and even though Mercilus has boom or bust written all over him, the Packers will take the gamble and hope he pans out as well as Clay Matthews has. 

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

Hightower is the best available prospect on the board right now, and the Ravens would be wise to pick him to be their next Ray Lewis as opposed to reaching on an offensive lineman. 

30. San Francisco 49ers (13-3): Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State 

Another team that shouldn't reach on an offensive lineman here, the 49ers would be playing it smart by drafting Cox. It will make their defense even scarier with such great depth. 

San Francisco already improved in a big way this offseason through free agency, so landing the best available prospect here at No. 30 to upgrade the depth on their roster is the smart decision. 

31. New England Patriots (13-3): Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

The Patriots are probably going to trade this pick away, but their best bet would be to keep it and give the defensive line a much-needed boost with a beast like Branch. 

32. New York Giants (9-7): Chris Polk, RB, Washington  

It's Ahmad Bradshaw's time to shine in New York now that Brandon Jacobs is gone, but to be on the safe side, the Giants should get Polk to step in and fill the void left by Jacobs. 

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