2012 NFL Mock Draft Dynasty
On the eve of the 2012 NFL Draft, here I provide you the most sound mock draft, based on the best options for each of the 32 first-round draft picks. Selections are based on talent and team need, not on predictions of what teams will do.
In a draft that promises to be one for the history books, filled with abundant talent and depth of young athletes, each team will try to take that next step.
The future is now, welcome to the NFL.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck QB
2. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III
No surprise here. The all-everything QB, better known as RG3, is ready to lock-and-load in D.C. The ultimate question mark in this year's draft, Griffin will end up being one of the most fun players to watch in all of the NFL.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil OT
There has been much speculation that the Vikings want to go game-changer with this pick, if they don't ultimately trade it. They are foolish to pass on Kalil, who is a legitimate franchise left tackle. He will protect last year's first-round pick, Christian Ponder, for his entire career and move the running game with Adrian Peterson in tow.
4. Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson RB
There hasn't been a running back talent like Alabama's Richardson since LaDainian Tomlinson. That's right, I said it. Cleveland's entire franchise lacks identity. Draft T-Rich and they instantly have a top-10 running game. Just because he is not a QB, does not mean Richardson is not a franchise player.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne CB
To contend in the pass-happy NFC South, the Bucs will need to cover some nasty receivers.
Claiborne has elite shutdown ability, with the ceiling of a Darrelle Revis. And although I am more concerned about his low Wonderlic score than most (four), he is still the best cornerback in the draft.
6. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon WR
The Rams' biggest need is protecting their franchise quarterback, Sam Bradford, but as there are no suitable left tackles on the board, they can't pass on Blackmon.
It is my belief that Blackmon is grossly overrated, but this pick makes sense as the Rams' receivers are a lackluster bunch that don't pack a punch.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Nick Perry DE
This is the first shakeup selection of the draft. The Jags take who they think is the best defensive end in USC's Nick Perry. They get the best pure rusher, and those type of players always come at a high premium. He has great lateral mobility and works back the quarterback. When I watch him play he comes with a high motor and collapses the quarterback. Solid tackling is always a plus. This year's Jason Pierre-Paul or Aldon Smith.
8. Miami Dolphins: Quinton Coples DE
Coples is an ultra-talented player, but lacks work ethic and a high motor. If he is able to combine his talents with a strong skill set and work on his closing speed, he could be a top 10 NFL player. He is also the first bust-prospect up on the board.
As much as I think they should pass on him, the Dolphins probably end up taking Tannehill if someone else doesn't do so first.
9. Carolina Panthers: Michael Floyd WR
I am highly critical of Floyd as I think he lacks the burst off the line and the quick hips necessary to make plays in the NFL, but if I am wrong, Cam Newton gets the ultimate deep threat target.
Floyd has all the measurables necessary to excel at the next level. With Cam Newton's unique skill set and running ability, he will be able to hit Floyd on the run when plays break down.
10. Buffalo Bills: Riley Reiff OT
I don't think Riley Reiff is very good (see above picture), but if the Bills are serious about contending in the AFC East then they must build a complete offense. The offensive line in Buffalo is nothing to write home about, and hopefully Reiff provides some consistency.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: Dontari Poe DT
The Chiefs gamble on the Memphis product who could be the next Haloti Ngata or another one of their bust defensive lineman of recent years. Poe's athletic ability wows all those who watch him move. He can be the NT they need to destroy the run in the AFC West.
12. Seattle Seahawks: David DeCastro OG
David DeCastro might be the best lineman in the draft, but unfortunately for his bank account he plays guard and not tackle. For years, guards have been undervalued relative to tackles, but this might be the year where all the scouts are wrong. DeCastro will fill a need on the line, and Carroll gets to take a shot at Harbaugh one more time.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Michael Brockers DT
Michael Brockers is the type of NFL talent that makes it look easy when he is out there handling guys. He can be a stud all-around DT for the Cardinals and become an anchor for that defense.
14. Dallas Cowboys: Ryan Tannehill QB
Unfortunately for one close-minded NFL team, Tannehill probably goes much higher than this slot, but this is the perfect situation for him. By no means does this mean Tony Romo is no longer the man, but let's be honest, that guy needs a match lit under him. Tannehill can develop under another gunslinger and learn the system.
For the record, I don't like Ryan Tannehill, but this would be a great situation for him. Mark Barron would another great fit for the 'Boys.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Fletcher Cox DT
The Eagles got gouged by the run all last season, and they need Fletcher Cox—he's the best run-stuffer. The NFC East does not get any easier next year with one Mr. Griffin III coming into the fold.
Philadelphia has refused to address the safety position with premium picks, but they could definitely do it this year with a talent like Alabama's Mark Barron.
16. New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw LB/DE
The Jets need Courtney Upshaw. The once vaunted Jets defense was led in sacks by former bust Aaron Maybin. The once powerhouse team is now in disarray and they turn to the 'Bama linebacker to set them straight. ROLL TIDE!
A strong second option here is Miami RB Lamar Miller as the Jets desperately need a running game.
17. Cincinnati Bengals: Cordy Glenn OL
The mammoth offensive lineman is equally impressive for his size and strength as he is his mobility and versatility. Bengals get a great prospect here who helps in two facets of their offense. Glenn can play inside at guard or outside at tackle.
18. San Diego Chargers: Stephon Gilmore CB
The Chargers get a potential top-10 pick at 18. Gilmore has all the moves and the quick hips you want in your corner. He will have a job in the league for a long career.
19. Chicago Bears: Coby Fleener TE
Don't look now, but Coby Fleener has the potential to be a top-three player at his position.
If not a lineman, the Bears could go offensive line or cornerback.
20. Tennessee Titans: Dre Kirkpatrick CB
With the loss of Cortland Finnegan, the Titans have a huge need for a physical corner. And although Kirkpatrick is a great fit, he also tops my list of bust candidates, and not because of his off the field issues.
He is a physical specimen at 6'4", but I am concerned about his mobility covering underneath routes and his high propensity for getting burned deep. I look forward to watching Kirkpatrick play and prove himself.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Lamar Miller RB
Lamar Miller is tooooo fast.
He is this year's Chris Johnson, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. He has the raw talent and speed to be a special player in this league, but only if he can accompany his talents with vision and an ability to run between the tackles.
The Bengals need another weapon, whether it be Miller, Kendall Wright or Rueben Randle.
22. Cleveland Browns: Melvin Ingram LB/DE
Ingram is another special athlete because of his versatility, one who can help the Browns in multiple defensive sets.
Their front seven has improved but needs substantial work to contend in the uber-tough AFC North. He has been called a "tweener," but has also been rated a top-10 player, the Browns get a steal.
23. Detroit Lions: Lavonte David OLB
The Lions need a cornerback badly, but with the top characters out of the picture, they look at need number two with one hell of a player. Lavonte runs boys down. He has the closing speed that you look for in a linebacker and possesses playmaker instincts. Once considered a sleeper pick, he has shot up draft boards.
The Lions should address their corner need in the second round with a player like Oklahoma's Jamell Fleming.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dont'a Hightower ILB
The Steelers had a small purge of defensive players in attempts to retain Mike Wallace. Hightower is a plug-and-play linebacker because of his knowledge of NFL schemes working with Nick Saban. The Steelers keep the ball rolling with Hightower in the fold.
25. Denver Broncos: Peter Konz C
Peyton Manning is in Denver, but homeboy Jeff Saturday shrugged him off and went to Green Bay. Manning needs a leader on the line and Konz projects well to fulfill that role. The Broncos get a solid blocker.
26. Houston Texans: Alshon Jeffrey WR
Alshon Jeffry was once a contender with Blackmon for best receiver in the draft, but has had his stock fall in recent weeks. In 2010, his numbers in the SEC exceeded both those of Julio Jones and A.J. Green. Jeffrey is a special player with elite size and an excellent successor to Andre Johnson.
Watch this YouTube and tell me how many great plays Jeffrey makes on poorly thrown balls. He had a terrible quarterback situation in South Carolina.
27. New England Patriots: Whitney Mercilus DE
The Super Bowl game versus the Giants made it quite clear that the Pats could no longer proceed without some type of pass rush. Mercilus is both a great fit and an elite talent. Huge win, but you know the Patriots always trade their picks.
28. Green Bay Packers: Kendall Reyes DL
The Packers could use a 5-technique guy like Reyes to help stuff the run and let Clay Matthews do his thing, who regressed last season. The Pack could go in a lot of directions, but this makes sense.
29. Baltimore Ravens: David Wilson RB
David Wilson is the perfect complement-running back to Ray Rice. He is the bruiser-type power back that loves to take guys on. He works in between the tackles and is equally effective in short yardage situations.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Kendall Wright WR
I hope the 49ers trade this pick, either up to get a premium right guard, or down to accumulate more picks. But if they stay here, it makes sense to get Wright. His elite speed will complement Colin Kapernick, who is the quarterback of the future in SF, and Wright can provide instant return on investment in special teams.
31. New England Patriots: Mychal Kendricks ILB
I like me some Mychal Kendricks.
He posted the fastest 40 time of a linebacker in the last 10 years and is the complete package in terms of tackling, vision and closing speed. The one knock on him is his height, as he stands at 5'11. Bill Belichick has been able to overlook minor flaws in the past and he gets an absolute stud and the bottom of the first.
32. New York Giants: Luke Kuechly ILB
The Giants could get a WR to replace the departing Mario Manningham, they could get a lineman to protect Eli, or they could get a cornerback to replace Aaron Ross.
Instead they choose the highly overrated Luke Kuechly, who hails from Boston College. He is a nice college player, but he is a two-down linebacker in the NFL and doesn't break to the ball like you would hope for a top draft pick.
His game screams: not NFL ready.