February 19, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

    I really have not made a post in along time. Much has happened since my last one, including NFL playoffs, college football bowls, and NBA season well under way. But now is the time for NFL mock draft's, and here is my first one of the season.
* indicates a tie; coin toss at NFL Combine will determine winner.

1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Andrew Luck
    This pick is pretty much a given, as the Colts even have announced that they will most likely take Luck. Overall  I think he is better then Robert Griffin, and has a good chance to be one of the next elite QB's within the next few seasons, something many recent first round QB's, such as Sam Bradford, Mathew Stafford, and Matt Ryan have not been able to do.
    I also have said though, that when all the spotlight was on Luck early in the season, before RG3 took over, that expectations may be too high on him, and even if he does develop into a strong QB, people still will say he is a bust. This very well could still be true.
    In the end, Luck is the best QB in this draft and still one of the best in recent drafts. Whether the Colts hold on to Manning or not, they will take Luck. No question.

2. St. Louis Rams - Matt Kalil, OT, USC

    There is a serious chance here that the Rams could end up trading down, as the Redskins, Browns, and Dolphins, among others, could contact them about a trade. However if the Rams do stay here, they most likely have two players in mind.
Matt Kalil
    First is Matt Kalil, a big 6'7 295 pound player, who is best tackle prospect since Jake Long. While he could use some weight, he has the strength and certainly the arm length to be a force against any team. Comparable to players such as Jonathan Ogden, Walter Jones, or Gary Zimmerman.
    The other is Justin Blackmon, the WR from Oklahoma State, that you can read more about in the next pick. Kalil has the greater potential and less chance of being a bust, and the Rams have had plenty of busts in recent years. Kalil can fill what Jason Smith could not and is the smart pick here.

3. Minnesota Vikings - Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

    Minnesota's biggest need here is a cornerback, but they also need a WR just as badly, and a new weapon for Christian Ponder that he did not have last season. Blackmon is a 6'1 WR who is 215. Blackmon clearly was the best WR in college, recording 121 receptions with 1,522 yards and 18 TD's, with 186 yards and 3 TDs in the Fiesta Bowl.
     Blackmon is not very fast and is not a deep threat receiver. But he makes catches and scores.
    While his eye-popping numbers in college stand out, Blackmon may struggle in the NFL, but he also has great potential to become a star. Worth the risk by the Vikings.

4. Cleveland Browns - Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor 

    If Cleveland does not move up in the draft, and RG3 is still available, this also is a no brainier. Griffin is a lot like Cam Newton, with a strong arm. While not a West Coast offensive QB, Griffin can still excel in Cleveland. The Browns do have Colt McCoy, but RG3 is just too good of a player to pass up on.
    A no brainier pick right here, and while a team may trade up with Vikings or Rams to take him earlier, RG3 will not fall past the fourth pick.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Trent Richardson
    A very tough call here between Richardson or CB Morris Claiborne from LSU. In the end, they go for style here and take Richardson. While they have LeGarrette Blount, Richardson is an upgrade and can help a running game that struggled last season. A corner can wait for later. Free Agent corners also include Brandon Carr, Cortland Finnegan, Carlos Rogers, & Tracy Porter. Buccaneers are more likely to take Richardson here.

6. Washington Redskins - Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
    If the Redskins are unsuccessful at selecting RG3, then a number of players could be taken here. Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn most likely will be brought in so helping offense rather then defense is what Mike Shanahan will do. Jammal Brown is a UFA and always injured. If Justin Blackmon is taken, Reiff is smarter choice. Reiff is a big kid who may move to guard at some point, but will most likely be a smart pick and have a solid career.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

    While this pick is a reach, the Jaguars are desperate for a WR. If QB Blaine Gabbert does not have any upgraded targets this season, the Jags will have a top 5 pick in 2013. Alshon Jeffery is an option here, but Wright is more likely. Besides, the Jaguars have not hesitated to reach for guys before (Tyson Alualu).

*8. Miami Dolphins - Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

    Miami will be switching to a 4-3, and Coples is a great 4-3 player and too good to pass up on here. A great pass rusher at 6'6. An upgrade here and will be a good value pick if Miami stays at this spot. Morris Claiborne also an option here.

*9. Carolina Panthers - Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Michael Brockers

    Carolina really needs help on the defensive front as they were 25th in rushing yards allowed last season. Brockers is best player available here for DTs, and can make an impact from day one. Smart pick here by Carolina.

10. Buffalo Bills - Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

    The Bills have hesitated on drafting corners. But grabbing a new, talented one would be smart. They have had FA corner Stanford Routt visit Buffalo, but drafting Claiborne if he is available would be too smart to miss. Claiborne is a great player who has potential to be a shutdown corner. Bills should not pass on this kid. But we have seem them make plenty of bad decisions before.

*11. Kansas City Chiefs - Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama

    The Chiefs can use help at LB, and Upshaw is best available. Very athletic player who can rack up the sacks. Luke Kuechly also a strong possibility here.

*12 Seattle Seahawks - Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

Melvin Ingram
    Seattle was hurting in pass rush last season, and while run stoppage is not an issue, pass rushing clearly is. If Ingram falls to this spot, Seattle cannot pass him up. Though Pete Carroll also could take one of his former defensive ends, Nick Perry, at this spot too.
    QB and CB also could be taken here, but none are worth being taken this high. Ingram makes most sense.

13. Arizona Cardinals - David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

    Guards usually are not taken this high, but DeCastro is a rare talent at the guard position. The Cardinals simply need to bolster the offensive line to protect whichever QB will be under center for them, more than likely Kevin Kolb.
     If a tackle is taken, DeCastro's teammate Jonathan Martin, or Ohio State's Mike Adams are options. But DeCastro is best pick here.

14. Dallas Cowboys - Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

    Dallas's passing game was beaten many times last season, so help is a must at safety or corner. Kirkpatrick is best player available, and makes most sense. Kirkpatrick has not proven he can run downfield with wideouts, but he has great size and could become a Pro Bowler.

15. Philadelphia Eagles - Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

Luke Kuechly
    Andy Reid doesn't draft linebackers in round one usually, but with how bad the Eagles defense was last year, and with how good Kuechly is, Reid may not have a choice. If Eagles do not make playoffs after such high expectations last preseason, Reid will be gone at season end.

16. New York Jets - Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse

    New York's defense is losing its pass rushing ability, and while Muhammad Wilkerson had a solid rookie campaign, they still need more. Jones can attack the opposing QB and on top of that stop the run. Adding some weight would help his play. Many other possible options here, but Jones is pick for now.

17. Cincinnati Bengals - Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

    Jenkins was originally at Florida, but was kicked out of school and enrolled at North Alabama. He has seemed to turn his life around, and can be a great player despite coming from a small school last season. The Bengals can use the depth at corner and Jenkins can fill that.
    Safety Mark Barron also should be considered here.

18. San Diego Chargers - Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

    Vincent Jackson may or may not be back for the 'Bolts, and Jeffery is a hit or miss player. A top 5 pick at seasons start, Jeffery had a poor year and dropped even to round two in some drafts. But the potential is off the charts and someone in round one will take a chance on him. Whether that is the Chargers here or a team later on.
     The Chargers also could select Michael Floyd or Kendell Wright if available. If they do not go after a WR round one, then Jonathan Martin or Mike Adams, both tackles, are likely here too.

19. Chicago Bears - Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

    The Bears spent their first round pick last year on a tackle,Gabe Carimi. But they still need help and Martin, who could easily go in the top 10, would be a great pick up for Chicago. A wide receiver here also makes sense, or even another pass rushed to compliment Julius Peppers for a couple of more seasons.

20. Tennessee Titans - Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

    Many blame Chris Johnson, by himself, for his very disappointing season. But even coach Mike Munchak blamed the offensive line. Mike Adams is best player here. He has potential to be a solid anchor on either side of the line, and can help Johnson get back to his old form.
    Pass rush is also something the Titans will address in draft, and could be upgraded at this spot.

21. Cincinnati Bengals - Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia 

    With the Bengals' second first round pick, they will upgrade the offensive line with Cordy Glenn, a big 6'6, 346 pound guard who can play tackle but will be used at guard in the NFL. Should be a second round pick, but will be taken higher as Bengals do not want to make more of a reach for a running back. Glenn still can develop into a strong talent.

22. Cleveland Browns - Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

    The Browns will either go for a WR or offensive lineman here, assuming they keep this pick. If they are to trade up in top 5, this pick most likely will be involved in the deal. But if they stay, Floyd will be the pick. No offensive linemen left are worthy of being drafted so high, and RG3 can still have a target if he falls to Cleveland.
    Greg Little had an up and down rookie season but even with Little, the Browns need another WR. Floyd is a great option and could end up being best receiver to come out of this draft.

23. Detroit Lions - Nick Perry, DE, USC
Nick Perry

    Detroit's biggest need is an offensive lineman, but like Cleveland, none of the remaining ones should be drafted this highly. Cliff Avril will be gone and Kyle Vanden Bosch is 33. Perry can add depth and rush the passer, and add to an already youthful defensive line.
    If any offensive linemen already taken in this mock draft do end up being available to Detroit at this spot, they will almost certainly will grab one.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

    While other DT's are available, I do not see the Steelers passing on Poe. He is a huge kid weighing in at over 350 pounds. With Casey Hampton aging, Pittsburgh will take Poe here. If not, then Devon Still, Fletcher Cox, and Jerel Worthy are also options. An offensive line pick could be used here too.

25. Denver Broncos - Mark Barron, S, Alabama

    Denver is a very old team, especially on the defense. They need many upgrades at position on both sides of the ball. Assuming the offense will have problems, the defense needs to make stops. Champ Bailey can hold down the secondary for a bit longer, but Brian Dawkins is going to retire. Barron could be a top 15 pick, but has a good chance to slide down to the 20's. Denver will take best defensive player available.
     They also could take a shot at a running back such as Lamar Miller here, as Willis McGahee's discovery of the fountain of youth last season will not continue.

26. Houston Texans - Devon Still, DT, Penn State

    This really is a tough spot to pick for Houston, as all the first round talent in the team's positional needs are taken. The defensive line could use some help on the inside, and Still has great potential. Not a bad pick here as far as value goes. Houston does not want to reach here.
     If a secondary player or WR falls to them, Houston most likely will take one. WR is biggest need, as Shaub has no one to throw to aside from Andre Johnson.

27. New England Patriots - Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

Whitney Mercilus
    As we all saw, the Patriots need help all across the defense. Aside from Jared Mayo, Vince Wilfork, Brandon Spikes, and Pat Chung, the Patriots defense is very weak. A team with only 4 above average starters on defense will not win any championships, no matter how good their offense is.
    Rebuilding this defense will start on the defensive line, and Mercilus is a pass rusher creating buzz so far. The Patriots will most likely take him or Andre Branch at this point in the draft.

28. Green Bay Packers - Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

    The Packers don't have many needs, but depth in the veteran secondary is the biggest need. Dennard can provide solid depth and keep the Packers from skipping a beat. DE or OLB is also an option here.

29. Baltimore Ravens - Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

    Centers are not really taken in round one, but the Ravens could use depth with Matt Birk most likely retiring or moving on. Even then, Birk is 35. If not Konz, a linebacker is also a possible pick here.

30. San Francisco - Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

    San Francisco will just take the best player available here, and if Cox is still here, the 49ers will take him. Corner is biggest need but none left are worthy of first round pick.

Harrison Smith
31. New England Patriots - Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame

    The Patriots will continue to boost their defense with Harrison Smith. A very smart, but not especially athletic safety but still very effective on the field. Smith has a chance to be a star and can be the next Rodney Harrison for the Patriots.

32. New York Giants - Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State

    The defending Super Bowl champs will look to add depth here to make another run at the Super Bowl in 2012-13. A corner also could be taken here, but Burfict can develop into a very strong player, despite character issues.

So to review, here are the first round pick of the first mock draft:

1. IND - Andrew Luck, QB
2. STL- Matt Kalil, OT
3. MIN - Justin Blackmon, WR
4. CLE - Robert Griffin, QB
5. TB - Trent Richardson, RB
6. WAS - Riley Reiff, OT
7. JAX - Kendall Wright, WR
8. MIA - Quinton Coples, DE
9. CAR - Michael Brockers, DT
10. BUF - Morris Claiborne, CB
11. KC - Courtney Upshaw, LB
12. SEA - Melvin Ingram, DE
13. ARI - David DeCastro, OG
14. DAL - Dre Kirkpatrick, CB
15. PHI - Luke Kuechly, LB
16. NYJ - Chandler Jones, DE
17. CIN - Janoris Jenkins, CB
18. SD - Alshon Jeffery, WR
19. CHI - Jonathan Martin, OT
20. TEN - Mike Adams, OT
21.  CIN - Cordy Glenn, OG
22.  CLE - Michael Floyd, WR
23. DET - Nick Perry, DE
24. PIT - Dontari Poe, DT
25. DEN - Mark Barron, S
26. HOU - Devon Still, DT
27. NE - Whitney Mercilus, DE
28. GB - Alfonzo Dennard, CB
29. BAL - Peter Konz, C
30. SF - Fletcher Cox, DT
31. NE - Harrison Smith, S
32. NYG - Vontaze Burfict, LB

Next mock draft should be coming in the next couple months, with round 2 preview too.

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