Sep 3, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Oregon Ducks running back LaMichael James (21) is tackled by LSU Tigers defensive tackle Michael Brockers (90) at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Mock Draft: Picks 1-10

A quick forward…

Making Mock drafts at this point in the season is very tough as the jury is still out on a lot of these players. But to those who enjoy playing “Fantasy-GM” before they go to bed, or pour over their madden franchise, this one’s for you…

With the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts Select….Andrew Luck- QB, Stanford.

I love that analysts and alleged draft experts are trying to mix it up by suggesting that the colts may trade the pick or select RG3. But we all know what is going to happen. The Colts will select Andrew Luck and, they can only pray, will build a successful team around him. I hope that this is the case, how badly would you like to see a Cam vs. Luck Superbowl?

With the second pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins select…Robert Griffin III-QB, Baylor

The allure of RG3 will get the better of Dan Schneider. A trade with the Rams would not only secure the Redskins with a quarterback of the future, but would also allow Jeff Fischer to accumulate enough players to “put the stamp” on his new team. With Schneider at the helm, the Redskins have been notorious for draft-day trades. Cam has broken the mold for quarterback play and his level of success will make RG3 too enticing for Schneider to resist.

With the third pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings select…Justin Blackmon- WR, Oklahoma St.

The Vikings are a woefully incomplete team with holes on both side of the football. As such, I foresee them taking a “best player available” approach to their draft. Barring a Julio Jones-esque trade offer, I predict they will take this talented receiver who could help them ensure the success of Christian Ponder. His presence will also lighten the load for Adrian Peterson (coming off serious injury) and Toby Gerhart.

With the fourth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select…Matt Kalil- OT, Southern Cal

The Browns will not succumb to the temptation to draft a quarterback. Colt McCoy, though he may be a temporary solution, is beloved by Holmgren and will remain the starter for at least one more year. Rather, they will take this opportunity to lock down one of the most important positions on the field for the next decade with an elite player. They may be tempted to take Trent Richardson, but taking a running back with such a high pick just doesn’t make sense in this new NFL era.

With the fifth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select…Morris Claiborne- CB, LSU

Despite their nosedive last season, the Bucs still have a talented roster. But what had been a strength for their team, the cornerback position, is now threatened by age. Aqib Talib and Ronde Barber don’t have a lot of time left playing at a high level, and the Bucs will take the opportunity to protect themselves against the talented quarterbacks in their division.

With the sixth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams select…Riley Reiff- OT, Iowa

Riley Reiff will help the Rams bolster their poor offensive line. Though they would have liked to have taken Kalil, Reiff is not a poor substitute. Fischer knows that Sam Bradford is the future of the franchise, and making sure he is protected (particularly after his injury concerns entering the draft) is an invaluable step that the franchise must take.

With the seventh pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select…Quinton Coples- DE/DT UNC

Though Jacksonville has much larger holes to fill, they will not be able to pass up on the high potential of Coples. Having lost any ability to pressure the quarterback, the Jaguars have suffered in the regular season. With enough defensive line pressure, the Jaguars may be able to pull out a decent record next year while leaning on their bowling ball tailback Maurice Jones Drew and adequate short-range passer Blaine Gabbert.

With the eighth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select…Jonathan Martin- OT, Stanford

Despite a variety of glaring needs, the consensus seems to be that the Dolphins will use their high pick to beef up their offensive line. I wonder about this pick, but completely understand the logic behind it. The Dolphins are undoubtedly on the search for a franchise quarterback, but will not get a shot at one of the elite prospects in this year’s draft. As such, I foresee them taking a similar approach to the Cardinals by bringing in Matt Flynn. His success can only be ensured if he is adequately protected. But in light of the poor pass rushing ability of their division rivals, the Dolphins could easily go defense. In which case, I think they may consider Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick or even LSU’s Michael Brockers.

With the ninth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers Select…Michael Brockers- DT, LSU

I recently wrote an article advocating the selection of Dre Kirkpatrick, but have since changed my mind. I had a friend of mine send me a great deal of unedited tape on Brockers and can’t help but be very impressed. I hate jumping on the bandwagon with this pick, but if you see the guy in action you can’t help but wonder where he’ll be in two years. He will undoubtedly have an immediate impact as a rookie, but what you’re really getting from this guy is the tremendous upside everyone keeps rambling on about (apparently that includes me).

Watching tape on defensive lineman can be tricky because you expect them to do something exceptional on every play. This is a terrible misconception because, if that were true, ten sacks would be considered a paltry sum rather than a targeted number. Consequently, Brockers’ film may seem underwhelming to the untrained eye when, in fact, it is actually quite overwhelming. The guy is HUGE and incredibly strong. But he’s also very quick and fast (please note the distinction). It seems like every ten snaps the guy does something disruptive or downright jaw-dropping.

A person need only take a look at the quarterbacks in our division to understand the need for a player like Brockers. He gets through the line, he holds up to double teams, and he gets his hands in the face of the quarterback often. We need to stop the likes of Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Josh Freeman; particularly because two of them will be in our division for quite a while.

*As a quick side note…Another reason I was willing to turn away from Dre Kirkpatrick is the depth of talent at the CB position. I still feel that this is an essential need for us, but I think we can find suitable talent in the second round. In particular, my man, Chase Minnifield.

With the tenth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select…Courtney Upshaw-OLB/DE, Alabama

Buffalo lacks adequate defensive pressure. They were at the bottom of the league last year in sacks and will need to remedy that very quickly. They will have a chance at Courtney Upshaw, who has been a dominant player throughout his college career. Anyone who questions his talents must only turn to tape of the Senior Bowl and National Championship to have their questions answered. He is a superb impact player who will undoubtedly make his presence felt at the next level, particularly against the inevitable, new generation of AFC East quarterbacks (thanks Sanchez, enjoy being Kolb 2.0)

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Tags: Andrew Luck Courtney Upshaw Jonathan Martin Justin Blackmon Michael Brockers Mock Draft Morris Claiborne Panthers RG3 Riley Reiff Robert Griffin 3

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