With the NFL draft just around corner it’s time for a 2012 NFL Mock Draft. There are a lot of interesting prospects in this year’s class. You have some guys that like Dontari Poe, who didn’t show much ability when it came to his tape, but in the combine he put up numbers that compared equally to some of the best defensive tackles to ever step onto a football field. Then you have guys like Dwayne Allen, who posted very mediocre numbers at the combine, but when you turn on his tape he looks like a no-brainer to be the first tight end taken. So without further ado lets get started.
1. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Is just simply too good to pass on. He’s as close to a sure thing as you get when it comes to the quarterback position.
2. Washington Redskins (from St. Louis)
Robert Griffen III, QB, Baylor
Great combination of accuracy, arm strength, and speed. At the combine his 40 time (4.31) was in close comparison to Michael Vick. Could turn the Redskins into a playoff team in his first year.
3. Minnesota Vikings
Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Gives second year QB Christian Ponder some protection. They could use another weapon at receiver, but if your quarterback doesn’t have time to throw it then it doesn’t really matter who he’s throwing to.
4. Cleveland Browns
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.
This will finally give Colt McCoy a chance to succeed. Blackmon is just the type of explosive player the Browns need in order to make McCoy’s job a lot easier.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Lageratte Blount is a good back, but he does have some fumbling issues and is a liability on passing downs. Richardson would provide Alabama with the perfect mix of speed and power in the backfield. This could be scary tandem for years to come.
6. St. Louis Rams (from Washington)
Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Floyd is a bit of a reach as the 6th overall pick, but the Rams are in desperate need of weapons to put around young quarterback Sam Bradford.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Quentin Coples, DE, UNC
Jacksonville could use a receiver for Blaine Gabbert to throw too, but I don’t think they’re going to reach for Kendall Wright this early and they are also in need of a quality pass rusher, so Coples would make perfect since.
8. Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Tannehill isn’t really top 10 material, but the Dolphins are in desperate need of a QB, so they don’t really have a choice. Tannehill does have some upside. He played a little bit of receiver in college so he is a tremendous athlete and has the ability to make all the throws, so he’ll be an interesting prospect to keep an eye on.
9. Carolina Panthers
Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
There are a couple other different positions the Panthers could use this pick on (CB, WR, LB), but Ron Rivera is a big defensive guy and he’ll definitely want to have some that can be the anchor in that interior defensive line. And Poe has the potential to be a great run-stuffer with his size (350 bls). He also showed off his athletic ability at the combine, running the 40 in under 4.9 seconds. He’s bit of risk considering his lack of production at the college level, but he has all the physical skills to be dominant if he just puts forth the effort.
10. Buffalo Bills
Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Cornerback isn’t necessarily the Bills primary need, but Claiborne has top 5 talent, so if he falls to you at pick 10 you have to take him.
11. Kansas City Chiefs
Luke Keuchly, LB, Boston College
Keuchly is just an absolute beast. He’s a tackling machine and he as a motor that never stops running. He’ll be one of the leagues top tacklers every year.
12. Seattle Seahawks
Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
The Seahawks have needs at both defensive end and linebacker. That makes Ingram a perfect fit. He has the strength to play the defensive line and the speed to rush off the edge as a linebacker. Has endless amounts of athletic ability.
13. Arizona Cardinals
Riley Rieff, OT, Iowa
Whether it’s Kevin Kolb or John Skelton at quarterback, both men need protection. Kolb found himself lying on the ground on the majority of pass plays and Rieff can make sure that happens a lot less.
14. Dallas Cowboys
Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan loves having versatile defensive lineman and Brockers fits that mold perfectly. He has the ability to line up inside at the defensive tackle position, but also is athletic enough to where you can put him at defensive end.
15. Philadelphia Eagles
Mark Barron, S, Alabama
The Eagles also have a need at linebacker but they patched that up by adding Demeco Ryans. Ever since the departure of Brian Dwakins the Eagles have been lacking a game-changer at the safety position. Baron has the ability to come in right away and make plays in week 1.
16. New York Jets
Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
The Jets could use another pass rusher off the edge in there 3-4 defensive scheme and Upshaw is a perfect fit for that.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland)
David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
The Bengals have needs at receiver and cornerback too, but Andy Dalton proved he can be a starting quarterback in this league, so they need to invest in that and get him some protection. DeCastro is a good pass blocker and could also open up holes for newly acquired running back, BenJarvis Green-Ellis.
18. San Diego Chargers
Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
The Chargers need some more protection for Phillip Rivers, so this is a no-brainer.
19. Chicago Bears
Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia
Over the last couple years Jay Cutler has spent more time lying on the ground on passing downs than standing up. If they don’t get him some protection his body won’t be able to make it past 30.
20. Tennessee Titans
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
With the departure of Cortland Finnegan the Titans are in dyer need of a cornerback. Kirkpatrick comes from a National Championship winning team and has guarded some of the best receivers in college football. His covering skills could use a little work, but he has good size and is a great athlete; he is also dependable in run support as well.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Jenkins looked to be a top 10 pick 2 years ago when he was still at Florida. But his off-field issues have made scouts and GM’s alike a little bit wary of him. However, Jenkins is a tremendous talent, and if he can get his character issues together then he will end up being an absolute steal at pick 21.
22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta)
LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
Most scouts want to downgrade James’ ability because of his size. But the fact of the matter is that the kid can flat out play ball! He led the NCAA in rushing in 2010 and finished second behind Monte Ball this past season. In my opinion he is by far the most talented back after Trent Richardson, and the Browns are in desperate need of a running back with the departure of Peyton Hillis.
23. Detroit Lions
Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
Personally I don’t think Gilmore is worthy of a 1st round pick. I constantly saw him getting beat by SEC receivers and he never really did anything to make me say, “Wow, that kid can play”. However, the Lions need a cornerback to give them a more complete defense and at this point in the draft Gilmore would technically be the best available. He does have some upside with his size (6-1, 190 lbs) and has a decent set of wheels.
24. Pittsburg Steelers
Don’t’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
Hightower is a perfect replacement for James Farrior and should be able to make an impact from week 1.
25. Denver Broncos
Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
I’m sure Peyton Manning would love for Denver to draft him another playmaker at receiver to make his job a little easier, but the Broncos also need help on the defensive line and coach John Fox is a defensive minded coach. The Broncos need a big body that can anchor the interior of the defensive line and Cox is a perfect fit for that. He has the ability to not only be a run-stuffer, but can also provide a pass rush from the interior.
26. Houston Texans
Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Wright would be the perfect compliment to Andre Johnson. He’s a smaller receiver, who possesses a lot of speed and can really stretch the defense. You give Matt Schaub (or T.J. Yates) time to throw the ball with these weapons and big plays are going to happen.
27. New England Patriots (from N.O)
Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
The Patriots need to get more push on the defensive line and get after the quarterback. Mercilus led the NCAA in sacks this year (with 16) and could wreak havoc in the backfield of those AFC East opponents.
28. Green Bay Packers
Andre Branch, DE/OLB, Clemson
The Packers are looking for a guy who can line up opposite of Clay Mathews and rush the passer. Branch could be the perfect fit. He played mostly defensive end in college, but at 6-4, 260 lbs, he could easily convert to a 3-4 outside linebacker. He also has a great motor and is always flying around at 110%.
29. Baltimore Ravens
DeVonte David, LB, Nebraska
The Ravens could use another outside linebacker for their 3-4 defensive scheme and David would make perfect sense for them. He can tackle well and get to the quarterback. And with Ray Lewis as a mentor how could he not be successful?
30. San Francisco 49er’s
Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Hill is a little bit of a raw talent coming from a Georgia Tech offense that focused its game plan around the triple option. However, Hill has great size (6-4, 220) and speed (4.30 40-yard dash) and has already shown he has the ability to make big plays in the passing game.
31. New England Patriots
Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut
The Patriots are trying to rebuild their defensive line through the draft. By taking Whitney Mercilus with the 27th pick and Kendall Reyes with this pick they are beginning to look like one of the best defensive lines in the AFC.
32. New York Giants
Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
Eli Manning is the face of this franchise. He has two super bowl rings and single handedly carried the Giants through two super bowl runs in the playoffs. You have to protect your investment and that’s exactly what the Giants will be doing by drafting Mike Adams.