2012 NFL Mock Draft 7.03

Updated: April 2


1. Indianapolis Colts:
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Easy selection here for the Colts at the top of the first round. Andrew Luck is not only clear and away the best prospect in this draft class, but he might be the best prospect the NFL has seen in the past decade.

2. Washington Redskins (f/StL):
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Pretty clear cut pick here, the Redskins traded away a fortune to try to get a franchise quarterback.  RG3 is going to have to be very good to justify the ransom the ‘Skins paid.

3. Minnesota Vikings:
Matt Kalil, OT, USC

In order to protect their asset in Ponder, the Vikings will look to add the draft’s best offensive tackle here in the top three. Kalil headlined a stout USC Trojan offensive line that only allowed eight sacks as a unit in all of 2011. Impressive stuff.

4. Cleveland Browns:
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

There has been speculation that the Browns could choose Ryan Tannehill here, but that would be far too high for a player that was never dominant at the college level.  Trent Richardson is not just the best running back in this class, but the best prospect of the last few drafts.  The Browns really need offensive playmakers and Richardson is a good start.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Aqib Talib and Ronde Barber are both solid corners at their position. However, character concerns are always an issue for Talib, and Barber isn’t getting any younger. In today’s NFL, three above average corners are becoming more of a priority than a luxury. Claiborne was part of a stout defensive unit at LSU and figures to be one of the first (if not the first) defensive player off the board.

6. St. Louis Rams:
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.

Blackmon is the unquestioned best WR in the draft and the Rams need to give Sam Bradford, who as shown potential to be “the guy” in St. Louis, all the help they can.  With all of the picks they squeezed out of Washington, the Rams might not be in rebuilding mode for long.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars:
Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech

Surprise, surprise. Every year there’s a pick in the top ten that makes people scratch their heads a little bit, and the Jaguars are all too familiar with the phenomenon. In 2010, the team reached for Tyson Alualu in the top ten when he was widely regarded as a late first round pick. With Blaine Gabbert getting the look as a franchise quarterback, the Jags could look to add Hill to make his job a little bit easier.

8. Miami Dolphins:
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

Look for Miami to reach for Tannehill here.  Tannehill has been impressing teams in individual workouts and the Dolphins are just desperate enough at quarterback to take a chance on him.

9. Carolina Panthers:
Quinton Coples, DE, UNC

Adding a blue chipper on the defensive side of the ball would be the ideal scenario for the Panthers in the first round, and they have exactly that in Quinton Coples.

10. Buffalo Bills:
Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

The Bills started off the season great but faltered down the stretch.  Improving in the trenches will be critical for next season.  With the Mario Williams acquisition helping the defensive front, Buffalo will be happy to take the best offensive lineman available.

11. Kansas City Chiefs:
Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis

Dontari Poe improved his stock significantly at the NFL combine, and the Chiefs should waste no time adding him to their 34 defense with this pick.

12. Seattle Seahawks:
Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

The Seahawks could really go in a lot of directions here but Kuechly would be the smart pick.  Kuechly doesn’t possess the best measurable athleticism in the world, but produces on the field with an incredible tackles per game rate.

13. Arizona Cardinals:
Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina

Melvin Ingram enters the draft as a classic 34 outside lienbacker and would fill a need here for the Cardinals at 13. South Carolina’s defense was tough to beat in 2011, and Ingram played a huge part in that.

14. Dallas Cowboys:
Janoris Jenkins, CB, Northern Alabama

Jerry Jones has shown that he is willing to look past perceived character concerns if a player has enough on field potential.  Jenkins fits the bill for both categories and Dallas also is desperate for cornerback depth.

15. Philadelphia Eagles:
Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi St.

The Eagles always like building their roster from the inside-out. Adding Fletcher Cox to a unit that continuously rotates its defensive linemen would be a shrewd move for Philly at 15.

16. New York Jets:
Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Mark Sanchez might never become a good NFL quarterback, but the Jets are sticking with him.  Until the fans start calling for Tebow, at least.  Either way though, they need another wideout and Floyd would be a good replacement for Plaxico Burress.

17. Cincinnati Bengals (f/OAK):
David Decastro, OG, Stanford

With the need at running back solved via free agency, the Bengals will first look to address the offensive line with their two first round picks. David Decastro is a solid offensive guard who could find himself protecting Andy Dalton next season.

18. San Diego Chargers:
Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

Martin falling to 18 will be a best case scenario for the Chargers as Martin has top 10 talent and fills a need by replacing Marcus McNeil.

19. Chicago Bears:
Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia

After acquiring (stealing?) Brandon Marshall from the Dolphins, the Bears could look elsewhere with their first round pick. The offensive line in Chicago has been bad for quite some time, so don’t be surprised if you see Glenn come off the board here.

20. Tennessee Titans:
Peter Konz, OL, Wisconsin

This pick should have a lot to do with Chris Johnson’s performance. Either CJ2K got plain lazy after signing his mega-contract, or the Titans offensive line play just was not up to par. I like to believe that with an upgraded line Chris Johnson will be back to threatening the 2,000 yard mark again next year. Konz anchored the best offensive line in collegiate football last year and has the skills to play any of the interior line positions.

21. Cincinnati Bengals:
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

The Bengals could look to add cornerback depth with the second of their two first round picks. Dre Kirkpatrick is an extremely talented prospect who was part of a tenacious defense at Alabama last season. However, while talented, Kirkpatrick comes carrying some character concerns.

22. Cleveland Browns (f/ATL):
Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

Once again, the Browns need playmakers and Kendall Wright is the best one available.  With Wright and Richardson in the fold it will be put up or shut up time for Colt McCoy.

23. Detroit Lions:
Mark Barron, S, Alabama

When healthy, the Matthew Stafford-to-Calvin Johnson connection appears to be everything for which the Lions have hoped. Defensively, however, there is a lot to be desired. The young defensive line in Detroit should figure things out over the years, so this pick should be used to shore up the secondary. Mike Barron was part of a defense in Alabama that could see multiple prospects come off the board in round one. He would fit in nicely next to Louis Delmas.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers:
Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

The Steelers like proven winners and Upshaw was an integral part of the best defense in the college ranks last year.  He will help inject youth in an aging defense.

25. Denver Broncos:
Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

Denver will turn the offense over to Peyton Manning and look to do all they could to improve defensively. Michael Brockers is a big (6-6, 300 lbs.) who will literally and figuratively fill some gaps in Denver’s defensive unit.

26. Houston Texans:
Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois

The Texans could probably go with a wideout here, but with none left that stand out as first round material they will try to find a replacement for the departed Mario Williams.

27. New England Patriots (f/N.O.):
Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

This should be a pretty clear cut pick.  Converted wide receiver Julian Edelman saw significant playing time in the secondary.  Devin McCourty is a solid player, but the other defensive backs in New England were burned routinely.  Gilmore is the best corner on the board, and look for the Patriots to go in that direction.

28. Green Bay Packers:
David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech

Although the Packers are definitely a passing team and have the best quarterback in the NFL right now they will draft a running back here.  Neither Ryan Grant nor James Starks has proven to be reliable, and no team wants to become one-dimensional on offense regardless of how good the passing game is.

29. Baltimore Ravens:
Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama

While division rival Pittsburgh may look like the front-runner to land Hightower, the Ravens would waste no time in snatching up the Alabama linebacker should Pittsburgh pass. The team has been looking for a successor to Ray Lewis, and Hightower will have the opportunity to learn from the best.

30. San Francisco 49ers:
Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech

Hosley’s stock dropped this season mostly due to injuries, but he did lead the nation in interceptions as a Sophomore and did well at the combine.  The 49ers will look to fill out the last few championship pieces in this draft.

31. New England Patriots:
Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC

There’s little to no chance that the Patriots will exercise both of their first round picks come draft time. The Patriots do a wonderful job of moving around in the draft, acquiring picks in future years, and stock piling their draft picks. However, that being said, Nick Perry is the best defensive player on the board, and could add another pass rusher to the New England defense.

32. New York Giants:
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

Brandon Jacobs is gone and Ahmad Bradshaw has been the definition of injury prone in his time in New York.  The defending champs will close out the first round by fortifying their perennially strong rushing attack.

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