NFL mock draft 2012
With the NFL draft set to begin in a couple hours, Sports Editor Mark Kim goes through his mock draft.
1. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck, QB – Stanford
There is not much explanation needed. They have already confirmed the pick.
2. Washington Redskins – Robert Griffin III, QB – Baylor
This is another no-brainer. They traded a boatload of picks to get the two spot and they’re not wasting this pick on a non-quarterback. Who wants to see Rex Grossman this year? No one.
3. Minnesota Vikings – Morris Claibourne, CB – LSU
Now the clock starts on the Vikings and the best way to go is to pick “Honey Badger.” Their secondary is embarrasing and with Antoine Winfield reaching the end of his time, it’s time for them to add a defensive playmaker to capitalize on the pressure Jared Allen puts on quarterbacks. Clairbourne is also one of the most talented players in the draft and the Vikings can’t pass up on talent.
4. Cleveland Browns – Trent Richardson, RB – Alabama
The Browns need an offensive playmaker and Justin Blackmon will not get the job done for this team that doesn’t have an established quarterback. The Browns also have some nice rising receivers anyways such as Greg Little and Mohamed Massaquoi. Richardson is a type of player that can change a game with ease. He also replaces a need with Peyton Hillis departing for the Kansas City Chiefs.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Matt Kalil, OT – USC
Kalil will provide support to a line that includes Pro Bowler Carl Nicks, create holes for rising running back LaGarrette Blount and keep quarterback Josh Freeman safe. He will help Freeman, who went through the “sophomore slump” last year, develop as a quarterback by giving him time in the pocket.
6. St. Louis Rams – Justin Blackmon, WR – Oklahoma State
Sam Bradford needs a target and Blackmon is the perfect guy to join Bradford. A player compared to Anquan Boldin, he will help give targets to former Pro Bowler Steve Smith and young receiver Danario Alexander with defenders trying to double cover him. He can also give running back Stephen Jackson some good yards because he’s a receiving threat.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Michael Floyd, WR – Notre Dame
Quarterback Blaine Gabbert got destroyed last year for two reasons: a crappy offensive line and no one to pass it to. There are no good lineman at this point in the draft (unless they consider trading down) and Floyd is the best player that fits their needs at this point in the draft. The six foot two receiver can jump and catch better than most players in this draft (or even the league). Him and Laurent Robinson can get Gabbert back to playing at his potential.
8. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill, QB – Texas A&M
After striking out in getting practically every quarterback on the market, it’s pretty obvious they will reach to get Tannehill. Quarterback is a need they need filled because they don’t believe Matt Moore or David Garrard will get the job done.
9. Carolina Panther – Fletcher Cox, DT – Mississsippi State
Quick! Name me a defensive lineman on the Panthers not named Charles Johnson……That’s why they should pick him. The Panthers have a weak defensive line and Cox fills a hole at the defensive tackle position, He will also bring pressure to the star studded quarterbacks in their division (Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman).
10. Buffalo Bills – Riley Reiff, OT – Iowa
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and running back Fred Jackson are two players on the rise and the last thing they need is to get hammered in the backfield. Reiff provides protection for the two to make plays.
11. Kansas City Chiefs – Melvin Ingram, DE – South Carolina
Glenn Dorsey didn’t exactly work out for the Chiefs and it’s time for them to move on. Ingram can offensive coordinators change their gameplan. He can develop with former first rounder Tyson Jackson and become a defensive menace. It also gives more chances for cornerback Brandon Flowers and safety Eric Berry to make plays off pressure. His pass rushing skills can come in handy when in a division with Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer and Phillip Rivers.
12. Seattle Seahawks – Quinton Couples, DE – North Carolina
The Seahawks, who hope to get Ingram, will “settle” for Couples. Couples is a menacing six foot six who got to the quarterback 24 times with North Carolina. Couples will benefit with Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane attacking the offensive line as well.
13. Arizona Cardinals – David DeCastro, OG – Stanford
DeCastro will provide protection to quarterback Kevin Kolb and running back Beanie Wells, two players that have injury problems. He will also provide support to a relatively weak offensive line.
14. Dallas Cowboys – Mark Barron, S – Alabama
One does not simply trust Brodney Pool to play safety. The Cowboy’s secondary last year was pathetic. They made their first step to improving the secondary by signing cornerback Brandon Carr and the next step they should take is to draft Barron. Barron could be the next Roy Williams for the team (the safety, not the receiver).
15. Philadelphia Eagles – Cordy Glenn, OT – Georgia
Tackle Demetress Bell is not very reliable and Glenn can add some talent to an already talented offensive line. He will make holes for players like quarterback Michael Vick and running back LeSean McCoy and give the Eagles one of the most dangerous offensive lines in the league.
16. New York Jets – Luke Kuechly, OLB – Boston College
The Jets have a good defense, but one area they have been lacking in is at the linebacker position. Kuechly fills that void quite well. He’s a fast guy for his size and is a great tackler. He can even intercept the ball giving the Jets another threat to pick the ball off.
17. Cincinnati Bengals – Peter Konz, C – Wisconsin
Konz is a strong guy who can help make holes for new running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis and protect quarterback Andy Dalton. He is a great snapper as well and rarely fumbles on snaps. He would replace an incumbent Kyle Cook. Who’s Kyle Cook? I barely even know.
18. San Diego Chargers – Courtney Upshaw, DE – Alabama
The Chargers are looking for upgrades to their pass rush and Upshaw provides that. Upshaw will be a good replacement for former All Pro defensive end Luis Castillo.
19. Chicago Bears – Whitney Mercilus, DE – Illinois
With Julius Peppers on one side of the defensive line, Mercilus will be a perfect fit on the other side of the line. Mericilus is a physical end who can distrupt offensive lines and keep quarterbacks on their toes. Peppers can also act as a good mentor to Mericilus. Plus Mericilus is an Illinois man.
20. Tennessee Titans – Stephen Gilmore, CB – South Carolina
With the loss of cornerback Cortland Finnegan, the Titans need to upgrade at cornerback immediately. Gilmore is the perfect fit given he is a shutdown corner that can take on some of the best receivers in the league.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Dont’a Hightower, ILB – Alabama
The Bengals have shown interest in Luke Kuechly, but it is too late to take him so Hightower is a good “consolation prize.” Hightower is a talented athlete who can play multiple positions. He can immediately start for this team and add to a great group of young linebackers.
22. Cleveland Browns – Brandon Weeden, QB – Oklahoma State
It’s better to have talent and age than potential and youth. The “Colt McCoy project” is a failure and the Browns need a good quarterback with experience. Although Weeden may be a rookie next year, he is 28 years old. He will have help with running the offense with Trent Richardson slated to join the team in this mock draft. The team has nice young receivers with potential and can go draft one in the second round as well. Weeden would be the perfect choice at this pick.
23. Detroit Lions – Dre Kirkpatrick, CB – Alabama
While many people say that the Lions are looking to upgrade at the offensive line, cornerback is their biggest concern. Just look how bad they got torched against the Saints last year. With cornerback Eric Wright sailing with the Buccaneers, there is a need for a cornerback and Kirkpatrick is the perfect fit. A big physical cornerback, Kirkpatrick who can be a good cover corner for the Lions and an immediate starter.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Dentari Poe, DT – Memphis
Poe is a player who is quick off the snap and gives quarterbacks nightmares. With Casey Hampton declinging and aging, the Steelers need a replacement and Poe is great value at the pick.
25. Denver Broncos – Jonathan Martin, OT – Stanford
Now that the Broncos have Peyton Manning, they would want to minimize risk of injury. Martin is a guy that can come onto this line and make a wall around Manning. Martin excels in pass protection which is cruicial for the Broncos. He can create holes as well for running back Willis McGahee.
26. Houston Texans – Kendall Wright, WR – Baylor
Andre Johnson is getting a lot of coverage and no other receiver on the team is capable of catching a freaking ball. Wright is a talented receiver who is fast and experienced. He can be a starter right away and take advantage of open looks given by defenses.
27. New England Patriots – Jared Crick, DE – Nebraska
The Patriots might lose three key defensive lineman so Crick will be a good way to replace at least one of them. Crick will thrive in an even front defensive line and get to the quarterback because of it.
28. Green Bay Packers – David Wilson, RB – Virginia Tech
The Packers have been lacking at the running back position and James Starks and Brandon Saine won’t cut it. Wilson is a good between-the-holes runner who plays bigger than he is. Wilson is also an explosive runner who can turn a two yard run into a 45 yard touchdown.
29. Baltimore Ravens – Stephen Hill, WR – Georgia Tech
Quarterback Joe Flacco needs more targets than just wide receiver Anquan Boldin. Hill is a receiver who can take some pressure off of Boldin. Hill has good hands and will increase the passing threat on this team which will help Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice thrive.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Michael Brockers, DT – LSU
Brockers is a big six foot six inches and 310 pounds. His size and big potential will make him a steal at this value. Just picture the havoc that will ensue with Brockers, Justin Smith, Navarro Bowman and Patrick Willis on the same team. Brockers could be the final piece that takes the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
31. New England Patriots – Janoris Jenkins, CB – North Alabama
Devin McCourty can’t do this alone. The secondary is one of the key reasons the Patriots lost the Super Bowl. They let wide receivers Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham beat them in every single way. Jenkins is one of the best man-to-man corners in this draft so this is a steal for the Patriots. The problem is that he has off-the-field issue, but coach Bill Belichick is good with dealing with problemed players (i.e Chad Ochocinco). It could be the key piece the team needs for another Super Bowl run.
32. New York Giants – Coby Fleener, TE – Stanford
Tight ends are a rising trend among many offensive coordinators. Just look at the Patriots. They have two. Fleener is a big guy with a good football IQ. He could either replace Ballard or play alongside him. With Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks lining up next to him, Fleener could be a key piece that can give the Giants a back-to-back championship.