2012 NFL Mock Draft 1.0
This Mock Draft was created on: March 31st.
Check out our Top 200 NFL Draft Prospect Board
Gridiron Experts plans to throw a few different types of Mock Drafts at you over the next 3 weeks leading up to the Draft day. Jonathan Taylor’s Mock Draft focuses on players to fill need, which is a great method of logic when trying to predict who will go where.
#1 Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
This was a pretty easy choice, with Manning gone the Colts have shown full commitment to their #1 choice who can only be Luck. Heisman Trophy winner RGIII puts up a good case but Luck is one of the most polished prospects ever to come out of college. He is so consistent that he started to bore people during his final college season which has lead to bogus questions about NFL quality arm strength.
#2 Washington Redskins – Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
The Redskins gave up a huge amount to acquire this pick from the Rams, however I believe that they did the right thing. RGIII would undoubtedly be the #1 pick in most NFL Drafts in history, Griffin is not just a one year wonder, he has stats career stats totalling 10,366 passing yards, 78 touchdowns and only 17 interceptions. He also has 2,257 rushing yards and 33 rushing touchdowns. Don’t let these numbers fool you however RGIII is primarily a pocket passer who scrambles only when it is the best option available. Check out RG3 Profile Article
#3 Minnesota Vikings – Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Minnesota have several needs across the board, one of the most pressing is protecting young quarterback Christian Ponder’s blindside. Luckily for them Matt Kalil is very likely to still be on the board when they pick. Kalil is a legitimate blue-chip prospect who should anchor the left side of the Vikings offensive line for many years. Kalil has several years of solid production at the college level and looks impressive against any opposition he has faced, he was also the reason that highly promising Cowboys’ tackle Tyron Smith played at right tackle for the whole of his USC career.
#4 Cleveland Browns – Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
In my opinion Trent Richardson is the best non-quarterback in the draft. Richardson has all the traits that you look for in a running back, he is fast, strong and a great receiver. Cleveland has a huge need at running back now after losing Peyton Hillis in free agency to Kansas City, Richardson really take the pressure off of whoever is starting at quarterback for Cleveland and would give the fanbase real hope that the franchise is turning around. Check out Trent Richardson’s Profile Article
#5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Maurice Claiborne, CB, LSU
Morris Claiborne is the best available player here, Tampa Bay also have a need at cornerback. This is because Aquib Talib is in serious legal troubles and Ronde Barber will be 37 at the start of the 2012 season. Claiborne is the best cover corner in the draft and may be a better all around corner than former teammate Patrick Peterson who was selected with the 5th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.
St Louis made a great move in acquiring two future 1st round picks, a 2012 2nd rounder and still being in a position to draft the player that they were targeting originally. Justin Blackmon would give quarterback Sam Bradford a much needed weapon and would help Steven Jackson as teams would no longer be able to sell out on stopping the run. Blackmon has been one of the most productive college receivers in recent years putting up very impressive stats which included putting together a streak of 14 consecutive 100 yards receiving games. Check out Justin Blackmon’s Profile Article
#7 Jacksonville Jaguars – Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
The Jaguars have a huge need at defensive end across from Jeremy Mincey, they also avoid drafting players with questionable character. Melvin Ingram is a hard working talented young defensive end who has shown that he can get to the quarterback recording 19 Sacks in two years.
#8 Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
The city of Miami finally has a new quarterback to cheer for. After the Dolphins failed to acquire Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn or Alex Smith and could not strike a deal with St Louis to move up to 2nd to take RGIII, Dolphins fans must have been thinking the worst for their team. A Matt Moore/ David Garrard tandem will probably feature for most of the season for Miami whilst Tannehill learns to read NFL defenses and becomes more familiar with the offense. Going into 2013 though the Dolphins will be in a good position as Tannehill possesses all of the attributes of a starting QB in the NFL and as long as the Dolphins can support him and give him confidence he should develop into a very capable starter.
#9 Carolina Panthers – Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Quinton Coples was at one time regarded by most draft analysts as a top 5 lock, since then questions have been raised about Coples’ motor which have resulted in his draft stock taking a slight hit. Carolina have a huge need at defensive end opposite Charles Johnson, they need a more consistent pass rush if they want to win more games next season and make a push for the playoffs in a division that is more open than ever after the Saints being penalised for Bountygate, Atlanta trading many top picks to improve what was already a strong area and Tampa Bay’s strong youth contingent being highly inconsistent.
#10 Buffalo Bills – Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Despite locking up current #1 wide receiver Stevie Johnson to a 5 year contract, Buffalo still have a huge need at wide receiver. Michael Floyd has been rehabbing his draft stock since his arrest for drunk driving in March 2011. Since returning from his suspension Floyd has worked hard to prove that he was not a gamble of a selection. After returning from suspension and playing in all 13 Notre Dame games his senior year, Floyd left the fighting Irish holding four new school career records.
#11 Kansas City Chiefs – Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
Current Kansas City starting nose Kelly Gregg is 35 years old. Last year he showed that he is on the decline and that he is no longer as effective at stopping runs through the interior of the defensive line. Dontari Poe wowed everybody at the NFL Scouting Combine, he showed an unbelievable combination of size, strength and speed that was thought impossible when he posted 44 reps on the bench press and the ran the 40 yard dash in 4.98 seconds despite weighing in at 346 pounds.
#12 Seattle Seahawks – Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll admitted that he would like to add some youth and speed to his linebacking corps. Kuechly is a top linebacker who only falls to pick 12 due to the perceived lack of value in run stopping linebackers, he projects to be a key defensive player in the NFL and should make at least one Pro Bowl.
#13 Arizona Cardinals – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
One of the main reasons that Peyton Manning turned down Arizona was their train wreck of an offensive line. Recently resigned offensive tackle Levi Brown allowed 11 Sacks and 40 quarterback pressures last year and can’t be allowed to start on the left hand side again. Reiff is a fantastic talent who is technically very sound.
#14 Dallas Cowboys – David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
Some analysts are saying that David DeCastro could be the best offensive lineman in this draft class. DeCastro showed in his Junior year at Stanford that he is a tough, no-nonsense guard, at the Scouting Combine he cemented this belief showing excellent fluidity in the drills and good strength benching 34 reps of 225 pounds. Dallas need to replace the aging Kyle Kosier on a line that would be extremely promising with DeCastro next to Tyron Smith.
#15 Philadelphia Eagles – Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Jason Peters recently ruptured his Achilles’ tendon which will result in him missing the 2012 NFL season, Todd Herremans is solid at right tackle but a more natural guard. This has left the Eagles with a big need for an offensive tackle. Jonathan Martin is best suited at right tackle at the NFL level, fortunately for Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick is left handed so Martin would be protecting his blindside. Martin is used to the pressures of protecting a highly rated quarterback after protecting Andrew Luck’s blindside for the past three years.
#16 New York Jets – Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
This is one of the more controversial selections in this mock draft, many draftniks believe that Jeffery’s draft stock has taken a tumble into the 2nd round of the Draft. However, the Jets have just made a huge investment in Mark Sanchez and have spent a considerable amount on bringing Tim Tebow to New York to back up Sanchez. It would be foolish for New York not to address their need for a starting wide receiver opposite Santonio Holmes. Alshon Jeffery answered questions about his speed at his Pro Day, running in the 4.4-4.5 range. Despite a down year for Jeffery in receptions and yardage he still managed to catch 8 touchdowns despite South Carolina’s quarterback troubles.
#17 Cincinnati Bengals – Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Cincinnati surprised everybody last year by getting to the playoffs despite starting a rookie quarterback and a rookie number one wide receiver. They were unfortunate to lose Leon Hall to injury before the end of the season and struggled thereafter due to lack of depth. Dre Kirkpatrick is a highly talented cornerback who until recent legal issues was viewed as an equal prospect to Morris Claiborne. He is certainly the best player available here and he fits need for the Bengals.
#18 San Diego Chargers – Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
San Diego are still looking for an impact pass rusher from the outside linebacker position. Larry English has failed to live up to expectation and it is now time for them to look for a possible replacement. Courtney Upshaw is a tweener prospect, he does not appear strong enough to play at defensive end or explosive enough to play at outside linebacker. Despite this Upshaw has delivered a solid pass rush from both of these positions during his time at Alabama. Upshaw could be the steal of this draft class or he could be a huge bust, he is the ultimate risk reward type prospect.
#19 Chicago Bears – Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
There is not much tape available on redshirt sophomore Brockers. In the limited tape he does have he appears to be a disruptive force from the interior of the defensive line although he does appear to get less effective as he fatigues. The addition of Brockers to a defensive line already containing Julius Peppers and Henry Melton would give the Bears a fearsome defense that needs an edge if it is to stop Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford or Adrian Peterson.
#20 Tennessee Titans – Cordy Glenn, OT/G, Georgia
With free agent guard Jake Scott looking into other destinations, Tennessee has a need at guard. Cordy Glenn has seen a considerable rise in his draft stock in the last 6 months which has been boosted by his versatility, Glenn can play at any guard or tackle position although his best fit is at guard. With Glenn plugged in at left guard this offensive line would quietly become one of the best in the NFL.
Cincinnati have yet to resign free agent Cedric Benson, this suggests that they are looking to upgrade the position this April. David Wilson only has one year of production as a starter at the college level. Despite this he has shown that he is explosive and always a danger to go to the house. In his only year as a starter Wilson ran for 1,709 yards and 9 touchdowns, he is also a dangerous kick return man and has returned 2 kicks for touchdowns during his time at Virginia Tech.
#22 Cleveland Browns – Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Janoris Jenkins would have been a lot higher than this in the draft had it not been for serious off the field concerns which resulted in him leaving Florida for North Alabama. As expected, Jenkins dominated against the lesser competition this year at North Alabama and he has put himself in a good position to be drafted in the 1st round. Cleveland need a reliable cornerback across from Joe Haden and can’t afford to pass up on such a huge talent on a defense that desperately needs it.
#23 Detroit Lions – Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
Defensive end is not a need for the Detroit Lions, as we have seen from past drafts though Detroit strictly draft the best available player. In this case it is Whitney Mercilus who lead the nation in sacks this year with 16.0. Mercilus would form a hugely destructive defensive end rotation with Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch, he would also complete the Lions defensive line, giving them one of the most feared defensive lines ever in the NFL.
34 year old nose tackle Casey Hampton is on the decline in his career and the Steelers need to find a successor. Devon Still is currently a little light for a nose tackle but he has the frame to add more bulk, the Steelers have a habit of easing their rookies into the starting squad which would be ideal for Still in this scenario. If Pittsburgh can find a successor for Hampton then they can continue to dominate defensively for many years to come.
#25 Denver Broncos – Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Peyton Manning needs more targets. Denver currently have Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker at wide receiver. The addition of Hill along with the recent free agent signings of tight ends Joel Dreesen and Jacob Tamme should give Manning more than enough weapons for him to lead the Broncos deep into the post season and take a shot at winning a much coveted Super Bowl ring.
#26 Houston Texans – Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama
Houston recently traded DeMeco Ryans to Philadelphia mainly due to his $5.9m salary in 2012. Due to this the Texans now need a linebacker to replace Ryans. Dont’a Hightower is an outstanding linebacker who led Alabama’s defense with 85 total tackles in 2011. Hightower would form an elite inside linebacker tandem with Brian Cushing.
#27 New England Patriots – Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
Dan Koppen has suffered several injuries and does not look to be coming back to New England whilst Dan Connolly is nothing more than a serviceable backup. Peter Konz is the top center in the draft, he has been well coached by the Wisconsin staff and he looks as though he will be able to start from the beginning of the season with few problems.
#28 Green Bay Packers – Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
The Packers’ biggest need is a disruptive outside linebacker to play across from Clay Matthews, with such a player teams would find it a lot more difficult to throw against this 32nd ranked pass defense. Perry has shown that he has the ability to get to the quarterback consistently after recording 26 Sacks in 3 years at USC.
#29 Baltimore Ravens – Mark Barron, S, Alabama
Ed Reed will turn 34 the first week of the regular season, whilst he still has the skills and mental strength to continue playing the game hi body is beginning to show signs of wear and tear. Mark Barron is viewed by many as a strong safety prospect however he displays the attributes that would allow him to play free safety in the NFL. With a year of Ed Reed tutorage Barron could become the next great young safety in the NFL.
#30 San Francisco 49ers – Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
San Francisco’s recent acquisitions of Randy Moss and Mario Manningham show that the team is looking for players to fill it’s pressing need at wide receiver. Without numerous drops the 49ers would likely have gone to the Super Bowl in the place of the Giants and would have had a good chance of winning the game. Kendall Wright has suffered a hit to his draft stock recently after he was timed much slower than expected in the 40 yard dash. With a starting trio of Crabtree, Manningham and Wright with Vernon Davis at tight end this offense would become very hard to stop.
#31 New England Patriots – Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
With all of the picks New England have in the first half of the draft they can afford to go best player available here. Fletcher Cox is a great interior pass rusher who could cause huge problems from the interior of the Patriots’ defensive line next to Vince Wilfork.
#32 New York Giants – Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
Coby Fleener has the ideal height, speed, strength combination that is looked for in modern day tight ends. Fleener would add another threat for Eli Manning to throw to and would be a mismatch against most linebackers.
#33 St Louis Rams – Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
#34 Indianapolis Colts – Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
#35 Minnesota Vikings – Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
#36 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska
#37 Cleveland Browns – Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State
#38 Jacksonville Jaguars – Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
#39 St Louis Rams – Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
#40 Carolina Panthers – Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
#41 Buffalo Bills – Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
#42 Miami Dolphins – Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall
#43 Seattle Seahawks – Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
#44 Kansas City Chiefs – Kelechi Osemele, OT/G, Iowa State
#45 Dallas Cowboys – Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina
#46 Philadelphia Eagles – Mychal Kendricks, LB, California
#47 New York Jets – Bobbie Massie, OT, Ole Miss
#48 New England Patriots – Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
#49 San Diego Chargers – Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin
#50 Chicago Bears – Dwight Jones, WR, North Carolina
#51 Philadelphia Eagles – George Iloka, FS, Boise State
#52 Tennessee Titans – Jared Crick, DE/T, Nebraska
#53 Cincinnati Bengals – Harrison Smith, SS, Notre Dame
#54 Detroit Lions – Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
#55 Atlanta Falcons – Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State
#56 Pittsburgh Steelers – Brandon Washington, OG, Miami
#57 Cleveland Browns – Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa
#58 Houston Texans – Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma
#59 Green Bay Packers – LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
#60 Baltimore Ravens – Ronnell Lewis, DE/OLB, Oklahoma
#61 San Francisco 49ers – Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
#62 New England Patriots – Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
#63 New York Giants – Chris Polk, RB, Washington