2012 NFL Mock Draft: Picks 1-16 Updated 9/26
1. Kansas City Chiefs- QB Andrew Luck, Stanford-
It looks to be a long year in KC, and the only saving grace is they will get to draft Andrew Luck. Even with Cassel at the helm, this is a no brainer pick, though if they get offered the world they could change their tune. The injuries really took their toll on Kansas City this year, but at least they get a really good consolation prize.
2. Seattle Seahawks- QB Matt Barkley, USC-
Pete Carroll wasn’t able to trade for his first QB at USC, Carson Palmer, this offseason, but that should allow him to draft his last, Matt Barkley. Carroll only had one year with Barkley, but he did recruit him so he knows his strengths and weaknesses. Barkley gives Seattle their QB of the future and if he develops a very bright future. I think he is more of a risk than some, but if anyone can get him to succeed it should be Carroll.
3. Denver Broncos- WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina-
Brandon Lloyd is an impending free agent, and he might not look to stick around with the Broncos in the midst of a rebuilding effort. While Denver has some other interesting young receivers, they could use a weapon like Jeffery for Tebow to grow with (hopefully). Jeffery is arguably the best receiver to come out since Calvin Johnson, and should be a major weapon for the Broncos.
4. Carolina Panthers- WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St.-
The Panthers will find out this season if they have the weapons in place to run their offense, but I’m guessing that they will come up just short. Given the amount of money they spent this offseason, I don’t see them being able to afford a top flight WR next year. Blackmon will give Newton a big play weapon and eliminate that excuse going forward.
5. Cincinnati Bengals– OT Matt Kalil, USC-
The Bengals could go with need here, but how can you pass up a premium tackle like Kalil. He could be their next Anthony Munoz, and while their tackles are good now they could either look to trade one, or move Andre Smith inside to guard. Regardless they would be fools to let Kalil slide down any further in this draft.
6. Miami Dolphins- QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma-
Miami missed out on Kyle Orton, but they should be able to add their quarterback at the top of this draft class. Jones is my 2nd favorite QB in this class, and I think a future franchise QB. He’s got great size, accuracy and arm strength and appears pretty ready for just a guy going into his Junior year.
7. Tennessee Titans- DE Quinton Coples, UNC-
The Titans could use a pass rusher, and Coples is an absolute steal at this spot. He is probably the 2nd best player in this class, but given team’s needs or their preference for QB’s and WR’s he could fall. He’d be a huge addition for the Titans and could team up with Morgan to give them a great pass rush.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars- CB Alonzo Dennard, Nebraska-
Jacksonville could go in a couple directions, but I think adding a top flight corner makes by far the most sense. Dennard has big time potential and could end up being a true shutdown guy. He is exactly what Jacksonville needs considering they play the Colts and Texans four times a year.
9. Minnesota Vikings- OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford-
This could be a rough year for the Vikings, but the good news is it should put them in prime position to draft a LT to protect their QB of the future in Ponder. Martin is an absolute stud LT and a great option here for Minnesota. Adding him will make Adrian Peterson‘s job (assuming he resigns) a whole lot easier and that is exactly what the Vikings need.
10. Cleveland Browns- OLB Zach Brown, UNC-
It is odd to draft a non-pass rushing OLB in the top 15, but not unprecedented. Brown is a guy who deserves to be drafted this high, and the Browns are a team with zero talent in their linebacking corps. This seems like a great fit and can help make the Browns defense become a force in the AFC North.
11. San Francisco 49ers- DE Jared Crick, Nebraska-
The 49ers don’t have a huge ‘need’ here at 3-4 DE, but Crick is an excellent value pick here, and having a guy to rotate in makes everyone else better. He’s a good player who is versatile enough to play end in 4 man sets as well.
12. Indianapolis Colts– CB Dre Kirkpatick, Alabama-
I’m not yet ready to put the Colts in the top 5 or 10, as I think given time the overall offensive talent will start winning some games for them. While QB is a need there is no one worth taking in the top 15 after the top 3 guys. The Colts could go a number of directions here, but I say they go BPA, and take Kirkpatrick. He has shutdown corner ability, and with the Jags and Titans auditioning new QB’s and Houston going strong with Schuab improving your pass defense is a smart play.
13. New York Giants- ILB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona St. RB Trent Richardson, Alabama-
Giants almost always draft for talent over need, but with Jonathan Goff a free agent next year and their outside linebackers a question mark, Burfict could end up being both. Burfict is a highly capable LB, who can play at any spot in any system. I could see him going inside, with Greg Jones moving to WLB, or vice-versa. Either way if the Giants have a down year due to the injuries adding someone like Burfict would be huge for this team.
14. St. Louis Rams- RB Trent Richardson, Alabama-
Now is the time to give Sam Bradford a big play weapon, but it might end up being a back rather than a WR. Steven Jackson is getting more and more hurt each year, and his days as a feature back are nearing an end. Richardson would give them a good compliment for a year and then someone who can take over the every down duties.
15. Cleveland Browns (via Atlanta)– WR Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M-
Atlanta is one Michael Vick injury away from being 0-3, and they still need to play the Saints twice, as well as the Packers, Texans, Buccaneers and Lions. The Browns could go a number of ways here, but Fuller offers them good value at this spot and right now I still don’t fully trust that WR corps.
16. Oakland Raiders- CB Morris Claiborne, LSU-
The Raiders could go a number of different areas, but right now their biggest question mark is CB. Given their penchant for loving big time athletes and top notch corner’s Claiborne makes sense for them.