2012 NFL Mock Draft: 1-16 – 12/5
1. Indianapolis Colts– QB Andrew Luck, Stanford:
The Colts have been the ‘last man standing’ for awhile now when it comes to win-less teams, and their place on the draft board doesn’t appear to be changing. This should make their decision relatively easy next April. While having Andrew Luck next year will be redundant if Peyton comes back, I don’t see how you can pass on him. Yes, a trade back is possible, but Luck should be the pick here, as the Colts go from one Franchise QB to another.
2. St. Louis Rams– OT Matt Kalil, USC:
Sam Bradford and the Rams are struggling this season, but it has little to do with Sam Bradford. The Rams receivers are dropping balls left and right, while the offensive line has allowed Bradford to be the most pressured quarterback in the league. He’s taking far too many hits this year, which is just not acceptable if the Rams are ever to become a serious contender. Kalil could lineup from day one at LT shifting Roger Saffold over to the right side and Jason Smith to the interior.
3. Minnesota Vikings- OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford:
The Vikings LT void is the team’s biggest need heading into this offseason and Martin is a perfect plug and play guy. Drafting him makes both Christian Ponder and Adrian Peterson better, and means that this will be their top choice. They could look to trade back to a team that is desperate for a quarterback, but otherwise this should be their pick.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars– WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State-:
While this has been a rough season for Blaine Gabbert, the Jaguars only have themselves to blame as they put him in a bad situation with limited weapons. Drafting Blackmon will go a long way to fixing the lack of weapons and will hopefully salvage this team.
5. Washington Redskins- QB Robert Griffin, Baylor:
The Redskins are another team that has to revamp their quarterback depth chart, and are a near lock to draft a guy early. While they probably like Matt Barkley, they can land a higher upside guy here in Griffin. Griffin is flying up draft boards and has a real chance of developing into a true ‘franchise quarterback’. Some might want to classify Griffin as a ‘running quarterback’, but he’s more accurate and precise than any other quarterback in this class. He also doesn’t have near the same level of talent around him that other top signal callers do. The Redskins could look to trade back from this spot, given their variety of needs, but Mike Shanahan has always liked big name quarterbacks, so my guess is Washington pulls the trigger on this one.
6. Miami Dolphins- QB Matt Barkley, USC:
The Dolphins need to find their next signal caller next offseason and they are likely to find their guy through the draft. While Matt Barkley might not be Andrew Luck, he’s a quality quarterback prospect who should grow into a really good quarterback. He might not be the second coming of Dan Marino, but he should be the best quarterback in Miami since Marino left.
7. Arizona Cardinals-OT Riley Reiff, Iowa:
The Cardinals desperately need to address their offensive line in this draft, with finding a LT a top priority. Reiff is a really talented prospect, and while he might not be a day one stud, he should be an immediate upgrade.
8. Carolina Panthers– DT Devon Still, Penn State:
The Panthers could look to go in a variety of directions here, but the most obvious one would be defensive tackle. Devon Still has put together a very impressive season, and their defense is lacking a force in the middle. Still should immediately help the run defense, while adding pressure up the gut against the pass.
9. Cleveland Browns– RB Trent Richardson, Alabama:
The Browns desperately need an upgrade at running back, and with a pair of 1st round picks they can select the top guy here and still strengthen one of their many other needs. Richardson has the potential to be another Adrian Peterson, and has displayed advanced pass protection for a young back, meaning he should be good for every down.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers– CB Morris Claiborne, LSU:
The Bucs are coming to the end of an era with Ronde Barber and can find an excellent replacement here in Claiborne. Claiborne is probably a top 5 talent, but needs at QB and OT could push him down a bit. This is a fantastic pick for the Bucs if he is on the board and could be the last ‘big’ piece they need for that defense.
11. Philadelphia Eagles- OLB Zach Brown, UNC:
The Eagles linebackers have been a huge disappointment this year and it needs to be made a big priority in the offseason. Drafting a guy like Brown would give them a day one starter, and should be a nice addition to that defense. Brown is pretty good in both coverage and run recognition, and while he has solid blitzing skills, it isn’t his strength. Which is good since the Eagles don’t ask their LB’s to blitz as much.
12. Kansas City Chiefs– ILB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State:
While they have a number of needs one that makes sense here is ILB. Derrick Johnson is a stud at one position, but the Chiefs could use an impact guy at the other spot. Burfict would be a huge addition here and really add a lot to that front 7.
13. San Diego Chargers–CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama:
The Chargers could look for help at receiver or offensive line, but if they go best player available Kirkpatrick should be the pick here. He has true shutdown corner potential, and offers great size with really good speed.
14. Seattle Seahawks– QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma:
I’m beginning to believe that Jones isn’t a first round talent, but unfortunately I think some team will overvalue him and take him in the first frame. While he’s not a great fit for the Seattle offense, their need at QB could lead them to reach for Jones. This is not a great pick for them and if they get the chance, I wouldn’t be shocked if Seattle trades up into the top 5 to reunite Pete Carroll with Matt Barkley.
15. Buffalo Bills- OLB Quinton Coples, UNC:
The Bills have to land some more defensive help in this draft, and finding a pass rusher is a top priority. Coples is the top pass rusher on the board, but is a guy who I could see fall to the mid-round range given his inconsistency this season. He might not be a huge impact as a rookie, but he should be able to be a solid playmaker early on.
16. New York Giants-ILB Luke Kuechly, Boston College:
The Giants need to fill their MLB void and grabbing one of the top guys from this class could be a great fix. Kuechly is simply a tackling machine, and would be an excellent fit in the Giants defense. With that line getting so much attention, he should be able to let his instincts take over and dominate the middle.