2012 NFL Mock Draft, Picks 1-17, 12/26
1. Indianapolis Colts– QB Andrew Luck, Stanford:
The Colts are on a winning streak, but I think they will still end up with the Andrew Luck pick. 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. Cleveland Browns- QB Robert Griffin, Baylor:
With a pick now in the top 5 the Browns have to consider taking a franchise QB. Griffin has the potential to be a super star, and could be a major upgrade over Colt McCoy. McCoy is a solid starter, but he’s likely not ever going to develop into a top 10 or 15 guy.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Washington Redskins- OT Riley Reiff, Iowa:
With the top two quarterbacks off the board, the Redskins will have to turn to their second rated need, offensive tackle. Reiff could be an instant starter at right tackle for the Redskins and give Washington a bookend (and insurance policy) with Trent Williams.
8. Miami Dolphins- CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama:
With no quarterback on the board the Dolphins should look to address their needs at either CB or along the offensive line. Right now I think they’d go CB, but a lot will depend on who their next coach is. Also I’d consider them a dark horse contender for Trent Richardson, given his upside.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. Kansas City Chiefs– MLB Luke Kuechly, Boston College:
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. Kuechly would be a huge addition here and really add a lot to that front 7.
12. Arizona Cardinals-OG David DeCastro, Stanford:
The Cardinals desperately need to address their offensive line in this draft, with finding a LT a top priority. Unfortunately there isn’t one here worth taking, but DeCastro is a fantastic consolation prize. He’s a day one starter at guard and should be a big help to both the running and passing games.
13. 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.
14. Seattle Seahawks– RB Trent Richardson, Alabama:
The Seahawks could lose Marshawn Lynch this offseason and will have to find his replacement early in the draft. With few teams at the top of the draft needing a running back the Seahawks could land a stud like Richardson. While overall the value of RB’s has gone down in the NFL, Richardson looks to be the exception to the rule.
15. San Diego Chargers– CB Alonzo Dennard, Nebraska:
The Chargers could look for help at receiver or offensive line, but their secondary was probably their biggest weakness this season. Dennard is moving up draft boards and could be the 2nd corner taken. He has true shutdown corner potential, and offers good size with really good speed. His instincts are what really set him apart though and could make him a top 15 player.
16. Chicago Bears– WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame:
The Bears could go a couple different ways, but one area they have been lacking is at wide receiver. The Bears have to give Cutler a big play target for them to have a chance. Floyd I think has moved into the 2nd spot among receivers behind Blackmon, and would be a really good addition with this pick.