2012 NFL Mock Draft: Picks 1-16, 1/16
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1. Indianapolis Colts– QB Andrew Luck, Stanford:
The Colts won the ‘Suck for Luck’ sweepstakes, and will have a fairly easy decision. 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. Overall projecting a pick for this spot might be a moot point, because this is the most likely trade-up spot for Robert Griffin the III.
3. Minnesota Vikings- CB Morris Claiborne, LSU:
The Vikings could look at one of the top offensive tackles or WR Justin Blackmon (also a possible trade back spot), but could end up selecting CB Morris Claiborne. The Vikings secondary is a complete joke so adding a big time talent here would be the smart play.It’s extremely rare to see a CB drafted in the top 3, but Claiborne could be the exception to the rule.
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– OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford:
The Bucs could consider a WR or CB, and are a dark horse for Trent Richardson, but I think an offensive tackle should be their pick. Donald Penn might be a good LT, but the rest of that line is a joke. Tampa needs a bookend, and needs to make protecting Freeman a top priority.
6. 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 on the left side. If they don’t make the move up for RGIII though, the Skins best move might be trading back and trying to stockpile additional selections.
7. 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.
8. Miami Dolphins- RB Trent Richardson, Alabama:
I know this would be a bit surprising as Reggie Bush is coming off his first 1,000 yard year, and rookie Daniel Thomas showed decent promise last year, but it is feasible. Bush looked really good for the Dolphins down the stretch, but he’s not a 300 carry running back, and could be better utilized in the passing game some more. And while Thomas showed some nice promise, you don’t pass up a back like Trent Richardson, for him. Thomas probably could bring back a mid-round pick in a trade, and Bush will be in the last year of his deal, so it isn’t as though Miami isn’t without options. A trade back is also possible here, but Richardson would make a very nice pick.
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- CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama:
The Bills two biggest needs are CB and OLB. While it is possible they could look at someone like Coples (if they think he can stand up), it would be hard for Buffalo to turn down Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick is a big, physical corner with great speed and agility. He has the ability to develop into a true ‘shutdown’ corner. And when if you have to get through Tom Brady to win the division having a good shutdown corner is essential.
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. Seattle Seahawks– DE Quinton Coples, UNC:
The Seahawks have a very talented pass rusher in Chris Clemons at one defensive end spot, but not much opposite him. Coples could be the the complementary pass rusher they are looking for. He’s coming off a bit of a down year, but should still hear his name called in the first half of round one. He’s a bigger defensive end, who should hold up well in the ground game as well.
13. 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.
14. Dallas Cowboys- DE/DT Michael Brockers, LSU:
The Cowboys could definitely look to upgrade their defensive backfield with this pick, but I think the Cowboys could look to splurge and take an impact lineman with this pick. Their defensive line is pretty solid right now, but they lack an impact 3-4 end in the mold of a Justin Smith. Brockers could be that, as he is an incredible disruptive force and could even be a better end than last year star rookie J.J. Watt.
15. 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.
16. New York Jets- OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
The Jets definitely need to consider some potential holes on offense, but I think this pick goes to adding a premier pass rusher for the Jets. While the Jets defense creates a lot of sacks and pressure, they don’t have that one guy (at least) who needs to be accounted for on every play, and can take over a game. Upshaw might not have that immediate impact, but he could definitely develop into that, and should boost their pass rush.