2012 NFL Mock Draft Round 1: Picks 17-32, 2/21
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17. Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland)- RB Trent Richardson, Alabama:
One of the Bengals top priorities this offseason is strengthening their rushing attack. Adding the best RB in this draft would be a surefire way to do this. Richardson should be a stud, but falls some due to lack of need or undervaluing of the position by other teams. The Bengals would gladly make this pick, as a top running back could be the key for this offense.
18. San Diego Chargers- OT Mike Adams, Ohio State:
The Chargers offensive line was in shambles last year and needs to be San Diego’s top focus this offseason. Adams is moving up draft boards after his strong Senior Bowl performance, but still could be on the board here. He would be an instant starter for them at one of the tackle positions and exactly the type of pick they need.
19. Chicago Bears- WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
The Bears have lacked a big play receiver for quite some time (ever is a possible answer here). While the team could be rumored to trade up for Justin Blackmon, staying put could land them a good receiver as well. Wright has game breaking speed and excellent hands. Some teams might shy away, given his lack of size, but he’s an excellent down field threat.
20. Tennessee Titans- C Peter Konz, Wisconsin:
The Titans have one of the better offensive lines in the league, but their one weakness is in the middle. Konz could make this unit the best in the league, which is exactly what the Titans need as they will start to transition to Jake Locker at QB.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- DT Devon Still, Penn State:
The Bengals got their running back, and now surprise some people with this pick. Cincy could go a number of ways, but one area that few are predicting they look to upgrade is defensive tackle. And that is for good reason as Geno Atkins has blossomed into one of the premier DT’s in the game. Next to him the Bengals have a solid run defender in Domata Peko. While Peko gets the job done against the run, he offers little in pass rush ability. Still is the complete package and putting him next to Atkins could be huge for this defense. While WR, OG, and CB will all be considered, Still is the best player on the board and an absolute steal here.
I’ve taken some flak for this pick by Bengals fans so I wanted to clarify a couple of points: 1. Still is a huge value here, he’s probably a top 10 player, who could slide given other teams needs. 2. The impact of an increased pass rush generated by Still could help their passing defense as much or more than adding a CB. 3. Look at the impact that one great DT (Atkins) has had on this defense, imagine doubling it.
22. Cleveland Browns (via Atlanta)- WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
The Browns need to find another target for their new quarterback, and Floyd is the best receiver on the board. Him and Little could team up to give the Browns to big play targets. Combine them with Griffin and you have the makings of a pretty devastating passing attack.
23. Detroit Lions- CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama:
The Lions will need to address their offensive line in this draft, but with most of the top guys taken, look for them to turn to CB as their next biggest need. Jenkins at this spot is good value, and could give the Lions the top notch cover corner that they are lacking. If Detroit loses Cliff Avril though, DE could be the pick here as well.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers- G/T Cordy Glenn, Georgia:
The Steelers need to find some upgrades along their offensive line, and Glenn is the top guy available. He fits their power style really well, and has the versatility to play both inside and outside, making him a fit no matter what.
25. Denver Broncos- DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State:
The Broncos still need help along both of their lines, with defensive tackle being a more primary need. The Broncos tackles played solid this year, but they could use that singular dominant presence in the middle. That is where Worthy comes in. Worthy flashes the potential to be an absolute force in the middle, and figures to be both a top level pass rusher and run stopper.
26. Houston Texans- WR Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers:
The Texans should look to give Matt Schaub a welcome back gift with this draft pick. Sanu would be a nice complement to Andre Johnson, and would move Kevin Walter to the slot (where he is a better fit). A Sanu-Johnson combo could be extremely dangerous, and could be the final cog to their offense.
27. New England Patriots (via New Orleans)- S Mark Barron, Alabama:
The Patriots need to find some upgrades to their defensive backfield. A unit that was so thin that WR’s had to step in to help during the season. The Patriots defense was at it’s best when Rodney Harrison was patrolling back there, and Barron could be that guy that they are looking for.
28. Green Bay Packers: DE Andre Branch, Clemson:
The Packers could look at a corner or 5-tech DE here, but I think they might reach a bit for a pass rusher. Branch is a bit of a reach, but he fills the Packers biggest need. He’s an accomplished pass rusher, who takes good pursuit angles. Teaming him up with Matthews would be a major boost for this defense. Given this being a bit of a reach, don’t be surprised if the Packers look to move up for one of the bigger name pass rushers.
29. Baltimore Ravens- ILB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State
Burfict’s temper could get him to fall somewhat in this draft, but I see the Ravens not letting like his slip by. And honestly it would be a good fit, because Burfict can learn the position from a true star, Ray Lewis, who has the ability to take control of the locker room.
30. San Francisco 49ers- NT Alameda Ta’amu, Washington:
The 49ers don’t have a lot of weaknesses, but they could look to strengthen their impressive defense with this pick. Ta’amu would fit nicely into their defensive line rotation and would make this defense even more dominant.
31. New England Patriots: DT Fletcher Cox, Miss. State:
The Pats go in a number of different ways here, but they usually stick with the best player on the board, and here that would be Cox. I know the Pats have already spent one first rounder on the defensive side of the ball, but it is such a need that they could spend both.
32. New York Giants: TE Dwayne Allen, Clemson
The Giants could have some serious TE issues next year as their top two guys, both got injured (very seriously I might add) in the Super Bowl and might not be ready by the start of the season. Allen will be battling Coby Flenner for the top TE spot come April. Allen is probably slightly ahead at this point, but it is close. He’d be a definite pass catching upgrade and should be a nice fit on their offense.