2012 NFL Mock Draft: Round 1, 4/16

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1. Indianapolis Colts- QB Andrew Luck, Stanford:

The Colts won’t debate this pick much, and even though they could auction this pick off to the highest bidder, I really can’t see them passing on Luck. Luck might not be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but he might be the most talented QB prospect in the last 10 years.

2. Washington Redskins (via St. Louis)- QB Robert Griffin, Baylor:

The Redskins have made the deal to move up and draft RGIII. It cost them a huge amount of draft pick value and will basically define this franchise over the next 10 years. Griffin has immense upside and if handled correctly this trade could work out for the Redskins. For the first time in a long time the Redskins have a true offensive piece they can build around.

3. Minnesota Vikings-  OT Matt Kalil, USC:

The Vikings could go in other directions, but it would be pretty hard to pass up Matt Kalil. He’s a franchise LT, and can help make the lives easier of both Christian Ponder and Adrian Peterson. He is the most talented tackle to come out since Jake Long, and should have a similar immediate impact.

4. Cleveland Browns- QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M:

The Browns can go in any number of directions, but I think with the extra draft picks they can look to grab Tannehill here. Tannehill has elite potential, but needs a team that can be patient to give him a year to develop. I think the Browns can go down that road, since they can address their running back and wide receiver needs with their other top 40 picks. Trading down still remains a viable option, but if they keep the pick, than Tannehill should be the selection.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- RB Trent Richardson, Alabama:

The Bucs after signing Eric Wright and re-signing Ronde Barber could look to put CB on the back-burner. Richardson would give the Bucs a top notch runner, who could be a franchise back. It is always a risk to take a running back this high, but establishing a stronger ground game could take a lot of pressure off QB Josh Freeman.

6. St. Louis Rams (via Washington)- WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State:

A lot will depend on what happens in free agency, but this pick should come down to Reiff and Justin Blackmon. The Rams have improved their line at least somewhat with Scott Wells meaning their gap at WR is more noticeable. St. Louis probably wants to pair Bradford with a top Receiver and Blackmon is as close as they will come this offseason. Blackmon might not be a true number 1, but he’s still got a good bit of upside and potential.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars- DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina:

While the Jags will be tempted to add a weapon with this pick, it is way too high to take a receiver. Ingram is an elite pass rusher, and will make the Jags defense vastly better. Teaming him and Mincey up could give opposing offenses nightmares.

8. Miami Dolphins- CB Morris Claiborne, LSU:

The Dolphins should probably just take best available here, and will look to decide between Claiborne and OT Riley Reiff. Claiborne will probably win out and hopefully give Miami the shutdown corner they are looking for.

9. Carolina Panthers- DT Micheal Brockers, LSU:

The Panthers could look to go in a variety of directions here, but the most obvious one would be defensive tackle. Micheal Brockers was a bit of a surprise entry to the draft, but he is a very welcome addition. The Panthers will love having him manning the middle of their defense and significantly improving their run defense.

10. Buffalo Bills- OT Riley Reiff, Iowa:

The Bills could look to go CB here, but if Reiff is on the board he can fill the void left by Demeterius Bell in free agency. Bell is a very talented blocker and looks to be a franchise LT. He should really bolster a strong Buffalo line, and should keep that offense churning.

11.  Kansas City Chiefs: ILB Luke Kuechly, Boston College:

The Chiefs are probably going to look defense here (though RT is an option), and if so I think going with Kuechly is a smart play. Teaming him with Derrick Johnson makes that defense pretty potent. Trading back could be an option, but it is going to be tough to pass up a talent like Kuechly.

12.  Seattle Seahawks- DE Quinton Coples, UNC:

The Seahawks went the free agent route at QB with Matt Flynn, and could look to use this pick to shore up the defense. Coples is a versatile pass rusher who can line up at strong side end, then kick inside on passing downs. He is a nice complementary rusher to Clemons, and really fills a need.

13. Arizona Cardinals- G David DeCastro, Stanford:

The Cardinals desperately need to address their offensive line in this draft, and now it looks like David DeCastro could be their top target. With DeCastro being a plug and play type pick, Arizona is getting some good value here.

14. Dallas Cowboys- CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama:

The Cowboys landed Brandon Carr, but that doesn’t mean their cornerback woes are completely fixed. Kirkpatrick has some off the field red flags, but on the field he definitely warrants this selection. Adding him here is a good value and turns a major weakness for Dallas, into one of their top strengths.

15. Philadelphia Eagles- CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina:

The Eagles could look to add a shutdown corner here, to replace Asante Samuel who is likely on his way out. They don’t have any pressing needs, so this is a bit of a wildcard pick, but Gilmore could fit.

16. New York Jets- OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama:

It’s really amazing that the Jets have been able to generate much pressure at all considering the lack of a truly great pass rusher. Outside of getting a better option at QB (and no Tim Tebow isn’t that answer), the Jets need to come away with a pass rusher this offseason. Upshaw is a very impressive option. While some consider him a bit of a stretch at OLB, I think he will do well in the Jets system.

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