2012 NFL Final Mock Draft: Round 1 Picks 1-16, 4/23

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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- RB Trent Richardson, Alabama:

The Browns can go in any number of directions, and I still think that Tannehill could be the surprise pick for them, but Richardson is the safe pick here. Regardless of what QB plays next year the Browns are going to want to significantly improve their ground attack. Richardson does just that and the presence of a strong ground game could have a greater impact than a WR here. I still wouldn’t rule out Tannehill or a trade back, but Richardson seems like the safe pick here.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- CB Morris Claiborne, LSU:

The Bucs after signing Eric Wright and re-signing Ronde Barber could look to put CB on the back-burner, but Claiborne is probably too good to pass up (unless Richardson falls). Claiborne has elite potential and could be a really good addition to the Bucs given the division they play in.

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

The Rams didn’t address the WR position in free agency (or at least not on a high level), making this pick likely to be used on Justin Blackmon. Blackmon might not be truly elite, but he’s a very good receiver and should become a favorite target for Sam Bradford.

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- QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M:

The Dolphins should be happy that Tannehill is still on the board here. He’s a good long term option for them, and can develop behind Matt Moore this season.


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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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