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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Picks 17-32, 01/09

Steve Shoup

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17. Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland)- WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame

I consider this a bit of a luxury pick, but one that makes some sense when you think about it. While A.J. Green has been everything the Bengals could have hoped for, the rest of their receivers have been lacking (not to mention they are UFA’s). Adding Floyd with Green would create major match-up issues for opposing defenses, and make Andy Dalton one happy camper.

18. San Diego Chargers- OLB Whitney Mercilus, Illinois

The Chargers pass rush has been down this year, and while O-line or CB could be a bigger need, I think San Diego invests in a pass rusher this year. Mercilus is also versatile enough to play in a 4-3, if Chargers do end up switching coaches.

19. Chicago Bears- C Peter Konz, Wisconsin

The Bears offensive line has been a joke, and while it should be better next year with the return of 1st round pick (and Konz’s college teammate) Gabe Carimi, they need a lot more help.

20. Tennessee Titans- DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina:

The Titans pass rush from the ends is an absolute joke and needs to be addressed this offseason. Ingram is one of my favorite players in this draft and is someone who I really think is going to become a star. He has a non-stop motor and should quickly improve Tennessee’s pass rush to the point of respectability.

21. Cincinnati Bengals- CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama:

The Bengals need to find a CB, and while this might be slightly early for Jenkins, I think they’d make the pick. Jenkins has the potential to be a number 1 corner in this league, and the Bengals need someone who can take away (or at least try) Mike Wallace and Anquan Boldin. If Jenkins is on the board he should definitely be Cincinnati’s pick here.

22. Cleveland Browns (via Atlanta)- WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina

The Browns need to find another target for their new quarterback, and Jeffery 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 Chase Minnifield, UVA

After getting torched in both Week 17 by Matt Flynn and the playoffs by Drew Brees the Lions need to upgrade their secondary. Minnifield might be a slight reach here, but worth the risk (though the Lions should try to trade back). He’s the son of a former All-Pro CB, and looks to follow in his father’s footsteps.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers- G/T Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State:

The Steelers need to find a way to protect Ben Roethlisberger next year if they want to win the big games. While NT, ILB and CB could all be considered, I think the offensive line is the first thing that needs fixed. Osemele is a good fit for Pittsburgh, because he’s versatile enough to play both inside and outside, and is advanced enough to start right way.

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. New York Giants- DT Brandon Thompson, Clemson:

The Giants don’t have a major need at defensive tackle, but Thompson is an excellent value here. He could also shore up a defense that really struggled this year. Given that New York typically follows their draft board rather than their biggest need, Thompson could be the Giants next great defensive lineman.

27. Houston Texans- WR Kendall Wright, Baylor:

The Texans could use a legitimate deep threat opposite Andre Johnson, and Wright could be that guy. He’s got great speed and can get behind a defense in a hurry. Adding a receiver like Wright could be the final piece of the puzzle for the Texans, and could make this offense next to unstoppable.

28. 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.

29. New England Patriots (via New Orleans)- DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State

The Patriots need to fix this defense ASAP, and Cox would be great start. He’s a major presence in the middle and can give New England a great complement to Vince Wilfork.

30. San Francisco 49ers- G Cordy Glenn, Georgia

The 49ers don’t have a lot of weaknesses, but their biggest one is along their offensive line. Glenn could either play guard or if Anthony Davis doesn’t improve, he could become the RT.

31. New England Patriots- DE Nick Perry, USC

This might be slightly high for Perry, but I can see the Patriots going after him. They need pass rushers, and Perry has one of highest ceilings.

32. Green Bay Packers- OLB Sam Montgomery, LSU

The Packers defense has fallen off somewhat this year, in part because Clay Matthews isn’t as effective this year. A big part of that reason is he’s basically doing it himself when it comes to consistently getting after the QB. Montgomery can give Matthews the help he needs in getting after the QB, and hopefully reestablish the Packers defense as one of the best.

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