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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Round 1, Picks 17-32, 3/6

Steve Shoup

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17. Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland)- WR Michael Floyd, Alabama:

One of the Bengals top priorities this offseason is to add weapons for Andy Dalton. While A.J. Green was a good first step, the Bengals need to add more targets. Running back is a greater need, but I don’t see another one being worth a first round pick beyond Richardson. Floyd though does give Cincy a top notch offensive weapon, and one that should make Dalton’s life much easier.

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- DE Quinton Coples, UNC:

The Titans could use an edge rusher despite spending a first rounder on the spot two years ago. Coples should help fix their needs on the edge.

21. Cincinnati Bengals- DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State:

The Bengals got another weapon with their first pick, so here they should take best available, which could be Cox. He’s quickly rising up draft boards and could pair with Geno Atkins to really be a force in the middle of that defense. It’s not their biggest need, but its a smart pick here.

22. Cleveland Browns- DE Courtney Upshaw, Alabama

The Browns are expected to go offense here, but if Upshaw is still on the board they can add their bookend to Jabaal Sheard. Upshaw can fit either a 3-4 or 4-3, so there is no reason for the Browns not to be interested. Upshaw and Sheard can vastly improve the Browns pass rush ability, and really strengthen that defense.

23. Detroit Lions- OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford:

The Lions will need to address their offensive line in this draft, and tackle is their primary need. Martin is sliding down some draft boards and could be available here for the Lions.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers- ILB Donta Hightower, Alabama:

The Steelers need to find some upgrades at a number of spots, and with the recent release of James Farrior, ILB is near the top of their list. Hightower comes from Nick Saban’s 3-4 meaning he’s extremely well coached and has some basis for the system.

25. Denver Broncos- DT Devon Still, Penn State:

Still would add to an already improved Broncos defense.

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 Still comes in. Still 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 Rueben Randle, LSU:

The Texans should look to give Matt Schaub a welcome back gift with this draft pick. Randle would be a nice complement to Andre Johnson, and would move Kevin Walter to the slot (where he is a better fit). A Randle-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- C Peter Konz, Wisconsin

The Ravens could look to the defensive side of the ball, but it will be tough to pass up a center like Konz.

30. San Francisco 49ers- TE Coby Fleener, Stanford:

The 49ers don’t have a lot of weaknesses, but they could look to bring in a former Stanford player of Coach Harbaugh. While TE isn’t a huge, the 49ers could look to create some mismatches with this pick.

31.  New England Patriots: DE Nick Perry, USC:

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 Perry. 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, and if Fleener didn’t have an advantage in San Francisco, he’d probably be first. He’d be a definite pass catching upgrade and should be a nice fit on their offense.

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