NFL Mock Draft: As Free Agency Makes its Splash
With the exciting, chaotic and confusing period of 2012 NFL Free Agency frenzy now in full swing, it's time to deliver an updated outlook on the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft. Here is look at NFLdraftinsiders latest mock draft as the NFL teams continue to move ahead during the free agency period.
1. Indianapolis Colts—Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
The 6-4, 235-pound product will have his hands full taking over operations for one of the greatest players in NFL history. Andrew Luck will have an even tougher task with the recent departures of Pierre Garcon, Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai, Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullitt, among others. At least luck will be on his side.
2. Washington Redskins—Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor (Trade Via St. Louis)
While Washington is without a second-round selection this April (and also shipped its first-round picks in 2013 and 2014), something tells me RGIII is smiling more these days than Andrew Luck. Contrary to Indy, the Redskins aren't starting from scratch and scrapping everything. Instead, they're adding weapons right and left.
3. Minnesota Vikings—Matt Kalil, OT, USC
One of the best offensive tackle prospects to come along in years, Matt Kalil will protect Ponder’s blindside and help the incandescent decision-maker avoid any type of sophomore slump after taking his lumps as a rookie.
4. Cleveland Browns—Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Featuring an unmatched combination of size, drive, speed and strength, Trent Richardson racked up 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground with 29 receptions for 338 yards and 3 TDs through the air in 2011. T-Rich is a complete back that will not only alleviate Colt McCoy’s or whoever is under center next year and to have the Browns bounce back to relevancy.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Morris Claiborne CB, LSU
Josh Freeman requires stronger protection, but the secondary-starved Bucs have bigger fish to fry. Morris Claiborne is flat out the best defensive back in this year’s draft class. Last season, Claiborne collected 44 tackles and had six picks for LSU.
6. St. Louis Rams—Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
When you couple strength with talent, Justin Blackmon is the best player available and St. Louis is in some serious need of offensive weapons. Blackmon also has a tremendous ability to stretch the field, which will make life much easier for Sam Bradford.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars—Melvin Ingram DE, South Carolina
Ingram's stock has soared after an impressive display at the Combine. He's also very versatile and productive, having chalked up 15 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks in 2011. Jacksonville needs a corner and wide receiver like nobody's business, but upgrading the trenches is among the top priorities as well.
8. Miami Dolphins—Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Regardless of who lines up under center, getting Jake Long back healthy and pairing him with a bookend tackle in the versatile Riley Reiff will go a long way towards repairing the offensive issues and enhancing the aerial attack and ground game.
9. Carolina Panthers—Dre Kirkpatrick CB, Alabama
The Panthers ranked last against the pass last year, surrendering 8.4 yards per attempt. Carolina could definitely use a cornerback to start opposite Chris Gamble. While Gamble is a solid cover corner, the team doesn't have a decent corner behind him. Dre Kirkpatrick would make this secondary dangerous. Kirkpatrick is equipped with outstanding instincts and operates well in both man and zone coverage.
10. Buffalo Bills—Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
The Bills really struggled to get to the quarterback in 2011, tying for 3rd worst in the NFL with 29 sacks. Their team leaders in sacks were stud rookie defensive end Marcell Dareus with 5.5 and 32 year old rush linebacker Chris Kelsay with 5. Coples has a 6′ 6″ 285 pounds frame is quick as a cheetah. The Tar-heels have been producing some excellent NFL talent lately. He ran a very nice 4.78 fourty at the Combine.
11. Kansas City Chiefs— Dontari Poe NT, Memphis
Poe had a stellar performance at the combine at his position. He is enormous defensive tackle weighing 346 pounds but is fast for his size. Poe ran a 4.86 40 at that weight and also benched 44 reps of 225 at the Combine. This may not be a primary need for the Chiefs but playing in the AFC west teams need to stop the run and this a place where Kansas City can start improving.
12. Seattle Seahawks—Nick Perry DE, USC
A little reach here but he fits Pete Carol’s plan well with USC ties. It might not be the quarterback Caroll was hoping for in this years draft, but Perry fills a need at Seattle. Both of the Seahawks left ends are free agents this offseason leaving an empty space at that position. Sure Red Bryant may return but the other end Raheem Brock is on a decline and most likely headed out of Seattle taking he also was arrested last year. Seattle will not let Perry by them. At USC he, collected 21 sacks in three seasons and 9.5 as a junior.
13. Arizona Cardinals—Courtney Upshaw LB, Alabama
The Cardinals need a future team leader on defense and that is exactly what Upshaw is. He was defensive MVP of the National Championship game recording 7 tackles and one sack against LSU. Cardinals have been searching for that #1 threat coming from linebacker core for sometime now. Their top pass rushers Sam Acho and O’Brien Schofield flashed some talent, but their sack numbers don’t reflect a consistent ability to generate pressure.
14. Dallas Cowboys—Jonathan Martin OT, Stanford
With Romo in his prime, the Cowboys need to ensure his protection and can’t afford to ignore this position to upgrade his security on the line. Martin is an immediate starter and looks to do wonders for whoever starts under center along with a formidable ground game.
15. Philadelphia Eagles—Luke Kuechly ILB Boston College
The Eagles’ group of linebackers don’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of offensive coordinators. This is an extremely common projection, and Philly’s not known for taking linebackers in the first round, but it’s the most sensible selection. An old-school, hard-nosed run-stuffer, Kuechly is an intelligent linebacker and instinctive playmaker that floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.
16. New York Jets—Michael Floyd WR, Notre Dame
The New York fans will like this pick, Floyd excellent fit with the Jets. New York just resigned their franchise quarterback Mark Sanchez the first thing they are going to do is build weapons around him. Floyd will give him the help that veterans like Plaxico Burgress and Santonio Holmes were unable to provide. They have a slight need on the offensive line but the line in constructed of successful players including D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Matt Slauson, Nick Mangold and Brandon Moore so I don’t see the spending their first round draft pick on depth.
17. Cincinnati Bengals—Lamar Miller, RB Miami
Cincinnati’s backfield doesn’t possess nearly as much glitz and glamour as the air attack, so with its first-pick, the Bengals need to grab a running back, especially considering Cedric Benson, 29, is a free agent. Lamar Miller is a fairly complete back, coming off his redshirt sophomore season and has drawn comparisons to the elite Eagles runningback LeSean McCoy. Miller ran a 4.40 at the combine and claims he’s the best back in the draft.
18. San Diego Chargers—David DeCastro OT, Stanford
A safe pick that fills in a need for the Chargers. DeCastro is a complete lineman given his mobility he not only big, tough, physical and aggressive but also is able to pull and be a factor in space. The pick might not excite any Charger fan but believe me he has the capability of being a long time Pro-Bowl line-man for the next decade. Another good pick would be USC Nick Perry but in my draft I have Seattle selecting him.
19. Chicago Bears—Cordy Glenn, OG/OT, Georgia
The Bears have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL making it necessity for Chicago to select a top offensive lineman to them. Glenn will fit well with their offense and start right away. Trade for Brandon Marshall solve their need at wide receiver there is no way they sign a wide out in the first round now.
20. Tennessee Titans—Whitney Mercilus DE, Illinois
Mercilus fits with the Titans well especially since their pass rush off the edge was virtually non existent last season. With both defensive ends Williams Hayes and Jason Jones entering free agency this even further the chances of the Titans selected a defense end in the first round.
21. Cincinnati Bengals—Mike Adams OT, Ohio State
The Bengals have a major need on the offensive line to protect their young quarterback Andy Dalton. Adams is the best lineman available at this point of the draft and he has great potential to become a longtime starter NFL as a offensive lineman.
22. Cleveland Browns—Ryan Tannehill QB, Texas A&M
The surprise pick of this years first round, with the top two QBs in the NFL draft spoken for the Browns still need their future team leader on offense and Colt McCoy is just not it. The Browns were unable to trade with the Rams to get RGIII so the select the next best thing to throw to their two young receivers Justin Blackmon and Greg Little.
23. Detroit Lions—Jenoris Jenkins CB, Northern Alabama
Jenkins fills in the Lions big hole at corner. He might not be the biggest corner on the field but believe me it not be easy for receivers to separate themselves from him in the NFL. Jenkins has the potential to develop into one of the top corners in the NFL and become a great cover corner especially if he can leave his problems behind him off the field.
24. Pittsburg Steelers—Devon Still DT, Penn State
Steelers need a dominate nose tackle and Still is exactly that. Still believes he is the best defense tackle in the draft and fits the Steelers great defense scheme quite well. He has the ability to jam hard off the line with excellent vision but needs to work on getting to quarterback but will come with experience in the NFL. Lastly former Pro -Bowl Steelers linebacker Levon Kirkland, is Still’s cousin.
25. Denver Broncos—Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
Broncos use a stout defense tackle and can sure use a tone setter on their defense line Worthy is exactly that. But Denver has not chosen a player in the first round from the defense line since 1997 maybe its the time they stop that streak but if not always they can use a running back to help Tebow.
26. Houston Texans—Kendall Wright WR, Baylor
Wright can be explosive in the slot or on the outside. He will lay out for the tough catches and will easily build chemistry with Matt Schabb or TJ Yates. Making the wide receiver core of the Texans extremely dangerous that includes Andre Johnson on the opposite end.
27. New England Patriots—Michael Blockers DT, LSU
At this point Brockers, is the best player available in the draft and yes if it weren’t for his disappointing combine he might still be a top 15 talent. The LSU talent has the size, length and athleticism to fit into Patriots defense scheme very well and if he still available Bill Belichick will snatch him up to fill-in the hole that was left empty by Albert Haynesworth. If Blockers goes before the Patriots first selection another possibility is Fletcher Cox DT, Mississippi State.
28. Green Bay Packers—Fletcher Cox DT, Mississippi State
The Packers finished the season with something lost on the defense and to begin with is the lack of getting to the quarterback and it all starts with upgrading their defensive line. Other needs at linebacker and safety will come in the second and third rounds. Cox has tremendous upside he is very quick off the line and is very versatile where the Packers can use him to get to the quarterback. Cox will be a great NFL player for many year in college last season he He racked up 56 tackles and 5.0 sacks in 11 contests.
29. Baltimore Ravens—Stephen Hill WR, Georgia Tech
Hill is a speedster at wide receiver. He exploded at the combine and he predominately fits what Harbaugh wants at that position. Hill is a very experienced blocker and he knows how to stretch the field. He will thrive in NFL on a team where the running and tight-end are so important that sometimes teams forget about the receivers.
30. San Francisco 49ers—Peter Konz C/G, Wisconsin
Now it looks like the 49ers are fading away from drafting a wide receiver in the first round with veteran free agent receivers looking to join their team. The 49ers decide to flip their focus in different direction and select an offensive lineman to protect quarterback Alex Smith. Konz is the best available lineman and will most likely play right guard for the 49ers and replace free agent Adam Snyder. Konz will be an upgrade as well because the right side of the offensive line was awful last season.
31. New England Patriots—Mark Barron S, Alabama
Barron is the top safety in this year’s draft class. He was absent from the NFL Combine since he was recovering from double hernia surgery, but “I can’t see it having any real impact on his stock,” a high-ranking team official said. He also was unable to make the Alabama Pro-Day March 7th. Patriots can use a bit of upgrade in their secondary at safety and Barron will fit in New England well.
32. New York Giants—Colby Fleener TE, Clemson
The Giants primary need is at offensive tackle, but I highly doubt New York reaches to take Zebrie Sanders or Nate Potter with this pick. The Super Bowl team does lack a number one tight-end and can surely use an upgrade from their two tight-ends Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum, both tore their ACL’s last season. Fleener has great size and athleticism to become a solid NFL tight-end right away .