2012 NFL Draft: Mock Round 1

Posted: April 25, 2012 by Kodi in NFL

Roger Goodell has a grin on his face because Draft Day is just around the corner!!!

When does your favorite team draft and who should they take?

A breakdown of the 1st round draft pick selection I believe each team should make (not including trades)

We all know that Luck will be #1 and RGIII #2 but it’s all a roll of the dice from there . . .

#1 Indianapolis Colts: QB Andrew Luck, Stanford

Since the Colts selected Tennessee’s Peyton Manning as the #1 overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft there has been 11 of the last 14 #1 picks that played QB. After releasing Peyton Manning a couple weeks ago and watching their franchise player move on to Mile High the Colts are once again looking for a QB to lead their team. It worked out well for Indianapolis when they selected Peyton and are hoping that Andrew Luck can follow up the Manning legacy with one of his own.

#2 Washington Redskins: QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor

The Redskins organization have dug deep into Owner Dan Snyder’s pockets in free agency over the last decade but no matter the personnel the team was unable to achieve the type of success they’d hoped for. The St. Louis Rams were the original recipients of the #2 pick but after selecting Sam Bradford #1 overall just two seasons ago the team wasn’t looking to draft RGIII. The Heisman winner was worried about dropping out of the top 2 picks but his nerves were calmed when the Redskins sent three first round picks and a second round selection for the chance to draft this athletic QB.

#3 Minnesota Vikings: OT Matt Kalil, USC

The Vikings are hoping that Kalil can turn into their Joe Thomas, who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the #3 pick in 2007. Matt Kalil is in no way a flashy pick but with a second year QB, an all-pro RB coming off of knee surgery and the departure of Bryant McKinnie and Steve Hutchinson in the last year the Vikings are playing it safe. They could reach on a WR like Justin Blackmon or Michael Floyd (a Minneapolis native) or solidify their pass defense with Morris Claiborne as they are in a division with three elite pass offenses. The Vikings have more than one glaring need and it would be beneficial for them to trade down and accumulate some more picks, but are any teams willing to make that jump?

#4 Cleveland Browns: RB Trent Richardson, Alabama

The Cleveland Browns have not had a franchise RB who led the team in rushing for more than two seasons since Kevin Mack in 1993. The 2011 Browns were the 29th ranked offense and after a breakout season by RB Peyton Hillis in 2010, he had a breakdown season in ’11 and is not returning in 2012. The pass offense of Cleveland isn’t anything to write home about but the team does have a solid offensive line which could create huge holes for a workhorse RB like Trent Richardson. The problem for the Browns is are willing to pick a RB so early in the Draft when the NFL is clearly transitioning to more of a committee organized rush offense? There are questionable results for those RB’s who are selected in the first five picks which include:  Reggie Bush, Darren McFadden, Jamal Lewis, LaDainian Tomlinson, Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown and Cedric Benson.  If there was one RB to rely on in the 2012 Draft it would be Richardson so I can’t blame GM Mike Holmgren for pulling the trigger on this kid when he does.

#5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Morris Claiborne, LSU

Tampa Bay is another team that has a lot of holes to fill but after CB Aqib Talib had another run in with the law and Ronde Barber’s career finally coming to an end they are in dire need of a shutdown CB. Morris Claiborne is the closest thing to that in this year’s draft and the Bucs are hoping that his addition can immediately improve a defense that allowed the most points in the League. Cornerback is similar to the RB position in the NFL Draft, but picking a CB in the top 10 is far more unlikely than a RB but Tampa I hoping Claiborne can jump in the scene like another Bayou Bengal, Patrick Peterson. There is a lot of risk investing a top 10 pick on a CB, let alone a top 5, but if Claiborne is here for the Bucs at #5 it’s a no brainer.

#6 St. Louis Rams: WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State

Last season the St. Louis Rams made a trade to bring in WR Brandon Lloyd from Denver to improve their receiving corps but he was just a finger in the dyke. Lloyd signed with another team and the Rams need to continue with their youth movement and Blackmon can be the perfect toy for franchise QB Sam Bradford. Justin Blackmon is the top ranked WR in the Draft but recently Michael Floyd has been shooting up mock draft big boards but if they don’t take Blackmon it’s because they traded down again. Justin Blackmon has potential to become a great possession WR with the ability to run a quick slant as well as burn down the sidelines although without blazing speed.

#7 Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame

The Jacksonville Jaguars have created this reputation for being the NFL Draft wild card, reaching for players and drafting “unknowns” like DT Tyson Alualu with the 10th overall pick in 2010. Last year they took Blaine Gabbert with the 10th pick in hopes of building a passing game around RB Maurice Jones-Drew. Their passing offense threw for the least amount of yards in the NFL last year and was led in receiving by TE Mercedes Lewis. Michael Floyd would immediately give Gabbert another solid option in the passing game and he would be given the opportunity to flourish immediately. Floyd’s 100 receptions for 1,147 yards and 9 touchdowns in his senior season was more production than the Jaguars top 3 WR’s combined.

#8 Miami Dolphins: QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M

The Miami Dolphins lost during this off-seasons sweepstakes for QB’s Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn and decided that they didn’t want to revamp their offense for Tim Tebow. I’m not quite sure what offense they were talking about clearly they weren’t happy with their passing game last year as they dealt their leading WR, Brandon Marshall. The ‘Phins have Matt Moore and David Garrard on the roster to allow Tannehill to slowly work his way into a starting role. Tannehill is just as talented as both Andrew Luck and RGIII and some scouts believe he could be the cream of this QB crop. The problem is that evaluating talent is an extremely difficult job and trying to predict how well a great collegiate QB will transition to the NFL is probably the most difficult analysis in all of sports.

#9 Carolina Panthers: DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi St.

The Panthers tried to fill their interior defensive line need last year by taking DT’s Sione Fua and Terrell McClain but one was mediocre as a rookie and the other was terrible. Fletcher Cox would plug that hole in the middle of the D-line and would allow Fua and McClain to learn behind him in the depth chart. Cox is just one of many defensive line studs in this year’s Draft but he seems to be the safest choice for Panther’s GM Marty Hurney. Cox has gotten a lot of attention in these last few weeks because if the 6’5” 300 pound DT’s ability to play in both a 3-4 and 4-3.

#10 Buffalo Bills: CB Stephen Gilmore, South Carolina

The Bills are in dire need of some defensive help and Buddy Nix has already gone out and signed DE Mario Williams away from the Houston Texans. They could improve a huge hole on their defense by drafting a 6 foot CB who has 4.4 speed and can run in anybody’s hip pocket. Gilmore isn’t just a pass coverage corner as he has the physical prowess to come up in support and make an impact in the run game. Nix and Chan Gailey have both openly discussed the Bills need to improve at the CB position and we know that they had Gilmore in for a visit and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that he becomes a top 10 pick.

#11 Kansas City Chiefs: DT Dontari Poe, Memphis

The Chiefs are a team that could pick the best available player, which in this case would be LB Luke Kuechly, but the 26th ranked rush defense could really benefit from a big strong body like Poe’s. The Chiefs have had very little success drafting interior defensive lineman which may sway GM Scott Pioli into taking Kuechly or an offensive lineman. Dontari Poe is a 6’5” 350 pound DT that has been very impressive during the scouting process leading to a dramatic jump up most team’s big boards. Dontari Poe is a high risk pick at #11 but he has the potential for high reward and I think that the Chiefs are going to need to roll the dice on this guy and take the chance.

#12 Seattle Seahawks: DE/OLB Melvin Ingram, South Carolina

The Seahawks had a solid pass defense last season which will be even better once they get some help with the pass rush, which is exactly what this pick will do. Melvin Ingram has the ability to play up or down and has the skill set to become a impact defender on a growing defense. Ingram is not the best player available at this point of the Draft but Seattle is in dire need for a pass rusher and Melvin Ingram’s versatility makes his selection easier. The safe pick would be to bolster their offensive line with Riley Reiff or David DeCastro but the SeaChickens have already signed some stop-gap lineman during this season’s free agency period.

#13 Arizona Cardinals, LT Riley Reiff, Iowa

The Arizona Cardinals would love to have a player like WR Michael Floyd drop to them, hell Larry Fitzgerald said it outright, but if they want a playmaker like that they are going to have to move up in the draft. If the team decides to stay put and there isn’t a lot of movement in front of them then I think that they should be ecstatic that Riley Reiff dropped this far in the draft. He is easily the 2nd best offensive lineman in the draft and the Cardinals have a huge need at LT, the problem is there success rate of drafting offensive lineman is worrisome. Reiff is a big body, 6’6” 300+ pounds, that would be able to come into Cards camp an start at LT from the first whistle.

#14 Dallas Cowboys: SS Mark Barron, Alabama

The Dallas Cowboys have had problems in pass defense over the years and they have yet to find an answer at strong safety. They signed Brodney Pool but if they took Mark Barron they could slowly incorporate him into the defense and he could solidify that position for the Cowboys for the next 7-10 years. Barron can cover the pass and play the run while his 6’2” 215 pound body allows him to pack a punch and his brain allows him to instinctively find the ball and make big plays. The Cowboys could really use some help in the secondary and thus far Barron is clearly the best player available to fill that void, it doesn’t hurt that Owner Jerry Jones is in love with the kid.

#15 Philadelphia Eagles, DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina

The fact that Coples is still on the board at 15 will make Head Coach Andy Reid a very happy man and give him a solid pass rusher. Coples had a productive career as a UNC Tarheel  and turned many heads with his combine performance, but has also shot himself in the foot revealing that he didn’t try his hardest, giving a mediocre effort during his final season. Coples is 6’5” 280 pound with the size and speed to play both the inside and outside portion of the line. Coples was constantly double teamed during his final year at UNC and still recorded 15 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and forced three fumbles. Coming into the NFL as a rookie it may take a few years to force opposing offenses to double team him but that may allow his entry season to the League be extremely productive.

#16 New York Jets: DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama

The Jets are in need of a pass rusher and they are left with few options if they don’t move up and wait until the middle of the 1st round to make that pick. At 16 I believe that Upshaw and Syracuse’s Chandler Jones will be available and the right decision is drafting the kid from “Bama. There are some questions about the 6’2” 272 pound Upshaw’s speed and agility which could make him a liability in the passing game, but that’s the luxury of being drafted by the Jets. Upshaw will not be asked to do as much on the field as he would if he’s picked by another organization and with the Jets he can focus an honing in his pass rushing skills.

#17 Cincinnati Bengals: G David DeCastro, Stanford

If DeCastro falls to the Bengals the people of Cincinnati should be ecstatic that their team has the ability to pick the best Guard in the Draft. He is 6’5” 320 pounds who is ready to play in the NFL from day one, there is no need to polish this kids talents because he’s ready. He is quick off the ball and has good speed to shuffle and pull down the line which is important for a G. The Bengals have a glaring hole on the offensive line and if they could fill that void with a player of DeCastro’s ability they may be getting the steal of the Draft.

#18 San Diego Chargers: LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College

The Chargers would be just as happy as the Bengals if Kuechly falls to them at 18 because they would get the chance to take the kid with more tackles than any other player in the Draft. Kuechly is the all-time leading tackler for both Boston College and the Atlantic Coast Conference and last year he won the Butkus, Nagurski, Lombardi and Lott Impact Trophy awards. The only reason that I have him falling so far is because he lacks the speed to make him an elite LB in the NFL and the teams in front of him are drafting for  team needs rather than best player available.

#19 Chicago Bears: OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford

The Chicago Bears are looking for an elite pass-rusher to play alongside with DE Julius Peppers but if Martin is on the board the Bears can’t pass up this opportunity. Chicago needs to fortify it’s offensive line to protect QB Jay Cutler and give him time to find newly acquired WR Brandon Marshall. Jonathan Martin stands at 6’5” weighing 312 pounds, a prototypical Tackle who has missed just 2 games in his collegiate career. He doesn’t have great foot speed and could spend some time bulking his upper body to help overpower smaller, faster defensive ends.

#20 Tennessee Titans: DE/OLB Chandler Jones, Syracuse

The Titans had just 28 sacks as a team last year and after a run on pass-rushers in the middle of the 1st round Tennessee will be left with the “scraps”. Chandler Jones is a very talented pass-rusher who can immediately join the Titans organization and make an impact. The team went out and signed Kameron Wimbley and if they are fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to add Jones to their team they shouldn’t resist. Tennessee needs to draft this 6’5” 247 pass rusher and bring him straight to the weight room because he is vulnerable of being overpowered by strong offensive linemen.

#21 Cincinnati Bengals: CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama

Character issues? Who cares! Dre Kirkpatrick could end up being a long term solution for the Bengals at CB. The Bengals had a good pass defense last season but lost Leon Hall late in the year due to a torn Achilles. Kirkpatrick is one of the best CB’s in the draft and if Bengals fans could fill holes on their offensive line and acquire a solid CB after the 1st round of the Draft I suspect the people of Cincy will be pleased. Kirkpatrick is an underclassman who has shown great talent that will thrive in a zone scheme. As a 6’1” lanky corner whose 186 pound frame can be taken advantage of by a physical receiver.

#22 Cleveland Browns: WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech

The Cleveland Browns and GM Mike Holmgren are hoping that the next great wideout to come from Georgia Tech is Stephen Hill. The Browns need to find some sort of offense and if they could snag Richardson and Hill they will be giving QB Colt McCoy all the weapons he needs, besides some offensive line help (which they may address later). Hill is a 6’4” 215 pound WR who has great speed making him a big play threat. He is a raw talent who needs more experience and a coaching staff that’s willing to work on fundamentals to develop him into a super star. I am absolutely in love with Stephen Hill and think that if the Jackets offense threw the ball a little more this kid would be a top 10 pick.

#23 Detroit Lions: DE Nick Perry, USC

The Detroit Lions used to be known for drafting WR year after year but with the pick of Nick Perry in the 1st round it will be the third year in a row that they drafted a defensive lineman with their first pick. The Lions need to find a replacement for Kyle Vanden Bosch at some time in the near future and after making it to the Playoffs last season the organization has the personnel in place to make another push. Drafting Nick Perry gives the team the time to let him learn under the trusty veteran and replace him when the time comes rather than starting right away, which could be detrimental towards his morale.

#24 Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama

The Steel curtain has been alive and well but the team knows that there needs to be a youth movement to ensure that it remains in the future. Hightower is a versatile LB who can play both the outside and inside role. Hightower is coming out of the prestigious Alabama University where there has a stable of NFL-ready LB’s in the past. It might be better for the Steelers to mold Hightower into an ILB because his frame can slow him down in certain portions of the field. He will fit well in the Steelers 3-4 scheme and could easily take the LILB job from Stevenson Sylvester by the end of training camp.

#25 Denver Broncos: DT Michael Brockers, LSU

Brockers joined the Bayou Bengals as a linebacker prospect but after beefing up he shifted to the defensive line. He still has athleticism and agility that may allow him to play the DE in a 3-4 scheme but he would fit great in the middle of the Broncos D-line. The Broncos lost Brodrick Bunkley in free agency and now the Broncos are in dire need of a stop-gap in the middle. Brockers is a raw talent and the Broncos need a lot of help which may be too daunting of a task for a player like Brockers who has started for just one full year in college. He isn’t a great pass rusher but not many DT’s are although he won’t be relied upon heavily to chase the QB.

#26 Houston Texans: WR Kendall Wright, Baylor

It just makes sense for the Texans to pick Wright if he falls all the way down to them in the 26th spot. They could very easily spend this pick on getting some help for the offensive line or trying to find Mario Williams’ replacement but Kendall Wright is the right pick. The Texans pass offense has been decimated by injuries over the past few seasons and Wright would just be another weapon in the Texans’ arsenal. His 5’11” 190 pound body limits him, although he has great speed and can stretch defenses his short, smaller build makes him more of a deep threat than a possession receiver.  Fortunately for the Texans they already have Andre Johnson and Wright would be a great compliment on the other side.

#27 New England Patriots: DE/LB Andre Branch, Clemson

Let’s be realistic no one has any clue what Bill Belichick has hidden underneath those cut-off hoodie sleeves but if I had to make a bet it would be that he trades out of this pick. This is a great place for a team to trade up and grab some early 2nd round talent like Brandon Weeden or Janoris Jenkins. If they do decide to keep this pick they will be looking for some help on the defensive side of the ball and Andre Branch fills a few holes on the team’s depth chart. Branch is 6’4” 259 pounds, a physical athletic player that can get to the QB, however, he needs to work on run support but I’m sure the Patriots know what they’re doing.

#28 Green Bay Packers, DE/LB Shea McClellin, Boise State

This would be one of the players on top of Ted Thompson’s realistic wish list and if he drops to the Pack I’m sure TT will snatch him up. The Packers are looking for some help on the other side of Clay Mathews who was constantly double teamed last season. The Packers need help on the defensive line and McClellin has the right size, 6’3” 260 pounds, and agility to make an impact for Green Bay in their 3-4 scheme. His size and athletic ability is the only reason that he will drop this far in the Draft, as some teams feel that he isn’t big enough to play as an every down DE and his athleticism isn’t enough to cover sideline to sideline.  Dom Capers defense isn’t your run of the mill 3-4 and I’m sure he’s licking his chops to get the opportunity of implementing McClellin into the mix.

#29 Baltimore Ravens: C Peter Konz, Wisconsin

The Ravens only true need is to find a replacement for MLB Ray Lewis who should be retiring in the next few decades. There aren’t any players worth reaching on that can learn behind Lewis and I have them taking Peter Konz, the Center from Wisconsin. Matt Birk came to Maryland a few seasons ago but father time is ticking and there is no depth behind him. Konz does not need to start at C because the 6’5” 313 pound kid has the skill set to shift over to LG if they need to. Baltimore and General Manager Ozzie Newsome are in a good position at 29 and they are another team that may be willing to drop down a few spots and accumulate more picks rather than reach on a player like Konz.

#30 San Francisco 49ers: TE Coby Fleener, Stanford

This was easily the most difficult pick for me to predict because it doesn’t make sense for the 49ers to Draft a back-up TE at 30. When you look at it in depth you see that Delanie Walker is in the final year of his contract and Jim Harbaugh’s offense loves to utilize the double TE set. Not to mention that Fleener was coached by Harbaugh for most of his collegiate career and he will come to San Fran knowing the offense. Fleener is 6’6” 247 pounds with good speed and great football intelligence. If he is picked by his old coach the Niners are going to have to bulk him up a little and work on his blocking to become a solid building block of this offense.

#31 New England Patriots: CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama

The only reason that Janoris Jenkins isn’t being called up to meet Commissioner Roger Goodell at the podium any earlier is because of this guys off the field antics. He is undoubtedly a character by Bill Belichick knows what kind of talent he has available to him with the second to last pick in the 1st round. He has elite coverage skills, with quick feet and miraculous speed but he has problems once he leaves the friendly confines of the football team. If Belichick drafts Jenkins and is able to surround him with the right kind of guys in Beantown then he will look like even more of a football genius.

#32 New York Giants: T Mike Adams, Ohio State

The New York Giants are coming off of a Super Bowl victory but after losing Kareem McKenzie the team is in terrible need of an offensive tackle.  The Giants will be the beneficiaries of a drug test that Adams tested positive for marijuana and the 6’7” 323 pound beast will fall from the middle of the 1st to the end. The Giants can play Adams at either tackle position and let William Beatty and James Brewer battle for the other. Adams has the potential to start for the Giants for the next 8 years if he can keep it together off the field.

 

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