The 2012 NFL Draft is now just hours away, therefore it’s the perfect time to submit our final Mock Draft and analyze our last projections:
1. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford -
Analysis: The Colts have already announced that Luck will be the pick, so no drama before the first pick this year. If Luck is as good as we all believe he is, the Colts should be contending for the playoffs again within a few short years.
2. Washington Redskins – Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor -
Analysis: Similarly to the Colts and Luck, it’s well known that the Redskins will be selecting RG3 after surrendering four premium draft picks to move up from #6 to #2 in order to acquire his services. RG3 should bring explosiveness back to Washington and gives a young franchise quarterback to build around for the first time in a long time.
3. Minnesota Vikings – Matt Kalil, LT, USC:
Analysis: The Vikings have been talking about moving out of this pick and also about drafting LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, yet they eventually decided on the smart pick here, which is Kalil, who is an elite left tackle prospect and came play right away on the left side.
4. Cleveland Browns – Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama -
Analysis: Today, it was reported that the Browns have narrowed their choice down to Claiborne and Richarson but in the end, Richardson should be and will be the choice.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU -
Analysis: The Bucs jump for joy when Claiborne falls to #5, ensuring that the Bucs get one of the few true elite players in this draft. If Claiborne or Richardson are not available for the Bucs to pick here, then things are going to get very interesting, very quickly.
6. St. Louis Rams – Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St -
Analysis: The 2012 Draft could not have gone better for the Rams, first they move down and pick up two extra first round picks and a high second round pick this year, giving them three of the first 39 selections. St. Louis is blessed to already have selected it’s franchise quarterback with the first pick of the 2010 Draft in Sam Bradford so quarterback, so the team had no interest in RG3. Now they complete the perfect Draft by adding the playmaking wide receiver this offense has lacked since the departure of Torry Holt. Blackmon and Bradford will fit perfectly together and don’t be shocked if Blackmon catches 80 passes this year and clears 1,000 yards.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame -
Analysis: Floyd has been rapidly moving up draft boards across the league and even though the Jaguars could use help on the defensive line, they need it more at wide receiver and Floyd can offer young quarterback a true no.1 option to throw the ball to next season.
8. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M -
Analysis: Even with the no.8 pick, Tannehill feels like a bit of a reach, however he has all the tools to be a franchise quarterback with a little development. The Dolphins will have a unique insight on him, as their current offensive coordinator Mike Sherman was Tannehill’s head coach, so his adjustment to a pro offense will be much easier than expected if he goes to Miami. This pick just makes too much sense not to happen. The Dolphins need to take a risk and hope it pays off. They will not win anything with guys like Matt Moore and David Garrard starting at quarterback.
9. Carolina Panthers – Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State -
Analysis: Cox has flown up draft boards recently and some even have him going as early as no.6 to the Rams, however when he’s available with this pick, the Panthers literally sprint to hand in their card with Cox’s name on it. He is an absolute beast who is an elite interior rusher and solid against the run, he also has position versatility and will drastically improve the Panthers weak defensive line.
10. Buffalo Bills – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Analysis: The Bills have been putting off adding an elite left tackle for years but Reiff is too good to pass up at this point. The Bills strongly consider Michael Floyd at this point but go the big man instead.
11. Kansas City Chiefs – Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina -
Analysis: Some scouts think Ingram is the top pass rusher in the draft and he certainly is one of the impact defenders that will be available. The Chiefs make a ton of sense for him as he can play opposite of pro bowler Tamba Hali, giving the Chiefs an outstanding pass rush duo.
12. Seattle Seahawks – Luck Kuechly, LB, Boston College -
Analysis: Seattle Head Coach Pete Carrol loves linebackers and there is not another middle linebacker in this draft quite like Kuechly, he will be a starter from day one with the Seahawks and may even win defensive rookie of the year.
13. Arizona Cardinals – Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
Analysis: The Cardinals were really hoping Floyd would fall here and honestly the board is kind of working against the Cardinals here, therefore, they simply take the best player available, which happens to be Gilmore, who will pair with Patrick Peterson to form a dominant duo in the secondary.
14. Dallas Cowboys – Mark Barron, S, Alabama -
Analysis: The Cowboys have needed some safety help for quite some time and Barron is by far the best safety in this class. Barron is the best player available at this point and adding him along with free agent corner Brandon Carr from KC should give the Cowboys an enormous upgrade in the secondary. This pick also breaks the heart of the Philadelphia Eagles.
15. Philadelphia Eagles – Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis -
Analysis: The Eagles were hoping for Barron but will settle for Poe, a big athletic defensive tackle that oozes potential.
16. New York Jets – Quenton Coples, DE, North Carolina -
Analysis: The Jets sprint their card to commissioner Roger Goodell because they had idea Coples would fall to them here at 16.
Analysis: The Jets really wanted to nab Poe, however Jones will be a great addition to their defense. They have a big need at outside linebacker opposite Calvin Pace as the Jets struggled to pressure the quarterback last season. Jones was considered a late-first round pick at one point, but has been moving up lately and is a perfect fit for the Jets scheme.
17. Cincinnati Bengals – David DeCastro, OG, Stanford -
Analysis: Guards normally don’t go this high in the draft but one thing to know about DeCastro is that he is far from your average guard. He’s an elite prospect and will be a dominant player for the next decade.
18. San Diego Chargers – Michael Brockers, DT, LSU -
Analysis: Even though the Chargers did just re-sign Luis Castillo, they have a big need on their defensive front. They do not have a dominant player along their defensive line and Brockers would fit great in San Diego cause of his size and versatility.
19. Chicago Bears, Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois -
Analysis: The Bears defense is built on speed and pressuring the quarterback. Defensive end Julius Peppers is one the best in the league at getting after the quarterback, yet the Bears lack another premium edge rusher, so they reach into their own backyard and nab Mercilus, who posted 16 sacks last season in the Big Ten, which routinely produces some top-notch NFL offensive lineman.
20. Tennessee Titans, Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama -
Analysis: The Titans are looking hard for help at corner with the loss of Cortland Finnegan to free agency, thus Kirkpatrick makes a ton of sense with this pick and gives the Titans a solid young prospect, who should contribute immediately.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama -
Analysis: The Bengals have some sold depth at corner as well as some veteran help opposite of corner Leon Hall, yet Nate Clements and Terrance Newman will not be in the NFL forever, so a long-term solution at the position is needed and Jenkins, despite his character concerns is as talented as any corner in the draft outside of Claiborne.
22. Cleveland Browns – Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech -
Analysis: The Browns continue to add offensive playmakers in an effort to upgrade their offense. They consider taking Brandon Weeden here, but since they hold the 37th pick, they elect to gamble and hope he falls to them there. If not, there are other quarterbacks worth drafting and developing in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Hill is an amazing talent and will give the Browns the big play threat they have been lacking in the passing game.
23. Detroit Lions – Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford -
Analysis: The Lions were hoping a cover corner would fall to them, yet they also need a long-term replacement for left tackle Jeff Backus and Martin is the ideal fit. He is a great value in this spot and the Lions would be fortunate if he falls into their lap on Draft day.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama -
Analysis: Following the release of long-time starter at inside linebacker James Farrior, the Steelers find his replacement in Hightower, who will be the rare Steeler draft pick that gets on the field relatively quickly.
25. Denver Broncos – Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State -
Analysis: The Broncos are in desperate need of help along the interior of their defensive line and Worthy can provide it for them. He is stout against the run, can play multiple positions and has some interior pass rush skills.
26. Houston Texans – Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor -
Analysis: For years the Texans have failed to add a complementary no.2 wide receiver to relieve some of the pressure off of Andre Johnson, so they finally take the plunge here with Wright, who is a very talented receiver, who is tremendous in yards after the catch.
27. New England Patriots – Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State -
Analysis: Patriots fans will rejoice if Head Coach Bill Belichick decides to pull the trigger on McClellin, who is a versatile defender in the mold of Mike Vrabel, who will finally give the Pats the edge rusher, they have desperately need for so long.
28. Green Bay Packers – Arthur Jones, OLB, Syracuse -
Analysis: The Packers are in desperate need of some pass rushing help and Jones is a guy with a ton of versatility. He is big enough where he can rush for the defensive end or outside linebacker position, which is something the Packers will place a high value on and makes Jones a great fit for what Green Bay does defensively.
Analysis: The last time the Packers selected an outside linebacker out of USC (Clay Matthews), it worked out pretty well, so why not give it another shot with Perry, who is a gifted athlete with the ability to pressure the quarterback of the edge. He will take some pressure off Matthews and help upgrade a pass rush that was dismal in 2011.
29. Baltimore Ravens – Courtney Upshaw – DE, Alabama -
Analysis: The Ravens always do well in the Draft because they take the best player available and in this spot it’s Upshaw, who is not the greatest athlete but is a tough, hard-nosed football player, who would fit beautifully in Baltimore.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin -
Analysis: The 49ers were hoping a wide receiver such as Hill or Wright would slide to this spot, instead they will look to fill their need along the interior offensive line,where recently starting guard Adam Synder departed to Arizona, by selecting Konz. Konz can play both center and guard, so he’ll shore up at least one of those sports for San Francisco who gets a tremendous talented interior player late in the first round.
31. New England Patriots – Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame -
Analysis: The Pats continue to fill big needs defensively, as they take the second-best safety in the draft here, hoping they can plug him in right away next to Patrick Chung, in an effort to upgrade a porous pass defense.
32. New York Giants – Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State -
Analysis: The Giants need a right tackle to replace former starter Kareem McKenzie and Adams has all the tools to be a successful right tackle right away, yet has the potential to become a starting left tackle in the future.