2012 NFL Mock Draft: Final Version

Doing mock drafts this close to the draft is a chore. By the time I finished this two round mock, there were about 100 changes I wanted to make. But that would just stress me out, so we will roll with this one and see how it goes. I might do a very quick mock a day or two before the draft, but chances are this is it. So enjoy! I added color!

Round 1

1. Indianapolis Colts - QB Andrew Luck, Stanford. There has been somewhat of a debate with who the Colts are actually going to take with the first overall pick. Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. There is no debate. The Colts did not cut loose the best, most popular and most important player in franchise history to select anyone other then Andrew Luck. There is no debate here.

2. Washington Redskins (from St. Louis Rams) - QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor. There is no debate here either. The Redskins gave up a lot to move up to this spot, but it was it was absolutely worth it. Ask fans of teams like the Redskins, Dolphins, Jets, Vikings, Cardinals if they would give up a few first round picks to have that ever important quarterback position finally solidified for 12 years? As a Dolphins fan, I wouldn't think twice about it.

3. Minnesota Vikings - OT Ryan Kalil, USC. I think Kalil is pretty much in his own tier and the only option here. He is a franchise caliber left tackle and the best non quarterback talent in this draft. Just as important, the Vikings have a monster hole at left tackle that Kalil would be able to fill perfectly. No other option here either.

4. Cleveland Browns - RB Trent Richardson, Alabama. The draft starts to get interesting here. The Browns will probably trade down. They made a bad trade last year (I am one of the only people to think this) by passing up on Julio Jones, which turned into Phil Taylor and a low first round pick this year. This team will never be anything unless they get serious about adding offensive talent to this roster. Trent Richardson is the best bet here, and someone the Browns need to go after. People say backs aren't worth top ten picks, but that is just not true. Every down, workhorse guys are still taken this high, and Richardson fits that bill. The Browns off season moves have shown that they might be leaning towards this direction. Richardson would be a great fit for Cleveland, and quickly become a fan favorite. Richardson to the Browns has been my pick since the draft order was set.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - CB Morris Claiborne, LSU. The Bucs can relax and sit pretty, knowing one of the two players they really want will fall to them at 5. They will take Trent Richardson or Morris Claiborne, in that order, if they are available. For some reason, if they aren't, that means they can get quite a bit for a team who wants Ryan Kalil. Claiborne fills a huge need for a team that just gave Eric Wright about $37.5 million more then he is worth, and is still relying on the ancient Ronde Barber to provide production.

6. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins) - WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St. Like the Bucs, the Rams can sit back knowing a player they could use will fall to them. They would love to have Kalil, Richardson, Claiborne or Justin Blackmon. I think Blackmon is a little bit overrated and probably shouldn't be a top ten pick. You can't ignore his college production, but I think the top ten should be reserved for wideouts with that amazing size/speed combination. Blackmon should be a solid weapon for Sam Bradford, but I think he might be more of a WR2 in the NFL. Still, he would be a huge upgrade over the no names the Rams have sent out there for years.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars - DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina. I have had Michael Floyd here for a while now, and Kendall Wright before him. The Jags really need to give Blaine Gabbert more weapons, but they are placing a premium on high character guys. Floyd is a good kid but he has had some off the field issues. I think anything is enough for the Jaguars to pass. They would like to trade down but unless someone really wants Ryan Tannehill here I don't see anyone moving up. The talent level really drops after the first six guys. Ingram was a big time play maker in college and had great workouts. He has short arms and might have some trouble if he is a full time 4-3 end, but he has the skills to really get to the quarterback. Other then receiver, defensive end has been the biggest need in Jacksonville for quite a while.

8. Miami Dolphins - QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M. I can't see Tannehill lasting past this spot. Thanks to ESPN, there is no other position on the field that matters except quarterback. Luck and RG3 are locks to go number one and two so Tannehill is the guy they are spending hours per day talking about. Thus he is way over hyped and some stupid team (who is dumber then my Dolphins?) is going to trade up way too high to take this guy. As a Dolphins fan, I don't mind if they draft Tannehill as long as they don't trade up to get him. The roster is pretty solid, but without a quarterback they are a bad team. If you are going to be bad why not be bad with a young guy who could be your future? You can't wait to get your hands on a potential 12 year starter. You never know what will happen. Did anyone really think the Colts would be the team to win the Luck sweepstakes?

9. Carolina Panthers - DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi St. The Panthers have holes all over the place on defense, the most glaring is the lack of a run stopper on the defensive line. They could choose between Dontari Poe and Fletcher Cox here. I think Cox is a better all around tackle, and had the much better college tape, so the Panthers will go with him here. He can stop the run and get to the quarterback.

10. Buffalo Bills - WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame. Riley Reiff is the popular pick here but I just don't know if he can play on the left side in the NFL. And teams generally don't draft right tackles in the top ten. Floyd has great size and skills and has rebounded nicely from some off the field troubles at Notre Dame. This is a  passing league now, and Buffalo has to justify the contract they gave to Ryan Fitzpatrick. He now has a very nice set of wideouts with Floyd and Stevie Johnson.

11. Kansas City Chiefs - DT Dontari Poe, Memphis. Poe is this year's workout wonder. People are now comparing him to Haloti Ngata. That is ridiculous of course, but he isn't likely to slide out of the top 15. . Poe definitely has the size to fill that role, but his production was too often not there in college. That is worrisome, but someone will take the chance that he will be the next Ngata. The Chiefs have been relying on undersized nose tackles since they transitioned to the 3-4. Defensive tackle seems to have the biggest bust rate as far as top 15 players, so buyer beware.

12. Seattle Seahawks - OG David DeCastro, Stanford. The Seahawks might have bigger needs, but they go with the top player on the board. DeCastro is an absolute beast and I would not be shocked if he went as high as number 7 in this draft. He is that good. Seattle has spent a ton of recent high picks on their offensive line. DeCastro will help out Marshawn Lynch, who should continue to be the focal point of this offense.

13. Arizona Cardinals - OT Riley Reiff, Iowa. Like I said earlier, I think Reiff could fall a bit since he is not projected to be a future left tackle. But the Cardinals need offensive line help so bad that he would still be an upgrade if forced to play that side. He should do very well on the right side and is a great fit for the Arizona offense.

14. Dallas Cowboys - S Mark Barron, Alabama. The Cowboys have been linked to three guys. Dontari Poe, David DeCastro and Mark Barron. With the first two off the board, they will go with Barron here. They have been searching for safety help for years, and Barron is one of only a few safeties in this class that project as future starters.

15. Philadelphia Eagles - MLB Luke Kuechly, Boston College. The Eagles just stole DeMeco Ryans from the Texans to play middle linebacker, but that shouldn't stop them from pouncing all over Kuechly if he somehow falls here. I think they would rather find a way to play the two "middle linebackers" together instead of relying on over matched youngsters once again.

16. New York Jets - DE/OLB Chandler Jones, Syracuse. Jones is this years Larry English or Aldon Smith. A late rising 3-4 pass rusher who had a great combine. Hopefully for New York he will be more Smith and less English. It is no secret that the Jets biggest need is a linebacker that can get to the quarterback.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland Raiders) - CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina. The Bengals signed Jason Allen and Terrence Newman but they have to be viewed as short term stop gap solutions. With two first round picks, they really should get a corner here. Gilmore has the perfect frame and talents for the cornerback position, and showed off his skills with some great workouts. 

18. San Diego Chargers - CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama. The Chargers would love for Chandler Jones to fall to him, but alas, it does not happen. San Diego needs to inject youth into the secondary. Kirkpatrick is a versatile talent who can come in and have an impact like Malcolm Jenkins had his early years wth the Saints. He can be a swing cornerback / safety before he settles into a position. The Chargers have a need at both spots.

19. Chicago Bears - DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina. The Bears are going for it all. The moves they have made suggest they are ready to make a Super Bowl push. So I can see them as one of the teams taking a chance on Coples here. Julius Peppers is a terror as a pass rusher and Israel Idonije is a good run stopper, so Coples can be brought in slow as a rookie, but still make a big time impact. Playing across from one of the best defensive ends of all time should light a fire under him.

20. Tennessee Titans - OG/OT Cordy Glenn, Georgia. The Titans were heartbroken to see Gilmore, Kirkpatrick and Coples come off the board right before them. All three would have filled huge needs, but with them gone Tennesee goes to the offensive side of the ball. Glenn is a mauler who has the size to engulf even the biggest defensive tackles. He will team with the ageless Steve Hutchinson to provide Chris Johnson some very good run blocking.

21. Cincinnati Bengals - WR Kendall Wright, Baylor. There have been some recent smear campains against Kendall Wright. Some are saying he carries a third round grade and that he has 16 percent body fat. Eh, I learn not to read too much into anything said a week before the draft. I think Wright is still a solid first round prospect in a good receiver class. The Bengals don't have anything across from AJ Green, so to get a burner (you know, as evidenced by his game tape no one seems to care about anymore) to take some pressure off the future All Pro would be a great pick up.

22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta Falcons) - OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford. The Browns have so many needs that you can pretty much pull a name out of a hat and that player would provide an upgrade. If Cleveland goes with Trent Richardson at 4, they could work to improve a very leaky offensive line. Martin has talent, but he will probably play exclusively on the right side, which limits his upside and draft position.

23. Detroit Lions - DE Courtney Upshaw, Alabama. The Lions always ignore needs and go with who they think the best player available is. Upshaw has some pass rushing skills but doesn't really have a solid position at the next level. He would make a very good rotational lineman on a defensive line that just keeps getting better and better.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers - MLB Dont'a Hightower, Alabama. This is a very popular pick in mock drafts and for good reason. Hightower was born to be a Steeler. He has great size and strength for the middle linebacker position. He is a throwback player when linebackers used to be 270 pounds. Pittsburghs off season moves have opened up a spot that he can immediately slide into.

25. Denver Broncos - DT Michael Brockers, LSU. Brockers is an absolute steal here and the Broncos should not think twice about taking the LSU project. Denver got by with plug in veterans last year, but they really need a guy who can hold down the inside of the line. Brockers has great size and skills, all he needs is experience.

26. Houston Texans - TE Coby Fleener, Stanford. The Texans would love to find a receiver to pair opposite Andre Johnson here. This team is Super Bowl ready, I don't think they will want to wait on Stephen Hill to develop. The team lost Joel Dreessen in the off season, who was a very important second tight end behind injury prone Owen Daniels. Fleener would be a luxury pick for sure, but if the Jimmy Graham comparisons are legit, he has the ability to line up wide and cause matchup nightmares. This just gives Matt Schaub a very important weapon so teams can't key in on Johnson so much.

27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans Saints) - DE/OLB Shea McLellin, Boise St. McLellan has been invited to the NFL Draft Green Room so there is a good chance he is a first round pick. He looks like a Patriots type of player to me, so if I had to guess where he is going to go, I would pick New England. He has good size and speed to play in the wide variety of looks the Patriots will throw at offenses. He provides much needed pass rushing skills.

28. Green Bay Packers - DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus, Illinois. It is no secret that Green Bay's biggest need is a pass rusher across from Clay Matthews. Matthews struggled when all the blocking was focused on him. Mercilus was one of the most feared pass rushers in college football last year and has the talents to transition to the outside.

29. Baltimore Ravens - C Peter Konz, Wisconsin. The Ravens are one of the best drafting teams in the NFL along with the Steelers and Packers. Amazing how those teams always are drafting in the bottom third of the draft, huh? Konz is a day one starter at center, but Baltimore could use him at guard until he is ready to take over for the ageless Matt Birk.

30. San Francisco 49ers - WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech. The Niners waste no time snatching up the physically dominant Hill. What is in the water at Georgia Tech that breeds monster receivers with amazing combines? He is a project, like other Yellow Jackets not named Calvin Johnson, but the Niners can afford to bring him along slowly. He should be able to start by 2014 when Randy Moss and Mario Manningham are gone.

31. New England Patriots - S Harrison Smith, Notre Dame. There is about a 485% chance the Patriots will trade away this pick, but if they somehow hold on to it they could go a number of directions. This safety class is two deep, so landing one of the future starters would be a good direction to go in.

32. New York Giants - RB Doug Martin, Boise St. Martin is a fast rising prospect and teams could trade back into the first round to select him. He isn't exactly the "thunder" replacement for Brandon Jacobs, but he could be a very valuable weapon with 10 to 15 touches a game.

Round 2

33. St. Louis Rams - DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan St. There are several quality defensive tackles available here. Worthy. Kendall Reyes. Devon Still and others. They can take their pick. Kendall Langford is the only worthwhile tackle on the roster.

34. Indianapolis Colts - OG Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin. Best player available that fills a need. The Colts lost a bunch of offensive lineman and will need to retool, especially on the inside.

35. Minnesota Vikings - DT Kendall Reyes, Connecticut. The Vikings have holes everywhere so they need to go best player available here. Reyes has good size and could help Kevin Williams, who still misses his buddy Pat.

36. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - RB David Wilson, Virginia Tech. The Bucs are working on building a very impressive offense. They spent big money on Vincent Jackson and Carl Nicks. LaGarrette Blount is a first and second down back only. Wilson showed good pass catching skills at the combine and should be the third down back immediately, and it won't be long before he takes over for Blount all together.

37. Cleveland Browns - QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma St. Mike Holmgren likes old quarterbacks to lead his mediocre offenses. He wasn't able to land one via free agency, so he will draft a guy who is 28 years old. He should be able to beat out Colt McCoy and lead the Browns to 6 wins instead of 5.

38. Jacksonville Jaguars - DE Nick Perry, USC. Perry is a bit undersized and may be a better fit as a 3-4 end, but he can get to the quarterback. Like it has been for the last decade or more, pass rushing is one of Jacksonville's biggest needs.

39. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins) - RB Lamar Miller, Miami. The Rams have not had a good backup for Steven Jackson since he became starter. Instead of signing past their prime or never had a prime veterans, this is a good spot to pick up a good young player that can step in when Jackson falls apart in a year or two.

40. Carolina Panthers - CB Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska. The Panthers boast an extremely mediocre set of cornerbacks. Dennard's ceiling may simply be a nickle back, but when you play the Saints two times a year, that is still a huge need.

41. Buffalo Bills - OT Mike Adams, Ohio St. The Bills passed on Reiff in the first round, so they need to get some bodies in there who can play tackle. I do not think Adams is a future left tackle, but he at least looks the part. 

42. Miami Dolphins - WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina. This draft could be legendary for Miami, or a complete flop. They pair Tannehill with Jeffery, who once had top ten skills but couldn't get enough of this Columbia, South Carolina BBQ. I think the talent is too good to pass up here, especially when your best receiver is Davone Bess.

43. Seattle Seahawks - MLB Mychal Kendricks, California. David Hawthorne is gone, opening up a hole in the middle. Kendricks stock has really risen in recent weeks and he looks like a solid second round prospect.

44. Kansas City Chiefs - QB Brock Osweiler, Arizona St. Eventually the Chiefs have to try to find a successor for the painfully mediocre Matt Cassel. Osweiler is a project but boasts tremendous size and arm strength.

45. Dallas Cowboys - CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama. The Cowboys do have bigger needs but I can see Jerry Jones not being able to pass up on Jenkins. He will fall into the second round because he is a nucklehead who can't stay away from the weed, but his talents are as good as any other cornerback in this draft.

46. Philadelphia Eagles - DT Devon Still, Penn St. Andy Reid loves to have a half a dozen or so defensive tackles at his disposal. Still, from nearby Penn St., is a borderline first round talent who provides good value here.

47. New York Jets - WR Rueben Randle, LSU. Randle has the size and skills to be a number one wideout in the NFL, but too often disappeared in games. The Jets need to rework their receiver group.

 48. New England Patriots (from Oakland Raiders) - CB Josh Robinson, Central Florida. The Patriots have major needs in the secondary. It would actually be wise if they used three of their top four picks on that part of the team, even after spending many early round picks on the secondary in recent years.

49. San Diego Chargers - OG Amini Silatolu, Midwestern St. Unfortunately Kris Dielman had to retire due to injury. The Chargers need to continue reworking their offensive line.

50. Chicago Bears - WR Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers. The Bears have added Brandon Marshall but should not be done adding weapons for Jay Cutler. Sanu is not that fast, but he is strong with good hands and could make a good possession receiver.

51. Philadelphia Eagles (from Arizona Cardinals) - S Brandon Taylor, LSU. The Eagles secondary really struggled in 2011, mostly at safety. Taylor is not in the class of Barron or Smith, but he should be a future starter.

52. Tennessee Titans - OLB Zach Brown, North Carolina. Like most North Carolina defenders to enter the draft, Brown has question marks about his determination and motor. But if he can get his head on straight he would form one of the NFL's best young linebacker trios with Akeem Ayers and Colin McCarthy.

53. Cincinnati Bengals - OG Kelechi Osemele, Iowa St. The Bengals are going through changes at guard. Osemele has great size for the position and the talent to be dominant.

54. Detroit Lions - OT Bobbie Massie, Mississippi. The Lions somehow have failed to upgrade from the mediocre Jeff Backus/Gosder Cherilus combo. Massie has the look of a future starting NFL left tackle and is starting to generate some late buzz.

55. Atlanta Falcons - DE Vinny Curry, Marshall. John Abraham and Ray Edwards made an overhyped and underwhelming defensive end duo in 2011. Curry has a non stop motor and has been one of the most productive players in college football the last few years.

56. Pittsburgh Steelers - OT Mitchell Schwartz, California. The Steelers offensive line was so bad they signed Jabba the Max Starks off his couch last year to start at left tackle for them. At this point, they will probably only find a future starter on the right side.

57. Denver Broncos - DT Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati. Wolfe had amazing workouts and I would not be surprised if he was gone well before this. The Broncos have taken two underclassmen with tremendous upside to plug the middle of their defensive line.

58. Houston Texans - DT Alameda Ta'amu, Washington. Ta'amu once had some first round buzz and would be good value. The only real weak link on Houston's front seven is a nose tackle. Ta'amu definitely has the size for the position.

59. Green Bay Packers - CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech. The Packers secondary got torched last season. If one of the young guys can become a starter across Tramon Williams, Charles Woodson can move to safety and the entire secondary would be better as a result.

60. Baltimore Ravens - WR Brian Quick, Appalachian State. Torrey Smith looks like he could possibly be a future starter for the Ravens. They go wideout in the second round again with Quick, who stands nearly 6'5 and was a monster for a small school.

61. San Francisco 49ers - OLB Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma. The Niners are deep at outside linebacker but can't pass up on someone as good as Lewis at this point in the draft.

62. New England Patriots - DT Brandon Thompson, Clemson. Thompson won't really get to the quarterback, but should help against the run.

63. New York Giants - TE Dwayne Allen, Clemson. Martellus Bennett is the only healthy option on the roster and he isn't much of a player.

Jonathan Carrano

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