2012 NFL Mock Draft | November Edition
With the NFL regular season over halfway in, and the NCAA football season starting to wind down with just a few weeks left, it is time to prep for the 2012 NFL Draft.
There are a lot of players rising and falling off of draft boards, and there will be constant change between now and April of 2012.
Here is NFLSoup’s first 2012 NFL Mock Draft | November Edition.
*** Order set strictly by team record, and no playoff games or Super Bowl prediction is factored in, hence why there are four NFC teams picking in the last four spots.
1. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Not that this warrants an explanation, but one of two things will happen: A) Luck starts almost right away for the Colts or B) Manning gets healthy enough to play and he sits under Manning for a bit of time.
Either option will work for the Colts, I’m sure, just so long as he’s on their team.
In six games, Sam Bradford has been sacked 25 times by the opposition.
Roger Saffold just isn’t getting it done on the blind side, and while it’d be frustrating to draft yet another tackle in the top five (Jason Smith), it’s too hard to pass up on Kalil.
Kalil is an exceptional athlete with outstanding intangibles, and has all of the tools to become the next great left tackle in the NFL.
3. Miami Dolphins – Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Two USC boys go back to back in this draft, as the Dolphins absolutely need to get themselves a true quarterback.
The quarterback position has plagued the ‘Fins since the retirement of Dan Marino, and this is the year to get it fixed.
Neither Matt Moore or Chad Henne is the long term answer.
I’m not fully convinced that Martin is a Top 5 draft pick, but the Cardinals can’t afford to sit and watch Kevin Kolb get sacked week in and week out on a regular basis.
Levi Brown isn’t an NFL left tackle, and protecting your investment in Kolb is the main priority.
If he doesn’t get protection, you can’t expect results.
5. Carolina Panthers – Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
The Panthers defense needs some work, especially in the secondary.
Claiborne was often overshadowed by the play of Patrick Peterson, and in 2011, even Tyrann Mathieu is getting more attention.
But you can’t discount the former wide receiver’s ability to be a shut down corner at the next level. He has excellent size, speed, and hands, with outstanding upside.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars – Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
The 2011 NFL Draft combined the Jaguars with the future at quarterback in Blaine Gabbert, and now it’s time for Gabbert to get a few weapons.
Let’s start with Blackmon who is an outstanding overall receiver.
Blackmon isn’t a pure burner, but his combination of size and speed, as well as physical play is what makes him special.
I think Pete Carroll would have a tough decision to make here whether or not to go with Robert Griffin III or Jones.
The point is that Seattle needs a quarterback before they improve offensively.
They have weapons at wide receiver like Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin, and even Mike Williams.
Now they just need somebody to get them the football accurately.
While the pick of Kirkpatrick is a bit of a reach, the Vikings just can’t afford to go into the 2012 NFL season without upgrading the secondary.
Asher Allen, Antoine Winfield and Cedric Griffin are all only average options, and you just can’t have that while facing Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler twice a year.
There aren’t any other glaring players that stand out, outside of Alshon Jeffery at pick 8.
9. Philadelphia Eagles – Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
One of the biggest issues in 2011 with the Eagles is the fact that they just can’t seem to stop the run and make tackles, and they can’t dial up any blitzes with their backers.
Burfict is everything that you look for in a prototypical NFL linebacker. He has the size, the speed, the intangibles, and the tackling ability.
While he could be problem child in the NFL with penalties, he’s well worth the risk.
Griffin has shown excellent physical ability and intangibles in each starting year for the Baylor Bears.
He’s a play maker that can throw well for a scrambler and make plays with his feet.
The Redskins needs to figure out their future at the quarterback position, and Griffin is an awfully nice player to groom.
11. Cleveland Browns – Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
With running backs not as highly coveted in the NFL Draft, Richardson slips out of the top 10 and lands with the Browns who have had huge running back woes.
Richardson is a top five talent, and an exceptional running back with great vision, excellent strength, and is a team leader.
The Broncos grabbed Von Miller in the 2011 NFL Draft, and Von Miller has made an impact.
Now it’s time to replace Robert Ayers, who has been disappointing, and hasn’t made the impact that the Broncos wanted him to have when they selected him in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
Coples has taken a small step back in 2011, but his pass rushing skills are exceptional, and his upside is quite high.
The Titans drafted Jake Locker in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, and need to look to help him out in the future.
Kenny Britt needs a legit #2 receiver opposite him, and Jeffery is an exceptional red zone receiver with big play making ability.
Jeffery is a big, physical receiver with strong hands.
The Cowboys need to improve their secondary is getting more and more crucial the more disappointing their overall seasons get.
Gilmore is a physical corner who excels in man coverage, and has good enough speed to keep up with majority of the wide receivers in the NFL.
Janoris Jenkins is an option here, and would fit just as well, but Gilmore is better suited for the NFC East.
The Bucs need cornerback depth, and a future replacement for Ronde Barber.
They are familiar with dealing with problematic corners, and may opt not to add another one to the team, but the upside to combine Jenkins with Talib is exceptional.
The Chiefs need to beef up the defensive line, while adding depth.
Poe is a 6’5 350 pound nose tackle at the next level who has very good athleticism and is quite strong at the point of attack.
The Chiefs 3-4 defense has shown improvement, and having a big man in front of linebackers like Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher could result in even bigger plays, and more stops behind the line of scrimmage.
The Chargers have taken a bit of a hit with Shaun Phillips down, and they could use another outside linebacker that can make plays opposite of him.
Lewis is an undervalued defensive end/linebacker who can line up at different positions, and excel at rushing the passer.
Everything points to the Bengals trying to beef up the offensive line, and adding depth to the unit overall.
They’ve done a solid job keeping Andy Dalton off of the ground, but they aren’t running the ball like they have the ability to.
Even though Cedric Benson isn’t a great running back, he should be performing better than he is.
Brown is as good a sideline to sideline tackler as you would desire in the NFL.
He has exceptional upside, and could likely play each 43 linebacker position at the next level, most likely sticking with Cleveland on the strong side where veteran Scott Fujita lines up.
With the Browns likely to sign D’Qwell Jackson long term, the Browns could have the makings of a strong group of tacklers behind the big boys in Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin up front.
The addition of Plaxico Burress has helped the Jets out, but not to the extent that most had hoped.
Santonio Holmes continues to be a solid #1 receiver, and having Floyd opposite him could create the necessary mismatches to help Mark Sanchez transition into a real NFL quarterback.
We’re seeing a run on corners in the first round, and for good reason.
Dennard brings the physical play at corner that the Bears desire and need in the NFC North, while having good coverage ability.
Charles Tillman hasn’t been getting it done lately, and there is a severe lack of depth in the secondary.
22. New England Patriots – Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Ingram’s versatility makes him an exceptional option for the Patriots here.
They have struggled to generate a pass rush, and it has come at the expense of the secondary, which has been pathetic in 2011.
Ingram can play with his hand on the ground, or standing up, with his athleticism and ability.
I’m not 100% convinced that the Bills will go with a tackle here with the solid play of Demetrius Bell, but Reiff sliding this far is hard to pass up on.
Reiff is an exceptional pass blocker, who can hold his own in the run game as well.
Reiff could come in on the right side and move over to the left if Bell disappoints in the future.
Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones are merely mediocre options for Matt Schaub.
While Arian Foster and Ben Tate control things pretty well on the ground, you can’t help but wonder what Broyles could do on the receiving end playing with Andre Johnson.
Broyles ACL tear is of some concern, but he should be able to rebound, and I think a team may still take a chance in the first round.
Ta’amu’s finesse style may not suggest a 34 front for the big man, however, strength can be had, and he can be coached to play the position.
Ta’amu could try a zero technique at NT, or be a rotational DE for the Patriots.
Either way, he’s an exceptional player that should be had in the first round.
With James Harrison battling injuries, the Steelers always come ready to reload with new pass rushers.
Upshaw has great pass rushing ability, and plays with great awareness as an overall athlete.
He’s solid against the run, and does a nice job in contain as well, and the transition would be simple as Alabama already runs a base 34 defense.
I’ve been a big fan of Minnifield for awhile, and I think he has the ability to slip into the late first round.
While he’s not a sexy pick, he’s a good corner to groom behind Nate Clements who is aging and slowing down a bit.
Minnifield is a solid overall corner with zone and man coverage ability.
Te’o is a very gifted athlete that plays very well sideline to sideline.
He’s strong enough to work on his block shedding, and what better to learn from the best in the business in Ray Lewis.
He’s more of a project at the next level, but he will have a considerable amount of value with Baltimore.
The more and more I see this pick, the more and more I love it.
Kuechly is just a straight up tackling machine, and he will find the football to make a play.
He has excellent awareness, and is a leader. With a bit of strength, he could become a perennial Pro-Bowl player.
Glenn is a versatile big man that the Lions could use on their offensive line.
Naturally, he should be a guard at the next level, but he has experience at both guard positions and tackle as well.
He could fill in for Gosder Cherilus who simply could be improved.
The 49ers could use some depth on the defensive line, and Crick is all that you look for in a 34 defensive end.
The issue here is with Crick’s torn pectoral injury that has forced him to miss the rest of the 2011 season.
His stock could go down, although his talent screams 1st/2nd round value.
The Packers don’t have many holes to fill, but they could always use depth.
But getting a running back like Miller could prove to be a difference maker for them.
Neither James Starks nor Ryan Grant have proven that they can carry the load and make big plays in 2011.
Miller can be a home run hitter at the next level if he gets in the right offense, and what better an offense that defenses already have to play off of severely because of Aaron Rodgers.