Keet Bailey’s Final 2012 NFL Mock Draft
The NFL Draft is almost here and it’s time to unveil my final guess at Thursday night’s action.
With numerous mock drafts out there competing with mine in The Huddle Report’s NFL Mock Draft contest, I am out to improve on my 26th overall standing in 2011.
I expect quite a few trades in this draft, but will not mock any as they are absolutely impossible to predict, but keep in mind that I fully expect both the Browns and the Patriots to trade their second draft picks in the round.
Post your mock draft in our “comments” section!
1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
This pick has already been officially made.
To get this wrong would be a terrible mistake.
2. Washington Redskins (Trade w/Rams) - Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
The Redskins being on the clock at two finalizes their trade up for Robert Griffin.
Griffin’s ability to be a play maker at the next level will not go unnoticed.
3. Minnesota Vikings - Matt Kalil, OT, USC
While Morris Claiborne is certainly an intriguing selection here, you have to think that the Vikings will want to help out 2011 first round pick Christian Ponder.
Kalil is a franchise left tackle who will start from day one.
4. Cleveland Browns - Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
If you’re going to draft a running back this highly in the draft, he better be elite.
Trent Richardson is as good, if not better than Adrian Peterson. That’s no joke.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Nobody knows what will happen with Aqib Talib and Ronde Barber is ready for an NFL exit after an illustrious career.
Don’t mind the poor Wonderlic score as there is no correlation with the score and cornerbacks in the draft. Claiborne is the real deal.
6. St. Louis Rams (Trade w/Redskins) - Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
I’ve been saying for awhile that Michael Floyd is better than Justin Blackmon, and I am taking a chance that the Rams feel the same.
While Blackmon is special, he doesn’t have the size to go with what he’s lacking in speed. Floyd catches the ball securely with his hands and can both stretch the field and go over the middle with his 223 pound frame.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
The last time Mike Mularkey was a head coach his first two picks for the Buffalo Bills were wide receivers.
With rookie Blaine Gabbert having one of the worst rookie seasons for a QB ever, you have to think that the offensive minded Mularkey is going to add weapons to this offense.
Going Stephon Gilmore or Melvin Ingram is intriguing, but you can’t pass on Blackmon in Mularkey’s offense.
8. Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Mike Sherman will be re-united with Ryan Tannehill, whom he coached at Texas A&M.
While Tannehill is quite raw, he does not have to start right away with Matt Moore playing respectable football at the end of 2011.
9. Carolina Panthers – Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
The Panthers need help on the defensive line, and while they would love a run stuffer, they can get a penetrating tackle like Cox.
Cox’s ability to get into the backfield and disrupt plays is exceptional and this is a no-brainer.
10. Buffalo Bills - Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
The Buffalo Bills secondary is not as bad as it looks on paper, but you cannot pass up on Gilmore here who is physical and fast.
Gilmore will help out in run support, while also showing ability to make plays on the defensive side of the ball.
11. Kansas City Chiefs - David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
The Chiefs left guard position is completely up for grabs. I even thought about trying out.
DeCastro played right guard at Stanford, but is a pure interior lineman who could even play center. He’s a very special guard who will help create holes for the talented backs in Kansas City.
12. Seattle Seahawks - Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
Get Melvin Ingram in a ‘Hawks jersey and watch him get up field in a hurry to get to quarterbacks.
Ingram is very versatile and Pete Carroll is all about versatile lineman, especially ones that can get to the quarterback.
13. Arizona Cardinals - Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
No reason to fear, Cardinals fans. While this isn’t Michael Floyd, this is a very solid selection.
Despite Levi Brown being retained, I have little reason to believe that the Cardinals will not look to groom a franchise left tackle. Reiff has big upside as a blind side protector.
14. Dallas Cowboys - Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
The secondary woes for the Cowboys continue and it is one of the biggest things keeping them from being a great team.
Barron has impressive range for a strong safety, can cover tight ends and will help out immensely in run support.
15. Philadelphia Eagles - Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Kuechly really deserves to go in the Top 10 with how talented he is.
It’s hard to imagine him falling this far, but given the circumstances, it could happen. The Eagles run defense was beyond terrible in 2011 and Kuechly would be a HUGE acquisition.
16. New York Jets – Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
This is not a sexy selection, but it would not be a bad one. Some scouts believe Coples could play outside in a 3-4 defense, but I think he’s restricted more to a 4-3 role.
Regardless, Coples has a lot of talent, and Rex Ryan is the kind of guy that could light a fire in Coples to stay consistent and not take plays off.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (From Raiders) - Chandler Jones, DE/OLB, Syracuse
The Bengals lost some above average talent on the defensive line, and replaced it with two former first round busts.
They still need an elite pass rusher off of the edge and Jones would do well with his hand in the dirt or standing up.
18. San Diego Chargers - Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
The Chargers need for consistency at outside linebacker has haunted them since the Shawne Merriman suspensions.
While Travis LaBoy filled in well in 2011, he is not a long term option. Upshaw is going to be a fine pass rusher and has plenty of experience in the 3-4.
19. Chicago Bears - Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State
The Bears are looking for pass rushers to succeed Julius Peppers, and while that sounds virtually impossible (which it is), McClellin is loaded with talent.
McClellin’s versatility stands out among the pass rushers in the 2012 NFL Draft, which has led to his climb into the first round.
20. Tennessee Titans – Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Help on the defensive line is crucial for the Tennessee Titans.
Brockers has a lot of upside despite not showing much in terms of pass rushing ability. He’s a bit raw, but will not hesitate to shut down the run.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Cordy Glenn, OG/OT, Georgia
It’s hard to not see the Bengals grabbing offensive line help.
Cordy Glenn’s versatility as a guard and a tackle makes him a first round option, and he’s the second best guard in this draft with the ability to move out to right tackle.
22. Cleveland Browns (From Falcons) - Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
I’m not personally crazy about this selection as I believe there is too much WR depth to grab one this early, but Wright is a legit prospect.
Despite rumors about him being out of shape, I do not see it when watching him at Baylor. In the west coast offense, grabbing a guy that can make plays in space is crucial and pairing the speedy Wright with Dwight Jones looks like a winner.
23. Detroit Lions – Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
The Lions need help at cornerback and they get their man with pick 23.
Kirkpatrick is a Top 15 talent that slides a bit to land in a perfect spot in Detroit where he can showcase his man coverage ability with his ability to shut down the run on the outside.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
I’m not fully convinced that the Steelers do not go with a tackle here, but passing up on a huge nose tackle prospect like Poe would be the wrong move.
Poe is quite raw and does not show much on tape, but him sitting behind All-Pro Casey Hampton who is on the verge of retirement within two-three seasons would not be a bad idea to ensure the integrity of the new Steel Curtain.
25. Denver Broncos - Devon Still, DT, Penn State
Losing Broderick Bunkley hurts a defense that already was poor against the run.
Grabbing a big defensive tackle that can move the interior line is crucial and that’s exactly what you get with the big, physical Still who still offers some pass rush ability.
26. Houston Texans - Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
The Texans passing game suffered when Andre Johnson went down with injury.
A play maker across from him would be ideal and while Stephen Hill could some day project as a #1, he would fit very nicely as a down field option with Andre Johnson.
27. New England Patriots (From Saints) - Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
The pass rush for the Patriots must improve and it starts with Nick Perry who has the ability to play with his hand in the dirt and standing up.
The Patriots offense does not need much help, clearly, but the defense is young and inexperienced, and struggles to show legit play makers. Perry would fix that.
The Packers realized in 2011 that losing Cullen Jenkins to the Eagles was detrimental to their defensive line.
In an effort to replace him, the Packers go for the 299 pound Reyes who projects very well as a five technique defensive end that can help the pass rush get back to 2010 form.
29. Baltimore Ravens - Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
Ray Lewis is the man in Baltimore, but he cannot go on forever (although he might).
Why not grab a physical inside linebacker to groom behind Ray Ray to make sure that the defense does not lose it’s ability to shut down the run.
Hightower was a leader at Alabama and was a huge reason for their #1 ranked rush defense.
30. San Francisco 49ers - Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern State
Adam Snyder is not getting it done for the 49ers at right guard and Silatolu is a big time sleeper that has clear first round ability.
He is a mauler that can get to the second level with ease and has impressed many teams in his path to the draft.
31. New England Patriots – Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
I’m taking a gamble here. Remember earlier I said that the Patriots will likely trade out of this pick.
However, if they choose to stay put, I can see Jenkins coming off the board. He is the second most talented cornerback in this draft that falls due to character concerns.
The Patriots have shown their love for Florida Gators studs and while he did not graduate from UF, he was a standout corner while wearing the Gator blue.
32. New York Giants - Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
I’m not terribly crazy about Jon Martin, but his athleticism and upside stands out making him a first round pick.
The Giants lack of depth at tackle hurts them and they need to keep Eli standing up.