Kevin Roberts’s 2012 NFL Mock Draft With Analysis (Final)
The 2012 NFL Draft has arrived, which means it’s time for my final, set in stone, mock of the year. I think we’re all pretty sure what the top two picks will be, while the next few are down to only a handful of players. But really, this has to be one of the more unpredictable drafts in recent memory.
But that’s exactly what makes it so much fun. With that said, here’s my final crack at getting all 32 picks of the first round of this year’s draft correct:
1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
The Colts know it, Luck knows it, you know it. And I know it. Lock it in, folks.
2. Washington Redskins (Trade w/Rams) - Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
As sure as Luck is a Colt, RG3 is a ‘Skin. They didn’t blow us away with a blockbuster trade full of future picks to twiddle their thumbs at the second spot. It’s a done deal.
3. Minnesota Vikings - Matt Kalil, OT, USC
This is where things could get interesting, but they won’t. I believe the Vikings like Justin Blackmon and Morris Claiborne, but cooler heads should prevail. The fact is, you can’t win games if you can’t keep your quarterback on his feet.
4. Cleveland Browns - Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
I’ll hear the arguments for Ryan Tannehill, Morris Claiborne and Justin Blackmon, but I won’t buy into them. Cleveland has no offensive play-makers and they let Peyton Hillis walk. It’s time to get a guy who can truly change this pathetic offense.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Ronde Barber is 85 and Aqib Talib is a problem child. Claiborne is the best corner in the draft. It’s an equation that only adds up to Claiborne going to Tampa Bay.
6. St. Louis Rams (Trade w/Redskins) – Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
A whole lot of smoke and mirrors, but in the end there’s really nothing to show for it. Even after trading down, the Rams still get the guy they wanted (and needed) all along.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
Cox is a stud who has great versatility and is one of the best pass-rusher’s in this draft. I like a lot of options here, while I’m also fearful of Jacksonville trading down. They need to think of the present and the future here, though, and Cox fits into both lines of thinking.
8. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
A trade up to land Tannehill (or if the Browns took him) could really mess this first round up in a bad way. But pure logic points to him going here, where he can reunite with former Texas A&M coach (and Miami’s new OC), Mike Sherman.
9. Carolina Panthers - Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
Some will say this isn’t a huge need, but two Carolina linebackers (Thomas Davis and Jon Beason) are returning from major injuries, while Dan Connor left via free agency. Kuechly is the best player on the board, and linebacker is still an arguable need. If he’s here, book it.
10. Buffalo Bills - Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
This pick comes down to Mark Barron, Michael Floyd, or Gilmore. In the end, I think the others are smoke and mirrors and the Bills need to upgrade at corner. They addressed their pass-rush in free agency, so it’s time to improve the secondary with the draft’s number two corner.
11. Kansas City Chiefs - David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
KC could go defensive tackle here, but I like DeCastro a lot and I get the feeling they will, too. They just beefed up their rush offense with Peyton Hillis and are getting a healthy Jamaal Charles back. Getting a beastly guard to push the pile only makes that attack look scarier.
12. Seattle Seahawks - Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
Ingram is the best player at his position and brings versatility and athleticism. The Seahawks need help in the pass-rush. Need I say more?
13. Arizona Cardinals - Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
I firmly believe AZ needs a tackle upgrade, but they did re-sign Levi Brown and they could address the position in the next couple of rounds if they want to. Larry Fitzgerald has publicly lobbied for Floyd, who could change this offense immediately be forcing defenses to leave Fitzgerald in one-on-one coverage, or pay the price. It’d only help Kevin Kolb’s development, as well.
14. Dallas Cowboys - Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
Dallas gets it’s man without having to trade up. They haven’t had a balanced, elite safety since the days of Darren Woodson, so this is a fantastic pick.
15. Philadelphia Eagles - Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Philly needs some insurance in the middle of their defensive line with Mike Patterson having some health issues, and a new guy to add to the mix is a good idea, regardless. Coples is athletic and versatile, and just needs to give consistent effort to blow up at the next level.
16. New York Jets - Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
New York needs to get back to shutting down the run and getting to the quarterback up the middle. Brockers can fit somewhere on this line right away and make an impact.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (From Raiders) - Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Jerome Simpson is gone and Jordan Shipley is coming off of a torn ACL. Suddenly getting an impact receiver is a huge need.
18. San Diego Chargers - Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
San Diego is hurting on the offensive line, but why reach for a solution in round one when you could add an impact pass-rushing specialist to your defense? If Upshaw slips to them, they won’t pass on him.
19. Chicago Bears - Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Normally I would say the Bears take a stab at Stephen Hill here, but not with a potentially elite tackle like Reiff. Jay Cutler’s protection has to be objective #1 after what happened last season.
20. Tennessee Titans - Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
Tennessee needs help up front on the defensive line and the potential-ridden Poe falls to them. They have to work to get the most out of him, but if they can coach him up, he could be something special.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
It’s a slight reach, sure, but Jenkins is easily a top-3 corner in terms of talent, and Cincy has never been shy about taking on a problem child. He improves their secondary immediately if he keeps his act clean.
22. Cleveland Browns (From Falcons) - Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
They landed Trent Richardson, so now it’s time to improve the passing game. They have a good chance at landing Brandon Weeden or Brock Osweiler with their next pick in the second round, so they go big here and grab the big, speedy Hill.
23. Detroit Lions - Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
He’s not Janoris Jenkins or Stephon Gilmore, but he’ll do. Detroit needs to improve their pass defense one way or another, and Kirkpatrick is an excellent prospect to work with.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
Everyone wants to see Hightower fall to Baltimore and be groomed behind Ray Lewis, but it won’t happen. The Steelers have needs on the offensive line, but they’re not going to reach for help when a stud inside linebacker (which they need, by the way), is just sitting there.
25. Denver Broncos - Devon Still, DT, Penn State
Denver’s run defense was pretty bad last year, so it’s time to add a big body that can help shut the opposition down. They could go for a different defensive tackle here, while a new toy for Peyton Manning is also a possibility.
26. Houston Texans – Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
Houston could go tackle here, but they also need to finally get a receiver to take some pressure off of Andre Johnson. Everyone knows Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones won’t do it. They need a tackle, but they have to take an impact receiver when the chance is there.
27. New England Patriots (From Saints) - Nick Perry, DE, USC
The exact guy the Patriots want drops right into their hands. If Perry gets here, he’s New England-bound. Andre Carter is 32 and a gimp, and Mark Anderson is now in Buffalo. The Pats’ can’t exit the first round without improving their pass-rush.
28. Green Bay Packers - Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
Nick Collins is as good as gone and Green Bay’s secondary was terrible as a whole in 2011. I know they want that elite pass-rusher to toss in opposite of Clay Matthews, but they have to make a change at safety. Smith has the athleticism and instincts to start right away.
29. Baltimore Ravens - Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
I like Peter Konz here, too, but I think the Ravens look for the straight-up guard fix, especially with Ben Grubbs gone to the Saints.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
The 49ers are well built on both sides of the ball, so this is a bit of a luxury pick. They’ll try to copy the Patriots’ successful two-tight end system with the big, athletic Fleener. At the very worst, they have themselves another elite red-zone option.
31. New England Patriots – Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
Not the sexiest pick, I know. But the Patriots need some offensive line help with Matt Light retiring. They’ll probably trade this pick anyways, but if they stay here they might want to grab an offensive lineman who can help right away.
32. New York Giants - Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois
Osi Umenyiora is publicly talking about a trade out of New York these days, so the Giants need to do what they always do: prepare. If Osi is out the door, they need someone to step into the rotation who can be relied upon. Talent-wise, Mercilus looks to be an impact player in the right system.