Live 2012 NFL Mock Draft | First Round Mock and Analysis
We are now just 10 whole days away from the real thing, and until the 2012 NFL Draft hits us, we’ll be knocking out team needs, scouting reports, and all kinds of mock drafts.
One other thing we like to do is get a taste of how the real thing could shake down by mocking it live. This page will update (hit refresh like a rabid animal) after every pick is completed, and Taylor Smith and yours truly will be tweeting each pick for each prospective team in the first round of our Live 2012 NFL Mock Draft!
Follow along for the next hour or so as we put on our GM hats, while trying to fill needs and also considering the best player available.
We will officially start the mock at 7:15 pm ET, Monday night:
Note: We won’t get into the business of predicting ridiculous trades during this live mock.
1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
We get things started right – and correctly. The Colts need a quarterback and Luck is the safest draw of the lot. It’s a no-brainer.
2. Washington Redskins (Trade w/Rams) - Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Washington sold the farm to get Baylor’s Heisman winner. Here’s to the end of the Rex Grossman/John Beck era in DC.
3. Minnesota Vikings - Matt Kalil, OT, USC
The Vikings could very well trade down here, but if they do stay here, Kalil has to be the pick. He’s hands down the best tackle in the draft, and Christian Ponder needs some more protection.
4. Cleveland Browns - Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Cleveland has plenty of needs, primarily on offense. If they’re not sold on Ryan Tannehill being the quarterback of the future, then Richardson is the best option available here.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
No one cares about this dude’s Wonderlic score. As long as he can cover receivers and make plays on the ball, he’ll be worth this pick. The Buccaneers are said to be extremely high on Trent Richardson, so he’s the pick if he’s available. But he’s not, so Tampa Bay gets another stud corner to prepare for a future without possibly both Aqib Talib (off-field issues) and Ronde Barber (eventual retirement).
6. St. Louis Rams (Trade w/Redskins) – Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Michael Floyd is getting tons of buzz with his rising stock, but, in my opinion, Blackmon is still the best pass-catching prospect in this class. It’s time for the Rams to get Sam Bradford some help. They’re another club that would love to get their hands on Richardson, but something tells me they’ll be just fine “settling” for the Oklahoma State product.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
And there we have it. The first jaw-dropper of the draft. Maybe. I had Quinton Coples here for so long in previous mocks just because it makes sense. But you know what actually makes even more sense? Having some wide receivers in Jacksonville that can actually play. They’ve done a good job upgrading so far with Laurent Robinson and Lee Evans, but those guys aren’t going to change that offense on their own. Floyd could.
8. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Opinions on Tannehill’s potential are all over the map, but one thing is indisputable: The Dolphins need a quarterback. After whiffing miserably on the likes of Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn and losing Chad Henne in free agency, this is a gamble the Dolphins absolutely have to take.
9. Carolina Panthers - Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
I know we’ll hear it as Quinton Coples continues to drop, but Brockers is a beastly inside presence that can help cure what ails Carolina the most – an embarrassingly bad run defense.
10. Buffalo Bills – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Picking up Mario Williams and Mark Anderson via free agency did a ton to alleviate Buffalo’s need for a pass-rusher, so they’re free to opt for Reiff, the consensus No. 2 tackle in this draft behind Kalil. Losing Demetress Bell to the Eagles makes this a fairly easy choice.
The Chiefs are pretty balanced, but they’re getting old in the middle of their defensive line. Poe has something to prove based off of game tape, but his size and combine is enough to get him inside the top-15.
12. Seattle Seahawks – Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
Potential top-tier pass-rushers Melvin Ingram and Quinton Coples will be tempting for Seattle, but Kuechly can be plugged in and immediately fill a need. Likely the safest pick possible for the up-and-coming Seahawks.
13. Arizona Cardinals - David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
I hate seeing some big names slide, but the Cardinals really need some guard help. If they went defense, they’d get an outside pass-rusher, but with DeCastro being a beast and the best guard in the draft, this is as good a place for him to go as any.
14. Dallas Cowboys – Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
Dallas is in dire need of some help on the defensive line, and they’d reportedly be thrilled to see Fletcher Cox sitting there for the taking at No. 14. Jay Ratliff would likely move to defensive end, freeing up the spot for the Mississippi State Bulldog in the middle. Ingram, Coples and Alabama safety Mark Barron are other possibilities here.
15. Philadelphia Eagles - Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Philly needs some help on the offensive line, but I’m not convinced they’re completely sold on Jonathan Martin at this spot. They might wait until later to get a tackle, while Coples has fallen far enough. Sometimes you just have to grab the most talented player left, even if you don’t necessarily “need” that position.
16. New York Jets – Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
Ingram drops a bit, but the Jets would happily scoop him up here at No. 16. New York had MAJOR issues getting to opposing quarterbacks last season, and Ingram helps remedy that from day one.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (From Raiders) - Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Cincy needs some help at corner. They have some veteran guys but they’re old at the position overall and Leon Hall is coming off of a major injury. Kirkpatrick is an elite talent that could start right away, but at the very worst will give them excellent depth.
18. San Diego Chargers - Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
Upshaw to San Diego makes it three members of the Crimson Tide taken off-the-board in the first round, and two in-a-row. The Chargers haven’t really addressed their need for a rush linebacker, so Upshaw fits the bill nicely.
19. Chicago Bears - Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
The Bears got Brandon Marshall, and that’s fantastic, but they can’t stop there. Adding an elite talent like Wright would help stretch the offense and open things up more than ever for the ground game. Just imagine what Jay Cutler could do in Chicago with an elite number one and two receiver…
The Titans lost top corner Cortland Finnegan to the Rams via free agency, so Gilmore would likely step in immediately and help fill that void.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
I was thinking about making a splash here and getting the Bengals some fresh legs at running back, but they’ll probably wait until round two or three. They got their corner in Kirkpatrick, so they start rehabbing their offensive line with an elite guard in Glenn.
22. Cleveland Browns (From Falcons) – Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
There are several directions the Browns can take with this selection, but they’d be getting a steal with Adams falling to them at No. 22. He’d almost certainly go in and immediately start at right tackle opposite All-Pro Joe Thomas, helping solidify a solid, young offensive line for Cleveland.
23. Detroit Lions - Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
I know the Lions have had some issues with players and off-field problems, but they need corner help and Jenkins is one of the most talented corners in this draft. Jim Scwartz is arrogant enough to think he can handle Jenkins, so this should be the pick.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
The Steelers seem to have made a habit of drafting the best player on the board regardless of position or need, but it just so happens that they’ll be killing two birds with one stone with Hightower. With James Farrior gone, the Steelers are looking for someone to pair inside with the young Lawrence Timmons. Hello, Dont’a.
25. Denver Broncos - Alameda Ta’amu, DT, Washington
I was thinking offense here for a second, but then remembered how awful Denver was against the run last year. I’m sold that they go defensive tackle here, but I’m well aware it could easily be Devon Still or Jerel Worthy here, too. I love Ta’amu’s blend of size and strength, though, and he’s so good against the run – which is exactly what he’s being drafted to defend.
26. Houston Texans – Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
It’s no secret that the Texans are looking to get some help opposite Andre Johnson, as the tandem of Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones is painfully underwhelming. Given the success of recent former Yellow Jacket wide receivers selected in the first round (Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas), things bode well for the speedy Hill’s future. If Hightower slips to No. 26, he’s a possibility as a replacement for DeMeco Ryans, as well.
27. New England Patriots (From Saints) - Nick Perry, DE, USC
I’ve been letting Perry slide to Green Bay, but it seems less logical the more I think about it. New England could go after Mark Barron here, but there’s a decent chance he’s there when they pick again four picks from now. They lost Mark Anderson and Andre Carter is old and gimpy. They need some fresh legs in their pass-rush.
The Packers have a major need at outside linebacker opposite the great Clay Matthews, and McClellin’s stock is rising as rapidly as anyone’s. Peter Konz, the center from Wisconsin, is another possibility here, as the Packers will be looking to the crusty old Jeff Saturday to man the middle of their O-line this year.
29. Baltimore Ravens - Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
The Ravens could go in a number of directions. However, they land the best center in the draft to be groomed behind Matt Birk, who could retire at any time. In addition, Konz has the versatility and skill-set to possibly shift over to replace the departed Ben Grubbs at guard.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
Jim Harbaugh is said to be a big fan of the trendy two-tight end fad currently sweeping the league, so here he opts to pick up his former TE at Stanford, Coby Fleener. When your most common comparison is Rob Gronkowski, you’re probably pretty good. You can never have enough weapons for Alex Smith.
31. New England Patriots - Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
New England addressed safety in free agency, but I’d argue they still don’t have a long-term solution on their roster. Barron is the best safety in this year’s crop, so he’ll go to the team that probably needs him the most. He could easily go a bit earlier, but he finds the perfect home with Belichick and co.
32. New York Giants – Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
The defending Super Bowl champs greet Stanford’s Jonathan Martin with open arms as he falls all the way down to No. 32. The Giants lost Kareem McKenzie, and have a major need at offensive tackle to keep Eli Manning upright. Perfect spot.