It’s that time of the year folks. Time for my 2012 NFL Mock Draft. I’ll break it down for you right here. I know the website has been down for a while, but it’s back. So let’s do this! Let me know what you think.
For more of my thoughts on the draft and other sports topics, follow me on twitter @JasonDavis223.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
The easiest pick in the draft. I’m very high on Robert Griffin III, but he’s not as polished as Luck. The Colts will move on from Peyton Manning and what better way than to land your next franchise QB for the next ten years.
2. St. Louis Rams: Matt Kilil, OT, USC
I believe Bradford has had the same misfortune that Matthew Stafford has been through. He isn’t getting protection and therefore getting hurt and his production is suffering. The Rams need to build up the offensive line and hope that Stafford can build off of his rookie campaign.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Reily Reiff, T, Iowa
The Vikings have some pieces offensively to really step up heading into next season. They need to protect their QB first in order to let his WR develop down field. This is where Reiff steps in. He will be able to help protect Ponder and also allow Peterson more chances to step up in the running game.
4. Cleveland Browns: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
I think the Browns aren’t smoke-screening anyone. They want RGIII, and who can blame them. I believe the Redskins will make a strong push to trade for this pick and the Dolphins as well, but in the end RGIII is a Brown. Move on from Colt McCoy and build around a new franchise QB. Teams that miss out on Manning will attempt for a trade, but I think the Browns realize the potential RGIII has.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Ronde Barber cannot play this game forever and there is no one else respectable at corner on that team. Claiborne went under the radar at LSU this season because of Tyrann Mathieu but he is a big impact player. He will greatly improve the Bucs 30th ranked total defense.
6. Washington Redskins: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
The Redskins will get a new QB one way or another this offseason. Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn or even a trade for RGIII. Then, they want a franchise WR to get with it. Enter Blackmon. He is a physical freak and the best WR on the board by far. It will help their offense improve drastically from last year.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Mularkey inherits a young QB that I believe he can greatly improve. Getting some more help at CB will be crucial. If they don’t re-sign Mathis, they will be really short in the CB position. Kirkpatrick is really phyiscal and be a great tackler in the open field.
8. Carolina Panthers: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Coples is a top pass rusher that will help the Panthers pass rush. Getting to the QB quicker will allow their cornerbacks to make plays in the secondary. Coples is one of the top DE in the game and the rush on DE will start with this pick.
9. Miami Dolphins: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
The Dolphins look as though they are making a switch to a 4-3 defensive scheme. They only have Cameron Wake as a legitimate pass rusher. Ingram can line up as the DE and rush off the tackle and help in the run stopping attack as well.
10. Buffalo Bills: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
I’m a bigger fan of Ingram than Upshaw but I have no other choice at this selection. Without a legitimate WR or CB, Upshaw is the last choice out there. He is a solid LB but I just don’t think he has the greatest pass rushing skills. He is slow in his pass rush which can be a concern. On the other hand, he is great against the run, so that will help immensely. Overall, if this is the pick, I’ll be moderately happy with it. He is an SEC player from Alabama so I know the talent is there, I just wish I would have seen a little more in college.
11. Seattle Seahawks: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Richardson fits into this Seahawk team very well. Even if Lynch comes back after free agency, those two can be one of the top running back tandem’s in the league. Lynch’s power and physical running style combined with Richardson’s speed and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield will be lethal. Plus, it will take some pressure off of Tarvaris Jackson.
12. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
Kuechly is the inside linebacker the Chiefs have been looking for. He can either pair up with Derrick Johnson in a 3-4 scheme or Johnson can move to OLB and Kuechly can line up as the 4-3 ILB. This is one of the best value picks in the draft. Kuechly is a tackling monster and has great instincts in pass coverage. I would love him on the Bills, but with Sheppard already in place as the ILB in their 4-3, that selection wouldn’t make much sense. Great job by the Chiefs.
13. Arizona Cardinals: David DeCastro, G, Stanford
The Cardinals still have good offensive weapons in Fitzgerald, Heap, Doucet and Beanie Wells. They need to give Kolb time to develop under a new system. He needs time in the pocket as well. Drafting DeCastro will give Kolb protection and help with the running game as well.
14. Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
The Cowboys need major help in the secondary but offensive line is something they can’t forget about. Martin here can help to protect Romo’s blindside just as he did for Andrew Luck. Giving Romo more time in the pocket will allow him to be even more improved then he was last season.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State
Even if they lose Desean Jackson, the Eagles still have one of the most high powered offenses in the league. They just need to work on their issues with turnovers. So, they need to focus on their defense. The wide nine defense worked well with Jason Babin and Trent Cole who combined for 29 total sacks. The issue is up the middle with the inside linebackers. Since the ends line up so far outside, it leaves the middle of the field pretty open. They need linebackers who can penetrate and make tackles to prevent long plays. Burfict is that guy. He’s a strong linebacker with good instincts against the run. Does a great job of locating the football and would greatly improve the Eagles defense.
16. New York Jets: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
The Jets have had issues stopping the run every since they lost a powerful defensive tackle. Brockers is the best defensive tackle on the board and weighs 306 lbs. He does a great job of plugging holes and it allows for LB’s to come up and makes plays stopping the run. After being in a great defense at LSU, he should have no problem fitting in with the Jets.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (from OAK): Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
The Bengals nailed last year’s draft with Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. They will look for that same success in this draft. Dennard has great cover skills and will look to replace Jonathan Joseph and become a tandem with Leon Hall. The Bengals have turned their defense around in the last year and this pick should help. Another year with Dalton behind center will help the Bengals improve as well.
18. San Diego Chargers: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
Fleener is the best tight end in the draft. The Chargers realize that Gates is moving up their in age, but also see the potential of Fleener and Gates in the passing game. Looking at the Patriots passing attack of Hernandez and Gronkowski, the Chargers could pair these guys up with Floyd and maybe even Vincent Jackson if he resigns. That would be one of the most elite passing attacks in the game.
19. Chicago Bears: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Cutler finally emerged as a top passing threat last season before his injury. He managed to be successful with Earl Bennett and Roy Williams. Enter a real deep threat. Floyd would provide the Bears the speed to stretch the field and allow Hester to work underneath while Bennett can be the possession WR on the team. This pick will improve Cutler even more.
20. Tennessee Titans: Devon Still, DT, Penn State
The Titans were ranked 24th against the run last season and really need a tackle to penetrate the backfield. Still is their guy. He can fill up force double coverage and allow for other lineman to push the pocket. At Penn State, he was really good against stopping the run, a characteristic that will help shore up the Titans defense.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
With Cedric Benson aging, Miller is a great second pick in the first round. Adding another offensive threat can push the Bengals to be a contender in the AFC North. Miller doesn’t provide much of a receiver threat out of the backfield, but that is what Bernard Scott is for.
22. Cleveland Browns: Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
Perry will allow the Browns to put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. They already have a solid core at the cornerback position and now they need to allow them to make plays. Once the pressure amps up on the quarterbacks, there were be quicker throws and more of a chance for turnovers. Perry can stand up as a LB or help the defensive line as an end.
23. Detroit Lions: Mark Barron, S, Alabama
The Lions are a team that I believe can make real big steps in 2012. They have stars in many positions. Players are also coming back from injuries. The one weak link is at safety, and this is where Barron steps in. He is a playermaker who can step right in and start from day one. The guy is a ball hawk as well. During two seasons at Alabama he totaled 10 INT. Solid player.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
This is a major pick for the Steelers. With Hampton most likely being a cap casualty, the Steelers need a true 3-4 DT. Poe fits that perfectly. Weighing 345 pounds, Poe can provide the Steelers with a body that will occupy blockers in the middle of the field. While this defense is getting older, it still has a few good years left and improving the defensive line will help. I believe the Steelers will use the money they are saving from Hampton, if they dump him, and help bring back the offensive line who are pending free agents.
25. Denver Broncos: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
If the Broncos believe in Tim Tebow, which I believe they should, they need to surround him with talent. Demaryius Thomas is a start, and I think they will look for someone in free agency, but Tebow uses tight ends as a key to his offense. Look what he did with Aaron Hernandez at Florida. Dante Rosario was used a lot this year, but he isn’t the answer. Allen is a big, tall, tight end that can spread the field and give Tebow another threat to move the ball downfield.
26. Houston Texans: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
The Texans need another WR threat on their team. Johnson has had some injury issues and when he isn’t around, the offense isn’t as close to being as good. Wright gives them a serious deep threat that can really spread the field. Pair him with Johnson and you give defenses a matchup nightmare. Not to mention the fact you still need to stack the box in order to stop Arian Foster.
27. New England Patriots: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
Everyone noticed the Giants pass rush against the Patriots in the Super Bowl. It is time for the Patriots to land a pass rusher. Mercilus can get after the quarterback and apply much needed pressure against the offense. He can also lineup as a 3-4 OLB which could help the Patriots as well.
28. Green Bay Packers: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
Branch provides great value at this pick. He can help the Packers gain a pass rush with just their front four. It will also allow for Matthews and company to get better chances at the quarterback since Raji and Branch can clog up many of the blockers on the offensive line.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
The Ravens need to start to find a replacement for Ray Lewis who only has a few years left in him. Hightower is the perfect fit for this type of play. He plays a very physical game and can really lay a hit against the opponent. Other than suffering a bad knee injury in 2010, there are no major knocks against Hightower.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
The WR core on the 49ers in downright awful. They need to help Alex Smith move the ball down the field. Vernon Davis cannot do it all. Adding a WR like Jeffery will move the coverage around giving Morgan and Davis more looks in the flat. Also, it will allow Frank Gore to have bigger games for the 49ers.
31. New England Patriots: Fletcher Cox, DE/DT, Mississippi State
The Patriots don’t need to address their offense via the draft. They can find a WR in free agency. So, another defensive lineman will only improve their team. Cox can lineup at the tackle position or the defensive end. The Patriots love hybrid players that can play a variety of positions. This is another player who will help stop the run for the Patriots.
32. New York Giants: Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina
The Giants may be losing a few key members of their defense. Most of those players are defensive lineman or linebackers. Brown can slide in at either position and keep the Giants on a Super Bowl level on defense.