I am sure you have read 5,000 2012 NFL mock drafts that have Andrew Luck picked first, followed by Robert Griffin III. Well, so do I. After that it gets interesting. Below is my final mock draft. I have watched film on every player I put in this first round mock. I took several things into consideration. First, on-field performance is the most important thing to focus on when grading a prospect. Other considerations include, but are not limited to, off-field issues, coaching, and history of the NFL franchise.
1. Indianapolis Colts-Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
-This has been known for some time now. Andrew Luck’s throwing motion is nothing less than beautiful. His location and accuracy is impeccable.
2. Washington Redskins-Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
-This guy will be a star. Best deep ball by a college quarterback I have ever seen.
3. Minnesota Vikings-Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
-I know the consensus is Matt Kalil, but the difference between a shutdown corner and an average one far outweigh the difference between a dominant LT and an average one. Just ask the Dolphins or Browns. The Vikings play against Cutler and Marshall, Rodgers and Jennings/ Nelson, Stafford and Megatron. They need all the corners they can get, and then some more.
4. Cleveland Browns-Trent Richardson,RB, Alabama
-Best player available meets need. In a division with 3 of the top 10 defenses, a quarterback needs a guy that can do it all. Trent Richardson is pound for pound the most debo dude on earth.
5. Tampa Bay trade with Buffalo Bills- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
-The Bills need a left tackle and they caught Kalil slipping, Tampa bay wanted Claiborne or Richardson. They opt to trade back and get extra picks.
6. St. Louis Rams- Justin Blackmon, WR, Ok. State
–Justin Blackmon is a receiver that will flourish with the right offensive mind. He can play outside and in the slot position in the NFL. Blackmon was moved around like a chess piece at Ok. State and I think he needs the same environment in the pros. He isn’t the most imposing receiver physically, but he has exceptional body control and route running. Justin Blackmon reminds me of Anquan Boldin and a young Hines Ward. He always wants the ball, but not in a “I’m the best receiver in the world, so kiss my feet” kind of way.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
–Floyd is a wide receiver that can deliver the big play and can play underneath. He has some injury concerns, but who doesn’t. Michael Floyd will be a good receiver for a good quarterback, but he might suffer if he gets picked by a team like Jacksonville or Cleveland. He has excellent hands, but he isn’t all that quick in his routes.
8. Miami Dolphins-Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
-I actually like this pick. The Dolphins have two veteran quarterbacks in Gerrard and Moore, they can afford for Tannehill to sit for a season. He has a wonderful skill set and a nice release too. With only 19 starts, Tannehill isn’t ready for NFL defenses.
9. Carolina Panthers-Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
–This guy is a tackling machine. He will be a force as a 43 linebacker, with the ability to play middle or outside Kuechly has to be an intriguing prospect. He has the instincts and intelligence to be the captain of a defense.
10. Bills traded away #10/ Tampa Bay- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
-Gilmore is a rising prospect that would fit very well in a zone scheme. He doesn’t quite have the hips and coverage abilities of Claiborne, or even Janoris Jenkins, but he is an excellent tackler and blitzer. Gilmore has more sacks in his career than Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe. Think Cortland Finnegan, but bigger and better.
11. Kansas City Chiefs- David Decastro, OG, Stanford
-A phenomenal guard and by far one of the safest picks in this year’s draft.
12. Seattle Seahawks- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
-Coples is a high risk high reward type prospect. He has the potential to be an all-pro defensive end, but his work ethic is a bit of a question mark.
13. Arizona Cardinals- Reilly Reiff, OT, Iowa
-A quality LT that can start day 1.
14. Dallas Cowboys-Mark Barron, S, Alabama
-The best safety in a weak class, Mark Barron has underrated coverage ability and a habit of laying out ball carriers.
15. Philadelphia Eagles- Fletcher Cox, DT, Miss. State
-Fletcher Cox is a prospect that dominated college football with athleticism and strength. He has an incredible stat sheet and can really get after the ball, but a lot of his plays were busted assignments on the offense. I am not saying the kid can’t ball, but buyer beware. He is a guy that needs to go to the right environment, he needs a coach that can teach him the right way. A Jeff Fisher or Romeo Crennel could turn him into the next Warren Sapp, but in the wrong scheme Cox could be a bust.
16. New York Jets- Melvin Ingram, OLB, South Carolina
-He wreaks havoc on opposing quarterbacks. Scheme versatility and work ethic make Ingram my most coveted draft prospect.
17. Cincinnati Bengals- Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
-The best pure cover corner in this year’s class takes a hit because of off-field issues. The Bengals don’t care though. He shutdown both Julio Jones and AJ Green in 2010.
18. San Diego Chargers- Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
–I love watching Upshaw play. He is a man on a mission, but I am afraid of picking him because I fear he is either solely an OLB or MLB in a 34 defense. He is a great prospect and fantastic person, but he might end up as a bust DE due to his lack of burst.
19. Chicago Bears- Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
-Mercilus is a one year wonder that led the nation with 16 sacks and 9 forced fumbles. I saw a lot of great plays, usually with the outside edge rush, but I also saw a lot of busted assignments by the offense. Mercilus may be better suited as a 34 OLB because he gets dominated in run defense too easily to be a 3 down 43 DE. Mercilus is a guy that needs to be inserted slowly into the line up in order to keep him on track, much like San Fransisco’s Aldon Smith.
20. Tennessee Titans- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
-Brockers is my favorite defensive tackle in this years class. He is a hell of a run stuffer and has an extremely high ceiling. He can fit in base defense and moved to a 5 technique in a hybrid scheme. Brockers’ size is too good to pass up.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
–Wright may have been the best receiver in college football last year on tape. His combine however, showed that he does not have the speed necessary when sporting a 5’10″ frame. Wright will be a luxury first round pick for a team that should already have a true #1 receiver.
22. Cleveland Browns- Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
-The talking heads are trying to warn me. Its hard to fight it. Nick Perry is allegedly falling down draft boards. I don’t care. There is a new regime at USC and they are producing excellent front-7 players. Imagine the versatility of Wimbley, Ayers, Perry and Klug. Nick perry had an excellent combine, yes I know. That only made it an easier decision. Perry has the burst and quickness needed to succeed in the NFL. What I saw on tape was that he has a good repertoire of rush moves and is a solid tackler in open space. Perry can play both defensive end and outside linebacker, I like him better at defensive end.
23. Detroit Lions- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
-Dre Kirkpatrick is a once in a decade cornerback physically. His 6’3″ frame is as long as any DB in the league and he has good tackling and coverage ability. He won’t stick to a #1 receiver like glue, but he will be a force on the outside and has the skill set to cover fast tight ends. Dre will be best suited in a scheme where he is a hybrid safety/ cornerback.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers- Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama
-He is a 34 MLB that will have a long and successful career.
25. Denver Broncos- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
-The Broncos need a defensive tackle and Poe can’t slide much further, could He?
26. Houston Texans-Johnathan Martin, OT, Stanford
-The Texans are in need of a starting right tackle.
27. New England Patriots- Cordy Glenn, OG, UGA
–Glenn is a big dude. His 350 pounds is plenty for an offensive lineman, but his athleticism is even better.
28. Green Bay Packers- Shea Mcclellin, OLB, Boise State
-Mcclellin is rising up boards fast, and rightfully so. he is a wonderful prospect for a 34 team in need of an outside linebacker. Pair him with Clay Mathews and the pass rush is much improved.
29. Baltimore Ravens- Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
-Top center meets a team in need of one. Konz isn’t quite the prospect some make him out to be, but he will be a solid center in the NFL.
30. San Fransisco 49ers- Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin
-This guy has a mean streak that everyone should possess on the offensive line. He reminds me of a viking warrior.
31. New England Patriots- Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
-With Perry falling, it seems as though Chandler Jones is rising. Fast. He has a frame that defensive line coaches drool over. At 6’5″, 265lbs, Chandler Jones is a monster of a man. He has long arms similar to Jason Pierre-Paul. Work ethic and freakish athleticism run in his family, his older brother John is the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champ. John “Bones” Jones is one of my favorite fighters not only because he F**** people up, but because his work ethic is second to none in the UFC. He certainly has things to improve on, as do all rookies., but Chandler Jones has all the tools to be great. The film I have watched shows he has a weakness of getting stood up straight by good left tackles, but that can be fixed with good NFL coaching. His quickness off the ball and long arms may be too good to pass up.
32. New York Giants- Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska
-The Giants take one of the best players available in David. They need an outside linebacker and David fits the build. He is fast and can cover. He excels in open space. With so many lineman worried about the Giants’ pass rush, David will run free. Reminds me of Atlanta’s Sean Weatherspoon.
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