The NFL Draft is most likely what Titans fans are thinking about this time of year. The team finished just short of the playoffs in a season that 4-12 was the “expert opinion.” This off-season will be filled with optimism. A strong rookie core and a true leader at quarterback is something we aren’t quite used to. It feels good to be a Titan fan right now. This will be my first of many mock drafts. The picks are very fluid, so instead consider it an informative piece, but don’t hold me to it. The NFL Combine is a make or break event for the players, so mocks before that are just guessing on value.
The way I think the Titans will look at the first round is BPA on defense. We have two Hall Of Fame Offensive Linemen; I doubt they will waste a 1st on a guy when they can coach up a 2nd or 3rd to be just as good. I do, however, believe the line will be altered a bit through free agency and the draft. Maybe a 2nd round C/OG to pair with a veteran OG/C. Our most glaring hole on defense is safety and defensive end. We have three safeties hitting free agency and our defensive ends only produced 7.5 sacks combined in this past season. I want a guy getting more than that on his own, consistently.
*These pick are ties that will be decided by a coin flip on the day of the NFL Combine.
-I won’t do trades for the sake of this early mock draft, but I strongly believe there will be a trade very early for RGIII.
2012 NFL Mock Draft
1. Colts-Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
This is a no-brainer. Andrew Luck is the best to come out in a while. He is deadly accurate, has a big frame and is a hard working leader. I do want to emphasize he was in a run first offense in college. I hope the Colts understand that and build a team around him fit for that style.
2. Rams-Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
The Rams need a wide-receiver bad. They need help on the offensive line too, but have two young tackles they may give another season before replacing them. Justin Blackmon is not the tallest, strongest or even fastest wide-out, but he is the smartest and hardest working guy there is. His hands are like pillows and he has incredible focus. Sounds like another guy that played this position…Jerry Rice.
3. Vikings-Matt Kalil, OT, USC
He is a phenomenal prospect that offensive line coaches dream about. At 6’7” 295lbs, Matt Kalil has the size and athleticism to blanket anyone. He is among the Joe Thomas’s of the league.
4. Browns-Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
The Browns may covet Blackmon, but with him off the board Richardson is absolutely the next best weapon to give a lonely Colt McCoy.
5. Buccaneers-Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
The Bucs need help all over the defense . Barber is getting old and Talib is a problem-child, but it’s not like they are forcing a need. Claiborne is a stud.
6. Redskins-Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
This might happen at the Rams #2 pick, either way its happening. Cam Newton definitely helped RGIII’s stock, but by no means is the guy not deserving of the franchise. He won a Heisman trophy because of his athleticism; he will be a stud in the league because of his intelligence.
7. Jaguars- Alshon Jefferey, WR, South Carolina
The Jags are known to force a need and reach. They need help for Gabbert. Jefferey has a huge frame and is good at the jump ball. The Jags new head Coach Mike Mularkey was the Offensive-Coordinator in Atlanta last year. The year they made the blockbuster trade for WR Julio Jones, it was pick #7 too.
*8/9. Panthers-Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
The panther pass defense was horrible. Newton could put up points against any team in the league this year…except for the Titans. Their defense didn’t make enough stops and they will think Kirkpatrick is the answer.
*8/9. Dolphins-Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
The Dolphins need a quarterback, but the options a slim here. A trade back to #20 (our pick) to not reach so much on their guy, similar to what Denver did with Tebow, is possible if the Titans covet a guy like Quinton Coples. With the boring but serviceable pick, however, this mock will have the Dolphins upgrading their RT position.
10. Bills-Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
The top 3-4 OLB in the class dominated the National Championship game. The Bills need to get more pressure on the Quarterback.
*11/12. Chiefs-Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
The Chiefs need help on the offensive line. Kyle Orton and Matt Cassel with be a tight training camp battle. Martin is a solid pick that fits a big need.
*11/12. Seahawks-Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
This is my favorite Defensive End in the draft; he is strong, fast and has long arms. He produced better his 2010 season, but he still looked the part in 2011.
13. Cardinals- Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
Absolute machine, he plays sideline-sideline and has the skill set to play inside in a 3-4 and any backer in a 4-3.
14. Cowboys-Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Now hold on a second, before his off-the-field issues got him a bus pass out of the Florida Defense , Jenkins was a true playmaker. He has outstanding coverage and fits right in with the Dallas culture.
15. Eagles-Dont’a Hightower, MLB, Alabama
This guy is a strong middle linebacker that has a nose for the football. He lacks fluidity and speed in coverage, but overall is an impressive talent.
16. Jets-Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
The Jets need help at both OLB and WR. With Upshaw off the board Floyd is a quick pick here. He has a big frame and is very well rounded.
17. Raiders (traded to Bengals for Carson Palmer) Bengals- David Decastro, OG, Stanford
Decastro is massive and smart. He is the best OG to come out in a while. He has no weaknesses and can be a leader for 10-15 years. He and Dalton should get along great…
18. Chargers-Nick Perry, OLB, USC
This guy was a force at USC and I know the Chargers wish they had their own Clay Mathews.
19. Bears-Mark Barron, S, Alabama
The Bears safeties were horrible this year. They were called out by veterans and coaches publicly. Expect to see the Bears switch it up a bit and take Barron early. He is a rangy, hard-hitting safety that would do nice behind that front seven.
20. Titans-Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
At 6’2” 276lbs Ingram fits the script of a Jerry gray Defensive End. He is a true playmaker and a solid talent among a weak defensive end class. He doesn’t necessarily excel at one particular thing, but he is a well-round football player. Sounds like Morgan…I know. With Floyd, Barron, and Decastro all off the board Ingram might be our best option.
21. Bengals-Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
The Bengals need a replacement for Cedric Benson. Miller is a strong runner with great vision.
22. Falcons (traded pick to Browns) Browns- Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Wright is a burner with solid route running. He has excellent playmaking ability and was Robert Griffin III’s number one target. Think Mike Wallace or Torrey Smith.
23. Lions- Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
Here is another Nebraska guy to sure up this defense. Lions’ secondary is horrible.
24. Steelers- Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State
The Steelers’ defense is getting old and Burfict is a stud. He has the Steel Curtain attitude and would look just right in black and yellow. He hits hard and he runs fast, they will love him.
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