The 2012 N.F.L. Draft is only 211 days away from today! Can you feel the excitement. That means, like always that it is time for some 2012 N.F.L. mock draft action. For this 2012 N.F.L. mock draft, I’m using my own power rankings from earlier in the week for the draft order, not record. Not yet. Future updates will be in true draft order. If you’re interested in other 2012 N.F.L. mock drafts you can click here: 2012 NFL Mock Drafts. Sayre’s most recent mock was yesterday.
1. Kansas City Chiefs -Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford Cardinal
You know what the biggest problem playing for Bill Belichick and with Tom Brady is? If you guessed everyone else in the league inflates your value. You’re right. Matt Cassel looked like awesome under the tutelage of Belichick and Brady. He went 11-5. Then the Chiefs come knocking on New England’s door for Cassel, give him a big contract and he looks no more than ordinary.
2. The Miami Dolphins-Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Barkley is not the talent that Luck is, but he’s a big time talent in his own right. This year Barkley is playing well again. Barkley doesn’t have the ideal height of a quarterback prospect (he’s only 6-2), but he’s accurate, has a plus arm, and is considered to be a very good leader. Despite Jason Taylor’s recent claim that Chad Henne is more talented than Mark Sanchez, almost everyone else believes the Dolphins need a new quarterback. Henne would be a very nice #2 quarterback in this league, but he’s not a 16 game in-game out starter. If the Dolphins are picking this high, they’ll have to grab a quarterback because one their coach will be gone and new coaches mean new quarterbacks. Secondly, it’s hard to find a franchise quarterback outside the first round in the N.F.L. (Tom Brady withstanding, only Drew Brees, Matt Schuab, and Tony Romo might garner top 10 QB consideration).
The Dolphins already passed up on a potential franchise QB once with Matt Ryan, they couldn’t do that again, right?
3. Indianapolis Colts-Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
I don’t care that the popular pick here is a tackle, and that’s definitely possible. I think the Colts are pretty hard to figure out what they will do in the draft. I also think they will give Peyton Manning an offensive weapon here if they think he’ll be coming back. Reggie Wayne is no spring chicken. Pierre Garcon is inconsistent. Anthony Gonzalez and Austin Collie only look that good with Peyton Manning throwing them the ball. Blackmon has dynamite ability. With Blackmon the Colts would also finally have a chance at a return game (not that they would use a pick in the return game). They just drafted a LT this year and another OL in Benjamin Ijalana.
I think they SHOULD grab a player like Landry Jones as insurance. I’m not sure that they will though.
4. Minnesota Vikings Jonathan Martin, Stanford
Not sure what the Vikings were thinking heaping money onto Charlie Johnson, but they can’t pass up a franchise LT here. It just depends on personal preference here. Kalil is taller, but Martin has more bulk and the Vikings seem to have targeted bigger offensive linemen. I’m not saying Martin is better than Kalil or vice versa, what I’m saying is that the Vikings might prefer martin to Kalil. With one of them in the fold, they can find somewhere else to put Charlie Johnson to try and upgrade the line at two positions.
5. Seattle Seahawks-Robert Griffin III, Baylor
Toot! Toot! Here comes the hype train, with your conductor Jesse Bartolis. I was really turned off by Jones in the game vs Florida State. He looked too ‘flinchy’ in the pocket for my liking. I’m just kicking a man when he’s down. They won that game and remain in #2 in the College Football polls, but Robert Griffin is gaining a lot of ground. Griffin is very talented and Pete Carrol has shown he wants a more mobile quarterbacks, (Charlie Whitehurst, Tavaris Jackson). Griffin has plenty of that. Griffin probably won’t be drafted this high, but if Barkley and Luck are off the board for the Seahawks maybe they prefer Griffin to Jones. Besides how boring is it to read the same mock drafts, everywhere…all the time. Mix it up a little people.
6. Cincinnati Bengals-Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Richardson is considered to be a better prospect than last year’s first round pick mark Ingram because he has better game breaking ability. Richardson has not disappointed early in this season. The Bengals have not been the same team since they lost the magic of their running game. When they were running all over people and playing good defense they made the playoffs. Now they can’t. With the addition of Richardson the Bengals would have one of the most talented young offenses in the league (A.J. Green, Gresham, Richardson) and Andy Dalton. I think the Bengals would cast Dalton to the way side for Andrew Luck, but not Landry Jones.
7. Denver Broncos-Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
I know Broncos fans will hate this pick because the fans want Tim Tebow to get a fair shake. But I truly believe that both John Elway and John Fox don’t believe in Tim Tebow. Until they prove me wrong, I’ll stick with my theory. Jones isn’t a bad prospect by any means. It’s just that fans want to see Tebow get a chance and that’s understandable. Regardless of where you fall on the belief in Tebow what is undeniable is that Tebow was drafted in the first round and he has not got a chance to show what he can do on the field enough. Fox can just scoop this all under the rug and say it was “Mcdaniels who did this. Him! not me!” and get away without giving Tebow a fair shake, but it’ll be a tough pill to swallow.
8. St. Louis Rams- Alshon Jeffrey, WR, South Carolina
If there is ever a better match of value with need let me know. Spags (if he’s still coaching) might do back flips up to the podium. Bradford might as well. The Rams desperately need WR help. Jeffrey is a top prospect, the best player available and he makes the grade here. This isn’t even really a debate here, I don’t think.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars -Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
I’m starting to feel for the Jaguars here, they can’t seem to find the pass rusher they need. In this scenario one of the top players falls to them at #9 overall. Coples has really struggled this year. He’s not in danger of losing his preseason top 10 slotting yet, but continued poor play and he will lose that spot. Coples is big bodies and can stop the run as well as rush the passer. He just needs to produce more the rest of they ear.
10. Tennessee Titans Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Matt Kalil is a dynamo prospect and the Titans are lucky to see him last all the way to #10. If he’s available at this spot they can’t pass him up. Unfortunately, for the Titans I believe they will climb their way up the power rankings into the middle of the first round so they are unlikely to end up with a blue-chip prospect like Kalil.
11. Arizona Cardinals -Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Rough pick for the Cardinals here. They have their franchise Qb, they have running backs, they have a WR. They really need help in the secondary though. They traded away Dominique Rodgers Cromartie and a lot of their early first round pick cornerbacks haven’t worked out (DRC, Antrel Rolle was moved to safety while he was there). It’s a tough pill to swallow to go CB back to back especially after you just traded away a cornerback, but have you seen their secondary play this year? Kirkpatrick is also pretty significantly the highest player on my board here.
12. Carolina Panthers Morris Claiborne, LSU, CB
Think his stock is pointing up now? Wait until he shows off at the combine. His stock will continue to soar and he lands with the Panthers here. They Panthers would like one of the top WR, but the value isn’t worth it here. The Panthers could you help in the secondary, and like I say every team can always use more help in the secondary. Having quality cornerbacks is of the utmost importantce in the modern day N.F.L.
13 Chicago Bears Michael Floyd, WR, Norte Dame
Don’t fret, Bears fans I’m sure that the Bears will pick lower than this, but this is just where I had them for the day. Floyd would be an excellent complement to the Bears undersized speedy wide receivers. He’s 6’3 225 pounds with good body control, short area quickness, and overall speed. He’s an extremely talented WR prospect who has the dreaded “character concerns” label. Ignoring that fact he’s a good match for need and value.
14. Cleveland Browns -Manti Te’o, LB, Norte Dame
The biggest debate I had here was which linebacker to take. The Browns really, really need more talent in their front seven. They could use Manti Te’o, Vontaze Burfict, or Luke Kuechly. I decided the Browns would be most intrigued with Te’o. First off he’s right in their wheel house so the team will undoubtedly do their due diligence on him and based on all information reported on him, he’s a natural leader and he’ll draw the Browns in. That’s not to say the guy isn’t a baller because he is. Te’o is a tackling machine and he also has the size advantage of Kuechly at 6’2 255 pounds to play inside in the 4-3 defense. Vontaze Burfict is more talented, but not disciplined enough.
15. Cleveland Browns-Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
I was very tempted to go with a cornerback here and I think that makes a lot of sense, but Alfronzo Dennard is the top option here and he hasn’t played yet this season so I’m going to knock him down a bit. I realize the Browns just drafted Phil Taylor this past draft and he has played well in the middle, but the Browns do not have the defensive line talent to compete at a high level consistently in the N.F.L. The Browns need to add more talent here. There aren’t any great 43 DE options here as most of the players here are hybrid 43/34 outside linebackers. My own personal issue here is I’m not sure I’ve researched Holmgren’s first round picks to get a good enough feel for what he might do here. I’ll be looking over his draft record as we move forward.
16. Philadelphia Eagles-Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Casey Matthews was on my over-rated list, leading all the way up to the draft (along with Mike Pouncey, who hasn’t looked half-bad). I thought he was getting much too much love. The Eagles snatched him up and he has been bad, if I’m being kind. The Eagles don’t like to use first round picks on linebackers. They almost always go offensive line or defensive line and that’s a distinct possibility. But I don’t love the value here. Brandon Jenkins the hybrid DE/OLB from FSU is a surprise player pick I considered. He could be a good fit in Jim Washburn’s “wide 9″ defense.