For this 2012 NFL mock draft I decided to throw a few wrenches in early in the draft to see how that could impact the draft. I do this for two reasons, first by mocking picks that seem to be contradictory to the consensus it opens up other possibilities for me to explore later in the draft. Two: I get bored out of my mind when I mock the same thing over and over (Andrew Luck to the Dolphins for example). I also think that it leads people to be close-minded when they can’t explore opportunities and then they become shocked and angry when a team makes a pick they never thought of (Jake Locker to the Titans for example).
Enjoy. Leave your thoughts and let me know what you think.
1. The Miami Dolphins-Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford Cardinal
No explanation really need. Chad Henne is on his way out, and have you seen Matt Moore play?
2 Indianapolis Colts-Matt Kalil, T, USC
I’m breaking my weekly streak here of campaigning for the Colts to draft talented WR Alshon Jeffery or Justin Blackmon to give the Colts some real weapons at wide receiver outside of Reggie Wayne. Pierre Garcon is way too inconsistent. Anyway, what the colts really need is an impact player on defense, but that’s not available here. I’m banking on the Colts only taking Andrew Luck at Quarterback and bypassing all other quarterbacks. I don’t think they’ll take Barkley over Matt Kalil.
3. St. Louis Rams- Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
Brandon Lloyd trade or no Brandon Lloyd trade-Sam Bradford doesn’t have enough offensive weapons. With the drafting of Jeffery and the return of Danny Amondola next year the Rams might be able to buy some operating room for Bradford.
4. Minnesota Vikings-Jonathan Martin, T, Stanford
The offensive line play in Minnesota has not been great-enter Martin. Martin is a talented tackle prospect who will fortify the offensive line for the Vikings. I don’t have the numbers in front of me but I’d be willing to bet good money that when a team drafts an rookie quarterback they follow that up in the draft with a talented Wide Receiver or LT to protect him. It’s like the buddy system. Ponder is missing that dynamic WR playmaker- Percy Harvin is a nice player, but better in a complementary role. Justin Blackmon also makes sense here.
5. Denver Broncos-Matt Barkley, QB, USC
100 percent convinced that if the Broncos are picking in the top 5 to top 7 range that the Broncos are going quarterback. I’m not basing this on whether or not I think that’s a good move, only whether or not I think it’s possible. I don’t buy that Elway and the front office believe in Tebow. Barkely is a talented QB prospect so at least Broncos fans will finally know what’s happening with Tebow in this scenario. One could argue with the trade of Lloyd and the inability for Demariyus Thomas to stay healthy that WR is a need.
6. Arizona Cardinals-Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
I’m still waiting for that pass rusher who’s going to emerge out of nowhere to take claim of the top spot. Right now that could be Quinton Coples, but he has not looked great. Some pass rusher is going to fly up the boards between now and the draft. Upshaw has the most potential as a rush linebacker and run defender from the 34 OLB spot which Ken Wisenhunt will desire so he is the pick here.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars-Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Blaine Gabbert needs a WR to throw the ball to. Blackmon has all the production you could ever as for from a college prospect. Blackmon, MJD, and Mercedes Lewis (plus their early round OL picks) will give Gabbert the chance to be a successful N.F.L. Quarterback. With those players in the fold, Gabbert just has to go out there and do it.
8. Kansas City Chiefs-Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State University
Ok, my last throw a wrench in the mock early and see what happens pick. I’m down on Landry Jones since the Florida State game. Why? I’m not convinced that he can look down the barrel with a pass rusher coming at him step into the throw and make a play. Osweiler is a Big Ben clone and will entice some team early. This QB class is really pretty good. Arguments could be made for first round grades for Luck, Barkley, Jones, Griffin, Osweiler, Tannehill.
9. Carolina Panthers-Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Michael Floyd has the talent to be worthy of a top 10 draft pick, but he comes with character concerns. On top of that, the Panthers really need help along their defensive line. They still have some young developing wide receivers and with the talent not matching the need here they go in a different direction. Coples is a good player who has struggled taking on and beating double teams this year, but his size will help the Panthers control the run game and he has a good closing burst on the passer.
10. Seattle Seahawks-Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Ok, so wrench pick number three. The easy pick here is Landy Jones for Seattle and that makes a ton of sense, but I’ll make my case for Richardson to the Seahawks. Pete Carrol brought TOm Cable along because he really desires a power running game. He also went out and got big and strong on the offensive line by adding John Moffit, James Carpenter, and Robert Gallery who are all maulers in the run game. The Seahawks want to run the ball, right now they can’t do that very well. Richardson is an excellent running back prospect, possibly the best since Adrian Peterson has a size/speed combo back.
If you say Jones is the pick here, no arguments. Easy pick (ie boring).
11. Cleveland Browns-Vontaze Burfict, LB, ASU
This is me pandering to the Browns fans by adding a playmaking linebacker. Burfict is often compared to Patrick Willis, except less disciplined. Burfict is a playmaker who hasn’t been quite as good this year as he was last year, but still has a good shot at going in the top 15 because of his potential.
12. Dallas Cowboys-Dre-Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
When need meets available talent the mock becomes too easy. The Cowboys still have too many holes in their secondary. Kirkipatrick is a very quality cornerback prospect and would fit in well with the Cowboys.
13. Philadelphia Eagles-Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
Every year it seems the Eagles draft an offensive or defensive linemen and every year they still have issues along that spot. Jason Peters is a good player (not the All-pro caliber talent he was in Buffalo), but the rest of the line has been pretty bad. On defense they have been gashed up the middle all year. Thompson is a big bodied defensive tackle who might stop the Eagles run troubles.
14. Washington Redskins-Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
With the peculiar choice of the Seahawks to bypass Jones for a running back in the first round, the Redskins gallop to the podium to hand in their pick. They get a nice quarterback prospect to officially move on from the Rex Grossman/John Beck Era.
15. New York Jets-Riley Reiff, T, Iowa
For a coach that wants to ground and pound, the Jets need the horses up front that they are currently lacking. Riley Reiff is a very quality tackle prospect and with D’Brickshaw Ferguson at LT he can play a nice Right tackle for the Jets. He has the feet to be a good pass protect on the right side and the mentality to help the Jets get back to ground and pound.
16. Houston Texans-Michael Floyd, WR, Norte Dame
Michael Floyd is an ultra-talented Wide receiver out of Norte Dame. When I was discussing the draft with Lance Zierlein of the Houston Chronicle prior to the 2011 N.F.L. draft he said the first thing the Texans do is cross of character concerns, as an organization they want no part of them so is this pick likely? No, but when I’m playing G.M. I’m going to give the Texans the weapons offense to compete for a Superbowl with an average, to slightly above average, quarterback. I’m also giving them insurance in case Johnson gets hurt again. The defense isn’t great yet, but you have to give all of the young defenders time to develop into quality players at some point. Imagine an offense with Andre Johnson, Michael Floyd, Arian Foster, Owen Daniels. That’s a tough offense.
Rest of mock continued on page two