Welcome to my weekly 2012 NFL mock draft. I don’t really update the mock drafts as much as I completely overhaul them. I like to explore the many different options teams could take. This week Tony Pauline released his top 50 big board for sports Illustrated so I thought I might use his big board as a sort of “lens” to view prospects from to compensate for some of my own biases. Tony Pauline’s rankings are here
I linked to a few of the scouting reports, but for all of the others head on over to our scouting report page (58 and counting)
1. Indianapolis Colts-Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford Cardinal
The Colts have officially overtaken the Dolphins in the “Suck for Luck”. The Dolphins despite having an obvious lame-duck coach are trying hard, the Colt son the other hand look like they are ready to quit. Or they are so awful that Peyton Manning should retroactively win every M.V.P award he didn’t win the last seven years.
2. Miami Dolphins-Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Some people don’t love Matt Barkley, but I think he’s an excellent prospect,
3. Arizona Cardinals-Matt Kalil, T, USC
A new saying that’s out there (or could be soon) is reel for Kalil. I’ve also seen “fall flat for Matt”. However, you want to put it, this much is for sure The Cardinals could use Matt Kalil. Kalil is a top LT and would instantly improve the Cardinals offensive line.
4. Seattle Seahawks-Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
I don’t like to make the trendy pick all the time because it really bores me. Yes! The Seahawks need a franchise Quarterback, and yes it’s likely they would take Landry Jones or Robert Griffin III here, but consider this Chris Clemons has five sacks and has played well the last two seasons. However, no other player on the team has more than 1 sack and only two others have come from the defensive line. Coples could play inside or outside for the Seahawks. While I don’t love Coples the prospect, some team will likely draft him in the top 10 and he has the ability to be a nice player at the N.F.L level.
5. Denver Broncos-Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma Sooners
If The Broncos are drafting in the top five, Tim Tebow won’t be the quarterback in 2012. Enter Landry Jones. Jones needs more seasoning and I have questions about his pocket presence, but I’m not sure John Fox would know what to do with Robert Griffin III so I’ll take the quarterback that is the more traditional pocket passer quarterback. The Broncos have shown this year though that they could use help at pretty much every position.
6. St. Louis Rams-Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
Blackmon has the more impressive college resume, but that doesn’t make it automatic that he’ll be the better N.F.L player. What kind of weakness to Jeffery have to his game? He has the lateral quickness and route running ability that will translate to the N.F.L. He has unbelievable size, good hands, and is a plus blocker to boot. His numbers are down this year because the Gamecocks are pathetic at the quarterback position, but he’s still a top 10 talent, just like he was entering the season.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars-Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
To me the Jaguars are the hardest top ten team to mock for because it’s possible, perhaps likely, that Jack Del Rio will be fired. If he is fired the direction of the franchise could move drastically. Will they open up the offense more, making Justin Blackmon the likely pick? Will they move to a 34 defense, meaning they really need an outside linebacker here? Who knows. Right now I’ll stick with Blackmon because he’s one the best players available and also fills a need.
8. Carolina Panthers-Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
Really struggled with what to do here with Brandon Thompson, but eventually decided to continue to add young talent to their defensive line. I can easily see (and justify) taking a cornerback here, but I’ll pass on that. The best players available are Jonathan Martin and Trent Richadson, but the Panthers offense has played well all season so I’ll pass on them too (I was leaning towards Jonathan Martin though). Thompson isn’t a huge draftnik favorite, but some of the well paid draftniks like Todd McShay and others are starting to sing Thompson’s praise. Right now, Thompson is 10th on ESPN Scouts INC big board.
9. Cleveland Browns-Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
The real question for the Browns now is going to be, is Colt McCoy still this teams’s franchise quarterback? I still think he has shown enough to get a little more time. The Browns are lacking good weapons at WR, RB, and tight end in my opinion to give McCoy a real fair chance at being a franchise N.F.L. Quarterback. Maybe teams don’t want to spend first round picks on running backs, Trent Richardson is uber talented and with two first round picks, maybe the Browns feel ok taking the best player available here. Peyton Hillis seems to be wearing out a little bit of his welcome.
10. Minnesota Vikings-Jonathan Martin, T, Stanford
And the Vikings completely “luck” out here, oh wait wrong time to use Cheesy luck line. The Vikings get the second best offensive tackle in the draft here to help them protect their two large investments in Christian Ponder and Adrian Peterson. Martin will start immediately at Left tackle.
11. Tennessee Titans-Michael Floyd, WR, Norte Dame
An absolutely terrific Wide receiver prospect who is dominating this season. The Titans take a risk here by grabbing another potential talented knucklehead at the wide receiver position. With Floyd and Britt manning he outside and Jared Cook in the middle Jake Locker will have more than enough weapons to throw the ball too. Throw in a potentially rejuvenated Chris Johnson next year and the Titans offense could be scary moving forward the next few seasons.
12.Washington Redskins-Robert Griffin III
I have Robert Griffin III rated higher than Landry Jones. Griffin III has shown great pocket presence, amazing accuracy, and also happens to be a supremely talented physical athlete. Griffin is also a smart-cookies and oozes leadership. The Redskins will finally have a franchise quarterback after missing one for what seems like eons.
13. Dallas Cowboys-Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
The Cowboys need safety help more than they need a cornerback, but Kirkpatrick is the best player available here and also fills a unit in need of an infusion of talent. Did anyone watch the Eagles run through the Cowboys secondary freely on Sunday? Yikes.
14 Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland Raiders)-Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
The Bengals could go in any number of directions here, but decide to go with the fastest rising prospect in the draft. Claiborne is very talented and even though the Bengals defense has played well this year they could use more cornerback talent, but really this pick is more about getting value than fixing a need.
Update: after re-reading this mock, consider putting Stanford Cardinal guard David Decastro here.
15.Kansas City Chiefs-Riley Reiff, T, Iowa
Reiff slips a bit and the Chiefs scoop him up. Value meets need=great pick.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Zach Brown, LB, UNC
Quincy Black has started four games and played in five and has 18 tackles. Yikes. Zach Brown is perhaps the most complete linebacker in this class who has tremendous speed and will be a three down linebacker in the N.F.L.