The purpose of this particular 2012 NFL mock draft is to highlight players that the team might consider that is not being discussed elsewhere.
In order to do that, assume that I eliminated from the board the three picks most often mocked to each team and then I made an unexpected pick I think makes some sense. I am not predicting these picks, I’m just trying to take an educated guess who might be an unexpected player that the team could fall in love with. The goal here is to get one or two right in the draft, not every pick. In fact I didn’t even mock Morris Claiborne specifically because I was trying to play around with unexpected scenarios–I think Claiborne is off the board by the 6th pick in the draft.
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1. Indianapolis Colts
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
The Colts are clearly taking one of the two QBs. I have not bought into the Colts taking RGIII yet, but I suppose it is still possible. I think Irsay has been fascinated with Andrew Luck as soon as he realize he could be picking first and I don’t think Luck has done anything to warrant dropping himself off the first pick. That being said–RGIII is still possible.
2. Washington Redskins
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford Cardinal
If the Colts take RGIII the Redskins will be “stuck” with Andrew Luck. Just curious what would Redskins fans think of this. Would you be happy or upset?
3. Minnesota Vikings
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
I think the pick comes down to Matt Kalil or trade the pick. I don’t think the team takes Morris Claiborne. Despite how talented Claiborne is, the Vikings have a lot of Tampa 2 principles in their defense and you don’t need a shut down cornerback for that system, however the Vikings do need a franchise LT. Kalil makes the most sense and offers the most positional value as well. If we eliminate Claiborne and Kalil as the choices, the other most likely option becomes wide receiver.
4. Cleveland Browns
Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
The top choices here are Claiborne, Richardson, and Tannehill. I think those are the most likely options, but what if the Browns do end up trading down to #8 who would they consider then? The Browns have made an effort to improve their defensive line with Sheard and Taylor last year, but that’s still not enough. Coples can be a player who wrecks entire game plans by himself.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Dontari Poe, DL, Memphis
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made a concerted effort to fix the interior of their defensive line with Gerald McCoy and Brian Price. The problem is Gerald McCoy has not been able to stay healthy and Brian Price has been okay, but not great (24 tackles and 3 sacks in 15 starts last year). According to Tony Pauline of draft insider.net Dontari Poe is a top five player on NFL Big boards. Poe has abilities that can’t be taught and perhaps the Buccaneers are the team that falls in love with them.
6. St. Louis Rams
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
The Rams are most often mocked Justin Blackmon, Fletcher Cox, and Trent Richardson. Claiborne will be the pick if he’s available I believe, but I don’t see him getting past Tampa Bay. If Blackmon went to Cleveland and the Buccaneers took Claiborne would the team pass on Richardson to go in a different direction. Dre Kirkpatrick has physical abilities that teams drool over with big size, and good speed and an ability to play both zone and man coverage. Sure he has some question marks, but maybe the Rams feel a combo of Finnegan and Kirkpatrick sets them apart in a pass happy league.
Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama Crimson Tide
Upshaw seems like a Jaguars type player. Upshaw is as physical as can be, a coaches dream type player. He has a big pedigree. Sure he’s kind of without a position, but if he was high on the Jaguars board he could be the pick.
8. Miami Dolphins
Riley Reiff, T, Iowa
The Dolphins have made it a point of emphasis to address their offensive line, but they still have a hole at right tackle. Entire Riley Reiff. Reiff has been compared a lot to former Iowa Hawkeye OT Bryan Baluaga except I think Reiff is better. Wide receiver now becomes a need as well. People I’ve talked to believe the Dolphins really do like Tannehill so whether or not you like it Dolphins fans –you might want to embrace the idea of Ryan Tannehill playing quarterback for the Miami Dolphins.
Michael Floyd, WR, Norte Dame
I’ve been consistent in saying the Panthers will address defense in the draft for a few reasons. First their head coach is a defensive guy, second their defense was awful last year and cost them some games, and 3 the best player available here is likely to be a defensive player. With that being said what if the team fell in love with Michael Floyd they could make an exception. Floyd’s size would be a nice complement to Steve Smith and the team might want to give Newton a young wide receiver to grow with into the future.
10. Buffalo Bills
Matt Kalil, T, USC
The Bills frustrated they haven’t filled their LT position and looking to compete now, move up to select Matt Kalil after he falls a bit because someone moved up to draft Tannehill. The Bills have a few extra picks this year from the Lee Evans and Marshawn Lynch trades and a lot of young talent on the roster so feel okay giving up their second round pick to secure the LT position for the future.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A and M
The Chiefs moving up to grab Ryan Tannehill is not a likely (or probably popular pick) but if he does fall out of the top 10, which is possible if neither the Dolphins or Browns love him, then I think it’s very possible the Chiefs draft Tannehill. I won’t rule out a trade up to grab him but I think the Chiefs can potentially win AFC West this year with a healthy Cassel.
12. Seattle Seahawks
Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Here’s a pick a little out of left field. The Seahawks have some pretty good wide receivers, but perhaps they don’t fit in great with Matt Flynn and the offense he has run. Wright can really rack up the yards after the catch which would be a nice complement to the Seahawks passing game. I think the most likely picks are on defense, but I wouldn’t rule out an offensive player.
Janoris Jenkins, CB, Northern Alabama
The Cardinals drafted Patrick Peterson last year and while he was terrific in the return game and a big play-maker, he struggled at times in coverage. Besides that the Cardinals don’t have great cornerbacks. The most popular picks are pass rushers and an offensive tackle, but secondary is a position they could consider as well. Jenkins man coverage skills are very impressive, if he did not have character concerns he might be considered a top 20 pick.
14. Dallas Cowboys
Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
If Brockers gets drafted this high it’s based on his potential now and not his current abilities. With that being said I think the Cowboys draft defense here. Another out of the box pick would be taking a player like Kendall Wright to fill the void that was left by Laurent Robinson.
15. Philadelphia Eagles
Cordy Glenn, T, Georgia
To be honest I made this pick prior to the Demetrius Bell signing. With the Bell signing it seems more unlikely. However I think it made sense before. Glenn could have played LT this year and then slid over to RT or played guard into the future. The Eagles like big offensive linemen and especially ones that are athletic and trust their OL coaches to teach players to excel. Glenn is huge and athletic and fits the mold of an Eagles offensive linemen, with the Bell pick now though I wouldn’t count on it.
Another possibility is Melvin Ingram. Ingram fits the mold of what the Eagles look for in DE. They don’t have to be huge with long arms, just super athletic and that’s Ingram.
16. New York Jets
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama Crimson Tide
If the Jets fall in love with Trent Richardson they are bold enough to move up and grab him. Richardson is a terrific back and the Jets are determined to get back to a physical ground and pound run game, but right now they don’t have the running backs in the stable. It might cost the Jets a lot to move up, but it’s possible.
Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama
Even though Hightower is considered more of a natural 34 ILB, it’s not impossible that he can play 43 Mike linebacker. Besides most teams in the N.F.L. use multiple fronts. Hightower has a good size/speed ratio, is a smart defender, and is physical. A lot of appealing traits. He’s not a great sideline to sideline guy. Some team is going to draft Hightower in the first round, who is that going to be?
18. San Diego Chargers
David DeCastro, G, Stanford Cardinal
The Chargers could decide to replace Kris Dielman here. In my opinion the Chargers must show Philip Rivers some love by adding something on offense early in this draft after losing Vincent Jackson, Darren Sproles, and Michael Turner over the last two seasons.
19. Chicago Bears
Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
Mercilus was very productive last season and is also a terrific athlete. Merciuls is a hot name as he is drawing interest from both 43 and 34 teams looking for pass rushers. The Bears were apparently interested in Mario Williams before he signed with the Buffalo Bills indicating that the Bears could be looking for a defensive end in the first two rounds.
20. Tennessee Titans
Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
The Titans defensive line was better when Jason Jones was a disruptive defensive tackle, and now they get back to that with Fletcher cox. This pick, admittedly is like drawing at straws. I’m not really sure what the Titans might do other than DE, S, and WR the three most common picks mocked to them.
Mark Barron, S, Alabama
The Bengals find a long term solution to the safety position. Reggie Nelson had a good year last year, but has not been consistent in his career. Barron is a top 20 player on my board and any team looking for a safety at some point will consider Barron early. He’s the only safety who is guaranteed to go in the first two rounds of this draft.
After writing this I also saw on draftinsder.net that the Bengals really like Courtney Upshaw and Peter Konz
The Browns would be wise to add a good cornerback to pair with the talented Joe Haden. Stephon Gilmore is one of my favorite players in the draft, but has been “discovered” by all media and is now a possible top 15 pick. Gilmore is tall, physical, and a fluid athlete. His game tape is a bit inconsistent, but with good coaching and learning how to study film he could be a terrific player.
23. Detroit Lions
Melvin Ingram, DL, South Carolina
Ingram is a top player on a lot of boards and comes off the board here. Ingram’s issue is that he doesn’t necessarily have an identified position. The Lions have good pass rusher, but could look to the future and add a player to take over for Kyle Vanden Bosch or as insurance incase they can not get Avril under contract long term.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
The Steelers might have lost Mendenahll of the year and could consider finding a replacement running back. The Steelers are very good at staying with their big board. If they think that Mike Martin (or Lamar Miller or David Wilson) is the best player on the board they could consider adding a running back very early in the draft. I think it’s still looking like they take an OT, DL, or ILB though cornerback could also be a possibility. Really, you can’t rule anything out with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
25. Denver Broncos
Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
The Broncos have some young talented tight ends, but none as good as Coby Fleener. People are wondering if the Broncos will add a pass catcher, but adding a quality tight end is just as good as adding a pass catcher on the outside. In fact, it might even be better because the Broncos have a solid 1-2 in Demariyus Thomas and Eric Decker, but questions at tight end.
26. Houston Texans
Brandon Thompson, NT, Clemson
Wade Phillips doesn’t use a traditional nose tackle player and Brandon Thompson is an intriguing possibility for the Texans. The Texans are a team that values character more than most teams and Thompson doesn’t come with many flags. Thompson could also line up as a 34 DE, but has the strength and quickness to excel in Phillips scheme.
The Patriots need to improve defense that’s for sure and need to add an infusion of speed and coverage ability. Brown is a linebacker who could play a pseudo safety type role. Zach Brown has been moving down draft boards (reportedly), but could still end up in the first round.
Interestingly after I finished writing this I read on draftinsider.net that the Patriots feel a LB who can cover is one of their biggest draft needs–Zach Brown would make a ton of sense if that’s what they were thinking.
Jon Martin, T, Stanford Cardinal
Unlikely Jon Martin falls this far, but it’s possible. I’ve seen (an anonymous) scout quoted as saying “we hope Jon Martin comes to our division, we have him graded out as a fourth round prospect”. I don’t think that’s the prevailing thought however. Packers are renown for taking the best player available on the board and on many boards that would be Martin here.
29. Baltimore Ravens
Mike Adams, T, Ohio State
Many expect Adams to be gone by this point and that’s possible. If he is available I don’t think the Ravens would have a problem adding Adams. The Ravens seem confident in their coaches and their locker room to get the most out of players who are sometimes considered bad seeds by other teams and the media.
30. San Francisco 49ers
Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
The 49ers add talent to the interior of their offensive line with Peter Konz (if he’s able to get this far). Most mock drafters have the 49ers taking a guard, but few have them taking a center. I Maybe they also consider adding more talent to their defensive line or find a nose tackle and think that Brandon Thompson could be that player.
Shea McClelin, OLB, Boise State
McClelin is rising up boards and being compared to Clay Matthews the terrific Green Bay Packers LB because of his hustle speed, and good 10 yard split. McClelin has versatility to play in a number of different schemes. He could play Rush LB in the Patriots 34 alignments, or 43 DE, and even the possibility as been floated around as him as 43 SAM type linebacker.
32. New York Giants
Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Want to play a drinking game all draft weekend. What you do is wait until the Giants pick and then go to Giants.com and wait for Jerry Reese to be interviewed. Every time Reese says the phrase “Size and speed” take a drink. Become immediately drunk. The Raiders take all the credit for drafting speed guys, but the Giants don’t make it secret that they covet a good size and speed ratio with their players. They can afford to do that because they have terrific coaching and a lot of the size/speed players work out. Who examplifies size speed more than WR Stephen Hill? I think with the loss of Mario Manningham WR is a possibility for the Giants early.