2012 NFL Mock Draft

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17. Oakland Raiders-Nick Foles, QB, Arizona

I don’t know if Foles will be drafted by the Raiders, but they should really consider him. Jason Campbell is a serviceable quarterback, just not a long term solution. The Raiders are a good quarterback away from being a top N.F.L. team. They have a very good running game and an improving offensive line. They also have a pretty talented defense. If Darrius Heyward Bey has a breakout year this year and San Diego starts late again, they could even steal the division.

18. Dallas Cowboys-Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

Adding one offensive linemen early in the draft, doesn’t cure all of the offensive line woes that the Cowboys have. Fans hate when teams double up on a position in the draft in the first round in back to back years, but it might be the right call to do so. The Cowboys need bookend tackles in the division the play. The Giants have very good defensive ends, the Redskins just added Ryan Kerrigan to brace with the talented Brian Orakpo and the Eagles can get after the passer as well.

19. Indianapolis Colts-Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon

I could be mistaken, since I”m not looking this up, but it feels like the Colts haven’t spent an early draft pick on the secondary since Marlin Jackson. They Colts could use a speedy cornerback talent on their defense. They have pass rushers with Freeney, Mathis, and Hughes and they just added two offensive linemen in this draft. They could consider a wide receiver to eventually replace Reggie Wayne, but I think secondary talent makes a lot of sense for the Colts.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Travis Lewis, LB, Oklahoma

Travis Lewis would have been the best 43 linebacker other than Von Miller in this draft. Next year’s draft class looks strong for linebackers, as an aside. The Buccaneers might  lose Barrett Ruud to free agency. Lewis also can play well in the Tampa two system, but also has the versatility to succeed in the multiple looks the Buccaneers use.

21. Jacksonville Jaguars-Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A and M

The Jaguars are a hard team to predict what they are going to do in the draft. At this point Fuller is one of the best players available. He also is a senior, which is important to the Jaguars front office.

22. New York Giants-Vontaze Burfict

Probably won’t be available in the next mock here, but he is in this scenario and the Giants always go with the best player available.  The Giants have talent at all levels of their offense and defense, but don’t have great linebacker play. They will probably try to upgrade the position if free agency ever starts, but at this moment they still need to add linebackers and Burfict also happens to be the best players available.

23. Houston Texans-Michael Brewster, C, Ohio State

There is always an interior offensive linemen drafted at some point in the first round and this is where I’m going to initially slot Brewster. The Texans focused on defense this year, but still have some holes on offense despite their production. They could use more offensive line talent, and a more wide receivers.

24. Detroit Lions-Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina

The Lions like the Eagles and Giants are notoriously low on linebacker talent. Zach Brown has great speed and is a excellent option as a late first round pick. Now, I’m not sure I”m quite on board with the Lions being the 9th best team in the league, but these aren’t my rankings.

25. Baltimore Ravens-Kniles Davis, RB, Arkansas

The Baltimore Ravens always nab the best player available on their board and at this point its Kniles Davis. Ray Rice is a stud, but McGahee is no spring chicken and I believe La’Ron McClain is a possible free agent depending on the new free agency rules. Davis is 6-0 220 pounds and averaged 6.5 yards per carry last year playing in the S.E.C. He’s a nice complement to Ray Rice and a great value pick at this point in the late first round.

26. Philadelphia Eagles-Matei Te’o, LB, Norte Dame

Like the Giants, the Eagles never draft linebackers in the first round, but in this mock they keep up with the joneses here and add to one of their weakest units on their team while at the same time grabbing one of the best players available.

27. New England Patriots (Via Saints)-Jared Crick, DL, Nebraska

The defensive line talent is not nearly as good this upcoming year as it was this past year. Crick is listed at 285 pounds and could play the 34 DE position for the New England Patriots. The Patriots like to add talented defensive linemen when the opportunity arises and it does for them here in this very early mock draft.

28. New York Jets-Ray Ray Armstrong, SS, The U

The Jets defensive system is reliant on talented secondary play and the Jets don’t have great safety play or depth. The Jets could also need cornerback help if Cromartie leaves via free agency. Ray Ray Armstrong is arguably the best safety in this class and would give the Jets some talent at the safety spot next year.

29. Pittsburgh Steelers-Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

The Steelers did not select a cornerback in the first round this past draft, but they could do so next year if the value is right.

30.Cleveland Browns (Via Falcons)-Chase Minniefield, CB, Virginia

The Browns are a team that has a lot of holes so they have to grab the best player available (while considering positional value)…In this scenario the Browns sit back and wait as Minniefield falls into the laps at the end of the first round. Minniefield and Haden would make a very tough combination to pass on.

31. New England Patriots-Michael Floyd, WR, Norte Dame

The Patriots have the kind of veteran leadership that allows them to absorb “character concerns”. Floyd is supremely gifted and if his problems don’t push his draft stock down could be a steal here at this point and give the Pats.

32. Green Bay Packers-Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma

I thought it was possible the Packers could add a WR very earlynthis year as Donald Driver is getting up there in age, but instead they went offensive line.

I’m sure a lot of this will change early in the season and has free agency occurs, but these are some preliminary thoughts I have about players and team fits.  let us know what you think.

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