Post Super Bowl/Pre-Combine 2012 NFL draft, mock style
Written by Curt Popejoy on 02/08/2012
1. Indianapolis Colts-Andrew Luck, QB Stanford-I am not convinced that the Colts already declaring Luck as their pick isn’t a whole lot of posturing, but it’s hard to imagine anyone but Luck being the top pick, regardless of who ends up selecting here.
2. St. Louis Rams-Justin Blackmon, WR Oklahoma State-The lack of talent on this roster all over the field is disturbing. They have a handful of good players but the franchise has seemed content with mediocore talent, especially at wide receiver. Blackmon is a dominant player at his position and would be a welcome addition for young quarterback Sam Bradford.
3. Minnesota Vikings-Matt Kalil, OT USC-Another team that is woefully under maned all over the field. Kalil is a special talent and can improve the run game as well as protect the young quarterback. There are so many directions this pick could go this is the pivot sport for a big trade. The Vikings would be wise to try and stockpile some picks because this slot will be valuable and their needs are many.
4. Cleveland Browns-Robert Griffin III, QB Baylor-Let me go on record as saying I think this is too early for RGIII. But Cleveland’s QB situation is bad. Matt Barkley went back to school. And it’s proven that without a star QB you simply cannot win in this league. These factors are going to push Griffin up into the top of the 1st round and force Cleveland to roll the dice on him.
5. Tampa Bay Bucs-Mo Claiborne, CB LSU-I’m not sure anyone had Claiborne high in their first round mocks ahead of me. He’s a phenomenal talent and physical specimen. Tampa is another team that earned their Top 5 status with a total meltdown in all facets of the game. Once again there are multiple directions they could do, but Claiborne is the best player on the board and makes for an easy choice.
6. Washington Redskins-Alshon Jeffery, WR South Carolina-There’s no way the Redskins don’t do everything in their power to upgrade at the quarterback position. But I wouldn’t be shocked if they sought out a veteran in a trade rather than trade up to get RGIII, and then draft a player later on. No matter who’s under center they must get them someone to throw to. While I am not as high on Jeffery as some others, I can certainly see him being the pick here.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars-Quinton Couples, DE North Carolina-Another pick that doesn’t wow me, but a position of need plus a guy who most are very hip on and you have a match. I’m not sure of Coples is more Mario Williams or Da’Quan Bowers, but I tend to lean more toward the latter.
8. Carolina Panthers-Dre Kirkpatrick, CB Alabama-Kirkpatrick is a solid pick here as he’s not as physically imposing or big play prone as Claiborne but he’s rock solid in run support and for a team that struggled so much to stop the run, getting a corner who can help as well as cover is a plus.
8. Miami Dolphins-Jonathan Martin, OT Stanford-With no great 3rd QB in the draft and Matt Moore earning a lot of points with his play the Dolphins will be forced to go another direction and it has to be offensive line to replace Marc Columbo. Martin could make an easy transition to right tackle and give the Dolphins a great pair of bookends.
10. Buffalo Bills-Courtney Upshaw, DE/LB Alabama-There are a lot of really good hybrid players in this draft who can rush the quarterback from a 3 point stance or standing up, so this pick is going to look different across the board. But with the Bills unsure of their scheme for next season
11. Kansas City Chiefs-Riley Reiff, OT Iowa-The Chiefs made some bad moves on the offensive line this year, cutting Jared Gaither and keeping Barry Richardson. The pieces are there for this team to be good, but better offensive line play has to be where it starts and Reiff is a really nice prospect.
12. Seattle Seahawks-Whitney Mercilus, DE/LB Illinois-Another hybrid type player but bigger and more of a true 4-3 end and getting the Seahawks some pressure has to be a top priority especially with no great QB pick to put in this spot.
13. Arizona Cardinals-Luke Kuechly, LB Boston College-The Cardinals have holes all over the field especially on the offensive line, but I think that Kuechly paired up with Daryl Washington would really bolster that defense and they should be able to find some help on offensive line later on.
14. Dallas Cowboys-Stephon Gilmore, CB South Carolina-The Cowboys secondary got worse as the season went on. They are getting older and lacking athleticism. Gilmore is the kind of guy who can come in and contribute right away.
15. Philadelphia Eagles-Devon Still, DE/DT Penn State-The Eagles might need to find a starting wide receiver but assuming they don’t, upgrading the talent on the defensive line would be next on the list and Still is a guy who can play end or tackle and do so at a high level.
16. New York Jets-Melvin Ingram, DE/LB South Carolina-The Jets have been stopping teams with mostly smoke and mirrors and a serious lack of consistency from their pass rushers. Ingram has had a dominant season and I like him a lot as a hybrid rush OLB that’s a little bigger than normal.
17. Cincinnati Bengals(from Oakland Raiders) –Alfonzo Dennard, CB Nebraska-The Bengals have a lot of holes on their side of the football but an upgrade in the defensive secondary certainly couldn’t hurt. Dennard was up and down this year but I think his skillset translates very well to the NFL if he can just stay healthy and be consistent.
18. San Diego Chargers-Mike Adams, OT Ohio State-The Chargers are in dire need of a starting tackle and Adams has the potential to be a ten year starter at the position. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Chargers upgraded their running game here as well.
19. Chicago Bears-Trent Richardson, RB Alabama-I just have a funny feeling the Bears aren’t going to re-sign Matt Forte’ to the big fat contract he wants. They may franchise him, but they are still going to be absent a long term solution and Richardson is that guy.
20. Tennessee Titans-Nick Perry, DE/LB USC-The Titans are thin at dlinemen especially ones who can rush the passer and Perry can certainly do that. He might be a little undersized to be an every down 4-3 DE, but as a situational player he’s got a ton of potential.
21. Cincinnati Bengals-David DeCastro, OG Stanford-With the Bengal’s second first round pick they shore up their other unit of need, the interior offensive line. Castro is such a mauler in the run game and has really improved in his pulling as well as pass protection he’s really a nice value here.
22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta Falcons) –Michael Floyd, WR Notre’ Dame-The Browns get what they hope if their QB of the future earlier in the round, and so with this pick they get him a nice big target to throw to. I considered a running back here, just in case Peyton Hillis flakes out again.
23. Detroit Lions-Lamar Miller, RB Miami-I don’t consider Miller a first round pick, or the 2nd best rb, but the Lions saw this year what happens when you can’t run the football, and Miller is big and strong and would be a nice complement for Jhavid Best assuming he can even return.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers-Vinny Curry, DE/LB Marshall-This team’s two greatest weaknesses last season were along the offensive line and in the defensive secondary. So true to form they will ignore those positions and instead draft for depth. Granted Curry is a tremendous player and assuming James Harrison get suspended next year and Lamarr Woodley hurt, Curry will get his reps.
25. Denver Broncos-Dontari Poe, DT Memphis-Poe is a big man and could go a long way toward plugging that middle up on the Broncos defense. I could also see the Broncos taking a corner here if one of the top players fell to them, or even a guy like Janoris Jenkins, but with two DTs having contracts ending this season, Poe would be a big wide insurance policy.
26. Houston Texans-Michael Brockers, DE/DT LSU- I expect by April Brockers is higher than this, but for a team that seems to always looking to get tougher up front a guy like Brockers who can play inside or outside would be an ideal pick for them. I love his potential and upside.
27. New England(From New Orleans Saints)-Janoris Jenkins, CB North Alabama-The Super Bowl showed us what we already know about the Patriots. Their corners aren’t very good. While I’m not as high on Jenkins as others, if he will get it together and play for any team, it’s probably the Patriots.
28. Green Bay Packers-Kendall Wright, WR Baylor-The rich get richer on offense. As talented a group of pass catchers that the Packers have, they don’t have a guy like Wright you can run past defenders and stretch the opposing defense.
29.Baltimore Ravens-Vontaze Burfict, LB Arizona State-The Ravens will have to replace Ray Lewis at some point, and a guy like Burfict who is so athletic and intense would make a nice understudy for a year or so until he can take over full time.
30. San Francisco 49ers-Mohamad Sanu, WR Rutgers-The 49ers lack of talent at wide out really showed itself this year in the playoffs. I think Sanu could end up being a steady performer in this league for years to come and would almost certainly making the Niners offense more balanced even with Alex Smith at quarterback.
31. New England Patriots-Dont’a Hightower, LB Alabama-Another addition to an under athletic defense in the back 7. Hightower can do a little of everything and his versatility would be a nice fit in the Patriots hybrid defense.
32. New York Giants-Lavonte David, LB Nebraska-Chase Blackburn started for the Giants in the Super Bowl. If that doesn’t tell you how much the Giants need to get more athletic at linebacker nothing else will.
Last Edited: 02/08/2012