Monday, February 13, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

By: Brian Sanchez

1.  Indianapolis Colts- QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
     This is the obvious pick here.  Luck is a once in a decade talent with his arm, athleticism, brilliance, calls at the line of scrimmage, and attitude, all of which lends itself to Luck being an instant team leader.  The question is not whether or not to draft Luck, it's what to do with Peyton Manning.

2. St. Louis Rams- WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St.
     I will not change the draft order to project a trade.  But I do think the Rams will move back in the draft and end up with Blackmon.  If they stay at No. 2 I think they will still pick Blackmon.  He is by far and away the best WR talent in this draft and he has the ability to become an instant No. 1 receiver.  QB Sam Bradford needs help, Blackmon can be the help he needs.  Some say the Rams should take a Tackle to protect Bradford, but I like Saffold and think he can be the starting Left Tackle for the Rams.

3. Minnesota Vikings- OT Matt Kalil, USC
     Kalil is the best Offensive Line prospect in this draft and the Vikings will be happy to see him on the board.  Minny Reached last year for QB Christian Ponder and now they have to commit to him.  Since Blackmon is the only weapon worth having this early, they should draft Kalil to protect Ponders' blind side and bolster their terrible O-Line.

4. Cleveland Browns- Robert Griffin III, Baylor
     A lot of people think RGIII is going to be a very good pro, me included.  Colt McCoy is not an NFL starter and the Browns know it.  RGIII will be a savior for this Cleveland team, and I do think they will get him.  A lot of teams could be looking to trade up to No. 2 and get the Rams pick to take RGIII.  I think the Browns will move up two spots to secure him.  The Rams would then move back to No. 4 and take whichever player the Vikings do not take between Kalil and Blackmon.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Morris Claiborne, LSU
     This young man will be the best DB prospect in the draft.  With CB Ronde Barber mulling retirement and CB Aqib Talib possibly going to jail, the Bucs will need someone to line up outside making Claiborne an easy pick.

6. Washington Redskins- OT Riley Rieff, Iowa
     I make this pick assuming the Redskins sign either Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn  to be their new QB.  With that happening they'll need someone to protect the new QB.  Rieff is climbing boards quick and is mentioned in the same sentence as Matt Kalil.  This would not be a stretch, just a strong, smart football move.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars- OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford
     The Jacksonville Jaguars are in a very similar position to the Minnesota Vikings.  They have they're young QB, for better or for worse, and need to either give him weapons or give him protection.  With nobody other than Blackmon as a weapon, Jax has to go with protection.  Martin is a very physical and athletic tackle and he is of course very smart being a Stanford man.  The Jaguars give QB Blaine Gabbert solid protection with the OT and second Stanford player taken in the top 10.

8. Miami Dolphins- DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina
     New coach Joe Philbin announced he will be changing his team from a 3-4 to a 4-3.  This means that the Dolphins will need a solid DE who can both rush the passer and stuff the run.  Coples has the ability to be a dominant defender in this league.  His problem is a questionable motor.  He showed very little effort in his senior year at NC and still had good numbers.  I wouldn't want him because of his lack of drive, but teams love his high ceiling and I think Miami will give him a shot.

9. Carolina Panthers- DT Michael Brockers, LSU
     Brockers is an animal.  A big, tough, SEC athlete who can make an immediate impact on any team. The Panthers really struggled up the middle and are aching for a DT that can make a difference.  Brockers is perfect for them and could give the terrible Carolina defense an instant boost.

10. Buffalo Bills- DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
     Stretch?  Yes.  But what do you expect from the Bills?  They may be forcing and doing something I hate, picking for need, but they were a terrible pass rushing team and Melvin Ingram has explosive abilities.  He played huge at the senior bowl, leaving a wake of offensive linemen behind him.  He is undersized at 6 foot 1, but he has the explosiveness and athleticism to make up for it as the Bills look to improve their pass rush.

11. Kansas City Chiefs- RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
     This is not a no brainer pick for the Chiefs.  Richardson is a top 10, maybe even 5 talent, but the RB position does not have the value it once did.  Jamaal Charles will be coming of reconstructive surgery on his ACL and was not really a carry the load kind of RB before anyways.  Richardson is.  He is very strong and runs to contact.  He is an incredibly impressive RB and in tandem with Charles, can be an elite one two punch.

12. Seattle Seahawks- DE/DT Devon Still, Penn St.
     The Seahawks pass rush was very bad.  They need interior and exterior linemen.  Devon Still is a man who can do both.  Perfect fit?  Pretty much.  Pete Carroll can flex him and shift him and use scheming to get still to wreak havoc on other teams.

13. Arizona Cardinals- OG David DeCastro, Stanford
     This is incredibly early to be taking an interior lineman.  Normally.  Not if David DeCastro is there though.  He is the top OG prospect since Steve Hutchinson.  He is huge, physical, strong, and smart.  He will immediately be a starter and protect whatever QB the Cardinals throw out there as well as open holes for Beanie Wells.  This is the third Stanford player taken in the first round.

14. Dallas Cowboys- Janorice Jenkins, Northern Alabama
     Jenkins has almost too much baggage to fit in that monster of a stadium Jerry Jones has erected.  He used to go to Florida but got kicked out of school.  He has the ability to be one of the best players in this draft, but his character flaws should have knocked him down into the second round.  The Cowboys secondary is so bad that they do not care.  They see him as an instant starter and will sell their soul in order to get back into the playoffs.  

15. Philadelphia Eagles- MLB Luke Kuechly, Boston College
     The Eagles need a lot of help on defense, but they need the most help in their linebacking corps.  Kuechly is the safest and most solid MLB in this draft.  Vontaze Burfict out of Arizona St. is a more explosive more athletic prospect, but is not ready to start right away.  Kuechly is, and the Eagles are in win now mode.

16. New York Jets- S Mark Barron, Alabama
     The Safeties for the Jets are just not very good.  Mark Barron is very good.  Easy pick?  Oh yeah.  Barron is the only safety worth a first round nod and he is a good one.  He is a big time playmaker, very much along the lines of Dashon Goldson.  He has the ability to drop down into the box and deliver in run defense.  He also has the ability to play centerfield, read a QB and make a big play.  He will be a big step in returning the Jets defense to what it once was.

17. Cincinnati Bengals- CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
     The Bengals are well known as a team that identifies need, and drafts accordingly.  They have two needs, CB and RB.  Nate Clements is on the wrong side of 30, inconsistent, and a free agent.  That is not good.  Leon Hall will not be ready to start the season coming off of his Achilles injury.  And of course, they lost Jonathan Joseph to the Texans last year.  Kirkpatrick is talented but he has had marijuana possession charges (which have been dropped, but still...), however the Bengals usually do not care about that kind of stuff.  Kirkpatrick will start at CB for them.

18. San Diego Chargers- OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
     The Chargers have no depth at the OLB position.  They need someone who can make plays on the edge.  2012 National Championship MVP Courtney Upshaw could provide just that for the Chargers.

19. Chicago Bears- WR Alshon Jeffrey, South Carolina
     Jay Cutler has nothing but spend in his group of WR.  He needs a big, strong move the chains type of WR.  Enter Alshon Jeffrey.  Once a top ten prospect, Jeffrey has dropped do to a lacking Junior campaign and speed concerns.  He played big against good SEC teams and can blame a poor QB for his lack of production this season.  He could help both Cutler and RB Matt Forte a lot.

20. Tennessee Titans- OG/OT Cordy Glenn, Georgia
     Head coach Mike Munchack has publicly criticized his offensive line.  Why not draft a beast of a linemen to help?  Glenn has the ability to play guard or tackle which increases his value.  He is just a huge human being that can help dominate the line of scrimmage.

21. Cincinnati Bengals- RB Lamar Miller, Miami (The U)
     The Bengals, as I mentioned before, select for need.  They got their CB, now they need their RB.  They have a very good offensive line, and a blossoming passing game.  Cedric Benson has been steady but he is not a big play threat, not to mention a free agent.  The Bengals would like a big play RB who could still run between the tackles.  That is Lamar Miller.

22.  Cleveland Browns- WR Kendall Wright,  Baylor
     The Browns already took  an explosive play maker from Baylor.  Time to take an equally explosive player out of Baylor at WR.  Wright has elite speed and has already flourished under the throws of RGIII.  Might as well put the two together on the big stage and give your rookie QB a safety blanket at WR with his college running mate.

23. Detroit Lions- CB Alonzo Denard, Nebraska
     The Lions have one of the best offenses in the league so they are going defense.  Lead by Suh, the Lions have one of the best defensive lines in the league but are still easy to score on.  That means they need help at LB or DB.  And I have Denard as the best player left on my big board so the Lions take the big physical cover corner to try and shore up their defense.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers- NT Dontari Poe, Memphis
     It is not very often that late in the first round a team can take their heir apparent at Nose Tackle.  The Steelers have the ability to do so now.  All-Pro NT Casey Hampton isn't getting any younger.  I am not saying he won't play well for the next couple of years.  But I am saying Poe is a mammoth of a human being that can be ready to step in if something were to happen to Hampton.

25. Denver Broncos- DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi St.
     The Broncos played good in stretches, but overall they are nothing special.  Their biggest need is a play maker on the inside.  Fletcher Cox has the ability to get in the backfield and drop a running back for a loss.  While Brodick Bunkley had a good year stuffing the run, he did not make explosive plays.

26. Houston Texans- WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
     The Texans defense looked much improved this last year.  And that was with Mario Williams out for most of the season.  Insert him in, and the Texans finally have no need to draft defense anymore.  What they did notice was that when Andre Johnson went down, they have no other receivers.  Adding the tall athletic Floyd could make this offense as dangerous as any in the league.

27. New England Patriots- DE/OLB Whitney Mercillus, Illinois
     When the Patriots play a 4-3 they need a DE.  When they play 3-4 they need a rush linebacker.  Mercillus can make the transition between the two look very easy.  The young explosive athlete could give the Patriots a pass rush they sorely need.

28. Green Bay Packers- C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
     The Packers have a stud center in Scott Wells.  But he is a free agent, the Packers are near the salary cap, and they have already determined they will use the franchise tag on TE Jermicahel Finley.  Konz seems to be a plug and play center out of the biggest football university for the same state as the Packers.  Unless his stock continues to rise, he should fit nicely for the Pack.

29. Baltimore Ravens- MLB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona St.
     Ray Lewis will eventually need a replacement, and it seems that late in the first round the Ravens have found one.  Burfict is a bit of a head case (that's why he is still here at this pick) but he is talented. He would be able to play alongside Lewis right away, and take over for him when he is done.

30. San Francisco 49ers- OLB Zach Brown, North Carolina
     This may be a puzzling pick to some, but it does make sense.  Ahmad Brooks will likely leave during free agency leaving only Parys Harralson across from the phenom Aldon Smith who should see his role expand.  Brown is a do it all linebacker.  He is the perfect compliment to Aldon, and when you add him to Smith, Willis, and Bowman; the 49ers linebacking core will dominate people.  The Niners could also use a DB but the value is not here at this pick.  They could also use depth on the D-Line, so if a prospect really does well in the combine they could jump from second round to this pick for San Fran.

31. New England Patriots- DE Nick Perry, USC
     With the pick of Mercillus the Patriots still have problems with rushing the passer at OLB and DE.  Mercillus can play both, so can Perry.  He could stand up as a rush linebacker or go in the 3 point stance as a DE.  The major pass rush upgrade is needed and attained in this draft for the Pats.

32. New York Giants- MLB Dont'a Hightower, Alabama
     The Giants love to stock pile talent on defense and they get another here at the end of the first round.  Hightower is a very, very good MLB.  He lacks elite athleticism which is why he is still around at this pick, but he would solidify the middle of the Giants defense and improve their chances for a repeat.


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