The 2012 NFL draft is less than two weeks away. Teams are busy making their final preparations and fine tuning their draft boards. Now that free agency has died down, many teams have a better idea of what direction they need to go during the draft, and media speculation on where players will get drafted has been growing.
The reason the draft is so exciting is that no one knows exactly what is going to happen until they actually see it unfold. Players expected to be drafted high will fall, teams will reach for players expected to go later in the draft, and several trades will go down that will alter the landscape of the entire thing. So although most mock drafts can be thrown into the trash after the first 10 picks of the real deal, it’s still fun to speculate.
Here is my 1st Round Mock Draft (Version 2.0):
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck QB, Stanford
There’s nothing much to say here. This pick is as close to a lock as one can get.
The Redskins got this pick for 1 reason: RG3.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil OT, Southern California
This is the best player in the draft at a position of need for the Vikings. This pick will make Christian Ponder very happy.
4. Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson RB, Alabama
This is the first change-up from my original mock. I had Blackmon going to Cleveland before, but Richardson at #4 has been picking up a lot of steam.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne CB, Louisiana State
Claiborne will be the best player available at this point.
6. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon WR, Oklahoma State
St. Louis desperately needs an impact wide receiver, especially after losing Brandon Lloyd.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Quinton Coples DE, North Carolina
With Blackmon already off the board the Jaguars will look to fill their next biggest hole at defensive end. Jacksonville will also consider Melvin Ingram here.
8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill QB, Texas A&M
Miami has to eventually find a quarterback.
9. Carolina Panthers: Fletcher Cox DT, Mississippi State
Cox has risen in the rankings and will help a Carolina defensive unit in need of an upgrade.
10. Buffalo Bills: Riley Reiff OT, Iowa
After signing some key free agents on the defensive side of the ball Buffalo can turn their attention to the offense.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Kuechly ILB, Boston College
Kuechly is simply the best linebacker in the draft.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Melvin Ingram DE, South Carolina
Ingram will help a Seattle pass rush that had trouble sacking the quarterback a year ago.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Dontari Poe DT, Memphis
Poe has skyrocketed up the draft board and has potential to be a dominant force in the middle.
14. Dallas Cowboys: Mark Barron S, Alabama
Barron is the best safety in the draft and will complement newly acquired cornerback Brandon Carr.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Brockers DT, Louisiana State
A big time DT who is strong against the run and the pass.
16. New York Jets: Nick Perry DE, Southern California
Perry is a strong pass rusher and a versatile guy who can play several positions.
17. Cincinnati Bengals: Dre Kirkpatrick CB, Alabama
The Bengals may have had one of the best drafts in the league last year when they brought in young offensive stars A.J. Green and Andy Dalton. They would love nothing more than to duplicate that success on the defensive side of the ball this year.
18. San Diego Chargers: David DeCastro G, Stanford
The best guard in the draft would make an immediate impact for the Chargers.
19. Chicago Bears: Whitney Mercilus DE, Illinois
The Bears got their offensive playmaker in Brandon Marshall so now they can go after some young defenders.
20. Tennessee Titans: Janoris Jenkins CB, North Alabama
Jenkins is a great cover corner and has the quickness to be effective in run support.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Chandler Jones DE, Syracuse
Chandler has a ton of upside and some draft gurus believe he has the potential to be a star in this league.
22. Cleveland Browns: Jonathan Martin OT, Stanford
A very athletic offensive tackle who will keep the quarterback upright.
23. Detroit Lions: Mike Adams OT, Ohio State
The Lions could go in several directions with this pick, but protecting an injury prone quarterback entering his prime has to be a priority.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Cordy Glenn OG, Georgia
The offensive line has been a trouble spot for years.
25. Denver Broncos: Jerel Worthy DT, Michigan State
This is the year that the Broncos bring in a top flight interior defensive lineman early in the draft. If Michael Brockers falls down to #25, he would be a legitimate option here as well.
26. Houston Texans: Michael Floyd WR, Notre Dame
Floyd and Andre Johnson would give the Texans a dangerous duo at WR.
27. New England Patriots: Stephon Gilmore CB, South Carolina
New England will try to strengthen their secondary which was one of the weaker units in the NFL during the 2011 season.
28. Green Bay Packers: Courtney Upshaw OLB, Alabama
While the offense was a machine in 2011, the Packers defense gave up a staggering amount of yards. Look for Green Bay to draft a lot of defensive players this April.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Peter Konz C, Wisconsin
Center is a glaring need for the Ravens.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Kendall Wright WR, Baylor
San Francisco needs somebody to come in and help out the receiving corps since Michael Crabtree has been a disappointment.
31. New England Patriots: Shea McClellin OLB, Boise State
The Patriots will continue to pay attention to their defense.
32. New York Giants: Coby Fleener TE, Stanford
Losing 2 tight ends to significant knee injuries during the Super Bowl is obviously going to be an issue heading into 2012.
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