Monday, November 21, 2011

2012 NFL Mock Draft 1-16

With almost every college football team contending for the BCS title game losing this weekend, I figured it would be a great time to point out who the individual winners will be in April's NFL draft.  Obviously, the draft order may change, but as of November 21, this is what I got:

Andrew Luck
1.  Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck (QB) Stanford: Was the most NFL-ready prospect last year and has done nothing to change that assessment.  The Colts will have to decide what to do with both Peyton Manning and Luck on the roster, but Manning will most likely dictate that decision and make it easy on general manager Bill Polian, anyway.

2.  St. Louis Rams: Matt Kalil (OT) Southern Cal: Kalil has done a phenomenal job protecting Matt Barkley and his skills translate nicely to the NFL.  Rams quarterback of the future Sam Bradford was sacked a league-high 22 times before getting injured (due to the fact that he was taking constant punishment from the opposition.

3.  Carolina Panthers: Justin Blackmon (WR) Oklahoma St: Blackmon's freakish on-field talents instantly drew scouts to compare him with another recent Oklahoma State receiver: Dez Bryant.  Unlike Bryant, Blackmon combines his on-field talent with a hearty work-ethic and zero off-the-field issues.  Additionally, Steve Smith will be a 33-year-old receiver making close to $8 million next season.  Securing another weapon for rookie sensation Cam Newton will make this offense outright scary.


Jonathan Martin
4.  Minnesota Vikings: Jonathan Martin (OT) Stanford: When was the last time Stanford had two top-ten picks in the NFL draft?  That's right, never.  Minnesota may kick itself for drafting Christian Ponder with Matt Barkley still on the board here, but they'll take a standout tackle to protect their Ponder investment.

5.  Miami Dolphins: Matt Barkley (QB) Southern Cal: This pick comes with a caveat: Robert Griffin III does not wow scouts with his throwing abilities at the combine/pro-day. Barkley has been the clear-cut #2 prospect for a while now, and some argue is closing the gap between him and Andrew Luck.  Miami has desperately needed a quarterback since Dan Marino retired.

6. Jacksonville Jaguars: Quinton Coples (DE) North Carolina: The Jags are a mess.  At this point, even Jack Del Rio knows that he is going to get fired and is going through the motions.  With Blackmon off the board and with questions about South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffries speed and route-running, the Jags focus on their defense, which has been good in the secondary, but terrible against the run, and Coples does a great job against the run and rushing the passer.


Robert Griffin III
7. Arizona Cardinals: Morris Claiborne (CB) LSU: Another team that is likely going to be facing a new coaching regime, and will need multiple pieces, so picking the best player available will apply, and his name is Morris Claiborne.  Pair him with fellow LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, and you have a pair of shutdown corners that will allow the Cardinals to blitz more at will.

8.  Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III (QB) Baylor: Redskins owner Dan Snyder will not be able to resist the temptation of landing one of the, if not the most, talented athletes in this year's draft.

Trent Richardson
9.  San Diego Chargers: Riley Reiff (OT) Iowa: San Diego's offensive line is in shambles, especially on the right side.  Even though Reiff has primarily played on the left side, a move to the right side should be relatively simple for the ultra-durable Hawkeye.  His mean streak in the run game combined with his quick feet for pass blocking make him one of the elite tackle prospects in the draft.

10.  Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson (RB) Alabama: Cleveland would be tickled pink if Richardson falls this far to them, and would not waste much time on the clock, either.  With Peyton Hillis likely leaving via free agency, this pick makes all the sense in the world.  So much so that the Browns will actually do it.

11.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dre Kirkpatrick (CB) Alabama: Tampa Bay's cornerback depth chart could look very bad if Aqib Talib goes to jail and if Ronde Barber retires.  Either way, cornerback would be a good spot to shore up and Kirkpatrick has shown a propensity to make plays against both the pass and the run.


Landry Jones
12.  Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Kuechly (ILB) Boston College: Doesn't have the ideal athleticism for the position, but his instincts and tackling have cemented him as a standout linebacker, and the Eagles need a blue-collar worker on that defense.  Kuechly could start on day one for Philadelphia given their lack of talent at the linebacker position.


13.  Seattle Seahawks: Landry Jones (QB) Oklahoma: The Tavaris Jackson/Charlie Whitehurst experiment has clearly failed in Seattle and Jones has shown the ability to accurately distribute the football, albeit in the spread offense.  If he improves his pocket presence, he will not be available at this spot in the draft. 


14.  Kansas City Chiefs: Vontaze Burfict (ILB) Arizona State: Kansas City just needs to get healthy with three vital pieces on IR by week 2 (Eric Berry, Jamaal Charles, and Tony Moeaki).  Burfict is a best player available candidate given his raw ability and natural instincts.  I don't anticipate the Chiefs keeping this pick.

Michael Floyd
15.  Buffalo Bills: Michael Floyd (WR) Notre Dame: What happened to that potent Bills passing attack?  That's right, other teams watched film and saw the lack of talent at WR and started pressing them.   Floyd makes a lot of sense here to help out newly-designated franchise quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

16.  New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw (DE/OLB) Alabama: Elite athleticism that is a perfect fit into Rex Ryan's 3-4 scheme.  Given his experience in Nick Saban's pro-style 3-4 at Alabama, it should give him the leg up on fellow linebacker prospect Ronnell Lewis out of Oklahoma.

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