April 26, 2012

Final 2012 NFL Mock Draft

#3 Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

2012 NFL Mock Draft: Round 1
(Thursday, April 26, 2012)

1. Andrew Luck*, QB, Stanford
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 234 lbs. | Class: Junior (RS)

Analysis: Indianapolis has been locked into Stanford QB Andrew Luck since November, and he will be the first overall pick. This was made clear when the Colts released long-time quarterback Peyton Manning back on March 7th, and confirmed when the Colts officially announced that they would select Luck with the first overall pick. He is considered the best quarterback prospect since Manning, and could become an elite quarterback at the next level.

2. Robert Griffin III*, QB, Baylor
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 223 lbs. | Class: Junior
(via St. Louis)

Analysis: Washington is locked in on Robert Griffin III, and it makes sense. RG3 his a perfect fit in Mike Shanahan's offense, and should be a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback for the Redskins. They have already begun to surround their future quarterback with weapons in the passing game.

3. Trent Richardson*, RB, Alabama
Ht: 5-9 Wt: 228 lbs. | Class: Junior
(via Minnesota)

Analysis: Cleveland gives up a fourth, fifth, and seventh round pick to move up one spot and select... Trent Richardson. Many people have thought all along that the Browns would select Richardson with the fourth overall pick. Moving up one spot ensures a team like Tampa Bay won't steal their guy.

4. Morris Claiborne*, CB, Louisiana State
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 188 lbs. | Class: Junior
(via Cleveland)

Analysis: Rick Spielman only moves down one spot, and acquires three picks. Now they will most likely select LSU corner Morris Claiborne. Whether you agree with this or not, he is the number one player on their draft board according to Steve Wyche.

5. Fletcher Cox*, DT, Mississippi State
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 298 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Tampa Bay needs to trade down now, but they will probably select a defensive player here if they cannot. This pick will likely come down to Fletcher Cox, Luke Kuechly, and Stephon Gilmore. The best player on the board is Cox, who they could put next to Gerald McCoy.

6. Matt Kalil*, OT, Southern California
Ht: 6-7 Wt: 306 lbs. | Class: Junior
(via Washington)

Analysis: St. Louis would love to take Justin Blackmon here, but Matt Kalil has fallen to them. They could realize that they can get an Alshon Jeffery or Rueben Randle in round two, and select left tackle Matt Kalil here.

7. Justin Blackmon*, WR, Oklahoma State
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 207 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: If Justin Blackmon falls to them, they will run to the podium to make it official.

8. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 221 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: Unless a team trades up to get Ryan Tannehill, he will not fall past Miami. The Dolphins need a long term answer at the quarterback position, and they are desperate, as they missed out on Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn.

This is a perfect situation for Ryan Tannehill. He has great physical tools and upside, but he needs to be groomed, and they have two solid, temporary starting options in David Garrard and Matt Moore. Also, with his former Head Coach at Texas A&M on the staff, it should only help his growth.

9. Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 284 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: Quinton Coples will be the pick in my opinion, He met with Carolina for 11 hours on Monday, and they seem to really like the North Carolina pass rusher.

10. Luke Kuechly*, ILB, Boston College
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 242 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Their interest in Mark Barron could be a smokescreen, and I've heard they really like Luke Kuechly. He is an impact player who may not make it out of the top 10 picks.

11. David DeCastro*, OG, Stanford
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 316 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: With linebacker Luke Kuechly off the board, Kansas City could be locked onto David DeCastro. The best guard prospect since Steve Hutchinson, DeCastro is a top 10 talent who the Chiefs seem to like a lot. They don't desperately need a guard, but Ryan Lilja struggled last year, and adding DeCastro would give the Chiefs one of the best offensive line units in the NFL. They could also target safety Mark Barron here.

12. Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 264 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: Melvin Ingram is a bit of a tweener, and his best fit may be standing up in a 3-4 defense. However, he is one of the better pass rushers in the draft, and Pete Carrol would love to take him here. The only pass rusher they have on their roster is Chris Clemons, so they will likely target another very early.

13. Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 220 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: Arizona stays true to its draft board and takes--Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd. Their biggest need may be left tackle, and Riley Reiff would make a ton of sense here, but Floyd would be a steal here. Larry Fitzgerald is lobbying for the Cardinals to take Floyd, and I assure you, they are listening.

14. Mark Barron, S, Alabama
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 213 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: Mark Barron is coveted by Jerry Jones and the Cowboys, and he will be the pick if available. They could use an upgrade at safety.

15. Stephon Gilmore*, CB, South Carolina
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 190 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: If the Eagles do not trade up for Fletcher Cox, Eagles GM Howie Roseman says the team will select the best player available. One would have to believe that player is Stephon Gilmore, who could easily go in the top 10. After trading Asante Samuel, the Eagles need a third corner to go along with Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Gilmore is widely considered the second best corner in this draft, and he can make an immediate impact for the team that drafts him.

16. Chandler Jones*, DE/OLB, Syracuse
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 266 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Chandler Jones is drawing interest from the Jets, and will be the pick if he "falls" to them, especially if Michael Floyd and Melvin Ingram are off the board.

17. Dre Kirkpatrick*, CB/FS, Alabama
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 186 lbs. | Class: Junior
(via Oakland)

Analysis: Even after signing Terence Newman, Cincinnati still needs to address the cornerback position. Dre Kirkpatrick is a talented corner prospect who could also play free safety, which is where he could have his biggest impact early in his career.

18. Whitney Mercilus*, DE/OLB, Illinois
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 254 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Mark Barron is someone GM A.J. Smith and San Diego covet, but if they don't trade up for him, they will select a pass rusher here. The question is, which one? In no particular order: Whitney Mercilus, Shea McClellin, Nick Perry, Chandler Jones, and Courtney Upshaw all come to mind. I believe the Chargers have favored Illinois pass rusher Whitney Mercilus all along, and he would be the perfect fit coming off the edge in the Chargers; 3-4 scheme. Last year, San Diego took Ilinois defensive tackle Corey Liuget with the 18th pick in the draft. Just an interesting note there.

19. Michael Brockers**, DT, Louisiana State
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 322 lbs. | Class: Sophomore

Analysis: Chicago will select the best defensive lineman on the board. Michael Brockers is a Richard Seymour like prospect who is an excellent run defender, and will likely become a solid pass rusher in the near future.

20. Dontari Poe*, DT, Memphis
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 346 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Tennessee likely selects the best defensive player available here. Dontari Poe may not make it past the Titans. When you turn on the film, it's hard to see a first round pick, but you know this guy has the potential to be great. At 6-4, 346 lbs., Poe is an athletic tackle who could be one of the steals of the draft. The interior of their defensive line is already strong, and adding Poe would be a good move for the team.

21. Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 272 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: According to Sports Illustrated's Tony Pauline, the Bengals will use one of their first round picks on Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw. This comes as no surprise, as Marvin Lewis and the Bengals have been interested in Upshaw for a while. They could use a pass rusher like Upshaw, who could play defensive end in Cincinnati's 4-3 scheme. If Cincinnati passes on Upshaw, he could fall out of the first round.

22. Stephen Hill*, WR, Georgia Tech
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 215 lbs. | Class: Junior
(via Atlanta)

Analysis: Jonathan Martin could be considered here, but I believe Cleveland targets a receiver with this pick. Stephen Hill is raw, but he has a good combination of height, weight, speed, and not to mention great hands. He could develop into a number one receiver in the NFL, and would be a primary weapon for Colt McCoy.

23. Riley Reiff*, OT, Iowa
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 313 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: The Lions use the best player available method and fill a need at the same time. Riley Reiff is a top 10 talent, and the second rated offensive tackle in the draft. He could have a Bryan Bulaga type fall, but would be a steal this late in the first round for a team that would need a left tackle in the near future.

24. Dont'a Hightower*, ILB, Alabama
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 265 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Dont'a Hightower is as good as locked in here. Offensive linemen Jonathan Martin and Cordy Glenn would be hard to pass on, but the Steelers will look to get younger on defense, specifically at inside linebacker.

25. Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
Ht: 5-9 Wt: 223 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: This pick should be spent on defense, specifically a defensive tackle. However, there may not be one worth drafting here, and I doubt John Elway takes a defensive tackle in round one that isn't Michael Brockers. Trading down to select Doug Martin makes sense, but he could also be the pick if they stay here. John Fox loves to run the football, and Martin is the second best running back in the draft, and could help make things easier for Peyton Manning, which is always a good idea.

26. Cordy Glenn, OT/OG, Georgia
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 345 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: Houston likely targets a pass rusher early, but they lost two starters on the offensive line this off-season. Georgia lineman Cordy Glenn comes into play, as a versatile lineman who can start at right tackle and/or kick inside to guard. Don't be surprised if Glenn falls out of the first round either.

27. Nick Perry*, DE/OLB, Southern California
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 271 lbs. | Class: Junior
(via New Orleans)

Analysis: New England needs pass rushing help. Nick Perry would be an ideal pick. He had a recent visit with the Patriots, and he is the most talented pass rusher at this point. He can stand up in the 3-4 and rush the passer as a 4-3 defensive end.

28. Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 260 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: The Packers recently released safety Nick Collins, which leads one to believe they would target Harrison Smith with this pick. As much sense as this makes, it may not happen, because Green Bay really likes Shea McClellin, who at this point would be a steal. Adding a pass rusher opposite Clay Matthews is a top priority for this team.

29. Peter Konz*, C/OG, Wisconsin
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 314 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: Ben Grubbs signed with New Orleans, while Matt Birk is in the final phase of his career. Therefore, Baltimore needs to target an interior lineman here. Peter Konz would be able to slide over to guard and start until he is needed to take over for Birk at center. A receiver or pass rusher could be in play as well.

30. Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 314 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: The 49ers don't have many needs, and I could see them selecting either receiver Kendall Wright or tight end Coby Fleener. However, they really seem to like Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler enough to take him in round one. Midwestern State guard Amini Silatolu is also in play here.

31. Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 213 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: The Patriots could be looking to package their two first round picks and trade up for Mark Barron. Whether this is true or not, the Patriots could target a safety with their second first round pick. Harrison Smith is not as talented as Mark Barron, but he is fundamentally sound, can defend against the run, and is solid in coverage.

32. Jonathan Martin*, OT, Stanford
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 312 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: The Giants will draft the best player available that fills a need. This could be a defensive player, but Jonathan Martin makes the most sense if he falls this far. He potentially fills a need at offensive tackle, and he should be a fine left tackle in the NFL.