Okay, it's finally here (version 1, at least)! It's the Mock 2012 NFL Draft of Don't Laugh, People.
This year, I'm not doing this so much as a draft board, and definitely not doing it as every pick is locked in. I will be doing this with possible trades included. So without further ado, Indianapolis, you're on the clock!
1. Indianapolis Colts select:
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
This is not a guess, it's a guarantee. Three first-round picks won't pry this spot away from the Colts, nor will the release or retaining of QB Peyton Manning. Andrew Luck is believed to be the next Peyton Manning, whom the Colts know well enough, and they aren't going to take chances of not having a QB of that caliber for years to come.
2. St. Louis Rams select:
Matt Kalil, OT, USC
I may end up changing this into a trade in a later version of the draft, but for now I believe the Rams stay put where they are and get the best possible help for their stud QB Sam Bradford. Kalil's as sure a pick as the Rams can make in this draft, and that alone may keep them from giving the spot up for someone who wishes to get their hands on Robert Griffin III.
*Minnesota Vikings trade to Washington Redskins.
3. Washington Redskins select:
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
The Vikings will trade when they see the offer the Redskins make for this pick so they can stockpile talent around their own quarterback for a couple years. RG3 is the QB Redskins fans want, and he's the QB Redskins fans will get. His mobility and throwing ability make him a prime target and his athleticism and charisma will put seats in Snyder's stands for more years.
4. Cleveland Browns select:
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
The Browns need a WR. They will retain the rights to Peyton Hillis one way or another, and that will quench their thirst for a running back, at least momentarily. Blackmon provides Cleveland with a big-time target for whoever the QB is, and relieves some of the woes the offense has dealt with for several years.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select:
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
While popular thinking at this point is that the Buccaneers will get their hands on a corner as Barber is pondering retirement and Talib could be facing extensive time in prison, having Richardson fall into their lap will leave them salivating and chomping at the bit. A team could scoop in here with their own want of Richardson, but Tampa Bay will take the guy who can be a 1-2 punch with Blounte and help correct the offense's struggles of 2011.
6. Minnesota Vikings (from projected trade with Washington) select:
Morris Claiborne, DB, LSU
The Vikings' defense has been stout for a long time, but there's always been a woe or two. While I believe it more to be safety, the secondary has struggled regardless, and in a division with the Lions' pass attack, and the Packers' pass attack, it's on the secondary to help make plays when the front seven can't get it done. Claiborne's got special talent, and could be exactly what the Vikings' need to keep teams from scoring on them seemingly at will.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars select:
Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
I can see the Jaguars taking a guy like Riley Reiff here, but they're a team in need of a WR to take the pressure off of Maurice Jones-Drew. Floyd is just the guy for this system, as he gives you a quick out on short routes when pressure is coming, sure hands over the middle, and a guy who can block downfield for a back who often finds himself 40+ yards away from the line of scrimmage.
*Carolina Panthers trade to Kansas City Chiefs
8. Kansas City Chiefs select:
Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Martin is a guy who can end up being the best lineman in this draft with the right team and the right coaching. He'll benefit greatly from the Chiefs rushing attack as he's very underrated blocking in the run-game, but he will also elevate the play of the pass game
9. Miami Dolphins select:
Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
This is a pick that could go either way, and they may be better off drafting an interior lineman rather than a DE, but Coples' potential is great, even tho his risk is as well. He could make the transition in scheme very smooth if his focus and energy is dedicated towards being a force to be reckoned with.
10. Buffalo Bills select:
Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
There's not a lot of depth or name value at tackle in Buffalo, and Reiff will be a steal at 10 overall. The line certainly didn't help them late in the year, and tackle was inconsistent. Even if the Bills feel they have the pieces to be successful at tackle already, they won't turn down what is a sure upgrade.
11. Carolina Panthers (from projected trade with Kansas City) select:
Devon Still, DT, Penn State
They'll be willing to take Still at 8, so they'll still get their guy at 11 with added ammo later in the draft. While Beason's absence may be the primary reason the defense struggled to close out games in 2011, they'll benefit from another body up front who can give them more rotation and make life easier on the linebackers and secondary.
12. Seattle Seahawks select:
Michael Brockers, DL, LSU
Seattle will love this guy being here at 12, as his stock will only continue to rise leading into the draft and could land him at 9 instead, Brockers, who can play all four positions on the defensive line will give Seattle a great boost on defense and elevate the level of play of everyone around him.
13. Arizona Cardinals select:
David DeCastro, G, Stanford
The third Stanford player taken in the first 13 picks of the 2012 NFL Draft, DeCastro is a perfect fit for Arizona's offense and will give the Cardinals a physical athlete on the interior of their line to help make life a little easier.
14. Dallas Cowboys select:
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Dallas needs corners, and they need them bad. Newman can still play, but for how long? Mike Jenkins was literally beat up all year long, and even when he's healthy, he's not a tackler and he commits too many penalties. Kirkpatrick brings Dallas a long-armed corner with speed to keep up with most receivers, and a corner who likes to get physical and hit people. Rob Ryan is going to get his corner this year.
15. Philadelphia Eagles select:
Nick Perry, OLB, USC
The Eagles desperately need a linebacker to make the middle of the field more respectable. Perry showed a good ability to keep up with some good TE's and RB's this season, and he can rush around the edge to put pressure on the passer. I would have given this nod to Upshaw, but I feel he's better utilized rushing the passer, strictly, instead of chasing down TE's like Jason Witten and Fred Davis.
16. New York Jets select:
Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
Upshaw's perfect for Rex Ryan's 3-4, blitz-heavy scheme, and will finally give the Jets the talent at OLB that they've needed to make this defense work. Upshaw's one of the highest players on my talent-board in this draft, and even higher on the potential scale. He'll be an incredible steal here at 16, and would have been an incredible steal anywhere between 6-10.
17. Cincinnati Bengals select:
Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
The Bengals have a great set of options here in the draft, but they'll get a solid selection in their secondary in Jenkins. Jenkins will be one of the most watched prospects at CB from this class, but I expect him to perform strong in Cincinnati where his talent in man-coverage will be beneficial.
18. San Diego Chargers select:
Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
I'm assuming the Chargers finally lose Vincent Jackson, and will need to replace him with an electric performer. Wright is a guy who brings a lot to a team, and Rivers will love having an outlet like Wright who can take pressure off of him to stay in the pocket waiting for things to open up down field.
19. Chicago Bears select:
Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia
The Bears need to do whatever they can to get better on the line, and they'll be upset having just missed out on Kendall Wright to elevate their receivers. But Jay Cutler needs to be hit less, and that starts up front, where the Bears have been among the worst over the last 3 years. It will also make life easier for Matt Forte to have a physical blocker like Glenn.
20. Tennessee Titans select:
Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
Munchak wasn't pleased with his O-Line, his specialty, and that's telling. The interior struggled the most, especially in the passing game, which is unacceptable. Konz will provide great protection to the QB, and it will give the run game a much needed spark.
21. Cincinnati Bengals select:
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
While I think they could hold out until a later pick to grab LaMichael James, I think they'll go with the second best back in this year's draft here and pull in a guy like Miller who is a little more physical than James but still effective in the passing game. Miller's stock could still rise well above this spot, but I think Cincinnati needs him most, and he'll be a good fit in that offense.
22. Cleveland Browns select:
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
The Browns will look to clone what division and state rival Cincinnati did last year in the draft, and get a dynamic WR/QB combination. While I don't think Tannehill will start immediately, or even for a year or two, the Browns will be hard pressed to turn down the opportunity to pair him up with Blackmon. Tannehill gives you a threat on the ground as well, which should help open up that offense even more.
23. Detroit Lions select:
Mark Barron, S, Alabama
Barron's got a red flag for a double hernia surgery, but he should be prepared to go eventually. Nothing that says a 1st round pick HAS to start their rookie season, every snap. The Lions need a disciplined DB, and one who can tackle. Barron is a violent hitter, but a smart tackler, and he's very disciplined in coverage.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers select:
Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
I've got to give credit to SBNation for this selection. While I considered throwing Sanu to the Steelers here because of the uncertainty of Hines Ward's future, it's hard to doubt that the Steelers get infatuated with a dominant nose tackle in this draft early. Casey Hampton's not getting younger and the defense looked slow and gave up some rush yards at times, it would be smart to groom your next NT.
25. Denver Broncos select:
Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
The Broncos have a variety of possible selections here, but Kuechly, who will see his stock rise in the next month and a half, will be a great pick for the Broncos. His presence will be for depth purposes initially, but he's talented enough to take away playing time and attack beside Von Miller to shore up the defense a bit more.
26. Houston Texans select:
Jerel Worthy, DE, Michigan State
The Texans will convert Worthy to an OLB to add another pass rusher. He will be in transition, going from a 4-3 to a 3-4, but they will look to do with him what the Redskins have done with Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan, also what Dallas was able to do with DeMarcus Ware, whom Wade Phillips is more than familiar with.
27. New England Patriots select:
Fletcher Cox, DE, Mississippi State
The Patriots desperately need more linemen for the 4-3, rather than the 3-4. One of the many reasons this team struggled this year is because the line wasn't made to rush the passer in a 4-man front. Cox is a perfect fit for the scheme, and would be great lining up beside New England's large, dominant tackles.
28. Green Bay Packers select:
Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska
Crick is a big guy who can contribute to a solid rotation at End in Green Bay's 3-4 front. He's also agile enough to make plays vs. the pass, but they'll look mainly to utilize him to stuff the run and make life Hell on Sundays for backs like Forte & Peterson.
29. Baltimore Ravens select:
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
The Ravens will grab another passing threat. Defensively, they're always better than we think them to be. They hung in there with one of the most powerful pass attacks from this season in the Patriots giving the offense chances to ice and win the game. There will be a WR or two gone in Baltimore, so drafting a guy like Sanu, who is an "all-around" receiver who can also block for Ray Rice, would be a favorable pick and possibly a huge steal.
30. San Francisco 49ers select:
Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
The 49ers are going to need a receiving threat to really open the offense up. Crabtree still isn't the WR the 49ers needed him to be, regardless if Alex Smith is at all responsible for that, and the 49ers could lose Josh Morgan in free agency. Randle is a tall WR with pretty good speed and hands, and he could be a big time target in the redzone, where the 49ers weren't great through the air. It would certainly take pressure off of the run game after marching down the field time and time again.
31. New England Patriots select:
Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
Dennard's a solid man-coverage corner, who can run with a lot of receivers. New England desperately needs help in the secondary; they'll find it in Dennard. He likes to jam, and if Belichik is as wise defensively as everyone believes him to be, you might have a guy here who can play close to the level of that league's best corner in your own division... MIGHT being the keyword.
32. New York Giants select:
Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
This isn't necessarily a position of need, but I don't really see where the Giants have need other than the offensive line. There are two Tackles on the roster who are up there in age, one who isn't starting, and both could move to guard, which the Giants may need as well. Adams also can play inside, but depth on the line is the best move for a Super Bowl champion, after all, you were good enough all-around to have just won the title in one of the most remarkable playoff runs in NFL history.
Leave a comment or follow me and discuss on Twitter @Sean_Bishop.
*All images Copyright belong to the NFL & nfl.com and the respective teams. No infringement intended.