With the end of another exciting college football season after Alabama’s 21-0 victory over LSU, it’s time to focus on the NFL playoffs. The juniors and seniors that will be declaring for the NFL however, will be more focused on pro days and combines in the coming weeks and months. With the draft three months away and the college football season coming to a close, now is the perfect time for Pro Sports Bloggings first 2012 mock draft.
(Draft order will change according to playoffs. Order is set based on playoff seeding)
1. Indianapolis Colts – QB Andrew Luck – Stanford
The Colts have all but confirmed the selection of Luck first overall. With the status of Manning up in the air after three neck surgeries, the Colts need to plan for their future.
2. St. Louis Rams – OT Matt Kalil – USC
Sam Bradford is a franchise quarterback and more important than getting him a receiver such as Justin Blackmon, the Rams know the importance of keeping their quarterback upright first.
3. Minnesota Vikings – CB Morris Claiborne – LSU
While it would again be tempting to take Blackmon, the Vikings need to sure up what has been a shaky secondary. No better way to fix that then to take the top corner off the board
4. Cleveland Browns – QB Robert Griffin III – Baylor
With the status of Peyton Hillis up in the air, the Browns could grab Trent Richardson at this spot. Grabbing the talented Griffin however would give the Browns a true franchise quarterback, something the team has lacked in a long time.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – RB Trent Richardson – Alabama
LeGarrette Bount saw his touches decrease by half and his yardage by nearly 25%. Richardson is the best talent on the board and while running back isn’t their most pressing need, it would be too hard to pass him up.
6. Washington Redskins – CB Dre Kirkpatrick – Alabama
Washington gave up too many big plays last year to not draft a cornerback. If Griffin is off the board, then expect the Redskins to grab Kirkpatrick and be a front runner in the Matt Flynn sweepstakes.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – WR Justin Blackmon – Oklahoma State
Despite Blaine Gabbert’s struggles as a rookie, don’t look for the panic button to be hit just yet. Provide Gabbert with the drafts best receiver and then let the learning continue.
8. Carolina Panthers – DT Devon Still – Penn State
Carolina struggled to stop the run all season which didn’t help the dynamic offense. Still was the 2010 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and his 6’4 310 pound frame should add the run stopping ability they desperately need.
9. Miami Dolphins – OT Riley Reiff – Iowa
Matt Moore showed enough this season to earn the starting spot for next season. Along with Jake Long, taking Reiff would solidify the line and add much needed protection over Marc Columbo.
10. Buffalo Bills – DT Quinton Coples – North Carolina
While Coples didn’t have a senior season to go off of, he would be a great fit in the new 4-3 scheme (yes another new defense Bills fans).
11. Kansas City Chiefs – OT Jonathan Martin – Stanford
Martin could be a big upgrade at right tackle and as the top rated pass blocking tackle, would be a perfect fit for the Chiefs.
12. Seattle Seahawks – QB Ryan Tannehill – Texas A&M
Perhaps I’m crazy here, but if the Seahawks don’t land Matt Flynn, I think Pete Carroll finds his quarterback in the sure armed Tannehill.
13. Arizona Cardinals – LB Luke Kuechly – Boston College
The Cardinals were top 10 in the league in sacks last season and if they pass up Melvin Ingram, I think they land Kuechly. Look for the Cardinals to possibly take a defensive end, tackle or compliment to Fitzgerald as well.
14. Dallas Cowboys – CB Janoris Jenkins – North Alabama
Similar to Jimmy Smith from last year’s draft, Jenkins has all the talent to be a first-rounder but has had multiple run ins with the law. Where better to take trouble and turn it around than the Cowboys?
15. Philadelphia Eagles – LB Dont’a Hightower – Alabama
It’s no secret that the weak link to the Eagles “Dream Team” was the inability to stop the run. If Kuechly is gone, who the Eagles like, look for them to take Hightower. Michael Floyd is also a possibility if the team decides it has had enough of Desean Jackson.
16. New York Jets – SS Mark Barron – Alabama
As the top safety on the board, Barron would add depth to a position that took a hit once Jim Leonard went down. Rex Ryan being the defensive guru that he is, will jump all over this selection.
17. Cincinnati Bengals – OG David DeCastro – Stanford
The Bengals have found their franchise quarterback and receiver in Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, but they need some much needed protection for Dalton up front. DeCastro is a big guy who will push to start from day one of camp.
18. San Diego Chargers – LB Melvin Ingram – South Carolina
The Chargers need a pass rusher and with Ingram slipping down to their spot, A.J. Smith will be licking his chops to get the versatile linebacker.
19. Chicago Bears – WR Michael Floyd – Notre Dame
It’s become obvious that while Devin Hester is the best return man ever, he just isn’t a receiver. The Roy Williams experiment failed, the status of Johnny Knox is up in the air and Earl Bennett is just serviceable. Time to get Cutler a true number one receiver.
20. Tennessee Titans – DT Dontari Poe – Memphis
Poe has exceptional mobility for his size and will be able to take up multiple blockers at once for the Titans in hopes of improving their run defense.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – RB Lamar Miller – Miami
Many analysts feel that Miller may actually be better than Richardson. With Miller falling into the Bengals lap, it give them a good compliment for the hard-running Cedric Benson and another piece to their young core.
22. Cleveland Browns – WR Kendall Wright – Baylor
If the Bengals take Griffin with their first pick in the draft, why not fill their need for a receiver with Griffin’s teammate at Baylor. Perfect match.
23. Detroit Lions – CB Alfonso Dennard – Nebraska
The Lions have needed secondary help and help at linebacker for quite a few years. This could be the first time since 1998 that the Lions select a cornerback in the first round.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – LB Vontaze Burfict – Arizona State
A mean, hard-hitting linebacker in the black and gold, no not Harrison, but Burfict will soon bring his mean streak to the Steel City. Burfict’s attitude and aggressive play will fit in perfectly as James Farrior’s career is coming to an end. Another option is nose tackle Dontari Poe if he is still on the board.
25. Denver Broncos – TE Dwayne Allen – Clemson
If Denver stays with Tebow, they need to get him all the weapons that they can. The All-American tight end would be a perfect fit in Denver’s option based offense.
26. New York Giants – OG Kelechi Osemele – Iowa State
True the Giants secondary has got burned on many occasions, but most of that was due to injuries. The offensive line is the main concern for the Giants and Osemele provides a big body to protect their ELIte quarterback (see what I did there).
27. Houston Texans – DT Jerel Worthy – Michigan State
The Texans defense was a surprise this year, but they could still use help up front. Worthy can provide depth behind Shaun Cody.
28. New England Patriots – CB Stephon Gilmore – South Carolina
Knowing the Patriots, they won’t draft here since they always make trades for positioning. They do however, need to improve on their secondary which was dead last in the league against the pass. If Gilmore decides to declare for the draft, the Patriots could use his physical play at the line
29. Baltimore Ravens – C Peter Konz – Wisconsin
If Konz declares, he will be the top center on the board. His elite blocking ability will help the Ravens get younger with their line.
30. San Francisco 49ers – WR Mohamed Sanu – Rutgers
If you have watched the 49ers play this year, you know what a bust Braylon Edwards was and how inconsistent 2009 first round pick Michael Crabtree has been. Coach Harbaugh wants to keep quarterback Alex Smith around long-term and they will need some weapons to help him out.
31. New England Patriots – WR Alshon Jeffery – South Carolina
New Englands passing attack relies heavily on the two great tight ends, but aside from Wes Welker, their receiving core is just average. Jeffery improved his stock in the Capitol One Bowl and will give the Patriots the much needed vertical threat they have been looking for.
32. Green Bay Packers – DE Fletcher Cox – Mississippi State
The Packers have always loved to shore up their line in the first round. Cox will help out the run defense and allow more pressure by the front three.
About the Author
Written by Michael Waterloo
I'm currently pursuing my Master's degree in Communication and Journalism from Clarion University. I currently work for Ohio Valley Athletics where I serve as the West Virginia Football Beat Writer and cover West Virginia Men's Basketball as well. I'm a big Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers and Oregon Ducks fan. Follow me on Twitter at @MichaelWaterloo or visit www.ovathletics.com