Thursday, April 19, 2012

2012 NFL Two-Round Mock Draft 4.0

The 2012 NFL Draft is just a week away, and as always thing have changed a ton since the offseason ended. Free agency reshaped team needs while prospects have risen and fallen on draft boards for various reasons. It's impossible to know what to believe at this point, but as always I'm trying to sift through the reports, gauge team needs, and figure out how the early rounds of the draft will unfold.

For reference, you can check out my Jan. 15 mock heremy March 13 mock here and my March 30 mock here. I will be posting on final mock draft a week from today on Wednesday, April 25th—a day before the draft begins.

1. Indianapolis Colts — QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
Reports today indicate Luck has been told by the Colts he will be their pick, and it's what everyone has expected for months now. It's the right call as Luck is a potential once-in-a-decade prospect at the position.

2. Washington Redskins (from St. Louis) — QB Robert Griffin III
With Luck now entrenched at the No. 1 pick, the Redskins now have the man they traded up for in RG3. He's a bit riskier than Luck as a prospect, but he's still got a ton of talent and is the right pick.

3. Minnesota Vikings — OT Matt Kalil, USC
There is talk about the Vikings going another route here, but I think it'd be a mistake to take a receiver when they have such a hole on Christian Ponder's bind side. They'd be much better off taking Kalil here and looking for a receiver later.

4. Cleveland Browns — RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
I'm absolutely not a fan of taking running backs this high, but Richardson is easily the best of the bunch and this seems to be the most likely pick for a Browns team that needs a workhorse.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
With Ronde Barber all but finished and Aqib Talib reportedly on the block, the Bucs desperately need a shutdown corner. Wonderlic score aside, Claiborne fits the bill and would be the perfect addition.

6. St. Louis Rams (from Washington) — WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
The Rams reportedly love Richardson, but with him already off the board here I have them taking a more natural need. Blackmon has the makings of a No. 1 receiver and would be a nice weapon for Sam Bradford.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars — DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina
There are a lot of uncertainties with this pick, because Coples may very well plummet beyond this point and the Jaguars would probably love to trade out, but I don't project trades. Coples is a boom-or-bust type but could be the pass rusher Jacksonville needs.

8. Miami Dolphins — QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
I've gone back and forth so many times on this pick, and I don't think the Dolphins would do it simply to add a quarterback. But Tannehill is impressive and would have a smooth transition into the Dolphins' offense, so I think they'll end up taking him if he's on the board here.

9. Carolina Panthers — DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State
Carolina used a handful of inexperienced linemen with limited ability last season and it didn't work. Cox has been rising up draft boards for a while now and the likely top-10 pick would be a monster in the middle for the Panthers.

10. Buffalo Bills — OT Riley Reiff, Iowa
The Bills need to revamp their pass protection after losing Demetress Bell in free agency. Reiff is a sound technician and is the best tackle available on the board, so he'd be a logical choice for Buffalo.

11. Kansas City Chiefs — DT Dontari Poe, Memphis
There is talk the Chiefs might make a move for Jacksonville's No. 7 pick to take Tannehill, but assuming they stay put, I assume they'll take a defender like Luke Kuechly or Poe. They've been lacking an elite nose tackle since they installed the 3-4 under Scott Pioli, so they might not be able to pass on the draft's best one here.

12. Seattle Seahawks — LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College
David Hawthorne has departed for the Big Easy, so it's time to find a new middle linebacker in Seattle. Kuechly might be the best linebacker to come out since Patrick Willis in 2007, making him an excellent fit.

13. Arizona Cardinals — WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
I personally would take David DeCastro here, but word is the Cardinals would opt for Floyd if he's on the board and indeed have him available. Floyd would give Kevin Kolb another offensive weapon and would have a chance to learn from the best in Larry Fitzgerald.

14. Dallas Cowboys — OG David DeCastro, Stanford
The Cowboys' interior line has been aging for the last few years, but DeCastro has the potential to be a perennial Pro Bowler at guard and would solidify Dallas up front for years to come.

15. Philadelphia Eagles — DT Michael Brockers, LSU
Andy Reid loves him some defensive lineman, and unless he trades up to land Fletcher Cox, he might have to settle for a good consolation prize in Brockers.

16. New York Jets — LB Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
The Jets could use an upgrade in their pass rush, and aside from being a little short, Ingram fits the bill perfectly. He's a tremendous athlete for his size and could excel as a stand-up rusher in Rex Ryan's 3-4 scheme.

17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland) — DE Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
I could see Upshaw falling quite a bit farther than this, but I hear Marvin Lewis likes him and he might be better off with his hand in the ground as an edge rusher in the 4-3.

18. San Diego Chargers — OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford
It wouldn't surprise me to see Martin fall to the second round, but the Chargers really need to revamp their offensive line and Martin might be the best tackle on the board.

19. Chicago Bears — DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
The Bears could use another pass rusher to complement Julius Peppers, and the local Illinois product Mercilus would be an absolutely great addition.

20. Tennessee Titans — CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina

Gilmore's stock has been rapidly rising over the last few months and he could go even higher than this. If he falls to Tennessee, he'd make an excellent replacement for the departed Cortland Finnegan.

21. Cincinnati Bengals — S Mark Barron, Alabama
The Bengals have been using washed-up veteran safeties for a few years now, so it's time to inject some youth into the secondary. The Bengals could take their second member of the Crimson Tide in five picks if they choose Barron here.

22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta) — WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
Recent word is that Wright might be out of shape and has a third-round grade by some teams, but it's hard to know what's true. From what I've seen, Wright plays faster than his workout times and would be a nice weapon in Cleveland.

23. Detroit Lions — CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
The Lions need to upgrade their secondary in a bad way, and Kirkpatrick's off-field problems could allow them to get a top-10 talent here at No. 23.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers — OT Cordy Glenn, Georgia
After hitting on former Florida center Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers go back to the SEC with a nice tackle or guard prospect in Glenn.

25. Denver Broncos — DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State
One of the biggest holes on the Broncos' roster remains its defensive line, and Worthy would go a long way into shoring up that unit.

26. Houston Texans — WR Rueben Randle, LSU
The Texans need another receiver to team with Andre Johnson. While not a true complement, Randle is the best player at his position on the board here.

27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans) — DE Nick Perry, USC
Perry has had some impressive pre-draft workouts and has all the talent to be the impact pass rusher the Patriots need after losing Mark Anderson (Bills) in free agency.

28. Green Bay Packers — LB Chandler Jones, Syracuse
The Packers have struggled to find another edge rusher to bookend Clay Matthews III. Jonesis a well-rounded prospect with his stock on the rise, so he could be a fit here.

29. Baltimore Ravens — LB Shea McClellin, Boise State
Aside from Terrell Suggs, the Ravens lack any impact rushers. McClellin has been shooting up draft boards and could be a replacement for the departed Jarret Johnson.

30. San Francisco 49ers — WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
Word is it's down to the Hill and the top guard in the Niners' board. I think they'll go with Hill, who has a lot of upside despite playing in the triple option in college.

31. New England Patriots — OG Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
The Patriots are making do with veteran Brian Waters and free agent Robert Gallery at guard, but it's time to start thinking long-term and Zeitler could be their next Logan Mankins.

32. New York Giants — OT Bobby Massie, Ole Miss
Massie's impressive pre-draft workouts have made him a potential first-round pick, and he could eventually provide a serious upgrade over David Diehl at left tackle.

33. St. Louis Rams — RB Doug Martin, Boise State
After missing out on Trent Richardson in the first round, the Rams take Steven Jackson's heir apparent here. Martin is a do-it-all workhorse that should be a successful starter down the line.

34. Indianapolis Colts — DT Alameda Ta'amu, Washington
Perhaps no team entering the offseason was less equipped to run the 3-4, but that's exactly what the Colts are doing under new management. That means they'll need an impact nose tackle and Ta'amu is the best available.

35. Minnesota Vikings — WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
If the Vikes do indeed go with Matt Kalil at No. 3, they may target a receiver for Christian Ponder. Word is they like Jeffery, who plays better than his pre-draft workouts would indicate and is a good red-zone target.

36. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — RB David Wilson, Virginia Tech
LeGarrette Blount doesn't seem to have the new head coach's confidence and I have to imagine they'll bring in competition/a replacement in the draft. If they don't get Richardson in the first, Wilson would be a nice add here.

37. Cleveland Browns — QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
Colt McCoy isn't the answer, but the soon-to-be 29-year-old Weeden at least looks like a potential franchise quarterback. He's someone that could push for the starting job as a rookie.

38. Jacksonville Jaguars — WR Chris Givens, Wake Forest
They signed Laurent Robinson to a big-money deal, but Blaine Gabbert needs more weapons and Givens is one of the more sound receiver prospects in this class.

39. St. Louis Rams (from Washington) — CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
Jenkins has the talent of a top-20 pick for sure, but off-the-field concerns have caused his stock to fall. That being said, he could be a nice value for the corner-needy Rams here if they can keep him in line.

40. Carolina Panthers — CB Josh Robinson, Central Florida
Robinson has tremendous speed and the potential to be a No. 1 corner. He'd be an excellent fit opposite Chris Gamble in Carolina.

41. Buffalo Bills — TE Coby Fleener, Stanford
Scott Chandler had his moments in 2011, but the Bills lack a true play-making tight end. Fleener is the best pure receiver at his position and would be a nice target for Ryan Fitzpatrick.

42. Miami Dolphins — DE Vinny Curry, Marshall
After going Tannehill in the first round, the Dolphins need to turn their attention to a pass rusher to complement Cameron Wake. Curry's production at Marshall is quite impressive and he'd be a nice choice here.

43. Seattle Seahawks — DT Devon Still, Penn State
The Seahawks could use a little more help on the defensive line and the potential first-rounder Still would be a nice value if he were on the board here.

44. Kansas City Chiefs — LB Dont'a Hightower, Alabama
A potential first-round pick, Hightower has plenty of experience in the 3-4 scheme and would be a nice thumper for the Chiefs inside next to Derrick Johnson.

45. Dallas Cowboys — S Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
The Cowboys seem to be going with Brodney Pool at strong safety, but he's had serious concussion issues in his career and may not be a long-term solution. Smith would be a nice addition to the secondary in Big D.

46. Philadelphia Eagles — WR Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers
DeSean Jackson is a risky long-term receiver and there is little talent here beyond Jeremy Maclin. Sanu has some good physical tools to be developed slowly with the Eagles.

47. New York Jets — OT Mike Adams, Ohio State
Adams may fall this far thanks to a positive marijuana test at the NFL Scouting Combine and some inconsistent tape from his college days. However, he has the tools to be an elite tackle and could help replace the busted Vladimir Ducasse down the line.

48. New England Patriots (from Oakland) — C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
Dan Koppen was re-signed to a minimal deal and his career may be winding down nearing age 33. Konz is the best center in the draft and would be an excellent long-term replacement.

49. San Diego Chargers — LB Andre Branch, Clemson
The Chargers haven't had a dominant pass rusher since Shawne Merriman was in his prime, but Branch could be a nice starter for them as a converted defensive end.

50. Chicago Bears — CB Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska
Dennard's stock has fallen due to injuries, but he's an ideal Cover 2 corner and would be a nice fit in Lovie Smith's scheme opposite Charles Tillman.

51. Philadelphia Eagles (from Arizona) — LB Zach Brown, North Carolina
The Eagles have taken steps to shore up their linebacker corps, but more youth would help. Brown is a risky prospect but has rare athleticism for the position and could do well if developed properly.

52. Tennessee Titans — DE Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma
The Titans inked Kamerion Wimbley to shore up the pass rush, but they still have no No. 2 rusher and Lewis could fill that role.

53. Cincinnati Bengals — CB Trumaine Johnson, Montana
It's a year late, but the Bengals need a long-term replacement for Johnathan Joseph (Texans) opposite Leon Hall. Johnson has a lot of upside and would be a nice choice for them.

54. Detroit Lions — RB Lamar Miller, Miami (Fla.)
With Jahvid Best's lingering concussion issues, the Lions might need a new dynamic, change-of-pace back. Miller fits the bill perfectly and could excel in the Lions' new-found offense.

55. Atlanta Falcons — CB Brandon Boykin, Georgia
Dunta Robinson has been a free-agent bust, so the Falcons need someone to work opposite Brent Grimes. Boykin is a tremendous athlete with a lot of talent and could also help replace Eric Weems in the return game.

56. Pittsburgh Steelers — DT Josh Chapman, Alabama
The Steelers haven't had much youth along their defensive line in quite some time. Chapman has durability issues but compares well to long-time Steelers' nose tackle Casey Hamptona guy Chapman could replace down the line.

57. Denver Broncos — QB Brock Osweiler, Arizona State
The Broncos are now instant contenders with the addition of Peyton Manning, but they have no depth and a high-upside project like Osweiler might be a nice addition to sit for a while and learn under one of the game's best ever.

58. New Orleans Saints — Pick Forfeited

59. Houston Texans — OT James Brown, Troy
With Eric Winston departing as a cap casualty, the Texans could use new blood at offensive tackle.

60. Green Bay Packers — DE Jared Crick, Nebraska
The Packers have missed on a few defensive ends in the draft, so it's time to go back to the drawing board again. Crick is a perfect schematic fit.

61. Baltimore Ravens — WR Brian Quick, Appalachian State
Despite taking Torrey Smith in the first round last year, word is the Ravens are still looking for receivers and Quick has an intriguing skill set.

62. San Francisco 49ers — OG Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State
After grabbing a receiver in the first round, the Niners take a much-needed interior lineman in this underrated small-school prospect.

63. New England Patriots — S Georga Iloka, Boise State
The Patriots desperately need safety help alongside Patrick Chung. Iloka is a great athlete for his size and could be a nice project for Bill Belichick.

64. New York Giants — TE Dwayne Allen, Clemson
After losing two tight ends to torn ACLs late in the season, the Giants might need to add a body here despite the addition of Martellus Bennett. Allen might be the most well-rounded tight end in the draft and should appeal to the Giant's offense.

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