2012 NFL Mock Draft: Part 2
Ready for a second dose of Mocking? I’ve got your back. In case you missed it, the first part of this mock draft can be found here.
To recap, the first half of the first round went this way:
1. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck, Quarterback (Stanford)
2. Washington Redskins – Robert Griffin III, Quarterback (Baylor)
3. Minnesota Vikings – Matt Kalil, Offensive Tackle (USC)
4. Cleveland Browns – Trent Richardson, Running Back (Alabama)
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Morris Claiborne, Cornerback (LSU)
6. St. Louis Rams – Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver (Oklahoma State)
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Melvin Ingram, Defensive Everything (South Carolina)
8. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback (Texas A&M)
9. Carolina Panthers – Fletcher Cox, Defensive Tackle (Mississippi State)
10. Buffalo Bills – Riley Reiff, Offensive Tackle (Iowa)
11. Kansas City Chiefs – David DeCastro, Offensive Guard (Stanford)
12. Seattle Seahawks – Luke Keuchly, Linebacker (Boston College)
13. Arizona Cardinals – Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver (Notre Dame)
14. Dallas Cowboys – Mark Barron, Safety (Alabama)
15. Philadelphia Eagles – Quinton Coples, Defensive End (North Carolina)
16. New York Jets – Courtney Upshaw, Defensive End/ OLB (Alabama)
The second half goes like this:
17. Cincinnati Bengals – Kendall Wright, Wide Receiver (Baylor)
Not only is Wright the best receiver left, he’s exactly the type of receiver that the Bengals need. He’s a deep threat/burner who might only catch three balls in a game, but those catches will go for 70 yards. The every team with a young quarterback, the Bengals need help on the O-Line, but there are probably three Tackles of equal ability here (Jon Martin, Cordy Glenn and Mike Adams) and one of them will still be available at 21 when they pick again.
Alternate Pick: Any of the above tackles
18. San Diego Chargers – Dontari Poe, Defensive Tackle (Memphis)
Poe is probably one of the biggest wild cards of the first round. He’s got perfect measurable and would undoubtedly best a fantastic player if the whole game were played in shorts and sneakers. He’s a weird case because none of that turned into any real statistics to prove his worth. Defensive tackle is admittedly an extremely difficult position to quantify, but I just don’t get the buzz around Poe. He’s good, but there are rumors he could go in the Top 10 (see: Panthers, Carolina) and he just isn’t that good. 18 is about exactly where he should go, but his range is anywhere from the high single digits to the early second round.
Alternate pick: Dre Kirkpatrick, but only if he’ll commit to playing safety, which he most likely will
19. Chicago Bears – Jon Martin, Offensive Tackle (Stanford)
One of my dear friends from Illinois watches the Bears every week despite being a Bills fan. He tells me the same thing every time he sees them play: “It looks like the offensive line is on roller skates.” And the thing is that he’s right. Jay Cutler picked up a huge target in Brandon Marshall this offseason and it would be borderline criminal to not give that connection time to happen. The Bears have a couple of other needs, but O-Line is the biggest and this is a great time for them to pick from a pocket of talented players. Martin is my favorite of the remaining offensive lineman and if I’m the Bears, I’d live him here.
Alternate Pick: Mike Adams or Cordy Glenn on the O-Line or Stephon Gilmore
20. Tennessee Titans – Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback (South Carolina)
It’s hard to see Gilmore falling this far in the real draft, but a bizarre mix of teams that don’t need a cornerback pick where his talents dictates he should go, so he falls. Cornerback is a tough position to predict in the pros, but the Titans desperately need one and he is clearly the right type of player for this team. Gilmore is a little bit different type of cornerback than Dre Kirkpatrick or Morris Claiborne, but Cat pick 20, Gilmore is a good value pick.
Alternate Pick: Dre Kirkpatrick again, but still only if he’s willing to move over to safety some of the time
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Cordy Glenn, Offensive Tackle (Georgia)
The Bengals absolutely MUST one of their first round picks on an offensive tackle. I wouldn’t even be mad if they used them both of tackles. Since I already gave them a wide receiver, they’ll be looking at the best OT available and it’s Glenn by an edge over Mike Adams. Bengals fans should be thrilled with two picks in the first round, but so should Andy Dalton. OT and WR are a very realistic combination for these picks and Dalton should reap the benefits in 2012.
Alternate Pick: Harrison Smith if they grab a tackle with the 17th pick and want to go defense here
22. Cleveland Browns – Mike Adams, Offensive Tackle (Ohio State)
Someone has to make room for Trent Richardson to run. The Browns have a lot of holes to fill, but in that case, it’s always a good idea to start at the line and work your way out. There is going to be a run on offensive linemen in the middle of the first round and if Cleveland ends up a first-round talent still left at 22, they should be jumping on it. If none of those big guys are left, Cleveland can always go for a wide receiver, but that position has so much depth that they’ll realize they can wait another three or four rounds before pulling that trigger.
Alternate Pick: Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy might still be the answer here, but letting him develop a couple of years with a smart QB like Weeden around would help him learn without the potential scare of losing the job.
23. Detroit Lions – Dre Kirkpatrick, Cornerback (Alabama)
I feel like I’ve been writing about Kirkpatrick this entire mock draft. He’s almost been picked a bunch of times and the Lions should be thankful. He has already been hinting at potentially moving around in the secondary and the Lions are probably one of a minority of teams that would prefer to keep him at his natural cornerback rather than try to move him to safety. If the draft happens like I predict it will, the Lions should have a few good options at positions of need, but Kirkpatrick is definitely the best talent of the group.
Alternate Pick: Doug Martin or Shea Mclellin
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Shea Mclellin, Linebacker (Boise State)
Losing Hines Ward and having trouble with free agent Mike Wallace could push the Steelers to go with a wide receiver here, but that position is so deep that the Steelers probably realize they can wait. It’s likely that this pick will be the best defensive player available and there are some awfully good ones left. Mclellin is a guy that’s been moving up a little lately and should work pretty well on for the Steelers. There’s going to be a tier of defenders taken starting right around this pick and Pittsburgh will have their choice of player.
Alternate Pick: Jerel Worthy or Janoris Jenkins
25. Denver Broncos – Michael Brockers, Defensive Tackle (LSU)
Brockers, like Dontari Poe, is a tough DT prospect to predict this year. I’ve seen mocks with him in the top 15 and I’ve seen mocks with him not going until the middle of the second round. The Broncos defense is scary good already and doesn’t need to worry about taking a player to force fill a position. Brockers is probably the defensive player with the highest ceiling left and he just happens to play the same position as Brodrick Bunkley, who left in free agency. I don’t imagine that Peyton Manning is the demanding type, but look for the Broncos to go pretty heavy after some offensive players later in this draft.
Alternate Pick: Doug Martin or Coby Fleener
26. Houston Texans – Stephen Hill, Wide Receiver (Georgia Tech)
It’s hard for me to imagine that the Texans need receivers, but they really do. While I love waiting for receivers in this class, there aren’t that many strong players left right now that fit needs for the Texans. This team could be amazing if the quarterbacks stay healthy, but unfortunately, you can’t draft that. I guess the next best thing is giving them extra weapons to use. Hill is a different type of receiver than Andre Johnson, but that’s only because there isn’t another receiver alive that’s the same type as Andre Johnson.
Alternate Pick: Dont’a Hightower
27. New England Patriots – Andre Branch, Defensive End/OLB (Clemson)
The Pats won’t keep this pick. This year’s draft has a bunch of great players in the tier starting around pick 13 and running to about pick 40. Some team will give them Pats too much to move up for Branch or Devon Still or Worthy or Whitney Mercilus. Actually, the Saints are notorious for trading up in the draft and we might see New Orleans trade up for their original pick. It’s useless to try to predict trades though, so I’ll give the Pats Andre Branch, who can play in multiple schemes and won’t need to start right away so he can develop some potential.
Alternate Pick: Whitney Mercilus for the Pats, but another team thirsty for a quarterback might try to sneak in here before the Browns get to pick in the second round.
28. Green Bay Packers – Harrison Smith, Safety (Notre Dame)
I typically say that a team shouldn’t draft a running back, quarterback or wide receiver unless that team is only one player away from being complete and this year’s Packers team might be the perfect example of this. They need a running back, but there just isn’t one good enough to go here. Smith can slip into the secondary rotation for Green Bay and the Packers can wait out the running backs.
Alternate Pick: Doug Martin if they do fill the running back hole, Whitney Mercilus if they go defense
29. Baltimore Ravens – Zach Brown, Linebacker (North Carolina)
I’ve read in a couple of places that the Ravens are looking for a replacement for Ray Lewis in the middle of that nasty defense, and while Zach Brown does play linebacker, he isn’t that guy. Lewis isn’t replaceable, and what he has just isn’t something you can draft. If Brown were to kill a few people after he gets drafted, we’ll talk. Even if he isn’t Ray Lewis, he’s still Zach Brown, which enough to go in the first round this year for a team that likes taking defense first.
Alternate pick: Peter Konz, he has the talent to go here, but team needs might push him out of the first round
30. San Francisco 49ers – Whitney Mercilus, Defensive End/Linebacker (Illinois)
Pardon the pun, but the 49ers struck gold with Aldon Smith last year and Whitney Mercilus is a similar story. He was good for a year and it’s tough to say why he wasn’t good for the rest of his career. Smith worked out. Mercilus might too. Get ready NFC, because that filthy defense in SF is going to get better.
Alternate Pick: Coby Fleener, the local college stud who just happens to fit a need here; it will be a stretch on how high a tight end can go, but this might happen
31. New England Patriots – Nick Perry, Defensive End (USC)
Assuming the Pats keep the pick, I like them to take another defensive player with a high ceiling. That’s exactly what Perry is. The bust potential is there, but nothing in the NFL is a sure shot and Perry could be nasty good. I know I have them taking a similar player a few picks before this, but I expect the Pats to take the best defensive value and that’s what they’re getting.
Alternate pick: Jerel Worthy
32. New York Giants – Dont’a Hightower, Linebacker (Alabama)
More ‘Bama defenders, it’s the only way to close out this round. The Giants could use a running back just like the Packers, but they pick right behind Green Bay and Doug martin still isn’t a first-round talent. Hightower has been falling a little in recent mocks, but he had a pretty outstanding college career and is still a top 30 player.
Alternate Pick: Devon Still
If the draft happens the way I predict it, you’ll notice something very unfortunate: not all of the players invited to the draft room are picked. Coby Fleener, Devon Still and Reuben Randle just don’t make the cut. It will be uncomfortable to see those guys sitting in the draft room when the first round ends, but that’s what the NFL gets for inviting 26 players to a 32-player draft.
Do they go back in the draft room for the second round on the second day? This is just awkward.