A mock draft a year in advance is a bit of a pointless exercise because so many things can (and will) change. Last year we wouldn't have predicted that QB Jake Locker was being talked about as the third quarterback off the board in the 2011 NFL draft. He was actually the second quarterback off the board but he was widely considered the top quarterback heading into 2011.
Nevertheless, ESPN's Todd McShay has released a 2012 mock draft. Here are a few notes about McShay's one-year-early mock draft:
-Three quarterbacks going in the first round: QB Andrew Luck (1-Browns), QB Matt Barkley (3-Redskins) and QB Landry Jones (15-Dolphins). Luck is a sure-fire No. 1 pick at this moment. It's hard to see that changing (just like it was hard to Locker not becoming the first quarterback picked in 2011).
-Two North Carolina defensive linemen going in the top six. McShay has UNC DE Quinton Coples going No. 2 overall to the Panthers and DE Donte Paige-Moss No. 6 overall to the Cardinals. Oddly enough, the 2002 NFL draft saw a pair of UNC defensive linemen go No. 2 and No. 6 overall -- DE Julius Peppers and DT Ryan Sims.
-Florida CB Janoris Jenkins is a top 10 pick. This seems a little high for a guy with off-the-field issues. I'm not saying it won't happen but teams continue to place a higher and higher value on character.
-Another Alabama running back in the first round -- RB Trent Richardson. RB Mark Ingram went in the first round last weekend.
-WR Justin Blackmon to the Bears. He's an incredible talent but has some off-the-field problems. If he drops to the 19th pick like McShay predicts, someone could be getting a steal.