In this mock I tried to be as accurate as possible when it comes to team's drafting strategies (like BPA vs need, the Bengals penchant for taking players with off-the-field issues, etc.) The order was from walterfootball.com, with a few tweaks of my own.
So, without further ado, here is how I think the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft could play out. Feedback is welcome!
1. Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
If the Colts are in this position, there's no question in my mind that they absolutely have to take Luck. Worry about what to do with Peyton Manning later.
2. St. Louis Rams -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
The Rams have spent high picks on offensive linemen two of the past three years (Jason Smith, Rodger Saffold). Kalil is the safe pick here, but I wonder if the Rams might want to take a look at Morris Claiborne or Justin Blackmon.
3. Minnesota Vikings -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
The Vikings secondary needs help. Claiborne is in some respects an even better CB prospect that Patrick Peterson was last year.
4. Carolina Panthers -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
It's a shame that this class doesn't have the talented DT prospects of years past, since the Panthers absolutely need to upgrade inside. But Blackmon can help out on offense, and a WR duo of Steve Smith/Blackmon with Cam Newton throwing the rock could be one of the most fearsome passing offenses in the league for years to come.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
I had a hard time with this one. The Jags probably want to see what Blaine Gabbert can do with a half-way decent WR corp so I could still see them reaching for Alshon Jeffrey here. But I think Coples fills a need as the pass-rusher this team desperately needs. Still could go either way in my mind.
6. Miami Dolphins -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
BPA, fills a need, and is the kind of player who will sell tickets. What's not to like?
7. Washington Redskins -- Matt Barkley, QB, USC
I think the Skins will trade out of this pick to move down and get Richardson, and then go QB in the 2nd round, but it's too difficult to predict trades in a mock. If Washington stays put, I think they would go with Barkley here.
8. Philadelphia Eagles -- Zach Brown, LB, UNC
The Iggles need help at LB. Brown has athletic upside that Kuechly doesn't. This is a good pick for Philadelphia.
9. Arizona Cardinals -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
When Levi Brown is protecting your QB's blindside, you know it's time to upgrade at tackle. Reiff has surpassed Jonathan Martin as the second best OT in this class.
10. Kansas City Chiefs -- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
I think the Chiefs will give Matt Cassel one more year. Taking Martin give the Chiefs flexibility with their offensive line, so they can move Branden Albert and Barry Richardson around.
11. Cleveland Browns -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Slam-dunk pick for the Browns. They need help at RB, and Richardson is by far the best player available.
12. Seattle Seahawks -- Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
I hope Pete Carroll has realized by now that Tavaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst aren't going to get it done. I think they'll take Jones to be their QB of the future.
13. San Diego Chargers -- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Quentin Jammer is on the wrong side of 30, and rookie Marcus Gilchrist has been awful. The Chargers would probably like to go OT here but there is no one worth reaching for at that position since Kalil, Reiff, and Martin are all gone.
14. Buffalo Bills -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
The Bills gave big money to Ryan Fitzpatrick, so they might as well help him out. Floyd paired with Stevie Johnson would give the Bills arguably the best WR corp in the AFC East.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
This is 4 spots higher than Prince Amukamara, a better prospect from the same school, went. But the Bucs know that CB is their biggest need, and there is a lot of talk linking them with Dennard.
16. Tennesse Titans -- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
The Titans have a problem with their blocking up front for Chris Johnson. DeCastro can step in and help out with that immediately.
17. New York Giants -- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
The Giants do well with players from BC (Chris Snee, Mathias Kiwanuka, Mark Herzlich). Kuechly is the best player available who also fills a big need.
18. New York Jets -- Lamar Miller, RB, Miami (FL)
Shonn Greene simply isn't a talented enough runner to be a feature back for an NFL team. He's also a free agent after this year. Miller could step right in to "ground and pound" while also possessing the second gear to break away that Greene doesn't.
19. Detroit Lions -- Peter Konz, OC, Wisconsin
The Lions need help up front. Konz can be part of the solution.
20. Denver Broncos -- Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
21. Cleveland Browns -- Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
22. Cincinnati Bengals -- Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Classic Bengals pick right here. Top 10 talent, but big character concerns. Just keep him away from Jerome Simpson ;)
23. Chicago Bears -- Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
Helluva lot of good LBs in this class, huh? Da Bears could use a LB like Hightower; Brian Urlacher's not getting any younger.
24. Houston Texans -- Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
The Texans finally get that WR opposite Andre Johnson. I'm not a huge fan of Jeffrey as a prospect, but at least he'll have a good QB throwing to him and defenses not being able to key on him, unlike in college. This could work out well for the Texans.
25. Cincinnati Bengals -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama
26. Dallas Cowboys -- Devon Still, DE/DT, Penn State
Jerry Jones took Tyron Smith over J.J. Watt last year. It was a good pick, but the 'Boys are hurting at 3-4 end now. Still is a perfect fit.
27. Baltimore Ravens -- Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
If the Ravens are doing alright with guys like Jarrett Johnson across from Terrell Suggs, imagine how scary their pass rusher would be with Upshaw, who profiles like a LaMarr Woodley-type player.
Anthony Davis = bust. 'Nuff said.
29. New England Patriots -- Ronnell Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma
BB will probably trade out of this pick, but Lewis fills a need here.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
Great fit for the Steelers; they can groom Poe to take over for Casey Hampton.
31. New England Patriots -- Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
Burfict is a knucklehead, but his talent alone keeps him from falling out of the first round. The Pats have shown that they will take chances on players with character concerns (Aaron Hernandez, Ryan Mallet) if they fall far enough.
32. Green Bay Packers -- Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois
Great selection for the Pack, who focus on building through the draft and seem to find at least one difference maker in each one. Mercilus could well go at least 10 spots higher than this.