2012 NFL Mock Draft: New Trade Partner For Robert Griffin III

Our last 2012 NFL mock draft before the Super Bowl reflects the fluctuations in draft stock after last week. Expect even more of that with the Combine right around the corner and a long list of school pro days and private workouts.

Interest in the 2012 NFL Draft is heating up following last week's Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL. A very good group of senior prospects put on a show, giving scouts and pundits something to think about with a week of practices and a game dictated by NFL coaches. Our last 2012 NFL mock draft before the Super Bowl reflects the fluctuations in draft stock after last week. Expect even more of that with the Combine right around the corner and a long list of school pro days and private workouts coming up.

As always, feel free to discuss, question and lightly deride in the comments.


Related: How Does The Senior Bowl Affect The NFL Draft?

1. Indianapolis Colts, Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

I feel like that there's some preformatted copy to go here, a lorem ipsum for the most obvious pick in the NFL Draft in a long time. The Colts are starting anew, a process that started to get a little last week. There's no clear indication that Manning would be able to play at the beginning of the 2012 season. Luck's the best quarterback prospect since Manning.

2. Washington Redskins (Projected trade: from Rams), Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Washington could be a suitor for Peyton Manning, but that's a lot of risk for all involved. Instead, the Redskins swing a deal with the Rams, giving St. Louis a pair of first round draft picks (and more) for the rights to RG3.

3. Minnesota Vikings, Matt Kalil, OT, USC

The Vikings drafted Christian Ponder in the first round last year. They were lucky that he wasn't ripped limb from limb with the pass protection he had. Kalil is ready-made to start on the left side. Like all rookies, savvy veteran pass rushers will get the better of him from time to time, but it represents a big upgrade for the Vikings.

4. Cleveland Browns, Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

It seems like the Browns always have a lot of needs. Last time I had the Browns moving up for Griffin, but that's not guaranteed to happen. With so many needs to fill, giving away first round picks hurts their efforts to field a winner, so they don't trade this pick. Adding an offensive talent, like Blackmon, will make them more competitive, regardless of the quarterback.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Tampa invested pretty heavily in their defensive line with their last two first round picks. They need to address the secondary this season, desperately. Aqib Talib will be wearing an orange jumpsuit soon, and Ronde Barber can't stop telling his teammates about the invention of the telegraph. Claiborne is the unquestioned top prospect among a pretty good class of cornerbacks.

6. St. Louis Rams (Projected Trade: from Redskins), Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Ideally, Justin Blackmon would be available to them, but the equally incompetent Browns already drafted him in this mock. New head coach Jeff Fisher and his offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer have made it pretty clear that they intend to run the ball, pairing another runner with the 29-year-old Steve Jackson. Richardson is the top back in this draft, and could replace Jackson if he gets injured or the team starts eyeing his $7 million contract for other things.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars, Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

Coples was the big winner at the Senior Bowl this week. He salvaged his draft stock after a mediocre senior season, and looks like the best pass rusher in the draft. Jacksonville needs help all over the roster, but pass rushers are at a premium. If they can keep Jeremy Mincey from walking away in free agency, the addition of Coples gives the Jaguars a nice one-two punch along their defensive line.

8. Carolina Panthers, Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

Brockers was a late arrival to this draft class. There are still plenty of questions about the redshirt sophomore's readiness for the NFL. He has the size and speed combination ideal for a defensive linemen, on the inside in a 4-3 or a prized five technique in a three-man front. He might be the best interior pass rusher in the draft.

9. Miami Dolphins, Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

The Dolphins need another offensive tackle. Jake Long has dealt with a cascade of injuries over the last season and a half, culminating in a torn bicep. Reiff upgrades the right tackle spot, but he also offers some insurance for Long.

10. Buffalo Bills, Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

Get familiar with the term "scheme versatile," because draft pundits will use that ad nauseum this year to describe players they used to describe despairingly as "tweeners." Upshaw exploded in Mobile last week. Pass rushing skills are prized in the top picks of the draft. Upshaw may not have the speed of Von Miller, but he has a natural array of pass rushing moves to go with pure power. Being "scheme versatile" means he can play standing up or with his hand in the dirt in whatever defense the Bills run.


Previous Mock Draft: Trade Up For RG3 Edition

11. Seattle Seahawks, Devon Still, DT, Penn State

Still missed the Senior Bowl, opting to recoup from a toe injury. It should not matter with hours of tape and other offseason workouts to confirm his lofty abilities. Still works best as a penetrating defensive tackle. He can also work as an end in some packages. A pure outside rusher might work best for Seattle here, so don't be surprised to see Melvin Ingram slotted here in future mock drafts.

12. Kansas City Chiefs, Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

Adams was another big winner at the Senior Bowl. A big fella at 6'7" 310 lbs, his size and wide body make him a natural at re-routing pass rushers. He still lacks consistency, but will be a big upgrade over Barry Richardson.

13. Arizona Cardinals, David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

Arizona's expensive new quarterback, Kevin Kolb, was nearly ground into dust playing behind a faulty offensive line. They need tackles as well as interior linemen. DeCastro is the best lineman on the board at this point in the draft. He might be the best interior line prospect since Steve Hutchinson. The Stanford product will instantly upgrade the unit.

14. Dallas Cowboys, Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Another obvious fit for a team that tried to bluff its way through with Terrance Newman in the secondary. Kirkpatrick is a physical cornerback who excels in man coverage. He'll match up well in the NFC East against the Giants' receivers. Obligated to mention his marijuana arrest, it's nothing more than a reminder of how silly the draft stock game gets sometimes.

15. Philadelphia Eagles, Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

The Eagles defense should take a big leap forward with a foundation middle linebacker in the mix. That's exactly what they get with Kuechly. His instincts and tough play should end the Eagles troubles of being steamrolled by opposing running backs.

16. New York Jets, Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

Santonio Holmes burned his bridges with the Jets. Even if they do keep Holmes around, adding a player of Wright's talent will improve the offense and make Mark Sanchez look better on the field than he does in his magazine spreads.

17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland), Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

Jenkins salvaged his draft stock in Mobile as well. In practices he showed the kind of ball skills and ability to take on the biggest and best receivers that once had him considered the top corner in the country. He can play in almost any system.

18. San Diego Chargers, Melvin Ingram, OLB, South Carolina

San Diego's pass rush was pretty pathetic last season. Had they had someone capable of getting to quarterbacks with any consistency, they might have won another game and the AFC West. Ingram played very well at the Senior Bowl, and could get picked higher than this given the individual nature of how teams rank pass rushers.

19. Chicago Bears, Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

The Bears finally get a big, reliable target for Jay Cutler. Mike Martz is gone, so look for the Bears to run a more traditional offense. You can make the case that they need better blockers first. Adding Floyd gives Chicago a top receiver.

20. Tennessee Titans, Nick Perry, DE, USC

Tennessee had a solid defense, but they struggled to get to the passer. Only one team had fewer sacks in 2011. Drafting Perry gives the Titans a real threat on the outside.


Previous Mock Draft: Everything After Andrew Luck Is A Mystery

21. Cincinnati Bengals, Doug Martin, RB, Boise State

Martin moved up draft boards as soon as he weighed-in at the Senior Bowl last week. That translated to the field. Martin does everything pretty well, even pass blocking. Re-signing Cedric Benson would be foolish for the Bengals when they can replace him with Martin, getting an upgrade at a much cheaper price.

22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta), Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

Someone is going to draft Tannehill in the first round. Brandon Weeden might get pick in the top 32 as well. Tannehill lacks experience, but he possesses a natural grasp of the fundamentals and works well outside the pocket. Unlike Colt McCoy, he possesses a legit NFL arm and accuracy all over the field.

23. Detroit Lions, Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia

Prior to the Senior Bowl, few would have pegged him as a left tackle, but he flashed the kind of agility scouts like to see from an NFL blind side prospect. He would need work in that area. Glenn's specialty is on the inside at guard. His versatility will be useful for the Lions.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers, Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

Casey Hampton is 35, which is like 65 in football years. He also tore his ACL last year. Poe is unquestionably the top nose tackle prospect in the draft. The Steelers defense will appreciate a young new anchor up front, especially one with the athleticism to go with a 350 lbs frame.

25. Denver Broncos, Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

Must protect the Tebow. Whoever the Broncos end up with at quarterback, that person will need a new center snapping them the ball. The Patriots dominated Denver's interior line in the Divisional round. Konz is a first-rate center prospect who blocks well and possesses the smarts demanded of the position.

26. Houston Texans, Marvin Jones, WR, Cal

Houston has Andre Johnson, one of the game's best receivers. However, Johnson struggled with injuries this season. Even when Johnson was in the lineup, the lack of complementary receivers hurt the offense. Jones is a big guy who runs routes well and reliably catches the ball. Jones' performance the Senior Bowl vaulted him into consideration as a first-round prospect.

27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans), Mark Barron, S, Alabama

The Patriots are vying for the Super Bowl in spite of their secondary, and it could prove to be their undoing against a very good group of New York receivers. They could use help at cornerback, but the availability of Mark Barron here makes this pick easy for a team using Sterling Moore at safety in the playoffs. Barron's tackling ability alone is an upgrade for the Patriots' defense.


Previous Mock Draft: Who Will Land RG3?

28. Green Bay Packers, Fletcher Cox, DE, Mississippi State

The Packers defensive front end struggled this season. Nobody among their front three has the ability to pressure passer, much less help out in the run game. Fletcher Cox can do both. His strength will be a big asset in putting pressure on opposing offensive linemen.

29. Baltimore Ravens, Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama

It doesn't sound like Ray Lewis plans to retire, nor should he. Lewis might be worth a roster spot for his motivational speeches alone. However, the Ravens might be wise to cut down on his reps some and even start thinking about a potential replacement. Hightower can be a force in the middle of the field, though he faces a learning curve against coverage. He also possesses the ability to work on the outside as a pass rusher some.

30. San Francisco 49ers, Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers

So close for the 49ers this season, so much better than anyone expected. San Francisco needs to add more skill players on their offense, starting with a receiver to pair with Michael Crabtree. Sanu is a perfect fit, especially with Alex Smith at quarterback, because of his hands and ability to pick up yards after the catch with his bruising style of play.

31. New England Patriots, Jerel Worthy, DE, Michigan State

Vince Wilfork's inspired play might be the least talked about ingredient in the Patriots' Super Bowl run but they still need to add some youth and strength along their defensive front. Worthy is the perfect combination of a stout run stopper and a big man, 320 pounds, who has the explosiveness to get to the passer.

32. New York Giants, Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State

Part of the reason the Giants are picking where they are in the 2012 NFL Draft is because GM Jerry Reese has done such an amazing job building his defensive line. Now, the Giants must turn their attention to the offensive line. Sanders upgrades their right side, and could even learn the ropes to play on Eli Manning's blind side.

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