INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 26: Quarterbacks Andrew Luck of Stanford and Robert Griffin III of Baylor meet during the 2012 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 26, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
The 2012 NFL Combine is officially underway as the best NFL prospects in the country look to boost their stock over the coming week. Prospects will rise and fall as they run drills and are poked and prodded in a variety of ways.
The 2012 NFL Combine is coming down the home stretch with two days of workouts remaining. Sunday was arguably the most high-profile day of the Combine as quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs ran through the various drills including the always popular 40-yard dash. Stephen Hill likely made himself a whole lot of money with the fastest time of 4.3 seconds, as well as a solid run through the pass catching gauntlet. Alshon Jeffery improved his stock when he measured in at 216 pounds, but possibly hurt himself when he chose to not go through any of the drills.
Sunday also saw the two top quarterback prospects put on a show -- without even passing the ball. Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III both decided not to go through the position-specific drills, but did go through the various uniform drills. Griffin ran a blazing 40-yard dash, which should lead to further salivation over the No. 2 pick. Luck ran a very respectable 4.67 40, and did well in the other drills to show he does, in fact, have some solid athleticism. It should make for a fun race to the end of April at the top of the draft.
Here is our latest 2012 NFL mock draft now with the NFL Combine shaking things up:
1. Indianapolis Colts, Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
For the first time in several years, there is little to no drama surrounding the No. 1 pick. Robert Griffin had a great Combine, but Andrew Luck met all expectations and reminded people he has his own solid athleticism with a strong 40-yard dash and solid broad jump and vertical jump numbers.
2. Washington Redskins (projected trade with St. Louis), Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Although RG3 did not throw at the Combine, he impressed in just about every other possible way. He charmed the media in his initial press conference, he ran a blazing 40, and it sounds like he did a great job in his interactions with teams. My gut tells me Washington makes a move up for RG3. Rex Grossman and John Beck are the answer to very few questions in life, and Dan Snyder has shown a history of impatience that makes this seem like a lock. I have faith in Mike Shanahan to make this deal happen.
3. Minnesota Vikings, Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Regardless of whether the Vikings decide to stick with Christian Ponder for the immediate future or potentially make a run at Peyton Manning, they will need help keeping their quarterback on his feet. The secondary might as well be swiss cheese at this point, but I think they address that to some extent in free agency. Kalil did everything he needed to do at the Combine to establish himself as the top offensive tackle in this draft.
4. Cleveland Browns, Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
The Browns will be in the hunt for Griffin, but if it does not happen, the next best option is to find more weapons for Colt McCoy. Peyton Hillis was a train-wreck in 2011, and I would imagine the Browns would be content to let him walk. The Browns might be tempted by Justin Blackmon with this pick, but they need to develop some consistency in the ground game. They could potentially address receiver with their later first round pick. Richardson had knee surgery earlier this year and expects to be ready for his Pro Day in March. As long as he appears good to go from that surgery, I do not think he slips.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Talk about a pick that could change drastically between now and late April. Aqib Talib faces a March trial for an assault charge, while Ronde Barber is pondering his football future. Given these two big question marks, even if one of the two is unavailable next year, this moves from a moderate need to a desperate need.
6. St. Louis Rams (projected trade with Washington), Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
The Rams are unlikely to franchise Brandon Lloyd, and even with Danny Amendola returning next season, they need more weapons for Sam Bradford. Offensive line is also an option with the sixth pick, but they will be hard-pressed to pass up a playmaker like Blackmon. He did not have the best Combine performance, including skipping the 40, but his game film says it all.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars, Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
The Jags struggled to generate much of a pass rush, and their defense suffered accordingly. The Jaguars have some serious offensive skill position issues as well, but they would be reaching for a receiver at this point. Coples would make for a strong bookend to Jeremy Mincey if the Jaguars can re-sign him. If Mincey does not return, it makes Coples all the more important.
8. Miami Dolphins, Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
The Dolphins will need to find an able replacement for Marc Colombo to protect their QB (whomever that might be), following a season in which they finished 30th in Football Outsiders' Adjusted Sack Rate. Jonathan Martin could still work his way up draft boards, but for now, Reiff is the answer to their right tackle needs. Teams do not often invest a high pick in a right tackle, but bookending him with Jake Long could set the Dolphins OTs up for the next several years.
9. Carolina Panthers, Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Speaking of guys who could find themselves slip-sliding with a poor Combine ... Brockers is getting a lot of press, but was inconsistent enough that a misstep or two along the road to the draft could drop him behind Devon Still among interior linemen. The Panthers have a visit lined up with Brockers early next month.
10. Buffalo Bills, Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama
Although Upshaw is projected by many as a 3-4 outside linebacker, he could still work out for the Bills in their switch back to a 4-3 scheme. Upshaw brings considerable talent and the Bills should not pass up this kind of talent based on some basic schematic issues.
11. Kansas City Chiefs, Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
The Chiefs need to shore up their offensive line to keep Matt Cassel upright. The Chiefs were decimated by injuries across the board in 2011, and keeping players healthy is first and foremost in their plans if they want to get back into the playoffs.
12. Seattle Seahawks, Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
The Seahawks need somebody, anybody, who can bring some consistent pressure alongside Chris Clemons. Ingram has showed some flash in the pass rush, and he would help bolster the Seahawks defensive line. Ingram's draft stock has been up and down at times, and he will look for a strong performance in the individual drills at the Combine to solidify it.
13. Arizona Cardinals, Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Wide receiver is a position that can be impacted as much as any by a strong or weak workout. The always controversial 40-yard dash has earned and cost players big time bucks over the years, and it will not be any different in 2012. The Cardinals need more options opposite Larry Fitzgerald, and Floyd could be that option if he has a strong Combine and Pro Day. He could also end up slipping into the latter third of the first round if he struggles.
14. Dallas Cowboys, Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
The Cowboys secondary struggled mightily in 2011, and it looks like Terence Newman could be handed his walking papers in the next few weeks. The Cowboys could strongly consider David DeCastro with this pick as well, but they need to start overhauling that secondary.
15. Philadelphia Eagles, Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
The Eagles defense could not have been much worse against the run in 2011. There were several reasons for this, and drafting Kuechly could help begin to solve some of the problems. The Eagles need a legit middle linebacker, and there is no questioning the talent of Kuechly. He is leaving after his junior year, but leads all draft eligible linebackers in tackles and is the reigning Butkus, Nagurski, Lombardi and Lott Impact Trophy Award winners.
16. New York Jets, Mark Barron, S, Alabama
Barron is one player who will not get to help his stock at the NFL Combine. Barron is recovering from double hernia surgery, which is also threatening his appearance at the Alabama Pro Day in March. Some teams reportedly do not expect this to hurt his draft stock, and it only takes one team liking a player to keep him from falling. The Jets have significant safety concerns and might be willing to roll the dice here.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland), David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
This could prove to be one of the steals of the first round. If that is the case, it is just one more reason for the Bengals to thank the Raiders for dealing for Carson Palmer. The Bengals did a fairly solid job in keeping Andy Dalton upright, but struggled in getting much going in their running game. Regardless of who is running the ball in 2012, the Bengals will want to boost their offensive line, and DeCastro could be one of the best to come out of this class.
18. San Diego Chargers, Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
While the Chargers do have two cornerbacks in Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason, Jammer could move to safety, and Marcus Gilchrist did not inspire a ton of confidence as a possible replacement. Jenkins has some off the field issues but has indicated he is finished with marijuana. If he is looking to wipe his slate clean, he could sneak back up.
19. Chicago Bears, Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
The Bears will spend the foreseeable future battling offensive heavyweights like the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. Earl Bennett and Devin Hester are not the big playmakers the Bears need to get their passing game going with consistency. Although Wright had a bit of a disappointing 40-yard dash, most people believe he plays faster. The film and his pro day should be enough to keep Wright going fairly high.
20. Tennessee Titans, Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
The Titans struggled to get anything significant going in their running game, and while some of the blame lies on the shoulders of Chris Johnson, the interior offensive line is also a culprit. This is a bit of a reach and the Titans might very well try and move down at this pick. Konz struggled with shoulder issues and had a poor bench press at the Combine. Konz could very well slide further down the first round if he does not bounce back in his Pro Day.
21. Cincinnati Bengals, Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
The Bengals have a big cornerback need that might be filled with one of these two picks, but based on this mock, it would be a reach for a corner at this point. The Bengals have free agents along their defensive line, which opens the door for some needed depth in free agency and the draft. Cox could end up outside, but, as is, he could be a very solid interior pass rusher in the Bengals defense.
22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta), Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
The Browns passed on Justin Blackmon with their first pick, but I don't think they pass on a wide receiver with their second pick. There is some thought that they might look at QB Ryan Tannehill with this pick, but I suspect any QB addition might be a little bit later. They need more skill position players, and Jeffery provides some upside for this offense. And if Colt McCoy can't make this work, time to find a new QB. There had been some concerns about weight issues with Jeffery, but he came into the Combine at 216 pounds. He did not run the 40 though, which raises some question marks about whether he sapped strength with a crash diet. His Pro Day will be closely watched, and he could slip-slide down draft boards with a poor showing.
23. Detroit Lions, Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
The Lions need to figure out ways to improve their interior offensive line. Matthew Stafford remained healthy this season, but if they want to keep him healthy for the foreseeable future, more protection is needed. Glenn is not a sexy pick, but he would be a very effective guard.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers, Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
Casey Hampton is recovering from ACL surgery, and his days could be numbered with the Steelers. The team could look at Poe or Alameda Ta'amu with this pick as they look for another big man in the middle. Poe and Ta'amu could alternate at this spot in mock drafts off and on for the next two months.
25. Denver Broncos, Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
The Broncos' defense put together some impressive efforts and deserve as much credit as anybody for the Broncos surge. Nonetheless, the line could use some more beef inside, and Worthy would strengthen the defensive line considerably.
26. Houston Texans, Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
The Texans could elect to add some wide receiver depth in free agency, but when Andre Johnson went down, the team could barely get anything going outside of Arian Foster and Owen Daniels. Even if Johnson can remain healthy, Houston needs to develop a stronger second option. The Texans have some other concerns, but drafting a wide receiver could really lock up this offense.
27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans), Nick Perry, OLB, USC
The Patriots could potentially lose their top two sack men in Andre Carter and Mark Anderson, who each had ten sacks in 2011. Perry will be making the switch from defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker, which can take some time. However, the Patriots will be able to take advantage of his pass rush skills early on.
28. Green Bay Packers, Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut
The Green Bay offense was in solid shape in 2011, but its defense was an absolute mess. Reyes might be a bit of a reach at this point, but he has the size and athleticism to slide in the Packers defensive line right away.
29. Baltimore Ravens, Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
The Ravens find themselves in need of some help on the offensive line as Matt Birk and Bryant McKinnie both are getting a bit long in the tooth. Adams has seen his stock slip considerably and might be lucky to get selected in the first round. Adams is a gamble and struggled at the Combine, but he has some tremendous upside that is worth the gamble.
30. San Francisco 49ers, Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
The 49ers have some issues at wide receiver, based on both the struggles in the NFC Championship Game and the fact that they only have three under contract once free agency starts. They will be drafting a wide receiver at some point, and if they do go with a first round pick, a guy like Stephen Hill could be a pivotal playmaker for this developing passing attack. He only 28 receptions this past year, but he averaged nearly 30 yards per catch. The 49ers could use something like that.
31. New England Patriots, Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
The Patriots secondary was a mess in 2011, as they were shredded quite frequently. They need some help alongside Patrick Chung and Smith is one such option. Smith has been a very consistent player in college, showing skills in both pass coverage and run support. He is the kind of technically-sound player who could help the Patriots much maligned secondary.
32. New York Giants, Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
The Giants got a very solid season out of Jake Ballard before he tore his ACL in the Super Bowl. With all that in mind, it makes sense for the Giants to add a more athletic tight end to go alongside Ballard. Even if Ballard is 100 percent by the start of training camp, a strong athletic tight end will go a long way for this offense.