2012 NFL Mock Draft: Trade Talk Muddies The Waters

HOUSTON - DECEMBER 31: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill #17 of Texas A&M Texas A&M Aggies holds his MVP trophy after Texas A&M defeated Northwesten University 33-22 at Reliant Stadium on December 31, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Trade talk and the fate of Ryan Tannehill are making 2012 NFL Draft predictions tougher.

With less than two weeks to go until the 2012 NFL Draft, predictions are getting harder and harder. There is little left to say about most potential first-round picks, who have been analyzed to the tiniest detail since January. Draft pundits are living off trade talk right now, and the fate of Ryan Tannehill has everyone confused and predictions impossible to make.

We should have at least one more of these mock drafts ahead of the real thing which starts next Thursday in New York. Try to stay with us, if your head doesn't spin off the neck.

1. Indianapolis Colts, Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

For all the talk about how "safe" a pick this is, people are forgetting just what an exciting prospect Andrew Luck is. Fans will get a reminder soon enough.

Related Video: Andrew Luck Scouting Report

2. Washington Redskins (from St. Louis), Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Forgetting about Griffin's NFL potential is much harder to do since his media presence tops that of either presidential candidate.

Related Video: Robert Griffin III Scouting Report

3. Minnesota Vikings, Matt Kalil, OT, USC

The Vikings are doing everything they can to muddy the waters about their pick. Morris Claiborne and even Justin Blackmon have been mentioned as possibilities. Kalil is by far the best pick, both in terms of draft spot and talent, but the Vikings may pass on him. Adam Schefter predicted that possibility responding reader questions last week.

Related Video: Matt Kalil Scouting Report

4. Cleveland Browns, Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

Whether the Browns draft Tannehill or not, there are more and more signs that this pick is for sale. If Mike Holmgren is willing to accept less than what Washington paid for the second pick, the Browns could move down and possibly target Brandon Weeden or Kirk Cousins.

Potential trade partners include Miami and Kansas City. Miami make sense because of the Mike Sherman connection. Matt Moore and David Garrard can carry the load while Tannehill learns the ins and outs of the pro game. Kansas City has a good enough roster that they could afford to trade up for Matt Cassel's successor.

Related Video: Ryan Tannehill Scouting Report

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

A perfect fit for Tampa. Adding a corner of Claiborne's talent makes the unit that much better and deeper, especially if Aqib Talib somehow manages to avoid the clink. Ronde Barber will eventually get put out to pasture, and this pick allows the Bucs not to have to lean on him.

Related Video: Morris Claiborne Scouting Report

6. St. Louis Rams (from Washington), Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Jeff Fisher loves Trent Richardson. He even went so far as to troll draft analysts and stat heads with comments last week proclaiming that the position was not at all devalued in his eyes.

Related Video: Trent Richardson Scouting Report

7. Jacksonville Jaguars, Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

Jacksonville could do with another pass rusher, and Ingram now looks like he will be the first off the board.

Trade rumor alert: The Jets really, really like Ingram, maybe enough to trade up for him. Tony Pauline from SI.com mentions that possibility and cites Jacksonville's pick as a potential spot for a deal.

Related Video: Melvin Ingram Scouting Report

8. Miami Dolphins, Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

We'll see what happens, but if Miami did stay in this spot and Tannehill is off the board, Blackmon makes a nice replacement for Brandon Marshall.

Related Video: Justin Blackmon Scouting Report

9. Carolina Panthers, Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

Cox now looks like the top defensive tackle in the draft based on his college resume and all-around ability. Carolina has been linked to defensive tackles since January. They may fall for another interior lineman than pundits, but Cox goes here for now.

Related Video: Fletcher Cox Scouting Report

10. Buffalo Bills, Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

Reiff is billed as another version of Bryan Bulaga, the Packers tackle plucked from the cornfields of Iowa. HIs arm length gets knocked more than anything else. With Demetress Bell gone, the Bills really need as close to a sure thing as they can get to protect Fitzpatrick.

Related Video: Riley Reiff Scouting Report

11. Kansas City Chiefs, Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis

Offensive linemen have been the pick here for some time, but there's value to be had at that position later in the draft. Poe's potential will make it hard for Kansas City to pass over the Memphis product. Romeo Crennel has to feel good about his staff's ability to develop a player who could be among the game's elite defensive linemen in a few years. They could also swing a deal for a quarterback.

Related Video: Dontari Poe Scouting Report

12. Seattle Seahawks, Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

Coples is sliding down draft boards amid questions about his dedication and passion for the game. There's just too much potential for Seattle to overlook Coples if he makes it to the 12th pick.

Related Video: Quinton Coples Scouting Report

13. Arizona Cardinals, David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

Many put an offensive tackle here, but DeCastro is easily the second-best lineman in the draft, behind only Matt Kalil. Arizona could sure use him. The Stanford product will make life easier for an offense that struggled behind a weak line last year.

Related Video: David DeCastro Scouting Report

14. Dallas Cowboys, Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

Some still think of Brockers as the best defensive lineman in the draft. Rankings aside, he has everything needed to be a difference maker in the pros. Dallas can also afford to ease his transition into the starting lineup.

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

Wait, didn't the Eagles solved their linebacker problem when they acquired DeMeco Ryans? Maybe. Ryans helps things, but Philly needs at least three linebackers on the field for their defense. Ryans can attest to the difference a good linebacking crew makes from his time in Houston. This pick could turn the middle of Philly's defense from its biggest liability last year to its greatest asset in 2012.

Related Video: Luke Kuechly Scouting Report

16. New York Jets, Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama

If the Jets decide not to trade up or get outbid in the process, they might still be able to stay put and draft a pass rusher. Upshaw has a box full of those intangible skills that can make a great player but drive literal-minded analysts crazy.

Related Video: Courtney Upshaw Scouting Report

17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland), Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia

This pick is unchanged from the last mock. Glenn has the makings of an elite lineman. His best position may be guard, but he has the raw athleticism to play left tackle.

Related Video: Cordy Glenn Scouting Report

18. San Diego Chargers, Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

San Diego had the league's second-worst pass defense last season, according to Football Outsiders. They need help at cornerback as well as pass rushers. Gilmore trumps the available pass rushers in this spot.

Related Video: Stephon Gilmore Scouting Report

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

Even with Brandon Marshall, the Bears need more offensive weaponry for Jay Cutler. Floyd answered questions about his downfield speed at the Combine, and would give the Bears another big man to go with Marshall.

20. Tennessee Titans, Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Kirkpatrick keeps Tennessee's secondary stocked with talent and replaces some of the edge the unit lost when Cortland Finnegan slipped away in free agency.

Related Video: Dre Kirkpatrick Scouting Report

21. Cincinnati Bengals, Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

Mid-April is that time of year when media members turn into Carrie Nation. Jenkins has some marijuana arrests in his past, small time possession stuff that could net a high percentage of America's college kids. He has a few other off-field concerns highlighted by four kids with three ladies. It could push him out of the first round, but it won't. He's just too talented. Yes, the Bengals are the easy pick here given their tolerance for character concerns. Another team could just as easily take a chance.

Related Video: Janoris Jenkins Scouting Report

22. Cleveland Browns, Doug Martin, RB, Boise State

This is pure armchair GM'ing on my part. I think Cleveland needs to think offense early and often in this draft. I had LSU's Randle here, but they can get one of a good group of receivers in the top of the second round. Martin can do it all, and help out whoever is at quarterback.

23. Detroit Lions, Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

Detroit held on to Jeff Backus, but they need to be ready for life without him. Martin gives them some young depth and the eventual blind side protector for Matt Stafford, who really deserves better protection than he's had in Detroit.

Related Video: Jonathan Martin Scouting Report

24. Pittsburgh Steelers, Bobbie Massie, OT, Mississippi

This is an awkward spot for the Steelers who need an infusion of youth at several positions. None of the easy first-round picks at those spots are available in this scenario. Massie fills a big need, and could sneak into the first round as teams get around to doing their homework on one of the SEC's better offensive linemen.

25. Denver Broncos, Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford

Signing Peyton Manning is all you need to know about the Broncos immediate goals. To get the most out of the twilight of Manning's career, Elway needs to get him an array of weapons. Manning will make the pairing of Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker an effective set of weapons on the outside. Adding Fleener could give him another version of Dallas Clark to round out the offense.

26. Houston Texans, Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

A tackle or another pass rusher would make nice picks for Houston, but they have to be at least a little haunted by what happened against Baltimore with Andre Johnson tightly covered. The speedy and versatile Wright is a nice complement to Johnson.

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

It might be a stretch to see the draft's best safety fall this far. New England would be more than happy about it, though. Barron's instincts will help in coverage. A strong safety of his caliber would also allow the Patriots more flexibility with their current secondary. A safer bet is that this pick gets traded.

Related Video: Mark Barron Scouting Report

28. Green Bay Packers, Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State

Worthy has the talent to be picked further up the board than this, but questions about his consistency have pushed down his draft stock. Green Bay could be getting a great value, assuming they can keep the fire under him lit. He could certainly improve their defensive front.

29. Baltimore Ravens, Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin

Zeitler is hailed as the best run blocker in the draft and a player likely to sneak into the bottom part of the first round. Baltimore needs a ready replacement for Ben Grubbs, who got away in free agency.

30. San Francisco 49ers, Kendall Reyes, DE, UConn

San Francisco does not have to make this pick to fill a need. Reyes gives them depth behind Justin Smith and Ray McDonald and an eventual successor ahead of the ravages of time and the realities of business.

31. New England Patriots, Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

New England needs a pass rusher; it's as easy as that. Mercilus can be funneled into a variety of spots early on based on his versatility.

32. New York Giants, David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech

For as good as the Giants offense was last season, their running game was a potential liability. Wilson would make for a much more dynamic pairing with Ahmad Bradshaw than Brandon Jacobs did. Bradshaw has health red flags anyway, which makes finding a good running back an important play for the Giants' offseason plans.

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