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Four linebackers were selected in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft on Thursday. More surprising, however, was who was left on the board. Alabama's Courtney Upshaw, rated by Mocking The Draft as the best player at any position still available and the best at his position, was passed over for the likes of West Virginia's Bruce Irvin and Boise State's Shea McClellin. Don't expect Upshaw to last long when Rounds 2 and 3 get under way Friday.
Nebraska's Lavonte David was also left on the board despite a first-round grade from MTD. He was rated as the No. 29 overall player in this year's draft, and the second-best outside linebacker available behind only Upshaw.
Other linebackers with a reasonable chance of getting drafted Friday include North Carolina's Zach Brown (No. 47 overall), Utah State's Bobby Wagner (No. 59 overall) and Nevada's James-Michael Johnson (No. 65 overall).
Check out the complete list of best players available at Mocking The Draft.
We don't know everything, and neither do NFL general managers. Mock drafts have value (especially SB Nation's!), but we don't have to treat them like unbreakable scripts.
The 2012 NFL Draft enters its second round on Friday night, and one of the team that traded out of the spotlight in Round 1 is going to figure heavily in Round 2.
The St. Louis Rams have a league-high three picks in Round 2, two earned as cascading spoils from the trade that sent the No. 2 overall pick (and Robert Griffin III) to the Washington Redskins. The first pick of the second round, No. 33 overall, was the Rams' own pick, and they snagged the No. 39 pick in the trade with the Redskins; the No. 45 pick was obtained on Thursday, in a trade with the Dallas Cowboys that got the Rams out of the top 10 in the first round.
Here's the full draft order for the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
1. (33) Rams
2. (34) Colts
3. (35) Ravens (From Vikings)
4. (36) Broncos (From Buccaneers)
5. (37) Browns
6. (38) Jaguars
7. (39) Rams (From Redskins)
8. (40) Panthers
9. (41) Bills
10. (42) Dolphins
11. (43) Seahawks
12. (44) Chiefs
13. (45) Rams (From Cowboys)
14. (46) Eagles
15. (47) Jets
16. (48) Patriots (From Raiders)
17. (49) Chargers
18. (50) Bears
19. (51) Eagles (From Cardinals)
20. (52) Titans
21. (53) Bengals
22. (54) Lions
23. (55) Falcons
24. (56) Steelers
25. (57) Broncos
26. (58) Texans
27. (59) Packers
28. (60) Ravens
29. (61) 49ers
30. (62) Patriots
31. (63) Giants
Here's the third-round order.
2 St. Louis
11 Kansas City
14 NY Jets
15 San Diego
26 New Orleans
27 New England
29 San Francisco
31 NY Giants
The 1st round of the 2012 NFL Draft has come and gone after a record setting number of trades. Catch up with what you missed on Thursday night.
Never, ever stop finding things to brag about, college football fan. It's time to break down the Draft's opening round by conference, which we'll keep doing until the end. Head here for complete coverage of the NFL Draft's first round, from Andrew Luck to David Wilson.
The trades in the first round of the NFL Draft ruined every mock draft. Now we turn our mocking attention to the second round of the NFL Draft, which kicks off on Friday night.
One round is down in the 2012 NFL Draft. The Cowboys and Rams were among the teams that made solid moves Thursday night, while the Seahawks left us confused.
The first two picks in the 2012 NFL Draft went according to script, and there wasn't anything shocking about the first trade of the night, which ensured that the Cleveland Browns would get Trent Richardson, leaving the Minnesota Vikings to select Matt Kalil. Little did anyone know when the Vikings and Browns swapped picks before the start of the first round that it would be the first of eight first-round trades.
Bill Belichick is known for trading down and hoarding picks, but he was the biggest mover on Friday night, trading up twice to solidify his defense with ILB Dont'a Hightower and DE/OLB Chandler Jones. The Dallas Cowboys also made a big move, sending their second round pick to the St. Louis Rams in order to move up from No. 14 to No. 6 so that they could select LSU CB Morris Claiborne.
The Seattle Seahawks, who traded down when the Eagles offered two picks to move up and select Fletcher Cox, made what was widely regarded as the biggest reach of the night with their selection of West Virginia OLB/DE Bruce Irvin. Though Irvin is a physical freak, he's thought of as a pure pass rusher who won't offer much else, and he was recently cited for misdemeanor destruction of property.
Here's a full list of Round 1 picks in the 2012 NFL Draft.
3. Cleveland Browns (from Minnesota) - Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
4. Minnesota Vikings (from Cleveland) - Matt Kalil, OT, USC
6. Dallas Cowboys (from Washington via St. Louis) - Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
14. St. Louis Rams (from Dallas) - Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
15. Seattle Seahawks (from Philadelphia) - Bruce Irvin, DE, West Virginia
22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta) - Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State
25. New England Patriots (from Denver) - Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
27. Cincinnati Bengals (from New Orleans via New England) - Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from New England, via Denver) - Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
The 2012 NFL Draft had a few surprises near the end of the first round -- one that saw 19 trades, the most in at least four decades -- that have left a ton of talent on the board at the beginning of the second round.
The biggest name on the list is Alabama's Courtney Upshaw, a hulking linebacker who can play defensive end, and who helped the Crimson Tide's defense shut out LSU in the 2012 BCS National Championship, but four of the top 16 players on Mocking the Draft's board are still available: No. 11 Upshaw; No. 13 Devon Still, a defensive tackle from Penn State; No. 15 Jonathan Martin, a Stanford offensive tackle; and No. 16 Peter Konz, a center from Wisconsin.
The Rams could take a couple of those players: St. Louis has the first pick in the second round, and three of the first 13 second-round picks.
With the 32nd pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the New York Giants selected Virginia Tech Hokies running back David Wilson. Wilson is the 24th-rated prospect in the draft and the second-rated running back, according to Mocking The Draft's rankings.
Wilson had a spectacular 2011 for the Hokies, rushing for 1,709 yards on 290 carries, scoring nine touchdowns. He also had 22 receptions for 129 yards and one touchdown. Here's what Mocking The Draft had to say about Wilson before the draft.
Wilson is a hot and cold runner. He'll break a 10-yard run, but follow it up by negative-yardage plays. Because of that, the speedy Virginia Tech runner may be best served as part of a rotation or duo.
With Wilson being the final pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, it wraps up the quickest first night of the draft in quite some time.
For more on Wilson, check out Virginia Tech Hokies blog Gobbler Country.
With the 31st pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Boise St. Broncos running back Doug Martin. Martin is the 44th-ranked prospect and the fourth-rated running back, according to Mocking the Draft's rankings. The Bucs traded up to the 31st selection, swapping picks with the Denver Broncos to come up and get Martin.
Martin was a two-year starter for the Broncos. He ran for 1,299 yards and 16 touchdowns in his senior season at Boise State. Here's what Mocking the Draft had to say about Martin before the NFL draft:
Martin is outstanding attacking the outside and more than capable with his strength to run inside. Overall, Martin has the talents to be a productive professional in the NFL and would be great in a dual backfield role.
For more on Martin, head over to Boise State Broncos blog One Bronco Nation Under God.
With the 30th overall pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the San Fransisco 49ers have selected Illinois wide receiver A.J. Jenkins. Jenkins was a very late riser before the NFL Draft and was not one of Mocking The Draft's Top 100 prospects.
Here's what Mocking The Draft had to say about Jenkins before the draft.
Strengths: Jenkins has decent hands and has shown he knows the intricacies of route running. Excels at finding and picking apart the soft spot in zone coverage. Gets off the line nicely and doesn't get jammed despite his size.
Weaknesses: There is nothing special about Jenkins' play, but he's solid across the board. Not especially fast, big, strong or athletic. Will body catch at times, which leads to drops.
The Denver Broncos have traded out of the first round completely. First, it was a trade with the New England Patriots, which sent them from the 25th to the 31st pick in exchange for an extra third-round pick. And now the Broncos have traded back again, this time moving out of the first round altogether.
The Broncos' trade partner is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who gave up the 36th and 101st overall picks in order to move up. The Buccaneers already had extra picks after trading earlier in the draft with the Jacksonville Jaguars, so they could afford to be aggressive.
The Broncos now enter day two of the NFL draft with an extra second- and third-round pick.
The Minnesota Vikings selected former free safety as the No. 29 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
Prior to the draft, Smith was considered one of the top safeties in this year's talent pool. Here is what Mocking the Draft had to say about Smith:
Strengths: Has a nice build and is strong inside the box. Closes on the ball carrier in a hurry and is often a sure tackler. Gets into the backfield routinely. Reads the play well. Team leader. Highly productive. Finished his career with 309 tackles, 28 pass break ups and seven interceptions.
Weaknesses: Not the best when asked to drop back in coverage and doesn't have the athleticism to stick with receivers in man situations. Tries too often to go for the kill shot and will miss the tackle. May need to add some strength to play the run better.
The Minnesota Vikings have traded back into the first round of the 2012 NFL draft. The Vikings, who owned the third overall pick before trading it to the Cleveland Browns, sent the 35th and 89th overall picks to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for the 29th pick. The Vikings will select Notre Dame SS Harrison Smith with that pick.
This is a logical pick considering the secondary was one of the Vikings' biggest needs. Many people connected them to CB Morris Claiborne with the third overall pick but they opted to trade down and select Matt Kalil instead.
The Vikings can afford to be more aggressive thanks to their initial trade with the Browns, which netted them an extra fourth, fifth and seven round pick.
With the No. 28 pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers selected USC Trojans defensive end Nick Perry. Perry is rated as the seventh-best prospect at his position and the No. 43 player overall, according to Mocking The Draft's rankings.
Matthew Fairburn loves Perry's talents as a pure pass rusher, as well as his ability to play in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. Whether Perry has the strength needed to play the run and become something more than a specialist, though, remains to be seen.
Run Defense: Nick Perry isn't quite as strong of a run defender as he is a pass rusher. He is a bit undersized in the 4-3, and his lack of strength shows in run defense. He occasionally gets upright while getting after the ball carrier, but I think his lack of strength is the root of his issues.
Strength: As mentioned above, Perry lacks some strength that scouts like to see in a 4-3 defensive end. He has a hard time fighting through blocks and seems to be reliant on his pass rushing techniques and quickness to get into the backfield.
For more on Perry, be sure to check out the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles. For more on the Packers, head over to Acme Packing Company. For lots more on the 2012 NFL Draft, please visit Mocking the Draft.
The concerns surrounding Zeitler are minimal but some do exist. He needs to work very hard at maintaining leverage and inside hand position. Zeitler doesn't appear strong enough to make up for mistakes with his technique. At times, Zeitler will get his arms fully extended which impacts his balance and velcro ability.
Overall, Zeitler is a player that you can win with as a starter on your team. He is able to both protect the passer and open running lanes. Zeitler may not be as exciting as other prospects but he is solid and should be selected no later than the 3rd round.
For more information about Kevin Zeitler and the Wisconsin Badgers, please visit Bucky's Fifth Quarter. For lots more on the 2012 NFL Draft, please visit Mocking the Draft. To learn more about Zeitler, you can watch the video below.
With the No. 26 overall pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans selected former . Mercilus is the 19th-rated prospect in the draft and the second-ranked defensive end, according to Mocking The Draft's rankings.
Here's what Mocking the Draft had to say about Mercilus prior to the draft:
Pass rush: Mercilus has a nice first step off the line of scrimmage, which he uses to get past blockers and into the quarterback. Is strong at the point of attack to use the bull rush, but agile enough to spin. Likes to work to the inside instead of turning the corner. Played both right and left end. At times used without his hand in the ground rushing the middle. Likes to time the snap, which he'll sometimes get caught off sides. Started only one season at Illinois and had little production before his breakout junior season. But when he led the nation in sacks in 2011, it was stretched throughout the season and didn't come in spurts.
For more information about Whitney Mercilus and the Fighting Illini, check out Hail to the Orange. You can find more on the Texans at Battle Red Blog. For lots more on the 2012 NFL draft, please visit Mocking the Draft. You can learn more about Mercilus by watching the video below.
With the 25th pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the New England Patriots select Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dont'a Hightower. Hightower is rated as the second-best prospect at his position behind only Luke Kuechly and is the No. 20 player overall, according to Mocking The Draft's rankings.
Dan Kadar had trouble finding anything wrong with Hightower's game, as the linebacker's instincts and athleticism are considered top-notch. He was particularly impressed with Hightower's run-stuffing ability.
Run defense: In this year's draft, there is no better run-stopping linebacker between the tackle than Hightower. He's stout at the point of attacks and a great tackler. Wraps his arms, lowers his shoulder and drives through the ballcarrier. Has the foot quickness to break down in space and take down speedy running backs. NFL-ready strength in run defense. Has good leg drive to push linemen backward.
For more on Hightower, be sure to check out the SB Nation blog Roll 'Bama Roll. For lots more on the 2012 NFL Draft, please visit Mocking the Draft. Also be sure to check out Hightower's draft profile via SBN's YouTube Channel below.
The New England Patriots have traded up for the second time in the 2012 NFL draft. After trading with the Tennessee Titans to move from the 27th to the 21st pick, the Patriots have traded again, this time with the Denver Broncos. New England, who held the 31st pick in the first round, moved up to the Broncos' pick, the 25th in the first round.
The Patriots are expected to select Alabama LB Dont'a Hightower, the second defensive player in the draft for them. The Patriots took Chandler Jones with the 21st pick in the draft.
Heading into the offseason, the pass rush was a focus for the Patriots and they're demonstrating that in this draft.
The Broncos will now pick up extra picks for moving back six spots, which isn't a bad deal if their guy is still on the board at that point.
With the No. 24 overall pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers have selected former Stanford Cardinal guard David DeCastro. DeCastro was considered by many, including Mocking the Draft, to be the top guard in the draft.
Here's what Mocking the Draft had to say about DeCastro prior to the draft:
Technique: Will get upright at times and lose leverage causing him to get pushed back in the pocket. If DeCastro learns to play lower and add some strength in his legs, he can become an elite guard in the NFL. His other technical areas — hand work, arm extension, keeping active eyes on the move — are flawless.
Final word: As good of a guard prospect as there has been in years. DeCastro is quick off the line of scrimmage, which helps him get under defensive linemen. He knows how to properly use his hands to keep defenders away. Instinctive against the pass rush. Plays with a nasty disposition.
For more information about David DeCastro and the Stanford Cardinal, please visit Rule of Tree. For more on the Steelers, head over to Behind The Steel Curtain. For lots more on the 2012 NFL Draft, please visit Mocking the Draft. You can learn more about DeCastro by watching the video below.
On Friday, the Detroit Lions selected former with the 23rd overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. Reiff is the 18th-rated prospect in the draft and the third-ranked offensive tackle, according to Mocking The Draft's rankings.
Here's what Mocking the Draft had to say about Reiff prior to the draft:
Reiff lacks great balance and leverage which really impacts his ability to anchor and create a push. In pass protection, he takes long unbalanced steps impacting his ability to change direction and mirror. He is able to generate an average push off the line but that is because of his tenacity and strong initial jolt.
Overall, Reiff needs to make adjustments in order to be considered a top tackle prospect in the 2012 NFL draft. In my opinion, he would be a liability on the left side as speed rushers will easily create pressure. I also feel he will struggle at guard because he doesn't have a natural bend limiting his leverage.
For more information about Riler Reiff and the Iowa Hawkeyes, please visit Black Heart Gold Pants.. For lots more on the 2012 NFL draft, please visit Mocking the Draft. You can learn more about Reiff by watching the video below.
With the No. 22 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns selected Oklahoma St. Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden. Weeden is the 51st-rated prospect in the draft and the fourth-rated quarterback, according to Mocking the Draft's rankings.
If Weeden was 22 years old, he might be a slam-dunk first-round pick, but because he chose to pursue a baseball career before playing college football, he will turn 29 during the 2012 NFL season. Weeden was extremely productive in his two years as Oklahoma State's starting quarterback, but his age means he likely has a limited time to be a starter in the NFL. Here's what Mocking the Draft had to say about Weeden before the draft:
Weeden has all of the physical attributes to be a very good starting QB in the NFL. He had 2 consecutive starting seasons as QB for Oklahoma State. He passed for 4,737 yards and threw 37 touchdowns with 13 interceptions in 2011. He will need an adjustment period of playing under center since he played mostly in a shotgun spread offense. He will turn 29 years old during the NFL season in 2012 and that will be on the mind of a lot of teams, but Weeden is mature and ready to lead right out of the gate.
With the 21st pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, the New England Patriots select Syracuse Orange defensive end/outside linebacker Chandler Jones. Jones is the 38th-ranked prospect in the draft and the sixth-rated defensive end, according to Mocking the Draft's rankings, though some evaluators grew more bullish on his chances of becoming a first-round pick as the draft neared.
Jones is the brother of Arthur Jones, who plays for the Baltimore Ravens, and UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones. He was a three-year starter for Syracuse, but suffered a knee injury in 2011 that caused him to miss five games. Here's what Mocking the Draft had to say about Jones before the draft.
Jones earned first-team all-conference honors after finishing with 38 tackles, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. But his development as a prospect was hampered by the injury. Jones will enter the NFL loaded with potential because of his size and athleticism. But he needs to get better against the run and his technique needs some work.
For more on Jones, head over to Syracuse Orange blog Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician.
Leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots were projected as a team that would likely make a trade, as Bill Belichick usually does. The Patriots did just that on Thursday night as they sent the 27th overall pick and another third rounder to the Cincinnati Bengals in exchange for the 21st overall pick. The Patriots plan to select Syracuse DE Chandler Jones.
The Patriots priorities entering the offseason were to upgrade the secondary and find more pass rushers. They've accomplished the latter with Jones, who was a fast-rising prospect because of his athleticism.
The Bengals held two first round picks entering the draft -- numbers 17 and 21. With the 17th pick, they took Dre Kirkpatrick.
Jones's brother, Jon, is a well-known MMA fighter.
With the No. 20 overall pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans selected former . Wright was seen as the No. 3 wideout in most projections leading up to the draft.
Final word: Wright while at Baylor, was known for his ability to get separation, his speed, and burst to consistently get open downfield. He had a very productive senior season, playing with 2012 Heisman Trophy winner QB Robert Griffin III, hauling in 101 receptions, 1,572 yards, and 13 touchdowns. Overall, he is a competitive, tough, and smart football player who sometimes wears his emotions on his sleeve. Wright's ability to get consistent separation with his speed and burst will likely get him drafted in the first round. He would be an ideal fit with the Houston Texans playing alongside of Andre Johnson.
For lots more on Kendall Wright and the Baylor Bears, please visit Our Daily Bears. You can find more on the Titans over at Music City Miracles. For lots more on the 2012 NFL Draft, please visit Mocking the Draft. You can learn more about Wright by watching the video below.
With the 19th pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, the Chicago Bears selected Boise St. Broncos defensive end/outside linebacker Shea McClellin. McClellin is the eighth-rated defensive end and No. 57 overall prospect in the draft, according to Mocking the Draft's rankings.
McClellin was a three-year starter for the Broncos, with his production picking up significantly from his sophomore to his junior year. He carried that over to his senior year and had another consistent season while playing multiple roles in Boise State's defense. Here's what Mocking the Draft had to say about McClellin before the draft:
McClellin has a chance to sneak into the first round and makes a lot of sense for a team that plays 3-4 defense. He gets after the passer well and is a safe pick due to his consistently high motor. McClellin was very productive in some of Boise State's biggest games last season, which is a great sign moving forward.
For more on McCellin, head over to Boise State Broncos blog One Bronco Nation Under God.
Here's what Mocking the Draft had to say about Ingram prior to the draft:
Final word: Ingram is an athletic and versatile defensive lineman who can be a terror against the pass, but sometimes suspect against the run. He's lined up at tackle, end and standing up outside the offensive tackle. Some NFL team is going to a player who will give their defense plenty of options.
He really burst onto the scene as a prospect during his senior season. In 2011, he had 48 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. Against Auburn alone, he had 11 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.
For more information about Melvin Ingram and the South Carolina Gamecocks, please visit Garnet and Black Attack. For more on the Chargers, head over to Bolts From The Blue. For lots more on the 2012 NFL Draft, please visit Mocking the Draft.You can learn more about Ingram by watching the video below.
With the 17th pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Alabama Crimson Tide cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick is rated as the second-best prospect at his position behind only former LSU Tigers defensive back Morris Claiborne, and ranks as the No. 14 player overall, according to Mocking The Draft's rankings.
Dan Kadar admits that Kirkpatrick still needs some work on his ball skills and zone coverage. The cornerback brings unmatched physicality to the position, however, as well as a 6-foot-2-inch, 186-pound frame that has scouts drooling.
Final word: Kirkpatrick got off to a bit of a rough start to his junior season, but quickly rebounded, especially in an excellent game against Arkansas. Evaluations of Kirkpatrick naturally begin with his size. He's arguably the physically impressive cornerback in this year's draft. He's tall with long arms and a frame to get stronger.
Kirkpatrick is a player who knows how to use his size to his advantage, especially in man coverage. He's a little less experienced in true zone coverage. But with his natural talent and on-field intelligence, he should be able to adapt to any scheme.
For more on Kirkpatrick, be sure to check out the SB Nation blog Roll 'Bama Roll. For lots more on the 2012 NFL Draft, please visit Mocking the Draft. Also be sure to check out Kirkpatrick's draft profile via SBN's YouTube Channel below.
With the No. 16 overall pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the New York Jets have selected former . Coples is the 12th-rated prospect in the draft and the top-ranked defensive end, according to Mocking The Draft's rankings.
Here's what Mocking the Draft had to say about Coples prior to the draft:
Final word: Make no mistake, despite finishing strong against Virginia Tech and Duke, Coples had a down senior season for North Carolina. He had trouble with teams doubling him outside, using chip blocks from running backs and teams sliding protection to his side of the line. Because that may not happen as much in the NFL (at least initially), Coples' down stats may not be as big of a negative as perceived.
Don't forget that Coples spent much of the 2010 season lined up at tackle because of depth issues for the Tar Heels. Playing the inside gap suits Coples' skills much better. He has a good first step to get inside and the power to finish off the play. When lined up at end, Coples just doesn't have the elite speed and athleticism you look for in a 4-3 pass rusher.
For more information about Quinton Coples and the North Carolina Tar Heels, check out Carolina March. For more on the Jets, check out Gang Green Nation. For lots more on the 2012 NFL draft, please visit Mocking the Draft. You can learn more about Coples by watching the video below.
With the 15th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks selected West Virginia Mountaineers defensive end/outside linebacker Bruce Irvin. Irvin is rated as the No. 5 overall outside linebacker in this year's draft, according to Mocking the Draft.
Irvin totaled 40 tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss and eight sacks as a senior defensive end for the Mountaineers. Irvin will likely wind up as an outside linebacker, according to Mocking the Draft:
Bruce Irvin is all about speed and suddenness with the ability to create a ton of pressure. He possesses an explosive first step that allows him to get up field and threaten the edge. [...] Overall, Irvin has all the physical tools to be a dominant pass rusher in the NFL. He is athletic enough to make the adjustment from defensive end to outside linebacker.
With the No. 12 overall pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams have selected former Mocking The Draft's rankings.Brockers is the 21st-rated prospect in the draft and the second-ranked defensive tackle, according to
Here's what Mocking the Draft had to say about Brockers prior to the draft:
Final word: In the 2012 NFL Draft, few players carry as much potential and upside as Brockers, a redshirt sophomore. On a loaded LSU defensive line, Brockers routinely stood out and should transition well to the NFL. At 6-foot-6, Brockers has an impressive frame with a lot of room to grow. Because of his relative inexperience (one season as a full-time starter), he'll need to get drafted on a team that can rotate him in while he develops.
For more information about Michael Brockers and the LSU Tigers, check out And The Valley Shook. For more on the Rams, head over to Turf Show Times. For lots more on the 2012 NFL draft, please visit Mocking the Draft. You can learn more about Brockers by watching the video below.
Floyd had his most impressive year to date in 2011, straightening out his character issues and showing improvement both with his conditioning and in his pass-catching consistency. At 6-foot-3 and 224 pounds, Floyd's size is considered ideal for a wideout in the NFL. He displays good body control and quickness, as well as great field awareness.
For more on Michael Floyd and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, head on over to One Foot Down. For lots more on the 2012 NFL Draft, please visit Mocking the Draft. You can learn more about Floyd by watching the video below.
The Philadelphia Eagles are the latest team to trade up in the 2012 NFL Draft. The Eagles traded up from the 15th pick all the way to the 12th pick, which was owned by the Seattle Seahawks, and they plan to select Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox, one of the top defensive tackle in the draft. The Seahawks picked up the Eagles' fourth and sixth round pick as well.
Moving up three spots wound up being more expensive than a team in the Top 10 moving even higher, as the Jacksonville Jaguars gave up just a 4th round pick to move up two spots. But this gives the Eagles potentially one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, adding another young player who can rush the passer.
In his junior season in 2011, Cox led the Bulldogs with five sacks and picked up 56 tackles during the season. Cox was a starter for 2 1/2 years and helped his team to a pair of bowl wins over that time period. Cox is considered to be an incredible talent with an immense upside.
Cox was considered a potential top-25 pick in the months leading up to the draft and was considered by Mocking the Draft to be the No. 4 defensive tackle prospect available in this year's deep talent pool.
For more information about Fletcher Cox and Mississippi State, please visit For Whom the Cowbell Tolls. For more on the Eagles, head to Bleeding Green Nation. For lots more on the 2012 NFL Draft, please visit Mocking the Draft. You can learn more about Cox by watching the video below.
Poe was projected to be selected in the middle of the first round and was ranked as the No. 5 defensive tackle in this year's draft, according to Mocking the Draft.
Poe is expected to need very little work to become NFL-ready. He needs to improve on the pass rush but is incredibly impressive when stuffing runs. He is incredibly strong, with good hands.
In his collegiate career, Poe put up 101 total tackles, 57 of which were unassisted. He also had five sacks and four forced fumbles.
For more on Dontari Poe and the Memphis Tigers, check out SEC blog Team Speed Kills. For lots more on the 2012 NFL Draft, please visit Mocking the Draft. You can learn more about Poe by watching the video below.
With the No. 10 pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Buffalo Bills selected former South Carolina Gamecocks cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore is rated as the fourth-best prospect at his position and the No. 31 player overall, according to Mocking The Draft's rankings.
Dan Kadar praised Gilmore's ability to break on the ball as well as his long 6-foot, 190-pound frame, which should help him in press coverage.
Final Word: Over the past three seasons at South Carolina, Gilmore started 40 games and finished his career with eight interceptions. South Carolina runs mainly a zone scheme, but typically has five players who can be designated as defensive backs. Because of that, Gilmore has experience in a few spots in the secondary and played some at a hybrid safety/cornerback spot. He should be best in the NFL in a zone scheme, but has the size and athleticism to become a good press corner in time.
For more on Gilmore, be sure to check out the SB Nation blog Garnet And Black Attack. For more on the Bills, head to Buffalo Rumblings. For lots more on the 2012 NFL Draft, please visit Mocking the Draft.
On Friday, the Carolina Panthers selected former Boston College Eagles inside linebacker Luke Kuechly with the ninth overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. Kuechly is the eighth-rated prospect in the draft and the No. 1 inside linebacker, according to Mocking The Draft's rankings
Here's what Mocking the Draft had to say about Kuechly prior to the draft:
Final word: At the college level, Kuechly is arguably the most accomplished player in this year's draft. An All-American each of his three seasons at Boston College, Kuechly led the nation in tackles as a sophomore and junior. He's instinctual and will be able to contribute immediately as a rookie. His upside, though, is limited because he's not the strongest or a natural athlete.
For more information about Luke Kuechly and the Boston College Eagles, check out BC Interruption. For lots more on the 2012 NFL draft, please visit Mocking the Draft. You can learn more about Kuechly by watching the video below.
With the No. 8 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Miami Dolphins selected Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill is the third-rated quarterback and the 22nd overall prospect in the draft, according to Mocking The Draft's rankings.
Tannehill has just over one year of experience as a starting quarterback in college. He played as a wide receiver before making the move for Mike Sherman's Aggies. Here's what Mocking The Draft had to say about Tannehill before the draft.
One of the best ways for me to describe him is; there's not a lot of things Tannehill can't do. He should excel in a west coast offense that includes short and intermediate timing routes when dropping back from under center; and a lot of play-action passes that involve roll-outs and bootlegs which get Tannehill on the move and make the most of his athleticism. He has a natural ability to extend the play, which not many other quarterbacks have coming out of college.
Here's what Mocking the Draft had to say about Barron prior to the draft:
Ball skills: For a safety, Barron has excellent hands. He makes a play on a lot of passes and gets himself into good position to intercept the ball. Had seven interceptions in 2009, his first year as a starter. Finished career with 12 interceptions.
Final word: Barron has nice strength, on-field intelligence and three years of starting experience on the nation's best defense. Although no area of Barron's game is elite, he's fair and away the best safety in the 2012 NFL Draft. He should be able to contribute in the NFL immediately at strong safety. Has had some injury issues. Missed the NFL Combine with a sports hernia. Tore a pectoral muscle in 2010, which knocked him out of the team's bowl game.
For more information about Mark Barron and the Alabama Crimson Tide, please visit Roll 'Bama Roll. For lots more on the 2012 NFL draft, please visit Mocking the Draft. You can learn more about Barron by watching the video below.
With the No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected LSU Tigers cornerback Morris Claiborne. Claiborne finds himself atop the overall cornerback list and is also the top-rated defensive player and the No. 5 overall prospect, according to Mocking the Draft.
Claiborne is a dangerous player on the defensive side of the ball and as a kick or punt returner. Mocking the Draft has seen this potential and predicts great things right away for Claiborne:
For a likely top-five pick, it's incredible that Claiborne could be overshadowed by fellow cornerbacksand . As a pure cover corner, though, Claiborne is better than both. The 2011 Jim Thorpe Award winner combines size and athleticism with a penchant for making a big play on the ball. The high school wide receiver attacks the ball in the air and is a threat to score after picking the ball off. Can be used on kick and punt returns, though this is where Peterson had the advantage.
Has the size, instincts and athleticism to be the first cornerback drafted and start immediately as a rookie in the NFL.
The Dallas Cowboys are the latest team to trade up to the top of the 2012 NFL Draft. The Cowboys traded up from the 14th pick all the way to the sixth pick, which was owned by the St. Louis Rams, and they plan to select LSU's Morris Claiborne, the top cornerback in the draft. The Rams picked up the Cowboys' second round pick as well.
The Rams now have three second round picks in the 2012 NFL Draft and two first round picks in each of the next two drafts. Their method of stockpiling picks is working extremely well.
Moving up eight spots near the top of the draft is very expensive, as the Browns and Jaguars learned earlier in the draft. But this gives the Cowboys potentially one of the best young cornerback tandems with Brandon Carr.
With the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Oklahoma State Cowboys wide receiver Justin Blackmon. Blackmon is the sixth-rated prospect in the draft and the top-rated wide receiver, according to Mocking The Draft's rankings.
Here's what Mocking The Draft had to say about Blackmon before the draft.
Size: Blackmon isn't the biggest wide receiver, but he knows how to use his frame to his advantage. He's strong and knows how to use his strength, which is why many compare him to Anquan Boldin. He's not the tallest wide receiver, though, and looks to have just average arm length.
Speed: One of the things that keeps Blackmon from being considered elite is his lack of top speed. He doesn't have the next gear to break a reception wide open and needs space to get up to top speed.
Final word: Interviews will be important for Blackmon as teams may question his character. He was charged with misdemeanor DUI in 2010 and was suspended for one game. More importantly, they may question him about the Oklahoma State offense. It never required him to learn complicated offensive philosophies, but he was wildly productive. As a junior, he had 121 receptions for 1,522 yards and 18 touchdowns. Comparatively, it was a down season compared to 2010 when he had 111 receptions for 17,82 yards and 20 touchdowns.
For more on Blackmon, head over to Oklahoma State Cowboys blog Cowboys Ride For Free.
With the No. 4 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings selected USC Trojans offensive tackle Matt Kalil. Kalil is rated as the No. 1 offensive tackle and the No. 2 overall prospect, according to Mocking the Draft's rankings.
Final word: Kalil is an optimum left tackle prospect with quick feet, toughness, smarts and a frame that can get much bigger. Because of his size, Kalil may only be scratching the surface of how good he can be. Has the potential to be one of the NFL's top pass blockers early in his career.
How long until he is talked of in greater breath than his brother?
The Jacksonville Jaguars have found their target and they're trading up to get him. According to several reports on Twitter, the Jaguars have struck a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that will send the Bucs' fifth overall pick to the Jaguars for the seventh overall pick. The Jaguars also gave up a fourth round pick to make it happen.
The Jaguars are reportedly targeting Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon. ESPN reported early in the draft that the Jaguars were interested in trading up for Blackmon.
In the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns selected former Alabama Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson with the No. 3 overall pick. Cleveland traded up one spot, swapping picks with the Minnesota Vikings and giving up three other picks to get their man. Richardson was seen as a top-5 selection in most projections leading up to the draft.
Here's what Mocking the Draft had to say about Richardson prior to the draft:
Power: Arguably the strongest running back in the nation, which makes him hard to take down on first contact. Easily works through lazy tackles and often requires more than one player to take him down. When Richardson is running down hill with his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage, he's strong enough to just power over defenders. Richardson is a workout warrior who's weight room ethic translates to the field. According to reports, Richardson can bench press 465 pounds and "easily" squat 600 pounds.
Speed: According to some timed reports at Alabama, Richardson runs in the 4.4 range. More importantly, he plays up to that speed. Most fast running backs need an open lane to get up to speed. Not Richardson. His high-end speed comes as immediately as any running back the past few years.
Vision: Displays good patience behind the line of scrimmage to wait on a hole to develop. When there isn't one, Richardson is smart enough to try and get to the outside. Consistently keeps his legs moving after contact and has the power to extend plays a few yards. Because of that, Richardson will be able to take the ball in short-yardage situations. Likes to engage contact. That served Richardson well in college, but may not in the NFL.
For more information about Richardson and the Alabama Crimson Tide, please visit Roll 'Bama Roll. For lots more on the 2012 NFL draft, please visit Mocking the Draft. You can learn more about Richardson by watching the video below.
With the second pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected Baylor Bears quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin is the No. 2 quarterback in this draft class, behind only No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck, according to most rankings (including Mocking the Draft's).
Griffin is one of the supreme athletes in this draft and should be an impact quarterback, as Mocking the Draft writes, but there is a downside that comes with Griffin's ability:
Griffin has a great arm and delivers passes to all parts of the field. Like most current college systems, Baylor's offense called for Griffin to take a play and go with it. There wasn't a lot of audibles or pre-snap adjustments. Griffin knew where he wanted to throw the ball and did so. If he didn't, he was allowed to pull the ball and make plays with his feet.
One of the knocks you'll often read about Griffin is about his size — listed at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds. That's a similar size to Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, but he doesn't take hits like Griffin does. Because of that, you'll always wonder about Griffin's long-term health.
With the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts selected Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck is the No. 1 overall prospect in the draft, according to Mocking the Draft's rankings.
Luck has long been expected to be the No. 1 overall selection, even after the rise of Baylor Robert Griffin III. Mocking the Draft sees little doubt as to why Luck was to be the correct choice:quarterback
Final word: It's difficult to offer a fresh outlook on Andrew Luck. He's been anointed the past two seasons as a once-a-decade quarterback prospect. His ceiling as a player may not be as high as Robert Griffin's, but he comes out of college much more ready for the NFL. If for no other reason, that's why he should be the No. 1 pick in the draft.
Now, Luck has to create his own way in the NFL, and he must do so in the shadow of one of the best ever: Peyton Manning. Luck surely appears up to that task.
For more on Luck, check out Stanford blog Rule of Tree. For lots more on the 2012 NFL Draft, please visit Mocking the Draft. Also be sure to check out Luck's draft profile via SBN's YouTube Channel below.
The Minnesota Vikings have already traded once in the 2012 NFL draft, trading the third overall selection to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for the No. 4 choice and several later-round picks. According to several reports, they could be trading again. The Jacksonville Jaguars, slated to pick seventh, are reportedly talking with the Vikings about moving up in order to select Oklahoma St. Cowboys wide receiver Justin Blackmon.
Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith "covets" Blackmon but they won't overpay for the pick, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen. To move up from No. 4 to No. 3, the Browns gave up fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round picks, so it would be expensive for the Jaguars to move up.
For the Vikings, trading down twice and picking up numerous picks while still receiving a high-caliber player would represent a heck of a deal.
The NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday night.
The Cleveland Browns have moved up one spot in the 2012 NFL draft in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings. The Browns sent the fourth overall pick, along with fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round picks (Nos. 118, 139 and 211 overall, respectively) in order to acquire the Vikings' third overall pick.
The target, according to FOX's Jay Glazer, is former Alabama Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson. The Browns would only agree to a trade like this if they were concerned another team could leapfrog them into the third spot and take their desired player. There was speculation that the Buccaneers could move up from the fifth to the third overall pick to select Richardson.
All things considered, three mid- and late-round draft picks aren't such a bad price to pay to secure the player you want, if the player works out.
It's been officially confirmed that Andrew Luck will be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, and there's also little suspense on what the terms of his contract will be once the Indianapolis Colts make it official on Thursday night. The former Stanford Cardinal quarterback is expected to sign a four-year deal worth just over $22 million. Via ESPN's Adam Schefter:
When No. 1 overall picks Andrew Luck signs with Indianapolis, it is expected to be a four-year deal worth just over $22 million.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 26, 2012
Under the new CBA, agreed upon last summer, there's very little room for the agents of draft picks to negotiate. The Colts should have Luck signed pretty quickly, agreeing to a deal that will be a slight increase over what Cam Newton got from Carolina as last year's No. 1 pick.
It's the day of the NFL draft, so you know the rumors are coming out in full force. Earlier on Thursday, a report stated that the New England Patriots had contacted the Seattle Seahawks to talk about what it would take to move up to the 12th pick in the draft, which the Seahawks own. Calls like that are made often between teams in the lead up to the NFL draft, so it seemed plausible that it happened.
But the Patriots' Twitter account disputed with the report, which came from NFL Network's Albert Breer. The Pats tweeted: "The Patriots have not spoken w/ Seattle about moving up to the #12 pick."
The only way we'll find out will come when the Seahawks turn in the card when the 12th pick comes up.
It has been known for some time now that the No. 1 pick in Thursday's 2012 NFL draft will be Andrew Luck. It has also been assumed, ever since they traded up to secure the draft's No. 2 overall selection, that the Washington Redskins would pick former Baylor Bears quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III.
Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk reports that Redskins general manager Bruce Allen confirmed Thursday on the NFL Network's "2012 NFL Draft Kickoff Show" that Griffin will go to the Redskins at No. 2.
"[W]e think that Robert fits our offense to a tee," Allen said. "We’re excited about being able to complement him with what we’ve already been able to do with some of his special talents. Obviously his charisma is going to be embraced by the Redskins Nation."
Now that this officially puts to rest the speculation about Luck and Griffin, the attention can firmly turn to the rest of the field.
For all news and information regarding the Baylor Our Daily Bears. For updates and perspective on the Washington Redskins, check out Hogs Haven. For lots more on the 2012 NFL Draft, please visit Mocking the Draft.and Robert Griffin III, head on over to
Thursday night's opening round of the 2012 NFL draft is fast approaching. As the No. 1 selection draws near, the rumors and buzz are only becoming more intense.
Adam Schefter of ESPN has reported that there are still quite a number of teams looking to entertain trade offers for moving up or down in the draft, as well as teams trying to learn all they can about prospects at the 11th hour.
Schefter reports that Baylor Kendall Wright has many teams doing last-minute work and trying to figure out when (or whether) they will decide to target him.wide receiver
Teams reportedly willing to trade up in the order if the right player is available include the Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers.
Teams who may be willing to trade down in the order for the right price include the Minnesota Vikings (who currently hold the No. 3 overall pick), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 5 overall), Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets and Detroit Lions.
For lots more on the 2012 NFL draft, you can always visit Mocking the Draft.
The first round of the 2012 NFL Draft will finally take place on Sunday. The Buffalo Bills are sitting pretty with the No. 10 pick overall, but some later rumors suggested that the team might be interested in trading up in the order.
Bills general manager Buddy Nix spoke to Chris Brown at the official Bills website and says he's unsure of how these rumors got started:
"I dont have any idea how that came up because there's no validity to it. We haven't expressed any interest in moving either way. Our answer every time has been we'll listen. "
Nix says that the team is willing to listen to any offers, but at present, they would be more likely to move down in the draft order, rather than up.
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