I'll be honest: I'm a Seahawks fan, first and foremost. I love watching football -- and I certainly try to follow as much information on the game that I can find -- but a majority of my interest filters through my love of my favorite team. As a Seahawks fan, I have a decent idea who they'll draft at #12 (now that the QB position has been taken care of, WOO HOO), but I can't say I'm completely familiar with the wants and needs of the other 31 teams.
What I'm going to do is mock the first 12 picks in the 2012 NFL Draft -- and apologies in advance to fans of the teams picking ahead of Seattle -- and I invite you, fans of other NFL teams, to recommend in the comments who your team should pick....although I'd recommend you recommend more than one player, since a team ahead of you could pick that pick first. And in a few days (today being Sunday, March 18th) I'll update this Fanpost with the rest of OUR mock draft.
Note: Though I'll listen to all suggestion, bear in mind that it's not 100% guaranteed I'll use your recommendation. Let's get started!
The Indianapolis Colts select QB Andrew Luck
Obviously-iest? Probably not, but still pretty obvious.
Here's the first speed bump of the draft. This pick could go a number of different directions, but I'm pretty sure it boils down to Richardson and Justin Blackmon. While the need for receiver is (slightly) greater than running back, and Montario Hardesty, when healthy, appears to be decent, Richardson just appears to be so much better than any other RB available, more so than Blackmon compared to the rest of the receivers that the Browns could get at #22.
Also, consider that the last time Mike Holmgren (as GM of the aforementioned Seahawks) drafted a receiver in the 1st round, he picked Koren Robinson, a complete bust; the last time Holgren drafted a RB in the 1st round -- out of Alabama, no less- he picked Shaun Alexander, who turned out much, much better. That might end up being the deciding factor in where this pick goes.
BPA and fits a need.
Grrrrrrrreat. The Rams essentially get 2 future 1st round picks AND another 2nd rounder this year....just to draft the same guy the would have picked if they stayed at #2. Nothing I hate more than seeing a division rival prosper.
Honestly, I don't get the Jaguars. They rarely seem to pick who I think they should pick, so expect me to get this one wrong (although I think Ingram is good enough to be picked this high). They need a receiver more but I don't see them reaching on Floyd; probably the most likely team to trade out of the Top 10. *shrugs*
Seems like the obvious pick, now that Matt Flynn has signed with the Seahawks (did I mention WOO HOO?). Hard foe the Dolphins to pass on a receiver or right tackle, but the Tannehill/Mike Sherman connection just looks like the perfect fit. With the trade of Brandon Marshall, Miami may be in full rebuild-mode now.
Maybe this pick should be Dontari Poe, which might fill a bigger need than a 2nd pass rusher to play opposite Charles Johnson. However, I think the Panthers can still get a good DT in the 2ns round, while none of the top pass rushers in this draft will fall that far (although if one were to fall, it'd be Coples)..
Coples is the bold choice for Carolina, and after hitting the jackpot with Cam Newton last year, that might encourage some boldness this year.
The Buffalo Bills select OT Riley Reiff.
Not a sexy pick, for sure, but after landing Mario Williams it might be wise to use the 1st round pick to attend to the other side of the ball, where the o-line is the biggest concern.
The Chiefs are in the catbird's seat (does anyone use that expression anymore?) in regards to, essentially, having first pick at all the "2nd tier" players in this draft. I could certainly see David DeCastro going here, but it just seems a touch too early for him. Maybe I'm being overly influenced by the Eric Winston signing; really, this pick is a total toss-up.
Let's just get this out of the way now, so that the rest of this interactive mock draft can move forward: DeCastro makes a lot more sense for the Chiefs than Kuetchly, so let's just make this change now. I'm sure Peyton Hillis will be glad to have this guy up front and opening holes for him.
Unless the Seahawks sign Kamerion Wimbley, pass rush is still the biggest need for Seattle, and after re-singing Red Bryant that pass rusher will (almost) certainly not be another regular DE. Pete Carroll doesn't not employ a traditional 4-3 defense, and something tells me he's willing to alter the look even further to get another pass rusher on the field. The Seahawks already have a stout run defense and a secondary full of young and promising talent, and an improved pass rush could turn this unit into one of the game's elite (maybe).
(all team logos via i.nflcdn.com)
I look forward to continuing this mock draft, after hearing from all of you.
UPDATE #1 (3/19/2012):: As you might have already noticed, I have changed the pick by the Chiefs, from Luke Kuechly to David DeCastro. I'm convinced that a team running a 3-4 defense won't draft Kuechly, at least this early in the draft. I hope this pick, in some small way, makes up for Peyton Manning signing with the Broncos. Ouch.
UPDATE #2 (3/20/2012): Looks like I might not here from fans of some of the next few teams, so I'll go ahead and continue my mock for 8 more picks, and see what kind of response is given. If you don't like one of these picks, feel free to convince me otherwise!
The Arizona Cardinals select OT Jonathan Martin.
Offensive line seems to be the biggest need for this team, and it came down to choosing either Martin or guard Cody Glenn. In the end Martin was higher up on my "draft board" -- and a good tackle is generally rated higher than guards -- so he's the pick.
Even with the signing of Brandon Carr, Kirkpatrick might still be a need as well as a BPA here at pick #14. If only there were more David DeCastros to go around....
Unless he gets picked earlier, Michael Floyd is either going to the Eagles or the Jets....as much as I think Eagles fans would prefer Floyd, I just can't do it after the re-signed DeSean Jackson, and could very well be signing Plaxico Burress, as well (not to mention Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant). The Eagles linebackers don't look terribly impressive, sorry, and Kuechly looks to be a perfect fit here, I think.
Newest Eagle DeMeco Ryans forces my hand here, so the Dream Team gets even dreamier with the 2nd-best receiver in the draft....unless Eagles fans convince me that they'll take someone else (hint hint).
After brief rentals with Burress and Braylon Edwards, it's about time the Jets settle down with a young receiver of their own, to line up opposite Santonio Holmes. I still think the Jets need another running back to challenge the disappointing Shonn Greene, but it's still a little too early for any of the not-Trent Richardsons to be picked.
If Floyd is off the board by this pick, my first inclination is that the Jets will either trade up (for Trent Richardson) or trade down (when they won't be reaching for one of the other running backs or receivers that they might like). If they stay put I think they'll go pass rusher, and the best rusher on the board (that would be a good fit for the Jets D) is USC's Nick Perry. Maybe if I knew that the Jets really, REALLY loved Doug Martin or David Wilson or Lamar Smith or Kendall Wright or Stephen Hill more than any other than I'd project a reach here, but Perry seems more like a good fit at #16 than those other guys.
The Bengals own 2 of the next 5 picks, and of any of the players Cincy might be looking at at these two spots, Glenn is (probably) the most likely to be gone before pick #21. Running back certainly seems to be the team's biggest need, but with all that cap money they have they haven't made a peep about any of the available guys out there, like Michael Bush. Will they wait to bring in a running back when free agency dies down? Will they trade for a back, like Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart or DeAngelo Williams? Or maybe it'll be their next pick....
Like the Jags and Panthers, I just can't get a read on AJ Smith and the Chargers; Whitney Mercilius seems like the safe pick here, and the Bolts sure could use another pass rusher, but they aren't exactly light at the DE and OLB positions (Corey Liuget, Larry English, Jarrett Johnson), while they seem quite bereft in the secondary (even after signing former Seahawk Atari Bigby). This might not be the best pick for the Chargers, but Barron could make the biggest bang for San Diego's buck.
The Chicago Bears select DE Whitney Mercilius.
After trading for Brandon Marshall, getting another end to start opposite Julius Peppers appears to be the Bears biggest need, and in this scenario they get to choose between Mercilius and Nick Perry. It appears that the local product is the higher-ranked prospect, so it's a slam dunk pick.
The Tennessee Titans select CB Janoris Jenkins.
Like most of the teams picking 10-20, the Titans could really use some youth in their offensive line, but after checking and re-checking our inventory, we're still out of David DeCastros. I just can't bear to reach for Peter Konz here, so getting a replacement for Cortland Finnegan seems like the best course of action here.
Soooo....20 down, 12 more to go. Let me know what you think of the picks so far, as well as what you think the rest of the 1st round will look like.
UPDATE #3 (3/20/12): With the trade of DeMeco Ryans to the Eagles, once again Luke Kuechly is on the move, and now (through no fault of his own) has fallen outside my Top 20. Eagles fans rejoice!/Jets fans don't rejoice! Michael Floyd now moves up to the #15 pick, Nick Perry takes over at #16, and the rest of the draft, as of now, remains unchanged.