2012 Mock Draft, Version 1.0

With the 2012 off-season now unofficially underway, I figured I'd post my first mock of the off-season. A thousand different people will do mocks a thousand different ways. My preference, especially pre-combine and free agency is to set up mock drafts that tend toward "best player available" approaches rather than sticking too closely to perceived team needs. This mock isn't insensitive to team needs, but it's certainly not finely tailored. In other words, this mock basically features what I think are the top 32 prospects available based on what I've read.

I have noted some places where I think teams may be open to trading, but do not incorporate trades. Each selection features the player I think is the best option (with some consideration of team needs) for the team at that spot.

As always comments and feedback welcome. With my work schedule I'll jump in and jump out of discussion throughout the week.

Mock after the jump.

Team Player/Position School Comments
1. IND Andrew Luck, QB Stanford Indy will issue the standard non-denial denials but this writing has been on the wall for quite some time. What may well determine the success of THIS version of the Colts is what they do AFTER this selection.
2. STL Matt Kalil, OT USC This pick is a prime candidate for trade. Right now, Kalil is the consensus best non-QB, but I have never seen him listed above 300#. I have my concerns about a sub-300# blindside blocker.
3. MIN Robert Griffin III, QB Baylor I think the Vikings will go best player available regardless of position, and Ponder will not deter them from RGIII if they think he is the guy.
4. CLE Morris Claiborne, CB LSU CLE will be tempted to select Trent Richardson, but will opt instead to take the similarly or better-rated Claiborne. He can continue their transformation to an elite pass defense.
5. TB Trent Richardson, RB Alabama Tampa desperately needs a homer run hitter at a skill position.
6. WAS Justin Blackmon, WR Ok. State WAS is likely in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes until it is settled. Either way I don't think they reach for Ryan Tannehill. Blackmon is the last of the consensus elite prospects.
7. JAC Devon Still, DT Penn St. Jacksonville needs WR help, but Gene Smith won't reach. If they can't trade down picking Still could make that defense even uglier.
8. CAR* Quinton Coples, DE UNC This is a gamble CAR almost has to take. Even with a healthy Charles Johnson they couldn't create pressure. Whether through FA and/or the draft, CAR must find pass rush this off-season. Coples has flashed elite all-around ability, but questions about his motor persist.
9. MIA* Kendall Wright, WR Baylor It's hard to know which way MIA will head before they settle their QB situation, most likely with a FA. Wright is at worst a mild reach in the top 10, and brings an element of speed they lack outside Reggie Bush.
10. BUF Jonathan Martin, OT Stanford I suspect Buffalo will take their pick of the two remaining first round OT's.
11. KC* Brock Osweiler, QB Arizona St. I expect Osweiler to work his way firmly into the first round discussion by early spring. He is a project, but he has elite upside. Add to that, the Chiefs have been clear about wanting Matt Cassell to compete, and may also be in the FA QB market.
12. SEA* Courtney Upshaw, OLB Alabama Rob Staton at the inestimable Seahawks Draft Blog has just worn me down on Upshaw. He could give this heavy jumbo defense a sustainable long-term outlook if SEA can find more range at LB and somehow find a 3-tech.
13. ARI Reilly Reiff, OT Iowa The Cards will be fortunate if Reiff or Martin falls this far. Either OT would help cure what ails them, regardless of who ends up at QB for them.
14. DAL Michael Brockers, DT LSU For all the (justified) focus on Rob Ryan, the 'Boys have gotten long in the tooth--especially up front. I think Brockers profiles as a 5-tech, and is a live body who will create enough ruckus to free up pass rushers. (Now, don't be shocked if they select Janoris Jenkins, the CB.)
15. PHI Luke Kuechly, LB Boston Col. I haven't seen much BC the past couple years, but the writeups make Kuechly sound like Jonathan Vilma--undersized tackling machine.
16. NYJ Nick Perry, OLB USC The Jets are another Ryan-led defense starting to show some age. The Jets can work Perry in as a specialist early on and groom him to take over. He seems tailor-made for this scheme, at least on the surface.
17. CIN Dre Kirkpatrick, CB Alabama Kirkpatrick is a big corner who excels in run support but struggles some in coverage. Cincy doesn't need an immediate starter but could stand to upgrade depth, and Kirkpatrick is as good a fit with Cincy as with any defense.
18. SD David DeCastro, G Stanford With Kris Dielman having missed most of the season, and his future very much in doubt, San Diego is delighted to see DeCastro fall to them.
19. CHI Janoris Jenkins, CB N. Alabama The former Florida Gator was kicked off the team after a second marijuana arrest in a four month span. The decision-making more than the weed has some teams afraid to risk selecting him early. He's also undersized. As a prospect he fits Lovie Smith's defense to a tee--speedy and physical with excellent instincts.
20. TEN Mark Barron, SS Alabama TEN is desparate for pass rush help, but there isn't a bona fide 4-3 end available. Chris Hope is a FA and Barron could step in and start right away if needed.
21. CIN Jerel Worthy, DT Mich. St. Worthy has big upside as a 3-tech. He is disruptive though inconsistent, which is common with DTs.
22. CLE Michael Adams, OT Oh. State I am really tempted to pull the trigger on Malcolm Floyd. Really tempted. Holmgren will be too. Instead, I have CLE drafting an immediate or eventual replacement for Tony Pashos at RT.
23. DET Alfonzo Dennard, CB Nebraska Dennard is a physical corner who can play some bump and run. He seems to fit Detroit's defense.
24. PIT Dontari Poe, NT Memphis Pittsburgh started to show some wear and age on defense that was probably exacerbated by their transformation to an uptempo offense. Poe has the build to be a compliment and eventual successor to the great Casey Hampton.
25. DEN Dwayne Allen, TE Clemson The perfect security blanket for a developing QB is a tight end who can play in the running game or the passing game. Allen is a traditional TE that can make some WOW plays in the passing game, though he lacks blazing speed.
26. HOU Malcolm Floyd, WR Notre Dame Floyd compares favorably to Vincent Jackson. He has an excellent size speed ratio. Off-field incidents involving alcohol will lead to some teams to question his maturity.
27. NE Peter Konz, C Wisconsin Current starter, Dan Koppen is an UFA and may not be in the plans for a long-term deal. Konz has all-pro potential, and would provide NE with power from the interior line they currently lack.
28. GB Melvin Ingram, OLB S. Carolina Ingram's versatility is intriguing. His limited production over the course of his college career is troublesome. He's a bit of a tweener, but athletic and studious. He anchors well against the run and has the makings of a good pass rush arsenal. He's an unfinished product who could be a player.
29. BAL Cordy Glenn, G/T Georgia Glenn is a physically enormous prospect, but very athletic. He played guard and both tackle positions at Georgia.
30. SF Mohamed Sanu, WR Rutgers Sanu is redundant with Crabtree to some extent, but the 49ers need depth.
31. NE Whitney Mercilus, DE Illinois With Andre Carter getting along in years, NE is in a position to gamble on something of a one-year wonder with a nice arsenal of pass rush moves but lacks elite tools.
32. NYG Fletcher Cox, DT Miss. State Cox is a classic three technique with a nice first step who could stand to go to a team where he can rotate in early in his career while he puts on a little weight.
*Order for Panthers/Dolphins and Chiefs/Seahawks to be determined by coin flip at the NFL Combine in March
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