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Daniel's 2012 NFL Mock Draft (1/25/12)
# record / opp.%
1. Colts 2-14 .539 – Andrew Luck (QB) Stanford
“REALLY?!! You can’t be more original than that?!” Sorry, NO, I can’t. Every year there are QB’s with great size and arm strength. And with the premium placed on QB’s, every year those prospects are reached for far too early. So what is an NFL scout to do: focus on a prospect’s physical tools, his intangibles, or his track record of production? So finally this tall, strong armed cat, with all the size, tools, leadership qualities, strong productivity (in a Brady-esque fashion), and just that…..certain something…….that… LUCK.. that makes him possibly the best pro prospect since- not Manning- since John Elway, comes along. Ummmm, yes, I have him being picked #1. Sorry.
2. Redskins (from: Rams 2-14 .590)- Robert Griffin lll (QB) Baylor
I normally wouldn’t project trades in a mock draft almost 3 months ahead of time, but in this case, the rest of my mock wouldn’t make as much sense without this likely scenario. First of all, RGlll will not make it past pick #4 (Browns for now), but with the premium on QBs and the desperation of many of these early selection teams for a franchise signal caller, I can’t see him lasting past the 2nd pick.
In my mind, Luck and RGlll are 1 and 1a. The only difference between them is 2 inches, 20 lbs, and the all-powerful hype machine that goes by the initials: ESPN. Perhaps it’s that Luck is so similar in nearly every way to Peyton- the guy whose job he will take- while RGlll is unique for the most part. How do people NOT consider this guy an ELITE prospect? He has elite arm strength, nearly elite accuracy, elite escapability, elite intelligence, and definitely an elite “IT” factor. Dude’s got it! RGlll is ELITE!!!
3. Vikings 3-13 .559- Matt Kalil- (OT) USC
The Vikings are hoping that the QB frenzy leaves them in position to draft a cornerstone Left Tackle to protect the backside of promising young Christian Ponder. The Vikes are going to need a healthy Ponder to grow in confidence and competence to compete in a Division with Rodgers, Stafford and Cutler throwing it around. And Matt Kalil is nearly a sure thing to be an elite-level Tackle for years to come.
4. Browns 4-12 .531- Trent Richardson- (RB) Alabama
With the pounding that RBs take, and their short shelf life (ask the Brown’s own Peyton Hillis), it’ rare these days for a RB to even be taken in the first round, much less in the Top 5. However, a strong running game IS still paramount (especially in a division like the AFC North and with an environment like Cleveland has) and Richardson is a special talent. He had a better season and is a better RB than his former Heisman-winning teammate Mark Ingram. Richardson has the best power/speed combo that we’ve seen since Adrian Peterson- and without the injury history AP had at draft time.
If things fall the way I envision, the Browns would have to give up significant value in order to move up for one of the 2 stud QBs. I feel like they are better suited, and more likely, to go into next year with a serviceable QB (McCoy) and a young, stud RB (Richarson), and build from there.
5. Buccaneers 4-12 .551- Morris Claiborne (CB) LSU
Morris Claiborne is certainly the best CB prospect available in this year’s draft. He played wingman, across from Patrick Peterson, last year’s #5 selection. And, while perhaps not the physical freak athlete that Peterson is, Claiborne may be a better Cornerback fundamentally and tactically. He does have good size at 6’, 180 lbs, and he has the agility and straightline speed that you want from a true shutdown Corner. Look at Darell Revis. He doesn’t have the elite athleticism that some of the backup CBs in the NFL have- but he’s elite fundamentally, mentally and has elite awareness, making him one of the best players at any position in the NFL. This is the type of prospect that Morris Claiborne is…..potentially.
The Bucs could go a few directions here. If Richardson slips he would be very enticing, as they could certainly use an upgrade, or at least a sidekick to the enigmatic Legarette Blount. However, I have CB being their most pressing need. Rhonde Barber is OLD and they might get a call at any time to come and bail Aquib Talib out of jail. But, you have to figure 1 of those 2 can still come in next year and be a solid contributor and drafting Claiborne would solve the other half of the starting CB puzzle.
6. Rams (from Redskins 5-11 .477)- Justin Blackmon (WR) Oklahoma State
Clearly the best WR in this draft class, Blackmon has the speed to score every time he touches the ball and stretch defenses vertically. But also, the man’s a beast- a tough and physical player who runs great routes and thrives in the short to intermediate part of the field. Think about a well-behaved, young Terell Owens.
The Rams are thrilled at this working out, as they would’ve chosen Blackmon #2 if not for the Redskins’ zeal for RGlll.
7. Jaguars 5-11 .500- Quinton Coples (DE) North Carolina
Quinton Coples is a clone of fellow former Tar Heel Julius Peppers, and he is pretty darn good guy to be a clone of. He’s a huge (6’6”, 272), powerful, explosive Defensive End who could absolutely dictate the game in a 4/3 set, and probably bulk up enough to be a really good ¾ end too. The only question marks are the typical UNC stereotypes- work ethic, poor motor, football IQ, etc. But none of these issues have come to fruition yet, so they are just that- unfair stereotypes. This guy is as good as it gets for a DE prospect.
*8/9. Panthers 6-10 .504- Riley Reiff (OT) Iowa
*8/9. Dolphins 6-10 .504- Jonathan Martin (OT) Stanford
10. Bills 6-10 .520 – Courtney Upshaw (OLB/DE) Alabama
*11/12. Chiefs 7-9 .512- Dre Kirkpatrick (CB) Alabama
Dre Kirkpatrick has all the physical traits and skills to be one of the best Cornerbacks in the NFL for a long time. At 6’3”, 190, he still has the rare quickness and burst to truly shut down the other team’s best WR. And with the league trending to taller and stronger receivers he has the build to match even the biggest receivers. And he has proven his ability and field awareness against the best the SEC has to offer. The only question is a “small” character issue involving pot and the law. Hopefully this can be resolved quickly and thoroughly.
While CB may not be the Chiefs biggest need, consider what adding a talent like Dre AND essentially “adding” a superstar Safety in Eric Berry (post injury) would do for your Defense!
*11/12. Seahawks 7-9 .512 – Nick Foles (QB) Arizona
“What?! Who in the F…oles is Nick Foles?” I hear you Seahawks fans. What can I say? You don’t have much of a choice, and Foles is the best option outside of the Big 2 this year. Would you prefer for your franchise to be led by either Tavaris Jackson/Charlie Whitehurst- who are both proven (to suck)- or by the unproven Nick Foles, who possesses the tools that Pete Carroll can likely turn into a star?
Foles is a big (6’5”, 247), strong-armed QB with the intellect and leadership traits that are so important in a franchise signal caller. However, his accuracy and pocket- awareness are merely above average, and he lacks the mobility to avoid any type of pass rush. However, all-in-all, Foles has the raw ability and the tools to be a calculated but wise 1st or 2nd round risk/reward pick.
13. Cardinals 8-8 .469 - Cordy Glenn (OG) Georgia
14. Cowboys 8-8 .473- Mark Barron (S) Alabama
15. Eagles 8-8 .488- Luke Keuchly (ILB) Boston College
16. Jets 8-8 .500- David DeCastro (OG) Stanford
17. Bengals- (from: Raiders-x 8-8 .504)- Whitney Mercillus (OLB/DE) Illinois
18. Chargers 8-8 .516- Dontari Poe (DT) Memphis
19. Bears 8-8 .527- Michael Floyd (WR) Notre Dame
I'm mocking Floyd (of otherwise Jeffery) to the Bears with the utmost confidence that this is the direction they SHOULD go in this draft. However, after seeing them try to squeeze playoff- level production from 5'9" former Cornerbacks as their starting WRs, I wouldn't exactly bet my lunch money on them doing the right thing this year. The Bears got really old really fast and they have needs all over the field, including the offensive line. I believe that the NFC North is the best Division in all of football, and that is definitely true of the pass rushers. Cutler has to face Jered Allen, Clay Matthews, and Ndamakong Suh on a weekly basis. So, yes, they do need help on the O-line to keep him healthy, but he also needs someone to get the ball to, who can also do something with it.
I'm a huge Michigan Wolverines fan and let me tell you, I hate Michael Floyd! The dude is GOOOD! He has the size (6'3",230), strength, and speed to be a stud #1 receiver for as long as he can stay healthy. But that's his main knock: can he stay healthy? He was dominant during his Junior and Senior seasons, except he missed large parts of each season with injury. Also, like many big, strapping WRs it's easy for him to appear lethargic on the field, nearing apathy with his effort.
But, you can't teach Size, Strength, Speed and Talent- and Michael Floyd is loaded.
20. Titans 9-7 .563 – Devon Still (DT) Penn St.
21. Bengals 9-7 .492 – Janoris Jenkins (CB) North Alabama
22. Browns- (from: Falcons-y 10-6 .480)- Melvin Ingram (DE/OLB) South Carolina
23. Lions 10-6 .535- Zebrie Sanders (OT) Florida St.
“Really? Why? The Lions had one of the best Offenses in the NFL last season and one of the worst Defenses. Why would they draft an offensive player?” Well, I’m a Lions’ fan and I’ll tell you why. Matthew Stafford is (nearly) an ELITE QB and he proved that he is NOT a china doll this year. However, the Lions play in ultra competitive NFC North (with guys like Julius Peppers, Jered Allen, and Clay Matthews) and they ABSOLUTELY need to keep him upright! (with another good offseason) The Lions could be a Super Bowl contender next year WITH Stafford, but they don't even make the playoffs without him. So Yeah, it's a need! Jeff Backus has been a serviceable LT for the Lions for many, many years and was one one of the best players on those teams. But that was back when he was younger and more talented, and the Lions were absolutely TERRIBLE!! Now he is one their biggest liabilities- and at a crucial position. Not to mention that he had a nasty torn bicep muscle the last game of the year. But never mind that he might not be ready at the start of next season, Left Offensive Tackle was a glaring need for the Lions to begin with, so- yes- it makes a LOT of sense for the Detroit Lions to fill this need at Offensive Tackle in the 1st Round.
Sanders has prototypical size for a LT, 6’5” 296, with long arms and above average athleticism. He is intelligent, a hard worker, and has a bit of a mean streak. These things alone, you have the makings of potential star in the making, and a 1st round draft pick. Add to this that he is a Good Pass Blocker and a Very Good Run Blocker already. Very good prospect.
24. Steelers 12-4 .492 – Dont’a Hightower (ILB) Alabama
25. Broncos 8-8 .520 – Fletcher Cox (DT) Mississippi St.
26. Texans 10-6 .516 – Alshon Jeffery (WR) South Carolina
Vontaze Intimidation?!!!! YEAH!!!
27. Patriots-(from: Saints-z 13-3 .508)- Michael Brockers (DT/DE) LSU
28. Packers 15-1 .508- Alfonzo Dennard- (CB) Nebraska
29. Ravens- Vontaze Burfict (ILB) Arizona St.
Ray Lewis says he’ll be back for 1 more season. The Ravens need to groom his replacement- as impossible as that may be. They need to find someone who can not only walk the walk, but- for this team- as importantly, TALK THE TALK. This guy is about as close of a clone to Lewis as we’ve seen in awhile.
Burfict is nearly as unstable and dangerous as he is dynamic and productive. But he’s physical, emotional, and has a blue collar work ethic. And he does these things so dynamically that others are forced to follow, if not only to save pride. He toes the line, and sure, sometimes crosses it, but that’s kind of what makes the Ravens franchise so special.
If Burfict slips to the Ravens at this spot, this is nearly as certain of a pick as Luck to the Colts.
30. 49ers- Mohammed Sanu (WR) Rutgers
31. Giants- Zach Brown (OLB) North Carolina
32. Patriots- Nick Perry (OLB/DE) USC