With the draft quickly approaching, I thought that I’d better unveil my 2012 NFL Mock Draft 1.0.
A couple of things to keep in mind, the draft is deep at wide receiver, the running backs will slide and you’ll have bunch of hybrid defensive end/linebackers. Alabama, the reigning national champs, will likely have five players selected in the first round.
Georgia offensive tackle Cordy Glenn and Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill have been invited to New York and won’t be in the green room long.
We have the Cleveland Browns selecting tight end Coby Fleener with the 22nd pick they received from the Falcons in the Julio Jones trade.
Also, we are projecting the Falcons to select California offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz with the 55 pick overall in the second round.
Apparently, this is the year to find a wide receiver. There are plenty of receivers after Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd, Hill, Baylor’s Kendall Wright and LSU’s Rueben Randle.
South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery, Illinois A.J. Jenkins and Rutgers’ Mohamed Sanu are also highly regarded.
Once you get past the top tier, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper likes Appalachian State’s Brian Quick and Wisconsin’s Nick Toon.
“If you want a slot guy in the third round or fourth round select (T.Y.) Hilton out of Florida International,” Kiper said. “If you want a second round big receiver, (a team) can take Marvin McNutt out of the University of Iowa. A mid-round guy is Danny Cole out of Virginia Tech.”
Kiper has Liberty’s Chris Summers and South Dakota State’s Dale Moss on his late-round sleeper list.
Kiper and Todd McShay, also an ESPN draft analyst, actually concur on a key point about the receivers.
“There is a lot of depth in this class,” McShay said.
Here’s a look at Mock 1.0:
1. Indianapolis: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: “I think Andrew Luck is the most dynamic quarterbacking talent to come out since John Elway, as a prospect,” said former NFL head coach Brian Billick.
2. Washington: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: The Heisman winner can run, but looks to pass first.
3. Minnesota: Matt Kalil, LT, Southern California: His older brother , Ryan, is the Pro Bowl center for the Carolina Panthers.
4. Cleveland: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama: The Browns need to provide quarterback Colt McCoy with a major weapon.
5. Tampa Bay: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU: The Bucs need help in the secondary.
6. St. Louis: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State: He’s a play-maker that the Rams lack.
7. Jacksonville: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina: Jags take the best player available. They can get receiver help later because the draft is deep at that position.
8. Miami: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M:
He will be reunited with his college head coach Mike Sherman, Miami’s new offensive coordinator.
9. Carolina: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State: The Panthers have to fortify the middle of their defense.
10. Buffalo: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame: After addressing defense in free agency, coach Chan Gailey gets some help for the offense.
11. Kansas City: Riley Reiff, LT, Iowa: He’s the second best tackle in the draft.
12. Seattle: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina: He could develop into a Pro Bowler.
13. Arizona: Cordy Glenn, LT, Georgia: Scouts have fallen in love with how he battle back from a rough start last season.
14. Dallas: Mark Barron, S, Alabama: The secondary must be addressed.
15. Philadelphia: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU: They have to put some beef in the middle of the wide-tackle-nine defense.
16. New York: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama: “I think his stock has dropped a little bit after the combine,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said.
17. Cincinnati: Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama: “The improvement since he’s a couple of years removed from the knee injury in terms of big plays was monumental,” Kiper said.
18. San Diego: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford: He’s the top rated guard in the draft ahead of Wisconsin’s Kevin Zeitler.
19. Chicago: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina: He is a scheme-fit for Coach Lovie Smith’s cover-two zone.
20. Tennessee: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama: “Dre Kirkpatrick, I know some teams are concerned about it’s not character baggage as much as the personality and is he going to fit. Obviously, he has short arms and not great ball skills. I could see him dropping a little bit out of the top 20, maybe. But I still think he’s a first round pick,” ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said.
21. Cincinnati: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama: The Bengals have not
been to take on players with character issues.
22. Cleveland: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford: The Browns get a security blanket for Colt McCoy.
23. Detroit: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford: The Lions know they have to upgrade Matthew Stafford’s protection.
24. Pittsburgh: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State: The Steelers have a strong locker room and can ignore some of the red flags.
25. Denver: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State: The Broncos need to fortify their run defense.
26. Houston: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor: He was highly productive in the Bears’ spread offense.
27. New England: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech: The former Miller Grove star lands in a good spot.
28. Green Bay: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse: The Packers ignore his lack of production and figure they can get something out of his talent.
29. Baltimore: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin: He’s massive at 6-foot-5, 314-pounds.
30. San Francisco: Shea McClellin, DE, Boise State: He has started three years at DE for the Broncos. Could project to LB in the 3-4.
31. New England: Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame: The Pats want to improve their defense.
32. New York Giants: Orson Charles, TE, Georgia: Charles goes to a team that needs help at the position.
The Falcons traded away their first and fourth round picks of the 2012 draft as part of the Julio Jones trade with the Cleveland Browns.
2nd Round (No. 55 overall) — California OT Mitchell Schwartz
3rd Round (No. 84 overall)
5th Round (No. 157 overall)
6th Round (No. 192 overall)
7th Round (No. 229 overall)
7th Round (Compensatory Selection, No. 249 overall)
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog