Mock NFL Draft 2012

Analysis: No team in the NFL was affected more by the loss of its starting quarterback than the Colts. Peyton Manning, the face of the franchise for many years, has moved on to Denver, leaving a huge void at the quarterback position. Luck fills that void.
Analysis: Since Mike and Kyle Shanahan arrived in Washington, they have been stuck with quarterbacks who lack talent and the ability to make plays. In a bold move up the draft board, the Redskins made a decision to no longer be without a franchise quarterback. Griffin has a chance to be a special player for years to come.
Analysis: When studying Tyron Smith last season for the draft, it was hard not to notice Kalil at left tackle for the Trojans. As much as I loved Smith, there is a reason why he played right tackle during his college career -- because Kalil was that good. No team faced more blitz pressure than the Vikings last season. Kalil will make a difference.
Analysis: Browns president Mike Holmgren is once again in a position in which he must draft a quarterback despite not doing all that much to help Colt McCoy. Browns receivers were ranked dead last in most critical offensive stats, which no doubt has hurt McCoy's development. Tannehill has a couple of the traits that Holmgren likes in his quarterback -- smarts and mobility.
Analysis: The Bucs' secondary was one of the worst in the league in allowing plays of 20 yards or more. Ronde Barber has re-signed and Eric Wright was added from the Lions, but more needs to be done. Claiborne is the best corner in the draft, and the Bucs sure could use his big-play ability. He would allow Barber to play just as the nickel.
Analysis: I would have had a cornerback here if the Rams had not signed Cortland Finnegan. As much as this group needs a receiver and defensive linemen, I could see St. Louis trying to grab those positions in the top of the second round. Steven Jackson is not getting any younger and with Richardson the Rams would have a nice one-two punch.
Analysis: The Jaguars would be tempted to take a corner here but instead land the player who can provide explosiveness down the field. They will consider trading back if Blackmon or Richardson is not here. Jacksonville is looking for defensive line help here, but Quinton Coples is not in its plans.
Analysis: Miami tried to get one more season out of Marc Colombo on the right side but it didn't work. The Dolphins were in the top 10 in rushing but the majority of that production was on the left side. They could go with some inside help here at defensive tackle but will pass to fix the problem at right tackle.
Analysis: The Panthers could use a cornerback here to help a secondary that really struggled last season, but will take the hometown boy in Coples. Carolina was one of the worst teams in the league when it came to four-man pressure. Coples will give the Panthers that pass rush off the edge.
Analysis: The Bills could use a tackle but the opportunity to add a playmaker here is too great to resist for general manager Buddy Nix. He pulls the trigger on Floyd, who would be paired with Stevie Johnson to try to give the Bills some down-the-field plays. You always have to think about skill players who have played the majority of their games in cold weather. They have to be able to function, and Floyd can.
Analysis: Really thought about putting Dontari Poe here because of how coach Romeo Crennel is used to playing with those huge nose men in New England, but DeCastro at least gives them a long-term solution at guard, which was a problem area in 2011. Offensive tackle is a need here as well.
Analysis: One of my favorite defensive players in this draft. When you study him, you see how he is so consistent down after down getting to the ball. He will make a ton of plays for Pete Carroll in his defense.
Analysis: The Cardinals could use help on the offensive line and maybe at second receiver. Instead, they go for a pass-rushing outside linebacker who can play on the left side. Ingram will be able to generate pressure off the edge.
Analysis: The Cowboys could trade back here because most of the defensive players they are holding out for are still on the board -- Fletcher Cox, Michael Brockers, Courtney Upshaw and maybe Dre Kirkpatrick. They need a defensive end in the worst way. Cox visited, Brockers didn't. I don't feel as if they really like Upshaw at 14, and Kirkpatrick would have a better shot if they hadn't signed Brandon Carr. No DeCastro means that this is going to be a choice between Barron, Cox and Brockers. They grab the safety now and work on the defensive ends in the second or third rounds.
Analysis: The Eagles spent money last season on Cullen Jenkins, who wasn't the same player we observed in Green Bay. Mike Patterson is a shorter player who is really active but will struggle against the run. Cox will give the Eagles stoutness inside in their wide nine defense against the run. Plus, he helps as a pass-rusher from the inside.
Analysis: Rex Ryan has always loved these kinds of players in his defense -- he can stand them up or put their hand on the ground as a rusher. The Jets could also use a playmaking wide receiver, but with Floyd and Blackmon having been taken, the defensive head coach tries to help his defense.
Analysis: My second-favorite corner in this draft behind Claiborne, after getting passed over by Carolina and others, Kirkpatrick ends up with a team that has no problems taking on character issues. Not really sure the Bengals can rely on Nate Clements and Leon Hall needs to come back healthy, so Kirkpatrick gets the nod here.
Analysis: The Chargers could go with a receiver here or a nose tackle for their 3-4. Gilmore is too talented of a player to pass up here because teams have been attacking Quentin Jammer with success, and I'm not sure that Antoine Cason is a reliable starter on the other side. Gilmore can help in the nickel this season and be a starter the next.
Analysis: J'Marcus Webb is a marginal player at left tackle and Martin has played on both the left and right sides in his career at Stanford. The Bears' line play is in a pro-style passing attack with a physical running game, which will help Martin adjust quickly to the game.
Analysis: The Titans could use a cornerback to replace Cortland Finnegan, but were one of the worst teams in the NFL when it came to stopping the run up the middle, allowing 4.5 yards a carry. Brockers is a young guy who is stout against the run but can also give the Titans some pass rush from the inside.
Analysis: The Bengals draft their second Alabama product of the round with Upshaw, who gives them a nasty player at the point of attack who can handle the run but also put his hand down as a pass-rusher. Upshaw is one of those players who doesn't work out well, but you see the production when you study his tape.
Analysis: The Browns pass on a receiver with their first pick but land a top one with their second. Wright is a dynamic player who will go all over the field to catch the ball. He can line up in several positions and be super productive. Wright will be a nice weapon for Tannehill or McCoy in 2012.
Analysis: Glenn was the starter at left tackle for the Bulldogs this season but has played guard in his career, too. I wouldn't draft him off the Boise game but would off of the others I saw. Jeff Backus is getting older, so the Lions might want to draft Glenn and play him at another position such as right guard until he's ready. The Lions could also use a corner in the worst way.
Analysis: Hightower is the type of player the Steelers always manage to find -- a hard-nosed tough guy who loves nothing more than to play football. They have some age at inside linebacker, so this is a great fit. Hightower can also rush the passer with some power.
Analysis: Dontari Poe is still on the board here and could be a possibility because John Fox and the Broncos need a defensive tackle who plays with power and can get a little inside pass rush. However, I think that Still is their guy because you see some nice active, consistent play against good Big Ten competition.
Analysis: Hill played in a college offense that ran the option, but don't let that fool you. He has the size and speed (4.31 at combine) that makes scouts drool. His hands are good and you will see him at times make the tough catch. He's an outstanding blocker to boot. Hill can stretch the field with top-end speed and help draw coverage away from Andre Johnson.
Analysis: Here is where the fall ends for a player who might have the most boom-or-bust potential in this draft. The Patriots could also use a corner and defensive end here, but choose Poe to play next to Vince Wilfork. Look for the Patriots to also use him to spell Wilfork.
Analysis: The Packers could go a couple of different ways here with defensive line or running back, but they need someone who can rush from the opposite side ofClay Matthews and play the run. McClellin is general manager Ted Thompson's type of player -- tough, does a nice job with his hands, good on games when rushing the passer and chases plays. Solid pick and player.
Analysis: One of the best pure pass-rushers that I observed on tape this spring. He's a perfect fit for a team that lost Jarett Johnson in free agency. Branch will play opposite Terrell Suggs and cause problems all season. The Ravens might look at center here too with Matt Birk getting up there in age. Wisconsin's Peter Konz would be that guy.
Analysis: The 49ers really need someone who can be a good pass protector and play the right guard spot. They might also look at center as well as wide receiver. Zeitler stays after his block. He's good adjusting to the blitz, fights to sustain and does a good job of getting around the corner on his pulls despite not being real smooth.
Analysis: I mentioned earlier that the Patriots could use a corner and a defensive end who could potentially play as an outside linebacker when they go to that 3-4 scheme. Mercilus is that type of player. He can put his hand on the ground or will rush from a two-point stance.
Analysis: The Giants could try to upgrade their center here because David Baas is a liability, or they could go running back and select Doug Martin from Boise State, but I believe they will go with Fleener. The one thing that the Giants learned when preparing for the Patriots for the Super Bowl was how hard it is to cover outstanding tight ends. The Giants have playmakers on the outside, but a vertical tight end would make them even better offensively.




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