Now that we’re a quarter of the way into the NFL season it’s time to start thinking about the 2012 NFL Draft. What we’ll be doing now is giving you a weekly update to the draft which should make for some fun times. There will be a bunch of changes in positioning from now until the end of the season, so we’ll see a lot of what could have been.
Don’t believe me here are some picks no one would expect. Philadelphia Eagles at #11. Detroit Lions at #30. Buffalo Bills at #26. Arizona Cardinals at #10.
Tie-breakers are broken by our current NFL Power Rankings.
1.) Minnesota Vikings – QB – Andrew Luck – Stanford
Yes, the Vikings drafted Christian Ponder last year but if they wind up with the first pick in the draft they have no choice but to select Luck. If Ponder impresses once Donovan McNabb is benched then maybe they’ll try to get a Ricky Williams / Herschel Walker type haul for this pick.
2.) St. Louis Rams – WR Justin Blackmon – Oklahoma State
The Rams had a lot of promise going into this year but all they’ve proved is that they have a lot of needs. Mainly playmakers and offensive line. The O-line might be the biggest as Sam Bradford is getting punished but even if they protected he has no options to throw too. Blackmon gives him a big time playmaker, size 6’1 and blazing fast speed.
3.) Miami Dolphins – QB Matt Barkley – USC
No surprise here as the Dolphins are in dire need of a QB and Chad Henne is not even close to being the answer. I’m sure they hope they can suck enough to get up to number one for Luck. Barkley isn’t a bad consolation prize thou.
4.) Indianapolis Colts – OT Matt Kalil – USC
I really want to see the Colts finally draft a replacement for Peyton Manning but there just isn’t one. The two options are gone and I’m sorry I don’t think the Colts will reach for Landry Jones. Instead they’ll address their weak line and hope Peyton is back. If not they’ll have a young bookend tackle with experience when they draft the future in 2013.
5. Kansas City Chiefs – QB Landry Jones – Oklahoma
Yes, I just said number four was too early for Jones but I also said the Colts won’t reach. The Chiefs well they have to reach they need a QB in the worst way as Matt Cassel has proven that he’s not the answer.
6.) Denver Broncos – OT Jonathan Martin – Stanford
Martin will give the Broncos a beast at whichever tackle position they put him at. He’ll definitely make Kyle Orton whomever is at the QB position feel more comfortable as they’ve already given up nine sacks in four games.
7.) Jacksonville Jaguars – DE Quinton Coples – North Carolina
The Jaguars defensive line is generating no pass rush so far in 2011, they’ve only landed three sacks. Coples is without a doubt the best defensive lineman in the draft and will be able to help them get the pressure they need.
8.) Seattle Seahawks – DL Jared Crick – Nebraska
The Seahawks would love to get a QB but there are none available worth taking at this point. So I think they would address their aging defensive line and take someone who can play in a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense.
9.) Carolina Panthers – CB Dre Kirkpatrick – Alabama
With Cam Newton leading the way the Panthers offense has become pretty good, pretty fast. So what should they do find Steve Smith’s replacement? Nope. Their defense can’t stop anyone so get a top flight CB who can help shut down those great receivers in that division. Kirkpatrick can do just that.
10.) Arizona Cardinals – DE/LB – Brandon Jenkins – Florida State
The Cardinals could definitely use a pass rushing linebacker to replace the againg Joey Porter. So they luck out when Brandon Jenkins of FSU is still available. He’s fast enough to be that speed rushing linebacker but also big enough to fill in at defensive end if needed.
11.) Philadelphia Eagles – LB – Vontaze Burfict – Arizona State
There’s no doubt what the Eagles need right now and that’s an offensive lineman or a quality linebacker, one who can preferably stop the run. Burfict’s strength is in rush defense and he’s not too bad in pass coverage either. He’s got speed and a VERY hard hitter something Philly fans would love.
12.) Cincinnati Bengals – HB – Trent Richardson – Alabama
It’s time for the Bengals to start thinking about a replacement for Cedric Benson. Richardson is a guy who could step right in.
13.) Cleveland Browns – WR Alshon Jeffery – South Carolina
It will be a shock if Jeffery actually falls this far in the draft as he might actually be the best receiver in the draft. It’s not often you’ll find a 6’4 receiver with good hands and SPEED. Is it a need for the Browns? No, but with how much they’re passing why not give Colt McCoy another target.
14.) Oakland Raiders – CB – Stephen Gilmore – South Carolina
Gilmore brings what the Al Davis led Raiders have always loved, speed. He’s got some size 6’1 is pretty solid in run defense and excels in what CB’s should coverage. What the Raiders love is he’s a threat to take it to the house whenever he touches the ball.
15.) Chicago Bears – DT – Brandon Thompson – Clemson
A lot of people would like the Bears to start looking at linebacker help as Bryan Urlacher gets up there in age. Only problem is the defensive line is also aging. He’s easily the top defensive tackle in the draft and can definitely get to the quarterback something you have to do if you’re on the Bears defense.
16.) Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta) – LB – Manti Te’o – Notre Dame
The Browns real need is on defense, their earlier pick was just taking one of the best players left on the board. Now they address their need and take one of the best linebackers available. With his size and speed he can play any linebacker position in the Browns defense.
17.) Dallas Cowboys – CB – Morris Claiborne – LSU
The corner position has been a need for the Cowboys for a while, with Terrance Newman’s career winding down they really need to address this. In 2010, Claiborne had five picks with six pass deflections as most teams targeted him because of Patrick Peterson on the other side of the field. He’s proven he can handle the pressure and should succeed at the NFL. He could be an instant playmaker for the Cowboys on defense and the return game.
18.) New York Jets – DT – Alameda Ta’amu – Washington
Ta’amu is exactly what the Jets need for their defense a huge run stuffing tackle that has the size for the 3-4 defense. At 6’3 and 330 pounds he’ll be a beast with the Jets.
19.) Pittsburgh Steelers – OT – Riley Reiff – Iowa
Over the past couple years the Steelers offensive line has been struggling more and more. Big Ben has been getting hit more and more. With your QB on the ground you aren’t going to be able to score points to win and the Steelers are proving that this year. Reiff is a big guy who should help protect Ben no matter what side he lines up on.
20.) San Francisco 49ers – CB Alfonzo Denard – Nebraska
The Niners have quite a few needs so I’m not sure where to begin. My thinking would be go with one of the best defensive players left on the board and Denard is definitely one of them. He’s not a big corner but much like Claiborne he proved himself in 2010 when teams tried to stay away from his star teammate.
21.) Tennessee Titans – DT – Jerel Worthy – Michigan State
The Titans are going to love seeing Worthy drop this far as he’s a middle of the d-line type guy who can easily get into the backfield.
22.) Washington Redskins – WR Michael Floyd – Notre Dame
The Redskins defense is looking pretty solid this year and they’re only going to get better. The offense, well outside of Hightower there’s nothing. Getting one of the best receivers in the draft and a big one at that, will make Rex Grossman happy if he’s still around.
23.) New York Giants – LB – Luke Kuechly – Boston College
I hate to pick a linebacker for the Giants as myself and everyone else has done that the past few years. They’re a team that drafts best available not by need in the first round. But for us mock draft guys we have to go by need, who knows what they value the most each given year. Kuechly is a linebacker who can be a force for years in that unit and to top it off he’s a BC guy. If TC is there we knows he prefers those guys.
24.) Houston Texans – WR – Justin Criner – Arizona
The Texans don’t have any glaring needs so they can either take risks or go for depth. Me, I’d say go for a wide receiver as most of their guys have been in the league for six plus years. Time to add some youth to the group.
25.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CB – Chase Minnifield – Virginia
Ronde Barber can’t play forever so it’s time for the Bucs to start grooming a replacement. With Chase’s NFL pedigree (his dad was CB Frank Minnifield) it should be an easy transition.
26.) Buffalo Bills – LB – Courtney Upshaw – Alabama
The Bills are in need for a solid linebacker who can rush from the edge. Well Upshaw is one of those guys who can be an elite rusher in a 3-4 setup.
27.) San Diego Chargers – DT – Josh Chapman – Alabama
The Chargers need a big body in the middle of their defensive front as Antonio Garay is scheduled to hit free agency. Chapman is a big who would be perfect in clogging up the middle of a 3-4 defense.
28.) Baltimore Ravens – G – David DeCastro – Stanford
The Ravens have two areas they can go in my opinion, offensive line or linebacker. Ray Lewis only has so many years left so a replacement is needed. I say they need to address the line first thou as they’ve got some old hogs up and down that unit.
29.) New England Patriots (from New Orleans) – G – Kelechi Osemele – Iowa State
Do the Patriots have a glaring need on the offensive line? No, but I think Bill Belichick would love to have a young guy who can excel at any position on the line. Osemele could easily play any of the guard positions or right tackle, that’s the type of versatility that would make me coach happy.
30.) Detroit Lions – OT – Andrew Datko – Florida State
The Lions have become an explosive team this year but in building this team they’ve ignored one position, left tackle. With a QB like Matt Stafford you would think that would be the most important, protect that meal ticket. Well they’ve struck gold at this point in the draft as Datko has the size and skill to step right in and protect his blindside for the next decade.
31.) New England Patriots – S – TJ McDonald – USC
Now it’s time for Belichick to do what he usually does, draft depth for the defensive side of the ball. One area that could really use the upgrade is the secondary. McDonald has that versatility that I mentioned Belichick likes as he can play either safety position and at a high level.
32.) Green Bay Packers – CB – Cliff Harris – Oregon
The Packers don’t any must address now issues with this team, so why not look at depth. They could go the tight end route as Jermichael Finley is nearing the end of his deal but I’d go corner. Charles Woodson is nearing the end of his career and once again, why not groom a replacement if there’s no needs? Harris has the skills but is somewhat of a project at the corner position. While learning the subtleties of the position thou he can be a huge threat in the return game as he’s got the speed to take it to the house at any time.
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