Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cheesehead Sports Nut's 2012 First Round NFL Mock Draft

Just like I said last year, there are a million mock drafts now so instead of trying to predict what teams are going to do since I have no real inside information, I am going to serve as every team's general manager for their pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

I am sure there will be a number of trades in the first round but I am not going to make any trades because it just complicates things. Here is what I would do if I was in charge of each team when they pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, along with some Twitter length thoughts about each pick:

#1) Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford) - You can't lose your job taking Luck with the 1st pick in the draft because if he turns out to be a bust, you will have a hard time finding even one talent evaluator that disagrees with the decision.

#2) Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III (QB, Baylor) - The same can't be said for RGIII.  In fact if Cam Netwon was a bust last year, there is no way RGIII goes 2nd overall.

#3) Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil (OT, USC) - Unfortunately for Vikings fans I see them taking someone sexier like Morris Claiborne or Justin Blackmon instead of doing the right thing and taking the best offensive lineman in the draft.  By the way Vikings management, picking sexy prospects instead of quality, non-sexier prospects is why you are picking 3rd overall this year.

#4) Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson (RB, Alabama) - Despite the NFL becoming almost a completely passing league, game changing running backs like Richardson are a once in a decade prospect so the Browns should choose talent over positional value.

#5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne (CB, LSU) - Scoring just 4 out of 50 on the Wonderlic is much to do about nothing when you have the physical skills that Claiborne possesses.

#6) St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon (WR, Oklahoma State) - Not often can you trade down from 2nd to 6th while adding a couple more first round picks and still get the guy you wanted to draft with the 2nd pick.  Blackmon doesn't possess near the physical talent of his former college teammate Dez Bryant but he still has enough talent to be a stud #2 receiver or a low-end #1 receiver.

#7) Jacksonville Jaguars: Fletcher Cox (DT, Mississippi State) - Going into the combine it looked like Cox was a borderline first round pick so may be I am rating him a little high but I can't look past all the physical tools and different positions Cox can play along the defensive line.

#8) Miami Dolphins: Mark Barron (S, Alabama) - If Ryan Tannehill is still available in real life, I have a hard time seeing the Sherminator allowing his new team to pass on his former pupil.  Unfortunately for the Browns though, taking Tannehill this early would be a classic overdraft because Tannehill is a quarterback.  The Dolphins need to add talent, no matter the position, which means Barron should be the pick.

#9) Carolina Panthers: Michael Brockers (DT, LSU) - Has some boom-or-bust potential but much like Cox his physical talents are just too impressive to pass up.

#10) Buffalo Bills: Stephon Gilmore (CB, South Carolina) - The NFL is such a pass happy league that his physical talents (6'0" and 4.4 forty yard dash) are undeniable thus making Gilmore worth the risk.

#11) Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Kuechly (LB, Boston College) - NFL teams almost undervalue middle linebackers so the Chiefs have a chance to get the steal of the draft that is an absolute tackling machine outside the Top 10.

#12) Seattle Seahawks: Melvin Ingram (DE/LB, South Carolina) - A combo rusher is exactly what a team like the Seahawks need.  It really comes down to whether the want a more known commodity like Ingram or a boom-or-bust guy like Chandler Jones.

#13) Arizona Cardinals: Michael Floyd (WR, Notre Dame) - Cheesehead Chick is an ND fan but even she jumped off the Floyd bandwagon after his latest DUI.  Fortunately for Floyd, franchise wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald openly lobbied for management to draft a wide receiver.  Well whatever Larry wants, Larry gets.

#14) Dallas Cowboys: David DeCastro (OG, Stanford) - I am sure it will absolutely pain Jerry Jones to take offensive lineman two years in a row but the right way to built a team is by adding as many quality offensive and defensive lineman as possible.  Plug your nose and do the right thing Jerry.

#15) Philadelphia Eagles: Riley Reiff (OT, Iowa) - While most teams are trying to trade down, the Eagles are one of the few teams that are actually trying to trade up.  No matter what the Eagles say, Jason Peters is on the wrong side of 30 and recently ruptured his Achilles tendon.  The Eagles need a left tackle of the future and that is exactly what they are getting in Reiff.

#16) New York Jets: Chandler Jones (DE/LB, Syracuse) - Every year I get a huge draft crush on a few guys, Jones is one of those guys this year.  I thought the Packers had a chance to get Jones at 28 a few weeks ago but unfortunately Jones is shooting up draft boards and potentially flirting with being a Top-10 pick.

#17) Cincinnati Bengals: Dontari Poe (DT, Memphis) - The workout warrior of the 2012 NFL Combine made himself a potential Top-10 pick following the combine.  Unfortunately the more tape that people watched on Poe, the more they realized he still takes plays off.  Fortunately for the Poe Family, this is where the slide finally stops because you can't teach people to be as big and explosive as Poe is when he actually applies himself.

#18) San Diego Chargers: Courtney Upshaw (DE/LB, Alabama) - So far Larry English has failed to developed into Shawne Merriman 2.0.  Don't get me wrong, the odds of Upshaw being a better rusher than Merriman are slim but he is a huge upgrade over English.

#19) Chicago Bears: Quinton Coples (DE, North Carolina) - With Jerry Angelo no longer running the front office for the Bears teams, better watch out, because the Bears will be a shrewder team than in years past.  Plus picking a guy that could be the next Julius Pepper never hurts.

#20) Tennessee Titans: Dre Kirkpatrick (CB, Alabama) - After losing Cortland Finnegan to free agency the Titans are able to improve their secondary greatly at a much cheaper price.

#21) Cincinnati Bengals: Whitney Mercilus (DE/LB, Illinois) - Everyone is looking for the next Jason Pierre-Paul and Mercilus is a prime candidate.

#22) Cleveland Browns: Ryan Tannehill (QB, Texas A&M) - There is no way that Tannehill lasts till the 22nd pick and I even thought about passing (no pun intended) on Tannehill here because I am not convinced he will be a franchise quarterback.

#23) Detroit Lions: Jonathan Martin (OT, Stanford) - This feels like a slight overdraft but the Lions desperately need younger offensive tackles.  They could go with Mike Adams (OT, Ohio State) instead but Adams has some maturity issues and that's the last thing the Lions need so the smart pick is to take a talented, high-character guy like Martin.

#24) Pittsburgh Steelers: Cordy Glenn (G/T, Georgia) - The Steelers are in desperate need of quality offensive lineman so they would be ecstatic if the best combo offensive lineman fell to them.  In fact the Steelers should be so excited about Glenn that even if another team wants to trade back into the first round to draft a quarterback they should turn down the offer and hand in the draft card with Glenn's name on it.

#25) Denver Broncos: Jerel Worthy (DT, Michigan State) - I hate to say it but I would be slightly surprised if Peyton Manning wins a playoff game for the Broncos.  Although Manning probably wants some new toys, adding a defensive lineman is priority #1 after locking up their "franchise" quarterback.

#26) Houston Texans: Kendall Wright (WR, Baylor) - Feels like a reach but the Texans sorely need a legitimate pass catching option at wide receiver besides Andre Johnson.

#27) New England Patriots: Nick Perry (DE/OLB, USC) - Much like Chandler Jones, Perry is another one of my draft crushes.  Perry doesn't have as high of a ceiling as Claymaker but Perry still brings a unique combination of size and speed at the outside linebacker position.

#28) Green Bay Packers: Shea McClellin (OLB, Boise State) - This is probably wishful thinking, especially with the Patriots picking one spot ahead of the Packers.  Ted Thompson better hope that the Patriots trade their 27th pick to a quarterback needy team so that McClellin, aka the Swiss Army Knife of the 2012 NFL Draft, can fall to the Packers.

#29) Baltimore Ravens: Coby Fleener (TE, Stanford) - Without Rob Gronkowski and Jermichael Finley there is no chance Fleener even makes it into the first round but the necessity to have an athletic hybrid tight end/wide receiver means that Fleener could actually go higher than 29th overall.

#30) San Francisco 49ers: - Peter Konz (C, Wisconsin) - The rest of the centers in the draft have fairly large holes in their game so luckily the 49ers can get the best center in the draft to add a signal caller to the young, impressive offensive line.

#31) New England Patriots: Dont'a Hightower (LB, Alabama) - I was tempted to pick Lavonte David (LB, Nebraska) but Hightower seems like more of a sure thing than David so I resisted the urge.

#32) New York Giants: Harrison Smith (S, Notre Dame) - The safety position is becoming more and more important in the NFL because linebackers are having a hard time covering the influx of athletic tight ends.  Thus a guy like Smith sneaks into the first round in 2012 while he probably would have been a second or third round pick just a few years ago.

Thanks for sticking with me all the way through my first round mock GM draft.  Check back tomorrow for a list of guys that you can realistically expect to be on the board at #28 where absent a trade, the Green Bay Packers are slotted to make their first selection of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Related Posts:
- Cheesehead Sports Nut's 2011 First Round NFL Mock Draft
- Cheesehead Sports Nut's 2010 First Round NFL Mock Draft

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