November 19, 2011; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Melvin Ingram (6) prepares to rush the quarterback against Citadel Bulldogs tight end Cullen Brown (84) in the first half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE

2012 NFL Draft: Time to Talk Mock - The First Round






1 Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck Stanford
In 1998, It was Peyton Manning who was the #1 overall pick by a struggling Colts franchise, 14 years later,  Luck replaces that same  Indianapolis QB legend that he helped force out of town.                             2011 Stats: 3,517 Pass Yards – 37 TD – 10 INT – 71% – 150 Rush Yards – 2TD
2 Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III Baylor
You don’t trade away all of those 1st round draft picks unless you already have pin-pointed your selection.  Robert Griffin III, has Cam Newton type talent and will excel in Washington.                                                          2011 Stats: 4,293 Pass Yards – 37 TD -  6 INT – 72% – 699 Rush Yards – 10TD
3 Minnesota Vikings OT Matt Kalil USC
Kalil is the best offensive lineman in the draft, and the Vikings gave up 49 sacks last season, which was fifth most in the NFL, so you do the math.
4 Cleveland Browns RB Trent Richardson Alabama
This is the drafts first big debate – Should the Browns select Trent Richardson or gamble on the raw athletic QB Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M.                                                                                                                    2011 Stats: 1,679 Yards Rush – 5.9 YPC – 21 TD – 338 Yards Rec – 3 TD
5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB Morris Claiborne LSU
Ronde Barber is old and Aqib Talib is always in trouble.  Claiborne is a playmaker at CB who can change games.  A recent draft direction tip, Claiborne’s old defensive backs coach Ron Cooper from LSU was just brought in.
6 St. Louis Rams   WR Justin Blackmon Oklahoma State
St. Louis QB Sam Bradford regressed in his 2ndyear in the NFL and needs some WR help.                    Blackman is not as talented as Cowboys WR Dez Bryant but is a true #1 WR in the NFL.                              2011 Stats: 121 Rec – 1,522 Yards Rec – 18TD
7 Jacksonville Jaguars DE Quinton Coples North Carolina
The Jaguars break my heart, selecting my pick in Coples, they could go WR Floyd or trade down with someone hoping to jump ahead of Miami for Tannehill, but I think they take Coples here.                              2011 Stats: 55 Tackles – 15.0 TFL – 7.5 Sacks – 7 QB Hurries – 3 FF – 2 PBU
8 Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill Texas A&M
The Dolphins will draft Ryan Tannehill here if he’s still available.  It makes perfect sense due to his college coach Mike Sherman being in Miami and being ditched by every QB not named Marino.                                  2011 Stats: 3,744 Pass Yards – 29 TD – 15 INT – 62% – 306 Rush Yards – 4TD
9 Carolina Panthers DT Michael Brockers LSU
Carolina has a huge need at defensive tackle.  Michael Brockers fits their 4-3 defense better then Cox or Poe, and in my opinion he is the best DT in the draft with the most upside.                                                         2011 Stats: 54 Tackles – 10 TFL – 4 Sacks – 5 QB Hurries – 2 PBU – 1 FF – 1 INT
10 Buffalo Bills OT Riley Reiff Iowa
 The Bills biggest need has been OT since the Jason Peters trade, Reiff can start on either side.
11 Kansas City Chiefs OG David DeCastro Stanford
 DeCastro, who is NFL ready, is the best OG to enter the NFL, since Steve Hutchinson in 2001.
12 Seattle Seahawks ILB Luke Kuechly  Boston College
Luke Kuechly can replace David Hawthorne.  Kuechly is the best inside linebacker in this draft.  They could also look at former USC Trojan OLB Nick Perry.                                                                                                     2011 Stats: 191 Tackles – 12 TFL – 3 INT – 3 PBU
13 Arizona Cardinals WR Michael Floyd Notre Dame
Maybe a surprise pick by Arizona, but Floyd will be a great compliment to Larry Fitzgerald.
14 Dallas Cowboys DE/OLB Melvin Ingram South Carolina
The Cowboys lost out on Coples, but Ingram is one of the best defensive players in this year’s draft.  Rob Ryan will use his versatility to create pressure on opposing QB’s.                                                                     2011 Stats: 48 Tackles – 15 TFL – 10 Sacks – 6 QB Hurries – 2 PBU
15 Philadelphia Eagles SS Mark Barron Alabama
Philadelphia turns to their need at safety, after filling their linebacker need with DeMarco Ryans.
16 New York Jets DT Dontari Poe Maryland
 I can hear the New York Crowd already, first Tebow, and now Poe.                     J-E-T-S… JETS, JETS.
17 Cincinnati Bengals  CB Stephon Gilmore  South Carolina
 Gilmore is a great cover corner who is sky rocketing up draft boards as we speak.
18 San Diego Chargers DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw Alabama
Upshaw becomes the pass rush OLB the Chargers have needed since the release of Shawne Merriman for steroid abuse back in 2010.
19 Chicago Bears OG Cordy Glenn Georgia
Chicago has been trying to makeover their offensive line for years, the rebuilding continues.
20 Tennessee Titans DE Whitney Mercilus Illinois
Mercilus does a great job rushing the quarterback; he will give the Titans defense a playmaker.                   2011 Stats: 57 Tackles – 22.5 TFL – 16 Sacks – 6 QB Hurries – 9 FF – 1 PBU
21 Cincinnati Bengals WR Stephen Hill Georgia Tech
Cincinnati can’t count on talented WR Jerome Simpson, Hill has speed and is a value pick.
22 Cleveland Browns OT Johnathan Martin Stanford
The Browns drafted the best RB in the Draft, now they need someone to block for him.
23 Detroit Lions  CB Dre’ Kirkpatrick Alabama
The Lions need to improve their very bad secondary to take the next step.  Kirkpatrick is too talented to pass up at pick #23. He can help at CB and be groomed to play safety.
24 Pittsburgh Steelers ILB Dont’a Hightower Alabama
Dont’a Hightower is a Pittsburgh Steeler type player, he will excel next to Harrison and Woodley.
25 Denver Broncos DT Fletcher Cox Mississippi State
Defensive tackle is a huge need for the Broncos and Cox is the best one still left on the board.
26 Houston Texans WR Kendall Wright Baylor
Andre Johnson’s Injury showed how much Houston still needs a #2 Wide Receiver.                                           2011 Stats: 108 Rec – 1,663 Yards Rec – 14TD
27 New England Patriots  CB Janoris Jenkins North Alabama
The Patriots need to upgrade their defensive secondary badly, Belichick goes best defensive CB available, despite the risk due to his past issues.
28 Green Bay Packers DE/OLB Shea McClellin Boise State
Green Bay could use an upgrade on the other side of Clay Matthews, and this guy has Green Bay written all over him, he is their type of player.
29 Baltimore Ravens C Peter Konz Wisconsin
Baltimore needs an eventual successor to Matt Birk.  Konz is a good value here.
30 San Francisco 49ers TE Coby Fleener Stanford
The 49ers are putting together some dangerous weapons on offense.  Fleener already knows Harbaugh’s offense and is a nice fit for the 49ers.
31 New England Patriots OLB Chandler Jones Syracuse
 Jones is coming off an Injury and is the best kept secret at OLB in this year’s draft. He is a player.
32 New York Giants RB Doug Martin Boise State
 The Giants need RB depth with the loss of Brandon Jacobs, and injury history of Ahmad Bradshaw.

The excitement is building with the NFL draft only one week away.  Dallas Cowboys GM/Owner Jerry Jones has already somewhat tipped his hand, indicating that the Cowboys will do everything possible to trade down from the #14 position in the first round. Look for the Cowboys to try to move the #14 pick to one of the three teams with multiple 1st round picks Cleveland, Cincinnati, or New England.

New England is the best and most rewarding trade partner, they have two late 1st  round picks and need an immediate impact player on defense to help their secondary and/or pass rush for another AFC Championship run.   If you look at the NFL draft trade value chart, the #14 pick owned by Dallas has a value of 1100 points.  New England owns the #27 pick from New Orleans via the Mark Ingram trade last year and their own #31 pick totalling a trade value of 1280 points.  Therefore, if  Dallas sends the #14 & #81 ( 3rd rd pick)  to New England with a (value of 1285 points),  the cowboys can gain two late #1 picks and have a very fair deal. 

New England can move up to #14 and jump ahead of the Eagles/Jets for SS Mark Barron, OLB Courtney Upshaw, or CB Dre’ Kirkpatrick, and with Dallas obtaining the #27 pick, it puts the Cowboys in the perfect position to ensure that they can draft rising player SS Harrison Smith of Notre Dame, my #2 targeted player right behind DE Quinton Coples.                          

The #27 pick is two picks right ahead of the Baltimore Ravens, who are very  interested in Smith to eventually replace aging Ed Reed down the road. The Cowboys can then go BPA with the #31 and #45 picks, possibly adding questionable but talented CB Janoris Jenkins of Florida/North Alabama.   Selecting Jenkins at #31 instead of #14 makes a lot more sense and contains less risk for the Cowboys front office if he turns out to be another Pac-Man Jones.

You can also look for Cincinnati and Cleveland to attempt to trade up to #14 but those scenarios are less attractive, moving down to either #21 with the Bengals and picking up a 3rd the #83 pick or moving down with the Browns for #22 and #53 pick. I think we can all agree that there are many trade down opportunities available for the Cowboys in this years draft, which only begs to ask the question: Just where is Draft guru Jimmy Johnson when you need him?

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Harrison Smith NFL Mock Draft

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