2012 NFL Draft Preview – 1st Round Mock Draft 1-16

Robert Griffin IIIThe 1st round of the NFL Draft in prime-time, aka NFL Christmas — it’s the night teams pray they make the right pick and the night kids become millionaires.

1st Round Mock Draft

1. Colts-QB Andrew Luck-Stanford – Luck has been the #1 pick in this draft for the last 2 seasons, the media has gotten so tired of talking about all the things he does well, they have been reaching to find a negative, maybe something like the way he laces his cleats? Luck will be  tasked with replacing Peyton Manning in Indy, where the offensive weapons Manning had, have been cleared out with the exception of WR Reggie Wayne.

2. Redskins-QB Robert Griffin III-Baylor - RGIII brings a lot more flair to his game than Luck. The Redskins traded three 1st round picks for the right to draft him, if Rex Grossman was your QB1, you would too. Griffin is  an explosive athletic QB that can beat you with his arm and his legs. He is arguably a much better prospect than last year’s #1 pick Cam Newton, both as a player and a person. Griffin also will likely be one of the most exciting/popular players in Madden 13.

3. Vikings-OT Matt Kalil-USC - There is nothing “sexy” to a fan base about drafting an Offensive Lineman, but the Vikes need to protect QB Christian Ponder and provide blocking for RB Adrian Peterson upon his return from knee surgery. Kalil is the top Tackle available and should be a starter from Day 1.

4. Browns-RB Trent Richardson-Alabama - The Browns need a lot of help on offense, they could take a QB, RB or WR here. Its hard for the Browns to give up on QB Colt McCoy when he has had little talent around him. They have two 1st round picks this year, they should take a RB and WR and can pickup a QB to challenge McCoy at the top of the 2nd round or later. I don’t think McCoy is a long term answer for the Browns but at least give him a chance. If he fails the Browns will likely be in position to select USC QB Matt Barkley in the 2013 draft. Richardson is the best RB in this draft and while teams have devalued RBs in the past few drafts, Richardson is worth the high pick.

5. Buccaneers-CB Morris Claiborne-LSU - Ronde Barber is getting older, and may be ready for a switch to Safety, Claiborne is an athletic cover corner, who plays much like his old LSU teammate, the Cardinals Patrick Peterson. Having a CB that can play man would allow the Bucs to blitz more. If RB Richardson is gone Claiborne is a nice consolation prize.

6. Rams-WR Justin Blackmon-Oklahoma St. - The Rams traded back to 6th in the deal with the Redskins for the #2 pick. Blackmon is the top rated WR, he plays much bigger than his 6-1 height and will be a nice toy for QB Sam Bradford.

After the first 6 players in the draft there is a drop in talent and is where picks will get interesting, trades are likely and drama will ensue.

7. Jaguars-CB Stephon Gilmore-South Carolina – The Jaguars are no strangers to making picks that pundits shake their heads at (Tyson Alualu, #10 2010) The Jaguars could use a Defensive Lineman here, but their secondary has been a mess too. Despite signing FA CB Aaron Ross, the Jags could use someone to challenge CB Rashean Mathis. Gilmore is a player who has seen his stock rise dramatically in recent weeks and despite being better as a zone corner,  is strong against the run.

8. Dolphins-WR Michael Floyd-Notre Dame - A lot of experts expect Miami to pick QB Ryan Tannehill here, but he is a project player that needs time to learn how to play QB after switching from WR two years ago, time Miami doesn’t have. After trading top WR Brandon Marshall to Chicago, the Dolphins will need a WR for QB Matt Moore to throw to. Like the Browns, the Dolphins can target a QB later in the draft.

9. Panthers-DT Fletcher Cox-Miss. St. - Cox is the smallest of the top DT prospects in this draft but is considered the best pass rusher. Fits better in the Panthers’ 4-3 Defense than he would as a Nose Guard in a 3-4.

10. Bills-OT Riley Reiff-Iowa – The Bills lost LT D. Bell (Eagles) in the off-season and Reiff makes sense. He is a strong run blocker, who should help the Bills as they lean on RBs Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller this season. WR Michael Floyd is also an option if still on the board.

11. Chiefs-QB Ryan Tannehill-Texas A&M - As noted above Tannehill needs some time to develop, and sitting behind Matt Cassel would allow that. There are some financial considerations to drafting a player outside the top 10 when it comes to year 5 of a rookie contract in play as well. I could see a team trading up to get Tannehill at this point as well. If Tannehill is gone at this point, KC could target Reiff, Dontari Poe, or Luke Keuchly.

12. Seahawks-ILB Luke Keuchly-Boston College - Kuechly is a tackling machine, who proved to be a lot faster at the combine than many thought. I think Kuechly projects better as an outside linebacker in the Seahawks 4-3 system. Kuechly will have more space to make plays and will not have to take on interior offensive lineman.

13. Cardinals-OLB Melvin Ingram-South Carolina -Ingram is a 3-4 scheme OLB who can get to the QB, something Arizona is lacking. He also lined up at DE/DT in college.

14. Cowboys-S Mark Barron-Alabama -The Cowboys secondary has been a mess, but they signed CB Brandon Carr (Chiefs) in the off-season and should look to fill their Safety needs. Barron is the top Safety prospect by far, he is aggressive against the run, but can be beat in the passing game.

15. Eagles-DT Michael Brockers-LSU - Brockers is a raw athlete, he is 6-6, 322 lbs. His height may be a problem at DT as Offensive Lineman will be able to get underneath his pads. His build projects him more as a DE, but his lack of speed (5.36 40 yds) will keep him inside. Many teams see a player like Brockers , a freak athlete with who had limited playing time in college and hope they turn out to be the next Jason Pierre-Paul. Big bust potential here.

16. Jets-DE Quinton Coples-North Carolina- Coples has been projected to be picked as early as #7, I see him falling due to a question about him taking plays off in college, and his drop in sacks last season when given more attention by Ofensive Lineman. The Jets need pass rushers and will see value in Coples. Alabama DE Courtney Upshaw could be a target here as well.

Check back tomorrow for picks 17-32.

Tell us how you think the draft is going to shake out in the comments and on Twitter @DrunknSportsmen and @T_Roos

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