The 2012 NFL Mock Draft Version 1.0 came out in May, and much has changed. The lockout has ended. Free agents have moved. The season is one month old and you kind of have an idea of who needs what. The college football season is a month old, too, and some players are helping their stock. It seemed like a good time for the 2012 NFL Mock Draft Version 2.0. The order is anyone’s guess, and this week, a Packers-Ravens Super Bowl sounds possible. Yes, I have the Bills, Redskins, Giants and Falcons (!) missing the playoffs. I still have the Jets in there (albeit tenuously).
1. Miami Dolphins – Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St. - Lowest scoring offense in the league needs a playmaker. Last WR to go this high? Calvin Johnson in 2007.
3. Indianapolis Colts - Matt Kalil, OL, USC – Many, many holes on defense. Or, they get a franchise OL to protect Peyton for his final few years.
4. Kansas City Chiefs – Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma – This is under the assumption that the new coach – as of now, I don’t see Haley getting an extension – will want his own QB. Not everyone loves Landry, though.
5. St. Louis Rams – Jonathan Martin, OL, Stanford - Sam Bradford has been sacked a league-high 18 times through four games.
6. Seattle Seahawks – Matt Barkley, QB, USC – Too high? The Pete Carroll recruit at USC will enjoy life throwing to Sidney Rice.
7. Cleveland Browns – Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama – Crestfallen that there’s no QB here, the Browns take the best back in the draft and decide not to pay Peyton Hillis. And yes, I realize that’s seven offensive players in a row, and highly unlikely to happen.
8. Arizona Cardinals – Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona St. – The Sun Devil stays local to bolster a meek defense. Would he punch out a Cardinal?
9. Carolina Panthers – Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan St. - 2nd worst run defense in the league starts two rookies at DT, and Worthy is better than both of them.
10. Denver Broncos – Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama – Probably the best corner in the draft. Takes the baton from Champ Bailey.
11. Minnesota Vikings – Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU – In a stacked LSU secondary, he doesn’t get that much publicity. But he has the potential to be a shutdown corner.
12. Oakland Raiders – Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon – Either bolster that secondary or beef up the offensive line. Don’t think his speeding ticket matters.
13. Cincinnati Bengals – Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina – QB Andy Dalton would have two former SEC stars at his disposal.
14. Tampa Bay Bucs – Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina – Not a huge fan of his work, but Ronde Barber turns 37 in April.
15. Tennessee Titans – Jared Crick, DL, Nebraska – Probably goes higher. Just couldn’t find a team with a major 4-3 DE need.
16. Buffalo Bills – Manti T’eo, LB, Notre Dame – Quick way to bolster that sluggish 3-4 defense.
17. Chicago Bears – Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson – I know, I know, Cutler needs protection … but the best ones are gone and the Bears are giving up 5.1 ypc.
18. Washington Redskins - Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College – Would add to an increasingly-formidable defense. Leads the country in tackles with 83.
19. New York Giants - Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama – As a Jets fan, I’d hate for this to happen.
20. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta Falcons) – Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina – At 6-6, 285, everyone loves him (Kiper has him No. 2 right now), but I’m not yet sold on him in the Top 10. Would be a great fit in the Browns’ 4-3.
21. San Francisco 49ers – Riley Reiff, OL, Iowa – Whoever the 49ers start at QB next year will need more protection than Alex Smith is getting.
22. New York Jets – Brandon Jenkins, LB, FSU – Very tempted to go with an offensive lineman (Georgia’s Cordy Glenn?) but Jenkins is a 6-3, 265 monster who could play OLB or possibly DE. Kiper thinks Jenkins will be a 4-3 DE, which might make me change this pick. I think Jenkins could shed 10 pounds and replace Bart Scott/Bryant Thomas.
23. San Diego Chargers – Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama – Love this guy. Major steal if he falls this far.
24. Dallas Cowboys – Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech – Too many corners going in the 1st round? He’d be the fifth.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers – Andrew Datko, OL, Florida State – The defense needs to get younger, but they line still isn’t protecting Big Ben (sacked 14 times so far).
26. Philadelphia Eagles – Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina – Weak linebacking crew for a Super Bowl contender. Brown is 6-2, 230 and likely would start immediately.
27. Houston Texans – Ray Ray Armstrong, Safety, Miami – Texans really have a strong nucleus, but there’s a need in the secondary.
28. Detroit Lions – Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska – It’s a DB or a RB, and I could find a tailback to go in this spot.
29. New England Patriots (from New Orleans Saints) – Billy Winn, DL, Boise State – The Patriots still lack a pass rush. But they’ll probably trade this pick.
30. New England Patriots – Peter Konz, OL, Wisconsin – When Belichick’s drafting, you close your eyes and throw darts when making projections. If they don’t trade the other pick, they’ll trade this one.
31. Green Bay Packers – Mike Adams, OL, Ohio State – Gotta protect the best QB in the league. Yeah, I went there.
32. Baltimore Ravens – Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina – Has he blown up enough to crack the first round? 6-foot-2 275-pound playmaking machine is a sick athlete with 5.5 sacks.