OpinionApril 25, 2012

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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Final

By R.J. White

After going through the information-digging exercise of compiling top-ten boards for the teams picking at each slot starting with No. 3, I made some changes to the mock draft I posted two weeks ago. The changes in this mock are based on the pre-draft visits scheduled by each team and pre-draft buzz coming out of various media outlets. I’ll also be running a #LiveMock on Twitter as we progress, so be sure and follow me if you’d like a draft companion. To the mock!

1 IND QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
2 WAS QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
3 MIN T Matt Kalil, USC
4 CLE RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
5 TB CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
6 STL DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi St
7 JAC CB Stephen Gilmore, South Carolina
8 MIA QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M

This time around, I buckled to conventional wisdom and slotted Trent Richardson at No. 4, partly because it seems the Browns like Brandon Weeden to come in and compete immediately. He could be a target for the Browns either at 22 or 37. I ultimately think the Rams will lean to Cox at No. 6, while Jacksonville could go any number of ways at No. 7. Tannehill to the Dolphins seems like such a slam dunk that I almost expect it not to happen at this point.

9 CAR WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St
10 BUF S Mark Barron, Alabama
11 KC G David DeCastro, Stanford
12 SEA DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
13 ARI WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
14 DAL T Cordy Glenn, Georgia
15 PHI DT Michael Brockers, LSU
16 NYJ LB Chandler Jones, Syracuse

Carolina would likely prefer Cox, but Blackmon should make for a nice consolation. The Bills are either infatuated with Barron or trying to drum up trade interest. Floyd slipped a little, and he’s probably the one guy that could stop Arizona from taking a lineman. With Barron and Gilmore off the board, I think the Cowboys have to go offensive lineman. The Eagles, built for the present, could leap in the draft and grab a coveted prospect like Cox. The Jets could target any number of pass rushers or receivers.

17 CIN DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina
18 SD LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College
19 CHI DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
20 TEN CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
21 CIN CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
22 CLE WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
23 DET T Riley Reiff, Iowa
24 PIT LB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama

It seems unlikely Kuechly will fall this far, but with the stable of expected top-10 picks growing by the day, presumed high prospects might be a little vulnerable. Mercilus could shock some people wind up much higher than this. Jenkins has character red flags like crazy, but he seems to be widely considered the best cover corner in the draft, and that should keep him in the first. Wright would be great value at 22. Reiff is a potential slider, like Bryan Bulaga, who also went 23rd a few years ago.

25 DEN DT Devon Still, Penn St
26 HOU WR Rueben Randle, LSU
27 NE LB Shea McClellin, Boise St
28 GB LB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
29 BAL LB Mychal Kendricks, California
30 SF G Amini Silatolu, Midwestern St
31 NE LB Nick Perry, USC
32 NYG T Mike Adams, Ohio St

Still might be a little bit of a reach for the Broncos, but it’s definitely a position of need, and after Brockers the DT rankings get a little messy. I think McClellin is a candidate to go in the top 20, possibly to the Jets, but he winds up in the bottom of the first here. Same with Upshaw. Many of these teams would likely welcome a trade down into the second round, especially the Patriots at 31, depending on the presumed top-20 guys that fall.

That’ll do it. Remember to follow me on Twitter @rjwhite1 for super special NFL Draft coverage on Thursday night!

R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe, writes for FanDuel and Razzball and has previously written for FanHouse. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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