Monday, October 31, 2011

2012 NFL Mock Draft: Take I

With apologies for not writing my usual Sunday night 11 Things column because of a prior commitment, here's a sneak peak at what the top 10 picks of the 2012 NFL Draft would look like if it were to happen today, and it's downright offensive (nine of 10 guys play on that side of the ball):

1. Miami - Some Dude Named Luck, QB, Stanford: If you haven't heard about this guy already, please close this tab of your browser and go pay attention.

2. Indianapolis - Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama: An incredible consolation prize for the team that misses on Luck at the top of the draft. Richardson might be on his way to winning the Heisman and would look great next to Peyton Manning in 2012. I encouraged Bill Polian & Co to take a shot on Bama's last Heisman-winning running back - Mark Ingram - in the 2011 Draft but to no avail. Now, they are stuck with the trio that brings fear to no one, Delone Carter, Joe Addai, and Donald Brown. Richardson would change the whole dynamic of the Indy offense.

3. St. Louis - Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford: This wouldn't be the sexiest pick, but the Rams whiffed the last time they took an offensive lineman this high (Jason Smith, number two overall in 2009) leaving a gaping hole on the left side of their line. That needs rectifying if they want to give Sam Bradford a shot to succeed.

4. Arizona - Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State: Pretty sure Larry Fitzgerald would approve of this one. I considered Matt Barkley here for the Cardinals, but it's too early to give up on Kevin Kolb. I also think they have a bitter taste in their mouth from the last time they took a QB from USC in the top-10 (see Leinart, Matt). If Kolb can't hack it with the combo of Fitz and Blackmon, though, they'll be looking for a signal caller in 2013.

Love the idea of a Blackmon-Fitzgerald

5. Minnesota - Matt Kalil, OT, USC: The Vikings are all-in with Christian Ponder. Gottaa protect his blind side. Kalil has a great pedigree - his older bro his an offensive lineman for the Panthers - and he's honed is craft protecting Luck for the last three years.

6. Jacksonville - Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame: The Jaguars are one of the most boring teams in the NFL. As I said prior to this year's draft, they need playmakers. I completely disapproved of the Blaine Gabbert selection at the time (and still do), thinking they should have traded up for one of the premier wide receivers, AJ Green or Julio Jones. That didn't happen and now the offense is sputtering. Jacksonville has not had much luck at the position over the years - R Jay Soward, Reggie Williams, Matt Jones - but Floyd seems like a man on a mission this season despite facing constant double- and triple-teams. Mike Thomas is miscast as a number one receiver. Get Gabbert some weapons.

7. Carolina - Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU: The Panthers, thanks to the miracle worker known as Cam Newton, are actually a decent team right now. The offense is flowing, and now it's the defense's turn to catch up. Claiborne is a shutdown corner that could pair with Chris Gamble to form one of the better combos in the NFL.

8. Seattle - Matt Barkley, QB, USC: Pete Carroll recruited this guy to USC and had enough faith in him that Barkley started from Day One as a freshman. If he slips this far, I think this is a no-brainer.

9. Denver - Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma: This whole Tim Tebow experiment is going to end badly...unless they move him to H-Back and have him carry the ball a few times a game. Jones has plenty of arm to throw through the winds in Denver, and he is the best option left on the board right now.

10. Washington - Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: The only thing that would shock me with the Redskins is if they weren't picking higher than 10th by the time April comes around. This is a bad team with a terrible quarterback situation. They will have a new body under center by next fall, and I'm guessing it will be the multifaceted RG3.

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