Here’s a stab at the 2012 NFL Draft based upon what we know. Feel free to rip on me all you want in the comment section below. If you don’t like it, there are several hundred more mock drafts available for reading elsewhere.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford — RG3’s stock is soaring to the point that the majority of draft pundits prefer him to Andrew Luck. Still Colts owner Jim Irsay has preferred Luck the entire season and will follow through on ensuring there’s a quarterback named Luck with a horseshoe on his helmet.
2. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor — Skins traded a fortune to move up for the “RG3 Pick” and better hope the Colts end up taking Luck.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, USC — We’ve written a gazillion posts on Kalil to the Vikes. If this is your first TVA read, shame on you.
4. Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama — Running backs tend not to go this high, but Richardson is the best since a certain guy named Adrian. Browns also need an offensive force to put pressure on the nasty defenses of the AFC North.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU – Bucs recently hired away LSU secondary coach Ron Cooper and are pleasantly surprised to have Claiborne available here.
6. St. Louis Rams: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis — Yes. This high. Defensive tackles as athletically talented as Poe come along once in the blue moon. Pick also gives new coach Jeff Fisher a raw defensive player to work with, which he hasn’t had since Albert Haynesworth. The younger motivated version.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St — Small slide for Blackmon, but gives new coach and ownership an offensive weapon to help out young quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M — After whiffing on Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn, the Dolphins see Tannehill fall into their laps and sprint to the podium to make this pick.
9. Carolina Panthers: Fletcher Cox, DT, Memphis — The Panthers defensive line is still hurting since losing Julius Peppers to the Bears. Cox is capable of playing both DT and DE.
10. Buffalo Bills: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa — Bills have won the offseason prize of free agency in defensive end Mario Williams, so best to get a blue chip offensive tackle in Reiff that can whip him into shape quick. Current Bills left tackle Demetrius Bell is also a free agent and may not be back.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina — New head coach Romeo Crennel gets a versatiale 3-4 OLB to pass rush opposite Tamba Hall.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina — Seattle quietly has developed one of the best young secondaries in all of football. Wanna know a way to make them look even better? Add a stud defensive end in Coples.
13. Arizona Cardinals: David DeCastro, G, Stanford — This here would be the case of a Cardinal becoming part of the Cardinals. DeCastro is debatably the best offensive lineman after Kalil in this draft. Guards aren’t supposed to go in the first round, but DeCastro is a rare breed.
14. Dallas Cowboys: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College — Kuechly was an ultra productive linebacker in college. Yes, he’s best suited for a 3-4, but in a 3-4 you need multi-faceted linebackers that are capable of covering. Plus Jerry Jones has a thing for taking the best player available and Kuechly is simply too talented to fall past this.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU — Andy Reid loves drafting defensive lineman. Brockers showed loads of potential coming into his own last year at LSU being very good versus both the run and pass.
16. New York Jets: Mark Barron, S, Alabama — Another pick, another SEC player off the board. Rex Ryan seems to stockpile defensive backs and lands the best safety in the draft.
17. Cincinnati Bengals: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina — Scouts are finally realizing what a special talent Gilmore is with his abilities to play both man and zone coverage while demonstrating great leadership capabilities.
18. San Diego Chargers: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford — The Chargers recently re-signed Jared Gaither to a new deal, but RT Jeromey Clary is one of the worst offensive linemen in the league and protecting Philip Rivers is resources well spent.
19. Chicago Bears: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama — A week ago, I would have mocked Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd at the spot; however the acquisition of Brandon Marshall shot that down. One can never have enough stud corners playing in the same division as Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford.
20. Tennessee Titans: Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois — True 4-3 defensive ends are lacking in this draft and Mercilus was one of the most productive last year at Illinois. The Titans were rumored to be the most interested in Mercilus at his recent Pro Day.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor — Bengals already have a legit top shelf WR in AJ Green who’s best playing outside. Wright is a natural in the slot giving Andy “The Ginger” Dalton another weapon.
22. Cleveland Browns: Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma St — Browns missed on trading up for RG3, but get their QB here with the 28 y/o Weeden who’s widely considered a top ten prospect in spite of his age.
23. Detroit Lions: Cordy Glenn, OT/G, Georgia — The Lions need to continue to protect their young QB Matthew Stafford. Current LT Jeff Backus is 35-years-old. Glenn could easily start his career at G and be the eventual replacement on the blindside.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame — The Steelers have question marks at WR with Hines Ward retiring and Mike “60 Minutes” Wallace a restricted free agent. Floyd gives Big Ben a legit #1 wideout to throw to. A sliding Floyd also presents an interesting scenario for Vikings. Would they trade away their 2nd round pick and another pick to move into the 20s to take the Minnesota native?
25. Denver Broncos: Doug Martin, RB, Boise St — The Bronco stays a Bronco going from Boise State to Denver. Martin’s stock is on the way up possessing the tools to be an every down back. Broncos are also in “win now” mode having Peyton Manning and aren’t said to be high on Willis McGahee.
26. Houston Texans: Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC — The Texans are in need of a pass rusher after Mario Williams became Buffalo Bills bound and also traded away linebacker DeMeco Ryans to the Eagles. Perry is a young blue chipper that fills either void.
27. New England Patriots: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama — Belichick loves versatile linebackers and needs an edge rusher after Mark Anderson left for the Bills.
28. Green Bay Packers: Andre Branch, DE/OLB, Clemson — Packers are in need of a pass rusher opposite Clay Matthews. Branch can do just that and is also an asset when asked to step back and cover.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Jerel Worthy, DT, Penn St — Worthy is too talented to not go in the first round. He could wreak havoc playing next to Haloti Ngata on what is already a nasty defense.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford — Fleener finds his former college coach, Jim Harbaugh, in the pros and teams up with Vernon Davis giving San Francisco an intriguing pair of tight ends.
31. New England Patriots: Kendall Reyes, DT, UConn — Patriots continue to bolster their pass rush adding the blue-collar defensive lineman. Reyes also fits the Belichick mold of being versatile and having solid work ethic. Trading down here, which New England always does, is a strong possibility as well.
32. New York Giants: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech — The Giants have a roster ready to win another Super Bowl, however need a downfield target after losing Mario Manningham to the 49ers that is capable of opening things up for elite wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.
Jon Merckle may be followed on Twitter @thevikingpig