With the 2012 NFL season well under way, I decided that I would throw up my second 2012 NFL Mock Draft (my first Mock Draft being right here.)
Quick Summary: For those of us who haven't been able to ache their hearts out this season thus far, our Beloved Purple has faltered their way to an unexpected 1-6 record (thanks in part to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-McNamed), although things are looking on the ups after a promising showing from rookie quarterback Christian Ponder and the rest of the Vikings squad against the Packers this past Sunday. This isn't the only noteworthy news from the week, as Chris Cook has been arrested for felony charges of strangulation. Bernard Berrian has also been released from the team. (B-Twice? Bye-Bye!)
This upcoming week, it'll be a battle of first round quarterbacks as Ponder squares off against the #1 overall pick and potential Rookie of the Year Cam Newton. With the season having not gone as hoped thus far, the Vikings begin an enormous youth movement process (Brandon Burton has been moved up from the PS to replace Berrian) so we can possibly expect to see a lot of young guys getting some time and reps in hopes of figuring out what kind of talent we get to work with moving forward.
As for the Mock Draft itself, here are the contents:
1. Draft Order: At this point in the season, I feel that the records of teams are, for the most part, accurate enough to give a decent indication of what the pick order will be looking like this April. Granted, there could be some serious differences when the draft does roll around this spring, but this should be the general shape of the draft.
Side Note: I will NOT be doing a playoff prediction in this draft: the last 12 picks will look a little funky, but only because I'm ordering teams by the record thus far in the year, and that factor only.
2. Brief Analysis (excluding the Vikings) and Highlight Video for each player picked for each team.
3. Emphasis on the Vikings: I'll be giving a much more in-depth analysis of the player that I mock to the Vikings and the reasons why I mock said player to the Vikings at that point in the draft. I also want to talk Vikings draft; who we should draft with our first overall pick and why, so that's what the whole Open Thread thing is about!
Let's get started!
1. Miami Dolphins (0-6): Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
This pick is a no-brainer. Andrew Luck and the Miami Dolphins are a match made in heaven. If Bill Cowher joins in too, things could turn around quickly for the Fins.
2. Indianapolis Colts (0-7): Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
The Colts won't need offense when Peyton Manning is back. Plus, they just drafted Anthony Costanzo and Ben Ijilana. They need defense; Robert Mathis is a free agent and Quinton Coples is the second coming of Julius Peppers.
3. St. Louis Rams (0-6): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Sam. Bradford. Needs. Receivers.
4. Arizona Cardinals (1-5): Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
This could go either way; I think that Kalil and Martin are so close right now it'd be hard to distinguish which one will go first. Based on upside, however, Martin gets the nod here at number four because of his massive size, physical ability and his upside.
5. Minnesota Vikings (1-6): Matt Kalil, OT, USC
This pick could go three or four ways for the Vikings;
1. They could draft an offensive tackle, such as Matt Kalil or Jonathan Martin.
2. They could draft a wide receiver, such as Justin Blackmon or Alshon Jeffery
3. They could take the best player available.
4. They could trade down.
In my honest opinion, I think that the Vikings would be wise to select an Offensive Tackle if either Matt Kalil or Jonathan Martin is available. This is because both Kalil and Martin are bookend tackles; seldom do you have two tackles of their caliber in the same high end of a draft. I personally like Kalil more, as he is dominant in his run blocking AND his pass blocking, but a lot of draft analysts have little to no discrepancy between the two. If the Vikings could grab their Left Tackle of the Future in this draft, they would have yet another cornerstone to build around in the coming years. Drafting a left tackle addresses two issues, as it protects our QBOTF AND it helps our #1 Runningback. While you could say a wide receiver can also help the quarterback and the running back (by stretching the field and providing a target for Ponder), I feel that a perennial problem with our offense could be solved with the addition of a standout left tackle. Also, wide receiver is a position that can be addressed in the second round (remember Sidney Rice?); this draft class is deep at the wide receiver, whereas it is EXTREMELY hard to find a franchise left tackle a la Jake Long or Joe Thomas in the second round, no matter the year. I know several fellow Vikings fans who were livid when the team didn't draft a left tackle this past year (MarkSP18, I'm looking at you!) and in this case, the Vikings are able to snag their biggest need while at the same time getting the best player available. In the case that Jeffery, Blackmon, Kalil and Martin are ALL gone by our pick, I think we should trade down with either Cleveland or Cincinnati and see if we can snag Riley Reiff and another lineman/receiver.
6. Carolina Panthers (2-5): Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
A big target for Cam Newton. Wouldn't this be frightening?
7. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5): Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
The Jags need some youth on their defense, and Morris Claiborne is this year's version of Patrick Peterson.
8. Seattle Seahawks (2-4): Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
The Seahawks find a reason to get rid of Tarvaris Jackson! #winning
9. Denver Broncos (2-4): Trent Richarson, HB, Alabama
Trent Richardson is a manimal. And he would instantly help Tim Tebow, which is who Denver needs to start building around (hint hint to John Fox, if you're reading.)
10. Philadelphia Eagles (2-4): Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
Yeah. Philly's defense sucks. And that's pretty much all that needs to be said on the matter.
11. Cleveland Browns (3-3): Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Absolute beast. Best tackler in the nation (think Chad Greenway but a little bit quicker), and the Browns could use some help on defense.
12. Tennessee Titans (3-3): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Cortland Finnegan is a free agent, and Tennessee's defense couldn't stop Houston's passing attack WITHOUT Andre Johnson. Yikes.
13. Washington Redskins (3-3): Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Mike Shanahan finds a reason to replace Rex Grossman! And John Beck! #winning (note: if Robert Griffin III declares for the draft, he'll be going in this spot.)
14. Kansas City Chiefs (3-3): Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
KC needs as much help on defense as they can get. Seriously, though. Mikey Vrabel isn't cutting it any more.
15. Dallas Cowboys (3-3): Michael Brewster, C, Ohio State
The Cowboys needed a lineman BEFORE Bill Nagy (who?) got hurt. Yeah. It's that bad. Brewster is an immediate upgrade.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (4-2): Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Continual building on the offense for the Bengals...if they hit on all their picks, they will actually be unstoppable in a couple of years.
18. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta (4-3): Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
Cleveland needs to keep building their defense. Alfonzo Dennard and Joe Haden would be a serious corner combo to be reckoned with.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-3): Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama (previously Florida)
This is a steal at pick #18, and Janoris Jenkins would go much higher (no pun intended) if he wasn't such a big fan of illegal substances.
20. Chicago Bears (4-3): Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia
The Bears offensive line has more holes in it than a slice of swiss cheese. And maybe Jay Cutler's brain.
21. Houston Texans (4-3): Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB, West Virginia
Since all the Texans draft now is defense, I'm just gonna give them a pass rusher and hopefully they'll be happy.
22. San Diego Chargers (4-2): TJ McDonald, S, USC
TJ McDonald is a solid value, and the Chargers would be formidable with Weddle and McDonald making up their deep end.
23. New York Giants (4-2): David DeCastro, G, Stanford
New York Giants bargain shopping at it's finest. David DeCastro is a steal at this pick, so they'd probably take him even if they didn't need him.
24. New York Jets (4-3): Josh Chapman, NT, Alabama
The Jets need more big defensive linemen! Josh Chapman is kind of like Terrence Cody in his sense of physicality, but he's more in shape, so I'm sure the Jets would be open to making him their new NTOTF.
25. Buffalo Bills (4-2): Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina
The Bills need more playmakers on defense and Shawne Merriman keeps getting hurt.
26. Baltimore Ravens (4-2): Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
Ray Lewis needs an apprentice! Dont'a Hightower is a beast, and he could seriously do some learning behind one of the best in the game.
27. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2): Alameda Ta'amu, NT, Washington
Casey Hampton is getting up there in the years. Alameda Ta'amu is a beast, and a fine successor for a fine player.
28. San Francisco 49ers (5-1): Brandon Jenkins, OLB, Florida State
Brandon Jenkins would fit in quite nicely across from Aldon Smith. That would be an awesome linebacking core.
29. Detroit Lions (5-2): Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
The Lions need some upgrades on their O-Line, too. They're never going to win more than 12 games (or make it far in the playoffs) if Matt Stafford isn't on his feet. Not that I want them to.
30. New England (from New Orleans (5-2)): Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
New England needs a good safety across from Pat Chung! Mark Barron is an animal too, and a guy Belechick can turn into a monster. Scary thought.
31. New England (5-1): Andrew Datko, T/G, Florida State
More linemen for New England because every year they have 902390449085 picks in the first round.
32. Green Bay Packers (7-0): Jared Crick, DE/DT, Nebraska
The Packers defensive line is either not that great (outside of BJ Raji) or having themselves a little bit too much Purple Drank. Jared Crick is also, as I like to say, a manimal.
And there you have it! Chat away, ladies and gents.