The 2012 NFL Draft is just two days away, and sportswriters everywhere feel obliged to write a mock draft that will likely resemble the draft’s actual results in no way whatsoever. As a columnist for Dawg Pound Daily, I am honored to share my shot in the dark. Ladies and gentlemen, my 2012 NFL mock draft:
1. Indianapolis Colts
This is the obvious pick here. Luck is a going to be a great signal caller for years to come.
2. Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III
If you didn’t know that Luck and Robert Griffin III are going first and second overall, then I please ask you to stop reading the rest of this mock draft. Am I simply venting that the Browns are not the ones sitting at No. 2 and selecting Griffin? Yes…yes, I am. And I’m sorry for that.
3. Minnesota Vikings
Offensive tackle, USC
The Vikings are in major need of improving their offensive line after losing both its starting offensive guards, Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera, this offseason. Fortunately for them, Kalil is considered a can’t-miss offensive line prospect much like Joe Thomas was in 2007. Minnesota will listen to offers to trade this pick so some boneheaded team (the Miami Dolphins) can select Ryan Tannehill way too early. If they stay put, as they should, the Vikings will take Kalil with this pick.
4. Cleveland Browns
Running back, Alabama
There is chatter that the Browns are torn between Justin Blackmon and Ryan Tannehill, but I just don’t buy it. In a previous article, I expressed how I feel Morris Claiborne is the best pick for the Browns at No. 4. While I still believe he is a better prospect, it is hard to question the Browns selecting an offensive player with the potential that Richardson has. I feel drafting a running back this early is tremendously risky, but people are comparing Richardson to Adrian Peterson. Peterson was drafted seventh overall in 2007, but to say he would not be worth selecting in the top five of the 2007 NFL draft would be crazy. In that draft, the late defensive end Gaines Adams was selected fourth, followed by offensive tackle Levi Brown. The Buccaneers and Cardinals, respectively, likely wouldn’t mind having Peterson now, and Browns fans wouldn’t mind watching Richardson handle the backfield for the foreseeable future if he is picked here. Again, I feel Claiborne is a safe, defense-changing pick, but I expect the Browns to select Richardson out of desperate need to gather offensive weapons.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Rhonde Barber is getting up there in age, Aqib Talib soon may be a felon, and Eric Wright, well, he’s still just Eric Wright. Accordingly, drafting a cornerback certainly makes sense. The Bucs even hired LSU’s secondary coach, Ron Cooper, this offseason. I think Claiborne will be a Buccaneer if he is still on the board at this pick, and he is an absolute stud that will be one of the league’s best pass defenders for years to come.
6. St. Louis Rams
Wide receiver, Oklahoma State
There shouldn’t be a wide receiver corps that is worse than the Browns’, but St. Louis is defying all odds and doing it. Blackmon seems to be the easy pick here.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Defensive end, South Carolina
Ingram has a freakish build and displays tremendous pass-rushing ability. Quinton Coples is definitely an option here. However, the Jaguars are a franchise that is in need of winning fans over, so bringing in Coples, whose work ethic and drive are in question, would be a serious risk for Jacksonville’s public relations. The Jags are rumored to like Ingram, and, ultimately, I see him being the selection at this pick unless they trade down to a team looking to move up for Tannehill or one of the pass rushers available.
8. Miami Dolphins
Quarterback, Texas A&M
I really hope the Browns don’t end up with Ryan Tannehill, so let’s give him to Miami.
9. Carolina Panthers
Defensive tackle, Mississippi State
Cox has been rising on draft boards of late, and I see the Panthers addressing defensive issues rather than adding to the team’s explosive Cam Newton-led offense. Michael Floyd will be talked about here, but the pass rush is a serious concern in Carolina and scoring points is not.
10. Buffalo Bills
Offensive tackle, Iowa
The Bills lost starting Left Tackle, Demetrius Bell, during free agency. Buffalo’s offensive line needs a major boost, and Reiff is the best lineman available.