QBs Highlight a New Crop of Potential Pros (2012 NFL Draft Preview)

The Combine is over and the Pro Days have been held as the next generation of football stars is ready to start their new life. Of course there is one big event that they need to go to in order to start this new career and that is the NFL Draft. It is unofficially the first event of the new season when teams begin to figure out their team and look to draft new players to fill holes. It is also a time to see the new crop of young players enter the NFL. It is where the likes of Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Terrell Suggs, and many more got their start. This year there is a whole new batch of young talent ready to make their mark in the NFL. After 4, or for some 3, years in College these players will step up to an entirely new level of play where the weak are weeded out quickly. The teams drafting these players will be hoping that this does not happen to their new players as they have spent years scouting these players to determine their value. This year the biggest value will be in the great crop of QBs available in the draft with two top-tier prospects and a handful of other QBs that could make an impact in the league. First there is Andrew Luck the consensus #1 pick who has used his mind and arm to become what many consider the most NFL ready QB in years. Then there is the Heisman Trophy winner in Robert Griffin III who is clearly the most complete mobile QB to come out of the draft maybe ever. Griffin seems to be the consensus #2 with the Redskins trading away the future of their draft for a chance at landing him. Then there are a number of other QBs who may go anywhere from the top of round 1 to the bottom of round two. QBs like Brandon Weeden, Ryan Tannehill, and Kirk Cousins who all have the talent to be impact players in the right situation and possibly with a few years on the bench. Along with these QBs are a number of skilled position players like Trent Richardson and one of the most exciting wide receivers to come out to the draft Justin Blackmon. There are plenty of players to see this year at the draft, 26 were invited to attend, as the NFL officially begins their new season. The draft is always an exciting time with everyone looking to see who their new superstar will be. With that in mind here is a look at the first round of the NFL draft and who I think will go and where.

 

1st Round Mock Draft:

1. Indianapolis Colts

The Colts had a rough season and after letting their franchise QB leave in the offseason there is really no question that they are getting ready for a younger version of Peyton Manning in Andrew Luck.

Who They Will Draft:

Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford University)

 

2. Washington Redskins (From St. Louis Rams)

The Redskins need a solid QB and a trade for the 2nd overall pick told everybody what they had planned as they gave up a number of picks to draft Robert Griffin III, the second best QB in the draft this year.

Who They Will Draft:

Robert Griffin III, QB (Baylor University)

 

3. Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings found their future QB last year in the draft and with Adrian Peterson still on the mend they will need to begin to look to the passing game but rumours have swirled that they are not interested in a lineman meaning they may trade this pick.

Who They Will Draft:

Matt Kalil, OT (University of Southern California)

 

4. Cleveland Browns

Colt McCoy now bears the burden of leading a terrible offence and will need protection up front but with a lack of top-tier lineman in the draft the Browns will probably go with a weapon to take the pressure off of McCoy.

Who They Will Draft:

Trent Richardson, RB (University of Alabama)

 

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs last year had an utter collapse on defence with their defensive backfield falling apart and although Josh Freeman may need some help in the form of a running back the best option will be to add a shutdown defensive back.

Who They Will Draft:

Morris Claiborne, CB (Louisiana State University)

 

6. St. Louis Rams (From Washington Redskins)

The Rams didn’t need a new QB and so they traded out of the 2nd spot where they will take one of the best offensive weapons in the draft while giving Sam Bradford a weapon in a passing game that desperately needs a lights out player.

Who They Will Draft:

Justin Blackmon, WR (Oklahoma State University)

 

7. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jags have not had the best luck in the draft and this year will be not different as they will want a wide receiver but none are good enough to take in this spot after Blackmon forcing them to look to fill another need at cornerback.

Who They Will Draft:

Stephon Gilmour, CB (South Carolina University)

 

8. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins have not had a QB since Dan Marino meaning they need to reach for a QB with this pick and they will do just that taking the third best QB in the draft who was also coached by their new offensive coordinator Mike Sherman.

Who They Will Draft:

Ryan Tannehill, QB (Texas A&M University)

 

9. Carolina Panthers

They got the future of the offence last year and now it is time to get the future of the defence with this pick as they will look to build from the line out and are hoping to find someone who can put pressure on the opposing QBs.

Who They Will Draft:

Fletcher Cox, DT (Mississippi State University)

 

10. Buffalo Bills

The Bills looked good at the start of last year as their defence was improved and their offence was great but the wear and tear of a season finally got to them as Jackson and Fitzpatrick began wearing down showing a need for better protection.

Who They Will Draft:

Riley Reif, OT (University of Iowa)

 

11. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs are looking to complete their team after underperforming in 2011 as a defensive presence is much-needed in the second level and with Scott Pioli loving the squeaky clean players he will definitely go for the top tackler in ACC history.

Who They Will Draft:

Luke Kuechly, LB (Boston College)

 

12. Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks will be hoping and praying that Ryan Tannehill falls to them at this spot but if he doesn’t they will move to the defensive side where they are in need of a better pass rush the only question is who do they value more.

Who They Will Draft:

Melvin Ingram, DE/LB (South Carolina University)

 

13. Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals are in need of a QB but there will be none available and so the next best thing could be getting another wide receiver to provide a relief from the double coverage on Larry Fitzgerald that has slowed the offence.

Who They Will Draft:

Michael Floyd, WR (University of Notre Dame)

 

14. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys have disappointed in the last few seasons and after years of trying to sign impact players this year they may try to draft some starting with a shutdown player in the defensive secondary to help a struggling defensive backfield.

Who They Will Draft:

Mark Barron, SS (University of Alabama)

 

15. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles went wild in the offseason last year but it has left them with little money and so they will need to solve their biggest weakness in the run defence that became their Achilles heel last year as they look to have their signings pay off in 2012.

Who They Will Draft:

Quinton Coples, DT (University of North Carolina)

 

16. New York Jets

Rex Ryan is a defensive coach and the thought of getting a solid pass rusher with loads of potential is going to be too much to pass up but that could also come with a few years of working to improve the technique of the young lineman.

Who They Will Draft:

Dontari Poe, DT (University of Memphis)

 

17. Cincinnati Bengals (From Oakland Raiders)

The Bengals are in a good spot with two first round picks meaning they can solve two problems in a short time but the first and most glaring will be their defensive line as they will look to take an anchor for the pass rush.

Who They Will Draft:

Courtney Upshaw, DE/LB (University of Alabama)

 

18. San Diego Chargers

The Chargers are in desperate need of a tackle but there is no tackle worth taking at this point and instead they may look for another good offensive lineman that they can be converted to the outside of the line and provide more than just one relief position.

Who They Will Draft:

David DeCastro, G (University of Alabama)

 

19. Chicago Bears

The Bears should be looking to put together a better line but the improvement at the end of last year may be enough to let them take a player that they really liked when they interviewed him to give them a true offensive weapon.

Who They Will Draft:

Kendall Wright, WR (Baylor University)

 

20. Tennessee Titans

The Titans lost two parts of their pass rush in the offseason and they will try to replace that with a solid defensive lineman that will bring back their pass rush with a great season last year that they hope can translate to the pro game.

Who They Will Draft:

Whitney Mercilus, DE/LB (University of Illinois)

 

21. Cincinnati Bengals

With their second pick in the draft the Bengals may look to strengthen their offensive line but another glaring need will be their secondary as they may use both picks to improve their defence in two aspects that suffered last year.

Who They Will Draft:

Dre Kirkpatrick, CB (University of Alabama)

 

22. Cleveland Browns (From Atlanta Falcons)

The Browns have already taken their new superstar with the fourth pick in the draft and now it is time to take the less sexy pick by protecting their starting QB and taking an offensive lineman even if he needs a little work during the season.

Who They Will Draft:

Jonathan Martin, OT (Stanford University)

 

23. Detroit Lions

Don’t be surprised if the Lions trade this pick to the Ravens who may want to reach up to get a linebacker but if they don’t they will look to increase some depth on their offensive line to help protect Matthew Stafford.

Who They Will Draft:

Mike Adams, OT (Ohio State University)

 

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have a defensive mindset where they are always looking for more pieces to an aging defence and if the Ravens don’t move up in front of them the linebacker from Alabama will be too tempting to pass on.

Who They Will Draft:

Dont’a Hightower, LB (University of Alabama)

 

25. Denver Broncos

With a new QB the offence for the Broncos may finally be figured out and that means the Broncos can concentrate on improving their aging defence and providing more depth to a defence that won many games by themselves last year.

Who They Will Draft:

Jerel Worthy, DT (Michigan State University)

 

26. Houston Texans

The Houston defence is in good shape and so it is time to concentrate on the offence as the Texans will likely look to take another offensive threat that can pair up with Andre Johnson and provide a promising offence with even more weapons.

Who They Will Draft:

Rueben Randle, WR (Louisiana State University)

 

27. New England Patriot (From New Orleans Saints)

Don’t expect the Patriots to actually pick here as they love to trade away draft picks on draft day but if they cannot get a trade partner they will look to improve the league’s second worst defence from last year by improving the second level.

Who They Will Draft:

Courtney Upshaw, LB (University of Alabama)

 

28. Green Bay Packers

The Packers defence had almost no QB pressure last year as Clay Matthews was a point of concentration for every team and so this year the Packers will likely look for a rushing partner to provide a two pressure front that could bring back their dominance.

Who They Will Draft:

Shea McLellin, DE (Boise State University)

 

29. Baltimore Ravens

An aging line will need to be replaced soon along with an aging defence but with Joe Flacco looking to step up while the running game remains he focus taking a young lineman that can fill a few holes could be more valuable than a defensive stud.

Who They Will Draft:

Peter Konz, C (University of Wisconsin)

 

30. San Francisco 49ers

The Niners had a breakout year last year with the biggest turnaround in the league and they will look to continue the trend by adding more weapons for Alex Smith and the offence as they try to throw the ball down the field in 2012 instead of the small ball of 2011.

Who They Will Draft:

Stephen Hill, WR (Georgia Tech University)

 

31. New England Patriots

The Patriots defence was in serious trouble and this offseason will be meant to fix it and with them already likely trading a previous pick this could be their one first round pick as they look to a defensive back who has impressed a lot of people in the offseason.

Who They Will Draft:

Harrison Smith, SS (University of Notre Dame)

 

32. New York Giants

The Giants are the defending champions and so they do not have many holes but improving their defence is always a priority as they realize their pass rush is their bread and butter and adding another quick rusher will only make them stronger.

Who They Will Draft:

Nick Perry, DE/LB (University of Southern California)

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