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Only a week and a few days remain until every NFL fans favourite day in the offseason, draft day. Almost all the tape has been watched and rewatched, every prospect has been interviewed, and teams are putting the final touches on their draft boards. And as we get closer to draft day, more information about prospective targets for each team gets leaked, and mock drafts become a little more accurate (although, always expect a surprise or two come draft day). Same rules apply: first round only and trades are permitted. With that in mind, here is the penultimate Revenge of the Birds mock draft.
The first pick of the 2012 NFL Draft is...
1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford. No explanation needed. He's been the number one pick for months now, and you won't see it change here.
2. Washington Redskins - Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor. See above, but change number one to number two
3. Minnesota Vikings - Matt Kalil, OT, USC. Just a hunch, but if someone wanted Tannehill badly enough to trade up to three, it would have already happened.
4. Cleveland Browns - Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama. Cleveland might be receiving some trade offers should Minnesota opt to keep their third overall selection for Kalil.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Morris Claibourne, CB, LSU. Barder will be retiring within a season or two, Talib has legal problems, and Eric Wright is not a number one cornerback. Need matches up with talent here.
6. St. Louis Rams - Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi St. I thought I'd hop on the Fletcher Cox bandwagon soon, what with the draft next week. Many scouts see him as the number one DT.
7. New York Jets from Jacksonville Jaguars - Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina. Plenty of rumors are circulating regarding the Jaguars trading out of the seventh spot. I see Ingram more as a 3-4 OLB, so Jacksonville gladly trades down looking for a better fit.
8. Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M. Its not very often that the eighth selection in a draft seems like a lock, but at this point, all signs point to Tannehill. He could benefit from sitting for his first couple seasons.
9. Carolina Panthers - Justin Blackmon, WR, OSU. Is it officially time to be afraid of the Carolina Panthers offense? Blackmon has been falling a bit, but putting him with Cam Newton and Co. would make for a potent offense.
10. Buffalo Bills - Riley Rieff, OT, Iowa. A WR could be in play here, but I only see it as a real possibility if Blackmon falls to them. They need a tackle almost as desperately as the Cardinals do.
11. Kansas City Chiefs - Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis. Tough to figure what to make of Poe. Is he just a product of hype from the combine, or he is a special talent who was underutilized at Memphis?
12. Philadelphia Eagles from Seattle Seahawks - Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College. Mike Mayock says he is a top 10 prospect and one of the cleanest in this draft, I can see Philly making the move here, so the Cardinals don't grab him at 13.
13. Arizona Cardinals - Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. Take what you will from Mike Jurecki's twitter, but on Monday he tweeted in response to David DeCastro:
I don't believe they would draft DeCastro @ 13
With that in mind, and all of the talk of Floyd linked to Arizona, Michael Floyd is the selection here. While the Cardinals have tried many different internal options at the number two wide receiver position since Aquan Boldin was traded to the Ravens, non of them have stuck. With Larry Fitzgerald as a mentor, Floyd could very well put his act together and become the elite receiver his physical talents suggest he could be. Its an exciting choice for fans, and could help out the Cardinals inconsistent offense.
14. Dallas Cowboys - Michael Brockers, DT, LSU. With a little coaching and development, Brockers could become a top five defensive tackle. All the physical tools are there.
15. Seattle Seahawks from Philadelphia Eagles - David DeCastro, OG, Stanford. Great pick and great value for the Seahawks here, bad news for the Cardinals interoir defensive linemen.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars from New York Jets - Quinton Coples, DE, UNC. Not as much of a top 10 lock as people think he is, but Jacksonville will gladly take him after trading back.
17. Cincinnati Bengals - Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama. Good value here with Kirkpatrick lines up with a need in the Bengals secondary.
18. San Diego Chargers - Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois. Take your pick of one of the many different defensive end conversions. Personally, I think Mercilus is the best 3-4 OLB in this spot.
19. Chicago Bears - Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford. After a slight tumble down the draft boards, Chicago can grab Martin. The Bears have to keep Cutler upright and healthy.
20. Tennessee Titans - Nick Perry, DE, USC. Don't be surprised if Perry ends up being the first 4-3 DE taken come draft day.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Cordy Glenn, OG/OT, Georgia. Perfect draft scenario for the Bengals as they fill two needs with great talent in the first round.
22. Cleveland Browns - Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama. I don't know what to make of Upshaw. Some claim he can play as a linebacker, but I like him much more as a defensive end. Not going to lead the league in sacks, but solid in both pass and run downs.
23. Detroit Lions - Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina. Gilmore and Kirkpatrick line up pretty evenly in regards to talent, and if Kirkpatrick was a solid choice at 17, Gilmore is great at 23.
25. Denver Broncos - Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor. Wright+Manning=Touchdowns, well to be fair anybody plus Manning would equal touchdowns, but Wright has great athleticism and can be great now, giving him the edge over someone like Stephen Hill.
26. Houston Texans - Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech. Speaking of Hill, if the Texan's fans were allowed to make the choice, I'm convinced it would be Hill.
27. Arizona Cardinals from New England Patriots - Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama. I'm not here to mock what pieces would be exchanged in this trade and I realize the Cardinals don't have a second round pick, but I'm not a GM, so you can figure out what it would take to trade up, I just think the prospect of drafting Hightower is too good to pass up on. Hightower instantly starts beside Washington, giving the Cardinals a great young linebacking corps with O'Brien Schofield and Sam Acho on the outside. Hightower is the prototypical 3-4 SILB and drastically improves one of the most important positions on the Cardinals defense. I'm a big fan of Hightower and you gotta figure the Cardinals are too, but will they be willing to pay the price to move up? That's for you to decide.
28. Green Bay Packers - Devon Still, DT, Penn State. The front seven on Green Bay's defense needs some retooling, and adding Still gives them a very capable 3-4 DE.
29. Baltimore Ravens - Mark Barron, SS, Alabama. Ed Reed won't be around forever, and could use some help in the secondary as he ages. With Reed as a mentor, Barron could become an elite safety.
30. San Francisco 49ers - Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina. Bad news for the Cardinals, all three NFC West teams grabbed serious talent in this mock draft. Alshon could be a nightmare to cover.
31. New England Patroits - Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin. Patriots gotta keep Brady upright and healthy if they want to take another run at the Super Bowl.
32. New York Giants - Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State. McClellin seems to be the popular pick for a prospect who might surprise people and get picked in the first round. Surprise!