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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Key Trades Shape the First Round

Everyone has their version of the 2012 Mock Draft running around the internet, and it's fun to try to pick where players are going to go, but without free agency, franchise tags being put in place, and the combine we're left to speculate. We read Mel Kiper's big board and look at Scouts Inc.'s top 32, but no matter what there is always surprises when it comes to Draft Day. For me it's always the incredible trades, when a team see's their perfect pick just about to slip away. In this, the sixth installment of the Revenge of the Bird's 2012 Mock Draft, there will be trades, and of course there will be controversy. Now on with the Linsanity!

The first pick of the 2012 NFL Draft is...

1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford. There is a 99% chance they will take Luck. (Previous Pick: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford).

2. St. Louis Rams - Matt Kalil, OT, USC. Many think that that the Rams will trade away the #2 pick, but I think they'll stick with Kalil. He's a keeper at OT and they want to show they're committed to him, and more so Bradford's health. (Previous Pick: Matt Kalil, OT, USC ).

3. Washington Redskins from Minnesota Vikings - Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor. While both the Rams and the Vikings phones were ringing off of the hook, the Redskins offer a 1st, 2nd, and 2012- 4th to trade up and select their new franchise QB. (Seahawks Previous Pick: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor)

4. Cleveland Browns - Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU. One thing everyone seems to agree on, Claiborne is a top 5 pick. Two years in a row LSU produces a top 5 NFL caliber CB. (Previous Pick: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU)

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama. Richardson is top 5 talent, but the change in the NFL has caused RBs to fall much lower in the draft. But a talent like Richardson is too good to let slip by if he's sitting at the top of your draft board and you want to have two punishing backs in your stable, the Bucs make the smart move and take Richardson. (Previous Pick: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama)

6. Minnesota Vikings from Washington Redskins - Justin Blackmon, WR, OSU. The Vikings are lacking the talent at WR for their young QB to use, and AP needs a deep threat to take some pressure off of opposing teams stacking the box. (Redskins previous pick: Michael Brockers, DT. LSU)

7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina. Coples will go higher than he should, but by taking Coples now, they have one of the best pass rushing prospects in the draft. They'll focus on WR in the 2nd round. (Previous Pick: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa)

8. Miami Dolphins - Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa. Reiff is the #2 OT in the draft, will play RT with Long, and is an insurance policy in case Long goes down due to injury. Long suffered from a torn bicep at the end of 2011, and suffered from back and knee issues throughout 2011. Reiff may get a season at the RT then slide to LT if Long begins to break down or wants too much money after his final year of his contract. (Previous pick: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina.)

9. Carolina Panthers - Michael Brockers, DT, LSU. Brockers is the highest ranked DT in the draft, and has the faster first step. He'll be key to the Panthers defense in 2012. (Previous pick: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama.)

10. Buffalo Bills - Melvin Ingram, DE, S. Carolina. This pick will either be Ingram or Upshaw depending on who has the better combine. Ingram's an incredible pass rusher and the Bills are going to go with the best pass rusher available.

11. Cincinnati Bengals from Kansas City Chiefs - David DeCastro, OG, Stanford. The Bengals trade the 17th pick plus additional picks to solidify the interior of their line with the best guard in the class. Picking up DeCastro will further protect Andy Dalton and allow the Bengals to be even more potent. The Chiefs are fine with trading down and picking up the extra picks to allow Romeo Crennel to build the team he wants to field. (Chiefs Previous pick: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford.)

12. Seattle Seahawks - Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama. The Seahawks will address their QB issues in Free Agency, they'll look to the draft to solidify their defense with youth and speed. Courtney Upshaw will be an immediate upgrade in Seattle. (Vikings previous pick: Johnathan Martin, OT, Stanford.)

13. Arizona Cardinals - Johnathan Martin, OT, Stanford. The Cardinals will have to rely on Russ Grimm to help them select the best OT prospect available. It will be Martin or Adams depending on the Combine. Martin's name value and performance protecting Luck makes him my choice. We'll see if Grimm comes up with a different decision on draft day. (Previous Pick: Justin Blackmon, WR, OSU)

14. Dallas Cowboys - Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama. Reused: Jenkins has personality and off the field issues, the Cowboys have a soft secondary and a love for bad boy attitudes. This was a match made in Cowboy heaven. (Previous pick: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama.)

15. Philadelphia Eagles - Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College. The Eagles grab the best ILB in the draft and solidify a defense that is full of talent. Kuechly could be the missing piece to a championship defense in Philly. (Previous pick: Alshon Jeffery, WR, S. Carolina)

16. New York Jets - Devon Still, DT, Penn State. Still is a big body and will work well in the Jets' defense. (Previous pick: Whitney Mercilus, OLB, Illinois.)

17. Kansis City Chiefs from Cincinnati Bengals - Fletcher Cox, DT, Miss. St. Fletcher is the #3 DT in the draft, and fills a position of need for the Chiefs. If Bowe is not resigned I imagine this would be Floyd of Jeffery, but if Bowe is retained and Baldwin will be going into his 2nd year, I think they'll take Cox and draft a WR and LB with they're extra picks from the Bengals. (Chiefs Previous pick: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford)

18. San Diego Chargers - Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. Rivers struggled last year, partially due to the line play, partially due to his own performance, and partially because of drops from his WRs. Floyd is a weapon, and could be the #1 if Jackson can't reach a deal with the Chargers. Either way he's a big body and goes up for the ball, a combination that Rivers has been successful with in the past (Gates, Jackson, etc). (Previous Pick: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama)

19. Chicago Bears - Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina. The run on WR talent will begin here, the Bears need WR talent and once Floyd leaves they're select either Jeffery or Wright, depending on the combine. (Previous Pick: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State.)

20. Titans - Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State. Worthy has it all, strength, speed, pass rush, but primarily run defense. Worthy is a "worthy" pick at 20 and begins the reshaping of the Titans once proud defense. (Previous pick: Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia.)

21. Cincinnati Bengals - Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama. Kirkpatrick falls to the Bengals and they have filled two areas of need through the draft. Though they won't have their 2nd or 4th due to the trade they like the players that they added in the first round. (Previous pick: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor.)

22. Cleveland Browns - Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor. The Browns add a legitimate threat to their offense that is lacking any real talent at WR. Wright will bring speed and skill to a team that is filled with #3 WRs. (Previous pick: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame.)

23. Detroit Lions - Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin. The Lions bolster the center of their line with the best Center in the draft. Matthew Stafford gains the added protection and the line will be able to open holes for the new RB they'll pick in the 2nd round. I was going to pick Don'ta Hightower here to rush the wholes made by the all star defensive line, but Konz is good value at 23 and is an upgrade in Detroit. ( Previous pick: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College)

24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Nick Perry, OLB, USC. The Steelers get Perry to earn his way behind their aging OLBs and add fresh legs in pass rush situations. (Previous pick: Nick Perry, OLB, USC)

25. Denver Broncos - Stephon Gilmore, CB, S. Carolina. Gilmore is still rising in potential, and will join a backfield with two aging CBs. Champ Bailey will be a perfect mentor to him and will allow Gilmore a year in the slot to come up to NFL speed before being expected to take over as the #1 CB. (Previous pick: Devon Still, DT, Penn State.)

26. Houston Texans - Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis. I think this is a perfect fit for the Texans. Poe is graded well and will fall right to them. He'll start the season and be the missing piece for Wade Phillips. (Previous pick: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers.)

27. New England Patriots - Mark Barron, S, Alabama. The Patriots will pick up Barron to make sure they're not resting their season on a WR's inability to catch a ball, and two Super Bowl rings on a Safety's inability to swat a ball away during a deep route. (Previous Pick: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin.)

28. Green Bay Packers - Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina. Brown will provide the help the Packers need on the right side. It will be Brown or Curry here after his incredible Senior Bowl performance. (Previous Pick: Vinny Curry, OLB, Marshall.)

29. Baltimore Ravens - Don'ta Hightower, MLB, Alabama. Hightower slid all the way to the end of the 1st round and into a perfect situation learning the Ravens defense and playing with Ray Lewis. (Previous Pick: Vontaze Burfict, ILB, ASU)

30. San Francisco 49ers - Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers. Sanu adds the WR threat that is missing in San Fran right now. Crabtree is good, but Sanu will provide an additional outlet to Smith and allow the 49ers to become less one dimensional as a team. (Previous pick: Alfonso Dennard, CB, Nebraska)

31. New England Patriots - Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois. Reused: The Patriots again seek to upgrade a defense that played very well despite the injuries and lack of talent. With two first rounders the Patriots hope to fix the element that just bit them from winning a Super Bowl. (Previous Pick: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina.)

32. New York Giants - Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson. It's good to be the champs and able to pick up the #1 TE in the draft to add to your talented offense. (Previous Pick: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson.)

How did we do? The sixth mock is in the books! Now let's hear what you have to say about it...