The days have been ticking by, we have seen every possibility, we have listened to every talking head, and now we wait to see how the weeks of preparation and big boards turn out Thursday night. We've heard strong talk from the Arizona Cardinals front office, stating that they will not be locked into an offensive lineman in the first round just for the sake of addressing a need, and we have heard about the willingness to pick up a special player when they are available at your pick, such as Ryan Williams. The real first round is always wild and different than anyone can ever truly predict, but based on certain team needs and draft day impulses I think we've got something that will more closely resemble this years draft than you've seen on a lot of other sites. Same rules apply: first round only and trades are permitted. With that in mind, here is the final Revenge of the Birds mock draft for 2012.
The first pick of the 2012 NFL Draft is..
1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford. No explanation needed. He has some big shoes to fill, hopefully he can live up to the expectations even without the mentoring of #18.
2. Washington Redskins - Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor. The Redskins seems like the perfect place for RG3. He's going to be exciting to watch this year.
3. Minnesota Vikings - Matt Kalil, OT, USC. The Vikings should be picking up Claiborne here, but Kalil is the top prospect at OT and they value protection for Ponder over the need for upgrades in their defense.
4. Cleveland Browns - Justin Blackmon, WR, OSU. The Browns sorely need a big name WR talent, and while Richardson is good, they need someone to catch the ball in the NFL. There are plenty of good RBs later in the draft, and picking Blackmon establishes a WR talent regardless of who the next QB is for the Browns.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Morris Claibourne, CB, LSU. Claibourne may have had a low wonderlic test score, but he's earning high praise for shutting down receivers. Claiborne is the best pick to combat Brees, Ryan, and Newton.
6. St. Louis Rams - Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. The Rams need WR talent and Floyd is my favorite in the draft. With Blackmon gone the Rams take the #2 and laugh while doing it.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars - David DeCastro, G, Stanford. The Jaguars love their running game and have a young QB that needs protection. They could have gone flashy, but instead they'll go for the sure thing and address needs in the second.
8. Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M. Tannehill will wait and learn, but don't be surprised if he has garbage duty later in the season depending on how bad the season goes just to get snaps and experience.
9. Carolina Panthers - Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi St.. Ron Rivera is a defensive mind and he needs a dominant DT. They'll take Cox over Poe as he has a longer proven track record.
10. Buffalo Bills - Riley Rieff, OT, Iowa. The Bills need a Tackle and Riley fits the "bill" very well. If Floyd had fell to #10 they'd have taken him.
11. Kansas City Chiefs - Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis. The Chiefs will take the gamble on Poe over the sure thing that is Luke Kuechly. If Poe can live up to his potential the Chiefs stout defense from the second half of the year could become their calling card for 2012.
12. Seattle Seahawks - Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College. Seattle will receive a lot of offers to trade down here, but I don't think they'll trade away the opportunity to pick up the best ILB talent in the draft unless the deal is just too good to be true.
13. San Diego Chargers from Arizona Cardinals - Mark Barron, S, Alabama. The Chargers front office are in a "must win now" mode. The offseason brought Payton Manning to the division, and the Chargers defense needs two great Safeties to contend for the division. The Chargers will make the move because they know Barron will not be there at 18 with the Cowboys having expressed interest in Barron, and more over they're willing to trade away picks to get the guy they want (See Ryan Matthews). The Front Office will bet the farm to shore up their needs because they need to win if they want to stay. This is a perfect one year contract mentality.
The Cardinals are more than happy to trade back to 18 and pick up a 2nd or 3rd round pick after DeCastro, Floyd,and Kuechly (in that order on their big board) are taken off of the board.
14. Dallas Cowboys - Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina. The Cowboys love that Ingram fell and he'll be used immediately in their 3-4 defense.
15. Philadelphia Eagles - Quinton Coples, DE, UNC. The Eagles didn't offer enough for Kuechly so they settled for their next best pick in Coples.
16. New York Jets - Michael Brockers, DT, LSU. Rex Ryan wants a great DT and will take the arguably #2/3 best DT prospect in the draft.
17. Cincinnati Bengals - Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama. Richardson falls farther than most are speculating, but lands exactly where the Bengals wanted. He's a true RB talent, but RBs value is changing in the game. The Bengals could have gone Ingram or Upshaw here, but they love the pick up of Richardson and now have one of the most potent offenses in the AFC North.
18. Arizona Cardinals from San Diego Chargers - Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama. The Cardinals have stuck to their board, picked up a need, and a later round draft pick. Upshaw is a talent who rushed the passer in college and can drop back into coverage. The Cardinals will continue BPA in the 2nd or 3rd with the extra pick and will look to address RT or WR depending on the board. The 18th could be used on OT Martin or OLB Perry depending on how they're ranked on the board.
19. Chicago Bears - Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford. The Bears need to patch up their line and after the Cardinals picked Upshaw the Bears breathe a sigh of relief and pick up Martin who protected Luck's blindside in college.
20. Tennessee Titans - Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois. Mercilus is quite the talent and will be a welcome addition to the Titans.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama. The Bengals could not plan for the good fortune that they had in landing the two talents they were aiming for. They addressed the two biggest needs in the draft in the first round.
22. Cleveland Browns - Cordy Glenn, OG/OT, Georgia.. Glenn is incredibly versatile and can be groomed to the position of need.
23. Baltimore Ravens from Detroit Lions - Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama. The Ravens make the trade to stop the Steelers from picking up the heir to Ray Lewis' role in the defense. Ray is getting older and he needs to start grooming his replacement.. Hightower is an incredible talent and the Ravens will pay a high price to keep him from falling to their bitter division rivals in the Steelers.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Nick Perry, DE, USC. Perry will be a marquee player in LaBaeu's scheme. The Steelers will have to make a choice between Mike Adams and Perry here, but I think they go with BPA as usual and show the Ravens that they'll gear up on defense as well.
25. Denver Broncos - Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor. Manning needs WRs to catch the laser guided rockets he'll be throwing in Denver, and Wright is the best WR available at #25.
26. Houston Texans - Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech. The Texans will make the prudent decision and select the speedy, 6' 5" WR to play opposite Andre Johnson. This pick and the way the Texans are playing remind me of a certain team in 2008...
27. New England Patriots - Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State. The Patriots are hurting at pass rusher and McClellin is a good one who many have thought would go in the end of the first round. A value pick for the Pats.
28. Green Bay Packers - Devon Still, DT, Penn State. Green Bay fills a need at DT after their top OLB choices came off the board.
29. Detroit Lions from Baltimore Ravens - Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina. The Lions have such a strong need for CBs due to the division QBs of Cutler and Rodgers, and last year had the highest number of CBs on IR. Seeing Gilmore fall to the end of the 1st round fills a need and with the extra picks from Baltimore they can pick up an OL in the 2nd.
30. San Francisco 49ers - Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford. While the 49ers need a WR more than they need another TE it will be almost impossible for Harbaugh to pass up on the TE he coached for four years. If not Fleener, it will be Alshon Jeffery here.
31. New England Patroits - Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina. The Patriots have a crowded WR corps but adding Jeffery makes the decision to part with certain players a little easier to make room for new threats in the passing game.
32. New York Giants - Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State. The Giants have a lot of great options to close out the first round, Harrison Smith is one, Doug Martin, RB, Boise State is the another. But I think they'll play BPA and draft Adams who is strong and can be groomed to protect Manning.
33. Cleveland Browns from Colts - Brandon Weedon, QB, Oklahoma State. While not the first round I think the Browns will get jumpy here and offer picks to move up and get Weedon from a team who already addressed their QB needs in the 1st and is in such need that they'd be willing to trade away for more picks. Say what you will about Weedon's age, I think he's a talent and the Browns think he can play behind center.
On behalf of the ROTB staff, I would like to thank all of those who Mock'd. It is a thankless job and you'll get beat up for picking up a RB with the 4th pick, but it's fun and we do it for the community. Thank you for taking the time to read these articles, and for being a part of the greatest community on the net!
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