Welcome back folks. As Dexter Morgan infamously says, tonight’s the night. And by tonight, I mean, of course, Thursday night! THE NFL DRAFT BEGINS!!! We’re here for the final 16 picks of our mock draft first round. CHECK OUT PART 1 HERE. Enjoy!!!
Mark: With the 17th pick in the 2012 Thread Mock Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select Dre Kirkpatrick, Cornerback, Alabama.
It was very tempting to give the Bengals Janoris Jenkins with this pick (who may actually be the most talented corner available). It fits their philosophy to draft or sign extremely talented players who’s stock has taken a hit due to character red flags. Also, just the idea of the dream team of Jenkins and Pac Man Jones as your starting corners is unreal. Opposing receivers would fail drug test just from the second hand smoke coming from Jenkins and Pac Man. Children of strippers would have college funds started because of the money “raining” down from Jenkins and Pac Man. I’d want a season long edition of a Hard Knocks like show to follow them around all season if they ended up on the same team.
Anyway, the Bengals are trying to clean up their image, so they go with Kirkpatrick because of his great man-to-man coverage skill, which is something Cincy likes to do a lot, and the fact that he is a good character guy. It also helps that the Bengals are picking again in four picks (this is originally the Raiders pick, thanks a lot Hue Jackson), so the Bengals have some flexibility to go after another need here if there is a more highly rated player available and still get some help for their secondary at pick 21.
TBS: With the 18th pick in the 2012 Thread Mock Draft, the San Diego Chargers select Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback, South Carolina.
Fourth year corner, Antoine Cason, had a very difficult season last year. He was constantly targeted all season and got carved up. He even got benched multiple times. So much so that if GIlmore is here at 18, they should definitely pull the trigger and land this guy. The only issue the Chargers could find is that his draft stock has been on a Tannehill like rise the last few weeks. He’s a taller corner at 6 ft and some believe he’ll have to move to safety at some point. If you can bring in Gilmore to play alongside Quentin Jammer and then move Cason to the slot, you prevent him from getting so easily picked on. The old ball coach may not have been able to do much on offense since he started coaching in Columbia, but he has gotten some great players on the defensive side. Linebacker/defensive lineman could also be a possible position they look at here. The Chargers are still looking for a guy to be what Shawne Merriman was for them. That D definitely needs a few more playmakers.
MYH: With the 19th Pick in the 2012 Thread Mock Draft, the Chicago Bears select Andre Branch, Defensive End, Clemson.
Some thought the Bears would FINALLY go get a WR in the draft and acknowledge that Devin Hester was not a #1 guy. However, with the acquisition and re-uniting of Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler from their Denver days, they will probably look to fill other needs. The Bears are in limbo, as Green Bay is a force and the Lions look poised to be a top team in the NFC. Their biggest need might be at Defensive End. Currently, Isreal Idonije lines up on the other side of Peppers, but he didnt make very many plays last year. Also, they had some injuries at this position, and depth is needed. Mock drafts have Branch going as early as #16 and as late as mid 2nd round. However, with Upshaw gone, the Bears may reach to fill a need.
Mark: With the 20th pick in the 2012 Thread Mock Draft, the Tennessee Titans select Luke Kuechly, Linebacker, Boston College.
We are again looking at a team who has a need at cornerback, but if the Titans drafted Janoris Jenkins, after everything they went through with Adam “Pac-Man” Jones, then Roger Goodell may need to seize control of the team from Bud Adams, as he would officially take over the role crazy, old owner from the late Al Davis (also, it is funny this is the second team that has been scared off from Jenkins because of Pac-Man, as well as the second team needing a corner that Pac-Man has played for). Kuechly is arguably a top ten player in this draft, and the fact he has fallen to the 20th pick in our mock either means that we are terrible at mock drafting (highly possible) or that teams just don’t value inside linebackers like they used too. Kuechly had a very productive career at Boston College, but many fear that he was a success of the defensive system as well as someone made a lot of tackles 5-10 yards downfield (note: that little tidbit came from NFL.com’s draft profiles, a great resource in getting to know these players). I also want to point out that before the cancer, Mark Herzlich was not only the best defender on that team, but one of the best in country, so that again may be a reason for Kuechly’s early success. Tennessee is excited for the value pick and can plug in someone who can help solidify their defense. Another possibility, if they don’t have a player they are that excited about, would be trading down and acquiring another pick or two.
TBS: With the 21st pick in the 2012 Thread Mock Draft, The Cincinnati Bengals select, Kendall Wright, Wide Receiver, Baylor University.
As a Texans fan (and the selector of their pick later in the mock), I would love to see him in a Texans uniform, but it doesn’t appear he’ll be able to fall another 5 picks. Kendall Wright absolutely blew up on the scene this year and took the Big XII by storm. His big play ability makes up for his lack of height (he’s 5’10”). You were often surprised at how fast he could get by coverages on some of his plays last year. The big question is, was last year just a fluke? Was he a product of Robert Griffin III and a down Big XII? Only time will tell.
The Cincinnati Bengals are on the cusp of something great here. Andy Dalton really came out of nowhere as the starter to replace Carson Palmer alongside first round pick, AJ Green. With two picks this year, the Bengals could add two more difference makers to this young up and coming team. This receiving corps is full of question marks alongside Green and Wright could step right in and pick up some of the slack and take some of the attention off of AJ. This AFC North is going to be one of the toughest divisions to call.
MYH: With the 22nd overall pick in the 2012 Thread Mock Draft, the Cleveland Browns select Mike Adams, Offensive Tackle, Ohio State.
So far, we’ve had 5 offensive linemen taken before this pick and 4 tackles, which shows you how important this position is as well as how deep this draft is at tackle. Although Jonathan Martin from Stanford is a better player, some believe that Adams is actually a better fit on the right side of the line for Cleveland’s needs. (Ohio State did nothing but run the ball, and Adams was a big part of that). Adams could also help protect Colt, who really took a beating last year. Although we have the Browns taking Blackmon instead of Trent Richardson, Adams could immediately help the run game. Look for Cleveland to go tackle here, but also look at them to go WR if they dont take Blackmon. Kendall Wright, if available, could be the pick.
Mark: With the 23rd pick in the 2012 Thread Mock Draft, the Detroit Lions select Tashay Edwards, linebacker… because we all know the Lions could use some extra punch to their defense.
Actually, the Lions will select Janoris Jenkins, Cornerback from the University of Flori…. err, I mean North Alabama.
And Jenkins is off the board! A few things about this pick: 1) Jim Schwartz already dealt with the Pac-Man experience so he either thinks he can handle Jenkins or is still in complete denial about the entire thing. 2) You would think after the recent marijuana incidents with Nick Fairley and Mikel Leshoure would scare off this year’s poster boy for marijuana problems. Thing is, I don’t think Schwartz really cares. He may insist to pick Jenkins just to show everyone that he can control Jenkins.
The thing is, had Jenkins stayed at Florida and stayed out of trouble, he probably would be competing with Claiborne for first corner picked in the draft. Jenkins could transform the Lions’s secondary and put that defense over the top with his ability to play man-to-man on the offense’s best receiver. This would allow Schwartz to really unleash that front four to go after the quarterback. If Jenkins can stay out of trouble and not become Pac-Man 2.0, he could be the player that helps Detroit move past Green Bay in the NFC North.
TBS: With the 24th overall pick in the 2012 Thread Mock Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select, Dont’a Hightower, Linebacker, Alabama.
The Steelers always draft well and this pick is no different. Hightower is a playmaker at linebacker and would’ve been a top 15 pick last year if he came out. The extra year showed that he might not have the athleticism to be an elite backer in the NFL but still has the talent to get the job done. Add this to the fact that the Steelers just cut long time inside backer, James Farrior, and you’ve got a situation where the Steelers are needing to replenish their stellar linebacker unit. If any of those first round corners are still available, I also see them taking a crack at one of them.
MYH: With the 25th pick in the 2012 Thread Mock Draft, the Denver Broncos select Jerel Worthy, Defensive End, Michigan State.
Tebow is out, Peyton Manning is in. Upgrades. The Broncos were already stacked on defense (you know, that unit that carried them to all those wins, or allowed the game to stay close while Teebs took 3.5 quarters to figure it out) with the addition of rookie sensation Von Miller. However, they’ll go defense with this pick to solidify the d-line. The Broncos could use a big body on the interior and most have Worthy as the 2nd best DT (behind Poe) in the draft. Worthy is 6’3, 305 lbs, but has the quickness to shoot the gap. However, he’s a bit raw, and could use the help of an already established defensive unit.
TBS: *Walks on stage to Bulls On Parade* With the 26th overall pick in the 2012 Thread Mock Draft, the AFC South winning, Houston Texans, select Stephen Hill, Wide Receiver, Georgia Tech.
The other shocker at the combine this year (aside from Poe) was Stephen Hill. These Georgia Tech receivers are a bit of an anomaly. Apparently they are America’s best kept secret because of the performance of Demariyus Thomas last year for the Broncos. Georgia Tech is known for being a triple option team and not the mecca of first round receiver talent. But we find ourselves here yet again because Hill impressed everyone at the NFL Combine running a 4.36 40 yd dash. Not only is he fast, but the guy is 6’4! As I mentioned earlier, the triple option attack really limits one’s production on the field so you can really only go by overall production and the idea that when he actually gets the ability to showcase his skills, he’ll be able to. The Texans overall situation is more of an interesting conundrum.
The Texans just got to their first ever playoff appearance in franchise history and then won their first ever playoff game. All without their first two quarterbacks (Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart), and Mario Williams among a list of other players lost throughout the season. Then the offseason came and we lose Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, Eric Winston, and Matt Briesel. Cash strapped, we had to let all those players go. So while I would love the idea of Hill or Wright coming in to replace Jacoby Jones at WR, the pick might be made to after another offensive lineman or another linebacker. We’ll know in just two days.
Mark: With the 27th pick in the 2012 Thread Mock Draft, the New England Patriots select Whitney Mercilus, Defensive End, Illinois.
I have to be honest, with the Pats, you have to assume that they will be trading this pick. It seems that New England has two first round picks every draft, and they never use both of them nor do they ever package those picks to trade up and get a real impact player. Lately, New England’s top picks (including those taken in the first and second round) have not lived up to their selection status. I’m sure Pats fans would love to see them move up into a position to draft one of the top tier pass rushers like Ingram or Upshaw. Mercilus has actually fallen in our draft compared to where he has been slated in other mocks that I’ve seen, so maybe Bill Belichick will be pleased with the value he is getting in this pick. Mercilus fills a desperate need as an outside rusher that the Pats haven’t had in several years. Again though, don’t be surprised if Belichick trades out of this pick stock-piling another 1st rounder for next year. I can see a team moving up to get Brandon Weeden in this spot.
MYH: With the 28th pick in the 2012 Thread Mock Draft, the Green Bay Packers select Shea McClellin, Defensive End, Boise State.
The Packers passed on Brooks Reed in last year’s draft, but another outside pass rusher on the other side of Clay Mathews is desperately needed. They’d also look at Mercilus (who we have gone as of now). McClellin is a heady, versatile pass rusher who most think would fit great in the Pats defense, but he’s clearly risen to a late first rounder and could be a steal for the Pack, whose defense let them down in key times during their playoff loss to my (superior) Giants. This kid was a consistent producer at Boise State, where they won alot of games and the defense as a whole was underrated. Look for this to be the pick if he’s still around.
Mark: With the 29th pick of the 2012 Thread Mock Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select Peter Konz, Center, Wisconsin.
Pretty much the opposite of my New England pick a few picks ago as it’s pretty easy to peg what Baltimore will do. The Ravens have a big need at interior line (guard/center) and Konz fits that need perfectly. Ravens GM, Ozzie Newsome, is very good at finding talent that fills a need late in the first round, and this seems like another great opportunity for him to do that and help Joe Flacco get better (and yes Flacco, you need to get better). Also don’t be surprised if Baltimore is able to rope some team into trading back into the first round to draft Brandon Weeden and gain an extra first round pick next year.
TBS: With the 30th pick in the 2012 Thread Mock Draft, the San Francisco 49ers select Kevin Zeitler, Offensive Guard, Wisconsin.
My 2nd team pick in the 49ers isn’t a sizzling name. It’s not Coby Fleener who played for QB Whisperer, Coach Jim Harbaugh, at Stanford. This is the identity of the Niners. Tough run game that just likes to mow you over for 35+ minutes. Plus, I really like Vernon Davis AND Delanie Walker. Fleener needs to be the number 1 guy on your tight end depth chart and he isn’t beating out Vernon Davis. With the growing options on this team, I think it’s wasting a pick on Fleener, who is a great talent mind you. Back to back Wisconsin linemen going here and next to Stanford, they are ridiculous up front. It’s amazing how many offensive linemen come out of Wisconsin every year. The Niners lost Adam Snyder, who was our versatile lineman that played pretty much everywhere. There’s also the growing belief that Anthony Davis isn’t cut out to be a premiere offensive linemen after two seasons. So this either lights a fire under Davis or we’ve found our replacement for him. After coming a game short of the Super Bowl last year, the Niners are back and are all business and waiting to take the next step.
Mark: With the 31st pick in the 2012 Thread Mock Draft, the New England Patriots select Nick Perry, Defensive End, USC.
Again, it’s so hard to project what the Patriots are going to do. If they make their first selection 27 then they are almost certain to trade out of this pick. I have them pegged for Perry here because the Pats really need some pass rush help, and could really transform their defense by drafting two pass rushers or even taking these two picks and moving into the teens to get one of the other premiere pass rushers of the draft. I highly doubt Pats make two picks in the first round, but since we don’t officially project trades, I have them taking two pass rushers to fill that need. I also want to point out that I think at some point in the late first round, Brandon Weeden will be drafted. I think he goes somewhere starting at 27 (the Pats first pick) to the end of the round. If not, then St. Louis could be in prime position to auction off the first pick of the second round to a team who wants to take a chance with Weeden.
MYH: With the 32nd and final pick in the 2012 Thread Mock Draft, THE SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD NEW YORK GIANTS select Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
Ok, sorry. As you can tell, I’m still stoked. Anyway, in that epic Super Bowl victory (did I mention the Giants WON THE GODDAMN SUPER BOWL!!!) the Giants actually lost their top two TEs (Jake Ballard, Travis Beckum) to torn ACLs, and most likely neither will be ready for training camp. I cant overstate how important it is for the Giants to have a solid TE. Boss was a beast and really helped Eli come of age and after he left, Ballard stepped in wonderfully. Eli loves the TE, and all you need to do is look at Rob Gronkowski’s stats last year to see how much of a weapon a great TE can be (in fact, Gronk’s injury was key to the Giants SB win). Being matched up on slow linebackers or undersized corners all day means the TE is almost always open, especially against man coverage. Thus, look for the Giants to fill a need. Although we signed oft-criticized ex-Cowboy Martellus Bennett (Aggie, barf), they paid him next to nothing. Plus, having Fleener come in and push him wont be a bad thing. Depth at this position is also key, so drafting a TE is a good call.
Fleener played with Andrew Luck at Stanford in an offense that will see 4 first round picks if he’s taken! (WOW! This may go down as one of the best college offenses ever based on that). Fleener was one of Lucks’ favorite targets, especially in the red zone. Fleener lit it up at his pro day and even had ESPN do a “Sports Science” feature on him. Outside of the fact that he can dunk a football and beat two sumo wrestlers at tug-of-war, he stands tall at 6’6, has great hands, and, most importantly, runs great routes. Look for him to be a favorite target for Eli next season. However, to be an all around player, he’ll have to get better in run blocking and pass protection. These are Bennett’s strengths, so look for Coughlin to do some shuffling.
The Big Socrates, MichaelYoungHistory, & Markrod
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