Deace’s 2012 Mock NFL Draft
By Steve Deace
Because when he grows up Steve still wants to be Mel Kiper…
Top players by position:
1. Andrew Luck, Stanford…The total package physically and intellectually, but lacks the commanding presence of a Cam Newton.
2. Robert Griffin III, Baylor…The recent history of the second quarterbacks who go 1-2 in the draft isn’t great (think Rick Mirer and Ryan Leaf), but he’s dynamic.
3. Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M…Still has developing to do, but I would rank him ahead of both Christian Ponder and Jake Locker who were top picks last year.
4. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State…Compared to Chris Weinke because of age, but has a stronger arm and more ready to play.
5. Brock Osweiler, Arizona State…If he had a stable situation to return to at Arizona State he would’ve competed to be top overall pick in 2013 draft.
Darkhorse—Kirk Cousins, Michigan State…might be this year’s Andy Dalton.
Black Sheep—Darron Thomas, Oregon…made one of the worst early entry decisions in recent memory
1. Trent Richardson, Alabama…Contender for best overall player in the draft regardless of position, and closest thing to Adrian Peterson since Adrian Peterson.
2. David Wilson, Virginia Tech…Best speed back in the draft and has better toughness than you think.
3. Doug Martin, Boise State…Does everything well, but nothing really stands out, and was kept in check by the one talented defense he saw last year.
4. Edwin Baker, Michigan State…Perhaps the most powerful runner in the draft and certainly the most powerfully built.
5. Chris Polk, Washington…Quick feet, runs with power, and is a good receiver out of the backfield. One of the more underrated players in the draft.
Darkhorse—Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati…might be a second round pick if he was bigger.
Black Sheep—Lamar Miller, Miami (Fla.)…a bit soft and too upright—bad combination in NFL.
1. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame…Has every physical tool and put up huge numbers despite facing defenses geared to stop him.
2. Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech…The Jason Pierre-Paul of this year’s draft, raw but absolutely filthy athleticism.
3. Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State…The most overrated player in this year’s draft who could be the next in a line of disappointing Big 12 spread system wideouts.
4. Rueben Randle, LSU…Physically ready for the NFL, but was really underdeveloped in college with mediocre quarterbacks.
5. Alshon Jeffrey, South Carolina…Doesn’t have that much-ballyhooed SEC speed, but he is a weapon in the red zone.
Darkhorse—Brian Quick, Appalachian State…The only question with him is the level of competition he faced.
Black sheep—Kendall Wright, Baylor…Another Big 12 spread system receiver who lacks breakaway speed, and is smaller than Blackmon.
1. Matt Kalil, USC…Not as powerful as Jake Long or Joe Thomas, but perhaps more athletic. One of the best players in the draft regardless of position.
2. Riley Reiff, Iowa…Versatile and plays with a mean streak, he might be better suited to play right tackle in the long run.
3. Jonathan Martin, Stanford…Powerful run blocker who lacks athleticism, but he also started three years in pro-style system and is ready to play right tackle right away.
4. Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State…One of the real boom or bust players in draft, rates right behind Kalil in pure ability but has off-field issues and comes from Division II.
5. Mike Adams, Ohio State…The only reason he’s still this high with all his off-field red flags is how well he played at Senior Bowl.
Darkhorse—Bobbie Massie, Mississippi…Very athletic right tackle overlooked because he played on a bad team.
Black Sheep—Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State…Great size but struggled at Senior Bowl.
1. David DeCastro, Stanford…Could be another Will Shields type—10-year starter for a franchise and perennial All-Pro.
2. Cordy Glenn, Georgia…Great athlete but lacks motor. Was great at guard in 2010 but struggled at left tackle in 2011.
3. Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin…Typical Badger offensive lineman: not much of a ceiling but ready to play on opening day.
4. Peter Konz, Wisconsin…See above, except he’s a true center.
5. Phillip Blake, Baylor…Great character, high motor, and one of the strongest players in the entire draft.
Darkhorse—Adam Gettis, Iowa…Has really improved his stock and could go as high as day two.
Black Sheep—Tony Bergstrom, Utah…Took advantage of his age to beat up on lesser developed college players.
1. Coby Fleener, Stanford…Another ready-made starter in what is the best Cardinal draft class the school has ever produced.
2. Orson Charles, Georgia…Definitely looks the part, but is a high character/high-motor player who still needs to work on fundamentals.
3. Dwayne Allen, Clemson…Very athletic and good in space, but lacks top-end speed and isn’t a willing blocker.
Darkhorse—Michael Egnew, Missouri…Inconsistent quarterback play the main reason he didn’t live up to preseason hype.
Black Sheep—Beau Reliford, Florida State…looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane.
1. Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State…Total package physically, and is versatile and smart, too. The only question is why didn’t production match the potential?
2. Dontari Poe, Memphis…One of the true freaks of the Combine, he’s the best pure nose tackle prospect in the draft.
3. Michael Brockers, LSU…Can play in a 4-3 or a 3-4, but you have to wonder about a guy whose college production goes from bust to boom in one year.
4. Jerel Worthy, Michigan State…Is nasty when he wants to be, which isn’t always, but there’s no doubting the disruption when he’s on.
5. Devon Still, Penn State…His stock has fallen so much that he’s now underrated after being overrated two months ago.
Darkhorse—Mike Martin, Michigan…All this guy does is make plays.
Black Sheep—Brandon Thompson, Clemson…Doesn’t have the production to validate the measurables.
1. Courtney Upshaw, Alabama…Is he an outside linebacker? Is he a defensive end? Here’s what we know—he’s a darn good football player.
2. Quinton Coples, North Carolina…He had 31 tackles-for-loss final two seasons in college and scouts talk about a motor problem. What will he do when he’s motivated?
3. Chandler Jones, Syracuse…Another tweener that needs to add weight to play up front, but there’s no doubting athleticism.
4. Nick Perry, USC…A freak of nature but also a mystery since it took him three years in college to finally exert his will on a game.
5. Jared Crick, Nebraska…People forget how dominant he was junior year after Ndamukong Suh left.
Darkhorse—Vinny Curry, Marshall…Not a great athlete, but has great technique and the great production to go along with it.
Black Sheep—Cam Johnson, Virginia…Scouts question his toughness and desire.
1. Luke Kuechly, Boston College…Another contender for best overall player in the draft regardless of position.
2. Dont’a Hightower, Alabama…Teammates voted him captain twice, and he’s got great measurables. But where was the on-field production?
3. Mychal Kendricks, California…The next in a line of defensive players the Golden Bears have put in the pros recently.
4. Bobby Wagner, Utah State…Workout warrior who dominated against lesser competition.
5. Sean Spence, Miami (Fla.)…It’s rare a player coming out of Miami is underrated, but Spence was highly productive when healthy.
Darkhorse—Tank Carder, TCU…Was outstanding as a junior, just okay as a senior.
Black Sheep—Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State…The greatest waste of potential in this draft class.
1. Melvin Ingram, South Carolina…While scouts decided fellow SEC tweener Upshaw was a DE, they have decided Ingram projects as an OLB in a 3-4.
2. Andre Branch, Clemson…Had a sensational senior year, and his measurables are the archetype for an outside linebacker.
3. Whitney Mercilus, Illinois…Phenomenal athlete who at times was unblockable last season, but will have to learn 3-4 rush linebacker position in the NFL.
4. Shea McClellin, Boise State…One of the real late-risers in the draft, mainly because his outstanding intangibles overshadow above-average athleticism.
5. Lavonte David, Nebraska…Productive, high-motor and high character player who doesn’t excel in pass coverage.
Darkhorse—Zach Brown, North Carolina…Easily the fastest linebacker in the draft, but how come he only had one standout season in college despite all his gifts?
Black Sheep—See “darkhorse.”
1. Morris Claiborne, LSU…Could go higher than former college teammate Patrick Peterson went last season as the first cornerback taken.
2. Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina…Teams have moved him up despite untapped potential because he doesn’t have off-field concerns of others at his position.
3. Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama…Probably doesn’t have the speed to be a bump-and-run guy, but excels in run support and zone coverage.
4. Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama…If not for off-field concerns he might have challenged Claiborne for top player at his position.
5. Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina…Has good size for such an athletic cornerback, but doubts abound about the caliber of competition he faced.
Darkhorse—Josh Robinson, Central Florida…Adds value as a threat on punt returns.
Black Sheep—Trumaine Johnson, Montana…Scary measurables, but phrases like “self centered” and “high maintenance” come up in scouting reports.
1. Mark Barron, Alabama…A guaranteed opening day starter for whoever selects him. Has everything you want in a NFL safety.
2. Harrison Smith, Notre Dame…Mike Mayock’s man-crush on this guy is good enough for me.
3. Brandon Taylor, LSU…Has gone from an underrated prospect to one who probably won’t be on the board after the second day.
4. Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State…Broke up 33 passes last three years in college, and was solid at the Senior Bowl.
5. George Iloka, Boise State…Has superb size but average speed. Still, fared well enough at the Senior Bowl to be ranked here.
Darkhorse—Sean Richardson, Vanderbilt…Helped himself at the Combine.
Black Sheep—Antonio Allen, South Carolina…Was considered a top prospect at the position until lackluster Senior Bowl and Combine.
MOCK DRAFT – ROUND 1
1. Colts: Andrew Luck, Stanford…Being labeled the next Peyton Manning is tough enough, but even tougher is filling those shoes for his old team.
2. Redskins: Robert Griffin III, Baylor…Mike Shanahan will be out of excuses as to why he hasn’t won a playoff game since John Elway retired.
3. Vikings: Matt Kalil, USC…A lot of saber-rattling by the Vikings here about looking elsewhere, but that’s an attempt to entice another team to trade up.
4. Browns: Trent Richardson, Alabama…Mike Holmgren doesn’t pick receivers this high, and Richardson is everything you look for in a West-Coast Offense runner.
5. Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, LSU…The perfect elixir for a secondary that is a bit of a mess right now.
6. Rams: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State…Very overrated prospect, but at some point St. Louis has to get Sam Bradford some help.
7. Jaguars: Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina…Jacksonville would like to trade out of this spot, but if there are no takers they’ve made it known they like Gilmore.
8. Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M…One of the worst kept secrets of the first round reunites Tannehill with his former college head coach, who is now offensive coordinator in Miami.
9. Panthers: Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State…The Panthers have to get stouter up front against the run.
10. Bills: Luke Kuechly, Boston College…Buffalo selects the anchor for its defense for the next decade.
11. Chiefs: Dontari Poe, Memphis…Anytime you try to run the 3-4 defense without a disruptive nose tackle you don’t have a 3-4 defense.
12. Seahawks: Melvin Ingram, South Carolina…The Seahawks are looking to bolster their pass rush.
13. Cardinals: Riley Reiff, Iowa…The consensus best offensive lineman available for a team that needs to improve up front.
14. Cowboys: Mark Barron, Alabama…Mel Kiper has been saying for weeks he guarantees Barron won’t make it past 16, which means sources are telling him this is the top player on Dallas’ board.
15. Eagles: Courtney Upshaw, Alabama…This is an Andy Reid-type of pick. Solid character/motor guy, who helps up front.
16. Jets: Chandler Jones, Syracuse…The Jets are sorely in need of another rush linebacker to pressure the quarterback.
17. Bengals: Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama…The Bengals don’t mind off-field red flags, and they need help at cornerback.
18. Chargers: Whitney Mercilus, Illinois…He’s got the athleticism to be the long-awaited replacement for Shawne Merriman.
19. Bears: Michael Floyd, Notre Dame…Granted they just traded for Brandon Marshall, but would you trust him for the long run as your franchise receiver?
20. Titans: Quinton Coples, North Carolina…Tennessee takes the best defensive end available, and hopes it doesn’t end up with another Albert Haynesworth.
21. Bengals: David DeCastro, Stanford…Cincinnati gets even better up front with the best interior offensive lineman in the draft.
22. Browns: Cordy Glenn, Georgia…If you’re going to build an offense around Trent Richardson you’d better give him a road-grater to run behind.
23. Lions: Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State…Detroit typically takes the best player available, but in this case word around the league is they love this boom or bust small school prospect.
24. Steelers: Dont’a Hightower, Alabama…The replacement for long-time starter James Farrior has been found.
25. Broncos: Michael Brockers, LSU…Upgrading the defensive tackle spot is the prime directive in this draft for Denver.
26. Texans: Shea McClellin, Boise State…Just like high-motor defensive lineman J.J. Watts before him, Houston goes with another high-character guy for its 3-4 defense.
27. Patriots: Harrison Smith, Notre Dame…Talk about the quintessential Bill Belichick type player.
28. Packers: Devon Still, Penn State…Ted Thompson likes taking the best available player, and there was a time Still was considered a potential top 10-15 pick.
29. Ravens: Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech…The Ravens have had receivers with size or speed, but none with size and speed.
30. 49ers: Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin…San Francisco looks to remain one of the most physical teams in the league.
31. Patriots: Jerel Worthy, Michigan State…Vince Willfork isn’t getting any younger, and New England never has replaced Richard Seymour.
32. Giants: Mike Adams, Ohio State…He’s more talented than this spot, but falls because of red flag.