With less than a month to go until the 2012 NFL Draft, the smokescreens and misinformation is beginning to pick up.
At this point, anything that’s coming from any team in the league could be purposefully misleading. In some cases, teams even put out accurate information because so many people believe that whatever is said isn’t true.
That’s what makes attempting to put together a good, accurate mock draft nearly impossible. But it is possible to get a read on what teams think of players from conversations with scouts, coaches and the players themselves. Now that pro days are complete, we have an even better picture of information to work from.
With that said, here’s the top 32 version 2.0.
These rankings are based on information collected in the past two months from conversations with scouts, coaches, draft analysts and players. They are meant to represent the players with the most talent and in no way reflects a predicted draft order for April. These rankings are those of this website and do not in any way reflect the views of the St. Louis Rams.
1. QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor – Productive, exciting, intelligent, Griffin is the total package a team looks for in a franchise quarterback.
2. QB Andrew Luck, Stanford – Pretty much all of the qualities of Griffin though he’s more versed in a NFL style offense. Doesn’t quite have the electric skill package of Griffin but it’s close.
3. RB Trent Richardson, Alabama – Some say this is too high for a running back but he’s considered to be the best since Adrian Peterson. He’s that good.
4. OT Matt Kalil, USC – Excellent bloodlines and production and talent to match. Clearly the best tackle in this draft.
5. CB Morris Claiborne, LSU – Smooth in coverage and excellent ball skills. A little lax in terms of toughness but coverage wise you won’t find better.
6. WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State – Alleviated plenty of fears with his pro day 40 time. Combine that solid speed with sticky hands, strength and run after the catch ability and you have the best wideout in the draft.
7. LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College – One of the most wildly productive players in this draft combined his impressive game film with a strong workout. The type of player who could make 100 tackles as a rookie.
8. DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina – The best pure athlete and pass rusher among the defensive ends in this draft. Can play on the edge as a 4-3 end or a 3-4 OLB.
9. OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama – Has drawn comparisons to many top pass rushing 3-4 OLB’s and figures to be a wanted man by teams that play that defense.
10. DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State – Explosive pass rush skills with the versatility to step outside and play end.
11. DT Michael Brockers, LSU – A bit of a project because his skill set is raw but his size and athletic ability make him an instant help against the run with the hope that pass rush will come with experience.
12. G David DeCastro, Stanford – As solid and sound an interior lineman as you’ll find in any draft. Plug and play right away.
13. OT Riley Reiff, Iowa – Another in a line of solid, productive tackles. Likely better off on the right side but capable of playing on the left. He brings it consistently.
14. CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama – In terms of pure skill as a corner, there aren’t many players better. Off the field concerns will drive him down in the draft but you’d be hard pressed to find a more gifted player on the field.
15. S Mark Barron, Alabama – A hard hitting, well schooled safety with the ability to be a premiere in the box player.
16. WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame – Size and speed package make him an intriguing prospect. Has a few off the field questions and consistency concerns.
17. CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama – Probably better served as a zone corner at the NFL level but he has the size and skills to succeed anywhere.
18. DT Dontari Poe, Memphis – A big, athletic guy with a lot of upside but buyer beware on his combine performance. His on field production didn’t come close to matching what he did in shorts and a tee shirt.
19. G Cordy Glenn, Georgia – The offensive version of Poe. A massive man with excellent athletic ability. Unlike Poe, though, was more productive in college. Projected as a pile driver on the interior but might be athletic enough to play right tackle in the league.
20. C Peter Konz, Wisconsin – Another in a long line of talented Badgers linemen. Not as physically dominant as some of his predecessors but intelligence and functional strength could make him instant starter.
21. DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina – As physically dominant as any player in the draft but he disappears far too often. More consistency would make him a potential star. Will likely be drafted higher than this but will be a bit of a gamble.
22. QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M – A good athlete who throws well on the run and is still relatively new to the position after switching from receiver. Great upside but not as polished or productive as the top two QBs.
23. LB Donta Hightower, Alabama – Not the fastest or quickest but excellent football instincts with physical strength. Finds a way to make plays.
24. G Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin – Pure strength and physical power with a nasty streak that should plug him into a starting position from day one.
25. WR Kendall Wright, Baylor – Lack of speed at combine was a surprise but he plays much faster on the field. Needs to improve physical conditioning.
26. CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina - Blessed with size and athleticism, Gilmore is far from a finished product but when he gets there, he could be special.
27. LB Lavonte David, Nebraska – He’s a bit undersized but plays bigger. Great athlete who isn’t afraid to come up and hit someone.
28. DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State – A really good athlete in the middle with natural pass rush skills. Mind tends to wander a bit and he takes the occasional play off.
29. T Jonathan Martin, Stanford – Doesn’t have the strength to be a dominant run blocker but a good athlete with light feet that should be solid in pass protection right away.
30. TE Coby Fleener, Stanford – The draft’s best tight end boasts a package of solid hands and route running with a willingness to block.
31. DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois – Only had one year of production but showed high upside pass rush skills and could probably play with his hand down in a 4-3 or standing up in a 3-4.
32. RB Lamar Miller, Miami – Top end speed combined with size makes him a potential top runner at NFL level.