2012 NFL Mock Draft 1.0 – Bills Nab Courtney Upshaw

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13. Arizona Cardinals
Trent Richardson – RB, Alabama
Obviously, the best running back in the draft may not be here at #13, but he would do a fantastic job of taking the pressure off of the exceptionally average Kevin Kolb.  I do not believe he is the future of Arizona’s quarterback position, he’s more akin to Ryan Fitzpatrick West than a rising star, but I DO believe Trent Richardson is a steal this low, and will be very good for a long time.  He saved a lot of miles on his legs by not being a fulltime player his freshman year, and has top end speed with uncanny strength.  Should be a very durable back.  Dark Horse Pick: I can see ILB Luke Keuchly in red and white.  He is a safe pick with great speed and the ability to eat up the rush.

14. Dallas Cowboys
Dre Kirkpatrick – CB, Alabama
Kirkpatrick is generally considered a fine consolation prize for a team that needs a DB and cannot get Claiborne, and he will likely slide down to about this range due to his recent arrest over pot possession.  He has great size and athleticism, and will match up well against the top receivers that the Cowboys have to face each year.  Great value for a middle pick.  Dark Horse: David DeCastro.  I have him slotted earlier of course, but he could just as easily fall here.  Pairing him with last year’s first round pick Tyron Smith will help keep Tony Romo upright, and create holes for last year’s emerging star, RB DeMarco Murray.

15. Philadelphia Eagles
Mark Barron – S, Alabama
The Dream Team turned out to have a few more holes than originally expected, and ever since Brian Dawkins joined forces with Tim Tebow, the safety play in Philly has not been good.  Barron is the consensus top safety available at a position without a lot of depth this year.  This is a tough pick to slot because of all the needs for the Eagles, but the tall and fast Barron seems pretty safe, and that is exactly what Andy Reid needs right now.  Dark Horse Pick:  Mohammed Sanu, the excellent Rutgers receiver could very well be the pick if DeSean Jackson’s hot and cold play is not retained for next year.

16. New York Jets
Melvin Ingram – DE, South Carolina

Every year Rex Ryan would have us believe that Warren Sapp and Bruce Smith patrol his defense, and year after year we get suckered into believing that the Jets have an elite unit on defense.  While they have had good defenses in the past, they were NOT good last year, and a lot of that had to do with a usually weak pass rush, and poor safety play.  With Mark Barron already gone, the pass rush is upgraded with the relentless Ingram.  This pick is subject to change if Santonio Holmes is not coming back, a Dark Horse Pick is wide receiver, Michael Floyd, Mohammed Sanu or Kendall Wright could all be in play here.

I’m calling it now; Peyton Manning will NOT be a Jet next year.

17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland)
Janoris Jenkins – CB, N. Alabama
I REALLY want to have the Bengals trading up to Buffalo’s number 10 pick to grab Trent Richardson and have him pair with AJ Green and Andy Dalton, but too much would have to happen for that, and Nate Clements is on his way out in Cincinnati.  Jenkins absolutely dominated at Senior Camp, and the sneaky good Cincy defense just keeps on getting better.  Dark Horse Pick: they have a pick later on and I believe they will trade one of them.  Probably not this one, either Jenkins or Kirkpatrick should be available here, and whoever is left is the pick.

18. San Diego Chargers
Whitney Mercilus – DE/OLB, USC
This is a very early mock, and many people think that Mercilus could be this years Aldon Smith and rise very quickly and not be here for San Diego.  If that is the case, this will change quickly but you can never have too much defense, and the Chargers will add to the pass rush with the aptly named defender who led all of D1 last year in sacks.  Dark Horse Pick: if somehow Mark Barron is available, the Chargers would love to add him.  I can only see defense going here unless there’s some great value emerging after the Combine.

19. Chicago Bears
Zerbie Sanders – OT, Florida St.
This is a major reach here, and Chicago took help on the offensive line last year as well, but as Jay Cutler goes, so do the Bears.  They still have a good defense, though it continues to age, but they are forced to continue to stack the offensive line.  Obviously the Bears could go for value over need, and take a wide receiver as a Dark Horse Pick.

20. Tennessee Titans
Devon Still- DT, Penn St.

Remember when CJ Spiller ran amok for two quarters against Tennessee when Buffalo played against them?  If Tennessee wants to knuckle down and turn that around, they need to stop the run.  The pass rush was nothing to take pride in either, but Still is great value down here at #21.  Dark Horse Pick: if they go with pass rush, Mercilus, Ingram, or Nick Perry could be available here.  Either way, it’s a defense pick for the Titans.