An Everyone’s Eligible Mock Draft

Written by Mike Daneshgar on December 3, 2011


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Looking around at mock scenarios for the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft, I began to wonder what the draft would look like if there were no eligibility restriction on who could enter. Would the top overall prospect in 2012 still be the top pick? Where would that freshman phenom fit into the mix of things when you consider upside and limited early production? Simply put, it is an all out free-for-all with the best college football players at each team’s disposal.

 

Let’s dig in.

 

* denotes 2nd year players, eligible for the 2013 draft

** denotes true freshmen, eligible for the 2014 draft

 

 

1. Indianapolis Colts 

 

Andrew Luck – QB – Stanford

 

This is probably the least surprising selection of this draft. By now, I’m sure you have basked in the greatness that is Andrew Luck. He is the safest QB prospect to come out in a long time and would go #1 in pretty much any draft due to the importance of the position. With Peyton Manning’s neck problems continuing to be a concern, the Colts can’t afford to take a chance and pass up on Luck.

2. Minnesota Vikings 

 

Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina**

 

While Defensive End may not be at the top of the Vikings’ list of needs, Clowney is just that good. Said by many to be the best overall prospect of the decade, Jadeveon has forced Melvin Ingram to play on the inside on several occasions. While the true freshmen needs to work on components of his game, in particular run defense, Jared Allen is almost 30 and Clowney has 16 sack potential with some of the greatest burst off the edge I’ve ever seen.

3. St. Louis Rams 

 

Tyrann Mathieu – CB/S – LSU*

 

Though Mathieu is currently undersized, (5’9 175) I fully expect Mathieu to bulk up by the time he is done at Baton Rouge. Simply put, the Honey Badger is a difference maker and will be an ideal slot corner with his physicality, ball skills, and strong run support. His offensive mentality and range on defense also makes me think that he can also become a premier ballhawk at the safety position. He would add a swagger and a playmaking dimension to a Rams defense that severely lacks it.

4. Cleveland Browns 

 

Matt Barkley – QB – USC

 

While Colt McCoy hasn’t been awful, Cleveland ends the season with 4/5 of their remaining games against Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Odds are they will not finish the season strong and end up picking in the top 5. Matt Barkley is just too good for the team to pass up in hopes that McCoy can do more with an improved surrounding cast. His moxy, experience in a pro-style offense, and ability to make throws that Colt simply cannot makes him a good choice.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars 

 

Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson**

 

Sammy Watkins is the best wide receiver in college football. He’s just a true freshman but runs routes like a pro, has great hands, and is great after the catch. If he were to enter this year’s draft, he would be a top 5 pick for sure. Let’s face it Jacksonville, Blaine Gabbert has not looked good. I wasn’t a fan of his coming out of Missouri, but if the Jaguars still are (and if they drafted him, I would hope so), they need to surround him with some serious talent.

6. Washington Redskins 

 

Marcus Lattimore – RB – South Carolina*

 

There are players that you have to feel bad for with the NFL requirement to have 3 years in college before entering the draft. Lattimore was NFL-ready after his freshman year but was sidelined this year with an injury. If he can come back to full speed, his vision and feel for the running back position make him a can’t miss player and future top 10 pick. The only thing holding him back from the top 5 is the decreased value placed on running backs.

7. Kansas City Chiefs 

 

Robert Griffin III – QB – Baylor

 

I question whether Matt Cassel is good enough to take the Chiefs to the promised land. I don’t know what “it” is, but RG3 has “it.” His athleticism is transcendent for the position, and he throws the best deep ball in college football. Questions remain about Baylor’s offensive scheme, but with the success of Cam Newton coming out of a similar offense, the Chiefs would be wise to draft RGIII and have him work behind Cassel until he is ready.

8. Arizona Cardinals 

 

Matt Kalil – OT – USC

 

How does Levi Brown still have a job? He alone has accounted for more sacks than the entire Tennessee Titans, yet he’s protecting Kevin Kolb’s blind side? No wonder Arizona is a mess. Insert Matt Kalil into the left tackle spot and you can actually see what that offense is like with that new quarterback that you threw a ton of money at. Kalil may not have the upside of other tackles, but he is a safe pick with a near impossible chance to bust.

9.  Carolina Panthers 

 

Robert Woods – WR – USC*

 

A 5-star prospect coming to USC, Woods has produced since his freshmen year with the help of his quarterback Matt Barkley. Woods has elite speed and run after the catch ability that Carolina could really use to help out the golden boy Cameron Newton. While Carolina has needs all over, Woods is arguably BPA at this spot and could add another element to their offense. And while Steve Smith has played well, he is still 32 with just 2 years remaining on his contract.

10. Miami Dolphins 

 

Tyler Bray – QB – Tennessee*

 

Matt Moore has looked solid as of late, but how long can it last and can Miami risk not addressing the position in the offseason? With Tyler Bray on the board, it would not take much thought for Miami. Bray needs to add on a good 30 lbs to his 6’6″ frame, but he has all of the tools that you want in a quarterback and has succeeded in the SEC, so he is a step ahead of the game.

11. Seattle Seahawks 

 

Tyler Wilson – QB – Arkansas

 

Tarvaris Jackson isn’t the answer for Seattle and Tyler Wilson is a very underappreciated quarterback. What I like most about Wilson is his pocket awareness and toughness: he’s pretty much the complete opposite of his predecessor Ryan Mallet. This razorback will willingly step up in the pocket knowing that he is about to get punished. He needs another year of seasoning but it would not surprise me at all if Wilson ends up a top 5 pick.

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

 

Seantrel Henderson – OT – Miami*

 

Henderson was an all-world recruit coming into Miami and has found a comfortable spot at RT for the U. His massive size and athleticism jump out at you when watching him and his potential is through the roof – top overall pick of the draft roof. The Buccaneers have Jeremy Trueblood at RT allowing twice as many QB pressures as anyone else on the offensive line. Just because LeGarrette Blount can hurdle people and Josh Freeman can move around in the pocket, doesn’t mean they have to every snap because of bad blocking.

13. Philadelphia Eagles 

 

Chris Faulk – OT – LSU*

 

Faulk is another 5 star recruit (of course he was) who most definitely looks the part. While he is still green, my early impression of Chris Faulk is that if he can be the blindside protector on the best team in the SEC, he has potential to be a top draft pick. Have you seen how comfortable Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee look in the pocket? How long can the Eagles protect Michael Vick’s blindside with a converted guard? Not very long if they don’t do something about it soon. Insert Chris Faulk and he’ll crack less ribs.

14. Denver Broncos 

 

Trent Richardson – RB – Alabama

 

Though he is selected here 9 slots behind fellow SEC running back Marcus Lattimore, Richardson is stronger, faster, and has better hands. Still, with Richardson running behind 5 future NFL linemen, I had to knock him down a few slots. Either way, Denver would be getting one heck of a feature back. Knowshon Moreno cannot stay healthy and though Willis McGahee looks like he has gotten new legs, he is still 30 years old with over 1,700 carries under his belt. The position needs some fresh legs.

15. Buffalo Bills 

 

Justin Blackmon – WR – Oklahoma State

 

Buffalo looks to be riding the Ryan Fitzpatrick train so what better way to keep it rolling than to draft the super productive Justin Blackmon? Current number 1 wide receiver Stevie Johnson is due to be a free agent and David Nelson is a productive overachiever. Even though the Bills somehow find a way to pass the ball without drafting wideouts high, it makes you wonder what the offense could do if they did.

16. San Diego Chargers 

 

Morris Claiborne – CB – LSU

 

Touted by many as the most talented draft eligible cornerback, Claiborne possesses wide receiver ball skills and size. Though he may struggle in man coverage like his former teammate Patrick Peterson has, Claiborne will be a fine successor to the 32 year old Quentin Jammer. The Chargers could use a pass rusher here but Claiborne is a playmaker at the cornerback position that is too good to pass up.

 

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Mike Daneshgar

Mike is a contributor to the DraftBreakdown team whose obsession with talent evaluation and teambuilding sprouted from the many failures of his beloved Cleveland Browns. His goal is to one day say that he gets paid to work in football. In between being a Master's student at the University of Florida and working with DraftBreakdown, Mike also writes pieces for the ProFootballFocus.com Dynasty staff. See all posts by Mike Daneshgar.