2012 NFL Mock Draft: April 18

1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

The Colts would be crazy to take Robert Griffin over Luck.

2. Washington Redskins (from St. Louis): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Mike Shanahan is infatuated with Griffin, and that’s why the Redskins traded up to the No. 2 spot.

3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT, USC

The Vikings have plenty of needs, but Matt Kalil has potential to be a franchise left tackle. With Adrian Peterson coming off ACL reconstruction surgery the Vikings may have to rely on their pass game more than in past seasons.

4. Cleveland Browns: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Mike Holmgren is willing to spend very high picks on defensive players, but hasn’t done so on quarterbacks. He attempted to trade up for Robert Griffin III, and while I love Ryan Tannehill, his skills are very different than Robert Griffin III’s. Claiborne’s four on the Wonderlic is a bit concerning, though.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

The Bucs will likely attempt to run the ball more under Greg Schiano, and LeGarrette Blount has proven that his punch against Boise State during his senior season at Oregon wasn’t a solitary act of stupidity.

6. St. Louis Rams (from Washington): Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

With Jeff Fisher at the helm the Rams are a threat to take any position on the defensive line early on in any draft. Fletcher Cox is the best player on the board here if he lasts this long.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

No matter who is playing quarterback for the Jaguars, they’ll need someone to throw to. At the beginning of the draft season there is no way the Jags thought Blackmon would be here, and he’s complementary to their present receivers.

8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

When the Dolphins struck out on Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn this offseason Tannehill became a lock to the Dolphins if he’s available at this pick. I’m a huge fan of Tannehill, and ultimately I think he’s the best long term option for the Dolphins anyways.

9. Carolina Panthers: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

The Panthers have some holes and really need to pick up the best talent they can. Poe is athletically gifted, and while he’s got the size that makes 3-4 teams salivate over him as a nose tackle, his athleticism could make him dominant in a 4-3.

10. Buffalo Bills: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

The Bills re-signed Stevie Johnson, and while  they have some decent depth at WR, they don’t have a true No. 1 receiver. Johnson is very good, and he’s been productive to this point in his career, but one has to wonder if that isn’t just a product of attrition instead of ability.

11. Kansas City Chiefs: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

It seemed like the Chiefs drafted their left guard of the future when they drafted Branden Albert, who was considered an elite prospect. Albert was so elite he was moved to left tackle, and the Chiefs still have a hole at the guard position.

12. Seattle Seahawks: Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia

Cordy Glenn is a long-armed, enormous, athletic offensive lineman who will played left tackle during his senior year at Georgia, but who could be an elite right tackle or left guard in the NFL. With question marks about James Carpenter and injuries to Carpenter and John Moffitt, Glenn makes sense.

13. Arizona Cardinals: Riley Rieff, OT, Iowa

A dream come true for the Cardinals, who would have considered Jonathan Martin, they’ll draft Rieff to protect Kevin Kolb’s blindside. Rieff may be an ideal right tackle, but he’s a much better prospect than Martin.

14. Dallas Cowboys: Mark Barron, S, Alabama

The Cowboys have been linked to Barron and Dontari Poe a lot this draft season. They’re a candidate to trade up for Poe, but they may have to trade up as high as No. 7 to get him. Barron is ultimately their consolation prize.

15. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

Even though the Eagles traded or DeMeco Ryans, they are still in need of a linebacker. The position has become more fungible so Kuechly slips this far, but he’s the best true linebacker in this year’s draft.

16. New York Jets: Melvin Ingram, 34OLB, South Carolina

Rush linebacker may not be the top need for the Jets, but this year’s class is pretty weak, and not very top heavy. They may not expect Ingram to be available for their top pick, but they’ll take him if he’s available at No. 16.

17. Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland): Stephen Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

With Leon Hall coming off a torn Achilles the Bengals need help at the cornerback position. No corner has had a better draft season than Gilmore, if only in light of Morris Claiborne’s microscopic Wonderlic score.

Last Week: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

18. San Diego Chargers: Courtney Upshaw, 34OLB, Alabama

Upshaw had a pretty ugly draft season, coming in heavy and slow. However, he’s athletic enough, and has enough good tape behind him, that he’ll still appeal to 3-4 teams, but probably only 3-4 teams.

19. Chicago Bears: Quinton Coples, DE/DT, North Carolina     

The Bears brought back Israel Idonije and already have Julius Peppers, so this is clearly not a need pick, but Coples is the best player on the board. The team could use depth on the line, and Coples can play inside for the Bears on almost all pass downs also.

20. Tennessee Titans: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

The Titans need a center, and while drafting a center this early may buck some of the conventions of the NFL draft, the Titans are a team willing to buck convention. Konz is the best center in the draft.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Nick Perry, DE, USC

Some teams shy away from USC players, I predict because the talent around them often magnifies their production. The Bengals don’t, and Perry can probably step into their line rotation and play a big role immediately.

22. Cleveland Browns (via Atlanta): Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech

The Browns second-leading receiver was a kick returner. Stephen Hill may be fairly unrefined, but he’s got athletic ability surpassed really only by Calvin Johnson. He’s got good ball skills, and can be an effective receiver even if he never runs great routes.

23. Detroit Lions: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

Jeff Backus has been the Lion’s biggest hole for most of a decade. Jonathan Martin’s inability to workout at the combine and so-so Pro Day have made him fall this far, and the Lions get a young, talented left tackle as a result.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford

With Todd Haley in as the Steelers offensive coordinator we may see more emphasis placed on the receiving ability of their tight ends. Heath Miller is pretty good, but they’d be well served to draft a more athletic tight end.

25. Denver Broncos: Kendall Reyes, DT, UConn

The Broncos may be a cautionary tale of when team’s can’t decide if they’ll be a 3-4 or a 4-3 team. They’ve basically had to rebuild their front seven twice in the past half-decade. Reyes will be one of the best athletes at DT the day he puts his jersey on.

26. Houston Texans: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

Part of the reason the Texans switched to a 3-4 is so that they wouldn’t need elite talent like Mario Williams to have a successful defense. Now that Williams is gone though, they have a whole to fill. Mercilus may be more ideal in a 4-3 but he’s the best on the board right now.

27. New England Patriots: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

Janoris Jenkins is the most talented player left on the board. That said, he’s got enormous character concerns. The Patriots aren’t afraid to take risks on character issues though, and collect DBs like baseball cards.

28. Green Bay Packers: Michael Brockers, 34DE/NT, LSU        

The Packers have really struggled to find adequate down linemen to make their 3-4 effective. Ryan Picket has been serviceable, and B.J. Raji is a good nose tackle, but Brockers can step in and start at end immediately and play nose if necessary.

29. Baltimore Ravens: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

Any team that is starting a near-400 lb Bryant McKinney has a need on their offensive line. The lockout added weight to McKinney, and ultimately will shorten his career. Mike Adams is the best OT left on the board.

30. San Francisco 49ers: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

Even though Michael Crabtree is still on the roster and the 49ers signed Randy Moss this offseason, they’ll be looking to add to their receiving corps at some point in the draft. I’m not a fan of Wright’s but the hype is there keep him in the first.

31. New England Patriots: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech

Benjarvus Green-Ellis now plays in Cincinnati. The Patriots need a runningback to complement Stevan Ridley, and Wilson is probably the most complete back left in the draft. He’s not a bruiser, but has potential to contribute on all downs.

32. New York Giants: Devon Still, DT, Penn State

The Giants had Jimmy Kennedy and Rocky Bernard in their tackle rotation last year, and it is not 2006. Still is a good value here, perhaps the best player on the board, and the Giants are a team that is willing to draft BPA at some positions early in the draft.