The 2012 NFL Draft is just a few days away. In preparation of Commissioner Goodell stepping to the podium and announcing "With the first overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select...(ok, Andrew Luck)", there have been thousands of mock drafts compiled, published, edited and re-published.
Predicting such an inexact science as the draft--where talent evaluation meets team needs while wrapped in the blanket of perceived value--is a very difficult task. With so many mock drafts in the ether, they all blur together, sharing the same basic flows and often just feature a few moved around pieces.
To escape from the the monotony, we're presenting our own 2012 NFL first round mock draft...but adding a significant Arizona State twist. Here are the ground rules:
- The draft order is the same as which will be used Thursday (barring trades between this publishing and then).
- The team needs and likely strategies will remain as is.
- Here's the fun part...the draft pool consists only of former Sun Devil players, as they were when they entered the draft.
There it is, the rules for this mock draft. Any Sun Devil who entered the NFL Draft at any point in history is eligible, and will be viewed as that strapping young lad they were then (or are). With that said, let us begin with the Indianapolis Colts on the clock...
1) Indianapolis Colts: Danny White, QB
Clearly, the Colts have a great many roster needs, but none more pressing than at quarterback. In turn, they address that situation by selection White, the All-American quarterback who led the nation in passing efficiency as a senior. He has good size at 6'3", and is a proven winner, having posted a 32-4 career record. He has great accuracy and has a tremendous football IQ...and is one heck of a punter.
The Redskins also are in need of an answer to their annual quarterback question, and by taking Plummer, they hope it won't be asked again for a decade. The crafty Plummer comes in after a terrific senior year in which he nearly led ASU to a national title. Many have compared him to Joe Montana, as both are seemingly undersized players who do nothing but make plays and win ball games, which at the end of the day is all that matters.
3) Minnesota Vikings: Randall McDaniel, G
Despite a lot of need on defense, the Vikings can't resist taking McDaniel. Interior linemen rarely go this high, but McDaniel is a truly dominant player who warrants this pick. A four-year starter, McDaniel was twice named a first team All-American, and his leadership abilities immediately upgrade the Viking offensive front.
4) Cleveland Browns: John Jefferson, WR
Year after year, the Browns are desperate for offensive playmakers. With no remaining quarterbacks worthy of the No. 4 pick, Cleveland takes wide receiver John Jefferson. He has good size at 6'1", 198 pounds and has terrific speed, giving the Browns a downfield threat they've lacked for...well, a long time. He was a two-time All-WAC player and a consensus All-American as a senior.
5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Haynes, CB
The Bucs could very well have taken running back Woody Green here, but they opt to shore up a secondary with one of the greatest collegiate cornerbacks the game has seen. Haynes is a prototypical corner, with great size (6'2", 192 pounds) to complement outstanding coverage abilities and speed. With those skills and three All-WAC and two All-American selections on his resume, the Bucs get great value for their pick..
6) St. Louis Rams: Curley Culp, DT
The Rams need a dominant force along the defensive line, and Culp is their man. A fearsome presence, Culp adds outstanding strength (he was the NCAA heavyweight wrestling champion) and tenacity to the defensive line. At 6'2", 265 pounds, he also has the versatility to slide out to end on passing downs.
7) Jacksonville Jaguars: Jim Jeffcoat, DE
The Jags are in dire need of an elite pass rusher, so taking the productive Jeffcoat makes sense. At ASU, Jeffcoat is a disruptive presence along the defensive line. He has a nose for getting to the quarterback and has terrific size for the defensive end position (6'5", 274 pounds) to be solid against the run.
The Dolphins are also in need of an elite pass rusher, and their selection of Suggs is a perfect fit. The team is moving to a 4-3 alignment, but could retain elements of the 3-4, and Suggs' versatility, speed and size (6'3", 251 pounds) make him a viable option in either scheme.
9) Carolina Panthers: J.D. Hill, WR
After finding their franchise quarterback last year, the Panthers need to give him some weapons. At 32, Steve Smith had a bounce back year, but he won't last forever. Enter J.D. Hill. He brings an absolutely explosive presence to the offense, having averaged over 16 yards per catch over his career. Hill is also an lethal punt returner and can be a presence in the running game as well.
The Bills have weapons on offense, but need help protecting them. They do so by taking Levi Jones, one of the top tackles in the nation. At 6'6" 332 pounds, Jones has ideal left tackle size, and the strength and quickness to keep the quarterback upright.
Picks 11-20 will be coming on Tuesday morning. Think a Sun Devil went too high or too low? Make your pick in the Comments section below.
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