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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Texans Take Coby Fleener

The entire 1st round, all 32 picks

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell looks on during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell looks on during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
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1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck

The Colts have already announced this pick; it's a lock. Maybe only Peyton Manning came into the league with higher expectations in recent years.

2. Washington Redskins - Robert Griffin III

The Redskins didn't trade up from 6th to 2nd overall to take a tackle; the pick is Griffin. The Redskins don't have much at the skill positions but I believe the offensive system and coach he's going to are a perfect fit for his skill set. Obviously he'll improve the Redskins passing game, but he'll also help the running game with weak side defenders not being able to crash towards the runner in fear of the play action rollout/bootleg.

3. Minnesota Vikings - Matt Kalil

The Vikings two biggest needs are tackle and cornerback; I believe they'll take the tackle with that groups talent dropping off after the 1st round. According to Greg Cosell of NFL Films, Kalil still needs work as a run blocker, but is a polished pass protector, which the Vikings need to keep 2nd year QB Christian Ponder upright.

4. Cleveland Browns - Trent Richardson

Their offense has been dreadful over the last several years. They have several other big needs, but they have to add some skill on the offensive side and Richardson is the best RB prospect since Adrian Peterson. They're not capable of beating teams with the pass at this point, the only way for them to win games is to shorten the game with the run.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Morris Claiborne

Their division features Drew Brees, Cam Newton, and Matt Ryan; they can't possibly have too many corners. On top of that, with Aquib Talib's legal troubles and Ronde Barber now 37-years-old; Claiborne is an easy selection.

6. St. Louis Rams - Justin Blackmon

The Rams have needs all over the field, as their 15-65 record over the last 5 seasons would suggest, but if you're going to draft a QB #1 overall; you've got to give him some weapons. I think the Rams would have taken Kalil if they had stayed at #2, but they couldn't pass up the Redskins offer. I, like many others question Blackmon's speed and ability to separate at the NFL level, but he's still regarded as the best receiver in this draft.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Michael Floyd

May have more on-the-field talent than Blackmon, but off the field troubles with a couple DUI's have hurt his draft stock; a little. Over the last two seasons, Floyd averaged 89 receptions, 1,086 yards, and 10 touchdowns. Despite those numbers, before the combine it looked like Floyd wouldn't come off the board before the middle of the 1st. However, after great workouts, it seems scouts and GM's are more willing to overlook any personal issues. Jaguars need a WR in the worst way; not sure it'll help Blaine Gabbert though, he's a bust.

8. Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill

After missing on both Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn, the Dolphins are borderline desperate to land a quarterback. I don't see Tannehill as being worth a top 10 pick, maybe not even a 1st round pick; but it only takes one team to like a guy, like we saw last season with Jake Locker. With his former college coach Mike Sherman now working for the Dolphins, I'd be shocked if Miami doesn't select Tannehill.

9. Carolina Panthers - Fletcher Cox

The Panthers ranked 25th last season against the run, giving up 130 yards per game. Cox is by far the best defensive tackle prospect available; should be an easy pick for Carolina.

10. Buffalo Bills - Stephon Gilmore

The Bills gave up the 3rd most passing touchdowns (30) in the NFL last season. If they want to beat Brady, they need some help in the secondary. Greg Cosell of NFL Films thinks Gilmore is the best corner prospect in the draft and even goes as far as comparing him to Charles Woodson.

11. Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Kuechly

The Chiefs gave up 132 rushing yards per game (ranked 26th) last season; they need help. Romeo Crennel built his defenses around linebackers in New England; I expect him to take the best inside linebacker with this pick.

12. Seattle Seahawks - Melvin Ingram

Ingram's an athletic, versatile pass rusher who played defensive end, defensive tackle, and linebacker for South Carolina last year. The Seahawks need more pass rushers (ranked 19th in sacks last season), and Greg Cosell of NFL Films even compared his spin move to Dwight Freeney's. We'll see, the bar has been set very high.

13. Arizona Cardinals - David DeCastro

DeCastro is the closest to a plug in and play lineman as there is in this draft; he's very polished. The Cardinals gave up the 2nd highest total of sacks (54) last season; Kolb, Skelton, or whoever starts at QB would be very happy with this pick.

14. Dallas Cowboys - Mark Barron

Barron has the ability to play good man coverage against tight ends and good man coverage against slot receivers; he's easily the best safety in the draft. The Cowboys have had problems with their safeties for...well since forever, so I don't expect them to pass on Barron.

15. Philadelphia Eagles - Michael Brockers

Perhaps a bit of a reach here, but the Eagles have pass rushers, have solid corners, and with the addition of DeMeco Ryans a solid MLB; the only real, big need on defense is defensive tackle. The Eagles could take Dontari Poe here, but Brockers is a more natural fit for the 4-3 defense.

16. New York Jets - Courtney Upshaw

The Jets reached back-to-back AFC Title games with a defense that hit the quarterback and caused turnovers. The Jets have dropped from 8th in sacks during 2010, to 17th last season; they can't win without a pass rush. The fact is, their offense isn't capable of being much better than average, so they need a dominate defense to win games. Upshaw is the best 3-4 OLB in the draft and has drawn favorable comparisons to the Steelers Lamarr Woodley.

17. Cincinnati Bengals (From Oakland) - Quinton Coples

Their two defensive ends combined for 8.5 sacks last season. Some of that was due to injury, but at the very least they could use depth at defensive end, and you can never have enough pass rushers. Coples has a questionable motor, but has top 10 talent; much like his former teammate Robert Quinn who the Rams drafted 14th overall last season.

18. San Diego Chargers - Dont'a Hightower

The Chargers badly need help at linebacker, and Hightower is the best ILB available at this point. They'll also consider OLB Whitney Mercilus from Illinois.

19. Chicago Bears - Kendall Wright

I know they just traded for Brandon Marshall, but the Bears still need more targets for Jay Cutler. One of my criticisms of Wright while at Baylor, was that he was a 1-trick pony with the streak route, but that can be a positive for the Bears. Cutler has a big arm, prefers to look down the field, and Marshall should attract enough attention to give Wright one on one matchups.

20. Tennessee Titans - Whitney Mercilus

The Titans biggest need is defensive end, but I don't think they can pass on the pass rushing potential of Mercilus (16 sacks last season). At 6-4, 261 pounds (2009 sack king Elvis Dumervil plays DE at 5-11, 260 lbs), I think Mercilus should be able to play with his hand on the ground a bit in 3rd down passing situations. Typically you don't think of pass rushing OLB's in the 4-3 scheme but it worked out for the Broncos with Von Miller last season.

21. Cincinnati Bengals - Dre Kirkpatrick

The Bengals had zero depth at corner last year and ended up having to play Pacman Jones after Leon Hall got hurt. Kirkpatrick gives them a replacement for Jonathan Joseph who they lost to the Texans via free-agency before last season.

22. Cleveland Browns (From Atlanta) - Riley Reiff

Browns need a right tackle bad. Reiff played left tackle in college but every scout I've read from believes he can flip to the other side. If they're going to win with the ground game and Trent Richardson, it'll pay to have franchise bookend tackles with Reiff and All-Pro Joe Thomas.

23. Detroit Lions - Jonathan Martin

Matt Stafford stayed healthy for the full season last year; for the first time. The Lions would like to keep it that way and have to add to their line (ranked 17th in sacks allowed, 21st in QB hits allowed). Starting left tackle Jeff Backus is 34-years-old and right tackle Gosder Cherilus is in the last year of his contract; they could go into 2013 with neither. My pick here would be Martin who was the anchor of the great line at Stanford, but Mike Adams from Ohio State is also an option.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Kevin Zeitler

The problems the Steelers had with their offensive line the last several seasons are well documented. For most of the season 2 or 3 starters were either out with an injury or frankly just not playing that well. Greg Cosell of NFL Films raves about Zeitler's athleticism in the zone blocking scheme and also his ability as a pulling guard in the power running game. He even went as far as saying that he likes him better than Stanford's David DeCastro.

25. Denver Broncos - Dontari Poe

The Broncos ranked 22nd against the run last season and lost starting defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley in free agency. They need a big, run stuffing tackle; Poe fits that bill.

26. Houston Texans - Coby Fleener

I know, most of you are screaming at your computer that I would dare suggest the Texans take a tight end with their 1st round pick, but hear me out. At this point in the draft, the receivers and offensive lineman I really like are all gone, and I'm not going to reach for a position, no matter how big of a need it is. Reaching for a player gets you Travis Johnson. Reaching for a player gets you Kareem Jackson; it's never a good idea. Coby Fleener looks like the next Jason Witten in my opinion and the Texans utilize their tight ends more than most teams. Yes, there are talented receivers available, but I don't believe there are any receivers still available that would start over Kevin Walter from day 1. I'm not spending a 1st round pick on a 3rd receiver; the Texans use their 2nd tight end more than their 3rd receiver. The Texans need receiving targets for Matt Schaub, no doubt, but tight ends are receiving options as well. At this point, Fleener is the most talented pass catcher available, and there will be wide receivers available in the 2nd/3rd rounds. Other options here would include WR Rueben Randle of LSU and OL Mike Adams of Ohio State.

27. New England Patriots (From New Orleans) - Shea McClellin

The Patriots love versatile defenders who can play multiple positions; Shea McClellin can do that. He can play 3-4 outside linebacker, 4-3 defensive end, and once coached up a little bit, probably even inside linebacker in certain packages. The Patriots defense was a train wreck last season; McClellin can help immediately.

28. Green Bay Packers - Peter Konz

The Packers lost their starting center from last year and replaced him with 37-year-old Jeff Saturday. They obviously need help at center; Konz is the best center available. They have the quarterback, they have the weapons, center is really the only big need on offense; maybe running back, but that can be addressed in the 2nd/3rd round.

29. Baltimore Ravens - Mike Adams

They're currently playing Bryant McKinnie; he's long past his prime. Adams can either replace McKinnie right away at tackle, or they can replace guard Jah Reid who is playing out of position. Either way, they desperately need offensive line help to protect the "best quarterback in the league".

30. San Francisco 49ers - Stephen Hill

Even though Michael Crabtree hasn't lived up to the hype, I still think he's very useful as a receiver underneath and over the middle. What the 49ers passing game painfully lacks is a speedy deep-threat receiver. Stephen Hill is raw and there isn't much game-film on him because of the triple-option offense he played in at Georgia Tech, but he blew away scouts at the combine. He's got the size (6-4), and speed (4.36 40-yard dash), I think he's worth the risk.

31. New England Patriots - Janoris Jenkins

Very much a high risk/high reward pick, but at 31st overall I think it'd be a great move. Jenkins is probably the best man-coverage corner in the draft, and would have been a top 10-15 pick but teams are scared of his off-the-field problems. Jenkins who was first team All-SEC as a junior at Florida, got kicked off the team after a second arrest over pot. If a team does their homework, believes that's all in his past; they should snag him. Heck, if the Texans believe he's matured, they should beat the Patriots to the punch. New England ranked 31st against the pass last season; this would be a great pick.

32. New York Giants - Nick Perry

Giants don't have any extremely pressing needs; I think they'll take the best pass rusher available. Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck are both getting older, both had injury problems last year, and Umenyiora is entering the final year of his contract. The Giants have won two Super Bowls in recent years largely because of their pass rush; I think it's time to add another young pass rusher to pair with Jason Pierre-Paul for the future.


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