TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 05: Dre Kirkpatrick #21 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts next to Rueben Randle #2 of the LSU Tigers during the second half of the game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
By now I'm sure you've read a thousand mock drafts, and I'm sure every one looks almost the same at this point and you're in a mock draft haze. I'm here to give you mock draft overkill, and my final Denver Broncos mock draft for the 2012 Draft season.
Before I do that, let me show you my final overall first round mock so you can see how I arrived at this point. After the first round, the Broncos' picks are going to be insanely difficult to project, but I will do my best.
Without further delay, my final mock drafts for the 2012 NFL Draft season:
1.Indianapolis (2-14): Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
2. Washington - from St. Louis (2-14): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
3. Minnesota (3-13): Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
4. Cleveland (4-12): Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
5. Tampa Bay (4-12): Matt Kalil, OT, USC
6. St. Louis - from Washington (5-11): Justin Blackmon ,WR, Oklahoma State
7. Jacksonville (5-11): Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
8. Miami (6-10): Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
9. Carolina (6-10): Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
10. Buffalo (6-10): Mark Barron, S, Alabama
11. Kansas City (7-9): Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
12. Seattle (7-9): Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
13. Arizona (8-8): Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
14. Dallas (8-8): Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
15. Philadelphia (8-8): Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
16. New York Jets (8-8): Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
17 Cincinnati - from Oakland (8-8): David DeCastro, OL, Stanford
18. San Diego (8-8): Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois
19. Chicago (8-8): Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
20. Tennessee (9-7): Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
21. Cincinnati* (9-7): Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama
22. Cleveland - from Atlanta* (10-6): Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
23. Detroit* (10-6): Cordy Glenn, OT/OG, Georgia
24. Pittsburgh* (12-4): Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
25. Denver* (8-8): Dre' Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
26. Houston* (10-6): Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
27. New England - from New Orleans* (13-3): Shea McClellin, OLB/DE, Boise State
28. Green Bay* (15-1): Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
29. Baltimore* (12-4): Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
30. San Francisco* (13-3): Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin
31. New England* (13-3): Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
32. New York Giants* (9-7): Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Final Denver Broncos Mock
1. First Round, 25th overall: Dre' Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
The Broncos really like Kirkpatrick, and despite his potential character concerns, he's simply way too good to pass up right here. This could be an almost ideal situation for Denver, and they may even trade up a couple spots to make this happen if Kirkpatrick starts to fall. If not Kirkpatrick, I think the Broncos will look to trade down/out of the first round unless someone falls unexpectedly, such as a Dontari Poe or Michael Brockers. My final deciding factor here was based on this short list of realistic targets available:
- Dre' Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
- Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
- Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
- Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
As you can see from that target list, the Broncos likely are not going to get numbers two or three, but I think Kirkpatrick is a feasible target because he's kind of falling right now, and because of the way the board falls in this particular scenario. If Kirkpatrick makes it past Cincinnati at 21, we have a great chance of getting him.
If the Broncos don't get Kirkpatrick, I think they will look to trade down and the selection after the trade down would be Lamar Miller, whom the Broncos also really like.
2. Second Round, 57th overall: Chris Polk, RB, Washington
The Broncos are looking for another back who can carry the load. There are always going to be great backs available after the first round, and in this case, Polk is the guy the Broncos go after. Polk will join a backfield featuring him and Willis McGahee, with Knowshon Moreno hopefully able to get back and contribute as much as possible after injury. John Fox loves to utilize multiple backs, though this offense is going to be driven by Peyton Manning. Polk becomes the Broncos' first offensive target of this draft and gives Denver a punishing running back with an excellent overall skill-set. I have Polk graded out as a potential early second round pick, but because of the value placed on the position, there's a good chance he lasts until this spot.
3. Third Round, 87th overall: Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina
We know how much Jack Del Rio's crew loved small school corners when he was at Jacksonville, and I'm not sure how much pull he's going to have in our war room, but I think the Broncos' front office feels like we need corners more than defensive line in a bad way right now. Thinking a year ahead, the Broncos may be moving Champ Bailey to safety and will be left with what exactly at cornerback? Tracy Porter signed a one-year deal, and all will be great if he is able to prove he's worth a long-term deal, but the Broncos can't take that kind of risk, or a risk of one of those guys getting injured.
Enter Josh Norman, who would be able to come in and contribute on special teams and in situations defensively before he takes over eventually as one of our starting cornerbacks. He will take time to adjust to the NFL but he has all the tools to be a shut-down cornerback if he develops correctly. His ball skills may be among the best in the draft, and having talked to him a couple of times, I can tell you he's a very confident individual who has his priorities straight. Adding Kirkpatrick and Norman to our backfield would give us a very solid young core of ball-hawking playmakers on the back end of that defense.
4. Fourth Round, 108th overall: Josh Kaddu, LB, Oregon
The Ducks might not have had the greatest defense in the world last year, but this kid Josh Kaddu can play. He's got great athletic measurables and was a first team All-Pac 12 selection. He played and started at the SAM linebacker position for the Ducks, but I feel he could give the Broncos depth as a WILL as well. Not only that, but I don't think the Broncos have a great backup yet for Von Miller, and when Miller was absent last year, that linebacker with the ability to rush the quarterback and drop into coverage just was not there. Kaddu is a guy who can do that, obviously not as well, but in the fourth round, he's excellent value and provides the Broncos with some flexibility. He can also contribute on special teams.
5. Fourth Round, 120th overall: Josh Chapman, DT, Alabama
The Broncos get a potential steal here in Josh Chapman, who is the third "Josh" in a row selected by the Broncos in this mock. Chapman was a standout for the Crimson Tide and routinely occupied multiple blockers as the nose tackle. I feel like he could learn a great bit from a guy like Justin Bannan, who has made a living out of doing just that. Chapman has some injury concerns, but he's worth taking a risk on at this point in the draft. The Broncos won't rush him at the start of his career, so I think it's a good situation for him to go into.
6. Fifth Round, 137th overall: Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
This is a homer pick, but I don't care because it's the fifth round and I'll do what I want. The Broncos brought in Wilson for a visit and I'll guarantee you they were impressed. However, John Elway is obviously not a fan of QBs who don't have ideal or more than ideal measurables or whatever it is he disliked so much about Tebow, so maybe the height deficiency will cause him to pause and not draft Wilson at all. That being said, I think passing on Wilson in the fifth round should be available is a colossal mistake. The guy does everything well on the football field and off, and he's the type of leader that can develop into a star. He's better than any other project QB in this draft, if you ask me.
7. Sixth Round, 188th overall: Derek Carrier, WR/TE, Beloit
The Broncos reportedly are zeroing in on Carrier, and they have competition with the Raiders and Seahawks. Don't be shocked to see Oakland use a fifth round pick on this guy, maybe even earlier. If the Broncos like him enough, they may try to trade up to get him but I doubt they should have to. Carrier is a freak athlete who someone asked if he was like Shannon Sharpe, and coming out of college that's not a terrible comparison.
Obviously, Sharpe is a Denver legend and nobody can fill those expectations, but the WR/TE hybrid ran a 4.49 at 6'3" 238 pounds with a 38 inch vertical and phenomenal agility numbers. Not only that, but this kid brings it on the football field. He would be a very interesting weapon to add for Peyton Manning, and the Broncos could store him on the roster as a WR, TE, or FB.