Seahawks Insider

The News Tribune’s 2012 mock draft

Post by Eric Williams on April 22, 2012 at 8:23 am with 31 Comments »
April 22, 2012 8:23 am

Here’s my mock draft for this year. I have Seattle selecting Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower at No.12, although I think it will be more likely that they trade down a few spots and to get him.

In my mock South Carolina defensive end/linebacker Melvin Ingram goes to Jacksonville at No. 7 and Kansas City grabs Boston College middle linebacker Luke Kuechly at No. 11, so Hightower is the next best linebacker prospect available at an obviously need position for the Seahawks.

Other potential candidates include Alabama safety Mark Barron, who goes to Dallas at No. 14, LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers, selected by Philadelphia at No. 15 and David DeCastro, selected by San Diego at No. 18.

I think Hightower makes sense because of his run stuffing ability on first and second downs, and the fact that he can serve as a pass rusher on third down, with K.J. Wright moving to middle linebacker in passing situations. Seattle head coach Pete Carroll has said he likes the way Wright patrols the middle of the field with his long wing span in coverage.

Hightower has been a team captain the past two years, so he has good leadership skills. He’s played in a pro-style defense under Nick Saban with multiple looks, so Seattle’s defensive playbook should not overwhelm him. And he’s a good blitzer from his linebacker position.

1. INDIANAPOLIS: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
HT: 6-4 WT: 234
Comment: The most complete QB prospect to enter the draft since John Elway.

2. WASHINGTON (from St. Louis): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
HT: 6-2 WT: 223
Comment: A gifted athlete and thrower, Griffin will ignite Mike Shanahans’s offense.

3. MINNESOTA: Matt Kalil, OT, US
HT: 6-7 WT: 306
Comment: Vikings would like to trade down, but get a cornerstone LT in Kalil.

4. CLEVELAND: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
HT: 5-9 WT: 228
Comment: Mike Holmgren finally finds his Shaun Alexander for the Browns.

5. TAMPA BAY: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
HT: 5-11 WT: 188
Comment: Bucs can wave goodbye to talented but troublesome corner Aqib Talib.

6. ST LOUIS (from Washington): Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
HT: 6-4 WT: 298
Comment: WR Justin Blackman is tempting, but Rams need an anchor up front on defense.

7. JACKSONVILLE: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
HT: 6-2 WT: 264
Comment: Jags need a pass rusher, and the versatile Ingram also can play linebacker.

8. MIAMI: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas &M
HT: 6-4 WT: 221
Comment: Dolphins finally get their quarterback of the future.

9. CAROLINA: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
HT: 6-6 WT: 284
Comment: Plays inconsistent at times on tape, but Coples is the most physically gifted pass rusher in the draft.

10. BUFFALO: Justin Blackman, WR, Oklahoma State
HT: 6-1 WT: 207
Comment: The most talented receiver in the draft, the Bills add a playmaker on offense.

11. KANSAS CITY: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
HT: 6-3 WT: 242
Comment: The Dick Butkus award winner is athletic and a tackling machine.

12. SEATTLE: Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
HT: 6-2 WT: 265
Comment: Hawks might move down to get Hightower, but he fills an obvious need and will be the team’s quarterback on defense for the next 10 years.

13. ARIZONA: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
HT: 6-6 WT: 313
Comment: Reiff has been groomed in a pro-style offense at Iowa and can step in and play right away.

14. Dallas: Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
HT: 6-1 WT: 213
Comment: Barron’s a ball hawk who can over cover a lot of ground in the passing game.

15. PHILADELPHIA: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
HT: 6-6 WT: 322
Comment: Brockers offers versatility, with an ability to play both defensive tackle positions.

16. N.Y. JETS: Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama
HT: 6-2 WT: 272
Comment: Upshaw gives Rex Ryan the edge rusher he’s been looking for.

17. CINCINNATI (from Oakland): Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
HT: 6-3 WT: 220
Comment: Bengals bring in another playmaker for young QB Andy Dalton.

18. SAN DIEGO: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
HT: 6-5 WT: 316
Comment: Chargers beef up the offensive line with the best interior blocker in the draft.

19. CHIGAGO: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
HT: 6-4 WT: 261
Comment: Bears can’t pass up one of the most productive pass rushers available.

20. TENNESSEE: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
HT: 6-1 WT: 190
Comment: Gilmore helps replace the void left by Cortland Finnegan leaving for St. Louis.

21. CINCINNATI: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
HT: 6-3 WT: 192
Comment: Kirkpatrick strengthens a pass defense that finished with just 10 picks last year.

22. CLEVELAND (from Atlanta): Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
HT: 6-4 WT: 215
Comment: The most physically talented receiver in the draft, the Browns give Colt McCoy another playmaker.

23. DETROIT: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
HT: 6-7 WT: 314
Comment: Lions add some beef and youth up front offensively with Adams.

24. PITTSBURGH: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
HT: 6-5 WT: 294
Comment: Poe serves as the heir apparent to longtime nose tackle Casey Hampton.

25. DENVER: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
HT: 6-3 WT: 310
Comment: Fills in for the departed Brodrick Bunkley, who left for the Saints in free agency.

26. HOUSTON: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
HT: 5-10 WT: 196
Comment: The Texans pick up a slot receiver with the ability to make people miss in Wright.

27. NEW ENGLAND: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
HT: 6-5 WT: 265
Long arms and an explosive first step make Jones a good fit for the Patriots, who are in need of pass rush help.

28. GREEN BAY: Nick Perry, DE, USC
HT: 6-3 WT: 271
Comment: An explosive athlete, Perry will pair with fellow USC linebacker Clay Matthews III to give the Packers two dangerous pass rushers on the edge.

29. BALTIMORE: Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
HT: 6-4 WT: 208
Comment: Ravens needs a replacement for the departed Lee Evans, who joined Jacksonville in free agency.

30. SAN FRANCISCO: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
HT: 6-6 WT: 247
Comment: Fleener is reunited with former college head coach Jim Harbaugh.

31. NEW ENGLAND: Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia
HT: 6-6 WT: 345
Comment: Patriots are getting long in the tooth along the offensive line.

32. N.Y. GIANTS: Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
HT: 5-9 WT: 223
Comment: Giants get a replacement for Brandon Jacobs, who left for San Francisco in free agency.

Mock drafts, NFL Draft
Leave a comment Comments → 31
  1. Seahawks2620 says:

    I personally love the selection. Obviously I would prefer for us to trade back a few slots and select him there instead, however I would not be upset in any way shape or form if this was the selection. This kid is a phenomenal leader, and really knows how to command a defense. He obviously doesn’t have the speed or athleticism of Kuechly, however he has a great burst and is exceptionally strong. He destroys the RB at 3:30.

    Also, I would not be upset if we were to select Mark Barron either, preferably a few back down as well.

  2. Palerydr says:

    So Eric is this where we want to post our own dartboards or will you have another separate post for our best guesses?

    Not sure Adams will go that high, or Jones, don’t see the 9ers grabbing another TE and I think Stephon Gilmore will be the big head scratcher pick going early. I also see KC passing on Kuechly and grabbing Reiff or Decastro.

  3. Palerydr says:

    This would be a great draft for the Browns keeping the heat off Holmgren at least until the season starts.

  4. Paleryder: Itching to defend your title huh? We’ll do the 7-round Seahawks mock draft beginning on Wednesday.

  5. Palerydr says:

    Lol!!!! I just got lucky last year hopefully I can do the same again.

  6. Bold pick, Eric! But if Ingram, Coples, and Kuechly are off the board, and Schneider can’t trade down, then it makes sense. Draftnicks love to complain about ‘draft value’, but if a player helps us become a winner, it doesn’t matter how high you draft him. Hightower should be awesome in the NFL.

  7. Why this has made sense to me is that Hightower can do most of what Upshaw can do and is a plus in coverage as well. Add to that with Red at DE the pass rush has to come from more directions than the opposite DE/Leo/OLB. A Mike pass rush does just that and Dont’a has a ton of film showing it. I think for us he is more complete than Kuechly who I project outside anyway.

    The question becomes if KC wants Kuechly why would they pass Hightower up?

  8. hawkfaninoklahoma says:

    i will never understand how you pass on the best guard since hutch when the team ha no LG and the sttarting RG comming back from knee surgery. we have the G man playing RT with a lot of TE/RB help this line is a mess right now. hutch and walt made the whole line better by taking some of the pressure off the other side. again thou i we can trade down and do that with 2-3 additional picks i am good with that,just not at 12

  9. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Overall I like your mock draft Eric, except for pick #18.

    I wasn’t much of a Hightower fan, however I’m starting to warm up to the idea of trading down to get him.

    DeCastro at 18? Heck, forget trading down to get Hightower! Trade down and get DeCastro. Lol.

  10. DreadHawks says:

    Not at 12. If we go that route I’d rather have Upshaw at 12 than Hightower. Based on the LITTLE video I’ve seen on both Upshaw seems to be more versatile.Still wanna trade back tho, I like what the Hawktrust has been able to do in late rounds and hopefully get an extra pick.

  11. HeinieHunter says:

    Absolutely no way DeCastro drops that low!

  12. hawkfaninoklahoma says:

    6. David DeCastro, OG, Stanford*: In terms of consistent dominance, there hasn’t been an offensive or defensive lineman I’ve graded higher thus far this season than DeCastro. Only the fact that he plays guard may keep him out of the top half of the first round.

  13. chuck_easton says:

    Eric has DeCastro going where many national experts have him. I know the vocal DeCastro man love club on here doesn’t want to hear it but he’s not being drafted by Seattle and 18 is about right for a Guard.

  14. HawkyHann says:

    The Eastside will be so happy if Decastro, the Bellevue boy returns home.

  15. Eric, I don’t see Michael Floyd dropping that low, and if he’s there at #12, I don’t see PC passing on him. They could always grab a quality LB in the 2nd round and looks like they’ve hedged their bets with FAs this year.

    What do you think?

  16. Rgbucki: The Seahawks can certainly find LB help in the second round, but I don’t believe Michael Floyd is that much better than Ricardo Lockette or Kris Durham. If Seattle doesn’t get an LB they need a legit pass rusher in the first round.

  17. I like our WRs too much to want another in the first round. If a Calvin Johnson talent were there, I’d do it, but I don’t think Floyd is that player. I don’t want a guard either, but since DeCastro is one of those rare talents (with the intangibles), I’d be hard pressed to pass even if he’s not what I clearly want the most, which is a pass rusher. I think I “value” LBs that can’t rush the passer like some people “value” guards. I just don’t see them being worthy of a 1st round pick (like Aaron Curry) unless you get a rare talent like Pat Willis to QB your defense.

  18. Love this Eric – I hope you have inside information (what? you don’t – shh, let me believe). I think Hightower’s the best pick regardless if Keuchly or Ingram are there, Hightower fits the team needs a whole lot better. A trade down to get him would just make it that much sweeter. DeCastro isn’t a top-12 pick guys, no OG is. Hutch wasn’t even, the only OG’s picked that high were failed OT’s turned OG (Gallery for example).

  19. BobbyK,

    Are you saying Hightower is a bad pick because he isn’t a passrusher? If I’m mistaken I apologize in advance, but that’s what seperates Hightower from normal LB’s… He is a force rushing the passer, he does it from various positions, and we happen to need a player of his ilk exactly. He could start in the base defense at MLB or SLB and could spell Big Red on passing downs at DE opposite Clemons to rush the passer… He’s exactly what the doctor ordered in my opinion.

  20. I did not say that. I’m okay taking a LB if he can rush the passer and would be fine with Hightower for that reason. I simply don’t want a LB that can’t rush the passer. Not in the first round unless he looked like Pat Willis.

  21. Eric, I hope you’re right about Lockette and Durham. I love the potential for those guys too, just really hope they bloom–in the same way we’ve been waiting for Tate to come around…

  22. Macabrevity says:

    Solid mock, although I’d be pretty confused if we drafted a big run-stuffing MLB at #12. I don’t think the power game up the middle is a problem for our D. Even with the guys off the board according to your mock, and even passing on DeCastro, I would hope we go pass rusher. With Ingram and Coples already off the board, that leaves us with Mercilus, Upshaw, Perry and maybe even Curry who seems to be rising. Ideally a trade down would be best, if left with that group, but I think PC knows who he wants already and will be happy selecting his guy out of that group, confident he got the one that fits his D best.

    Is there a better defensive talent evaluator out there right now? I don’t know, but PC has been extremely good, almost uncanny, and not just with DB’s. I think I’ll be confident in any defensive player he gives the nod to on draft day.

  23. Macabrevity says:

    As for the comments about Hightower rushing the passer… if you want a pass-rusher just draft one. I’m just still jaded from the Curry draft where we could’ve easily drafted Orakpo instead. I don’t know, haven’t studied the tape, but Hightower wasn’t the best pass rusher on that D, so why take him over Upshaw?

  24. Macabrevity,

    Hightower is no Curry – Hightower was a starter since he stepped on campus. His best season was his sophomore year, blew out his knee in his junior year, and came on strong toward the end of his senior year. He was a two-time captain and the leader of the best defense in the nation (one of the top-5 defenses all time in CFB). He is more explosive on the edge than Upshaw (not as technically sound, but a better athlete), however he is also better in coverage – so he split time covering and rushing the passer. You can’t really compare an ILB to an OLB in a 3-4 as far as production. The defense is suited to make stars out of OLB’s while ILB’s do all the run-stuffing, covering.

    In a nutshell – If you remember how we used Chad Brown back in the day, that’s where I see such great value in Hightower.

  25. Sarcasticus says:

    As I have stated before numerous times. Hightower will hold the middle vs the run and can play DE (hand in the dirt) on obvious passing downs. I have also seen him run blitz and absolutely knock over guards and centers. He is huge.

    Also, the notion that the run defense needs no help is wrong. Go back. Watch the last 5 games or just look at the stats.

  26. I don’t think our Defense is as good as many people say it is.

    We are good against the run but not great

    we can not put consistent pressure on the QB

    We are prone to PI calls or 1st downs – when the QB gets too much time (see above)

    LB depth is a ? for me – guys have potential but have been or are hurt. and a few guys we have at LB are basically ST guys and a stop gap here or there type players

    I will be happy with any guy drafted – as long as, since we are at 12, he is a guy who upgrades his position and is contributing starting week 1.

  27. Eric– I cannot believe you think Durham and Lockette arent far behind Floyd in terms of talent/skill etc. Thats crazy. Durham showed nothing except confusion last year, and Lockette was undrafted and is not anywhere near as physical a route runner/blocker as Floyd.

    I liked Floyd and was hoping he’d be dumb and turn pro last year so Seattle could get him on the cheap. I like him better than Blackmon–he’s plenty big and fast enough, and runs routes pretty well–certainly better than Tate, Durham, and Lockette.

    Floyd played well against some pretty stout competition in his college career, whereas Durham was mostly a backup and Lockette didnt face the same level at all.

    Then again, what the heck do I know? I watched maybe 5 games in two years and some YouTube clips, so I aint exactly knowledgeable on the matter.

  28. I cant see Hightower as being worth a damn in coverage, and we just let our MLB who was great at run stuffing leave in FA. Stupid. I guess Hightower can rush the passer from DE on third down, but he really isnt that fast. Myself, I’d be kinda bummed to take him at 12. I think there are better players that will be there and I wont be happy if we pass them over just to fill a slot we could have filled with a guy allready on the roster.

    I dont like the idea of changing MLB’s on third downs or obvious passing situations–do you really want Ruud in every second and long or third down and 5+ ?! I know I dont. I would hate to see Seattle take a LB in the first round unless the trade Waaaay down, especially since there will be fine LB’s available in the second and third rounds.

    I dont think it makes any sense to take a LB in the first unless he’s likely to be a total stud three down player. But I guess if Hightower can move to DE on third, he’d be that guy in a way.

  29. Macabrevity says:

    Sac_94: I agree, not saying he is a Curry, just comparing the situation, drafting a LB who we think might be able to rush the passer, along with everything else he does well instead of just drafting a pure pass rusher. If we want a pass rusher from Alabama, I can’t see any reason why we’d take Hightower over Upshaw.

  30. “Plays inconsistent at times on tape, but Coples is the most physically gifted pass rusher in the draft.” – Eric Williams

    No offense, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

    Coples is closer to Red Bryant than he is Chris Clemons, and that is based off the tape from his junior year.

    I don’t put much stock in canned analysis from beat writers who try to do mock drafts. If anything, they kind of irritate me because my nonchalant football fan friends that I watch the draft with read them and take them as gospel. Now I’ll have to argue with someone about Coples, based on what real experts like Mike Mayock have to say. All of the analysis here is just a copy/paste of the most generic mocks out there. But, please take this as constructive criticism because I really do appreciate the blog.

  31. Am I the only one who is not high on Hightower?

    I watched the clip above, and only saw one play (the run stuff on 3rd and short) that even remotely seemed solid to me. And I definitely didn’t see an inside linebacker with that internal sense that defense quarterbacks have… I see a lot of over-pursuit… I can only hope that Coples or Kuechly falls to us…

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