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Latest Rumors Influence Top 10 Picks in 2012 NFL Mock Draft

The 2012 NFL Draft seemed to have settled down into an almost sure thing until a couple of rumors surfaced during the night between Tuesday and Wednesday. Now what seemed to be nearly set in stone is completely jumbled. Below is the latest 2012 NFL mock draft considering these rumors:

#1 – Indianapolis Colts select Stanford QB Andrew Luck

No surprise here; the Colts made an official announcement on Tuesday that Luck will be their choice with the top pick in the draft. Smart move.

#2 – Washington Redskins select Baylor QB Robert Griffin III

With Luck for sure going to Indy, the Redskins will take Griffin, who’s already talked to the media about competing with Rex Grossman for the starting job in Washington. Yeah, right.

#3 – Minnesota Vikings select LSU CB Morris Claiborne

ESPN’s Todd McShay said early Wednesday morning the Vikings are more interested in Claiborne than USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil, who has been their pick in nearly every mock draft since December. This will definitely shake things up inside the rest of the top 10, regardless of whether Minnesota trades the No. 3 pick, which it put on the block Tuesday afternoon.

#4 – Cleveland Browns select Alabama RB Trent Richardson

The Browns desperately need a playmaker and the departure of Peyton Hillis to Kansas City leaves a huge hole at running back, so Cleveland’s obvious choice here is Richardson.

#5 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Alabama SS Mark Barron

The Buccaneers will be most affected by Minnesota’s change of heart since Claiborne has been on their radar for quite some time. Tampa Bay still needs help in the secondary and Barron has been climbing draft boards like crazy lately, so he goes at No. 5.

#6 – St. Louis Rams select Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon

While Kalil will be tempting for the Rams, they need a playmaking receiver to keep their offense from being so one-dimensional. Blackmon is the surest receiver prospect since Calvin Johnson, so St. Louis can’t go wrong here.

#7 – Jacksonville Jaguars select USC OT Matt Kalil

The Jaguars are the true wild card in the top 10 picks of this year’s draft because they could easily go in several different directions. However, Kalil at No. 7 is a steal and he’s definitely the best player available at this point. For a team that’s already made an upgrade at receiver with the signing of Laurent Robinson, taking a surefire offensive lineman is a smart move.

#8 – Miami Dolphins select Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill

While this one has been suspected for a while, it was all but made official late Tuesday night when the Jaguars stated they “know” the Dolphins will take Tannehill. Considering the fact we already knew that, we’ll go ahead and put it in stone.

#9 – Carolina Panthers select South Carolina DE Melvin Ingram

The Panthers didn’t expect Ingram to fall into their lap at No. 9, but the shakeup between the Vikings, Buccaneers and Jaguars makes the South Carolina defensive end an easy choice here.

#10 – Buffalo Bills select Iowa OT Riley Reiff

The Bills make a tough decision to pass on a receiver here and draft more protection for Ryan Fitzpatrick to try and prevent him from throwing 23 interceptions again this year.

#11 – Kansas City Chiefs select Boston College LB Luke Kuechly

Kansas City is really just sitting at #11 waiting to see what falls its way and Kuechly fills a hole for the chiefs.

#12 – Seattle Seahawks select North Carolina DE Quinton Coples

With Marshawn Lynch and Matt Flynn locked up on offense, the Seahawks turn their attention to defense and take arguably the most athletic player in the draft in Coples.

#13 – Arizona Cardinals select Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd

Larry Fitzgerald has spoken and the Cardinals are listening. He wants Floyd in Arizona, so that’s what will happen.

#14 – Dallas Cowboys select Mississippi State DT Fletcher Cox

The shakeup in the top 10 gives Dallas a lucky break as Cox falls to No. 14 to a Cowboys team that desperately needs help on the defensive line.

#15 – Philadelphia Eagles select Memphis DT Dontari Poe

Most mock drafts have the Eagles taking a defensive lineman at No. 15 and Poe is an intriguing candidate after the incredible numbers he put up at the NFL Combine.

#16 – New York Jets select Alabama LB Courtney Upshaw

The Jets want a stud pass-rusher and Upshaw is just that. While Ingram is New York’s top target, Gang Green decides to stay put at No. 16 and take Alabama’s incredible talent.

#17 – Cincinnati Bengals select Alabama CB Dre Kirkpatrick

The Bengals need a solid young cornerback and who better for Cincinnati to draft than a guy with a little bit of legal trouble in his background?

#18 – San Diego Chargers select Stanford G David DeCastro

The Chargers need help on their offensive line and DeCastro is a solid choice this late in the first round.

#19 – Chicago Bears select Illinois DE Whitney Mercilus

The Bears want a solid pass-rusher to line up opposite Julius Peppers and Mercilus is exactly that. He’s a steal at No. 19.

#20 – Tennessee Titans select South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore

The departure of Cortland Finnegan to St. Louis left a huge hole in Tennessee’s secondary, but the Titans will fill it by taking the best overall cornerback in the draft.

#21 – Cincinnati Bengals select Stanford OT Jonathan Martin

Many believe Martin is the better offensive lineman from Stanford in this draft and the Bengals won’t pass on him with their second pick in the first round.

#22 – Cleveland Browns select Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden

The Browns come away with a stellar first round by taking the true second-best passer in the draft at No. 22.

#23 – Detroit Lions select Clemson DE Andre Branch

The Lions have three stellar defensive linemen already and the addition of Branch makes Detroit’s front four arguably the best in the business.

#24 – Pittsburgh Steelers select Alabama LB Dont’a Hightower

Hightower has been called the “perfect fit” for the Steelers since decided to enter the draft after the Crimson Tide won the national title. Pittsburgh obviously agrees.

#25 – Denver Broncos select Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy

The Broncos’ offense is set with the addition of Peyton Manning, so Denver now turns its attention to making its defense capable of keeping up with Manning’s fast-paced style of play.

#26 – Houston Texans select Baylor WR Kendall Wright

The Texans need another solid receiver to bolster their incredible passing attack and Wright is the best receiver available at No. 26.

#27 – New England Patriots select LSU DT Michael Brockers

Everyone knows the Patriots are going pass-rusher with their first pick and Brockers isn’t supposed to slide this far, but the earlier shakeup makes the No. 27 pick an ideal one for all involved.

#28 – Green Bay Packers select USC DE Nick Perry

The Packers’ Achilles heel in 2011 was their defense. Perry is an excellent choice this late in the first round and he’ll likely make an immediate impact in Green Bay.

#29 – Baltimore Ravens select Syracuse DE Chandler Jones

The Ravens are looking to bolster their defensive line to get their defense back to where it once was and Jones is the right man for the job.

#30 – San Francisco 49ers select Boise State LB Shea McClellin

A team that has no glaring needs bolsters a slightly weaker position by taking McClellin, who is considered a late-round “flyer.”

#31 – New England Patriots select Penn State DT Devon Still

Many thought the Patriots were crazy for taking two tight ends in the 2010 draft, but New England will prove its genius once again this year by drafting two players of the same position within six picks of one another.

#32 – New York Giants select Stanford TE Coby Fleener

The defending champs may have signed Martellus Bennett in free agency, but they were smart enough to only sign him to a one-year deal. Meanwhile, they need a real tight end for their long-term success and Fleener is the surest thing there is in this draft.

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