Hundreds of NFL Mock Drafts are available from experts across the internet. Those Mock Drafts are constructed in Reality. This Mock Draft is based in Fantasy. We’re landing the perfect prospect on the perfect team… a match made in Fantasy Heaven.
Rules for the Fantasy Football Matchmaker:
- Must have some basis in reality, i.e., the New York Giants are not drafting Trent Richardson.
- “Reality” includes the selection of Offensive Linemen, Defensive Tackles, and 3-4 Defensive Ends.
- Immediate fantasy appeal and opportunity.
- Long term success rate.
- Hitting the exact draft slot is a bonus, but not essential. If the Rams obtain my fantasy match at 2.07 instead of 2.01, fans will still rejoice.
- In many cases, team positional needs should be regarded higher than any particular player. If a team in need of a cornerback lands Alfonzo Dennard instead of Stephon Gilmore, we’ll still be happy.
April 26: 2012 NFL Draft: Round 1, 8pm ET
April 27: 2012 NFL Draft: Rounds 2-3, 7pm ET
April 28: 2012 NFL Draft: Rounds 4-7, 12pm ET
1.01 Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck, QB
Ignore the loud-mouth owner. Luck in Indianapolis is a certainty. Now they have six more rounds to find him some toys.
1.02 Washington Redskins (from STL)
Robert Griffin III, QB
There is no doubt Griffin will be selected ahead of Luck in Re-Draft leagues.
1.03 Minnesota Vikings
Matt Kalil, OT
Christian Ponder needs protection. The dominant tackle gives Ponder the best chance to succeed, and clears more room for Adrian Peterson.
1.04 Cleveland Browns
Trent Richardson, RB
Peyton Hillis is gone, and there are very few faithful Montario Hardesty fantasy owners.
1.05 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Morris Claiborne, CB
Keep scrolling down and you’ll eventually find the Tampa defense on the team statistics page. Even if Richardson was available, fantasy owners want to give RB LeGarrette Blount one more chance. Plus newly signed Vincent Jackson pushes the receivers back one level (where they belong), and a defensive pick is clearly the best fantasy move.
1.06 St. Louis Rams (from WAS)
Justin Blackmon, WR
Rumors swirling that the Rams want to trade down again. What, they’re turning into the Patriots? Eventually you have to cash those chips in, and Blackmon is a super fantasy fit on a team desperate for a play-making receiver.
1.07 Jacksonville Jaguars
Ryan Tannehill makes sense, but management is forced to give Blaine Gabbert another shot. If Gabbert flops again, at least they have a highly rated lineman for their next quarterback.
1.08 Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill, QB
Maybe they trade up, but the ‘Phins have to find a way to land Tannehill after striking out in the free agent market. Solid receiver depth in the draft will eventually find it’s way to Miami in later rounds.
1.09 Carolina Panthers
Michael Floyd, WR
This is the first juicy match. Seriously, who the receiver opposite Steve Smith? Getting Cam Newton an offensive weapon in round one comes at the expensive of some big time defensive prospects.
1.10 Buffalo Bills
Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB
A year ago today, the Bills’ defensive line was soft and one of the worst in the league. Now Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Mario Williams, Mark Anderson, Chris Kelsey, and Ingram transform the unit into a dominant force. Ingram’s versatility allows the coaches to play him with his hand down at end (turning Anderson and Kelsey into solid role players) or standing up as an outside linebacker (another position of need for the Bills). Passing on a first round wide receiver increases the odds of David Nelson becoming a legitimate threat entering his third season.
1.11 Kansas City Chiefs
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB
The Chiefs lost CB Brandon Carr in free agency to the Cowboys. Peyton Manning is the quarterback in Denver. Connect the dots. Kirkpatrick will be active attempting to repel Denver’s passing attack.
1.12 Seattle Seahawks
Luke Kuechly, ILB
Run down the Seahawks’ needs. They just signed Matt Flynn at quarterback. We want Marshawn Lynch to dominate touches. They are deep at receiver. They have a stud pass rusher in Chris Clemons. Red Bryant is an immovable object at DE/DT. K.J. Wright is an emerging fantasy star at weakside linebacker. The coaches want cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman to marry their daughters. Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor compose arguably the best safety tandem in the league. Everything points to Kuechly as the ‘Hawks first round pick. He’ll be a three-down beast as he possesses tremendous coverage skills.
1.13 Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals could go defensive line or cornerback with this pick. Fans want them to go OL – another position of need – so the fantasy players get pushed back to other teams.
1.14 Dallas Cowboys
I asked a knowledgeable Cowboys fan “Who do you want at 1.14?” He replied “OG David Decastro.” Then I asked “If he’s gone, would you draft a different lineman or go another position?” You see what I’m doing here… I’m trying to get him to say SS Mark Barron. His response was “I’d pass on OL if Castro is gone because we can find good value later in the draft. I’d go with one of the defensive tackles. I like Quinton Coples too”. I feel good about my matchmaking pick. Demarco Murray owners rejoice, and it increases the likelihood Tony Romo can start and finish 16 games. Plus, we want Barron landing on another team (to be continued).
1.15 Philadelphia Eagles
Fletcher Cox, DT
The Wide-9 defensive alignment needs a wide body in the middle. If Cox is gone, the Eagles have to draft Michael Brockers or Dontari Poe.
1.16 New York Jets
Jets’ management has been busy, but they are lacking a key ingredient. They have no plan. I’ll help them out free of charge. If you want to “ground-and-pound”, you have to build your team to run the ball. Flashy receivers, a mediocre running back, and a weak offensive line won’t get the job done. The Jets priority should be fixing the holes in the O-line. Then find a back to partner with Shonn Greene. Then install an offense that promotes growth in terms of your strengths. If the Jets don’t find strong pieces in the draft to suit “ground-and-pound”, every offensive fantasy player will suffer.
1.17 Cincinnati Bengals (from OAK)
Quinton Coples, DE
The second pass rusher comes off the board at pick 17. Seems like it should be sooner, but when you look at the needs ahead of the Bengals, there is a distinct possibility Coples (or another pass rusher) falls to them. Linebacker is clearly another need for the Bengals, but they opt for Coples’ potential and overlook the bust whispers. The Bengals have been known for obtaining players with character issues anyway, so they have experience.
1.18 San Diego Chargers
Whitney Mercilus, OLB
Shaun Phillips is steady, but unspectacular. Jarrett Johnson is okay, but c’mon. Antwan Barnes and Larry English are role players. The Chargers need a dynamic rusher at outside linebacker more than they need a cornerback. It’s a great fantasy opportunity for Mercilus.
1.19 Chicago Bears
Michael Brockers, DT
The Bears need a strong front-7 on defense. It’s in their DNA. The universe is just not right when they don’t have it. Adding a load in the middle is a bonus for Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher, and Lance Briggs. If the Bears chose another position in round one, fantasy fans hope it’s an offensive lineman.
1.20 Tennessee Titans
I struggled finding a fantasy match for the Titans, as they could use this pick on every position other than quarterback, running back, and defensive back. The Titans run blocking was atrocious in 2011, so getting Chris Johnson back on track should be the top priority.
1.21 Cincinnati Bengals
Dontari Poe, DT
I originally had “Poe or Brockers” as the pick for the Bears, and the Bengals draft whichever one is left over. But Poe and Coples in round one has it all! It could be a total disaster to the greatest DL combo ever drafted in the same year. Okay, maybe not that great, but it will be fun to watch how it unfolds. Odds are against the Bengals because they were Born Under a Bad Sign.
1.22 Cleveland Browns (from ATL)
Rueben Randle, WR
What the F’? Yes it’s a weird one, but Mike Holmgren is married to the West Coast Offense. He knows no other way to run a team, and Randle is a West Coast receiver. Maybe they decide to address a pass rusher now and hope Randle falls to 2.05. Either way, he belongs on this team.
1.23 Detroit Lions
Stephon Gilmore, CB
Name two Detroit cornerbacks in the next five seconds and I’ll give you a buck. I doubt you even came up with one. The first round cornerback drafted by Detroit will be a Week 1 starter.
1.24 Pittsburgh Steelers
Fantasy owners are sick of seeing Ben Roethlisberger get his face smashed and his ankles rolled. Temporary (and perhaps permanent) running back Isaac Redman enjoys the addition as well.
1.25 Denver Broncos
Kendall Wright, WR
Peyton Manning needs a WR3 behind Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. Manning has worked with smaller-sized receivers in the past (Marvin Harrison 6’0” 175 lbs, Reggie Wayne 6’0” 198 lbs, Pierre Garcon 6’0” 210 lbs), so it shouldn’t shock anyone to see them target the smallest player among the top receiving prospects.
1.26 Houston Texans
Stephen Hill, WR
Houston’s fantasy black hole opposite Andre Johnson is filled. All Hill has to do is show up and he’s a lock for the WR2 job. Hill is the fifth and final receiver drafted in the first round. It seems like a high number, but the new emphasis around the league is exploiting mismatches in the passing game. I’d set the Over/Under at 4.5, and as a fantasy fan, let’s hope for the Over.
1.27 New England Patriots (from NOS)
Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB
Alabama head coach Nick Saban educates Upshaw on how to be a football player, then sends him to good buddy Bill Belichick in New England. The Patriots have a need at end and outside linebacker, and they rotate defensive alignments throughout the season. Upshaw can play both the 3-4 outside linebacker and the 4-3 defensive end, so he saves Belichick a roster spot. Upshaw will be on the field in almost every situation and should be targeted in IDP leagues. If a team gobbles him up before the Patriots, let’s hope it’s the Browns.
1.28 Green Bay Packers
Devon Still, DE
The Packers defense was still opportunistic in 2011, but they gave up way too many yards. One solution is obtaining a formidable 3-4 defensive end. Not sexy, especially for fantasy purposes, but it keeps the important fantasy players on the board for other teams and it definitely solves a need for the Packers. If the Packers dare to be bold on offense, a running back here could easily push James Starks and Alex Green into fantasy irrelevance.
1.29 Baltimore Ravens
Andre Branch, DE/OLB
Ravens choose Branch for his flashy nature. I compare his partnership with Terrell Suggs to the Colts Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis… edge rushers with tremendous speed who excel when the opposition is forced to pass. If you block one, the other is going to get you. An edge rusher at end or linebacker is Baltimore’s greatest need and it would be a great fantasy fit for Branch.
1.30 San Francisco 49ers
Janoris Jenkins, CB
The 49ers are solid at every position, except cornerback. Offensive line could be a nice alternative. Either way, keep those fantasy assets moving to a team that could use them right away.
1.31 New England Patriots
Mark Barron, SS
Another Saban gift for Belichick, who’s always coveted the brains and skills of Ed Reed. It will be tough for Barron to fall this far, so maybe the Patriots shock us all and actually trade up instead of trading down. If Barron makes it to the Patriots, I suspect he’ll be drafted ahead of most rookie linebackers in Dynasty/Keeper leagues. Fantasy gold!
1.32 New York Giants
David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech or
Doug Martin, RB, Boise St
Giants will have their choice of running back prospects 2A and 2B. Management will make the call, and fantasy owners will reap the rewards. Ahmad Bradshaw is good, but nowadays most backs needs a compliment. There are enough fantasy points to go around so the rookie back should have a successful 2012.
Follow Round 2 of the Fantasy Football Matchmaker eight picks at a time at FantasyLeagueGM.com
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