Thursday, December 22, 2011
2012 NFL draft: McShay's NFC West mock
By Mike Sando
A few small details remain unsettled heading into the 2012 NFL draft.
order of selection;
which underclassmen will become eligible;
which NFL teams will have new coaches/general managers;
how prospects will perform in bowl games, all-star games, the combine and in personal workouts;
how team needs will evolve in relation to injuries;
how teams will address needs in free agency before the draft.
That means we can cut Todd McShay a little slack if his first 2012 NFL mock draft, published for Insider subscribers Wednesday, winds up serving as only a general guide some four months before the draft itself. McShay has St. Louis taking USC tackle Matt Kalil second overall; Arizona taking Alabama outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw at No. 13; Seattle taking Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones at No. 16; and San Francisco selecting Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright at No. 30.
USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil could provide some stability on the offensive line for the Rams.
The Rams have used the second and 33rd overall choices for offensive tackles since 2009. Drafting another one early would reflect an organization spinning its wheels. That might be an accurate reflection. Jason Smith, chosen second overall in 2010, almost certainly will not return at his current salary.
Arizona does need additional options at outside linebacker even with Sam Acho and O'Brien Schofield contributing recently. McShay considers offensive tackle a greater need for the Cardinals, but he questions whether the value would be right where the Cardinals are projected to select.
Seattle could use a quarterback to develop and even compete for the starting job. That was the case a year ago, but the Seahawks surprisingly made a run to the playoffs and beat New Orleans in the wild-card round, dropping them from eighth to 25th in the 2011 order. Tarvaris Jackson is in position to return as the incumbent starter. The team also thinks third-stringer Josh Portis has a chance to develop. Drafting a quarterback would give Seattle a promising mix at the position.
For the 49ers, I might question the value of selecting another receiver in the first round. The team used the 10th choice of the 2009 draft for Michael Crabtree. I see greater needs in the secondary and would not argue if the team drafted yet another player for its already strong defensive front seven.
McShay has St. Louis taking USC tackle <a href="http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/draft/player/_/id/28826/matt-kalil">Matt Kalil</a> second overall; Arizona taking Alabama outside linebacker <a href="http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/draft/player/_/id/27437/courtney-upshaw">Courtney Upshaw</a> at No. 13; Seattle taking Oklahoma quarterback <a href="http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/draft/player/_/id/28768/landry-jones">Landry Jones</a> at No. 16; and San Francisco selecting Baylor wide receiver <a href="http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/draft/player/_/id/28585/kendall-wright">Kendall Wright</a> at No. 30.