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2012 NFL Mock Draft V7.0: Picks 1-7

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The 2012 NFL Draft is a mere two days away, and we now seem to have more questions about what’s going to happen than we did at any point leading up to this circus. Even though we now know for certain that Andrew Luck is going to be taken by the Indianapolis Colts with the first overall selection and that Robert Griffin III will be going right after him to the Washington Redskins at No. 2, everything beyond that is suddenly in doubt.

Are the Minnesota Vikings really now second-guessing their decision to take Matt Kalil at No. 3? Are they really contemplating taking Justin Blackmon or Morris Claiborne instead? In order – sort of, no and yes.

The Vikings are sort of second-guessing the decision to take Kalil at No. 3, but only because that’s the natural thing to do. It’s not because they suddenly don’t want him, it’s just a matter of examining all options. No, they will not take Blackmon; even though Christian Ponder clearly wouldn’t be opposed to having another wide receiving option, everyone involved (including Ponder himself) knows that filling the hole at tackle is more important. And yes, management is looking at Claiborne because he is that good and because they do also have a hole in the secondary. But they’re also doing it partially in an effort to bait Tampa Bay or someone else into offering them a trade. (Nobody will.)

Once Minnesota makes its decision, it will be the Cleveland Browns’ turn to change the landscape of this draft. Mike Holmgren and Co. have kept things pretty close to the vest up to this point, but all signs point to them going with either Trent Richardson or Blackmon here. Contrary to earlier reports, management doesn’t seem enthralled enough with Ryan Tannehill to take a shot on him. The general consensus seems to be that it would be better to draft an offensive weapon for Colt McCoy and hope for the best than to draft a second Colt McCoy.

At No. 5, the Buccaneers are mostly praying that the Vikings are just bluffing about their interest in Claiborne. Because if Minnesota opts to take Claiborne and then Cleveland takes Richardson, Tampa Bay suddenly finds itself in very precarious situation. Similarly, the St. Louis Rams would love to get the player they wanted all along in Blackmon, but there are no guarantees that he will still be around by the time they’re up to bat.

And as usual, nobody is paying any attention to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Who will they ultimately end up selecting?

We analyze all that and more in our final projections for picks Nos. 1-7.

[You can check out picks 8-15 here]

[You can check out picks 16-23 here]

[You can check out picks 24-32 here]

Note: Tune in on Tuesday to the Bottom Line Sports Show as they talk all things NFL and have one lucky NFL Draft prospect on to discuss what the future holds.

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