There are countless interesting storylines worth keeping an eye on as we inch closer and closer towards the 2012 NFL Draft. We all know that Stanford’s Andrew Luck will get taken with the first overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts – but then what? How low will the draft’s second best passer, Robert Griffin III, ultimately end up slipping? Will the Vikings take the offensive tackle they desperately need or will they trade down? Does Alabama’s Trent Richardson, an undeniable talent, experience an Aaron Rodgers-style dip out of the top 15?
Beyond the individual players selected, it’ll also be worth watching the transactions that inevitably steal the story every draft day. The most seemingly surefire trade is the New England Patriots moving one of their late first round selections. But then there are also the teams that desperately need a quarterback that will lose out on RGIII if they don’t move up. Do the St. Louis Rams swap the second pick for something lower, knowing that they can still get Justin Blackmon in the bottom half of the top 10? Should the Browns move up or simply wait for RGIII to fall to them as he probably would?
And on top of what players get selected and what trades teams make, the other thing worth monitoring is the trends that develop on draft day. This year a record-breaking 65 underclassmen declared for the NFL Draft – how many of them will go early? Given all of the defensive depth available in this draft, will this shape up to be more of a defense-centric or offense-centric first round? At the same time, will the lack of top-tier skill position depth force teams to reach, or sit back and hope that they can find a gem in the later rounds?
All those things and more will make the 2012 NFL Mock Draft a can’t-miss event. Over the past week we’ve compiled our first version of this year’s draft piece by piece, pick by pick. Obviously the order and players taken may change after this weekend, and if they do, we’ll change them accordingly. For now, though, check out the entire first round as we project it will ultimately end up going.