2012 NFL Mock Draft: Projected Picks 6-10(Updated): Since the first five picks of the draft are still being questioned, it is no surprise that the next five are far from set in stone. Washington already traded up from the sixth spot, and the Redskins might not be the last team in the back half of the top 10 to move up or down the draft board. While picks 6 through 10 are definitely tough to predict, there are a few teams that have tipped their hand just enough to make an educated guess as the 2012 NFL draft approaches.
2012 NFL Mock Draft – Predictions and Projections for the Players to be Drafted 6 thru 10
6. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State
By trading away the No. 2 pick, St. Louis committed to quarterback Sam Bradford for at least the next several seasons. The second step for to that commitment involves getting the Rams getting their franchise QB some weapons to throw to. Blackmon may not be the best physical specimen at the position in this draft, but he is the most NFL ready. He is familiar with all types of routes thanks to the pass-happy Oklahoma State offense, and he has the explosive speed to make plays down the field that St. Louis has been missing since the days of Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. Bradford to Blackmon has a nice ring to it.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: David DeCastro, Guard, Stanford
I still think Jacksonville is in a prime position to trade down, and given the Jaguars’ immense amount of needs, grabbing some more picks is probably a good idea. With Miami poised to take Ryan Tannehill, any team looking for a QB (Arizona/Cleveland) could be calling Jacksonville. The same goes for any team looking to grab linebacker Luke Kuechly (Philadelphia/Cincinnati) or wide receiver Michael Floyd (Chicago/Houston). There should be plenty of teams talking to Jacksonville on draft night.
The Jaguars desperately need a receiver themselves, but with all their other holes, they simply can’t afford to miss with this pick. If they stay in the No. 7 spot, DeCastro makes the most sense. He has been rated as one of the top guard prospects in years, drawing comparisons to perennial Pro Bowler Steve Hutchinson. The Jaguars have a young QB in Blaine Gabbert and the defending NFL rushing champ in Maurice Jones-Drew. DeCastro kills two birds with one stone, providing added protection for Gabbert and more muscle for the Jaguars’ ground game. A strong offensive line can mask a lot of other offensive deficiencies.
8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, Texas A&M
If I was a general manager, I would not spend a top-10 pick on a guy that started just 19 games in college and was playing wide receiver a couple of years ago. Tannehill may have a big arm and NFL body, but I wouldn’t want a project as a top-10 pick. That being said, I’m not a GM, and Miami’s Jeff Ireland seems to be leaning toward Tannehill. The Dolphins already hired Tannehill’s college coach Mike Sherman as offensive coordinator, and failing to sign Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn in the offseason, a reunion between Sherman and Tannehill seems increasingly likely.
9. Carolina Panthers: Fletcher Cox, Defensive Tackle, Mississippi State
Carolina’s defensive line lost the battle at the point of attack a lot last season, allowing opponents to run the ball effectively and keep Cam Newton and the Panthers’ offense on the sideline. Fixing the problem starts with upgrading at the defensive tackle position, and Cox showed an ability to move the line of scrimmage throughout his collegiate career. His ability to make plays in the backfield and give consistent effort on every down is hard to find in a nose tackle. Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe may have been the darling of the combine, but Cox’s measurable stack up well, and he looked much better on the field in college than Poe.
10. Buffalo Bills, Mark Barron, Safety, Alabama
The Bills’ biggest issue last season was the lack of a pass rush. The front office addressed the problem to a degree in the offseason by signing Mario Williams, and adding Barron will continue to bolster the team’s pass rush and help with its below average pass defense. Barron is a hard-hitting playmaker that can cover, tackle and be used in blitz package. He anchored the secondary of one of the best defenses in college history, and he has all the skills and experience to make an immediate impact on the next level. Barron is the total package.