This is our fourth-annual backward mock draft. It's what it sounds like: What would the 2012 NFL Draft look like if the order were reversed? Whom would the Giants take with the first pick? My annual Backward NFL Mock Draft is listed below.
New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
Courtney Upshaw is a popular pick for the Jets. They need an upgrade at the rush linebacker position, and Upshaw is considered by some to be a prospect worthy of the No. 16 overall pick.
Philadelphia Eagles: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
There are rumors that the Eagles will trade up for Ryan Tannehill, so they'd love to land him without moving anywhere. They need a long-term solution at the quarterback position, and being able to obtain Tannehill would be Andy Reid's ticket to yet another extension.
Dallas Cowboys: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
The Cowboys are reportedly interested in Dontari Poe and SEC defenders. Dre Kirkpatrick definitely makes sense. Dallas signed Brandon Carr this offseason, but needs a third corner for 2012. Mike Jenkins will be a free agent next spring, so Kirkpatrick can start in 2013 and beyond.
Arizona Cardinals: Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia
Conventional wisdom says that Jonathan Martin would be the pick in this spot, but the front office reportedly doesn't like him. Cordy Glenn is a superior consensus prospect and a better fit for Arizona's blocking scheme anyway.
Seattle Seahawks: Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois
It's been pretty well publicized that the Seahawks are interested in adding a pass-rusher early in the 2012 NFL Draft. No. 12 is too early for Whitney Mercilus, but not in a backward order.
Kansas City Chiefs: Kendall Wright, WR/KR, Baylor
This was a really tough pick because the top players available don't really make sense for the Chiefs. Kendall Wright wouldn't be a bad selection. He'd be pretty dangerous out of the slot, giving Kansas City three dynamic wideouts, assuming both he and Jonathan Baldwin pan out.
Buffalo Bills: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
This is a fairly obvious fit. Jonathan Martin has been discussed as a potential option for the Bills at No. 10 overall, so they would definitely take him in this position of the backward order. Selecting Martin with the 10th pick would be a reach, but this is the right range for him.
Carolina Panthers: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Another obvious fit. The Panthers desperately need defensive tackle help, and Michael Brockers is the top prospect available. I think I mocked Brockers to Carolina in one update prior to the Combine. Things changed when Brockers disappointed in Indianapolis while other players at the position thrived, but Brockers would fit the Panthers' range in a backward order.
Miami Dolphins: Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State
I thought about Brandon Weeden here, but the Dolphins have a similar quarterback in Matt Moore (reliable veteran-type without much upside). Miami can select a pass-rusher instead. They desperately need someone to get to the opposing passer across from Cameron Wake. Shea McClellin is a fast riser, and it seems like he's moved ahead of Nick Perry.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
Chandler Jones is another prospect who is quickly moving up the consensus draft board. Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, Adam Schefter and Mike Mayock all believe he'll be a first-round pick. The Jaguars are looking for a pass-rusher and receiver. Jones is the top prospect available out of those two positions.
St. Louis Rams: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
The Rams aren't getting as good of a wideout in this scenario, but they should still be happy with Stephen Hill, who has immense upside. Sam Bradford is praying for some help at the receiver position.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
I have this pick in the second round of my 2012 NFL Mock Draft. My reasoning: Doug Martin would be a perfect complement. Drawing comparisons to Ray Rice, Martin excels in receiving and blocking. He'd be a great second-round late-first-round addition for the Buccaneers.
New England Patriots: Devon Still, DE/DT, Penn State
New England's third pick in the backward mock matches up to the No. 31 selection in my real mock. Devon Still fits the range and would offer an upgrade at a dire position of need up front.
Minnesota Vikings: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
For the sake of Viking fans, I hope the rumors that Rick Spielman doesn't like Matt Kalil aren't true. If they are, perhaps he'll target Mike Adams atop Round 2 - unless, of course, his ultimate goal is to ruin Christian Ponder's career. That doesn't seem too far-fetched, actually.
Washington Redskins: Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State
The Redskins are a team that could use Brandon Weeden, as Rex Grossman is too sloppy with the football. Weeden was actually discussed as a second-round option for them prior to the Robert Griffin trade.
Indianapolis Colts: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
Poor Colts. They miss out on Andrew Luck, and their top quarterback option is either Brock Osweiler or Kirk Cousins. Rather than reach for either here, they can attempt to grab one of them in Round 2 and provide a weapon for their new signal-caller with this selection. Unfortunately, they can't match up Coby Fleener with Luck. It's a good thing the NFL Draft doesn't operate this way.
I really don't understand why you keep bashing the 49ers contracts. You have to overpay for guys when you have one of the worst rosters in the NFL. Beyond that, they have nearly $70 mill in cap space even after free agency, so what's the big deal if they overspend?