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2012 NFL Free Agent Draft

Posted Tuesday, March 6, 2012.

I did this last year, and I thought it would be pretty fun to do it again. It's what it sounds like - if free agency occurred in a draft format, who would be the top picks? I've excluded all the free agents who are either restricted or franchised, with the two exceptions being Mike Wallace and DeSean Jackson, for obvious reasons.

Go here for my 2012 NFL Mock Draft or follow me @walterfootball for updates.

  1. Indianapolis Colts: Mario Williams, DE/OLB, Texans. Age: 27.
    This first pick is a no-brainer. The Colts are transitioning to a 3-4 defense under Chuck Pagano, so why not add one of the premier pass-rushers in the NFL? As an added bonus, the addition of Williams would hurt the previous division winner.

    Follow @walterfootball for news and updates.


  2. Cleveland Browns: Peyton Manning, QB, Colts. Age: 36.
    I have the Browns trading up in my 2012 NFL Mock Draft. They'd do the same in this free agency mock. Cleveland hasn't had a legitimate quarterback in centuries and has no chance of signing Peyton Manning. Manning won't have much of a say in this scenario. He'll be forced to play for the Browns, and throw to the likes of Greg Little, Ben Watson and perhaps Special Agent Peyton Hillis. Unfortunately for Cleveland, free agency doesn't work this way.

  3. Minnesota Vikings: Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers. Age: 26.
    With Adrian Peterson's status in doubt, the Vikings need to find help for Christian Ponder. Getting Mike Wallace to play across from Percy Harvin would definitely please the young quarterback - and Minnesota wouldn't even have to surrender a first-round pick.

  4. St. Louis Rams: Carl Nicks, G, Saints. Age: 27.
    A pure guard will never go this high in the NFL Draft, but we know that Carl Nicks is arguably the best player at his position in the NFL. The Rams desperately need upgrades on the offensive line. One more year of getting knocked around, and Sam Bradford will definitely have a severe case of David Carr Syndrome.



  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Stephen Tulloch, ILB, Lions. Age: 27.
    The Buccaneers want to use Mason Foster outside, so they have a massive hole in the middle of their defense. Stephen Tulloch is one of the top linebackers in the NFL.

  6. Washington Redskins: Scott Wells, C, Packers. Age: 31.
    Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger is coming off a nasty knee injury. Scott Wells is a stud center and a perfect fit in Mike Shanahan's scheme, so the Redskins could "draft" him and move Will Montgomery into Lichtensteiger's spot.

  7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Vincent Jackson, WR, Chargers. Age: 29.
    Blaine Gabbert is probably a lost cause, but Gene Smith needs to put him in the best possible position to succeed because his job is on the line. Jacksonville's receiving corps is trash, and Vincent Jackson would obviously be an enormous upgrade.

  8. Miami Dolphins: Matt Flynn, QB, Packers. Age: 27.
    New head coach Joe Philbin worked with Matt Flynn in Green Bay, so this match is pretty obvious. I didn't mock Flynn to the Redskins, by the way, because of the rumors that they aren't interested in him.



  9. Carolina Panthers: Brandon Carr, CB, Chiefs. Age: 26.
    The Panthers have a huge void at cornerback across from Chris Gamble. With almost no shot to land Morris Claiborne, Carolina will have to turn to free agency.

  10. Buffalo Bills: Jeremy Mincey, DE, Jaguars. Age: 28.
    Chan Gailey and Buddy Nix have made it known that they'll be targeting a pass-rusher this offseason. Jeremy Mincey had a breakout 2011 campaign and will command a huge contract in the coming weeks.

  11. Kansas City Chiefs: Nick Hardwick, C, Chargers, Chargers. Age: 30.
    The Chiefs need some sort of interior lineman this offseason, depending on where they want to use Rodney Hudson. Hudson would play at guard if Nick Hardwick somehow made his way to Kansas City. I'm sure the Chiefs would love to rob their divisional rival of its top lineman.

  12. Seattle Seahawks: Ben Grubbs, G, Ravens. Age: 28.
    Robert Gallery was brought to Seattle because of offensive line coach Tom Cable, but the former Raider struggled in his new home. Ben Grubbs is the top free agent available, so he's a no-brainer at this spot.



  13. Arizona Cardinals: Cortland Finnegan, CB, Titans. Age: 28.
    Richard Marshall is a free agent, while Greg Toler is coming off an ACL tear. Arizona can fill its need at conrerback by re-signing the former, but why not just find an upgrade at the position?

  14. Dallas Cowboys: Carlos Rogers, CB, 49ers. Age: 31.
    Carlos Rogers is talented, but a bit old. That may not matter much to the Cowboys, who are in win-now mode. I don't need to tell you how big of a need the cornerback position is for Dallas.

  15. Philadelphia Eagles: Curtis Lofton, ILB, Falcons. Age: 26.
    The Eagles will pursue Curtis Lofton in free agency, so I'll just mock him here. Philadelphia desperately needs help at inside linebacker, and either Lofton or Stephen Tulloch are expected to be added to the roster.

  16. New York Jets: Jarret Johnson, DE/OLB, Ravens. Age: 31.
    The Jets have to find an upgrade at outside linebacker. Jarret Johnson has always been a favorite of Rex Ryan's, so there's a good chance he'll sign with New York in real life.


    Go to 2012 NFL Free Agent Draft: Picks 17-32

    Sorry for cutting this into two halves; I've received complaints about load times and putting the mock draft on two pages saves bandwith.

Real 2012 NFL Mock Draft




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bills fan 03-07-2012 04:04 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.143 (total posts: 1)
15     19

a corner would be nice to.
OTHC_HUBIE 03-07-2012 02:30 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.146 (total posts: 1)
34     10

if everyone wants something this site to be like all others then go to the other sites. I for 1 love the idea cause it is different, and who cares if the player doesnt fit into the cap its fun.
As a Bills fan id like a corner in the FA draft like Finnegan that way we would only get beat and not blown away
Corey D 03-07-2012 10:20 am xxx.xxx.xxx3.39 (total posts: 1)
20     22

I think the Panthers should get mario williams to replace Thomas Davis causing from what ive seen he doesn't look like he is going to get healthy any time soon.
But on the other hand they do need a CB so I understand the decision to sign Carr.
buccaneersbg 03-07-2012 07:00 am xxx.xxx.xxx2.48 (total posts: 1)
14     13

BUCS sign Vincent Jackson, with draft or FREEee(5 YEARS $55 mil.)
Steve 03-07-2012 04:30 am xxx.xxx.xxx.225 (total posts: 1)
23     18

I wouldn't mind seeing my Packers land veteran DT / DE Cory Redding, so long as the contract is for two or three years and relatively inexpensive.

However, I have a better idea. At least I think it is a better idea.

GM Ted Thompson should go after former Dolphins NT Paul Soliai. At age 28, he has plenty left in the tank and his contract demands should be well within the very tight Thompson's budget.

On the field this would allow NT / DE B. J. Raji to play more DE in our 3-4 scheme, thus allowing him to make more plays behind the line of scrimmage. This might be one of those two for one deals. Sign one player, but in reality gain an upgrade at two positions. Veteran DT / DE Ryan Pickett is great in the locker room and is solid against the run, but he can't get to the QB anymore and he is injury prone. If Pickett plays 12 games a season that is a big number for him. On the other side is the trio of C. J. Wilson, Jarius Wynn and another injury prone DL - Mike Neal.

For reasons that are obvious to all Packers' fans - an upgrade of talent and depth must be found in 2012 via Free Agency, the Draft or a trade. We can not have a defense in 2012 like we had in 2011.
In MY dreams 03-07-2012 04:26 am xxx.xxx.xxx4.90 (total posts: 1)
17     14

@In UR dreams: then why would you bother clinking on the link. It's not like it's tricking you - it was called the Free Agency Mock Draft. What else did you think it would be?
heyit'schad 03-07-2012 12:13 am xxx.xxx.xxx.166 (total posts: 1)
24     23

The Bills have Seattle's 5th round pick from the Marshawn Lynch trade.
In UR dreams 03-06-2012 11:27 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.194 (total posts: 1)
284     282

This is stupid! Just do a Top 50 free agent list and predict where they will go like how other sites do with all sports.
This Guy 03-06-2012 10:08 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.176 (total posts: 1)
26     14

The cowboys will not sign over-rated cb Carlos Rogers. He's horrible. He can't cover ANY elite receivers. He's in a whack division.
Bob 03-06-2012 08:40 pm xxx.xxx.xxx93.3 (total posts: 1)
16     16

Dallas are definitely not in win now mode. They are rebuilding, which is why they dumped most of their overpaid vets last year and will continue this year with guys like Newman. The JG era has started, and it looks like it will revolve around a new core of players like Lee and Smith, rather than old vets.
SteelersFootballx6 03-06-2012 07:58 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.129 (total posts: 1)
54     48

@Whoa, whoa, whoa, I can't figure it out either. The Steelers tendered Wallace with a 1st round pick, and he's restricted which means we can match their price.What gives?Unless Minnesota is an exception to that somehow, #17 is not going anywhere with all the other talented and much easily acquired FA WRs available.
Evans 03-06-2012 06:45 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.122 (total posts: 1)
41     14

@Mr Know it all- You read the article, didn't you? That's the point.
Mr. Know IT all 03-06-2012 05:52 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.251 (total posts: 1)
40     111

This is the stupidest idea ever.

Everyone on here doesn't get what he's doing.

He's doing it like a NFL draft. The 32 teams (in draft order) take the best available player that fits their needs.

So it's like the draft the player doesn't get to pick where they go the team picks the player they need best on their draft position. So the Colts have the 1st pick so they get to choose the best player that fits their needs (Free Agent) not the other way around.

Again, STUPID! Because this won't happen in real life.
@tfunk 03-06-2012 05:34 pm xxx.xxx.xxx8.69 (total posts: 1)
12     14

he meant they wouldn't have to give up a first round selection in this fake free agency mock draft dude.
Whoa, whoa, whoa 03-06-2012 05:34 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.149 (total posts: 1)
16     15

How do you figure Minnesota gets Mike Wallace without having to give up their pick?



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