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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

Leave a comment

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tfunk 03-06-2012 04:55 pm (total posts: 1)
15     15

you said the vikings would not have to surrender a 1st round pick for Mike Wallace but that's not true he was given a first round tender by the Steelers. the vikings would have to give up the #3 overall pick to sign him
Arthur Digbee Sellers 03-06-2012 04:43 pm (total posts: 2)
35     20

Looks like Randy Moss will have several interested teams after him after lighting it up in a workout for the Saints. You are wrong about him Walt
arnie 03-06-2012 02:47 pm (total posts: 1)
54     33

whats the point of this? you havent taken salary cap into consideration at all. No way the steelers can afford Soliai.. no way cleveland pay for manning. brandon lloyd if he goes anywhere is going to the pats.

This is stupid
erik 03-06-2012 02:07 pm (total posts: 1)
11     20

the giants dont have a hole @LG..Kevin Boothe is legit..Walt youre a a giants game before you make stupid uninformed comments
Kev 03-06-2012 01:00 pm (total posts: 1)
11     12

LOL @ Manning going to Cleveland!!!!

So if Minnesota signed Wallace, they would give up a 2nd because they dont have a 1st??? is that right?
Walter hates Gabbert 03-06-2012 12:34 pm (total posts: 2)
54     112

Show a little more bias in your Gabbert hate why don't you? Remember when you tried saying how great Jimmy Clausen was as well?
Walter hates Gabbert 03-06-2012 12:34 pm (total posts: 2)
49     114

Show a little more bias in your Gabbert hate why don't you? Remember when you tried saying how great Jimmy Clausen was as well?
What if? 03-06-2012 12:34 pm (total posts: 1)
12     21

What if it snowed in California?
Steve 03-06-2012 12:25 pm (total posts: 1)
11     19

The Giants would never take a average Guard in that situation, over resigning Terrell Thomas. He gives them one of the best pair of starting Cornerbacks in the league.
Adam Godwin 03-06-2012 12:21 pm (total posts: 1)
59     19

Carolina is going to rock all yalls asses next year. The Cam Newton is going to rise!!!!!!!!!!
bp87 03-06-2012 12:06 pm (total posts: 1)
16     19

Actually the Texans will resign Chris Myers in real life. That is what they are working on right now and it looks like Mario will be the one left out. If you were in Houston you would know that but you just make claims that are have no truth to them
GongKong 03-06-2012 12:04 pm (total posts: 1)
11     12

Peyton Manning on Browns *frothy drools*

Real life intervened, now just upset I have to watch Seneca throw a ball into the ground and McCoy scan the field to underthrow a not open WR/TE hybrid for a pick six
Arthur Digbee Sellers 03-06-2012 11:58 am (total posts: 2)
69     12

Fun? Yes. Pointless? Yes, that too. The team's at the top of the draft have no shot at landing these guys. How about you predict what team the top free agents will go to, and for how much.
@anon 03-06-2012 11:47 am (total posts: 1)
13     12

You're an idiot. Go back and read this article again, and this time use your commonsense.
Randall Flagg 03-06-2012 10:56 am (total posts: 1)
24     19

Lardarius Webb????

You know the youngest shutdown corner in the NFL? The guy who arguably played the best of any defensive back this season?

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