Posted: Wednesday May 4, 2011 10:31AM ; Updated: Thursday May 5, 2011 12:25PM
Andrew Perloff
Andrew Perloff>INSIDE THE NFL

2012 NFL Mock Draft: QB trio of Luck, Jones and Barkley in top five

Story Highlights

The 2012 NFL draft class will be loaded with talent at the offensive skill positions

Other top-five picks: Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon and UNC's Quinton Coples

Trent Richardson, Knile Davis and Cyrus Gray headline the running back class

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Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck was widely projected as the No. 1 pick in this year's draft before he decided to return for another year at Stanford.
Jed Jacobsohn/SI

After a lackluster 2011 NFL Draft in both television ratings and quality, the hype will return next season thanks to a class loaded with talent at the offensive skill positions.

Hopefully the lockout will be a distant memory by the time Roger Goodell steps to the podium next April. The 2012 draft could be shaped by a rookie salary cap after the dust settles from the labor battle.

Here is a look at my (Way early) 2011 NFL Mock Draft from April of last year. No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks Ryan Mallett and Da'Quan Bowers looked relatively good throughout most of last college football season. Though this year's top guy seems a lot safer ...

1. Buffalo Bills: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
The Bills did well drafting Marcell Dareus, but still have too many holes on defense to improve next season. You won't find a single 2012 mock draft that doesn't list Luck No. 1. Other than injury, the only possibility he'll fall is if the bar is set too high and experts pick him apart.

2. Carolina Panthers: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Blackmon might have been the highest receiver taken in the 2011 draft, even ahead of A.J. Green, who went No. 4 overall. The Panthers will be eager to get help for Cam Newton.

3. Cleveland Browns: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
The 6-foot-4 Jones has NFL size and arm strength and has proved a lot in college already. He threw 38 touchdowns and 12 interceptions last season and should put up Sam Bradford-like numbers this season.

4. Tennessee Titans: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
The 6-6, 270-pound Coples had 10 sacks for North Carolina last season and will be the premiere pass rusher in this draft.

5. Seattle Seahawks: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
The Seahawks will make up for not taking a quarterback this season by reuniting Barkley with his former coach Pete Carroll.

6. Denver Broncos: Matt Kalil, OT, USC
The little brother of the Panthers' Ryan Kalil should be the first tackle taken and could go even higher depending on team needs. He's a solid technician and tough.

7. Cincinnati Bengals: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
At a school known for producing good offensive linemen, Reiff might be the best of the last decade. He's got a nasty attitude and will be NFL-ready.

8. Oakland Raiders: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Kirkpatrick meets the Raiders' speed requirement and will team with Stanford Routt to give Oakland an impressive defensive backfield.

9. Minnesota Vikings: Jonathan Martin, T, Stanford
Vikings left tackle Bryant McKinnie will be 32 at the end of the season, so Minnesota will look to the future to help protect quarterback Christian Ponder.

10. Washington Redskins: Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska
Crick had 17 tackles for a loss and 9.5 sacks last season despite constant double-teams. His best fit in the NFL will be 3-4 end, but he could also slide over to tackle in a 4-3.

11. Dallas Cowboys: Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon
Harris is a bit undersized, but will fill a need here and can possibly be an explosive returner. He's similar to a young Terence Newman.

12. Detroit Lions: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
The Lions need to bolster their secondary and will take the highest rated cornerback at this spot. Gilmore still has something to prove, but could develop into a shutdown guy.

13. Miami Dolphins: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
Worthy didn't have big numbers last season (four sacks), but he takes up a lot of attention from opposing offensive lines and should develop into a productive 3-4 end.

14. Kansas City Chiefs: Nate Potter, OT, Boise State
The Chiefs need depth up front and Potter could possibly play multiple spots on the line.

15. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
The Jaguars will be eager to add another major weapon to help Blaine Gabbert.

16. Houston Texans: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Claiborne had five interceptions last season and should fill nicely into Patrick Peterson's role. Houston surprised some folks by not going cornerback in this year's draft; it needs a lot of help in the secondary.

 
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