2012 NFL Mock Draft Player Capsules: A World Of Next Great Next-Great St. Louis Rams

A look at the names that will populate your 2012 NFL Mock Drafts (and next-great St. Louis Rams team dreams) until April.

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2012 NFL Mock Draft Player Capsules: Jonathan Martin

When you fill out your 2012 NFL Mock Draft, feel free to drop in this bit of easily available trivia: Offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, one of the top choices after Matt Kalil in this year's class, is probably the only Stanford-educated Classics major you're likely to find protecting Sam Bradford on any set of mock-Rams. A popular choice in scenarios where the Rams trade Robert Griffin III for multiple picks, Martin, a six-six, 306 pound junior, made his decision to go pro on January 3 after three years of protecting Andrew Luck.

OTs are need-driven acquisitions, though, and nobody's quite sure where Martin will fall come draft day—early SB Nation mock drafts had him falling out of the top 20, while Mocking the Draft and others had him unlikely to fall out of the Top 10.

Whatever happens—and whether they cut Jason Smith or not—the Rams need an offensive tackle. And if they pass on Kalil, the consensus number one in this draft class, Martin is the first one they'll have to choose from.

For more SB Nation St. Louis mock draft capsules, delivered directly and discreetly to your Facebook feed and updated all the way through to draft day, like our StoryStream on Facebook.

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2012 NFL Mock Draft Player Capsule: Morris Claiborne

That's right: It's time for 2012 NFL Mock Draft makers to play their yearly game of attempting to value pretty-good quarterbacks and wide receivers along the same continuum as great cornerbacks. Last year Patrick Peterson, the consensus best-player-in-the-draft, went fifth overall to the Arizona Cardinals; this year Morris Claiborne, fresh off LSU football's unpleasant finish to the season, will go anywhere after the top two spots in the draft, if recent mocks are any indication.

SB Nation's mid-January mock draft has him going third, to a Minnesota Vikings team that needs a cornerback way more than it needs a quarterback; the week before he went fifth to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

As for Claiborne himself, who intercepted six passes as a junior after picking five his sophomore year, mock drafters haven't seemed quite as high on him as they were on Peterson—but he also has Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III to deal with, who have successfully sucked even more air out of the room than Cam Newton managed a year ago.

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2012 NFL Mock Draft Player Capsule: Robert Griffin III

Terrible news: The St. Louis Rams were just barely good enough, in 2011, to win the 2012 NFL Mock Draft Wild Card Sweepstakes and have the chance to trade Andrew Luck for a million picks and players who aren't blocked by Sam Bradford. The consolation prize won the Heisman Trophy, if that's any consolation, and depending on Robert Griffin's draft stock come April the Rams could end up trading a monster quarterback prospect for pieces to help their existing monster quarterback prospect after all.

WalterFootball's latest mock draft has the Cleveland Browns taking Griffin at fourth, but the eponymous Walter suggests they'd probably have to move up to select the quarterback of their dreams—and that the Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins, and Seattle Seahawks could all be similarly interested. The haul for Griffin won't be quite so obscene as for Luck—that enormous golden Stan Kroenke idol will have to be put back into shortage.

For more SB Nation St. Louis mock draft capsules, delivered directly and discreetly to your Facebook feed and updated all the way through to draft day, like our StoryStream on Facebook.

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2012 NFL Mock Draft Player Capsule: Matt Kalil

Finally, St. Louis Rams fans must be saying: We're picked to take an offensive tackle in another mock draft. 2012 NFL Mock Draft season began with holdover Justin Blackmon (covered here earlier), and the Indianapolis Colts' unwanted success led to an Andrew Luck interlude, but Jason Smith's disastrous career and Rodger Saffold's limited 2011 means the Rams are in line to select yet another offensive lineman with the goal of protecting their investment in Sam Bradford, who was sacked 36 times in just 10 games in 2011. Enter: Matt Kalil.


More: SB Nation's latest first round NFL Mock Draft

Kalil is an outstanding offensive lineman with great bloodlines—his brother Ryan is in the NFL, while father Frank played in the USFL—good size, and everything in the world to suggest he'll be good at keeping Sam Bradford on his feet. But given the Rams' putrid luck with those players in recent drafts, you'd be forgiven for being bored at best or skeptical at worst.

For more SB Nation St. Louis mock draft capsules, delivered directly and discreetly to your Facebook feed and updated all the way through to draft day, like our StoryStream on Facebook.

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2012 NFL Mock Draft Player Capsules: Justin Blackmon

Justin Blackmon was connected constantly to the St. Louis Rams in 2011, and unfortunately for Rams fans the Oklahoma State wide receiver has only gotten more highly touted in the year since he decided to go back to school for his junior year. Fortunately(?) for Rams fans, the Rams have only gotten worse! In 2012 NFL Mock Drafts, with the number-two spot nearly sewn up, the world is the Rams' oyster, and Blackmon has returned to prominence as Sam Bradford's ideal number-one option.

With Josh McDaniels face planting on arrival and Steve Spagnuolo almost certainly on his way out the Rams haven't got an offense in place for us to imagine Blackmon inside, but the big wide receiver would fit perfectly in any NFL offense—he's got a first-round combination of size and speed, and the sparkling debuts of A.J. Green and Julio Jones—last year's fantasy mock draft duo—have gone part of the way toward spoiling the idea that rookie wide receivers have trouble making a big impact.

Blackmon's stats this season aren't quite as gaudy as last year's—gone is that 16-yard-per-completion mark—but 113 receptions and 15 touchdowns are going to make you a plausible number-two pick in most any draft.

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2012 NFL Mock Draft Player Capsules: Andrew Luck

Nobody needs my help to know what Andrew Luck represents on 2012 NFL Mock Draft boards the world over. Has your all-time-great quarterback got a potentially career-ending neck condition? Come on down, Indianapolis Colts, for your drop-in Peyton Manning replacement. Luck, for all the hyperbole about his best-prospect-ever credentials, represents an instant turnaround for any franchise that needs one. Any franchise, unfortunately, except the perennially turned-around St. Louis Rams, who are now within a Colts win of having sucked for Luck on accident.

Certainly the Rams could benefit from Luck-even if the payout isn't quite Herschel Walker-ian enough to set football analysts talking until the heat death of the Edward Jones Dome, a bouquet of draft picks and useful players is exactly what this team needs-but there's something painful about the way the Rams have put themselves in a position to be one of the only dregs-of-the-earth franchises in football that doesn't need or want Andrew Luck.

For the team that gets him-well, Cam Newton's speedy entry into the top tier of NFL quarterbacks is probably closer to a Luck debut than Sam Bradford's spotty start, let alone Blaine Gabbert's.

Gawk at Andrew Luck's college stats at Sports-Reference; for more SB Nation St. Louis mock draft capsules, delivered and updated all the way through to draft day, like our StoryStream on Facebook.

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