With the 2011 NFL Draft in the rear-view mirror, it's never too early to look ahead. And just hours after the draft ended, the first 2012 NFL mock draft was released, giving us an early look at who some of the top draft prospects may be next year. And the No. 1 pick is no surprise to anyone who's been following the draft process.
Andrew Luck is your early No. 1 overall pick after decided to return to Stanford for another year. Luck was the likely top-pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, but decided to stay in college for at least another year, turning down the opportunity for immediate fortune. And if you've followed the Cardinal, you already know which team will be fighting tooth-and-nail to get the No. 1 pick, either by tank or trade.
1. San Francisco 49ers: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford. Even with Colin Kaepernick on board, it's tough to imagine Jim Harbaugh turning down any opportunity to reunite with his Stanford protege.
Remember this is Jim Harbaugh, the man who put Luck on the same plane as his wife while at Stanford. It'd be tough to see him not figuring out a sneaky way to secure Luck in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Moving down the board, the Seattle Seahawks have a perplexing pick. Either Pete Carroll will be stocking up on offensive tackles as if the apocalypse is nearing or the Seahawks will be going in a different direction and this mock draft is just spit-balling best available players.
7. Seattle Seahawks: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford. Seattle made their line a priority this year, and it will still be a priority next year. Martin would be a bookend for Russell Okung.
After taking Russell Okung in 2010 and James Carpenter in 2011, I find it hard to believe Seattle will take another offensive lineman in the first round of the draft.
If you're wondering how bad the NFC West is, wonder no more. All three non-playoff teams are projected to have a top-10 pick, with the Arizona Cardinals projected to pick right in front of the Seahawks.
6. Arizona Cardinals: Matt Kalil, OT, USC. Quarterback will be a possibility, but Kalil is next year's top tackle prospect, and the Cardinals won't be able to ignore OT much longer.
Finally, the St. Louis Rams are the playoff team in this 2012 NFL mock draft and pick a wide receiver in an effort to finally give Sam Bradford some help. This pick makes a lot of sense and would create an excellent foundation, much to the rest of the NFC West's chagrin.
21. St. Louis Rams: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. Though the Rams have done a nice job building depth at receiver, they still don't have a go-to target for Sam Bradford.