The first 2012 NFL Mock Draft from SB Nation has been released, with Michigan St. Spartans defensive tackle Jerel Worthy and Florida State Seminoles defensive end Brandon Jenkins projected to the New England Patriots at No. 30 and No. 31 overall, respectively, and Luke Kuechly, a junior linebacker from the Boston College Eagles, being projected to the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 15 overall in the first round.
Kuechly has played at BC for three seasons, recording a school and ACC-record 532 tackles. Kuechly led the nation in tackles with 191 (102 solo) last season and was named the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Award and the Lombardi Trophy, among other honors.
15. Philadelphia Eagles, Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Blame Wide 9 from outer space, blame the high cost of free agent chemistry, blame the converted offensive line coach turned defensive coordinator, all of it deserves some scorn. The Eagles still need some help at linebacker, and Kuechly is the kind of middle linebacker that potential future defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo had in St. Louis with James Laurinaitis.
Worth totaled 25 tackles, 3.5 sacks and had seven tackles for a loss this season at Michigan State, and the junior now has 102 career tackles, 12 sacks and 20 tackles for a loss in his three seasons with the Spartans.
30. New England Patriots (from New Orleans), Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
You can almost guarantee that this pick, and probably the next one, will be traded before the shooting stops on the first night of the draft. For the sake of mocking, let's put Worthy here because he gives the Pats a much needed shot of youth along their defensive line.
Jenkins had 41 tackles and eight sacks this season for Florida State. In addition, Jenkins recorded 12 tackles for a loss and has 107 career tackles, 22 sacks, 30 tackles for a loss and one forced fumble in three seasons with the Seminoles.
31. New England Patriots, Brandon Jenkins, OLB, Florida State
Andre Carter is currently the Patriots' best pass rusher. He's 32 and stuck on the injured reserve list. They need to add another player who can get the quarterback. Jenkins puts his head down and plays football, a trait Bill Belichick loves.
Without surprise, Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts. Matt Kalil, an offensive tackles from the USC Trojans, is projected to be the No. 2 overall pick by the St. Louis Rams. Morris Claiborne, a cornerback from the LSU Tigers, is projected to the Minnesota Vikings at No. 3 overall while Baylor quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III is pegged at No. 4 overall to the Cleveland Browns.