Linebacker Vontaze Burfict of the Arizona State Sun Devils gestures as he warms up for the game with the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl on November 5, 2011 in Pasadena, California. UCLA won 29-28. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

2012 NFL Mock Draft: Running Back For Jets, Offensive Lineman For Giants

-- We follow mock drafts as we begin looking toward the 2012 NFL Mock Draft -- Follow all of SB Nation New York's 2012 NFL Draft Coverage at our 2012 NFL Draft Special Section

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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Trent Richardson To Jets, Kelechi Osemele To Giants

The NFL regular season is over. The New York Giants are heading to the playoffs, while the imploding New York Jets are going home.

That makes today the perfect day to check 2012 NFL Mock Drafts for the first time in the new year. Our friends at have released their first one for the calendar year, so let’s have a look.

The Jets will pick 16th, and SB Nation has them eyeing improvements for their offense and taking Alabama running back Trent Richardson with the 16th overall pick.

That is not a bad idea. LaDainian Tomlinson may retire and Shonn Greene is a good, but not great back. The Jets obviously need to run the ball better if Mark Sanchez is going to be their quarterback, and while taking running backs in the first round is risky it might be something the Jets have to do.

Exactly where the Giants will pick is not yet determined, since slots 21-32 will be settled by the playoff results. For now, though, SB Nation has the Giants taking Iowa State offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele with the 25th overall selection.

Osemele can play right tackle, or guard. Again here, this is not a bad idea.


2012 NFL Mock Draft: New York Giants And Linebackers ... Here We Go Again

The song has been the same when it comes to the New York Giants and the NFL Draft the past couple of seasons. The consensus for years now has been that the Giants need to spend an early-round pick on a linebacker.

Will this be the year general manager Jerry Reese finally agrees? He brought in several young linebackers this season — via late-round picks and the signing of undrafted free agents Mark Herzlich and Spencer Paysinger. The one early pick he did use, a second-rounder on Clint Sintim in 2009, has not panned out.

The Giants still have issues at middle linebacker, where they pulled Chase Blackburn off the streets a few weeks ago and stuck him in their lineup. Let’s take a quick look at some of the mocks, and some of the linebacker candidates for the Giants.

Vontaze Burfict, MLB, Arizona StateWalter Football chooses him for the Giants, calling him an “intimidating playmaker.”

Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston CollegeDraft Countdown is among the mocks connecting Kuechly to the Giants — relying on the Boston College connection to Tom Coughlin.

Dont’a Hightower, MLB, Alabama — Hightower is the choice by Mocking The Draft, which calls him a “plug and play guy who could start as a rookie.”

Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame — Te’o is the choice by Sideline Scouting.

There is no certainty, of course, that Reese and the Giants will agree with any of this opinion. One thing that does seem certain, though, is that this time around there are several linebackers who could go early in the draft. Thus, it might be a good year for the Giants to finally take that plunge.

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