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NFL Mock Draft 2012: Could Trent Richardson Fall To Buccaneers?

The NFL Network's Mike Mayock released his first and only mock draft on Wednesday afternoon, and there were a couple surprises in the top ten. Mayock predicts the Minnesota Vikings taking Matt Kalil at No. 3 and the Cleveland Browns selecting Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon at No. 4, freeing up the Buccaneers with an ideal choice of what many believe are their top two targets -- Trent Richardson and Morris Claiborne.

While Mel Kiper has a worst-case scenario with both Richardson and Claiborne coming off the board before No. 5, Mayock has the Bucs taking the top running back prospect since Adrian Peterson. Of Richardson, Mayock writes:

Richardson is as compact and coiled an athlete as the position has seen since Adrian Peterson. Richardson is explosive, powerful and balanced. He is a heady and instinctual player who is patient enough to wait for blocks and quick enough to cut backfield to daylight. Richardson has a strong core that he uses to break arm tackles and get physical leverage under blitzers in pass protection. He is a true three-down back who can be effective on screens.

Mayock then has the Claiborne going to the St. Louis Rams with the next pick. This would have to be a scenario the Bucs brass would be enjoy playing out on Thursday evening.

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Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.