2012 NFL Draft Grades
There was no denying the Eagles biggest weakness and they wasted no time in addressing it. Bolstering the middle of their lineup, Philadelphia selected a monster in Fletcher Cox followed by future stud Mychal Kendricks. The Eagles had arguably the best draft over the weekend.
It is hard to believe Pittsburgh did not have to make any moves to move up and still landed David DeCastro, the drafts top guard by far. Not long after, Pittsburgh managed to get another steal as OT Mike Adams slipped to them as well. The Pennsylvania teams really killed it this past weekend.
Some justifiably question T.J. Graham in the 3rd, but there isn't much to dislike about the Bills draft. The Bills gambled on finding an OT later in the draft, taking Stephon Gilmore at 10. The gamble paid off as Buffalo ecstatically took tackles Cordy Glenn and Zebrie Sanders.
Just ask Miami how hard it is to find your franchise's next leader. Not only did Indianapolis score the best QB prospect since Manning, they were able to find a lot of help for Luck and the offense too. The TE tandem of Fleener and Allen could really be special.
The Vikings managed to trade down for extra picks and nab the top tackle on the board in Matt Kalil. Vikings still managed to fill 2 more needs too, finding sorely needed defensive back help and 2 more weapons for Christian Ponder in wide receivers Jarius Wright and Greg Childs.
You would be hard pressed to find anyone in the San Diego war room who believed Melvin Ingram would fall to them at 18, but alas, there Ingram was. The Chargers did a great job retooling their defense, including landing strong safety Brandon Taylor to compliment ball hawk Eric Weddle. Worrisome, however, is Chargers neglect of the offensive line.
While most would have preferred Morris Claiborne, Tampa did a nice job finding the next best defensive back in the draft in Mark Barron. However, Tampa's best move was sneaking into 31 and stealing stud RB Doug Martin.
Ozzie Newsome managed to impress yet again. Baltimore traded out of the 1st round and despite the move still landed highly coveted Courtney Upshaw.
Despite not filling a huge hole at DT, Carolina did a great job drafting over the weekend. Luke Kuechly will immediately improve the middle of the Panther defense and Josh Norman will help combat the gauntlet that is the NFC QB corps. Joe Adams will end up being a sneaky good pick, providing another option for Cam Newton.
Lions entered the draft with 2 glaring needs, defensive back and offensive line. Despite not picking until 23, Detroit grabbed the 2nd best tackle and then finished the draft with 6 (out of 7) defensive picks, including 3 corners to help shore up the beleaguered defense.
Green Bay's defense really struggled in 2011, especially rushing the passer. The Packers answer? 6 straight defensive picks to kick the draft off, namely edge rusher Nick Perry and potential Matthews-like Terrell Manning. Needs addressed.
New England's struggles, like the couple years prior, were centered on pass rush (or lack thereof). Clearly Bill Belicheck addressed the rush right away, using both 1st round picks to take pass rushers. Chandler Jones' upside is immense and will blossom in New England. Shocking to many was the Tavon Wilson pick, but there were rumblings abound about interest in the safety from a fellow AFC team.
Needing help on both the defensive and offensive lines, Arizona was able to bolster their offensive line thanks the Bobby Massie's slip to round 4. The Cardinals still have questions surrounding their pass rush and starting QB, but overall Arizona did a nice job attacking one major area of concern.
Having 2 picks in the 1st, the Bengals used the first of the picks on top 3 corner prospect Dre Kirkpatrick. However, there is concern Cincinnati's decision to trade down with their second 1st will be a mistake as they missed out on an opportunity to take top guard David DeCastro.
Always one for the dramatic, Jerry Jones made the move of the draft moving up 8 spots to shore up their biggest need with corner Morris Claiborne. Also like Danny Coale as a late round prospect who will surprise many with his abilities.
It's tough to hit Cleveland too hard when they landed Trent Richardson. However, there are questions surrounding the rest of their draft. Forget Brandon Weeden's age, is his talent 1st round worthy? And are there enough playmakers on offense not named Richardson to force teams to not put 8 in the box constantly?
Not surprising Denver went DT with their 1st pick, but perhaps the name surprised some. Not Jerel Worthy or Devon Still, but Derek Wolfe, whose constant motor will compliment the Denver ends well. Have to really question the Osweiler pick, who is a major project and will not be ready in the event Manning goes down.
Houston needs help at the WR position, but the value was not there at 26. Instead the Texans gave Wade Phillips another weapon on defense. DeVier Posey appeared to come out of nowhere, but his lack of film from 2011 should have him sneaking up on defenses in 2012, especially opposite Andre Johnson.
There are certainly questions surrounding the very green Ryan Tannehill, but the transition will be made easier by Mike Sherman's arrival in Miami. Jonathan Martin was a great value and ultimately should form a solid tackle base with Jack Long.
Robert Griffin III completely makes the Redskins draft grade. Despite his hefty price tag, Griffin and his franchise QB potential instantly fills the most important position in the league. One has to question the Cousins pick, but Washington did a nice job finding some offensive line depth that will be critical to keeping Griffin healthy.
Not having a pick until late in the 2nd (and only 2 in the top 150) made it nearly impossible for Atlanta to make a huge splash, but they did find nice value with center Peter Konz. However, Atlanta did not do a great job after Konz, passing on Bobbie Massie to take relative unknown Lamar Holmes and missing an opportunity to help a struggling and aging offensive line.
In true Chicago fashion, the Bears went defensive line early and uber versatile Shea McClellin will not disappoint the Chicago faithful. However, have to really question the Bears passing on Bobby Massie in the 3rd with so much need on the offensive line.
New York really seemed caught off guard by the Tampa Bay move to jump in front of them and take the player they coveted most. The Giants panicked and while they filled their biggest need with RB David Wilson, the pick value seems lacking.
It was curious to see the Jets take Quinton Coples over Melvin Ingram, but if anyone believes they can get the most out of a player, it is Rex Ryan. Stephen Hill was a nice value in the middle of the 2nd; giving the Jets an outside threat they have been missing.
Another team to pass up David DeCastro, Tennessee, and more importantly Chris Johnson, could have really used the mauling offensive lineman. Tennessee also neglected a huge need at corner, deciding instead to take LB Zach Brown and leaving a potential void on the outside.
One of the 'blah' drafts of the weekend. New Orleans did not pick until round 3 and while Nick Toon was nice, there was not much else there.
Not surprisingly, the 49ers went WR with their 1st pick. However, shocking to most was the wide out John Harbaugh chose; passing on a top tackle/guard in Cordy Glenn and higher rated WR prospect Stephen Hill and taking AJ Jenkins. LaMichael James will bring a game breaker pace to the plodding 9er offense, but how many touches will he actually get in that crowded backfield? For a team not having a ton of needs San Francisco really missed an opportunity to touch up their few blemishes.
The move up to finally find a playmaker on offense was a good one, but taking a punter in the 3rd makes it impossible to give anything higher than a C. Jacksonville just has too many needs to make such a gaffe.
Like New Orleans, Oakland just did not have the early quality picks to find any true gems. Juron Criner could be a nice possession WR, but it seems far from a need for a team with no picks in the first 94 picks.
Yet another team who shockingly passed on David DeCastro, Kansas City went with freak athlete Dontari Poe at DT. Poe has bust written all over him, the anti-Kellen Moore, but he fills a need. The Chiefs addressed guard later, but give me DeCastro and one of the remaining DTs over Poe and Allen any day.
It is hard to look past Bruce Irvin at 15th overall. Irvin is one dimensional and while he does that one thing really well, it is not the more complete player teams hope to find in the 1st half of the 1st round. Seattle did little post-Irvin to make up for the blunder in the subsequent rounds.