Winners and Losers at the 2012 NFL Draft

Photo Credit: NFL.com/Getty Images

The NFL Draft has been a way for many teams to reload and rebuild as new talent enters the NFL. This year was no different as NFL teams went out for 7 rounds and looked for the best players they could to improve their team. There was one difference this year though as the draft saw a big change from recent years. This was the trade as the 2012 NFL Draft saw more moves than any other draft. The draft day trade is a unique movement in the NFL as the trade rarely involves players. Instead it is all about the move up and down in draft position to get more chances for impact players. It started even before the draft when the Washington Redskins traded up to take the #2 spot a month before the draft. Then only hours before the draft started the Cleveland Browns traded up one spot to ensure they could get the player they wanted. Once the third pick was done the trade floodgates opened with teams moving up and down rapidly. Some did it to make sure they got their player while others did it to gain more picks. Either way this year’s draft saw the most action with some moves, see Dallas moving up, seemingly ingenious while others, see Cleveland moving up, seeming to be out of nowhere and for no reason. Of course with all of the moves teams continued to pick their players in an attempt to instantly improve their team. Only time will tell if they did a good job as training camps will determine whether or not these rookies can make an impact. If they do well in training camp then the next step will be to translate that into game day. This will be the true test for all of these young players as they hope to become the next big superstar and help their teams to the Super Bowl. Although time will be the true test of this year’s draft we can still look at the 32 teams and see how they did based on what we know. Some teams made all the right moves for their team as they filled holes with players that look to be great. Other teams ignored their needs altogether and went with some good skill players that do not meet their holes. Then there were the teams who came out of left field and took players who made no sense for multiple reasons. There were plenty of winners and losers this year in the draft as we go through all 32 teams to see how every team did on paper this year.

 

Arizona Cardinals

The Cards were looking to give superstar Larry Fitzgerald a partner and they did just that getting Michael Floyd in round 1. The lack of a second round pick definitely hurt giving them less chance of seeing their picks in the NFL this year.

Overall Grade:

B (Not amazing but they picked up enough to improve their team)

Draft Highlights:

Michael Floyd, WR (Notre Dame)

Jamell Flemming, CB (Oklahoma)

 

Atlanta Falcons

No first round pick was a big problem for the Flacons but they made the best of it by landing Peter Konz in round 2. From then on the draft did not go well as they added more pieces that will involve a lot of work and will take a lot of time.

Overall Grade:

C (A lot of reaching picks that were saved by landing Konz)

Draft Highlights:

Peter Konz, C (Wisconsin)

 

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens were active in round one moving down in the draft as they had seen their targets fall early. Even with moving down the Ravens picked up an impact player in Courtney Upshaw and filled their needs even though they reached for picks in the later rounds.

Overall Grade:

B (They filled their needs and got an impact player but made some mistakes in later rounds)

Draft Highlights:

Courtney Upshaw, LB (Alabama)

Kelechi Osemele, OT (Iowa State)

Bernard Pierce, RB (Temple)

 

Buffalo Bills

The Bills only really made one strange move picking up TJ Graham in Round three, Graham was projected to be a 7th round pick. Other than that the Bills may have instantly improved their teams with some very solid picks.

Overall Grade:

B+ (Aside from one reach the Bills added some great players to their team)

Draft Highlights:

Stephon Gilmore, CB (South Carolina)

Cordy Glenn, OT (Georgia)

 

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are starting to become very good at drafting and they proved it this year as they began to rebuild their defence and add some more pieces their offence. Along with this the Panthers took some good pieces in the later rounds that add up to a very good draft class.

Overall Grade:

A- (They instantly improved their defence and added some key pieces to their offence)

Draft Highlights:

Luke Kuechly, LB (Boston College) [Rd. 1, #9]

Amini Silatolu, OT (Midwestern State) [Rd. 2, #40]

Joe Adams, WR (Arkansas) [Rd. 4 #104]

Josh Norman, CB (Coastal Carolina) [Rd. 5 #143]

 

Chicago Bears

The Bears had what could be a good draft or a terrible draft it is very hard to determine a few days after the draft. Every top pick of the Bears seem to have questions but all could develop into some great talent.

Overall Grade:

C (There are too many questions with these picks to say it is a good draft class)

Draft Highlights:

Shea McClellin, DE (Boise State) [Rd. 1 #19]

Alshon Jeffrey, WR (South Carolina) [Rd. 2 #45]

 

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals had a number of high picks and they made good with every pick they had as they may have the best class this year. The Bengals picked up a number of players that could be in the starting lineup in week 1 making this year’s draft a successful one.

Overall Grade:

A+ (Their first nine picks will be starters in the short future)

Draft Highlights:

Dre Kirkpatrick, CB (Alabama) [Rd. 1 #17]

Kevin Zeitler, G (Wisconsin) [Rd. 1 #27]

Devon Still, DT (Penn State) [Rd. 2#53]

Mohamed Sanu, WR (Rutgers) [Rd. 3 #83]

Brandon Thompson, DT (Clemson) [Rd. 3 #93]

 

Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns started off the day with a strange move trading to move up one spot and get Trent Richardson. The rest of the draft was up and down for the Browns as they made some good picks and some head scratchers.

Overall Grade:

C (The good picks do not outweigh the bad and so this draft class is not the best)

Draft Highlights:

Trent Richardson, RB (Alabama) [Rd. 1 #3]

Brandon Weeden, QB (Oklahoma State) [Rd. 1 #22]

 

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys did not make a big impact in the majority of the draft as they were able to land a few hole fillers. The biggest move was to trade up for Morris Claiborne and that move may make up for the rest of the draft.

Overall Grade:

B (The move for Claiborne may be the best in the draft while the rest of the class is average)

Draft Highlights:

Morris Claiborne, CB (LSU) [Rd. 1 #6]

Tyrone Crawford, DE (Boise State) [Rd. 2 #81]

 

Denver Broncos

The Broncos made some bad moves in this draft as they seem to hope that Peyton Manning will make their team a contender alone. The biggest issue was when they took Derek Wolfe over much better prospects and then took a QB in round 3.

Overall Grade:

C- (They filled holes but will all of the wrong players as they passed over much better talent)

Draft Highlights:

Derek Wolfe, DT (Cincinnati) [Rd. 2 #36]

Brock Osweiler, QB (Arizona State) [Rd. 2 #57]

Ronnie Hillman, RB (San Diego State) [Rd. 3 #67]

 

Detroit Lions

The Lions needed a couple of things this year in the draft and throughout the draft they continued to get all of these needs. Highlighted by Riley Reiff, who may start immediately, the Lions class is full of great potential.

Overall Grade:

B+ (The Lions addressed every need with good talent)

Draft Highlights:

Riley Reiff, OT (Iowa) [Rd. 1 #23]

Ryan Broyles, WR (Oklahoma) [Rd. 2 #54]

Dwight Bentley, CB (Louisiana-Lafayette) [Rd. 3 #85]

 

Green Bay Packers

The Packers have built their team through the draft as Ted Thompson has been one of the best draft GMs in recent years. They filled needs in the defensive depth chart and took some great value picks in the later rounds.

Overall Grade:

A (Taking some great talent in the later rounds makes it another great class for Thompson)

Draft Highlights:

Nick Perry, DE/LB (USC) [Rd. 1 #28]

Jerel Worthy, DT (Michigan State) [Rd. 2 #51]

Casey Hayward, CB (Vanderbilt) [Rd. 2 #62]

 

Houston Texans

The Texans were looking for a few things even with a great defence and an offence that only slowed after injuries. Still their draft was an up and down affair as they had some great value picks along with some picks that made no sense.

Overall Grade:

C+ (Mercilus and Brooks are great but Posey and Martin are very risky picks)

Draft Highlights:

Whitney Mercilus, DE (Illinois) [Rd. 1 #26]

Brandon Brooks, G (Miami, OH) [Rd. 3 #76]

 

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts had a can’t miss prospect waiting for them with the #1 pick and they took it after gutting their team to make room for him. The rest of the draft went well as the Colts added some weapons for the young QB that is sure to start a good rebuild.

Overall Grade:

A (The addition of Luck and two of the best tight ends makes this a great class)

Draft Highlights:

Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford) [Rd. 1 #1]

Coby Fleener, TE (Stanford) [Rd. 2 #34]

Dwayne Allen, TE (Clemson) [Rd. 3 #64]

T.Y. Hilton, WR (Florida International) [Rd. 3 #92]

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars started the draft great picking up the best wide receiver in the draft and a great defensive end. After these two picks the Jags fell off of the map including picking a punter in round 3 and reaching for Brandon Marshall in Round 5.

Overall Grade:

C- (It was close to being a good draft until they took a punter in Round 3)

Draft Highlights:

Justin Blackmon, WR (Oklahoma State) [Rd. 1 #5]

Andre Branch, DE (Clemson) [Rd. 2 #38]

 

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs’ first pick started the draft off in contentious fashion as their top pick was a controversial one. The rest of the draft trended up though as they filled their needs but with later round talent.

Overall Grade:

C (Poe could be great and so can many of their other choices but there are too many questions)

Draft Highlights:

Dontari Poe, DT (Memphis) [Rd. 1 #11]

 

Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins may have picked their next QB or their next failure but that is up for debate around the NFL. The QB question overshadows a solid draft though as they were able to fill most of their needs with good talent.

Overall Grade:

B- (Aside from the question mark at QB the rest of the draft was solid)

Draft Highlights:

Ryan Tannehill, QB (Texas A&M) [Rd. 1 #8]

Jonathan Martin, OT (Stanford) [Rd. 2 #10]

 

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings had a tough decision to make as they traded out of the #3 pick but they did it and made the call to protect their young QB. The rest of their draft was good as well as they added talent to a young team.

Overall Grade:

A (The addition of a solid base for the O-Line will add to the Vikings for the coming years)

Draft Highlights:

Matt Kalil, OT (USC) [Rd. 1 #4]

Harrison Smith, S (Notre Dame) [Rd. 1 #29]

Jarius Wright, WR (Arkansas) [Rd. 4 #118]

 

New England Patriots

The Patriots were at it again as they were the usual traders in the draft move up and down and stocking picks. Still with this the movement the Patriots added to their struggling defence with players that will start next season.

Overall Grade:

B (The trading takes away from the class but there were still great additions)

Draft Highlights:

Chandler Jones, DE (Syracuse) [Rd. 1 #21]

Dont’a Hightower, LB (Alabama) [Rd. 1 #25]

 

New Orleans Saints

The Saints were without a first or second round pick making it hard to evaluate their draft class as they were severely limited. The picks they did have were used well but with later round talent these picks may not start in the near future.

Overall Grade:

C+ (The lack of talent limits the Saints but they did well enough with what they had)

Draft Highlights:

Akiem Hicks, DE (Regina) [Rd. 3 #89]

Nick Toon, WR (Wisconsin) [Rd. 4 #122]

 

New York Giants

The Giants took the best player available with the 32nd pick but it didn’t make much sense to take a RB with other talent left. After the first pick though the rest of the draft for the defending champions provided some great depth to the team.

Overall Grade:

B (The first pick may be a waste but the rest of the draft was great)

Draft Highlights:

David Wilson, RB (Virginia Tech) [Rd. 1 #32]

Rueben Randle, WR (LSU) [Rd. 2 #63]

Jayron Hosley, CB (Virginia Tech) [Rd. 3 #94]

 

New York Jets

The Jets took a big risk taking Quinton Coples in the first round as he could turn out to be great if he chooses to play. The rest of the draft didn’t make a lot of sense as they didn’t fill their biggest need at offensive line but picked up some good athletes.

Overall Grade:

C (The questions and lack of an offensive lineman make this class less than desirable)

Draft Highlights:

Quinton Coples, DE (North Carolina) [Rd. 1 #16]

Stephen Hill, WR (Georgia Tech) [Rd. 2 #43]

 

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders are another team that could not choose from the top of the hill with no picks in round 1 or 2 leaving them to get what they could. They did not do terrible though as they still grabbed some potential starters.

Overall Grade:

C+ (The lack of picks hurt but they made up for it with good picks)

Draft Highlights:

Tony Bergstrom, OT (Utah) [Rd. 3 #95]

Jack Crawford, De (Penn State) [Rd. 5 #158]

 

Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles had a great draft with a move up in the first round to take a much-needed presence in the middle of their defence. Meanwhile they filled much-needed holes with very talented players for a solid class

Overall Grade:

A (Getting LFetcher Cox and adding value players makes this a great class)

Draft Highlights:

Fletcher Cox, DT (Mississippi State) [Rd. 1 #12]

Mychal Kendricks, LB (California) [Rd. 2 #46]

Vinny Curry, DE (Marshall) [Rd. 2 #59]

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have built a solid offensive line in the draft and continued the trend this year drafting two starters. The rest of the draft was the usual defensive focus as they fit some good pieces into the depth chart.

Overall Grade:

A (The addition of two starting lineman created a great young line for the future)

Draft Highlights:

David DeCastro, G (Stanford) [Rd. 1 #24]

Mike Adams, OT (Ohio State) [Rd. 2 #56]

Sean Spence, LB (Miami) [Rd. 3 #86]

 

San Diego Chargers

The Chargers did well in this draft as they started the rebuilding process of their defence that they will need to get through the playoffs. Using the first three picks to do this was a great idea as they Chargers got three solid players who could start this season.

Overall Grade:

A (Reloading a struggling defence with potential starters makes this class a good one)

Draft Highlights:

Melvin Ingram, DE (South Carolina) [Rd. 1 #18]

Kendall Reyes, DT (Connecticut) [Rd. 2 #49]

Brandon Taylor, SS (LSU) [Rd. 3 #73]

 

San Francisco 49ers

The biggest turnaround last year looks to continue their new-found dominance but they did not do it through the draft. They reached for their first pick and then took a great running back to add to a very crowded backfield.

Overall Grade:

C- (The Niners picked players that may not seem to be every down players)

Draft Highlights:

A.J. Jenkins, WR (Illinois) [Rd. 1 #30]

LaMichael James, RB (Oregon) [Rd. 2 #61]

 

Seattle Seahawks

What a disaster for the Seahawks as they completely blew their first round picking a pass rusher who will not play every down. The rest of the draft didn’t do much to improve the team except for picking up Russell Wilson as a future QB.

Overall Grade:

D (The first pick sunk this draft class form the start and nothing could save it)

Draft Highlights:

Bruce Irvin, DE (West Virginia) [Rd. 1 #15]

Russell Wilson, QB (Wisconsin) [Rd. 3 #75]

 

St. Louis Rams

The Rams went immediately to defence and improved their defence with a solid pass rusher with their first pick. They did miss out on getting an impact receiver even though they picked two receivers but they are very raw.

Overall Grade:

B (They would have been an A if they had picked a true impact receiver)

Draft Highlights:

Michael Brockers, DT (LSU) [Rd. 1 #14]

Janoris Jenkins, CB (North Alabama) [Rd. 3 #39]

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers had a solid draft but made one strange move in the first round taking a cornerback after trading out of a pick that could have seen them get the top cornerback. Other than that the Bucs still filled their needs with solid players.

Overall Grade:

B (Taking Barron was good but they could have gotten Morris Clairborne if they didn’t trade)

Draft Highlights:

Mark Barron, SS (Alabama) [Rd. 1 #7]

Doug Martin, RB (Boise State) [Rd. 1 #31]

 

Tennessee Titans

The Titans got some great talent in the draft filling a number of holes including a receiver and defensive line. They still missed out on getting a better offensive line and a better pass rush from the outside.

Overall Grade:

B+ (It was a good class but needed a few more pieces to be great)

Draft Highlights:

Kendall Wright, WR (Baylor) [Rd. 1 #20]

Zach Brown, LB (North Carolina) [Rd. 2 #52]

Mike Martin, DT (Michigan) [Rd. 3 #82]

 

Washington Redskins

The Redskins picked great in round one getting their future QB in Robert Griffin III but their third selection in the draft made no sense. Drafting another QB in the same draft was a big mistake as they essentially wasted a pick.

Overall Grade:

B (Two QBs in the same draft made no sense and overshadowed the rest of the class)

Draft Highlights:

Robert Griffin III, QB (Baylor) [Rd. 1 #2]

Josh LeRibeus, G (SMU) [Rd. 3 #71]

Kirk Cousins, QB (Michigan State) [Rd. 4 #102]

Comments
2 Responses to “Winners and Losers at the 2012 NFL Draft”
  1. jumpingpolarbear says:

    Can’t wait for the season to start!

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