Friday, April 27, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Round One Recap

Round One 

1.) Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck [QB; Stanford] 
We have known the player, not the team for nearly Two years.  Andrew is a rare breed type of player who will put the Colts back onto the winning path, much like Peyton did way back when.  It will take some time, as Indianapolis has gutted its infrastructure, but having the most important piece on the field already taken care of lessens the burdon.  
Grade: A+ 

2.) Washington Redskins (from St. Louis) - Robert Griffin III [QB; Baylor] 
Again, we have known this pick since Washington decided to sell the future a few short months ago for this kid.  I don’t buy the hype and read into the athleticism as others do, but he is the clear cut #2 Quarterback in this draft.  One has to think that it may be much, but if he pans out, this point in null, however, it is the Redskins, and there is always a chance he flops.  However, they have given him weapons via Free Agency while also having a solid run game and stout defense.  He landed in the right situation, lets just hope Mike Shanahan and Co. can develop him and build on his strengths.
Grade: A

3.) Cleveland Browns (from Minnesota) - Trent Richardson [RB; Alabama] 
Cleveland lands the player they wanted and only had to give up 3 additional late round picks to do so.  Others will claim this was a bad move, but realistically, they don’t have another 3 players to cut from their roster to make said picks worth wild.  I have Trent as my 4th overall player, only behind Andrew Luck, Morris Claiborne, and Matthew Kalil, so netting him at Third Overall is a good spot.  They have work to do still, particulary on the Offensive Line, Receiving Corps, and Secondary, but they are off to a good start.  Trent is a day one starter and will take the pressure off of whomever the Quarterback will be.
Grade: A+

4.) Minnesota Vikings (from Cleveland) - Matt Kalil [OT; USC] 
Since when has Rick Spielman become a Jedi Master?  Gaining additional picks to take the player you wanted?  Jackpot.  What is the one thing everyone was saying prior to the draft?  Too many holes and not enough picks.  Well, unlike the Browns, the Vikings have room to cut and still gain this year, and adding fresh, young talent will get you to your end result a whole lot faster.  Kalil will step in from day one and protect Ponder’s blind side and stay there for his long career.  While he doesn’t make the offense click, much the way a Receiver would, or step in on their porous Secondary, Kalil will make sure Ponder is upright so that he can actually have a chance to make plays this year.
Grade: A+

5.) Jacksonville Jaguars (from Tampa Bay) - Justin Blackmon [WR; Oklahoma State] 
I understand what the Jaguars were thinking here in trading up for Blackmon, and although the price was right (4th) he isn’t a special enough player, even in a weak upper half talent level draft to go top-5.  I don’t see the upside in this pick and have Blackmon pegged as a #2 as his ceiling, which may be good, as The Jaguars will have to rely on Laurent Robinson to be the true number one.  Blackmon is a good down field blocker, which Coach Mularkey loved in Julio Jones last year.  It is also said, Shad Khan was pushing this deal and pick, which cant bode well for Gene Smith and Co. and may set the Jaguars on a path similar to that of Jerry Jones in Dallas.
Grade: B 

6.) Dallas Cowboys (from St. Louis) - Morris Claiborne [CB; LSU] 
Dallas nailed this pick.  Only having to give up a mid second for my #2 overall player this year is great value at 6.  Morris should elevate the downright awful Dallas secondary and with recently signed Brandon Carr, he will not be relied on to be the #1 corner on the field. 
Grade: A+

7.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Jacksonville) - Mark Barron [S; Alabama] 
I can’t help but to think that Tampa Panicked here with Claiborne coming off the board, while taking a gamble with the trade back with Jacksonville.  Mark, while a solid prospect, is one I have ranked in the mid twenties, and most definitely a reach here at 7.  Is there a need? Yes, but with other pressing needs, and better players, at positions of need, makes this one a head scratcher.   Luke Kuechly would have been a better play outside of not getting cute and making the move down.  Mark can come in and play both in the box and out, but will struggle to get a hold of the speed at the next level.
Grade: D 

8.) Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill [QB; Texas A&M] 
Chalk this one up in the Andrew Luck category of knowing the pick for a long time.  No smokescreen or trade was going to take the Dolphins out of EVERY Quarterback this offseason.  Ryan has all the tools both physically and mentally, it is up to him and his former (and new) coach(es) to get this out of him.  If I want anyone to do this, it is Joe Philbin, as he has helped Aaron Rogers get to who he is.
Grade: B

9.) Carolina Panthers - Luke Kuechly [LB; Boston College] 
Good pick here.  Luke is one of the few Blue Chipers left in this draft and will fill in right away.  You can’t count on Davis and his 3rd ACL in as many years, and while he has a smaller ceiling, his floor is just as high.  He is a straight football player, plug and play, let him take over and lead the defense to where it was just a few short years ago.
Grade: B+ 

10.) Buffalo Bills - Stephon Gilmore [CB; South Carolina] 
Gilmore garnished a lot of hype recently, and thought, when linked the Jaguars, was another smokescreen.  But he actually went this high, and that is not a good thing.  He has poor mechanics and some of the worst footwork in this year’s class.  I for one am not a fan, and think he makes the transition into Safety when he fails at the next level.
Grade: C-

11.) Kansas City Chiefs - Dontari Poe [DT; Memphis] 
With a favorable board the Chiefs decide to take a workout machine.  With poorer tape than most but a stellar combine and pro-day, this solidified him as a top half player on some boards.  I have him as a late first player, and in a 34, as a 5-tech.  I have a feeling playing the nose, he wont be able to showcase his skillset the way he should.  But if there is a coach to teach him, Romeo is the man to do so.

12.) Philadelphia Eagles (from Seattle) - Fletcher Cox [DT; Mississippi State] 
Telegraphed pick or another Jedi Reid special?  I had The Eagles pegged to trade with Jacksonville to ensure Carolina or another team picking behind wouldn’t be able to snag him.  He fits the wide 9 perfectly and will be able to move and create havoc all of the line.  Lastly, the compensation wasn’t enough to knock this trade nto the red for me at all.
Grade: A-

13.) Arizona Cardinals - Michael Floyd [WR; Notre Dame] 
When your star player asks you take pick a player usually isn’t a good thing, unless he is one of the best in the game at his position.  Larry Fitzgerald needed someone to spell pressure off of him and Michael can do that.  No longer will Larry have to deal with double and triple teams, it gives the opposing defense someone else to keep in check.  Lets hope the Offensive Line can hold up for which ever one of Kevin Kolb or John Skelton to stay upright long enough to throw the ball.  I think David DeCastro could have been the pick, but Michael takes the offense up a notch and will play the Anquan Boldin role nicely.
Grade: A-

14.) St. Louis Rams - Michael Brockers [DT; LSU] 
The Rams gambled and I don’t think it worked out.  I think they were hoping for one of Fletcher Cox or Michael Floyd to fall, but they got a good value pick in Michael Brockers while also picking up their 3rd pick in the second and 4th pick the top-45.  Brockers will step in and command double teams, allowing for their pass rushers to finally get a clean/better shot at making a play.  I thought he would be better suited in the 34 as a 5-tech, but getting who they wanted at 6, at 14, while getting additional picks?  Couldn’t have worked out better for the Rams.
Grade: B+

15.) Seattle Seahawks (from Philadelphia) - Bruce Irvin [OLB; West Virginia] 
This is where the draft gets interesting.  We all knew Seattle wanted to go defense, but in recent weeks, thought it would be Alabama Linebacker, Dont’a Hightower.  Peter Carrol had a different idea, and that was to address the LEO position, the same the Clemons recently vacated.  Bruce has the size, speed, just needs to work on his technique and he will have a great chance to pan out.   High risk/High reward pick.
Grade: B-

16.) New York Jets - Quinton Coples [DE; North Carolina] 
I get this pick, kind of sort of, not really.  The Jets need a pass rusher, that would be the OLB position.  Coples is a 5-tech and needs to be coached up to play at his ceiling.  With nearly every other pass rusher available to them at this pick, they take one of the overrated players to come out this year. 
Grade: D

17.) Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland) - Dre' Kirkpatrick [CB; Alabama] 
Good talent and at a position of need.  But with one of my last Blue Chip players left in David DeCastro, they pass to take my #3 Corner.  I don’t ultimately hate this pick and he should be a day one starter, but I have a hunch, much like Stephon Gilmore, he will be a Safety when he busts at the corner position.
Grade: C

18.) San Diego Chargers - Melvin Ingram [OLB; South Carolina] 
Stop me if you have heard this before.  The Chargers take a Linebacker.  Yes, another Linebacker at an already bloated and under producing position.  However, unlike say a Larry English, I love this pick.  Ingram has versatility and can be a 3 down player, moving into the inside on passing downs and playing the DT spot.  He may initially struggle with the speed and Tackles, but once he gets a hang of the pace, he will turn into one the steals of the draft. 
Grade: A-

19.) Chicago Bears - Shea McClellin [DE; Boise State] 
One of the underrated picks in the first round.  For much of the same reasons I like Ingram to San Diego, I like Shea to Chicago.  He will be another mover around the defense where he can play Linebacker at times and put his hand on the ground at either the End or Tackle position.  He can blitz from both the Backer or End spots and will spell off Peppers on the line.
Grade: B+

20.) Tennessee Titans - Kendall Wright [WR; Baylor] 
Not sure what to make of this pick.  They are surely building around Jake Locker for the future, but taking a slot Receiver in the top-20 in a Receiver deep draft, when your Coach has called out and said your Offensive line is one of the worst all time (interior) and pass on DeCastro?   I don’t get it, but in the long run, if he plays up to his talent level, than Locker has a new weapon to develop around.
Grade: B

21.) New England Patriots (from Cincinnati) - Chandler Jones [DE/OLB; Syracuse] 
Whoa, The Patriots moved up, and only gave a 3rd?  Done deal.  They lacked any sort of pass rush and this was repeated throughout the draft process, and they get one of the better atheletes, then it is all in a days work for the Patriots.  I personally think this is too early for him as I graded him out as a mid-late second round prospect, but his athleticism is something you cannot overlook.  Needs to get past the injuries and play to his potential.
Grade: B+

22.) Cleveland Browns (from Oklahoma State) - Brandon Weeden [WR; Oklahoma State] 
We knew Weeden was the man at this pick for quite some time, and even then I didn’t like it.  He is a second to third round prospect who came from a vanilla and zone throw offense, who yes, while has a good arm, still needs to show he can learn a more difficult system.  On top of that, he will be 29 to start the season.  Why not take a Receiver here and build around McCoy for this year and take a project Quarterback later…not take an old rookie who will still need a full year to transition into the NFL making him 30, and not still not an Elite talent.
Grade: F

23.) Detroit Lions - Riley Reiff [OT; Iowa] 
Detroit finds themselves in a best case scenario.  They have their pick of the liter on the Offensive Line with Reiff, DeCastro, and Konz all on the board.  They decided to go with Reiff who can swing to the right side this year, and take over for Backus after the season on the left.  One of the steals of the first and will prove everyone wrong, much like Bryan Bulaga last year.
Grade: A

24.) Pittsburgh Steelers - David DeCastro [OG; Stanford] 
Best case scenario for Pittsburgh?  Who would have thought, a top-5 caliber player falls to the bottom of the first round.  This makes their entire line better and will pair well with Maurkice Pouncey.  He doesn’t have a high ceiling, but his floor is right at about where it is now, which, is still very much high.  When you play in the North and you want to pound the ball, you will run it right behind DeCastro and Pouncey and control the clock.
Grade: A+ 

25.) New England Patriots (from Denver) - Dont'a Hightower [LB; Alabama] 
Much like everyone else, I had the easy pick of Hightower to Pittsburgh.  While I didn’t think MLB was a need for the Patriots, they moved up to take the best player available.  He will need to be moved around and at times will need to put his hand in the ground and rush off the edge.  But trying to figure out where he fits with Spikes and Mayo is another question. 
Grade: C+

26.) Houston Texans - Whitney Mercilus [DE/OLB; Illinois] 
While a Rush Linebacker was a need, there seemed to be a high need at both Tackle and Receiver.  Granted Barwin is oft injured, they just released Eric Winston and still haven’t found anyone to take pressure off of Andre Johnson.  I personally do not like Mercilus, and thought he looked slow and stiff on his game tape, which to me, didn’t transition into a 34 OLB.  He needs work, but for a team that has developed Mario, Barwin, and Reed into pass rushing specialists, he may have a shot to be a good pick here.
Grade: C

27.) Cincinnati Bengals (from New England) - Kevin Zeitler [OG/C; Wisconsin] 
I do not understand this pick.  You have DeCastro for you to take at 17 and then missed out when you  traded out of the pick to gain a 4th round pick.  To me, the gap between DeCastro and Zeitler is greater than a 4th round pick.  I also have Amini Silatolu has a higher ranked Guard than Zeitler and think this is more of a panicked/rushed pick given the board and team needs.
Grade: D-

28.) Green Bay Packers - Nick Perry [DE/OLB; USC] 
The Packers needed help at the Rush Linebacker position opposite of Clay Matthews.  They went back to that small southern California school to pick a player at the same position.  I don’t like Perry, I think he is a workout warrior and his tape doesn’t match up, but the need may outweigh the risk.  He needs work on his technique but if he can get it right, his upside is well worth said risk.
Grade: B

29.) Minnesota Vikings (from Baltimore) - Harrison Smith [S; Notre Dame] 
I don’t understand the need to move up for Harrison here.  Yes, he fills a great need and can play both in the box and cover (better than a Barron taken 7th) but could he have been there at 35?  Given the board and who is picking ahead of them, he may have.  But you only trade parts you received from the earlier trade, so that part is null, however the value kills the grade for me.
Grade: B-

30.) San Francisco 49ers - A.J. Jenkins [WR; Illinois] 
So they decided on Jenkins before the draft started?  Makes sense.  For a team that brings back nearly its entire league leading defense, its only needs are on the offensive side.  Receiver, Guard, Tackle, Tightend, and Runningback appear to be needs even with the Moss and Manningham signings.  Jenkins became undervalued after the midway point of the season and flashing great skills his first 6 weeks.  But I can’t come in and claim him as the 4th best Receiver in the class.  I think Amini or Fleener would have been better picks here.
Grade: C+ 

31.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Denver via New England) - Doug Martin [RB; Boise State] 
See the Minnesota pick above.  They trade a pick they received from the Jaguar trade and lept over the Giants whom was said to want him at 32.  However, I don’t think he compliments Blount, as much as they are similar players.  They both are pound it down the middle type backs and wear you down.  Martin doesn’t offer much in terms of speed but you gain pass catching ability.  He fits where I graded him out as, so overall solid pick.
Grade: B

32.) New York Giants - David Wilson [RB; Virginia Tech] 
The Giants are notorious for taking the best player available.  To me, it is hard for me to see Wilson as BPA over Best Player at a Position of Need.  Granted there was nothing behind in terms of quality players behind Bradshaw, but the Giants are now under a conundrum of what to do with their Defensive Ends at the end of the year and still need to find replacements for them.
: D+