Showing posts with label 2012 NFL Draft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2012 NFL Draft. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Grades: The Joey Harrington Project

Grading Scale:

A = Tremendous value for players who should make an immediate impact.
B = Good value for players who will immediately play a solid role.
C = Decent players who should contribute.
D = Players of questionable value, ability, character, or fit for team's system.
E = Tremendous reach for a players of questionable ability.


Arizona Cardinals

1 (13) Michael Floyd, wr, Notre Dame; 3 (80) Jamell Fleming, db, Oklahoma; 4 (112) Bobby Massie, ot, Mississippi; 5 (151) Senio Kelemete, g, Washington; 6 (177) Justin Bethel, db, Presbyterian; 6 (185) Ryan Lindley, qb, San Diego State; 7 (221) Nate Potter, ot, Boise State.

Comment: The Cardinals grabbed a receiver to play opposite Larry Fitzgerald in Michael Floyd, although for a first round pick he wasn't much of a game changer in college. Fortunately, after passing on a tackle in the 1st round, the Cardinals were able to land Bobby Massie as a bargain in the 3rd. While he may not be able to initially supplant Levi Brown at LT, he should stabilize the right side.

Grade: B-

Atlanta Falcons

2 (55) Peter Konz, g, Wisconsin; 3 (91) Lamar Holmes, ot, Southern Miss; 5 (157) Bradie Ewing, rb, Wisconsin; 5 (164) Jonathan Massaquoi, de, Troy; 6 (192) Charles Mitchell, db, Mississippi State; 7 (249) Travian Robertson, NT, South Carolina.

Comment: The Falcons were playing short-handed in this year's draft after trading their first round pick away last year in the Julio Jones trade. While they received great value at a position of need in 2nd round pick Peter Konz, they did little in the later rounds to help their team.

Grade: D+

Carolina Panthers

1 (9) Luke Kuechly, lb, Boston College; 2 (40) Amini Silatolu, g, Midwestern State; 4 (103) Frank Alexander, de, Oklahoma; 4 (104) Joe Adams, wr, Arkansas; 5 (143) Josh Norman, db, Coastal Carolina; 6 (207) Brad Nortman, p, Wisconsin; 7 (216) D.J. Campbell, db, California.

Comment: Carolina may not have directly addressed their needs at DE and DT, but they landed potential future stars in LB Luke Kuechly and G Amini Silatolu. Additionally, Josh Norman should immediately be an impact player in the return game, while Josh Norman could develop into a reliable corner.

Grade: A-

Chicago Bears

1 (19) Shea McClellin, de, Boise State; 2 (45) Alshon Jeffery, wr, South Carolina; 3 (79) Brandon Hardin, db, Oregon State; 4 (111) Evan Rodriguez, te, Temple; 6 (184) Isaiah Frey, db, Nevada; 7 (220) Greg McCoy, db, TCU.

Comment: I like Shea McClellin, just not as a DE in a 4-3 scheme. Apparently new GM Phil Emery doesn't realize that the Bears run a very traditional 4-3 defensive set. Alshon Jeffery went at about the right spot in the 2nd round, and gives the Bears a much needed receiver to play opposite Brandon Marshall. That should allow Devin Hester to move to more of a flanker back role in the next season or two. Unfortunately, the rest of their draft added little value.

Grade: B-

Dallas Cowboys

1 (6), Morris Claiborne, db, LSU; 3 (81) Tyrone Crawford, de, Boise State; 4 (113) Kyle Wilber, de, Wake Forest; 4 (135) Matt Johnson, db, Eastern Washington; 5 (152) Danny Coale, wr, Virginia Tech; 6 (186) James Hanna, te, Oklahoma; 7 (222) Caleb McSurdy, lb, Montana.

Comment: I love the deal to trade up for Morris Claiboren. Only 3 or 4 corners drafted in the first round since 2007 have become impact players, and you usually know who they are coming in. Claiborne is destined to become the next in that line. Unfortunately, the Cowboys draft after Claiborne was questionable at best. Tyrone Crawford was a reach in the 3rd round, and may not even be match for the Cowboy's 3-4 system.

Grade: B-

Detroit Lions

1 (23) Riley Reiff, ot, Iowa; 2 (54) Ryan Broyles, wr, Oklahoma; 3 (85) Dwight Bentley, db, Louisiana-Lafayette; 4 (125) Ronnell Lewis, de, Oklahoma; 5 (138) Tahir Whitehead, lb, Temple; 5 (148) Chris Greenwood, db, Albion; 6 (196) Jonte Green, db, New Mexico State; 7 (223) Travis Lewis, lb, Oklahoma.

Comment: The Lions filled a huge need at LT when Riley Reiff unexpectedly fell to them at #23. WR Ryan Broyles was a reach in the 2nd round when the Lions desperately needed a corner. However, they filled that position with quantity lead by Dwight Bentley, who could compete with Stephon Gilmore and Dre Kirkpatrick as the 2nd best corner to come out of this year's draft class. Ronnell "The Hammer" Lewis should play an immediate role on special teams and move in to the Lions DE rotation next year.

Grade: B

The Lions have minimized their busts like "Joey Blue-skies" Harrington after firing Matt Millen

Green Bay Packers

1 (28) Nick Perry, lb, Southern Cal; 2 (51) Jerel Worthy, de, Michigan State; 2 (62) Casey Hayward, db, Vanderbilt; 4 (132) Mike Daniels, de, Iowa; 4 (133) Jerron McMillian, db, Maine; 5 (163) Terrell Manning, lb, N.C. State; 7 (241) Andrew Datko, ot, Florida State; 7 (243) B.J. Coleman, qb. Chattanooga.

Comment: The Packers addressed two huge needs with players that weren't expected to be available when they were selected. Nick Perry is a rush threat from the OLB position in the 3-4 scheme who was expected to go in the top 20 picks. Jerel Worthy will be a disruptive force from the DE position in Green Bay's 3-4 defense who was expected to go in the first round. Throw in Vanderbilt Cb Casey Hayward along with strong armed and ultra competitive QB B.J. Coleman from UT-Chattanooga, and Green Bay added some depth with upside at key positions..

Grade: A-

Minnesota Vikings

1 (4) Matt Kalil, ot, Southern Cal; 1 (29) Harrison Smith, db, Notre Dame; 3 (66) Josh Robinson, db, UCF; 4 (118) Jarius Wright, wr, Arkansas; 4 (128) Rhett Ellison, te, Southern Cal; 4 (134) Greg Childs, wr, Arkansas; 5 (139) Robert Blanton, db, Notre Dame; 6 (175) Blair Walsh, k, Georgia; 7 (210) Audie Cole, lb, N.C. State; 7 (219) Trevor Guyton, dt, California.

Comment: I've got to give Rick Speilman props. After doing very little in his NFL front office career, he put the #3 pick up for bid knowing that Tampa and Cleveland were both competing for Alabama RB Trent Richardson...Okay, I don't think Speilman was actually smart enough to realize that Tampa and Cleveland were competing for Richardson considering he kept feigning interest in LSU CB Morris Claiborne, but he ended up getting lucky. Harrison Smith was a bit of a reach to trade up into the first round for considering that they could have drafted the #1 receiver they needed in Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill instead. Josh Robinson was a solid pick in the 3rd round.

Grade: B

New Orleans Saints

2 Forfeited; 3 (89) Akiem Hicks, dt, Regina (Canada); 4 (122) Nick Toon, wr, Wisconsin; 5 (162) Corey White, db, Samford; 6 (179) Andrew Tiller, g, Syracuse; 7 (234) Marcel Jones, ot, Nebraska.

Comment: The Saints foolishly parted with their first round pick for slow RB Mark Ingram in last year's draft, which was a negative draft grade that keeps on giving. They also lost their second round pick as a result of "Bounty-Gate." Akiem Hicks of Regina (Canada) is a boom or bust pick, and Nick Toon's best case hope is to fill the role of WR Devery Henderson several years down the line.

Grade: D

N.Y. Giants

1 (32) David Wilson, rb, Virginia Tech; 2 (63) Rueben Randle, wr, LSU; 3 (94) Jayron Hosley, db, Virginia Tech; 4 (127) Andrien Robinson, te, Cincinnati; 4 (131) Brandon Mosley, ot, Auburn; 6 (201) Matt McCants, ot, UAB; 7 (239) Markus Kuhn, dt, N.C. State.

Comment: The Giants replaced Brandon Jacobs at RB, Mario Manningham at WR, and Aaron Ross at CB. I guess that means they broke even since last year. Coming off of a Super Bowl, that's pretty good. 

Grade: B-

Philadelphia Eagles

1 (12) Fletcher Cox, dt, Mississippi State; 2 (46) Mychal Kendricks, lb, California; 2 (59) Vinny Curry, de, Marshall; 3 (88) Nick Foles, qb, Arizona; 4 (123) Brandon Boykin, db, Georgia; 5 (153) Dennis Kelly, ot, Purdue; 6 (194) Marvin McNutt, wr, Iowa; 6 (200) Brandon Washington, g, Miami; 7 (229) Bryce Brown, rb, Kansas State.

Comment: The Eagles didn't have many needs, but they upgraded at several positions. Fletcher Cox is a nice addition to their DT rotation who will provide them with an added interior pass rusher. Mychal Kendricks will help solidify a weak LB corps from 2011 along with free agent signee DeMeco Ryans. Vinny Curry adds an immediate situational pass rusher ideally suited for their wide-nine scheme, while Nick Foles is a potential starter at QB down the road. On top of all that, Brandon Boykin is one of two playmakers at CB in this year's draft, and should be an immediate starter at the nickle to replace Assante Samuel. Very well done.

Grade: A+

St. Louis Rams

1 (14) Michael Brockers, dt, LSU; 2 (33) Brian Quick, wr, Appalachian State; 2 (39) Janoris Jenkins, db, North Alabama; 2 (50) Isaiah Pead, rb, Cincinnati; 3 (65) Trumaine Johnson, db, Montana; 4 (96) Chris Givens, wr, Wake Forest; 5 (150) Rokevious Watkins, g, South Carolina; 6 (171) Greg Zuerlein, k, Missouri Western; 7 (209) Aaron Brown, lb, Hawaii; 7 (252) Daryl Richardson, rb, Abilene Christian.

Comment: The Rams only had one mission in this draft, to draft Sam Bradford some impact receivers, and they failed miserably in that task. Brian Quick of Appalachian State is a developmental project at best, and was a huge reach in the 2nd round, especially with Stephen Hill still on the board. The more I watch DT Michael Brockers, the more I like him and his ability to blow up the run. Janoris Jenkins could be a good value talent wise, although he reportedly continues to smoke marijuana even after getting kicked out of the University of Florida for weed related offenses. Worse yet, he's said to have an infectious personality, making him less than ideal to bring onto a young team as a potential locker room cancer. Isaiah Peed of Cincinnati is not only an ideal compliment to RB Stephen Jackson, he should also immediately be an impact player in the return game.

Grade: C+

San Francisco 49ers

1 (30) A.J. Jenkins, wr, Illinois; 2 (61) LaMichael James, rb, Oregon; 4 (117) Joe Looney, g, Wake Forest; 5 (165) Darius Fleming, lb, Notre Dame; 6 (180) Trenton Robinson, s, Michigan State; 6 (199) Jason Slowey, ot, Western Oregon; 7 (237) Cam Johnson, lb, Virginia.

A.J. Jenkins of Illinois was a huge reach with Stephen Hill of Georgia Tech still available. LaMichael James has character issues and may not have the size to contribute on more than a situational basis like a 2nd round pick should. Trenton Robinson has great ball skills at safety, he's just not ready to tackle at the NFL level. The rest of the 49ers draft was average at best.

Grade: D+

Seattle Seahawks

1 (15) Bruce Irvin, de, West Virginia; 2 (47) Bobby Wagner, lb, Utah State; 3 (75) Russell Wilson, qb, Wisconsin; 4 (106) Robert Turbin, rb, Utah State; 4 (114) Jaye Howard, dt, Florida; 5 (154) Korey Toomer, lb, Idaho; 6 (172) Jeremy Lane, db, Northwestern State; 6 (181) Winston Guy, db, Kentucky; 7 (225) J.R. Sweezy, ot, N.C. State; 7 (232) Greg Scruggs, de, Louisville.

Comment: While Bruce Irvin was a reach, word on the street is that he would have been drafted in the mid to late first round by another team had Seattle not taken him, so I can't blame them too much if Irvin was rated as their top pass rusher. However, aside from Bobby Wagner, I don't see another player making an impact on this year's team, let alone in the long term future. Seattle GM John Schneider found some diamonds in the rough late in the draft last year, and he better do so again this year or his competency as GM is going to start to come into question, especially if Irvin doesn't immediately produce.

Grade: D-

Tampa Bay Bucanneers

1 (7) Mark Barron, db, Alabama; 1 (31) Doug Martin, rb, Boise State; 2 (58) Lavonte David, lb, Nebraska; 5 (140) Najee Goode, lb, West Virginia; 6 (174) Keith Tandy, db, West Virginia; 7 (212) Michael Smith, rb, Utah State; 7 (233) Drake Dunsmore, te, Northwestern.

Comment: While Tampa Bay got three good players and immediate starters, I think they could have played their cards better. The Bucs would have been better served giving up a third round pick and trading up for Trent Richardson (who would have been the perfect fit for new coach Greg Schiano's running attack), rather than trading back for Mark Barron, who may or may not become an impact player in the NFL. Boise St. RB Dough Martin was a questionable pick, especially when they could have used the pick they gave up to trade back into the 1st round to get him to secure the better back in Richardson. Lavonte David was a solid pick with the Bucs second pick in the 2nd round, as he should develop into an impact player at LB. 

Grade: B

Washington Redskinss

1 (2) Robert Griffin III, qb, Baylor; 3 (71) Josh LeRibeus, g, SMU; 4 (102) Kirk Cousins, qb, Michigan State; 4 (119) Keenan Robinson, lb, Texas; 5 (141) Adam Gettis, g, Iowa; 6 (173) Alfred Morris, rb, Florida Atlantic; 6 (193) Tom Compton, ot, South Dakota; 7 (213) Richard Crawford, db, SMU; 7 (217) Jordan Bernstine, db, Iowa.

Comment: The Redskins gave up the world to pick Robert Griffin, III, and it was probably the right move. They potentially got the best quarterback in the draft in terms of making bread and butter NFL throws like the deep out.  As a Michigan State fan, I think Kirk Cousins was a huge reach in the 4th round even though he was projected to go in the third round. That pick could have been used on another position of need, like safety.

Grade: B


Baltimore Ravens

2 (35) Courtney Upshaw, lb, Alabama; 2 (60) Kelechi Osemele, ot, Iowa State; 3 (84) Bernard Pierce, rb, Temple; 4 (98) Gino Gradkowski, g, Delaware; 4 (130) Christian Thompson, db, South Carolina State; 5 (169) Asa Jackson, db, Cal Poly; 6 (198) Tommy Streeter, wr, Miami; 7 (236) DeAngelo Tyson, de, Georgia.

Comment: The Ravens traded back into the 2nd round where they still landed a potential first round 3-4 LB in Courtney Upshaw. They also solidified a position of need at guard with Kelechi Osemele. However, their draft kind of fell off after that point.

Grade: B

Buffalo Bills

1 (10) Stephon Gilmore, db, South Carolina; 2 (41) Cordy Glenn, ot, Georgia; 3 (69) T.J. Graham, wr, N.C. State; 4 (105) Nigel Bradham, lb, Florida State; 4 (124) Ron Brooks, db, LSU; 5 (144) Zebrie Sanders, ot, Florida State; 5 (147) Tank Carder, lb, TCU; 6 (178) Mark Asper, g, Oregon; 7 (251) John Potter, k, Western Michigan.

Comment: Stephon Gilmore was a huge reach for the 10th pick in the 1st round, as not many first round CB's make an impact in the NFL. While Cordy Glenn was a great pick value wise in the 2nd round, Buddy Nix yet again ignored a a huge need at LT to select him. Fortunately for Nix, Zebrie Sanders fell to the Bills in the 4th round, although it may take a year or two before he's ready to protect the blindside in the NFL.

Grade: B-

Cincinnati Bengals

1 (17) Dre Kirkpatrick, db, Alabama; 1 (27) Kevin Zeitler, g, Wisconsin; 2 (53) Devon Still, dt, Penn State; 3 (83) Mohamed Sanu, wr, Rutgers; 3 (93) Brandon Thompson, dt, Clemson; 4 (116) Orson Charles, te, Georgia; 5 (156) Shaun Prater, db, Iowa; 5 (166) Marvin Jones, wr, California; 5 (167) George Iloka, db, Boise State; 6 (191) Dan Herron, rb, Ohio State.

Comment: The Bengals needed a young corner, and Kirkpatrick is a perfect match for their system. They also plugged a huge need at guard with Kevin Zeitler. The Bengals also solidified their DT position for years to come by drafting Devon Still of Penn State in the 2nd round and Brandon Thompson of Clemson of the 3rd, both of whom were at one point considered potential 1st round picks. However, my favorite pick of value was WR Mohamed Sanu of Rutgers in the 3rd round, who's the perfect possession receiver to play opposite A.J. Green.

Grade: A+

Cleveland Browns

1 (3) Trent Richardson, rb, Alabama; 1 (22) Brandon Weeden, qb, Oklahoma State; 2 (37) Mitchell Schwartz, ot, California; 3 (87) John Hughes, db, Cincinnati; 4 (100) Travis Benjamin, wr, Miami; 4 (120) James-Michael Johnson, lb, Nevada; 5 (160) Ryan Miller, ot, Colorado; 6 (204) Emmanuel Acho, lb, Texas; 6 (205) Billy Winn, dt, Boise St.; 7 (245) Trevin Wade, db, Arizona; 7 (247) Brad Smelley, rb, Alabama.

Comment: I love that the Browns cock-blocked the Bucs by trading up for Trent Richardson. However, they reached for Brandon Weeden in the second round and failed to land the go-to receiver they should have drafted in the first two rounds to complete their 2012 draft "Triplets."  None of their remaining picks appear to be difference makers, although Emmanuel Acho of Texas could develop into a nice player.

Grade: B-

Denver Broncos

2 (36) Derek Wolfe, dt, Cincinnati; 2 (57) Brock Osweiler, qb, Arizona State; 3 (67) Ronnie Hillman, rb, San Diego State; 4 (101) Omar Bolden, db, Arizona State; 4 (108) Philip Blake, c, Baylor; 5 (137) Malik Jackson, de, Tennessee; 6 (188) Danny Trevathan, lb, Kentucky.

Comment: Derek Wolfe is a high motor guy who can immediately contribute, but the Broncos would have been better served staying put at #25 and selecting Jerel Worthy. Osweiler seems to be a decent developmental project behind Peyton Manning, while Ronnie Hillman is a great value in round 3.

Grade: C

Houston Texans

1 (26) Whitney Mercilus, lb, Illinois; 3 (76) Brandon Brooks, g, Miami (Ohio); 3 (68) DeVier Posey, wr, Ohio State; 4 (99) Ben Jones, c, Georgia; 4 (121) Keshawn Martin, wr, Michigan State; 4 (126) Jared Crick, de, Nebraska; 5 (161) Randy Bullock, k, Texas A&M; 6 (195) Nick Mondek, ot, Purdue.

Comment: Whitney Mercilus was a great pick, as was C Ben Jones. DeVier Posey is no upgrade over Jacoby Jones at WR, although Keshawn Martin should immediately replace Jones adequately at KR.

Grade: B-

Indianapolis Colts

1 (1) Andrew Luck, qb, Stanford; 2 (34) Coby Fleener, te, Stanford; 3 (64) Dwayne Allen, te, Clemson; 3 (92) T.Y. Hilton, wr, FIU; 5 (136) Josh Chapman, dt, Alabama; 5 (170) Vick Ballard, rb, Mississippi State; 6 (206) Lavon Brazill, wr, Ohio; 7 (208) Justin Anderson, g, Georgia; 7 (214) Tim Fugger, lb, Vanderbilt; 7 (253) Chandler Harnish, qb, Northern Illinois.

Comment: I'm still not convinced that Andrew Luck and his unclosed mouth was the right pick over RGIII, but I don't think you can go wrong with either. The Colts have future bookends at tackle from last year's draft, plus a star receiver in Reggie Wayne returning. Giving Luck a two tight end attack in Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen provides the Colts with a cutting edge offense that should be able to exploit the NFL's smaller safeties in both the running and the passing game.

Grade: B

Jacksonville Jaguars

1 (5) Justin Blackmon, wr, Oklahoma State; 2 (38) Andre Branch, de, Clemson; 3 (70) Bryan Anger, p, California; 5 (142) Brandon Marshall, lb, Nevada; 6 (176) Mike Harris, db, Florida State; 7 (228) Jeris Pendleton, dt, Ashland.

Comment: The Jags traded up to get the #1 receiver that they desperately needed in Justin Blackmon, and still landed the elite pass rusher they coveted in Andre Branch in the 2nd round. Punter Bryan Anger was a huge reach, but at least the team filled their two biggest needs.

Grade: B+

Kansas City Chiefs

1 (11) Dontari Poe, nt, Memphis; 2 (44) Jeff Allen, g, Illinois; 3 (74) Donald Stephenson, ot, Oklahoma; 4 (107) Devon Wylie, wr, Fresno State; 5 (146) DeQuan Menzie, db, Alabama; 6 (182) Cyrus Gray, rb, Texas A&M; 7 (218) Jerome Long, dt, San Diego State; 7 (238) Junior Hemingway, wr, Michigan.

Comment: If Dontari Poe couldn't play NT at the Conference USA level, I have a hard time believing that he'll be an impact player in the NFL. I don't see an other players from this year's draft class that will help the Chiefs.

Grade: D+

Players were much more receptive to Commissioner Rodger Goodell this year now that the lockout has ended. Plus Dontari Poe just had bitchin' hair at the NFL Draft.

Miami Dolphins

1 (8) Ryan Tannehill, qb, Texas A&M; 2 (42) Jonathan Martin, ot, Stanford; 3 (72) Olivier Vernon, de, Miami; 3 (78) Michael Egnew, te, Missouri; 4 (97) Lamar Miller, rb, Miami; 5 (155) Josh Kaddu, lb, Oregon; 6 (183) B.J. Cunningham, wr, Michigan State; 7 (215) Kheeston Randall, dt, Texas; 7 (227) Rishard Matthews, wr, Nevada.

This was a mixed bag. Ryan Tannehill was taken too early, while Jonathan Martin was a bargain in the 2nd round. Lamar Miller was a nice pick at RB in the 4th round. WR B.J. Cunningham was a steal in the 6th round, and could make Dolphin fans forget about Brandon Marshall with his elite ball skills.

Grade: C

Something tells me that Ryan Tannehill's girlfriend, Lauren Ufer, is going to love South Beach.

New England Patriots

1 (21) Chandler Jones, de, Syracuse; 1 (25) Dont'a Hightower, lb, Alabama; 2 (48) Tavon Wilson, s, Illinois; 3 (90) Jake Bequette, de, Arkansas; 6 (197) Nate Ebner, db, Ohio State; 7 (224) Alfonzo Dennard, db, Nebraska; 7 (235) Jeremy Ebert, wr, Northwestern.

Comment: For all the talk about how well the Patriots do in the draft, I'm not sure they use their picks very wisely. The Patriots used multiple picks to trade up in the first round to trade up for OLB Chandler Jones of Syracuse and Dont'a Hightower at ILB of Alabama. Not only is Jones more of a 4-3 end than a 3-4 OLB, but the Patriots ignored major needs at DE and S.

Grade: B-

N.Y. Jets

1 (16) Quinton Coples, de, North Carolina; 2 (43) Stephen Hill, wr, Georgia Tech; 3 (77) DeMario Davis, lb, Arkansas State; 6 (187) Josh Bush, db, Wake Forest; 6 (202) Terrance Ganaway, rb, Baylor; 6 (203)-x Robert Griffin, g, Baylor; 7 (242) Antonio Allen, db, South Carolina; 7 (244) Jordan White, wr, Western Michigan.

Comment: Even if Coples flames out at OLB in the Jets 3-4 system, I can still see him adding 20 pounds and becoming a disruptive 3-4 DE given that he was at his best playing as an undersized 4-3 DT at North Carlina. Stephen Hill might be the best best WR to come out of the 2012 draft, so like moving up a few spots to select him. Terrance Ganaway just might become the Jets new starter at RB, while Jordan White could be a steal at WR, at least in terms of 7th round value.

Grade: A-

Oakland Raiders

3 (95) Tony Bergstrom, g, Utah; 4 (129) Miles Burris, lb, San Diego State; 5 (158) Jack Crawford, de, Penn State; 5 (168) Juron Criner, wr, Arizona; 6 (189) Christo Bilukidi, dt, Georgia State; 7 (230) Nate Stupar, lb, Penn State.

Comment: I thought things would have gotten better without Al Davis around. Of course, his ghost still haunts the team given that he posthumously robbed the Raiders of their first two draft picks in the Carson Palmer trade.

Grade: D

Pittsburgh Steelers

1 (24) David DeCastro, g, Stanford; 2 (56) Mike Adams, ot, Ohio State; 3 (86) Sean Spence, lb, Miami; 4 (109) Alameda Ta'amu, dt, Washington; 5 (159) Chris Rainey, rb, Florida; 7 (231) Tony Clemons, wr, Colorado; 7 (240) David Paulson, te, Oregon; 7 (246) Terrence Frederick, db, Texas A&M; 7 (248) Kelvin Beachum, ot, SMU.

Comment: The Steelers solidified their offensive line with David DeCastro at G and Mike Adams at T. NT Alameda Ta'amu also was a huge bargain at a position of need in the 4th round. Overall, the Steelers couldn't have hoped for things to go much better in the draft considering that they were faced with the prospect of rebuilding both their offensive and defensive lines.

Grade: A-

San Diego Chargers

1 (18) Melvin Ingram, lb, South Carolina; 2 (49) Kendall Reyes, de, Connecticut; 3 (73) Brandon Taylor, s, LSU; 4 (110) Ladarius Green, te, Louisiana-Lafayette; 5 (149) Johnnie Troutman, g, Penn State; 7 (226) David Molk, c, Michigan; 7 (250) Edwin Baker, rb, Michigan State.

Comment: The Chargers needed an OLB to rush the passer, and landed one of the best in Melvin Ingram. They needed help on their DL, and landed a 2nd round value in Kendall Reyes. They needed a safety, and found one in Brandon Taylor of LSU. They needed help on their OL, and nabbed David Molk at C of Michigan, who has a dirty/mean streak. 7th round pick of Michigan State RB Edwin "Rock" Baker could become Darren Sproles 2.0, as he was a pre-season All-American until fumbling issues cost him his job to another NFL caliber back in LeVeon Bell. It's obvious that A.J. Smith and the Chargers draft for need, and they did one of their best jobs this year..

Grade: A-

Tennessee Titans

1 (20) Kendall Wright, wr, Baylor; 2 (52) Zach Brown, lb, North Carolina; 3 (82) Mike Martin, dt, Michigan; 4 (115) Coty Sensabaugh, db, Clemson; 5 (145) Taylor Thompson, te, SMU; 6 (190) Markelle Martin, db, Oklahoma State; 7 (211) Scott Solomon, de, Rice.

Comment: Kendall Wright will be a great complimentary pick opposite Kenny Britt, but he wasn't necessarily a pick of reason or of need. Zach Brown may or may not pan out on the NFL level, while Mike Martin is undersized at DT. A defensive end in the first round would have raised this grade immensely.  

Grade: C-

Monday, April 23, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft: Pre Draft

Here is my Post Pro Day 2012 NFL Mock Draft. It will be followed by updates up until the NFL Draft on April 26th.

My mock draft has been linked by The Football Fan Spot, Sports Jabber, DC Pro Sports ReportWalter Football, FF Toolbox,, The Football Expert, NFLDraftDog, NFL Mocks, The Phinsider, The Huddle Report and No Limits Sportsline Fantasy Sports in their Mock Draft Databases. If you're a draftnik like me, be sure to click on their hyperlinks and check out all of their extensive NFL Draft related material.

This is not a mock draft where I attempt play general manager and substitute my own judgment for the 32 NFL teams. I do my best to research what particular players or positions each team may be targeting by searching the internet for tips from reliable beat writers and NFL insiders in order to provide links and analysis as to why that team may be targeting a particular player.


1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: With the Colts unwilling to pay a $28 million roster bonus to a quarterback coming off of four neck surgeries, and with Peyton Manning not wanting to take a pay cut to play through a major rebuilding project, this has been one of the better break-ups between a superstar and a franchise/city in recent history. Now that it’s official, Colts fans can embrace the Andrew Luck era.;;;;

2. Washington Redskins (from St. Louis) – Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: Having given up three first round picks and a second, the Redskins will draft Robert Griffin III. While Griffin doesn't have the command of a pro-style offense that Andrew Luck has, he has superior arm strength and accuracy, especially on the crucial passes in the NFL like the 20-yard out.

3. Minnesota Vikings – Matt Kalil, OT, USC: Rumors are starting to come out that GM Rick Spielman is not necessarily set on drafting USC T Matt Kalil with the third pick. Don’t buy into that smokescreen. Unless Minnesota is offered a party boatload of picks, they’ll be staying put at #3 and selecting Kalil. Kalil projects as a premier left tackle that Minnesota can rebuild their offensive line around. While Justin Blackmon and Morris Claiborne would also fill needs here for the Vikings, when all else is equal when it comes to talent, left tackle takes precedence over any other position aside from QB and possibly DE.;;;;;

4. Cleveland Browns – Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama: Having offered three first round picks and even a second rounder, the Browns still lost out to Washington on Robert Griffin III. However, as a consolation prize the Browns are in the position to stay put and select one of the six impact players in this year’s draft, or they can attempt to trade down. With Miami looking at Ryan Tannehill and the Rams interested in Justin Blackmon, the Browns could feign an interest in either player in attempts to induce one of those teams to trade up. If they don’t get an offer they like, they could improve their running game with a franchise back in Trent Richardson while targeting a wide receiver and a quarterback with their next two picks.;;;;;;;

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU: It would be hard to argue with Morris Claiborne or Trent Richardson at the #5 spot talent wise, but if Richardson is gone, do the Bucs really need another cornerback after signing Eric Wright to a big contract as a free agent? Depending on what they decide to do with the talented, yet troubled Aqib Talib, Tampa Bay could be in the position to trade down, or even up with Minnesota if Greg Schiano wants a bell cow running back in Trent Richardson to base his offense around.;;;;

6. St. Louis Rams - Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State: With the Rams now having traded down from the #2 spot with Washington at #6, they have accumulated a bounty of extra picks and still might have the opportunity to select the elite go to wide receiver they covet for Sam Bradford in Justin Blackmon. While Minnesota and Cleveland have put up weak smokescreens regarding their potential interest in Blackmon to try and induce St. Louis to trade up, the Rams should be able to stand put and land their go-to receiver and keep their picks.;;;;

7. New York Jets (predicted trade with Jacksonville) – Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina: The Jets defense suffered last season due to a lack of pass rush from the edge and speed at safety. Melvin Ingram of South Carolina is an ideal 3-4 OLB in the Jet’s defensive scheme, but he no longer projects to last to the middle of the first round. Mark Barron of Alabama could also be a consideration for some much needed speed at safety, but he’s also rising up draft boards as the lone free safety worth drafting early in this year’s draft. The Jets at least appear interested in trying to trade up for either of those two players, with Ingram as their ideal target. Likewise, Jacksonville appears to be equally willing to trade down.;;

8. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A and M: While the Dolphins are strongly denying a report that owner Stephen Ross is pushing for Ryan Tannehill, if you read between the lines it appears that is who their target really is. Tannehill played for Mike Sherman in college, who is Miami’s new offensive coordinator. In the event that Tannehill has already been selected or they feel he’s not worthy of a top 10 pick, the Dolphins could target an outside rusher like South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram or an interior disruptive presence like Fletcher Cox of Mississippi State.;;;;,0,6215762.story;;;

9. Carolina Panthers – Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina: While the Panthers have a huge need at DT, Marty Hurney takes a best player available philosophy with the draft. While this draft is deep in defensive tackles, that position could still be considered a reach at #9. If Quinton Coples were to fall to Carolina, he could become an ideal hybrid player. While draft analysts have called Coples a high risk pick because he was inconsistent with his motor during his senior season, he's actually one of the safest picks in the draft. Having changed positions to defensive end after being one of the top interior rushers in the nation as a Junior, a team in need like Carolina would have the option of using Coples on passing downs as an interior pass rusher, or even moving him back inside to where he was most productive in college as a fallback option, minimizing his risk of being a draft bust as a pure defensive end.;;;;;

10. Buffalo Bills – Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College: Buffalo has addressed the deficiency they’ve had at defensive end over the past several seasons by signing Mario Williams and Mark Anderson in free agency. While they’ve had the same need at left tackle since Jason Peter left for Philadelphia, GM Buddy Nix is going to draft whoever the hell he wants, even if his rebuilding plan will still be in place long after he’s dead. There’s no question that Luke Kuechly’s coverage skills are ideally suited for New England’s two tight end attack in the AFC East, but unless the Bills draft a left tackle, even if that means reaching for Riley Reiff of Iowa, they will not be contenders.;;;

11. Kansas City Chiefs – David DeCastro, G, Stanford: With the Chiefs having upgraded their offensive line by signing T Eric Winston, they would like to turn their attention to other areas, such as a LB like Luke Kuechly of Boston College. However, if Kuechly’s not available, drafting G David DeCastro of Stanford would help transform a below average offensive line from last season into a potentially elite group, especially in terms of run blocking.;!/kentbabb/status/193077632512958465

12. Philadelphia Eagles (projected trade with Seattle) – Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State: With the Eagles addressing their glaring hole at linebacker in trading for Demeco Ryans, they can turn their attention to other positions. While the Ryans acquisition doesn’t necessarily rule out drafting Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, he may not be available when Philadelphia picks at #15, and the Eagles traditionally have invested their first round picks in offensive and defensive linemen. With a need for an impact player at defensive tackle, Mississippi State’s Fletcher Cox proved to be nearly as athletic as Dontari Poe of Memphis at the Combine, plus he has better game tape to back his results in Indianapolis up. With Seattle in the market to trade down, moving up to #12 to select Cox should only cost the Eagles a 3rd Round pick.      ;

13. Arizona Cardinals – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa: The Cardinals need to improve their offensive line, either at tackle or guard. If Buffalo passes on Iowa tackle Riley Reiff as it is now being rumored, it would be an ideal situation for the Cardinals. Even if Reiff does not beat out incumbent starter Levi Brown on the left side this year, he'd be an immediate upgrade on the right side until such time that he's ready to take over.;;;;;;; 

14. Dallas Cowboys – Mark Barron, S, Alabama: The Cowboys have improved their secondary with the signings of CB Brandon Carr and Brodney Poole, but they still have holes to fill at both positions. Additionally, they could use either a defensive end or a nose tackle, thereby allowing Jay Ratliff to move to the five-technique. While recent reports have the Cowboys eyeing Mississippi State DT Fletcher Cox, he may not make it to the 14th pick. In that case, look for Dallas to target someone like Alabama safety Mark Barron who can come in and make an immediate impact in their secondary.;;;;;;

15. Seattle Seahawks (predicted trade with Philadelphia) – Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama: Seattle has needs at defensive end and linebacker, although GM John Schneider will take a best player available within Seattle’s system approach to the draft. If Luke Kuechly is off the board by #12, the Seahawks are said to have exhibited an interest in defensive ends Quinton Coples of North Carolina, Melvin Ingram of South Carolina and Nick Perry of USC. If Ingram is off the board, Coples could be the pick. Otherwise, the Seahawks are reportedly interested in trading down where they would target Perry at a better value or Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who’s reported to be on their radar in the event that they trade down.;;

16. Jacksonville Jaguars (predicted trade with New York Jets) – Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame: Wide receiver and defensive end seem to be the Jaguars biggest needs. In the event that Justin Blackmon doesn't fall to them at #7, the Jaguars will be looking to trade down, and they may find a willing partner in the New York Jets. Michael Floyd would be a value pick that would fill a major need at #16 if Jacksonville is satified with his character, while they are also said to have an interest in South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore.;;;;;;;;;;

17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland) – Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina: The Bengals should look to upgrade their secondary at either corner or safety with at least one of their two first round picks. If Stephon Gilmore falls, he could join Leon Hall as a starter in what would become an extremely deep Bengals secondary. If Gilmore doesn’t fall, Marvin Lewis is said to have his eye on Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower, or they could look to solidify their offensive line.;;;;;;odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Bengals;;;;

18. San Diego Chargers – Nick Perry, OLB/DE, USC: The Chargers could have plenty of needs depending upon whether they re-sign all of their own free agents. Offensive line is a concern with the retirement of Kris Dielman, while adding a play maker to rush the passer at linebacker is also a major need. Courtney Upshaw of Alabama or Nick Perry of USC would be ideal fits. Keep an eye on the Chargers making a play to trade up for Mark Barron of Alabama at safety as well.;;;

19. Chicago Bears – Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois: Improving an aging offensive line would seem to be a priority for the Bears. However, with Mike Martz having been forced into retirement, new offensive coordinator and offensive line guru Mike Tice might be able to make do with the pieces that he currently has. With no true value left on the offensive line when they pick at #19, the Bears can address their outside pass rush with Whitney Mercilus of Illinois, who lead the nation in sacks last year.,0,713730.story;,0,6854975.story

20. Tennessee Titans – Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama: Even after signing Kamerion Wimbley, the Titans appear to be looking for help at defensive end. In the mid to later part of the first round they could find value in edge rushers like Nick Perry of USC or Courtney Upshaw of Alabama. A cornerback like Stephon Gilmore of South Carolina or Dre Kirkpatrick of Alabama could also be considerations with Courtland Finnegan having signed with the Rams in free agency.;;;!/caplannfl/status/181949353164939264;|topnews|text|Sports%20Tennessee%20Titans;

21. Cincinnati Bengals – Cordy Glenn, T/G, Georgia: From the interior of their offensive line to an explosive back, the Bengals could stand to improve their running game. If the Bengals can obtain a top corner like Dre Kirkpatrick with their first pick in the 1st round, someone like Cordy Glenn of Georgia who projects as either a right tackle or guard in the NFL would be a nice fit.;;;;;

22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta) – Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor: While the Browns are definitely kicking the tires on QB Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State, they expressed very little interest in free agent Matt Flynn, who would have fit their West Coast Offense perfectly. Accordingly, it doesn’t look as if they’re going to make a move to replace Colt McCoy in the first round of this year’s draft. If they land RB Trent Richardson with their first pick, a receiver like Kendall Wright of Baylor would give McCoy two explosive playmakers on offense to show whether or not he’s the man going forward.;;

23. Detroit Lions – Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama: Offensive line and the secondary are Detroit's biggest areas of need. However, William Clay Ford, Jr., Martin Mayhew and Tom Lewand have changed the culture in Detroit by taking a best player available instead of reaching for players, and with the draft back heavy on the defensive line, the Lions have to be hoping that a left tackle or top cornerback falls to them. If the Lions were to draft a tackle, they’d ultimately be looking for someone to replace Jeff Backus on the left side. Jonathan Martin of Stanford would definitely fit that bill, but the question remains as to whether his value will meet Mahew’s BPA philosophy at #23. Mike Adams would have been a consideration, but having tested positive for marijuana at the Scouting Combine is indicative of a chronic problem, which the Lions will try to avoid. Under this scenario, the Lions would be thrilled with Alabama CB Dre Kirkpatrick, who would be highly rated and fill an area of substantial need.;;;;;|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE;;;;;;;;

25. Denver Broncos – Michael Brockers, DT, LSU: The Broncos have more needs than there is value to them at the #25 pick. Ideally, they'd probably like to trade out of the first round and accumulate more players at positions of need like running back, center, defensive tackle and the secondary. Defensive tackle should be a particularly deep position in the late first or early second round, and Jerel Worthy, Devon Still, Fletcher Cox or Michael Brockers could all fill a need for the Broncos at that position if they stay put. Brockers would be the better run stuffer, while Worthy would be more disruptive as a pass rusher from the three-technique.;;

24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis: With Casey Hampton's health and contract jeopardizing his return to the Steelers, Pittsburgh could be looking for a nose tackle to replace him or a 3-4 defensive end so that Ziggy Hood can move inside. Dontari Poe of Memphis would be an ideal two-gap DT that Pittsburgh is looking for in their 3-4 defense. If Seattle doesn’t trade back or Baltimore doesn’t trade up to grab ILB Dont’a Hightower of Alabama, he will also garner strong consideration from the Steelers.;;;;;

26. Houston Texans – Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech: The Texans need a compliment to Andre Johnson at wide receiver, who's injury last season magnified their lack of depth at that position. Stephen Hill is a physical specimen at wide receiver who's numbers at Georgia Tech were hindered by their lack of a vertical passing game. After his performance at the Scouting Combine, teams have to be wondering how good Hill can become in an offense that utilizes its receivers. He just might be the best receiver in this year’s draft, which would represent a steal at #26, even if Kendall Wright was still available.;;;;;;;;

27. New England Patriots – Shea McClellin, OLB/DE, Boise State: The Patriots are always in need of hybrid pass rushers in their 3-4 system. That need is even bigger this offseason with Kevin Carter coming off of an injury and Mark Anderson having left via free agency. Shea McClellin of Boise State is an ideal 3-4 pass rusher at OLB who can also play in coverage, and New England would likely need to select him at #27 to avoid Green Bay from taking him at #28. In the event that the Patriots are scared off by his three reported concussions in college, Andre Branch of Clemson Chandler Jones of Syracuse, or Vinny Curry of Marshall are all talented pass rushers who’s skill-sets translate well to standing up in a 3-4 defense in the NFL, with plenty of quality defensive tackles who can play end in a 3-4 likely to be available.;;;

28. Green Bay Packers – Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State: The Packers are still looking for a replacement for Cullen Jenkins, who's departure after their 2011 Super Bowl victory in free agency created a huge hole at end on their defensive line. Michigan State DT Fletcher Cox would be a disruptive force in Green Bay's 3-4 defense that could occupy some of the extra attention that Clay Mathews received this year, freeing him up to get after the passer like he did two seasons ago. Forget the reports that Worthy was inconsistent, Michigan State played a bunch of teams that threw nothing but quick bubble screens, and that's what caused him to disappear at times. Every time he faced a pro-style offense he blew them up...As University of Wisconsin and Georgia fans will attest.;;;;;|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE;;

29. Baltimore Ravens - Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin: Baltimore takes a best player available approach when it comes to the draft. Fortunately for them, interior offensive linemen may represent the best value on the board when they select after losing G Ben Grubbs to free agency. Peter Konz could ultimately replace Matt Birk once he retires, but in the meantime he can play alongside of him for a year at guard in order to learn the calls a center needs to make in the NFL.,0,217052.story;


30. San Francisco 49ers – Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin: The 49ers typical draft philosophy is to take the best player available on their draft board. However, San Francisco GM Trent Baalke recently said that he is targeting one specific player who he believes will be there when the 49ers pick at #30. Assuming he isn’t having fun with the media, that could mean reaching in terms of overall draft rating to fill a specific need for a starter at right tackle. Wide receiver and defensive tackle could also come into play at this pick if San Francisco sticks with a BPA philosophy.;;;

31. New England Patriots (from New Orleans) – Kendall Reyes, DT, UConn: The Patriots need to bolster the front of their 3-4 defense at end. While that position is particularly deep in this year’s draft, the Patriots are said to have their eyes on Kendall Reyes of UConn to play the five-technique. If they land a defensive tackle/3-4 end with their first pick at #27 look for the Patriots to trade down to the top of the second round where they can pick up a 3-4 OLB like Vinny Curry of Marshall, Andre Branch of Clemson, Cam Johnson of Virginia or Chandler Jones of Syracuse at a better value and accumulate an additional pick or two as they’ve had a track record of doing in recent years.;;

32. New York Giants – Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford: The Giants were able to mask holes on their offensive line, linebacker corps and in their secondary all season. With their secondary returning some of the depth and talent that was lost due to injury, the Giants can focus on their line and linebackers. Cordy Glenn of Georgia has the versatility to play either right tackle or right guard, both of which are positions that the Giants could stand to improve. If Glenn is not available, and given that the Giants take a best player available philosophy under Floyd Reese, a linebacker with a solid first round grade like Dont’a Hightower of Alabama would help solidify their front seven, while a tackle like Jonathan Martin of Stanford would stabilize their offensive line going forward.;;