The NFL Draft has come and gone and it’s difficult to tell who will be good fits for their teams for at least another year or two, but we could base winners and losers on expectations, their college careers and the anticipated fits, or lack thereof, with their new teams.
Cincinnati Bengals- Their first four picks were really, really good with CB Dre Kirkpatrick and G Kevin Zeitler in the first round and DT Devon Still and WR Mohamed Sanu on the second day. All four should be strong contributors right away. Dan Herron out of Ohio State could be a late steal at running back.
Indianapolis Colts- It’s going to take awhile to rebuild the Colts, so they built quality pieces around Andrew Luck, the best QB prospect in quite some time. TE Coby Fleener should immediately be Luck’s favorite target and was a slam dunk selection and WR T.Y. Hilton will be an emerging speedster. RB Vick Ballard in the fifth round could be a steal.
Pittsburgh Steelers- Pittsburgh understands that protecting Ben Roethlisberger for a long time is important. Adding G David DeCastro and T Mike Adams (both who had first round grades) to add to a young offensive line will be huge going forward and Sean Spence will be a strong fit for its linebacking corps. RB Chris Rainey out of Florida is going to be a very intriguing playmaker for this team.
San Francisco 49ers- If the Niners wanted a wide receiver in the first round, they could have done so much better than A.J. Jenkins. With Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter already in the backfield, taking LaMichael James in the second round is more than a head scratcher.
Denver Broncos- The Broncos are sending football fans mixed messages. They signed Peyton Manning, so they probably want to win now, right? So they pick Brock Osweiler, who is never going to be a good NFL QB, in the second round and San Diego State RB Ronnie Hillman just doesn’t do it for me. They didn’t help themselves much in its mission to help Manning.
Jacksonville Jaguars- Don’t get me wrong, the pick of Justin Blackmon was really, really good. But the Jags took another risky pass rusher in Andre Branch and then took a punter in the third round. Really, Jacksonville? Couldn’t have waited until the fifth round to take a punter? Ironically, the punter’s last name is Anger, which is the emotion the few dozen fans of the team should feel after this draft.
Our country has a constant love affair with instant gratification. When you can combine instant gratification with our favorite sport, the NFL, you have to do it. So to combine two of America’s greatest pleasures and treasures, we give you the knee-jerk, way too early NFL Draft First Round Winners and Losers. The Colts and Redskins are obviously winners for being able to draft franchise quarterbacks, even if Washington gave up a boatload of assets, so we won’t include those teams in this list.
First Round Winners
Cleveland Browns- Trent Richardson was called the greatest running back prospect since Adrian Peterson, and Cleveland needed a sparkplug for an offense with a below average QB and an underwhelming corps of receivers. Richardson gives this offense direction and purpose. Then, the Browns traded up and nabbed an intriguing QB prospect in Brandon Weeden, immediately boosting an anemic offense with gutsy moves this franchise has lacked for quite some time.
Dallas Cowboys- Rob Ryan’s defense is like his brother Rex’s; it’s all about pressure and forcing quick, rushed decisions. That’s all well and good if you have cornerbacks who can cover receivers. Dallas did not have that last season. With the addition of Brandon Carr in free agency and Morris Claiborne via an excellent trade on Thursday to give the Cowboys the sixth overall pick, Ryan now has that strong secondary. DeMarcus Ware could now be unleashed knowing the secondary has changed from a weakness to a strength.
New England Patriots- If you watch football, you know that the Patriots offense was really, really good last season and the defense…not so much. With a boatload of picks at his disposal, including two in the first round, Bill Belichick decided to cash in his chips and trade up for a pair of difference makers on D. Chandler Jones is raw but has the ability to be a menacing pass rusher, like New England’s tormentor from this past February, Jason Pierre-Paul. LB Dont’a Hightower comes from a winning tradition in Tuscaloosa and will anchor the linebacking group with Jerrod Mayo for a long, long time.
First Round Losers
Seattle Seahawks- Seattle did trade down to 15 to get Bruce Irvin, the LB out of West Virginia. The problem is that Seattle took Irvin with the 15th pick of round one, not the second round. Unless Seattle mistook Thursday for Friday, this is a “mind boggling pick”, as Mel Kiper Jr. put it, and will likely set Seattle back unless they have an incredible rest of the draft. Like Seattle’s new uniforms, this first pick was ugly and unnecessary.
New York Jets- Of all the Jets’ draft picks over the last 15 years, there’s one top-10 pick that fans really don’t like mentioning: Vernon Gholston. Gholston was a boom or bust, pass rushing end with incredible ability but with poor effort and the propensity to take plays off. Wait a minute…that also describes 2012 first-round pick Quinton Coples, doesn’t it? If you’re a Jet fan and are reading this in the morning, buy yourself a Bloody Mary. If it’s afternoon, buy a beer. Gang Green may have gotten itself another Gholston.
Kansas City Chiefs- Taking a boom or bust pick like Dontari Poe up at 11 wasn’t a proper pick given his value. Even if the Chiefs believed he’s the next Haloti Ngata, they could have traded down at least a few picks and gotten a third or fourth round pick and still pick Poe. He will make KC look brilliant or incredibly dumb; there’s no real in between on this one.
DALLAS– By David Naxon
2012 NFL Mock Draft by David Naxon
- Colts- Andrew Luck- QB- Stanford
- Redskins- Robert Griffin III- QB- Baylor
- Vikings- Morris Claiborne- CB- LSU
- Browns- Trent Richardson- RB- Alabama
- Buccaneers- Matt Kalil- OT- USC
- Rams- Justin Blackmon- WR- Oklahoma State
- Jaguars- Fletcher Cox- DT- Mississippi State
- Dolphins- Ryan Tannehill- QB- Texas A&M
- Panthers- Mark Barron- S- Alabama
- Bills- Luke Kuechly- ILB- Boston College
- Chiefs- Melvin Ingram- DE- South Carolina
- Seahawks- David DeCastro- OG- Stanford
- Cardinals- Michael Floyd- WR- Notre Dame
- Cowboys- Quinton Coples- DE- North Carolina
- Eagles- Dont’a Hightower- ILB- Alabama
- Jets- Michael Brockers- DT- LSU
- Bengals- Riely Reiff- OT- Iowa
- Chargers- Dre Kirkpatrick- CB- Alabama
- Bears- Dontari Poe- DT- Memphis
- Titans- Stephon Gilmore- CB- South Carolina
- Bengals- Chandler Jones- DE- Syracuse
- Browns- Stephen Hill- WR- Georgia Tech
- Lions- TRADED TO PATRIOTS- Doug Martin- RB- Boise State
- Steelers – Courtney Upshaw- DE- Alabama
- Broncos- Coby Fleener- TE- Stanford
- Texans- Jerel Worthy- DT- Michigan State
- Patriots TRADED TO LIONS- Kendall Wright- WR- Baylor
- Packers- Whitney Mercilus- OLB- Nebraska
- Ravens- Shea McClellin- OLB- Boise State
- 49ers- Cordy Glenn- OT- Georgia
- Patriots- Harrison Smith- S- Notre Dame
- Giants- Mike Adams- OT- Ohio State
-Minnesota could still trade the third overall pick, possibly moving down to five or six to add an additional third rounder. The Vikings are currently deciding between T Matt Kalil, CB Morris Claiborne and WR Justin Blackmon. Buffalo could deal the fourth and 41st picks to the Vikings to move up and take Kalil, says the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
-Cleveland will draft either Trent Richardson or Justin Blackmon fourth, says the Cleveland Plain Dealer. If the Browns deal down to the Bills, they could take Michael Floyd or Ryan Tannehill 10th if they’re on the board. ESPN’s Bob Holtzman reports that the Browns will either select Richardson or Morris Claiborne and have ruled Blackmon out.
-The St. Louis Post-Dispatch goes through a lot of Rams scenarios, including the team trading down from the sixth overall pick.
-Miami wants a QB that will energize the fan base, says Yahoo! Sports. That will likely be Ryan Tannehill with the eighth pick. The Dolphins won’t trade up for Tannehill.
-Carolina will either take Justin Blackmon or defense with the 9th pick, says the Charlotte Observer. Blackmon will likely not get past the Rams at six and the Panthers could trade back. Quinton Coples could be the pick. They talked with CB Stephon Gilmore, but the Panthers don’t view him as a top-10 pick.
-It has become general knowledge that the Cowboys won’t be able to draft Alabama S Mark Barron with the 14th pick. ESPN’s Ed Werder now reports that Dallas has discussed a trade with Kansas City for the 11th pick and with San Diego to move down to the 18th pick. The Forth Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Cowboys have targeted Barron, Fletcher Cox, David DeCastro and Michael Brockers.
-Cincinnati will probably not package its two first-round picks, 17th and 21st, to Seattle for the 12th pick to take Boston College LB Luke Kuechly. There’s even a chance Tampa Bay picks Kuechly fifth. They could trade down with 21st. CB Stephon Gilmore probably won’t last to the Bengals and Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick could be the pick. Michael Brockers, Quinton Coples and Courtney Upshaw are other options.
-Chicago could take a DE with the 19th overall pick. Coples, Whitney Mercilus, Nick Perry, Courtney Upshaw, Chandler Jones or Shea McClellin could be options. DT, OL and WR are other options for the Bears, and you could see their options by clicking on the above link for some very good coverage from the Chicago Tribune.
-The Denver Broncos are willing to trade out of the first round, according to the Denver Post.
-A few possibilities for the Ravens include offensive linemen Peter Konz, Kevin Zeitler and DL Amini Silatolu. They could even trade up for OL Cordy Glenn. WR Stephen Hill could go to the Ravens at 29 or the 49ers at 30, says John Clayton.
-With Osi Umenyiora’s situation in flux, the Giants could take a DE like Chandler Jones, Nick Perry, Whitney Mercilus or Andre Branch with the 32nd pick.
-Adam Schefter reports that the Colts will take Andrew Luck with the first overall pick. This surprises everyone…that was sarcasm. For the second overall pick, there are whispers that Robert Griffin III has “a selfish streak.”
-You know how there’s all this buzz that Robert Griffin III could go first over Andrew Luck, or will be a better QB than Andrew Luck? Yeah, not so much. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel polled 19 scouts on who was the better QB and all 19 said that Luck was superior. When 20 evaluators were asked who was the best player regardless of position, 17 said Luck, two said Griffin and one said Alabama RB Trent Richardson.
-The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also takes an in depth look at QB’s. Speaking of QB’s, Ryan Tannehill scored a 34 on his Wonderlic test, with above average grades for others, including Russell Wilson and Brandon Weeden. Speaking of Weeden, here’s the Gruden Camp clip on the OK State QB.
-What would Mel Kiper Jr. do if he was in charge of the NFC East teams? Find out his “grade A” picks for the Giants, Eagles, Cowboys and Redskins for the first three rounds.
-Mike Garafolo takes a look at the running backs in the draft, led by Richardson. Doug Martin, David Wilson, LaMichael James and others are profiled in this piece. Take a look.
-Here’s an in depth look at Memphis DL Dontari Poe, one of the most polarizing prospects in this year’s class.
-Boise State OLB Shea McClellin has visited with 11 of the 32 teams, according to Scout.com. The Patriots, Chiefs, Bills, Titans, Colts and Browns are among those teams, according to Aaron Wilson.
-Former Colts GM Bill Polian really likes running backs in the first round this season. Polian drafted five RB’s in the first round in his career: Edgerrin James, Joseph Addai, Donald Brown, Tim Biakabatuka and Ronnie Harmon. So…one for five isn’t bad, right?
-Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler would be a good fit for the Patriots, says the Boston Globe. He reportedly scored a 33 on the Wonderlic test.