2012 NFL Draft Grades for First Round
by Robert Ferringo - 4/27/2012
Well, the 2012 NFL Draft results are less than 24 hours old so you know what that means: time for some instant analysis!
The picks were flying fast and furious Thursday night in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft and teams were efficient and decisive. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone made wise decisions with their selections and there was still plenty of controversy to go around.
Here are my 2012 NFL Draft first-round grades:
Indianapolis – A-
You can have Andrew Luck. I am not sold he is the slam dunk pick that everyone else seems to think that he is. But the Colts didn’t outthink the room and they got the guy that they wanted.
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Washington – D+
Robert Griffin III would have to play at a Hall of Fame level for about 10 years in order for the Redskins to justify their trade. But they care more about selling jerseys than they do winning games, so this whole draft was vintage Skins.
Cleveland – B-
I don’t really like the fact that the Browns took a running back so high because of the high bust rate and low shelf life of backs these days. I didn’t mind the Brandon Weeden pick. But I just wonder if they could’ve gotten him in the second round. I think he offered better value than any of the other quarterbacks. But the Browns needed to load up with skill people – outside of QB – and I don’t feel like they did that.
Minnesota – A
Pretty much anyone that drafts an offensive lineman gets an A in my book. And since the Vikings were able to wheel and deal their way to a second first-round pick and address another glaring need in the secondary they had one of the best nights of anyone.
Jacksonville – A
The Jaguars got the best player in the draft and a guy that can bring some excitement to this flatlined franchise. I think Justin Blackmon will be a stud.
Dallas – C+
At least the Cowboys had the sense to address their glaring need in the secondary. But they didn’t need to trade up to get a good corner. They could have held their second-round pick and ended up with two decent players in the secondary, so Claiborne better be really, really good.
Tampa Bay – A
I really like what the Bucs were able to do. I am a huge fan of Barron’s and he is a plug-and-play guy right now. And the Bucs also needed a running back and got a productive one with Doug Martin. They, along with Minnesota, really put on a clinic on how to maneuver with a Top 5 pick.
Miami – D
Am I the only person that thinks that Matt Moore can be a decent quarterback? Ryan Tannehill is going to be a huge bust and was just an awful selection. They really let themselves get pushed into this pick by the public and the bobblehead media and those are the types of decisions that kill franchises.
Carolina – A-
They filled a need with the best player at his position. Done and done.
Buffalo – C
Leave it to the Bills to blunt any momentum that they had from an offseason of questionable (but buzzworthy) signings. Michael Floyd would have been a perfect fit for this team and was right there for the taking. But, again, instead of waiting until the second round for a guy like Janoris Jenkins they reached for a corner in the No. 10 slot. The Bills have no idea what they are doing in the draft and proved it yet again.
Kansas City – B-
Dontari Poe is a boom-or -ust pick. And I feel like the Chiefs have already taken enough chances along the defensive line (with mixed results) over the past few years that they really should have used this pick on an offensive lineman.
Philadelphia – B+
The Eagles targeted a player that they liked and made a move to get him. You really can’t do it much better. But now it is up to Fletcher Cox to prove that he was worth it.
Arizona – C-
Can someone tell the Cardinals that they already signed Larry Fitzgerald to a long-term deal so they can stop pandering to him? This team needed to address its offensive line and had all kinds of options. But instead they went with a receiver? It doesn’t make any sense and I thought it was a poor pick.
St. Louis – B
This may seem like a decent grade but going into Thursday I had the Rams penciled in for an A+ pretty much no matter what. But they rolled the dice one too many times and they didn’t come away with either of the guys (Blackmon or Floyd) that they really needed. Sure, they have two extra second round picks this year and two more No. 1 picks the next two years. But they needed Blackmon and they should have coughed up one of the No. 2’s to make sure that they got him. Long term this will be a good draft for the Rams. But they flopped last night.
Seattle – C
There is always one good, old fashioned reach in every draft. This is it. It almost doesn’t matter if Bruce Irvin becomes a Pro Bowl player. The bottom line is that they probably could have gotten him in Round 2 and picked up someone else here. But they did address a need with a boom-or-bust pick, so it wasn’t a total fail.
New York Jets – B-
I know a lot of people rail on Coples work ethic. And in a lot of ways that makes him a quintessential Jets pick. But the reality is that the North Carolina program has been a train wreck the past two years so you can forgive a guy for being a little distracted. He has a lot of upside and he fits a need. This wasn’t a bad pick.
Cincinnati – A-
I can say that I’m stunned. Normally the Bengals are setting the tone for stupidity during the draft weekend. But they actually had a pretty good night. They picked up a corner that I really like and even though they might have reached for the offensive lineman that they nabbed (Kevin Zeitler) they took a lineman to begin with. You know I love that!
San Diego – B+
Things really broke well for this team. They were in a bad draft position and they desperately needed a playmaker on defense. They didn’t have to make a trade and they were able to get a guy that most people thought had Top-10 talent.
Chicago – C-
New regime, same stupidity. The Bears had their pick of any offensive lineman, including Top 10 talents David DeCastro and Riley Reiff. Do the Bears grab the offensive lineman that they so desperately need? Nope. I just don’t get it with this group.
Tennessee – D+
They need defensive bodies in the worst way possible so they reach for a receiver? Again, just not at all a good pick.
New England – A+
I have been a huge fan of Dont’a Hightower and I love the fact that the Patriots were able to get him and Chandler Jones without having to sell the farm. The Patriots have a chance to really infuse a lot of talent into their defense in one fell swoop and I thought they had a great night on Thursday.
Detroit – A
Again, if you draft an offensive lineman you get an ‘A’ just about every time with me. If you go back over the last 15 years the bust rate for linemen is absurdly low compared to just about any other position. The Lions just continue to stock their foundation – offensive and defensive line – with high draft picks. It will keep paying off.
Pittsburgh – A
This might have been the steal of the draft. DeCastro could end up being one of the best 10 or 12 players to come out of this draft. And oh-by-the-way the Steelers were in desperate need of a lineman that they could plug in right away. (See, Chicago, this is why they have six championships and you have one.)
Green Bay – B+
I’m not really sold on Nick Perry. But this is another one of those picks where a team had a clear need, they were patient, they let other people around them make mistakes, and they took advantage of a guy with a lot of potential and talent falling into their lap.
San Francisco – C-
I know the Niners need skill players on offense. But no one had A.J. Jenkins going in the first round. This was a reach.
New York Giants – C
The Giants are Champions and they can pretty much do what they want. But I am not a fan of drafting running backs in the first round. Especially second- or third-tier ones. They would have been better off grabbing one of the defensive players or offensive linemen that slipped through the cracks.
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