2012 NFL Draft Day 1 Review

Pretty simple, I’ll post one of these each day reviewing the day’s draft picks with selective categories for the rounds. I’m going to disregard both the Colts & Redskins as their picks were made weeks ago:

Best Day 1 (team)

1. New England Patriots – while they had to trade up for both picks, they landed two studs that will quickly improve their old, slow defense. DE/OLB Chandler Jones could be a huge steal, and ILB Dont’a Hightower will play immediately. Great draft for Bellichick n Co.

2. Dallas Cowboys – Jerry Jones claims that CB Morris Claiborne was the highest prospect at his position since Deion, lets hope that’s the case. They still had to give up this year’s 2nd to make the 8 spot exchange, but Claiborne can quickly help their depleted secondary and add some youth to Rob Ryan’s defense.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Bucs made two different trades, one to move down 2 spots (picking up an additional 4th) to land S Mark Barron who becomes their starting safety upon taking the field. Later in the 1st, the Bucs traded back up with the Denver to draft RB Doug Martin, who will be a great compliment to Lagarette Blount.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers – Even though they always had Hightower as their top choice, the Steelers called an audible once G David DeCastro fell to 24. He’ll instantly become a building block for that line next to C Pouncey.

5. Philadelphia Eagles – The Iggles lucked out that DT Fletcher Cox slipped past Carolina, but they made the wise decision to trade up with the Seahawks to grab their top rated DT.

Worst Day 1 (team)

1. New Orleans/Oakland/Atlanta – none of these teams had 1st round picks, and only Atlanta will pick in the upcoming round.

2. Seattle Seahawks – After trading down with the Eagles, the Seahawks questionably gambled on DE Bruce Irvin. While Irvin will compliment Red Bryant as a bookend, he’s too small to play on run downs.

3. Tennessee Titans – While I actually like Kendall Wright, I don’t like the pick for the Titans. The Titans really needed to improve both sides of their lines, and Wright joins a crowded receiver crew which already features Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, Damian Williams, and Lavelle Hawkins.

4. Cincinnati Bengals – While Mike Brown addressed the needs of the team by supplying Marvin Lewis with a corner and guard, but I don’t like their selections. At 17, I think they should have gone with DeCastro and then waited to see if Kirkpatrick would have fell to 21 (wouldn’t have traded with New England then) or they could have grabbed a corner like Janoris Jenkins at 27. It’s not that I don’t like the guys they drafted, I just don’t like where they were drafted.

5. Chicago Bears – if the bears really wanted a stud defensive end, why did they go with DE Shea McClellin? Sure he was productive while at Boise St, but there were better prospects out there such as Whitney Mercilus. Why not trade up to be in position to draft Coples or Ingram? I thought McClellin profiled better as an outside linebacker in a 3-4, not a DE in a 4-3.

Best Picks (disregarding the top 2 picks)

1. Dallas Cowboys #6, CB Morris Claiborne LSU: Great job by Jerry Jones to trade up to get the best prospect in a draft. Huge need for the Cowboys too, now allows them to cut struggling Mike Jenkins.

New Steeler Guard can be an immediate Pro-Bowler for Pittsburgh

2. Pittsburgh Steelers #24, G David DeCastro Stanfurd: As previously explained, this pick will immediately keep Big Ben upright and bring stability to that position for the next 7-10 years. He has the chance to become the elite guard in the NFL, and was one of the safest prospects in the entire draft.

3. San Diego Chargers #18, DE/OLB Melvin Ingram South Carolina: Tremendous value and a position of need, Ingram is a swiss-army knife of a player who can line up at any position on the d-line or linebacker crew. He reminds me of Adalius Thomas.

4. New England Patriots #21, DE/OLB Chandler Jones Syracuse: Great value and a huge position of need, Jones should impact this slow Patriot defense immediately as a versatile pass rusher.

5. Cleveland Browns #3, RB Trent Richardson Alabama: #3, what am I crazy? While I don’t believe in drafting running backs high due to similar value you can get in later rounds. However, the Browns desperately needed a running back and Richardson can quickly establish himself as a top-10 back in the league.

Worst Picks:

1. Seattle Seahawks, DE Bruce Irvin West Virginia: This was an absolute reach by Carroll & Co., while Irvin was one of the elite pass rushers, he’s not a three-down end for the ‘Hawks. Also, better prospects were available, why wouldn’t you go with Melvin Ingram. At worst, you could trade down to the later tweens or early 20s and still select Irvin.

2. Cleveland Browns, QB Brandon Weeden Oklahoma St: It’s not that I don’t like Weeden, I thought he was the 3rd best QB prospect in this year’s draft, but I question where he was taken at. While the Browns had been targeting WR Kendall Wright (who was taken by the Titans), I still think Weeden would have been available in the later rounds or perhaps at their 2nd round pick.

David Wilson: Questionable selection for the defending champs

3. New York Giants, RB David Wilson Virginia Tech: I understand the desire to replace the departed Brandon Jacobs but Wilson profiles closer to running backs already on their roster. I think they could have traded down and still gotten him. Maybe the Giants

got a bit jumpy and were worried that a team in the early 2nd (perhaps the Rams) would draft Wilson.

4. Tennessee Titans, WR Kendall Wright Baylor: I like Wright as a prospect, I just don’t like the team that selected him. They had bigger needs with value still on the board, but passed in favor of another young WR for Jake Locker.

5. St. Louis Rams, DT Michael Brockers LSU: The Rams claim that they would have taken Brockers at 6th and were able to get an additional 2nd to trade back with the cowboys, but I’m not in love with Brockers. He has questionable conditioning and his weaknesses were hidden by the deep LSU rotation.

Biggest Booms or Busts

1. Miami Dolphins #8, QB Ryan Tannenhill Texas A&M: While Tannenhill will be comfortable under his former head coach Mike Sherman (now Miami’s offensive coordinator), the ‘fins lack talent. It’ll take awhile for Tannenhill to develop, but he could become a top-10 qb in the league. Or he could be out of the league in 5 years.

2. Cincinnati Bengals #17, CB Dre Kirkpatrick Alabama: While Kirkpatrick was an all-american this past season for the Crimson Tide, he only had 3 picks in college. The jury is out to whether he can be a lockdown corner for the Bengals, but I can easily see him flaming out at the next level.

3. Houston Texans #26, OLB Whitney Mercilus Illinois: A one-year wonder at Illinois (led the NCAA in sacks in 2011), Mercilus will now play in a rotation with Connor Barwin & Brooks Reed. I wasn’t sold on him, but this is a great landing spot in Wade Philips’ defense.

Although he led the NCAA in sacks in 2011, will Mercilus continue his production in the pros?

4. Arizona Cardinals #13, WR Michael Floyd Notre Dame: Floyd has all the talent in the world, and a great mentor in Fitzgerald, but I question his maturity. Let’s see if he can keep his head on straight. He can be the next Randy Moss, or the next Charles Rogers.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars #5, WR Justin Blackmon Oklahoma St: Blackmon was the superior WR prospect in this year’s draft, but he’s not quite in the same level as previous top 10 wideouts in Calvin Johnson, Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, AJ Green and countless others. I think he’ll be a good receiver, perhaps a pro-bowler, but will he be able to justify his draft position with shaky, young QB Blaine Gabbert throwing him the ball?

Best Prospects Available:

1. OLB/DE Courtney Upshaw Alabama: I thought he would go somewhere between 20 and the end of the first. He has a questionable motor, but was still able to be highly productive while playing in the loaded SEC and specifically on that Tide defense.

2. TE Coby Fleener Stanfurd: Had an phenomenal pro-day, I’m surprised he didn’t go at the tail end of the 1st. If the first few teams don’t have interest (i can see him going to Indy, Cleveland, Buffalo, Miami) expect a contender to trade up to build a great two TE set

3. OT/OG Cordy Glenn Georgia: A 50 game starter in the SEC who was an absolute mauler, Glenn began the 2011 college season as a potential top 10 pick, but now finds himself battling to be one of the first off the board. O-line is always a need, he’ll go soon in the early part of the 2nd.

Although Hill is extremely raw, can he follow in the footsteps of former Yellow Jackets Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas?

4. WR Stephen Hill Georgia Tech: An intriguing prospect because of being severely limited in the triple option offense at Georgia Tech, Hill displayed amazing speed at the combine and quickly shot up draft boards. However, it wasn’t enough to land him in the 1st round. Extremely raw, Hill should find himself going no later than the end of the 2nd.

5. C Peter Konz Wisconsin: By far the best center in this draft, I was surprised that his linemate Zeitler was drafted before him. Some team that’s looking to upgrade the position will trade up for him, I see him going no later than the mid-2nd.

6. ILB Mychal Kendricks Cal: Whatever team drafts him will get an absolute steal as this speeders has both the natural instincts, the high football IQ and the physical attributes to become one of the best ILB for a 3-4 team.

7. DT Jerel Worthy Michigan St: I expect him or DT Devon Still to be the first defensive lineman taken, after seeing the mini-run of DT’s fly off the board in the early teens, there’ll be another run in the 2nd with Worthy leading the way.

Although Silatolu played LT at tiny Midwestern St, he profiles as an absolute mauling guard in the pros.

8. CB Janoris Jenkins North Alabama: Perhaps the 2nd or 3rd best prospect at his position, Jenkins is a trouble prospect who had multiple failed drug tests and fathered 4 children in his limited time at North Alabama, the former Florida Gator has a lot of potential if he keeps his head on straight.

9. OG Amini Silatolu Midwestern St: I liked his potential more than Zeitler (but the former Badger is the safer selection), but Silatolu can be an absolute force in run blocking due to his superior strength. I just hope he goes to a team with a good o-line coach with veterans to further his teachings.

10. OLB Lavonte David Nebraska: The best outside linebacker left, plently of 4-3 teams will be drooling over the prospect of being able to select him tomorrow. Should come off before the middle of the 2nd, but could slip all the way to the end of the 3rd.

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