Thursday, May 10, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Grades

Valedictorians :  A + 

17. Dre Kirkpatrick, cornerback, Alabama
27. Kevin Zeitler, guard, Wisconsin
53. Devon Still, defensive tackle, Penn State
83. Mohamed Sanu, wide receiver, Rutgers
93. Brandon Thompson, defensive tackle, Clemson
116. Orson Charles, tight end, Georgia
156. Shaun Prater, cornerback, Iowa
166. Marvin Jones, wide receiver, California
167. George Iloka, safety, Boise State
191. Dan Herron, running back, Ohio State

Best pick: Kirkpatrick
Riskiest Pick: None
Late Round Steal: Four way tie between Sanu, Thompson, Charles and Oloka
Synopsis:  The Bengals had the best draft of any team.  They filled needs and got value everywhere.  7 of my top 80 players were taken by the Bengals.

7. Mark Barron, safety, Alabama.
31. Doug Martin, running back, Boise State.
58. Lavonte David, linebacker, Nebraska.
140. Najee Goode, linebacker, West Virginia.
174. Keith Tandy, cornerback, West Virginia.
212. Michael Smith, running back, Utah State.
233. Drake Dunsmore, tight end, Northwestern.

Best pick: David and Barron
Riskiest Pick: Martin (Was he really better than Wilson and the other RB's?)
Late Round Steal: Tandy
Synopsis:  David could be the best OLB Tampa has seen since Derrick Brooks.  Barron is an absolute stud and Martin is the power RB the offense needs.  If Tandy can become a starter within two years then this draft will be an incredible success.

NEEDS:  Young NT, RT/G, young ILB, speed RB
24: David DeCastro, guard, Stanford
56: Mike Adams, tackle, Ohio State
86. Sean Spence, linebacker, Miami (FL)
109. Alameda Ta’amu, defensive tackle, Washington
159. Chris Rainey, running back, Florida
231. Toney Clemons, wide receiver, Colorado
240. David Paulsen, tight end, Oregon
246. Terrence Frederick, cornerback, Texas A&M
248. Kelvin Beachum, guard, SMU

Best pick: DeCastro
Riskiest Pick: Adams (character red flags)
Late Round Steal: Ta'amu
Synopsis:  This is why the Steelers are the Steelers and why everyone else seems to be playing catch up.  They get two offensive lineman that can start right away plus they get a speedy RB/KR in Rainey.  Spense and Ta'amu will be given time to grow on Pittsburgh's defense

Head of the Class:   A 

NEEDS: QB (will draft Luck), DT, TE, WR, CB, RT/G, depth everywhere
1. Andrew Luck, quarterback, Stanford
34. Coby Fleener, tight end, Stanford
64. Dwayne Allen, tight end, Clemson
92. T.Y. Hilton, wide receiver, Florida International
136. Josh Chapman, nose tackle, Alabama
170. Vick Ballard, running back, Mississippi State
206. LaVon Brazil, wide receiver, Ohio
208. Justin Anderson, tackle, Georgia
214. Tim Fugger, defensive end, Vanderbilt
253. Chandler Harnish, quarterback, Northern Illinois

Best pick: Luck
Riskiest Pick: Allen (#2 TE)
Late Round Steal: Chapman
Synopsis:  Andrew Luck gives any draft an 'A' grade.  Drafting his college TE, Fleener was a great move too.  I don't understand taking two TE's though.  Chapman and Hilton need to produce right away.

4. Matt Kalil, tackle, USC.
29. Harrison Smith, safety, Notre Dame.
66. Josh Robinson, cornerback, UCF.
118. Jarius Wright, receiver, Arkansas.
128. Rhett Ellison, fullback, USC.
134. Greg Childs, receiver, Arkansas.
139. Robert Blanton, cornerback, Notre Dame.
175. Blair White, kicker, Georgia.
210. Audie Cole, linebacker, N.C. State.
219. Trevor Guyton, defensive tackle, California.

Best pick: Smith
Riskiest Pick: Childs (injuries)
Late Round Steal: Childs (if he can stay healthy)
Synopsis:  Kalil and Smith were great pickups.  Robinson is an athletic freak.  They waited to draft a WR, then took two both from Arkansas in Wright and Childs.

A slight notch below:  A-

NEEDS: DE or NT, SS, G/C. backup TE
6. Morris Claiborne, cornerback, LSU.
81. Tyrone Crawford, defensive end, Boise State.
113. Kyle Wilber, linebacker, Wake Forest.
135. Matt Johnson, safety, Eastern Washington.
152. Danny Coale, receiver, Virginia Tech.
186. James Hanna, tight end, Oklahoma.
222. Caleb McSurdy, linebacker, Montana.

Best pick: Claiborne
Riskiest Pick: Claiborne (only because they gave up a lot to get him)
Late Round Steal: Coale
Synopsis:  It's all on Claiborne, if he becomes and Pro Bowl type shutdown corner then the draft will be a success.  I like the aggressiveness by Dallas.  Coale could be a #3 possession WR.

NEEDS: SS, DT, backup QB, O-Line depth 
12. Fletcher Cox, defensive tackle, South Carolina.
46. Mychal Kendricks, linebacker, California.
59. Vinny Curry, defensive end, Marshall.
88. Nick Foles, quarterback, Arizona.
123. Brandon Boykin, cornerback, Georgia.
153. Dennis Kelly, tackle, Purdue.
194. Marvin McNutt, receiver, Iowa.
200. Brandon Washington, guard, Miami.
229. Bryce Brown, running back, Kansas State

Best pick: Three way tie-Cox, Kendricks and Curry
Riskiest Pick:  Foles (is he ready to start at QB if Vick gets hurt?)
Late Round Steal: Boykin and McNutt
Synopsis:  I love their top three choices.  The Eagles got tougher on their interior defense and still managed to get a pass rusher too.  They still need some help on the O-Lin though.

NEEDS:  PR, SS, RT, WR depth, backup RB
18. Melvin Ingram, linebacker, South Carolina
49. Kendall Reyes, defensive tackle, Connecticut
73. Brandon Taylor, safety, LSU
110. Ladarius Green, tight end, Louisiana-Lafayette
149. Johnnie Troutman, guard, Penn State
226. David Molk, center, Michigan
250. Edwin Baker, running back, Michigan State

Best pick: Ingram
Riskiest Pick: None
Late Round Steal: Taylor and Molk
Synopsis:  Ingram was the biggest steal of the first round.  Taylor and Reyes fill need but they waited to get some help on the O-Line.  

NEEDS: LB, #3 WR or TE, RT/G, backup RB
32. David Wilson, running back, Virginia Tech.
63. Rueben Randle, receiver, LSU.
94. Jayron Hosley, cornerback, Virginia Tech.
127. Adrien Robinson, tight end, Cincinnati.
131. Brandon Mosley, tackle, Auburn.
201. Matt McCants, tackle, Alabama-Birmingham.
239. Markus Kuhn, defensive tackle, N.C. State.

Best pick: Randle
Riskiest Pick: Wilson (slight reach on a backup)
Late Round Steal: Mosley and McCants
Synopsis:  Randle was the biggest steal of the second round.  I like Wilson, and Hosley was a solid pick as well.  They will hope  to get early production out of one of the late OT's that they drafted.

Very Good:  B

NEEDS: QB (will draft RG III), G/C, young ILB, SS, 3-4 DE
2. Robert Griffin III, quarterback, Baylor.
71. Josh LeRibeus, guard, SMU.
102. Kirk Cousins, quarterback, Michigan State.
119. Keenan Robinson, linebacker, Texas.
141. Adam Gettis, guard, Iowa.
173. Alfred Morris, running back, Florida Atlantic.
193. Tom Compton, tackle, South Dakota.
213. Richard Crawford, defensive back, SMU.
217. Jordan Bernstine, defensive back, Iowa.

Best pick:  Griffin III
Riskiest Pick:  LeRibeus (reach)
Late Round Steal:  Gettis
Synopsis:  RG III was a great pick.  The rest of the draft was average.  But a player like RG III can change an entire franchise.

8. Ryan Tannehill, quarterback, Texas A&M
42. Jonathan Martin, tackle, Stanford
72. Olivier Vernon, defensive end, Miami (FL)
78. Michael Egnew, tight end, Missouri
97. Lamar Miller, running back, Miami (FL)
155. Josh Kaddu, linebacker, Oregon
183. B.J. Cunningham, wide receiver, Michigan State
215. Kheeston Randall, defensive tackle, Texas
227. Rishard Matthews, wide receiver, Nevada

Best pick:  Martin and Miller
Riskiest Pick: Tannehill  (first round QB with limited experience)
Late Round Steal: Miller and Egnew
Synopsis:  Tannehill will take his lumps early in his career but he has the tools to be very good. Martin and Miller were great value picks.  The Dolphins will struggle in 2012 but they had a good draft.

NEEDS: DT, Young big WR, PR, G/RT, CB
9. Luke Kuechly, linebacker, Boston College.
40. Amini Silatolu, guard, Midwestern State.
103. Frank Alexander, defensive end, Oklahoma.
104. Joe Adams, receiver, Arkansas.
143. Josh Norman, cornerback, Coastal Carolina.
207. Brad Nortman, punter, Wisconsin.
216. D.J. Campbell, safety, California.

Best pick: Kuechly
Riskiest Pick: Silatolu (small school background)
Late Round Steal: Norman
Synopsis:  They did pretty well with limited picks.  Kuechly was the best player available and can play any LB spot in a 4-3.  They may have wanted to address the D-Line a little earlier though.  

NEEDS: RT/G, PR, WR depth 
13. Michael Floyd, receiver, Notre Dame.
80. Jamell Fleming, cornerback, Oklahoma.
112. Bobby Massie, tackle, Ole Miss.
151. Senio Kelemete, tackle, Washington.
177. Justin Bethel, cornerback, Presbyterian.
185. Ryan Lindley, quarterback, San Diego State.
221. Nate Potter, tackle, Boise State.

Best pick: Floyd and Massie
Riskiest Pick: Floyd (character red flags)
Late Round Steal: Massie and Potter
Synopsis:  Having Larry Fitzgerald as a mentor will work wonders for Floyd, very similar to how Chris Carter helped Randy Moss early in his career.  Massie was a late round steal.  The Cards need instant help from both players.

NEEDS: PR, young C/G, DE, S, young CB
28. Nick Perry, linebacker, USC.
51. Jerel Worthy, defensive end, Michigan State.
62. Casey Hayward, cornerback, Vanderbilt.
132. Mike Daniels, defensive tackle, Iowa.
133. Jerron McMillian, safety, Maine.
163. Terrell Manning, linebacker, N.C. State.
241. Andrew Datko, tackle, Florida State.
243. B.J. Coleman, quarterback, UT-Chattanooga.

Best pick: Perry
Riskiest Pick: Hayward (lack of size)
Late Round Steal: Manning
Synopsis:  They filled their biggest need at pass rusher and got many solid players later on.

Good but made a stupid move:  B-

5. Justin Blackmon, wide receiver, Oklahoma State
38. Andre Branch, defensive end, Clemson
70. Bryan Anger, punter, California
142. Brandon Marshall, linebacker, Nevada
176. Mike Harris, cornerback, Florida State
228. Jeris Pendleton, nose tackle, Ashland

Best pick: Blackmon
Riskiest Pick: Anger (a punter, really a punter)
Late Round Steal:  Pendleton
Synopsis:  Blackmon and Branch were great picks that filled the Jags two biggest needs.  Then a punter?  WHY?  The Jags should have addressed the O-Line or secondary.

NEEDS:  DT, young CB, RB, backup QB, G/C
36. Derek Wolfe, defensive tackle, Cincinnati
57. Brock Osweiler, quarterback, Arizona State
67. Ronnie Hillman, running back, San Diego State
101. Omar Bolden, cornerback, Arizona State
108. Philip Blake, guard, Baylor
137. Malik Jackson, defensive tackle, Tennessee
188. Danny Travathan, linebacker, Kentucky

Best pick: Bolden
Riskiest Pick: Wolfe (reach)
Late Round Steal: Jackson
Synopsis:  The Broncos were smart to trade down because Wolfe wasn't worth a first round pick.  The Broncos really upgraded their defense but they didn't give Peyton Manning any new toys other than a power RB and a backup.  

NEEDS:  PR, DT/3 technique, CB, FS, RT/G
21. Chandler Jones, defensive end, Syracuse
25. Dont’a Hightower, linebacker, Alabama
48. Tavon Wilson, safety, Illinois
90. Jake Bequette, defensive end, Arkansas
197. Nate Ebner, safety, Ohio State
224. Alfonzo Dennard, cornerback, Nebraska
235. Jeremy Ebert, wide receiver, Northwestern

Best pick: Hightower
Riskiest Pick: Jones (injuries) and Dennard (injuries and character issues)
Late Round Steal: Dennard (if he can stay healthy/out of trouble)
Synopsis:  Solid but not spectacular, just what one would expect from the Patriots.  Everyone seems to love Jones, I still have some doubts.  Dennard could be a major steal.

NEEDS:  SS, G/C, LB depth, WR, backup RB
35. Courtney Upshaw, outside linebacker, Alabama
60. Kelechi Osemele, guard, Iowa State
84. Bernard Pierce, running back, Temple
98. Gino Gradkowski, center, Delaware
130. Christian Thompson, free safety, South Carolina State
169. Asa Jackson, cornerback, Cal Poly
198. Tommy Streeter, wide receiver, Miami (FL)
236. Deangelo Tyson, defensive end, Georgia

Best pick: Upshaw
Riskiest Pick: Osemele (reach)
Late Round Steal: Streeter 
Synopsis:  The Ravens got good value with a lot of their picks and got some really good football players.  However they waited until late to address their biggest need, the secondary.

Picks in first 3 rounds: 30, 61, 92
NEEDS:  RG, WR, DE depth, LB depth
30. A.J. Jenkins, receiver, Illinois.
61. LaMichael James, running back, Oregon.
117. Joe Looney, guard, Wake Forest.
165. Darius Fleming, linebacker, Notre Dame.
180. Trent Robinson, safety, Michigan State.
199. Jason Slowey, center, Western Oregon.
237. Cam Johnson, linebacker, Virginia.

Best pick: Looney
Riskiest Pick: James (crowded backfield)
Late Round Steal: Johnson
Synopsis: I love James, but I don't understand using a second round pick on a fourth-string RB. It makes no sense when you're a win-now team competing to get to the Super Bowl.  Looney fills a need while Johnson provides great value late.  I like Jenkins elite speed and great hands.  Plus he won't need to be the star right away.

Solid:  C+

3. Trent Richardson, running back, Alabama
22. Brandon Weeden, quarterback, Oklahoma State
37. Mitchell Schwartz, tackle, California
87. John Hughes, defensive tackle, Cincinnati
100. Travis Benjamin, wide receiver, Miami (FL)
120. James-Michael Johnson, linebacker, Nevada
160. Ryan Miller, guard, Colorado
205. Billy Winn, defensive tackle, Boise State
245. Trevin Wade, cornerback, Arizona
247. Brad Smelley, tight end, Alabama

Best pick: Richardson
Riskiest Pick: Weeden (age) and Schwartz (reach)
Late Round Steal: Winn
Synopsis:  The Browns hit a home run with Richardson then barely got on base the rest of the draft. Weeden is solid but Schwartz was a very questionable pick given the other (better) O-Line guys in the board. Winn could be a steal while Benjamin will help as a KR

10. Stephon Gilmore, cornerback, South Carolina
41. Cordy Glenn, tackle, Georgia
69. T.J. Graham, wide receiver, North Carolina State
105. Nigel Bradham, linebacker, Florida State
124. Ron Brooks, cornerback, LSU
144. Zebrie Sanders, tackle, Florida State
147. Tank Carder, linebacker, TCU
178. Mark Asper, guard, Oregon
251. John Potter, kicker, Western Michigan

Best pick: Glenn
Riskiest Pick: Graham (major reach on a small WR)
Late Round Steal: Sanders
Synopsis:  Gilmore may have been a slight reach at #10 but Glenn was a steal in the second.  Sanders and Glenn give the Bills some depth at O-Line.  I don't like the Graham pick.

20. Kendall Wright, wide receiver, Baylor
52. Zach Brown, linebacker, North Carolina
82. Mike Martin, defensive tackle, Michigan
115. Coty Sensabaugh, cornerback, Clemson
145. Taylor Thompson, tight end, SMU
190. Markelle Martin, safety, Oklahoma State
211. Scott Solomon, defensive end, Rice

Best pick: Brown
Riskiest Pick: Wright (5-9 WR with average speed)
Late Round Steal: Both Martin's
Synopsis:  Brown and both Martin's were good picks that filled needs.  20 may have been too early for Wright and Sensabaugh will be an average corner at best.

Average:  C


14. Michael Brockers, defensive tackle, LSU.
33. Brian Quick, receiver, Appalachian State.
39. Janoris Jenkins, cornerback, North Alabama.
50. Isaiah Pead, running back, Cincinnati.
65. Trumaine Johnson, defensive back, Montana.
96. Chris Givens, receiver, Wake Forest.
150. Rokevious Watkins, guard, South Carolina.
171. Greg Zuerlein, kicker, Missouri Western.
209. Aaron Brown, linebacker, Hawaii.
252. Daryl Richardson, running back, Abilene Christian.

Best pick: Brockers and Johnson
Riskiest Pick: Jenkins (character issues)
Late Round Steal:  Givens 
Synopsis:  They missed out on both Blackmon and Floyd by one pick.  Many will question taking Quick that high, however he could be another Roddy White (from small school to star NFL WR).  Brockers is solid but the rest of the draft was very average.

NEEDS: NT, QB, G, compliment PR, 3-4 ILB depth 

11. Dontari Poe, nose tackle, Memphis
44. Jeff Allen, guard, Illinois
74. Donald Stephenson, tackle, Oklahoma
107. Devon Wylie, wide receiver, Fresno State
146. DeQuan Menzie, cornerback, Alabama
182. Cyrus Gray, running back, Texas A&M
218. Jerome Long, defensive end, San Diego State
238. Junior Hemingway, wide receiver, Michigan

Best pick: Stephenson
Riskiest Pick: Poe (small school competition and consistency) and Allen (major reach)
Late Round Steal: Gray
Synopsis:  The Chiefs drafted big and very big.  We will see if the bigs they drafted have NFL skill sets.

16. Quinton Coples, defensive end, North Carolina
43. Stephen Hill, wide receiver, Georgia Tech
77. Demario Davis, linebacker, Arkansas State
187. Josh Bush, safety, Wake Forest
202. Terrance Ganaway, running back, Baylor
203. Robert T. Griffin, guard, Baylor
242. Antonio Allen, safety, South Carolina
244. Jordan White, wide receiver, Western Michigan

Best pick: Hill
Riskiest Pick: Coples (drive issues)
Late Round Steal: None
Synopsis:  Coples = Vernon Gholston.  A guy with the measurables and flashes of talent but no consistency.  I love the Hill pick though.  He's big, fast and can block.  You can bet he'll be used on packages with Tebow for some reverses.

NEEDS:  CB, young LT, FS, young DE, WLB
23. Riley Reiff, tackle, Iowa.
54. Ryan Broyles, receiver, Oklahoma.
85. Dwight Bentley, cornerback, Louisiana-Lafayette.
125. Ronnell Lewis, defensive end, Oklahoma.
138. Tahir Whitehead, linebacker, Temple.
148. Chris Greenwood, cornerback, Albion.
196. Jonte Green, cornerback, New Mexico State.
223. Travis Lewis, linebacker, Oklahoma.

Best pick: Reiff
Riskiest Pick: Broyles (injury risk)
Late Round Steal: Greenwood
Synopsis:  I love the pick of Reiff but I don't understand taking Broyles (who is small AND has injury concerns) when they drafted Titus Young last year.  Bentley and Greenwood will battle for a starting corner spot from day one,


NEEDS:  #2 WR, RT/G, NT, #3 CB
26. Whitney Mercilus, linebacker, Illinois
68. DeVier Posey, wide receiver, Ohio State
76. Brandon Brooks, guard, Miami (OH)
99. Ben Jones, center, Georgia
121. Keshawn Martin, wide receiver, Michigan State
126. Jared Crick, defensive tackle, Nebraska
161. Randy Bullock, kicker, Texas A&M
195. Nick Mondek, tackle, Purdue

Best pick: Mercilus
Riskiest Pick: Posey
Late Round Steal: Jones and Crick
Synopsis:  They passed on Randle and Hill then traded down and drafted Posey?  That just makes no sense at all.  Mercilus is a good pass rusher but that wasn't a major need.  Jones and Crick will be solid blue collar players on the offensive and defensive lines respectively. 

NEEDS: MLB, LT, young PR, G/C 
55. Peter Konz, guard/center, Wisconsin.
91. Lamar Holmes, tackle, Southern Miss.
157. Bradie Ewing, fullback, Wisconsin.
164. Jonathan Massaquoi, defensive end, Troy.
192. Charles Mitchell, safety, Mississippi State.
249. Travian Robertson, defensive tackle, South Carolina.

Best pick: Konz
Riskiest Pick: None
Late Round Steal: Massaquoi
Synopsis:  Konz was once projected as a first rounder.  He's a major steal at #55.  They did pretty well considering they only had six picks. 

What were they thinking?: D

NEEDS: MLB, CB, DE, O-Line depth, WR
15. Bruce Irvin, defensive end, West Virginia.
47. Bobby Wagner, linebacker, Utah State.
75. Russell Wilson, quarterback, Wisconsin.
106. Robert Turbin, running back, Utah State.
114. Jaye Howard, defensive tackle, Florida.
154. Korey Toomer, linebacker, Idaho.
172. Jeremy Lane, cornerback, Northwestern State.
181. Winston Guy, safety, Kentucky.
225. J.R. Sweezy, guard, N.C. State.
232. Greg Scruggs, defensive end, Louisville.

Best pick: Wagner
Riskiest Pick: Irvin (reach and character ed flags) and Wilson (short QB) 
Late Round Steal: Howard
Synopsis:  They had the shock of the first round with Irvin then drafted another LB in Wagner. Drafting Wilson was a confusing move considering they signed Matt Flynn to be their starting QB. Wilson is an accurate passer and smart player, but you always need to be skeptical when it comes to 5-10 QBs  The Seahawks had a lot of picks so maybe someone will emerge as a sleeper.

NEEDS: LT, compliment DE/PR, TE, G/C, WR depth, DB depth

19. Shea McClellin, defensive end, Boise State.
45. Alshon Jeffery, receiver, South Carolina.
79. Brandon Hardin, defensive back, Oregon State.
111. Evan Rodriguez, tight end, Temple.
184. Isaiah Frey, cornerback, Nevada.
220. Greg McCoy, cornerback, TCU.

Best pick: Jeffery
Riskiest Pick: Jeffery (weight and drive issues)
Late Round Steal:  Frey 
Synopsis:  They have a mjor glaring need on the O-Line yet they don't draft one.  Jeffery and McClellin were both reaches.  They could have had Randle instead of Jeffery and they could of had Mercilus or Perry instead of McClellin


NEEDS: Off field-Coach, new GM, order.  On field-CB, OT depth, LB depth
89. Akiem Hicks, defensive tackle, Regina.
122. Nick Toon, receiver, Wisconsin.
162. Corey White, safety, Samford.
179. Andrew Tiller, guard, Syracuse.
234. Marcel Jones, tackle, Nebraska.

Best pick: White
Riskiest Pick: Hicks (low level of competition, Canada)
Late Round Steal: None
Synopsis:  They drafted a DT from Canada, that's all you  need to really know.  Toon and White could be solid one day.

NEEDS: CB, OLB, DE, TE, backup RB
95. Tony Bergstrom, guard, Utah
129. Miles Burris, linebacker, San Diego State
158. Jack Crawford, defensive end, Penn State
168. Juron Criner, wide receiver, Arizona
189. Christo Bilukidi, defensive end, Georgia State
230. Nathan Stupar, linebacker, Penn State

Best pick: Criner
Riskiest Pick: Criner (injuries)
Late Round Steal:  Criner
Synopsis:  I like Criner but the rest of the draft was pretty bad.

Team Numbers: 
A+: 3
A: 2
A-: 4
B: 5
B-: 5
C+: 3
C: 6
D: 2
F: 2

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