On the football field there are winners and losers, and often you win or lose because of how well you can draft. It’s no coincidence the teams that are picking in the top 10 every year are there because they can’t quite figure this drafting thing out. That trend seemed to continue this past weekend-a lot of teams drafts I was attracted to were towards the bottom half of the round. But some teams that picked early rose up and did well too. Over the next few weeks we’ll break down in depth every team’s pick and what we liked and didn’t like and give out our draft grades, but today I’ll give you a general over view of my first impressions. These are my 2012 NFL Draft winners and losers.
San Diego Chargers
- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
- Kendall Reyes, DL, UConn
- Brandon Taylor, S, LSU
- Ladarius Green, TE, San Diego State
- Johnnie Troutman, OG, Penn State
- David Molk, C, Michigan
- Edwin Baker, RB, Michigan State
- Philip Payne, WR, UNLV
- Michael Hayes, RB, Houston
I have a long history of disliking everything the Chargers do in the draft, but for once I have to say I actually see A.J. Smith’s draft philosophy here. And that makes him a winner automatically. While I’m not the biggest Melvin Ingram fan, I think where the Chargers got him is fine value, he also has more upside than a Courtney Upshaw because of his terrific athletism and he’s also less of an unknown than Chandler Jones it seems. Kendall Reyes in the middle of the second round is a fine pick too. I didn’t like the talk of him as a potential first rounder, but a mid second rounder? Sign me up. Brandon Taylor was about the 80th player on my personal big board (which differs from our overall big board, quite a bit on some prospects). Taylor has good range and will be a nice complement to Weddle. Green, Molk, Baker all brought value and filled needs. I have players ranked ahead of Johnnie Troutman, but I’m not going to complain about that pick.
Great job A.J. Smith. You drafted like your job depended on it for once!
- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
- Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
- Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
- T.Y. Hilton, WR, Florida International
- Josh Chapman, DT, Alabama
- Vick Ballard, RB, Mississippi State
- Lavon Brazill, WR, Ohio
- Justin Anderson, OL, Georgia
- Tim Fugger, DE, Vanderbilt
- Chandler Harnish, QB, Northern Illinois
- Micah Pellerin CB, Hampton
- Jabin Sambrano, WR, Montana
When all is said and done the Colts might receive my highest draft grade. I wasn’t the biggest Coby Fleener fan, however, pairing him with his college quarterback is great because it gives Luck an immediate comfort in his new settings and offense which is a brilliant move. Even if Fleener doesn’t turn out that well it could be a part of Luck’s development. But then to get Dwayne Allen (who I had higher than Fleener) at the top of the third round is excellent pick. T.Y. Hilton is an instant home run threat and finally the Colts have found a potential a terrific return man. Tim Fugger and Josh Chapman were steals. The problem here is the Colts are still going to be terrible on defense–or they’re going to have to stick with a lot more 43 than they want because they don’t have the right personnel on defense. But the value of the picks I loved.
The Entire AFC North minus the Browns
I’m not going to recap all the drafts, but the Steelers fixing their offensive line by getting David Decastro in the first round basically set the tone for their draft. They could have quit then and done well. If any team is going to convince Mike Adams to play like a top 10 pick it’s the Steelers. Chris Rainey adds an element to their offense they don’t have yet. The problem here is their defense is still old.
I was talking with one of my draft friends and we discussed the possibility of the owner of the Bengals sitting in a war room somewhere making picks based on the rankings of a draft magazine because the Bengals took all big name players, which is extremely odd for a team to do. But it still looks like it should be effective. I liked everyone of the Bengals picks especially the Shaun Prater and Marvin Jones picks. Terrific work by the Bengals. They also stayed (mostly) away from bad character guys which is smart. They did bring in Vontaze Burfict as a UDFA, but getting a motivated and undrafted Burfict is smart to me.
The Ravens got Courtney Upshaw and Osmele which are good picks as is Pierce. I love the upside of Tommy Streeter. Their draft wasn’t Steelers and Bengals good, however.
The Rams and Cardinals
The Rams set themselves up for the future with this draft. Michael Brockers is fine in the middle of the first round, especially if you can say we get Brockers in the middle of the first round and a second round pick. Yes, they had to pass on Claiborne, but that pick turned out to Isaiah Pead. Is Claiborne (or Cox) better than Brockers Pead? Not sure about that. I thought the Brian Quick was the wrong pick there, but they worked him out closely and liked him. Chris Givens was a good pick. Let’s also throw in 2 extra first rounders the next two years.
The Cardinals got good players in every round. BobbyMassie in the fourth was a pick no one can complain about. I like the Jamel Fleming pick–really under-rated cornerback.
The G-D Eagles
- Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
- Mychal Kendricks, LB, California
- Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
- Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
- Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
- Dennis Kelly, OT, Purdue
- Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa
- Brandon Washington, OL, Miami
- Bryce Brown, RB, Kansas State
- Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon
- Phillip Thomas, CB, Syracuse
- Chris Polk, RB, Washington Huskies
I don’t necessarily love the Mychal Kendricks pick in the second round for every team, but I think he’ll do well with the Eagles. Fletcher Cox fits their system perfetly as well. Vinny Curry, Brandon Boykin, and Marvin McNutt also represent grea value. Chris Polk might have a degenerative hip, but he’ll be a great complement to LeSean McCoy and he catches the ball as well as any running back in this draft-which is important with the Eagles. Cliff Harris to the Eagles is brilliant. As a Giants fan, I hate when the Eagles draft well.
San Francisco 49ers
- A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois
- LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
- Joe Looney, OL, Wake Forest
- Darius Fleming, LB, Notre Dame
- Trenton Robinson, S, Michigan State
- Jason Slowey, OL, Western Oregon
- Cam Johnson, DE, Virginia
- Brian Tymes, WR, FAMU
- Nathan Palmer, WR, NIU
- Al Netter, OG, Northwestern
- Joe Holland, OLB, Purdue
Just some odd picks. A.J. Jenkins is a good football player, but better than Alshon Jefferey, Rueben Randle and a host of other WR? I don’t think so. LaMichael James is a peculiar pick too. Not bad value, but not great either so why take a player who plays a position of absolute strength if it’s only moderate value? I like the Darius Fleming and Cam Johnson picks. Just some odd ball picks early for me.
- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
- Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
- Bryan Anger, P, California
- Brandon Marshall, LB, Nevada
- Mike Harris, CB, Florida State
- Jeris Pendleton, DT, Ashland
- Drew Nowak, DT, Western Michigan
- Kevin Elliot, WR, Florida A&M
- Lee Barbiasz, OT, Northern Colorado
- Dontell Johnson, DB, Murray State
- JK Schaffer, LB, Cincinnati
- Ryan Davis, DE, Bethune-Cookman
- Matt Veldman, TE, ND State
- Antonio Dennard, CB, Langston
- Mike Brewster, OC, Ohio State
- Jarrett Boykin, WR, VTech
You can’t draft a punter in the third round and not be held accountable. I don’t even hate the move as much as everyone else because the way I see it if he’s a really good punter then you got a guy who can play the position the next 15 years–and no other 3rd round pick will give you that longevity. Still I find it hard to believe that he would have been drafted by anyone else in the third, and probably even the fourth round. This is the very definition of a reach–getting a guy you could not get if you waited. I also don’t love Justin Blackmon or the Andre Branch fit. None of the day three picks excite me.
- Bruce Irvin, DE, West Virginia
- Bobby Wagner, LB, Utah State
- Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
- Robert Turbin, RB, Utah State
- Jaye Howard, DL, Florida
- Korey Toomer, LB, Idaho
- Jeremy Lane, CB, Northwestern State
- Winston Guy, S, Kentucky
- J.R. Sweezy, DL, North Carolina State
- Greg Scruggs, DE, Louisville
- Sean McGrath, TE, Henderson State
- Tauren Poole, RB, Tennessee
- Rishaw Johnson, OL, Cal (PA)
- Jermaine Kearse, WR, Washington
- Carson Wiggs, K, Purdue
- Lavasier Tuinei, WR, Oregon
- Phil Bates, WR, Ohio
- Jon Opperud, OT, Montana
- Deshawn Shead, SAF, Portland State
- London Durham, CB, McNeese St
- Jewell Hampton, RB, Southern Illinois
Writer Dan Viens will probably battle me on this, but I didn’t like what the Seahawks did here. We’ll see. Pete Carroll has done a solid job despite going against the grain before. Still right now Bruce Irvin is Aaron Maybin coming out of college. Can the Seahawks get him to be more? I like the Jaye Howard and Winston guy picks, the rest I would have gone a different direction.
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