2012 NFL Draft Grades

The 2012 draft is in the books and what better way to end the draftseason than with premature draft grades. Although we agree a draft can’t truly be graded this early in the process, it is still more than necessary to grade each team on how they did on draft day. Below is a breakdown of each teams 2012 NFL Draft Grades.

NFC North

Green Bay Packers
Nick Perry was a great score at the end of round 1. Adding a pass rush opposite Clay Matthews was a must early. Their next two picks were also very solid with Worthy and much needed corner depth with Hayward. The Pack continued the defensive theme adding Mike Daniels from Iowa who could contribute right away. One of their steals was Terrell Manning who is a little rough around the edges but could offer value down the road. Also like the drafting of quarterback BJ Coleman who could be a good understudy to Aaron Rogers.
GRADE: B

Detroit Lions
The Lions scored huge with adding Reiff who could have gone as early as top 10 at pick 23. Reiff should play week 1 on the Lions offensive line and will be a great upgrade. Round 2 was a bit of a surprise when they nabbed wide receiver Ryan Broyles, was a great risk but who would of thought they added a receiver so early. Also got great value in Ronnell Lewis in round 4 who will help with the pass rush and also a good flier on Travis Lewis, a solid Oklahoma linebacker in round 7.
GRADE: B-

Chicago Bears
Found it a bit of a reach to take McClellin in round 1. While I think he is worth a top 20 pick, I don’t like the fact they play him at defensive end. I liked him better at outside linebacker. Alshon Jeffery is a boom or bust pick in round 2, but well worth the risk for a team who needs another receiver. The rest of the picks were so-so, the Brandon Hardin pick was a tad early but he could offer value as a rookie.
GRADE: C -

Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings got their man in Matt Kalil all while trading back a pick to nab additional picks. Kalil will be the anchor to the Vikings offensive line for the next handful of years. They also moved back into round 1 to get another player they coveted in Harrison Smith, who should also start week 1. Mid round guys like the combo from Arkansas Jarius Wright/Greg Childs will compete to see playing time as a rookie. A guy to keep an eye on is Blair Walsh, the fact they took him in round 6 means he could offer competition for veteran Ryan Longwell. Overall a very solid draft for the purple.
GRADE: B+

NFC East

New York Giants
New York managed to fill a few holes on offense early with the addition of running back David Wilson and wide receiver Rueben Randle. Both were very good picks and both should see the field quite a bit as rookies. Jayron Hosely is also a player who could contribute early and big man Matt McCants will be an interesting guy to watch how he develops.
GRADE: B-

Philadelphia Eagles
I really like the Eagles full draft. They could have possibly added 3 starting players to their defense in Cox, Kendricks and Vinny Curry. Trading up to get Cox was the right move, they obviously coveted him and pulled the trigger. Foles is a project but has time to devlop behind Vick. Few other mid/late round guys will be intriuging in wide receiver Marvin McNutt and guard Brandon Washington.
GRADE: A

Dallas Cowboys
Dallas scored the best corner in the draft when they traded up to get Morris Claiborne. After round 1 it gets kind of average, they added some depth and a few role player sin Kyle Wilber and Tyrone crawford but I don’t see any real game changers. Sixth rounder James Hanna has potential to be a diamond in the rough, he was a workout warrior at the combine.
GRADE: C-

Washington Redskins
Washington finally got it’s possible franchise quarterback, or should I say quarterbacks. The Skins nabbed both RGIII and Kirk Cousins within their first 3 picks. They also bulked up the offensive line adding 2 guards LeRibeus and Gettis and bigman tackle Tom Compton (who I like probably more than I should). It will be interesting to watch both of these rookie quarterbacks moving forward and although the Skins traded a handful to get RGIII all and all it was a great move.
GRADE: B

NFC South

New Orleans Saints
With only 5 picks, and their first not until round 3 there is only so much the Saints could do. Akiem Hicks has potential to contribute at defensive tackle and wide receiver Nick Toon should offer depth. Was surprising they didn’t draft any help at linebacker and Corey White was kind of a gross pick in round 5.
GRADE: D+

Atlanta Falcons
Even without a first rond pick the Falcons managed to get the best center in the entire draft in Peter Konz. They also managed to possibly get the best overall fullback in Bradie Ewing who should offer some big blocks as a rookie. Round 5 they got a steal in Jonathan Massaquoi who with time could develop into a goo dpass rushing defensive end.
GRADE: C

Carolina Panthers
Carolina added the best linebacker in the group with Luke Kuechly. Kuechly shouldn’t waste anytime cracking the starting lineup and adding more consistency to the Panthers defense. Small school guard Silatolu was one of my favorite sleepers and will push for a starting job week 1. Great pick with Joe “The Jet” Adams, who could become a great target for Cam Newton. Cornerback Josh Norman could also end up being a part of the defense with a little love from the coaching staff.
GRADE: B-

Tampa Bay Bucs
Ended up having the best first round out of anyone. The Bucs managed to add safety Mark Barron and running back Doug Martin. Martin will give Blount a run for his money as the number 1 running back. Barron will add much needed youth and depth to a sketchy defensive backfield. Round 2 they got Lavonte David who could end up being one of the steals of the draft. After that they got a few role players in Goode, Tandy and Dunsmore.
GRADE: A

NFC West

San Fran 49ers
Not gonna lie wasn’t that impressed with the AJ Jenkins pick in round 1. He could end up being a solid receiver I just think they had other options if they really wanted a receiver. The LaMichael James pick was also a head scratcher since they have so much depth at running back. I actually liked their mid/later rounds quite a bit. Guard Joe Looney, safety Trent Robinson and linebacker Cam Johnson all were great value.
GRADE: D

Arizona Cardinals
Larry Fitzgerald made it known he wanted Michael Floyd, and he got him. Really like they got another receiver to help Kolb become the quaterback they hoped he would be. Jamel Fleming was a good pick, a player who has watched his stock rise over the past few months. Massie fell alot further than I expected and he could turn out to be a great find. Overall they ended up getting 3 offensive tackles in Massie, Kelemete, and Potter in round 7. Even if only 1 ends up panning out I think it will be worth it.
GRADE: C+

Seattle Seahawks
No matter how hard I try I can’t get on board with the Irvin pick in round 1. In my mind there were much better players at linebacker and defensive end that could have made a bigger impace. Irvin is a situational player and was no doubt a reach. Time will tell if it was the right move. I liked the Bobby Wagner pick in round 2 and he should contribute year 1. I think the Russell Wilson was a bit overhyped and think it could have been used to add other pieces considering they signed Matt Flynn. Overall they ended up drafting 10 players so even if a handful pan out it will be a success, but this draft will come down to if Irvin pans out or not.
GRADE: D-

St. Louis Rams
Really like the Rams overall draft. They might not have gotten they guy they targeted in round 1, but they got a week 1 starter in Brockers. Brian Quick is raw but could end up being one of the best receivers in the class. Jenkins is boom or bust corner, if he keeps his nose clean will be a starting corner in the NFL. Other guys like Pead, Trumain Johnson and Chris Givens will also be players who should stick and get a good amount of playing time early in their career.
GRADE: B+

AFC North

Cleveland Browns
The Browns were afraid to lose out on Trent Richardson so they moved up to get him.  That was a smart move as he’ll make life easier for Weeden/McCoy as a back teams will have to gameplan for.  The rest of the Browns draft lacked value as Weeden, Schwartz, and Holmes were all taken too early.  They did get great value later in versatile defensive lineman Billy Winn, a 6th round pick who should make the team.
GRADE: C

Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals had a great draft.  Their first round was actually the most questionable as Kirkpatrick and Zeitler, while filling needs, may not have provided top value.  They scored big on the rest though.  Still, Thompson, and Sanu were all steals, and they found later value in picks of Orson Charles and Marvin Jones.  They Bengals added a ton of talent t their team in his draft.
GRADE: A

Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers just sit tight and good things usually happen to them on draft day.   That was the case again in 2012.  They got the biggest steal in the draft when Stanford guard David DeCastro fell to them at pick 24.  Putting him next to Maurkice Pouncey gives them a downright scary interior line.  They then lucked out to find Mike Adams around in the second, and Alameda Ta’Amu there in the fourth.  Both those guys could see a ton of playing time in year one.  Another great choice and value was Chris Rainey in the fifth. He’s a versatile back who could add a whole new dimension to this offense.
GRADE: A

Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens got a little nutty on draft day and moved out of round 1 all together.  They ended up taking OLB Courtney Upshaw at pick 35, which was great value, and later grabbed G Kelechi Osemele who will end up replacing Ben Grubbs.  They reached on a couple of fourth round choices but bounced back nicely with a couple of big time sleepers in WR Tommy Streeter and 5th round CB/S Asa “Solo Dolo” Jackson.
GRADE: B

AFC East

Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins held tight at 8 and were rewarded with the QB they coveted in Ryan Tannehill.  He’ll take a season to develop but hopefully becomes the QB the team has been looking for since Marino retired.  They got a steal in round two when Jonthan Martin fell to them, and third round choice DE Oliver Vernon should be able to help out in the pass rushing department.  They actually nailed rounds 4-7 as Lamar Miller, Josh Kaddu, BJ Cunningham, and Kheeston Randall should all battle for roster spots.  This was a sneaky good draft, that surprisinlgy hasn’t gotten more love.
GRADE: B+

Buffalo Bills
The Bills had a huge need at LT and they’ll hope either second rounder Cordy Glenn or fifth rounder Zebrie Sanders can fill it.  They took CB Stephon Gilmore with the 10th pick and depending on who you ask that was either genius or a little early.  They reached big on WR TJ Graham in the third, a speedster many had pegged as a late rounder.  The Bills had a couple solid 4th round choices in Nigel Bradham and CB Ron Brooks, and also found value in 5th round LB Tank Carder.  Their draft was a little uneven value wise, but a talented group of rookies overall.
GRADE: B-

New York Jets
The Jets really needed to find a guy who could stand up in their 3-4 and fly off the edge and get to the QB.  They had options like Shea McClellin, Melvin Ingram, and Nick Perry on the board but went with Quinton Coples.  Coples is an odd fit in their scheme and will likely be forced to play the five technique.  He’s a boom or bust and only time will tell if he was the right choice.  They went with another boom or bust in round two with WR Stephen Hill but he was a great value in the second round.  Demario Davis is a big hitting OLB but was taken a hair early.  The team did find two 7th round gems in S Antonio Allen and WR Jordan White, both have good shots to make the team and contribute.
GRADE: B-

New England Patriots
The Patriots finally did what most pundits have been wanting them to do for years, they traded up, not down, and got some impact players on defense.  Chandler Jones will provide some much needed pass rush off the edge, and fellow first round LB Dont’a Hightower can do the same from the inside.  Now the Pats did make arguably the biggest head scratching pick in the second round taking Illinois S Tavon Wilson, who many draft gurus have never even heard of.  He could have been had about 5 rounds later.  The last interesting pick for the Pats is the 7th round gamble in Alfonzo Dennard.  His stock had Burficted, as he punched a cop just days before the draft.  But he was once considered to have first round talent so if Belicheck can straighten him out he could be a gem.
GRADE: C

AFC West
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs started off with the risky selection of Dontari Poe at pick 11.  Poe had a great combine but showed poorly on tape.  If they can get him to reach his potential then they made a helluva choice.  The Chiefs then solidified their offensive line with G Jeff Allen in round two and then Donald Stephenson in the third.  Allen likely starts and Stephenson provides solid depth at both tackle spots.  They had some nice value picks in rounds 4 and 5 with WR Devon Wylie and then CB/S Dequan Menzie.   Both of those guys could rack up some playing time in their rookie seasons.  The rest of their picks were just meh.
GRADE: C

San Diego Chargers
The Chargers had a gift fall into their laps at pick 18 with DE/OLB Melvin Ingram.  Many had him projected to go in the top ten.  He fell due to concerns of where he best fits in.  The Chargers will love to have that problem and will use him just about everywhere.  The Chargers also got great value with their next two picks.  DE Kendall Reyes will play the five technique in their 3-4 and can get after the passer while anchoring against the run.  Brandon Taylor was worth moving up for in the third and should eventually start for the team at strong safety.  Ladarius Green was a solid 4th round choice and C David Molk and RB Edwin Baker were great values later in the draft.
GRADE: A-

Denver Broncos
I thought the Broncos reached on just about every pick they made.  They traded out of the first and then took Cincinnati DT Derek Wolfe ahead of guys like Jerel Worthy, Kendall Reyes, Devon Still and Brandon Thompson.  Wolfe could turn out to be great, but it seemed early for him.  Osweiler is a project QB with goofy mechanics and a lack of experience, but he should have a few years to get ready playing behind Peyton Manning.  The team could have used that pick at a more impactful positon here like CB or RB.  Speaking of RBs third round pick Ronnie Hillman was also taken about 3 rounds too early as he’s strictly a change of pace back.  The team did makes solid choices in round four with CB Omar Bolden and C Philip Blake btu the earlier reaches kill the grade.
GRADE: D

Oakland Raiders
The Radiers didn’t get to draft until the end of round three but found a decent G/T prospect in Tony Bergstrom.  4th round LB Miles Burris was taken early but the team found great value in round 5.  Jack Crawford was a nice pick but WR Juron Criner was even better.  Criner has good size, speed and hands, and will work his way into the Raiders rotation of pass catchers sooner than later.  The Raiders last two picks were gross and provided little value and impact.
GRADE: C

AFC South

Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville’s biggest move in this year’s draft was the jump from pick seven up to pick five. This move cost them a fourth round pick (which would come back to haunt them when they had to reach for…gulp….a punter) but it secured a possible number one receiver for quarterback Blaine Gabbert. After that pick however, it was all downhill. I believe Andre Branch is one of the more overhyped defensive ends coming out this year, and since the Jaguars said they wanted him to play RDE he will have to battle some of the toughest LTs in the league. Finally, if you drafting a punter I believe to be good not great in round 3 you get dropped a full letter grade.
Grade: C-

Houston Texans
The Texans made a lot of boom or bust picks this year, but that isn’t always a bad thing. Whitney Mercilus is a one-year wonder that will likely be a rotational pass rusher like a poor man’s Aldon Smith. Brandon Brooks and Ben Jones in rounds 3 and 4 respectively are strange picks though. The zone-blocking scheme they run is suited for smaller and quicker blockers, however both Brooks and Jones are over 300 lbs. each. Also, I would have been much more comfortable if the Texans had taken injured 5-technique Jared Crick in round 3 and Devier Posey in round 5 instead of vice-versa.
Grade: B-

Tennessee Titans
This one is hard for me to judge because on one hand, I love the players the Titans drafted. On the other hand they didn’t address their top need, which was interior OL even though my seventh-highest player Stanford OG David Decastro was miraculously still available. As far as need goes I give them a “C” grade, but players like Kendall Wright, Zach Brown, Mike Martin, and Markelle Martin all have starting potential from day 1 so for value I have to give them an “A”. So mix that and take a little bit away because I think that they had a chance to grab quality interior OL in every round and the grade cleanly comes out to a “B-“.
Grade: B-

Indianapolis Colts
If you can, forget Andrew Luck. I’m not saying Luck isn’t a great player but he was the easy choice. It is the other guys that the Colts grabbed that made that draft “A” quality: Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, T.Y. Hilton, Josh Chapman, Vick Ballard, Tim Fugger. I was high on all of those players pre-draft and all of them have a chance to contribute heavily next year.  So now not only do the Colts have Luck, but also they have weapons for him to use and some defensive pieces in the front seven that may.
Grade: A

Discussion

  1. Mike Harpon :

    The Detroit Lions had a very underrated draft class this year.