2012 NFL Draft Grades
NFL, NFL Draft

Grading Each NFL Team's Draft

5/1/12 in NFL   |   Tyler_Waddell   |   426 respect

The 2012 NFL draft may be over, but the hard work isn't. Now comes the time to break down how each team did as a whole and how well they fit their needs.

With every bit of the 253 selections in the books, here's a look at how well staff members did at grabbing value for their picks, and drafting quality over quanity.

Please feel free to speak your mind and grade your favorite team's draft below!

Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell introduces Michael Floyd (Notre Dame) as the number thirteen overall pick to the Arizona Cardinals in the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE
1. Arizona Cardinals

Draft Picks

Round 1: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Round 2: None

Round 3: Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma

Round 4: Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss

Round 5: Senio Kelemete, OG, Washington

Round 6: Ryan Lindley, QB, San Diego State and Justin Bethel, CB, Presbyterian

Round 7: Nate Potter, OT, Boise State

Grade: B

Summary


The Cardinals weren't very top-heavy with picks this year after the Kevin Kolb trade, but they made the most of it. Larry Fitzgerald is a fan of Michael Floyd, and those two should be able to build a nice chemistry on the field. Jammell Fleming and Bobby Massie are great value for mid-round selections. I'm hesistant to give Arizona a better grade because it did not address a big need—outside linebacker.


2. Atlanta Falcons

Draft Picks

Round 1: None

Round 2: Peter Konz, C/OG, Wisconsin

Round 3: Lamar Holmes, OT, Southern Miss

Round 4: None

Round 5: Bradie Ewing, FB, Wisconsin and Jonathan Massaquoi, DE, Troy

Round 6: Charles Mitchell, S, Mississippi State

Round 7: Travian Robertson, DT, South Carolina

Grade: B

Summary


Atlanta didn't expect to get a top tier player after losing its first-round selection via Julio Jones trade last year, but it did anyway with Peter Konz, who will likely serve as a guard until told otherwise. The Falcons did a nice job filling depth with their later picks, too.


3. Baltimore Ravens

Draft Picks


Round 1: None

Round 2: Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama and Kelechi Osemele, OT, Iowa State

Round 3: Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple

Round 4: Gino Gradkowski, OG, Delaware and Christian Thompson, S, South Carolina State

Round 5: Asa Jackson, CB, Cal Poly

Round 6: Tommy Streeter, WR, Miami (Fla.)

Round 7: DeAngelo Tyson, DT, Georgia

Grade: C+

Summary


I like what the Ravens did by grabbing an extremely intelligent, athletic football player with Courtney Upshaw. He'll be an immediate contributor as an outside linebacker and likely some special teams. Kelechi Osemele can play inside, which is a big hole on Baltimore's offensive line. Still, it didn't take a future replacement for the aging Ray Lewis, and DeAngelo Tyson isn't going to fill the void at defensive tackle as a starter.


4. Buffalo Bills

Draft PicksApr 27, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix and first round pick cornerback Stephon Gilmore and head coach Chan Gailey hold a jersey during the press conference at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE


Round 1: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

Round 2: Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia

Round 3: T.J. Graham, WR, North Carolina State

Round 4: Nigel Bradham, OLB, Florida State and Ron Brooks, CB, LSU

Round 5: Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State and Tank Carder, OLB, TCU

Round 6: Mark Asper, OG, Oregon

Round 7: John Potter, K, Western Michigan

Grade: B+

Summary


I didn't think corner was Buffalo's biggest need, but it got a great one with Gilmore nonetheless. Cordy Glenn can play guard and tackle, and will be a starter on the Bills' offensive line come Week 1. I'm not sold on the T.J. Graham pick—I think they could have done a little better here in terms of quality with a round 3 selection.


5. Carolina Panthers

Draft Picks

Round 1: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

Round 2: Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern State

Round 3: None

Round 4: Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma and WR Joe Adams, Arkansas

Round 5: Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina

Round 6: Brad Nortman, P, Wisconsin

Round 7: D.J. Campbell, S, California

Grade: C+

Summary

Carolina got the best linebacker in the draft when it took Luke Kuechly No. 9 overall. However, other than Silatolu (who is likely a developmental project), all I see are role players and depth.


6. Chicago Bears

Draft Picks

Round 1: Shea McClellin, OLB/DE, Boise State

Round 2: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

Round 3: Brandon Hardin, S, Oregon State

Round 4: Evan Rodriguez, FB/TE, Temple

Round 5: None

Round 6: Isaiah Frey, CB, Nevada

Round 7: Greg McCoy, CB, TCU

Grade: A

Summary


McClellin is the perfect counterpart for Julius Peppers and Jeffery is a huge steal in the second round (just imagine him across the field from Marshall). Rodriguez is a versatile offensive athlete that can line up at either full back, tight end, and even wide receiver. The Bears knocked this draft out of the park.


7. Cincinnati Bengals

Draft Picks

Round 1: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama and Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin

Round 2: Devon Still, DE/DT, Penn State

Round 3: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers and Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

Round 4: Orson Charles, TE, Georgia

Round 5: Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa and Marvin Jones, WR, Cal and George Iloka, S, Boise State

Round 6: Dan Herron, RB, Ohio State

Round 7: None

Grade: A

Summary


Although they essentially traded down just to miss out on David DeCastro and draft Kevin Zeitler, the Bengals had arguably the best draft out of any other team. Kirkpatrick, Zeitler, Still, Sanu and Thompson will probably all start come Week 1, while the rest will compete for starting position and give depth for the future. Cincinnati has had two straight outstanding draft classes.


8. Cleveland Browns

Draft Picks

Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell introduces running back Trent Richardson (Alabama) as the third overall pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-US PRESSWIRE

Round 1: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama and Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State

Round 2: Mitchell Schwartz, OT, California

Round 3: John Hughes, DT, Cincinnati

Round 4: Travis Benjamin, WR, Miami (Fla.) and James-Michael Johnson, ILB, Nevada

Round 5: Ryan Miller, OG, Colorado

Round 6: Emmanuel Acho, OLB, Texas and Billy Winn, DE, Boise State

Round 7: Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona and Brad Smelley, FB/TE, Alabama

Grade: C+

Summary


I'm in love with the Trent Richardson, Trevin Wade, and Brad Smelley picks. Unfortunately, two of those came in the seventh round, meaning the Browns were careless with their other selections. Brandon Weeden is not a first-round caliber quarterback, Mitchell Schwartz is a huge stretch and John Hughes and Travis Benjamin weren't even on my draft boards. Cleveland did not add to its dismal passing arsenal until the fourth round and that was it.


9. Dallas Cowboys

Draft Picks

Round 1: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Round 2: None

Round 3: Tyrone Crawford, DE, Boise State

Round 4: Kyle Wilber, OLB, Wake Forest and Matt Johnson, S, Eastern Washington

Round 5: Danny Coale, WR, Virginia Tech

Round 6: James Hanna, TE, Oklahoma

Round 7: Caleb McSurdy, ILB, Montana

Grade: B

Summary


For the few picks it had, Dallas did a good job filling needs. It traded up for the best corner in the draft (Claiborne), who will lock that position down for the next 10-plus years and help a secondary that has really struggled as of late.


10. Denver Broncos

Draft Picks

Round 1: None

Round 2: Derek Wolfe, DT, Cincinnati and Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State

Round 3: Ronnie Hillman, RB, San Diego State

Round 4: Omar Bolden, CB, Arizona State and Philip Blake, C, Baylor

Round 5: Malik Jackson, DT, Tennessee

Round 6: Danny Trevathan, OLB, Kentucky

Round 7: None

Grade: D

Summary

You could tell that Denver was drafting for need last weekend. But Derek Wolfe over Devon Still and Jerel Worthy, Ronnie Hillman over Lamar Miller, and Brock Osweiler over Kirk Cousins? The Broncos could have done things a lot differently, and I don't think picking Osweiler was a better idea than getting a quality corner.

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5/4/12   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

The Steelers have had offensive line issues as long as Big Ben has been a starter.  With the first 2 picks this year, they've rebuilt a group of guys I hope they can keep together for a long time.  That's now 4 out of 5, and considering they've been lucky to have ONE of five since Alan Faneca left town, I'd say mission accomplished!  It also doesn't hurt to draft a linebacker, the team has always been built on that.  Running backs and wide receivers come a dime a dozen in the draft, it never hurts to pick one up.  They addressed their needs and I'm happy with their draft overall.

5/2/12   |   beerstudk   |   1538 respect

Tyler_Waddell wrote:
You're right, all the blame shouldn't be on Carroll. Schneider deserves half the load, too. Right now, the Seahawks' draft looks awful. Bruce Irvin couldn't do anything but get to the QB (a required trait in the NFL, yes) and was a third- to fourth-rounder on most boards. Also, I think selecting a quarterback was absurd after signing Matt Flynn to a "starter" contract, especially when a quality player to fit needs could have been done.

Draft grades are premature and usually completely inaccurate, but it also sparks controversy and a lot of reads!

I agree with Irvin being a reach at 15, but most boards I saw had him as a high to mid 2nd round pick and really if the guy can come in and get 12 sacks this year (a la Aldon Smith) it will end up being a great pick.  A legit pass rush with Seattle's secondary will be scary for ANY team!!

Wagner is a beast and was undervalued as a 3rd round pick.  You can make an argument for him being the 2nd best ILB available in the entire draft.

I like Russel Wilson a lot more than most people for whatever reason.  He mastered 2 completely different offenses in college, that shows the dude is pretty smart whereas Oswieler struggled to master a simple QB friendly offense at ASU.  Plus Wilson has a ton of athletisism to go with a strong arm.  I think that he'll be looked at as the steal of this draft in a few years.  As for picking a QB that high, Flynn has potential but really hasn't been tested.  Tavaris Jackson is terrible, he was the worst starting QB in the NFL last year IMO, and if Josh Portis was any good he'd have gotten some playing time last season.

I do think they should have gone another way in the 1st round, but I have to agree with Jess and trust that Pete knows what he's doing, he's done really well in the draft so far.

5/1/12   |   Jess   |   35098 respect

Tyler_Waddell wrote:
You're right, all the blame shouldn't be on Carroll. Schneider deserves half the load, too. Right now, the Seahawks' draft looks awful. Bruce Irvin couldn't do anything but get to the QB (a required trait in the NFL, yes) and was a third- to fourth-rounder on most boards. Also, I think selecting a quarterback was absurd after signing Matt Flynn to a "starter" contract, especially when a quality player to fit needs could have been done.

Draft grades are premature and usually completely inaccurate, but it also sparks controversy and a lot of reads!

Oh just to clarify - it seems to be a web-wide epidemic blaming Carroll and crediting Schneider...it wasn't something I was calling you out on laugh

As for Irvin, I think that that was ALL they were looking for - someone who could get to the quarterback to play opposite Clemons. And yea I have no idea what they were doing with Wilson; either Portis hasn't improved as much as Carroll claims, or Jackson isn't as trusted by them as Carroll tries to convince us. Pete's all about "competition", and he's saying that drafting a QB creates just that at that position, but doesn't having 2 so-called "starters" under contract cover that? Whatever. They baffle me but they usually end up making sense in the long run.

And I definitely agree with you re: draft grades! I just can't agree or disagree just yet with my team's grade anywhere I see it.

5/1/12   |   Tyler_Waddell   |   426 respect

Jess wrote:
I think that mainly what PCJS (it's funny that Pete gets the blame when it's bad but Schneider gets the credit when it's good) is thinking is that while they had some holes in the O-line and DB, which they filled, they've got a VERY young team as-is and this draft was more for depth than anything else. They know they're in a rebuild phase and they're in no hurry to overpay what could very easily be a bust. I shake my head sometimes and wonder wtf, but if PCJS have shown me anything over the past 2 years, it's that they obviously are on the right track, they know what they're doing, and to have faith. 

I personally think draft grades at this stage are premature. We have no idea how a team drafted because we don't know what those picks are going to do, and every year we're surprised. Sometimes bad, sometimes good, but it happens all the time. I like to reserve my draft grading for mid-season at the earliest.

You're right, all the blame shouldn't be on Carroll. Schneider deserves half the load, too. Right now, the Seahawks' draft looks awful. Bruce Irvin couldn't do anything but get to the QB (a required trait in the NFL, yes) and was a third- to fourth-rounder on most boards. Also, I think selecting a quarterback was absurd after signing Matt Flynn to a "starter" contract, especially when a quality player to fit needs could have been done.

Draft grades are premature and usually completely inaccurate, but it also sparks controversy and a lot of reads!

5/1/12   |   Tyler_Waddell   |   426 respect

Dan_B wrote:
A few thoughts:
--I'm happy to see the Chiefs get a B. A lot of people knocked the Poe pick, but they NEED a presence at nose tackle to free up Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali to make plays. And if anyone can coach Poe up it is Romeo Crennel.
--As I've said before, I don't like the Trent Richardson pick. No. 3 is just too high to take a running back.
--With all the holes the Jaguars have, how on earth do they take a PUNTER in the 3rd round. I guess with the state of their offense, they plan on punting a lot...

I'm one of those few guys that think the Chiefs are a playoff team this year. Pending on Poe's performance, they could be a dangerous team moving forward.

It may be a high pick for a running back, but Richardson does everything you want/need a RB to do at the next level: run with power, run with speed, run with agility, awareness and field vision ... he's a factor through the air (HUGE for the way the NFL is transitioning) and he's an elite blocker. Most RBs only possess a few of these traits, and he has all of them--that's why he was drafted No. 3.

I don't see the Jags averaging more than 14 points per game this year. Not as bad as last year's Rams, but pretty freakin' close.

5/1/12   |   Jess   |   35098 respect

Dan_B wrote:
But draft grades are FUN. It's the same reason people enjoy mock drafts, etc. 

True, I suppose it's all in the spirit of prediction. We shall see! cheeky

5/1/12   |   Dan_B   |   1067 respect

Jess wrote:
I think that mainly what PCJS (it's funny that Pete gets the blame when it's bad but Schneider gets the credit when it's good) is thinking is that while they had some holes in the O-line and DB, which they filled, they've got a VERY young team as-is and this draft was more for depth than anything else. They know they're in a rebuild phase and they're in no hurry to overpay what could very easily be a bust. I shake my head sometimes and wonder wtf, but if PCJS have shown me anything over the past 2 years, it's that they obviously are on the right track, they know what they're doing, and to have faith. 

I personally think draft grades at this stage are premature. We have no idea how a team drafted because we don't know what those picks are going to do, and every year we're surprised. Sometimes bad, sometimes good, but it happens all the time. I like to reserve my draft grading for mid-season at the earliest.

But draft grades are FUN. It's the same reason people enjoy mock drafts, etc. 

5/1/12   |   Jess   |   35098 respect

I think that mainly what PCJS (it's funny that Pete gets the blame when it's bad but Schneider gets the credit when it's good) is thinking is that while they had some holes in the O-line and DB, which they filled, they've got a VERY young team as-is and this draft was more for depth than anything else. They know they're in a rebuild phase and they're in no hurry to overpay what could very easily be a bust. I shake my head sometimes and wonder wtf, but if PCJS have shown me anything over the past 2 years, it's that they obviously are on the right track, they know what they're doing, and to have faith. 

I personally think draft grades at this stage are premature. We have no idea how a team drafted because we don't know what those picks are going to do, and every year we're surprised. Sometimes bad, sometimes good, but it happens all the time. I like to reserve my draft grading for mid-season at the earliest.

5/1/12   |   Dan_B   |   1067 respect

A few thoughts:
--I'm happy to see the Chiefs get a B. A lot of people knocked the Poe pick, but they NEED a presence at nose tackle to free up Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali to make plays. And if anyone can coach Poe up it is Romeo Crennel.
--As I've said before, I don't like the Trent Richardson pick. No. 3 is just too high to take a running back.
--With all the holes the Jaguars have, how on earth do they take a PUNTER in the 3rd round. I guess with the state of their offense, they plan on punting a lot...