2012 NFL Draft Grades
NFL, NFL Draft

Grading Each NFL Team's Draft

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

11. Detroit Lions

Draft Picks

Nov 5, 2011; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners receiver Ryan Broyles (85) runs after a catch while being defended by Texas A&M Aggies free safety Tony Hurd Jr. (4) during the second half at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRERound 1: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

Round 2: Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma

Round 3: Dwight Bentley, CB, La.-Lafayette

Round 4: Ronnell Lewis, DE, Oklahoma

Round 5: Tahir Whitehead, OLB, Temple and Chris Greenwood, CB, Albion

Round 6: Jonte Green, CB, New Mexico State

Round 7: Travis Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma

Grade: B+

Summary


Despite using their first two picks on offense and not defense, the Lions had a really good draft. Bentley and both Lewis' were steals at that point, and Detroit definitely added much-needed depth to its (lack of) secondary. And even if it may be a stretch, Broyles was once considered a first-round wide receiver before he tore his ACL early last season.


12. Green Bay Packers

Draft Picks

Round 1: Nick Perry, DE, USC

Round 2: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State and Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt

Round 3: None

Round 4: Mike Daniels, DT, Iowa and Jerron McMillian, S, Maine

Round 5: Terrell Manning, OLB, North Carolina State

Round 6: None

Round 7: Andrew Datko, OT, Florida State and B.J. Coleman, QB, Chattanooga

Grade: A+

Summary


The Packers had one of the worst defenses in the league last year, if not the worst. So what do they do? Go out and use every draft pick—granted the final one was on a Matt Flynn replacement—on defense. Personally, I think Green Bay had the best draft of all 32 teams. Its defense should be vastly improved next season.


13. Houston Texans

Draft Picks

Round 1: Whitney Mercilus, OLB, Illinois

Round 2: None

Round 3: DeVier Posey, WR, Ohio State and Brandon Brooks, OG, Miami (OH)

Round 4: Ben Jones, C, Georgia and Keshawn Martin, WR, Michigan State and Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska

Round 5: Randy Bullock, K, Texas A&M

Round 6: Nick Mondek, OT, Purdue

Round 7: None

Grade: B

Summary


Mercilus may have been a one-year wonder for the Fighting Illini and Posey could end up being a strech of epic proportion. Still, they both could end up being great in the NFL, and Jones and Crick are big steals in the fourth round.


14. Indianapolis Colts
Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (left) introduces quarterback Andrew Luck (Stanford) as the first overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-US PRESSWIRE
Draft Picks

Round 1: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Round 2: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford

Round 3: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson and T.Y. Hilton, WR, FIU

Round 4: Josh Chapman, DT, Alabama

Round 5: Vick Ballard, RB, Mississippi State

Round 6: LaVon Brazill, WR, Ohio

Round 7: Justin Anderson, OT, Georgia and Tim Fugger, DE, Vanderbilt and Chandler Harnish, QB, Northern Illinois

Grade: A

Summary


It's hard to argue with anything the Colts did here. They drafted their quarterback of the future, got him some key offensive weapons and helped solidify the defensive line.


15. Jacksonville Jaguars

Draft Picks

Round 1: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

Round 2: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

Round 3: Bryan Anger, P, Cal

Round 4: None

Round 5: Brandon Marshall, OLB, Nevada

Round 6: Mike Harris, CB, Florida State

Round 7: Jeris Pendleton, DT, Ashland

Grade: D+

Summary


I think Blackmon is a solid pick, but he was my No. 2 receiver behind Michael Floyd and Jacksonville traded up for him. Andre Branch is good value in the second round, but then you see the jaw-dropper: a punter in the third. That's unheard of and the Jags need a good smack on the hand after that decision.


16. Kansas City Chiefs

Draft Picks

Round 1: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

Round 2: Jeff AllenIll, OT, Illinois

Round 3: Donald Stephenson, OT, Oklahoma

Round 4: Devon Wylie, WR, Fresno State

Round 5: DeQuan Menzie, CB, Alabama

Round 6: Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M

Round 7: Jerome Long, DT, San Diego State and Junior Hemingway, WR, Michigan

Grade: B

Summary


Dontari Poe could be the anchor KC needs on its defensive line, or he could be a draft bust. Judging him up to now it's hard to tell; his films aren't impressive, but his combine is. If he can live up to first-round potential, the Chiefs are heading into the right direction.


17. Miami Dolphins

Draft Picks

Round 1: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

Round 2: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

Round 3: Olivier Vernon, DE, Miami (Fla.) and Michael Egnew. TE, Missouri

Round 4: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami (Fla.)

Round 5: Josh Kaddu, OLB, Oregon

Round 6: B.J. Cunningham, WR, Michigan State

Round 7: Kheeston Randall, DT, Texas and Rishard Matthews, WR, Nevada

Grade: B

Summary


I'm never jumped on the Ryan Tannehill bandwagon, so I'm not going to sit here and hype the guy up. The Dolphins took a huge risk taking him No. 8 overall, especially since they hadn't taken a quarterback in the first round since Dan Marino in 1983. However, I'm fond of the Martin and Miller picks; I believe both were great value for where they fell. Still, Miami has a depleted receiver corps and did not take a WR until the sixth round—one that I didn't even have on my board.


18. Minnesota Vikings

Draft Picks
Apr 27, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier (far left) and general manager Rick Spielman (far right) introduce first round draft picks Matt Kalil from Southern California (left) and Harrison Smith (right) from Notre Dame during a news conference at Vikings headquarters. Mandatory Credit:  Greg Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Round 1: Matt Kalil, OT, USC and Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame

Round 2: None

Round 3: Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida

Round 4: Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas and Rhett Ellison, TE, USC and Greg Childs, WR, Arkansas

Round 5: Robert Blanton, S, Notre Dame

Round 6: Blair Walsh, K, Georgia

Round 7: Audie Cole, ILB, North Carolina State and Trevor Guyton, DE, California

Grade: A-

Summary


For a team that is in the rebuilding process, the Vikings did just that in the draft. They got their tackle of the decade to protect Christian Ponder's blindside, help in the secondary with the fastest athlete from the combine (Robinson), a duo of Arkansas receivers and the best kicker from last year's college season. The only problem I had with Minnesota was Harrison Smith in the first round, who I consider a third-round talent.


19. New England Patriots

Draft Picks

Round 1: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse and Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama

Round 2: Tavon Wilson, FS, Illinois

Round 3: Jake Bequette, DE, Arkansas

Round 4: None

Round 5: None

Round 6: Nate Ebner, S, Ohio State

Round 7: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska and Jeremy Ebert, WR, Northwestern

Grade: A-

Summary


The Patriots absolutely blew the first round out of the water. They got a class-A pass rusher with Jones and a true leader with Hightower. However, they made some questionable decisions down the road with Nate Ebner—a former rugby player that was a special teams guru at Ohio State—and Alfonzo Dennard—who recently punched a cop—with their final two selections. Granted, New England only had three picks in rounds 4-7.


20. New Orleans Saints

Draft Picks

Round 1: None

Round 2: None

Round 3: Akiem Hicks, DE, Canada

Round 4: Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin

Round 5: Corey White, S, Samford

Round 6: Andrew Tiller, OG, Syracuse

Round 7: Marcel Jones, OT, Nebraska

Grade: B-

Summary


New Orleans didn't do anything flashy with its draft, but it didn't really get the chance. Having on five picks, with the first being in the third round, the Saints did what they could to fill needs and depth. I'm a fan of former Badger receiver Nick Toon, and think he was good profit for round 4.

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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   |   34394 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   |   34394 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   |   34394 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...