2012 NFL Draft Overview (Round 1)

2012 NFL Draft: The Best and Worst Picks of Round 1

4/27/12 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell introduces Trent Richardson (Alabama) as the number three overall pick to the Cleveland Browns in the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell introduces Trent Richardson (Alabama) as the number three overall pick to the Cleveland Browns in the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

The 2012 NFL kicked off last night, and I thought, for the most part, teams were able to find a great deal of talent. Plenty of teams filled needs and added players that will soon be difference-makers at the next level. Here are some of my favorite and least favorite picks of the first round:


Favorite Picks

Trent Richardson - Cleveland 3rd: Usually, I would be opposed to drafting a running back this early. There is such an immense amount of talent at the running back position these days that a team can often find their guy in a middle-round or in free agency. However, guys like Richardson do not come around often. He is by far the best college running back I've seen since Adrian Peterson. He has the same unteachable balance and tackle breaking ability as Marshawn Lynch, plus speed and elusiveness similar to Ray Rice. He is a complete package and will wear down defenses unlike any runner in the NFL. As Jon Gruden said, when you tackle Richardson you have to make a business decision. Trying to hold your ground against him is like putting your chest to a counter-top and having Norm Duke send a bowling ball into your chest. In the AFC North, you need to be able to run the ball so your defense can catch their breath. Richardson will keep the chains moving in Cleveland. Finally, a great pick for the Browns.

 

Morris Claiborne - Dallas 6th: I believe it was Jerry Jones who said the best way to help Tony Romo is by improving the defense. Well that is just what Morris Claiborne will do for the Cowboys. Romo can get the job done. Anyone who plays through a punctured lung and beats the NFL's best defense (49ers) in overtime has my support. If Miles Austin can get healthy and Dez Bryant can get sane, the offense will be just fine. The defense is solid, but with Terrence Newman leaving and Mike Jenkins underachieving, cornerback needed to be addressed for this team that will face Eli Manning, Michael Vick, and RG3 twice a year. Pairing Claiborne with newly acquired Brandon Carr solidifies a potentially spectacular cornerback tandem.

 

Fletcher Cox - Philadelphia 12th: Last year, I said that the Eagles would be "good." I was thinking somewhere in the 9-10 win range. Why did I doubt the dream team? Because the middle of their defense is a gaping hole. By trading up to the 12th pick from 15, the Eagles snagged a guy who some were saying could be drafted in the top 5. They filled an incredibly strong need. This pick won't only improve the Eagles run defense, but it will keep opposing pass protection from focusing solely on their great outside pass rushers. Good player, huge need, great pick.



Favorite Picks (cont.)

Michael Floyd - Arizona 13th: The Cardinals needed to find a way to give Larry Fitzgerald some breathing room in the secondary. They also needed to find a weapon for the (predictably) struggling Kevin Kolb. Well, they killed two birds with one stone with this pick. Michael Floyd is very similar to Justin Blackmon: big and physical with good hands and a great ability to grab jump balls. Floyd has the mentality of a bust, but playing opposite Fitz will be the best thing to happen to his career. Fitz will keep him in check and teach him all the right ways to prepare for the season. The Cardinals passing game now has a nice dual threat.
 
Brandon Weeden - Cleveland 22nd: I love his potential to just jump in and get things going with the Browns. Some say Blackmon made Weeden look good, but a receiver doesn't catch 121 balls with a mediocre quarterback throwing him the ball. Weeden has been through a lot, has experience being a full time athlete (second round pick of the Yankees), and has flourished on big college football stages. His age doesn't scare me, because his NFL age (playing 16 games a year taking hits from the world's greatest physical specimens) is zero. I think he can step in and turn a talented Greg Little into a consistent receiver. Pair those two with a running game featuring Trent Richardson and the Browns are no longer a laughing stock.

 
Least Favorite Picks
 
Ryan Tannehill - Miami 8th: Decent but not great numbers, struggled in big games. These guys who come on the scene late because of their athleticism and personality make me nervous. I think Tannehill has a chance to be a very good NFL quarterback, but I'd say it's unlikely he reaches that potential. I just don't believe the 8th overall pick should be invested in such a risky player. In addition, many experts are expecting him to take a few years to develop. Well, that would mean when he is "developed" he'd be about the same age as Weeden is now, and Weeden is ready to play in the NFL... now. High risk, decent reward, bad pick at 8.
 
Stephon Gilmore - Buffalo 10th: I'm not knocking this guy. Honestly, I don't know much about him. The reason I don't like this pick is because it doesn't fill a need. This defense has absolute studs (M. Williams, K. Williams, M. Dareus) on the defensive line. It has a solid secondary. If the Bills want to address defense, draft a linebacker. Finding a great linebacker could propel this defense to greatness, but drafting another defensive back leaves them with the same weakness they had last year.


Least Favorite Picks (cont.)

Bruce Irvin - Seattle 15th: Once again, I don't have a problem with this player. Spark plug of a pass rusher. Can be a huge difference-maker in pass rushing situations. However, just a week or two ago, I was reading that the Raiders were hoping to get him at 95. Ninety-five. I get the feeling that the Seahawks could have traded down, gained some picks in later rounds, and still gotten their guy.


There were a lot of other picks I liked, not many that I hated, but those were the ones I felt strongly about.

Don't dismiss the draft just yet. Plenty of Pro Bowlers have to wait until the second round to hear their names called.

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4/30/12   |   elevenbravo138again   |   1155 respect

derms33 wrote:
Worst pick of the draft.....3rd rd Cleveland Browns....John Hughes

 I see your John Hughes and raise you a: SS Brandon Hardin, DT/DE Derek Wolfe, P Bryan Anger, DT Jeris Pendleton, FS Tavon Wilson, note these are all players I like but all of them could have been had later with the possible exception on Hardin who'd been rising since his very impressive pro day.

4/30/12   |   scheld

Great analysis. Selecting running backs early rarely works out but if you pass on Richardson and he is the next Barry Sanders you'll be looking for another job.  There will be more second guessing if you pass on him than if you don't. It's not like there haven't been a lot of busts in the other position top picks over the years. Good job
                     George

4/28/12   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

Best Draft....Tampa BAY...FOLLOWED BY BENGALS...TB SIGNED FA ERIC PAGE AND CINCY SIGNED BERFICT...too add to their already potent draft...Kudos

4/28/12   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

Worst pick of the draft.....3rd rd Cleveland Browns....John Hughes

4/28/12   |   fes2mgs

i enjoyed reading the article and as a casual Sunday afternoon football fan,  it helped me understand what the teams look for when making their draft picks. The writer obviously is very knowledgeable and has a special flare for writing.

Marge

4/28/12   |   seatee

Ecellent anaysis. Reflects a deep understanding of NFL teams, weaknesses and strrengths, etc. Fine historical perspective

Charles

4/28/12   |   sisyphus1992   |   1184 respect

(Edited by sisyphus1992)

Rice, Foster, and McCoy did not start their first year Jones Drew didn't start his first 3 years and Turner didn't start his first 4 years. The Browns can not afford to wait on a running back, or any offensive player, to develop with Hardesty, Brandon Jackson, and Chris Ogbonnaya on the roster. Or hope to get lucky with a Terrell Davis type draft pick. They had to take the best available player.

I agree with you on the Weeden pick.

4/27/12   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

Dan_B wrote:
I'm not a big fan of the two Browns picks. As far as Richardson goes, unless you think he is the next Barry Sanders, I never would advocate taking a running back that early. Think of some of the recent top-5 running backs: Reggie Bush, Ronnie Brown, Cadillac Williams, Cedric Benson. All of them are disappointments. The fact is, you can get running backs anywhere.

Here is where the top five rushers last year in the NFL were drafted:
1. Maurice Jones-Drew: 2nd Round, 60th overall
2. Ray Rice: 2nd Round, 55th overall
3. Michael Turner: 5th Round, 154th overall
4. LeSean McCoy: 2nd Round, 53rd overall
5. Arian Foster: Undrafted

As far as Weeden goes: it might be a good pick if two half quarterbacks made one full quarterback. Between him and McCoy, that is a lot of mediocrity IMO. I don't think he is an answer--he was a good system QB. And he is almost 29. 

who would u have taken?  just curious? they have so many needs they can't take Blackmon, since his career is over with Gabbert at the helm, his was over with McCoy or Weeden, I liked Claiborne but since Cle had the 5th scoring defense last year he wasn't going to happen either...so who Kalil?  Browns have a lot of loot tied up in that line already...so I am ready...fire away

4/27/12   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

Browns start the draft off great...and end the day like morons...typical

4/27/12   |   rose132824   |   1 respect

Great article!

4/27/12   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Dan_B wrote:
I'm not a big fan of the two Browns picks. As far as Richardson goes, unless you think he is the next Barry Sanders, I never would advocate taking a running back that early. Think of some of the recent top-5 running backs: Reggie Bush, Ronnie Brown, Cadillac Williams, Cedric Benson. All of them are disappointments. The fact is, you can get running backs anywhere.

Here is where the top five rushers last year in the NFL were drafted:
1. Maurice Jones-Drew: 2nd Round, 60th overall
2. Ray Rice: 2nd Round, 55th overall
3. Michael Turner: 5th Round, 154th overall
4. LeSean McCoy: 2nd Round, 53rd overall
5. Arian Foster: Undrafted

As far as Weeden goes: it might be a good pick if two half quarterbacks made one full quarterback. Between him and McCoy, that is a lot of mediocrity IMO. I don't think he is an answer--he was a good system QB. And he is almost 29. 

I agree that teams should sit on RB's to try and get guys like MJD, Rice, etc., but I like teams to jump on a talent like this. Just for the record, I was extremely critical of the Reggie Bush pick. I think Richardson has put together a college resume/highlight tape (as far as skills that can translate to the next level) that is far superior to any of the top backs in recent history (excluding Adrian Peterson).

I doubt Weeden will ever make a Pro Bowl, but I think he is a good quick fix as a leader who will make the pieces they have on the offense more efficient. As far as age, I think he'll be ready to go from the start and be able to play into his late 30's (due to never having taken the wear-and-tear of an NFL season), giving him close to 10 solid years on a run oriented team.

4/27/12   |   Dan_B   |   1066 respect

I'm not a big fan of the two Browns picks. As far as Richardson goes, unless you think he is the next Barry Sanders, I never would advocate taking a running back that early. Think of some of the recent top-5 running backs: Reggie Bush, Ronnie Brown, Cadillac Williams, Cedric Benson. All of them are disappointments. The fact is, you can get running backs anywhere.

Here is where the top five rushers last year in the NFL were drafted:
1. Maurice Jones-Drew: 2nd Round, 60th overall
2. Ray Rice: 2nd Round, 55th overall
3. Michael Turner: 5th Round, 154th overall
4. LeSean McCoy: 2nd Round, 53rd overall
5. Arian Foster: Undrafted

As far as Weeden goes: it might be a good pick if two half quarterbacks made one full quarterback. Between him and McCoy, that is a lot of mediocrity IMO. I don't think he is an answer--he was a good system QB. And he is almost 29.