Apr 27, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck throws a pass on stage at a NFL Draft Party at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
The 2012 NFL Draft is now complete. Which teams found immediate impact players? Which teams struggled? It's time to grade the NFL Draft.
From the 1st pick to the 253rd pick, the 2012 NFL Draft is complete. We think we know who the winners and losers were in this draft but, let's be honest, the NFL Draft has proven again and again that scouts and draft analysts miss on players all the time.
Despite that, we're ready to grade how each team did.
They're right on the cusp of an A for me. I really like the Chargers draft. San Diego didn't expect Melvin Ingram to fall all the way to No. 18, so that's a very good value. Kendall Reyes was also mocked at times in the 1st round, but the Chargers picked him up in Round 2. Brandon Taylor may finally be the safety they've been trying to get since Rodney Harrison left, and Ladarius Green has some Antonio Gates in him.
Solid draft that combined need with talent.
Denver Broncos: C+
This is a high C. The Broncos picked up a couple of good players with their first two picks but I'm not sure how much of an immediate impact they'll make. Derek Wolfe seemed like a bit of a reach, but he fills a need. Brock Osweiler, in the best case scenario, won't play a snap for the Broncos this year. Ronnie Hillman adds to the running back depth, which was a need.
I like the draft but I don't see an immediate impact from the players they selected.
This draft was about depth for the Chiefs so, like the Broncos, they don't necessarily have a lot of immediate impact players. Dontari Poe is a question mark, but should start quickly. After that, though, the Chiefs draft picks were mostly about depth. Jeff Allen takes over when Ryan Lilja leaves. Donald Stephenson is a swing tackle. Devon Wylie turns into the slot receiver the Chiefs tried to turn Dexter McCluster into in his first season (before he became a running back again).
Good depth was added this year.
When you don't have a 1st or 2nd round pick, it's hard to have a good draft. The Raiders selected OT Tony Bergstrom in Round 3 and LB Miles Burris in Round 4. Juron Criner has potential as a 5th round pick. After that, the Raiders draft is filled with projects.
I'm of the mind that when you're able to pick the best player at a position as important as quarterback, you deserve an A. The Colts changed the face of their franchise in the 2012 NFL Draft, so they'll be praised for that, even if it was a no-brainer pick. They also picked up two tight ends, which was a bit of a head scratcher, but they will immediately help Andrew Luck transition to the NFL.
Houston Texans: B-
If not for a couple of their mid-round picks, I'd probably be giving them a C. I'm not a huge fan of the Whitney Mercilus pick because he doesn't have multiple years of good production in college, even if he does have a high ceiling. Brandon Brooks in Round 3 and Ben Jones in Round 4 was good value. That'll add depth as the Texans continue to remake their offensive line after free agency killed it.
Kendall Wright was a good pick, as he probably would not have fallen much further. Some think Wright could end up being the best receiver in this draft. Zach Brown can play quickly and Mike Martin adds some pass rushing threat. Not a very flashy draft, but several solid pieces.
Trading up for Justin Blackmon was a need-based decision. The Jaguars have been looking for a receiver for years and they may finally have one. Andre Branch has special talent, but we have to wait and see if it translates to the NFL. The punter is really what got me, selecting one in the 3rd round. Jeris Pendleton, the 7th round pick, also has some question marks.
Blackmon's the real deal, but there were some curious decisions in this draft.
The Steelers get the benefit of the doubt with a few of their picks considering they've been among the elite when it comes to the draft. David DeCastro is an immediate starter and paired with Maurkice Pouncey, this offensive line is headed in the right direction. Add in Mike Adams, an awesome value in Round 2, and the Steelers made huge improvements to their offensive line. I like the Sean Spence pick in Round 3. Alameda Ta'amu has the potential to be an absolute steal in Round 4. He's a possible Casey Hampton replacement. Chris Rainey was another good value pick.
Baltimore Ravens: B+
I was teetering between an A and a B. I'll stick with B. Courtney Upshaw is a very good pick who will probably be productive in Baltimore's defense, and they traded down to acquire more picks in the process. Kelechi Osemele fills a need. Tommy Streeter in Round 6 could be a nice pickup, too.
Winners of the entire draft? Possibly. Dre Kirkpatrick can start immediately, coming from one of the top schools in the country. Getting Kevin Zeitler at the end of Round 1 is nice. Trading down, and still picking him up, is even better. Devon Still was a first round talent taken at pick No. 53. Mohamed Sanu and Orson Charles give Andy Dalton more weapons. From top to bottom, this might be the best draft in the NFL.
Some people will criticize the Trent Richardson trade-up but I'm of the mind that if you're going to get a guy that's going to touch the ball 20-plus times in a game then it's worth moving up for him. Brandon Weeden should start quickly and Mitchell Schwartz is a solid tackle. Getting a starting running back and quarterback - and potentially a starting tackle - means you had a good draft. I like what the Browns did.
Give the Patriots credit for identifying a need and going all-in. The pass rush was a problem and the Patriots -determined to fix it - traded up twice in the first round to select Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower. Tavon Wilson has been graded as a reach in Round 2. Alfonzo Dennard in the 7th round could be a heck of a pick.
New York Jets: B-
They didn't pick bad players, not by any means. I just don't understand a couple of them. I thought Melvin Ingram was a better fit at No. 16 than Quinton Coples, but Coples still has major potential. Stephen Hill was a nice pick as he continued to fall into the 2nd round. I like Antonio Allen with the 7th round pick.
I'm in the middle on this draft -- not great but not bad, either.
Two premium positions with their first two picks -- Ryan Tannehill and Jonathan Martin. No. 8 is high for Tannehill but we all know how it works with quarterbacks in this league. Martin could be a very good value, and already has people wondering about Jake Long's future. Michael Egnew can be a nice weapon for Tannehill.
If those first two picks work out, then this easily becomes an A.
Some people wonder if Stephon Gilmore will end up being the best cornerback in this draft. Cordy Glenn surprisingly fell to the 2nd round, where Buffalo took him. I think Zebrie Sanders in Round 5 was worth the risk. Solid, but not outstanding draft.