NFL Draft Center


2012 NFL DRAFT FIRST ROUND RESULTS AND ANALYSIS

Written By: Mark Scott

The NFL Draft officially got started last night and what a night it was as it has to go down as one of the more entertaining, if not the most entertaining NFL Draft that there has ever been. There were trades galore as teams moved up and down and all over the place all night long. Ten trades total happened in the first round more than doubling the four that went down last year including picks no.2-7 all changing hands. There was six widely considered elite prospects in this draft in Luck, Griffin III, Richardson, Kalil, Blackmon and Claiborne and all of them came off the board in the top six selections with the top five picks all being offensive players. The frenzied action continued throughout the first round laying the ground work for an amazing draft. It really was an incredible night of draft-picking action.

The Top Ten

  1. IND – QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
  2. STL WSH – QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
  3. MIN CLE – RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
  4. CLE MIN – OT Matt Kalil, USC
  5. TB JAX – WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
  6. WSH STL DAL – CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
  7. JAX TB – SS Mark Barron, Alabama
  8. MIA – QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
  9. CAR – ILB Luke Kuechly, Boston College
  10. BUF – CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina

Analysis

It didn’t take long for the night to get going as the Cleveland Browns tried to steal some thunder from top picks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III by trading up a spot about an hour before the draft started to no.3 to put themselves in a position to land Trent Richardson. As expected Luck and Griffin III went in the top two spots of the draft and then the action really began as picks no.3 through 7 (pick no.2 was traded to Washington in March) had all changed hands. Along with Luck and Griffin III, the other four players; Richardson, Kalil, Blackmon and Claiborne, rated as the six elite prospects available, all went in the first six selections. It’s not like Jerry Jones to go unnoticed on draft night and he certainly didn’t last night after he traded up from the middle of the round to no.6 to land cornerback Morris Claiborne helping to turn the Cowboys’ weak secondary into one of the strongest, to go along with their free agent addition of Brandon Carr. Mark Barron, Luke Kuechly and Stephon Gilmore were all able to rise up a few spots and crack the top ten, while Miami was finally able to land a quarterback after reaching for Ryan Tannehill making him the third quarterback to go in the top ten.

The Middle Ten (Picks 11-20)

  1. KC – NT Dontari Poe, Memphis
  2. SEA PHI – DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State
  3. ARZ – WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
  4. DAL STL – DT Michael Brockers, LSU
  5. PHI SEA – DE/OLB Bruce Irvin, West Virginia
  6. NYJ – DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina
  7. OAK CIN – CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
  8. SD – OLB Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
  9. CHI – DE Shea McClellin, Boise State
  10. TEN – WR Kendall Wright, Baylor

Analysis

The middle section of the first round was all about beefing up the defensive line and pass rush. This part of the round certainly did not go without a couple of questionable selections. Of the ten picks, seven were either a defensive lineman or pass rusher. The Chiefs started the run by selecting the mammoth Poe to take over the middle of their defense at Nose Tackle. It was an interesting pick by GM Scott Pioli, who has built a bit of reputation for taking solid, safe players in the draft, but clearly went away from that by taking one of the biggest gambles and potential payoffs in the Memphis product. Then the Philadelphia Eagles stepped up to the plate and moved up to the no.12 spot trading with Seattle to take the top rated defensive lineman in the draft in Fletcher Cox. Great move, great pick and outstanding value as Cox was widely believed to be the next best prospect following the elite six at the top. Maybe control over Arizona’s draft picks was a part of that massive contract they gave Larry Fitzgerald because the Cardinals continued to reward their star player by drafting the guy he wanted so badly and campaigned for in Notre Dame wide out Michael Floyd, instead of filling a bigger need on the offensive line. The Rams appeared to be very pleased with landing Michael Brockers, who should give Jeff Fisher the Albert Haynesworth-type player he had such great success with in Tennessee to build his new line around in St. Louis, while continuing to add more draft picks. Though the selection of Brockers wasn’t that questionable as defensive tackle help was needed, it was the fact that a wide receiver they so desperately needed came off the board directly in front of them both times they were set to make their selection. Blackmon at 5 and Floyd at 13, when the Rams were lined up to pick at 6 then ultimately at 14. The biggest SHOCK of the entire first round and maybe the draft came when the Seattle Seahawks chose Bruce Irvin out of nowhere, especially with the entire class of pass rushers still available to be had. Irvin has a ton of run-ins with the law and off the field issues galore and wasn’t expected to be drafted until at least the mid to late second round and maybe further into round three, but Seattle believes that he is the best pass rusher in the draft. He better be because all he brings to the table is a small, one-trick pony. If they wanted Irvin, they certainly could’ve moved a bit further down the draft and stockpiled more picks. Then the Jets passed up on Ingram, who they needed and apparently loved for Quinton Coples. He has a lot of talent, but major concerns about his effort and character exist. He should fit right in with the Jets already questionable locker room. The Bengals landed the corner they needed in Dre Kirkpatrick, while San Diego gleefully scooped up Ingram to fix their pass rushing issues with one of the best values of the draft. The Bears also fixed their pass rush by bringing in the rising Shea McClellin, who already looks like a Chicago Bear. Then in a bit of surprise the Titans selected wide receiver Kendall Wright, instead of fixing their interior offensive line or pass rush woes. I thought it was a no-brainer for the Titans to take David DeCastro after he was still on the board for them.

The Playoff Twelve (Picks 21-32)

  1. CIN NE – DE Chandler Jones, Syracuse
  2. CLE – QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
  3. DET – OT Riley Reiff, Iowa
  4. PIT – OG David DeCastro, Stanford
  5. DEN NE – ILB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama
  6. HOU – OLB Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
  7. NE CIN – OG Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
  8. GB – DE/OLB Nick Perry, USC
  9. BAL MIN – SS Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
  10. SF – WR A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
  11. NE DEN TB – RB Doug Martin, Boise State
  12. NYG – RB David Wilson, Virginia Tech

Analysis

The good teams just keeping getting better as the playoff teams that held onto their spots in the late first round all made sound choices with their draft picks for the most part. The New England Patriots took over this part of the draft moving up instead of their usual down to land two players they really wanted in Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower. I hope the AFC is ready because the Patriots aren’t going to have one of the worst defenses again especially with these two selections. Just awesome work from Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Then there was Detroit and especially Pittsburgh, who couldn’t believe their eyes when Riley Reiff and David DeCastro fell into their laps. The DeCastro selection is easily the best pick of the first round. One of the very top players in this draft, the Stanford guard fell because of the lack of value placed on interior offensive linemen. Don’t be surprised if he ends up going to more Pro Bowls than anyone else in this draft. Pouncey and DeCastro have got to be one of the best center-guard combos in the league now. Houston and Green Bay were both able to make their dangerous pass rush even more so by adding Whitney Mercilus and Nick Perry respectively. And who said that running backs were out because three went in the first round as the Bucs and Giants closed out the night by taking Doug Martin and then David Wilson to help their running attacks.

Biggest Risers and Fallers

Bruce Irvin was clearly the biggest winner and riser of the draft from a player perspective as he rose from a projected late second/third round spot to the middle of the first round and the first pass rusher taken. While it was widely believed that Ryan Tannehill would be picked by the Dolphins in the top ten, he was still thought by most to be a late first or second round talent. All the talk about Stephon Gilmore rising up draft boards did come to fruition as he rose to the tenth pick with Buffalo. Mark Barron entered the draft as one of the most highly coveted players and that certainly came into an affect as Tampa Bay took him at no.7 higher than his expected spot in the middle of the first round. Shea McClellin was also a guy that was getting a lot of buzz in the last few weeks leading up to the draft about rising into the late first round and he rose even higher than that going to Chicago at pick no.19. The value of the quarterback came into play again as the Cleveland Browns reached to take 28-year old Brandon Weeden, who was a projected as a second or third round pick, mainly due to his age, but the Browns didn’t seem to care about that. Other risers included Kevin Zeitler, A.J. Jenkins and David Wilson. Jenkins was the biggest riser of the three as he leapfrogged higher rated wide outs like Stephen Hill, Reuben Randle and Alshon Jeffrey.

Melvin Ingram, Quinton Coples, Riley Reiff and David DeCastro all fell much lower than expected, but still found homes in the first round. Although it should be noted that there were reports that Ingram, Coples and Reiff were falling down draft boards this past week. The biggest fallers were Courtney Upshaw and three offensive linemen; Cordy Glenn, Jonathon Martin and Mike Adams, who are all still available heading into Day 2 of the draft. Upshaw’s fall had to do with the fact that despite being an excellent football player, a number of teams are still unsure of where exactly to play him on the field. For Adams, the off the field issues continued to catch up with him as he tested positive for pot at the Combine after a collegiate career filled with a laundry list of incidents, including being a major part of the famous Tattoo-gate at Ohio State. The off the field concerns are also why Janoris Jenkins is still available despite having widely-regarded top ten talent. The lack of highly talented corners should help him from falling too far. Potential late first round prospects like Jerel Worthy, Devon Still, Coby Fleener and Stephen Hill are all still available as well, but probably won’t last very long when the second round begins tonight.

Best Still Available

  1. OLB/DE Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
  2. OG/OT Cordy Glenn, Georgia
  3. OT Jonathon Martin, Stanford
  4. DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State
  5. DT Devon Still, Penn State
  6. TE Coby Fleener, Stanford
  7. CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
  8. OLB Lavonte David, Nebraska
  9. OT Bobby Massie, Mississippi
  10. OT Mike Adams, Ohio State
  11. RB Lamar Miller, Miami-Florida
  12. C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
  13. WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
  14. DT Kendall Reyes, Connecticut
  15. QB Brock Osweiler, Arizona State