Insider: NFL Draft Musings
The first round of the 2012 NFL Draft is finished and we are going to give some brief thoughts about each selection.
1. Indianapolis Colts- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford- Obvious pick who should have some immediate success.
2. Washington Redskins- Robert Griffin, III, QB, Baylor- Another obvious selection who adds excitement to a brow-beaten Redskins fanbase.
3. Cleveland Browns- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama- Traded up one spot for a running back. That’s puzzling.
4. Minnesota Vikings- Matt Kalil, OT, USC- They look like geniuses for moving back a spot, getting a couple extra picks and still getting their guy.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State- The Jags probably didn’t need to trade up to get Blackmon, who does fill a huge need.
6. Dallas Cowboys- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU- Dallas used their second-round pick to move all the way up to get an elite football player. Great move.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Mark Barron, S, Alabama- The Bucs were desperate for safety help and got the best one in the draft. They’ll be able to cover Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez and Greg Olsen better in the NFC South.
8. Miami Dolphins- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A & M- No surprise here as the Dolphins find their quarterback of the future. If they believe he is the guy who can take them where they need to go it makes sense, if they are just doing it because they don’t have anyone else, this is yet another mistake.
9. Carolina Panthers- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College- Probably the safest defensive player in the draft. The pick makes a lot of sense.
10. Buffalo Bills- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina- The Bills have the makings of a very good defense with Gilmore and they could be a legitimate contender this fall.
11. Kansas City Chiefs- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis- Poe tests the theory of “there are only a certain amount of people that large in the world.” Unfortunately, he disappeared in some games and there are motivational issues.
12. Philadelphia Eagles- Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State- The Eagles needed to sure up the middle of their defense and they traded up to get the consensus top defensive tackle.
13. Arizona Cardinals- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame- The Cards are now on the short list of best wide receiver combos, but what good are they if there’s nobody to get them the football.
14. St. Louis Rams- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU- The Rams have a giant hole in the middle of their defense and they were able to move down and get a very talented player. Well done.
15. Seattle Seahawks- Bruce Irvin, DE, West Virginia- Really? They could have grabbed him in Round 2. This is the first major head-scratcher of the draft.
16. New York Jets- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC- The Jets get a great athlete who is versatile enough to play several different positions. Coples is going to the right team with the right coach.
17. Cincinnati Bengals- Dre’ Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama- With the loss of Jonathan Joseph last season and Leon Hall’s torn ACL, the Bengals desperately needed secondary help in a division with some excellent receivers.
18. San Diego Chargers- Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina- The Chargers have been looking for a replacement for Shawne Merriman for years and they might have found him.
19. Chicago Bears- Shea McClellin, DE, Boise State- The Bears now have a nice pass rushing compliment to Julius Peppers. The value probably wasn’t great at pick number 19 and he will be better in a 3-4 than Chicago’s 4-3.
20. Tennessee Titans- Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor- Jake Locker needs more weapons and the Titans may have the best wide receiver duo in the AFC South if Kenny Britt returns healthy.
21. New England Patriots- Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse- The Patriots uncharacteristically traded up to get what could be an elite pass rusher. Nice move.
22. Cleveland Browns- Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State- The Browns see Weeden as a potential starting quarterback and you can expect to see him as their opening day starter.
23. Detroit Lions- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa- Detroit needs help on their offensive line and Reiff should provide that. Solid value pick.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford- Excellent value pick by Pittsburgh as they should have one of the better interior lines in football.
25. New England Patriots- Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama- New England trades up once again as they targeted Hightower who should make for a nice duo with Jerod Mayo. The trade-ups tell me that New England sees that their window may be closing and they need to capitalize immediately.
26. Houston Texans- Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois- In search of a replacement for the departed Mario Williams, Mercilus should fit better in the Texans 3-4 scheme. Mercilus was only productive for one college season but he did have 16 sacks in 2011.
27. Cincinnati Bengals- Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin- Somewhat of a questionable move as there were some elite wideouts still available as well as Cordy Glenn, who most experts had rated higher than Zeitler.
28. Green Bay Packers- Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC- The Packers get a really nice value late in the first round as Perry should be a great rush-backer alongside Clay Matthews. The team that finished 15-1 just got better.
29. Minnesota Vikings- Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame- Minnesota likely didn’t need to trade up to get Smith, but they picked up extra compensation on the Cleveland trade, so no harm no foul. Smith should start from Day 1.
30. San Francisco 49ers- A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois- This is another great example of the team’s draft board not matching what the media thinks. With Stephen Hill and Rueben Randle still on the board, some would say the 49ers “reached,” but who knows what other teams had Jenkins rated as?
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Doug Martin, RB, Boise State- When Tampa began the draft, the question was whether they would be able to improve the backfield or the secondary. They managed to accomplish both as Martin has Emmitt Smith-like skills and should replace Legarrette Blount.
32. New York Giants- David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech- New York was likely peeved that they could select Martin so they grabbed the next best running back in Wilson. Wilson will improve their offense right away as Ahmad Bradshaw hasn’t shown an ability to stay healthy.
Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter <a href=”http://twitter.com/#!/nflcharlie”