While we really don’t know how these guys are going to pan out in the NFL, people want to know how their teams stack up against the rest of the league. So without further ado here are my thoughts and grades on the first round of the 2012 draft.
1. Indianapolis- A+. Pick QB Andrew Luck. It was the easy, obvious choice and there really was no way to screw it up. Now they have to get him targets, protection, and oh yeah a defense. Good Luck.
2. Washington- A. Pick QB Robert Griffin III. The only reason for an A and not an A+ is how much they gave up to get him. Sure is he turns out great it was worth it, but this team has holes and will be limited with draft moves the next couple of years.
3. Cleveland Browns- A. Pick RB Trent Richardson. Same reason as above on the A. The Browns guaranteed they got their guy, and he comes in better than Adrian Peterson when Peterson was drafted.
4. Minnesota Vikings- A+. Pick LT Matt Kalil. They were able to pick up 3 mid-late picks moved down one spot and got the guy they were going to draft anyway. They have 13 picks in the draft (for now).
5. Jacksonville Jaguars- A+. Pick WR Justin Blackmon. They get the playmaker they needed and didn’t give up too much to move past St. Louis for him.
6. Dallas Cowboys- A+. Pick CB Morris Claiborne. The Cowboys made a bold move trading from 14 to 6 to get the last elite talent left at the top of the draft. It fills a need and turns a questionable secondary into a very good, young one. Cowboys’ fans and media are smiling. I’m sure Jerry Jones is patting himself on the back.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. C-. Pick S Mark Barron. They were selecting 5th and wanted either and wanted Richardson, they missed. Then they want Claiborne and got greedy moving back 1 pick too far, sure they can spin it saying they wanted Barron all along, but they gained only a 4th rounder and missed out on the star CB. Barron is great, but it could have been better.
8. Miami Dolphins. C-. Pick QB Ryan Tannehill. I don’t like this pick; Tannehill is a project quarterback that needs a lot of grooming. I don’t think he has the decision making needed for the NFL level, but the Dolphins get a C because they didn’t move up to take him and in the end they had to draft a quarterback early after missing on so many free agents.
9. Carolina Panthers. B+. Pick LB Luke Keuchly. Carolina gets the best linebacker in the draft. They had to go defense with this pick and they did. He’s not dominating physically, but he can be the next Urlacher.
10. Buffalo Bills. A-. Pick CB Stephon Gilmore. – Gilmore is a great player that was a safe pick at corner. He was the best player available and he fills a need for a team that couldn’t stop the pass last season.
11. Kansas City Chiefs. B. Pick DT Pontari Poe- He isn’t dominating on tape, but this is what happens when you take over the combine. He will have good coaching, so he will have a chance to improve his field performance.
12. Philadelhia Eagles. A. Pick DT Fletcher Cox- It is the perfect piece for their team and they didn’t have to move up as far as most thought to get him. Honestly they could have sat at 15 and landed him, but can’t be too safe.
13. Arizona Cardinals. A+. Pick WR Michael Floyd. This makes the Arizona offense very scary. Remember how good they were with Boldin and Fitzgerald, they have a chance to match that. Now if only they had a quarterback. They also blocked the Rams from drafting him, just an added bonus.
14. St Louis Rams. C. Pick DT Michael Brockers. Honestly I put this grade before they even announced the selection. Yes they added a lot of high picks, but they missed out on the top 2 WR’s and that was there biggest need. Michael Brockers is a need so this grade could improve if they land a WR with the 2nd round pick.
15. Seattle Seahawks. F. OLB Bruce Irvin. I’m laughing at this pick, sure it was a need, but there were about 5 other players at the position left that were better than him. He has too many red flags and they could have gotten him in the 2nd round. They are hoping they get Aldon Smith, they are mistaken.
16. New York Jets. A. Pick DE Quinton Coples. He goes to the right situation to succeed. Coples fell do to “motor concerns”, but Rex Ryan will get it all out of him. He is a nice value at this point in the round.