NFL Draft Report: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III Lead 2012 NFL Draft Class
The 2012 NFL Draft wrapped up Saturday night. While many pundits correctly predicted that quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III would go to Indianapolis and Washington at No.1 and No. 2, respectively, there were some surprises as the NFL Draft stretched into its late rounds.
Best Draft: Philadelphia Eagles
By trading up to get defensive tackle Fletcher Cox at No. 12 and then selecting linebacker Mychal Kendricks and defensive end Vinny Curry on Friday, Philadelphia used the NFL Draft to bolster the defense that caused the Eagles to miss the playoffs last year. Cornerback Brandon Boykin will also help the depth of the Philadelphia secondary, while receiver Marvin McNutt and guard Brandon Washington could contribute on offense.
Worst Draft: San Francisco 49ers
No one doubts Jim Harbaugh’s ability to coach, nor that San Francisco will return much of the team that was two botched punt returns away from the Super Bowl last season. However, taking wide receiver A.J. Jenkins in the first round and running back LaMichael James in the second round seemed to be more for depth than need. Later round selections Joe Looney, an offensive lineman, and Darius Fleming, a linebacker, both have durability and talent deficiencies.
Player That Rose: Bryan Anger, Jacksonville Jaguars
Though he was clearly the best punter available, Bryan Anger was probably not a sound choice for the struggling Jacksonville franchise to make in the third round of the NFL Draft. While Anger may have gone in rounds 5-7 to a team, there was no need for the Jaguars to reach for him so high with so many glaring needs on both sides of the ball.
Player That Fell: Rueben Randle, New York Giants
In a draft that was loaded with talented wide receivers, the Super Bowl champion-New York Giants may have gotten one of the best in LSU product Rueben Randle with pick No. 63 at the end of the second round. Randle has size and strength and is familiar with a passing offense. With Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz already in place for the Giants, there’s no pressure for Randle to do anything but develop rapport with Eli Manning.
Biggest Potential to be a Bust: Bruce Irvin, Seattle Seahawks
Rated much lower than his selection at No. 15, West Virginia linebacker Bruce Irvin was considered a big reach for the Seahawks in the first round. He’s a bit undersized, and he may find himself over-matched in certain schemes. If Irvin can turn into the pass rusher that Seattle envisions, they can both take pleasure in making the pundits eat their words over the next three years.
Biggest Surprise: Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
After the Washington Redskins traded their first and second round picks in 2012 and two future first-rounders to take quarterback Robert Griffin III with the second-overall pick, it figured that the team wouldn’t select another quarterback for years. The Redskins waited just three rounds, taking Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins in the fourth round. While you can never have enough good quarterbacks in the NFL, taking two passers so close together doesn’t seem to be a good use of draft picks for this recently struggling franchise.
Best Trade: St. Louis Rams
While St. Louis traded the second-overall pick to the Washington Redskins, who then selected potential franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III from Baylor, the Rams got a great return on the trade. In addition to giving current quarterback Sam Bradford a vote of confidence, St. Louis used the 2012 picks obtained from Washington to make additional trades and load up at the 2012 NFL Draft. The Rams chose defensive tackle Michael Brockers at No. 14 and cornerback Janoris Jenkins at No. 39. The Rams also selected running back Isaiah Pead and guard Rokevious Watkins, both of whom could help right away. St. Louis will also get Washington’s first-round picks in 2013 and 2014, giving the team plenty of flexibility to make other in-season deals or draft day trades.
Best Pick: David DeCastro, Pittsburgh Steelers
A potential top-10 talent that fell to the No. 24 spot, David DeCastro was an All-American guard at Stanford. He may be able to step right in to help the Steelers, who always seem to find the best offensive line prospects. While plenty of other talented players were chosen ahead of him, DeCastro may have more All-Pro selections than all of them when their careers are finished.
Late Round Pick That Could Play: Bobby Massie, Arizona Cardinals
Taken at No. 112 in the fourth round, Bobby Massie could find himself starting on the Arizona Cardinals as early as this year. While he’s admittedly a project and a work in progress, Massie has enough raw talent and ability to show that he belonged in the first round, as some initially projected.
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