2012 NFL Draft Order: What's New After Divisional Round of Playoffs?
Following last week's games, the 2012 NFL draft order was closer to being completely finalized.
Some of the latest casualties of the playoffs were surprising to say the least. The Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Denver Broncos and Houston Texans were all sent home for good after losing over the weekend.
With the NFL Draft only three months away, draft strategies are beginning to form and these teams will have to adjust due to their new placement in the draft order.
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Houston's draft position was expected because many believed the Texans would fall to the Baltimore Ravens last week.
With the 26th spot in the first round, I expect the Texans to go after offense in this year's draft. Last year, Houston focused on defense and did very well with J.J. Watt and Brooks Reed having big rookie seasons.
Looking at the offensive prospects for Houston at the end of the first round, wide receiver seems to be the safest bet for the Texans.
Michael Floyd or Mohamed Sanu should still be available. If the Texans can draft another big, physical wide receiver to play on the opposite side of Andre Johnson, Houston's offense would be a tough unit to stop.
Both Floyd and Sanu were big playmakers in college and either could take Houston's offense to the next level. If their defense can maintain the same level of success in 2012, Houston will be a team to look out for next season.
The Denver Broncos were knocked out of the playoffs by the New England Patriots and have earned the No. 25 pick in the first round of the NFL Draft.
This year's draft will be a big statement for the Broncos.
If they go offense, it could be perceived that Denver is looking to build around Tebow and the spread option.
However, I believe they will focus on defense in the first round to shore up their defensive line. Then, in the second and some of the later rounds, the Broncos will focus on the offensive side of the football, perhaps a running back to provide some backup to Willis McGahee. Their strength is running the football, so why not improve it even more?
As far as their first round goes, defensive tackles Jerel Worthy or Fletcher Cox will be the pick here.
New Orleans Saints
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To be frank, the New Orleans Saints' loss last weekend has no bearing on them.
The reason is because the Saints' first-round pick belongs to the New England Patriots, so let's look at how this affects the Patriots' first-round strategy.
At No. 27, the Patriots can go after Melvin Ingram. He's a versatile defensive lineman who can play either defensive end or linebacker. His strength is pass rushing, which would make him valuable to the Patriots' 31st-ranked defense in the league.
However, it wouldn't shock me to see what the Patriots always do and trade down for future picks. That's classic Bill Belichick.
Green Bay Packers
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The 15-1 Green Bay Packers were sent home in by the New York Giants in a stunning defeat.
With the 32nd-ranked defense in the NFL, expect the Packers to focus on defense with their No. 28 pick in the first round.
If either Fletcher Cox or Jerel Worthy are still available, the Packers could certainly look their way. The defensive line hasn't been the same since Cullen Jenkins left in the offseason for Philadelphia.
Also keep an eye on Melvin Ingram, too. Clay Matthews is the only legitimate pass rusher for the Packers currently. Adding Ingram into the mix would help the defense get pressure on the quarterback, which would improve the Packers' already impressive takeaway numbers.
Green Bay will definitely focus on defense with their first pick of the draft.