2012 NFL Draft Grades: Report Card for All 32 GMs
Well, the 2012 NFL draft is officially over. General managers can finally take a breather with the end of the draft.
While some GMs absolutely nailed the draft, others struggled to get picks that would make an instant impact on their rosters. And once again, GMs like A.J. Smith, Kevin Colbert and Ted Thompson proved why they're the best in the business.
Here is a report card and grades for every NFL GM following the 2012 NFL draft.
Buddy Nix, Buffalo Bills
Picks: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina (10), Cordy Glenn, OG/OT, Georgia (41), T.J. Graham, WR, North Carolina St. (69), Nigel Bradham, OLB, Florida St. (105), Ron Brooks, CB, LSU (124), Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida St. (144), Tank Carder, ILB, TCU (147), Mark Asper, OG, Oregon (178), John Potter, K, Western Michigan (251)
Best Pick: CB Stephon Gilmore
Worst Pick: WR T.J. Graham
The first two rounds of the 2012 NFL draft couldn't have gone better for the Buffalo Bills. Both Gilmore and Glenn will be able to start from day one, and both will become two of the best players from this draft.
Unfortunately, things started going downhill after that. The Bills and Buddy Nix missed on their next three picks. Neither Graham, Bradham or Brooks will be able to make much of an impact early in their career.
However, Nix got back on track in the fifth round with his selection of Sanders, who some saw as a top-five offensive tackle in this draft. Buffalo had a big need on its offensive line, and Sanders will likely fill that need at an extremely low cost.
Buffalo got some nice pieces to build around in this draft, but it could have gone much better for Nix.
Final Grade: C+
Jeff Ireland, Miami Dolphins
Picks: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M (8), Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford (42), Olivier Vernon, DE, Miami (72), Michael Egnew, TE, Missouri (78), Lamar Miller, RB, Miami (97), Josh Kaddu, LB, Oregon (155), B.J. Cunningham, WR, Michigan St. (183), Kheeston Randall, DT, Texas (215), Rishard Matthews, WR, Nevada (227)
Best Pick: RB Lamar Miller
Worst Pick: DE Olivier Vernon
This draft class will hinge completely on the success of Tannehill. If he wins, this draft will be considered a success. However, if he struggles, it will be considered a complete failure.
The truth is that after Tannehill, the Miami Dolphins and Jeff Ireland did a great job at finding impact players. Martin, Egnew, Miller and Kadu will all fight for playing time as rookies.
The best value pick by far was Miller, who some considered a first-round prospect. He has the potential to be an every-down running back in this league, and should reach that potential sooner than later. Getting him in the fourth round was an absolute steal.
The only questionable pick in this draft for Ireland was Vernon, who was picked too soon for the type of impact he'll make early in his career.
Final Grade: C+
Floyd Reese, New England Patriots
Picks: Chandler Jones, DE/OLB, Syracuse (21), Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama (25), Tavon Wilson, S, Illinois (48), Jake Bequette, DE, Arkansas (90), Nate Ebner, DB, Ohio St. (197), Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska (224), Jeremy Ebert, WR, Northwestern (235)
Best Pick: ILB Dont'a Hightower
Worst Pick: S Tavon Wilson
There was a lot to like about how Floyd Reese was going about his business to start the 2012 NFL draft. He made trades to move up twice in the first round, and landed stellar prospects both times.
It cost him the majority of his picks, but it was definitely worth it. However, with so few picks remaining, it appeared as if Reese felt like he needed to reach for players that weren't anywhere close to being drafted.
While Wilson and Bequette may be fine players, they were both drafted way too high for what they bring to the field. In fact, Wilson was drafted before numerous other talented safeties such as Brandon Taylor and George Iloka.
Their greatest late-round pick came with Dennard, who has the potential and body size to contribute to the team right away.
It's difficult to grade the New England Patriots because you always feel that they know something that you don't.
Final Grade: C+
Mike Tannenbaum, New York Jets
Picks: Quinton Coples, DE, UNC (16), Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech (43), Demario Davis, OLB, Arkansas St. (77), Josh Bush, S, Wake Forest (187), Terrance Ganaway, RB, Baylor (202), Robert T. Griffin, OG, Baylor (203), Antonio Allen, SS, South Carolina (242), Jordan White, WR, Western Michigan (244)
Best Pick: WR Stephen Hill
Worst Pick: DE Quinton Coples
Considering there were teams in front of the New York Jets that needed a pass-rusher like Coples, and they still didn't take him, it makes you wonder what New York will get from him.
While there is no doubting his potential and abilities, there are major questions concerning his character and effort. The Jets have had issues with players like that in the past.
Fortunately, Mike Tannenbaum was able to get back on track with his selections of Hill and Davis. Davis is an interesting pick, but he has the body size and versatility that Rex Ryan loves. With Hill, the Jets are adding a premier deep-ball threat and a player with loads of potential.
The draft started roughly for the Jets, but ended solidly.
Final Grade: B-
Ozzie Newsome, Baltimore Ravens
Picks: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama (35), Kelechi Osemele, OG/OT, Iowa State (60), Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple (84), Gino Gradkowski, OG, Delaware (98), Christian Thompson, FS, South Carolina St. (130), Asa Jackson, CB, Cal Poly (169), Tommy Streeter, WR, Miami (198), Deangelo Tyson, DE, Georgia (236)
Best Pick: OLB Courtney Upshaw
Worst Pick: OG Gino Gradkowski
You have to love what the Baltimore Ravens did during this year's draft. They traded out of the first round, picked up some extra picks and still got one of the best defensive players in the second round. Not only will Upshaw be able to step in immediately and produce, his versatility and ability to play against the run will thrive in Baltimore.
Another pick who will play instantly is Osemele, who will be tasked with replacing Ben Grubbs on the offensive line. He's still a little raw of a prospect, but he should be able to acclimate rather quickly for the Ravens.
The only pick that wasn't so good for Ozzie Newsome this year was reaching for Gradkowski early in the fourth round. The Delaware product would have likely been available much later in the draft, and the Ravens could have used that pick to continue to boost their offensive firepower.
Final Grade: B+
Mike Brown, Cincinnati Bengals
Picks: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama (17), Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin (27), Devon Still, DT, Penn State (53), Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers (83), Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson (93), Orson Charles, TE, Georgia (116), Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa (156), Marvin Jones, WR, California (166), George Iloka, FS, Boise State (167), Dan Herron, RB, Ohio St. (191)
Best Pick: WR Mohamed Sanu
Worst Pick: CB Dre Kirkpatrick
It's not that I believe Kirkpatrick is going to be a poor NFL player. In fact, I'll think he'll be a fantastic NFL player. However, the reason he is the worst pick is because Mike Brown passed on David DeCastro to draft him.
What makes it even worse is that the Cincinnati Bengals could have possibly been able to draft him with the 21st pick had they just waited. Losing out on a potential All-Pro player in DeCastro was a major mistake for Cincinnati.
After the first round, the Bengals got back on track by selecting numerous players who will increase production on offense and defense.
It starts with Sanu, who will be a perfect complement to A.J. Green, and continue to help develop Andy Dalton at quarterback. Even Charles will be a solid option at tight end opposite Jermaine Gresham.
On defense, Still and Thompson have the ability to start from day one, with Thompson having an extremely high ceiling. These two picks simply boosted an already talented defense.
Even late in the fifth round, Brown was able to draft players who could produce as rookies in Iloka and Jones.
While Brown is one of the most criticized owners/general managers in the league, this was one of the best drafts in his entire career.
Final Grade: A-
Tom Heckert, Cleveland Browns
Picks: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (3), Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State (22), Mitchell Schwartz, OT, California (37), John Hughes, DT, Cincinnati (87), Travis Benjamin, WR, Miami (100), James-Michael Johnson, ILB, Nevada (120), Ryan Miller, OG, Colorado (160), Emmanuel Acho, OLB, Texas (204), Billy Winn, DT, Boise St. (205), Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona (245), Brad Smelley, TE, Alabama (247)
Best Pick: RB Trent Richardson
Worst Pick: OT Mitchell Schwartz
If there is one word to describe the Cleveland Browns and Tom Heckert's draft this year it is bold. They are completely revamping the offensive side on the ball on their team.
It'll all start with Richardson, who has the abilities to become one of the best running backs in the league. It also appears as if Weeden will have a great chance at starting the year as the top quarterback on the depth chart.
The only other area that was a real need for the Browns on offense was at right tackle, and they completely missed on that pick. While Schwartz is experienced and versatile, he won't make a huge impact in the league.
A pick I love that could end up being huge for Cleveland is taking Johnson late in the fourth round. This kid can absolutely play and could become the leader of an improving defense for the Browns.
Overall, Cleveland did a solid job at turning the page on a horrid offense from last year, while picking up some nice pieces along the way.
Final Grade: B
Kevin Colbert, Pittsburgh Steelers
Picks: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford (24), Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State (56), Sean Spence, LB, Miami (86), Alameda Ta'amu, DT, Washington (109), Chris Rainey, RB, Florida (159), Tony Clemons, WR, Colorado (231), David Paulson, TE, Oregon (240), Terrence Frederick, CB, Texas A&M (246), Kelvin Beacum, OT, SMU (248)
Best Pick: OG David DeCastro
Worst Pick: None
What isn't to love about what the Pittsburgh Steelers did this weekend? You look through this entire draft and you see players that will be able to make an impact immediately.
It all starts with DeCastro, who was an absolute steal to get with the 24th pick. We're talking about an All-Pro player from day one with DeCastro, and one of the best players in the draft regardless of position.
The Steelers continued to improve their offensive line by selecting Adams, who'll be able to start at right tackle immediately, before moving onto the defensive side of the ball.
Spence is a high-motor player who can play inside or outside linebacker for the Steelers. Getting Ta'amu, who some experts had rated as their second-best defensive tackle, was another fantastic pick by the Steelers.
While there was a ton of offseason talk concerning the Steelers looking like the third-best team in the AFC North, that talk now needs to be silenced after Pittsburgh and Kevin Colbert put together one of the best drafts.
Final Grade: A+
Rick Smith, Houston Texans
Picks: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois (26), DeVier Posey, WR, Ohio State (68), Brandon Brooks, OG, Miami, OH (76), Ben Jones, C, Georgia (99), Keshawn Martin, WR, Michigan St. (121), Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska (126), Randy Bullock, K, Texas A&M (161), Nick Mondek, OT, Purdue (195)
Best Pick: C Ben Jones
Worst Pick: WR DeVier Posey
Let me start by saying that I absolutely love the Houston Texans getting Jones and Crick in the fourth round. Jones is the second-best center in this draft, and he will be an excellent reserve player behind Chris Myers, while Crick is as NFL-ready as they come in this draft.
With that said, Rick Smith made some interesting picks throughout the draft. I understand that they want Mercilus to replace Mario Williams, but they already have a stout defense without Williams, and had a bigger need at wide receiver than defensive end/outside linebacker.
Speaking of wide receiver, drafting Posey in the second round was just an awful pick. Not only was it way too soon to draft him, but I can't see him making much of an impact in the NFL due to his size and lack of athleticism.
Houston continued to miss at receiver in the fourth round by taking Martin one pick ahead of a much more talented Nick Toon of Wisconsin. It was another surprising pick from Smith and the Texans.
The Texans are still the team to beat in the AFC South, but the rest of the teams definitely closed the gap due to a lackluster draft performance by Houston.
Final Grade: C
Ryan Grigson, Indianapolis Colts
Picks: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (1), Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford (34), Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson (64), T.Y. Hilton, WR, FIU (92), Josh Chapman, DT, Alabama (136), Vick Ballard, RB, Mississippi St. (170), LaVon Brazill, WR, Ohio (206), Justin Anderson, OT, Georgia (208), Tim Fugger, DE, Vanderbilt (214), Chandler Harnish, QB, Northern Illinois (253)
Best Pick: QB Andrew Luck
Worst Pick: WR T.Y. Hilton
It's a new day for the Indianapolis Colts. Selecting Luck with the first pick was going to give Ryan Grigson a top grade for the draft, but the fact that he went out and got Luck's top target in college makes this an even better draft.
When you factor in the fact that he got another talented tight end, plus Chapman in the fifth round, Grigson's first draft for the Colts was a major success.
Final Grade: A+
Gene Smith, Jacksonville Jaguars
Picks: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State (5), Andre Branch, DE, Clemson (38), Bryan Anger, P, California (70), Brandon Marshall, OLB, Nevada (142), Mike Harris, CB, Florida St. (176), Jeris Pendleton, DT, Ashland (228)
Best Pick: DE Andre Branch
Worst Pick: P Bryan Anger
Things were really going great for Gene Smith and the Jacksonville Jaguars through two rounds of the draft.
They got who many consider to be the best wide receiver in the draft in Blackmon. He'll help greatly in the development of Blaine Gabbert from day one.
After that, Jacksonville did a great job at snagging Branch, who is a prospect with some serious upside to his game. The Jaguars already have one of the more underrated defenses in the league, and Branch should be another valuable weapon.
Unfortunately, everything plummeted downhill after that. With their third-round pick, the Jaguars took a punter. Yeah, you read that right.
It's almost as if Smith was joking in his war room about taking a punter, and somehow that pick got to the ears of the commissioner. That pick was easily the worst pick of the entire draft.
It doesn't matter what Jacksonville was able to do before or after that pick. That pick basically sums up the upcoming season for the Jaguars.
Final Grade: F
Ruston Webster, Tennessee Titans
Picks: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor (20), Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina (52), Mike Martin, DT, Michigan (82), Coty Sensabaugh, CB, Clemson (115), Thompson Taylor, TE, SMU (145), Markelle Martin, FS, Oklahoma St. (190), Scott Solomon, DE, Rice (211)
Best Pick: OLB Zach Brown
Worst Pick: CB Coty Sensabaugh
There was certainly a lot to like about what Ruston Webster and the Tennessee Titans were able to accomplish over the weekend.
While many expected the Titans to either address their offensive or defensive line in the first round, they didn't reach for a player, but rather decided to take the best available player in Wright.
Now the Titans have some serious weapons on offense for either Matt Hasselbeck or Jake Locker heading into the 2012 season.
After taking Wright, Webster continued selecting impact prospects. Brown was one of the most underrated outside linebackers in the league, and could end up being a major steal as a second-round pick.
The Titans even had success in the late rounds. They picked up Martin, who many projected as the best free safety in the class, all the way in the sixth round.
Tennessee improved greatly on both sides of the ball, which is all you could really want from a general manager in the draft.
Final Grade: B+
Brian Xanders, Denver Broncos
Picks: Derek Wolfe, DT, Cincinnati (36), Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State (57), Ronnie Hillman, RB, San Diego State (67), Omar Bolden, CB, Arizona St. (101), Philip Blake, C, Baylor (108), Malik Jackson, DE, Tennessee (137), Danny Trevathan, OLB, Kentucky (188)
Best Pick: QB Brock Osweiler
Worst Pick: RB Ronnie Hillman
It's not that Hillman was a terrible pick; it's just that he could have been had much later in the draft. The same thing could be said about defensive tackle Wolfe, but at least he'll be able to produce from day one for the Denver Broncos.
The big surprise from the Broncos draft is that they didn't address wide receiver early. You'd think with Peyton Manning coming to town, they'd want to get him all the possible weapons they could.
Speaking of Manning, could Osweiler have fallen into a better position? Not only will he be able to learn and develop behind one of the greatest quarterbacks ever in Manning, but he also has John Elway whispering in his ear. Getting Osweiler in the second round was one of the better picks in the entire draft.
Even their later-round selections of Blake and Jackson are intriguing picks with huge upsides.
It wasn't an overly dominant draft by the Broncos, but they made some nice picks and will definitely enter the 2012 season as the team to beat in the AFC West.
Final Grade: B-
Scott Pioli, Kansas City Chiefs
Picks: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis (11), Jeff Allen, OG, Illinois (44), Donald Stephenson, OT, Oklahoma (74), Devon Wylie, WR, Fresno St. (107), DeQuan Menzie, CB, Alabama (146), Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M (182), Jerome Long, DT, San Diego St. (218), Junior Hemingway, WR, Michigan (238)
Best Pick: WR Devon Wylie
Worst Pick: DT Dontari Poe
Even though Poe started the draft season as an extremely hot commodity, his stock had cooled off in recent weeks due to his lack of production against lesser talent while at Memphis. Clearly, that wasn't enough for the Kansas City Chiefs to deter them from drafting him right outside the top 10.
Poe has a great deal of potential, but he also has a low floor. If he can't put it all together, he'll have difficulty even getting onto the field in Kansas City.
Luckily for the Chiefs, Scott Pioli made some solid picks to improve their offense after taking Poe. Both Allen and Stephenson will compete for playing time, and they'll be serviceable backups as a worst-case scenario.
The best player that the Chiefs took in this entire draft was Wylie. He is a dynamic playmaker who has been underrated throughout this entire draft process. He'll be able to provide a spark in a number of ways for Kansas City.
Final Grade: B-
Reggie McKenzie, Oakland Raiders
Picks: Tony Bergstrom, OT, Utah (95), Miles Burris, OLB, San Diego St. (129), Jack Crawford, DE, Penn St. (158), Juron Criner, WR, Arizona (168), Christo Bilukidi, DE, Georgia St. (189), Nathan Stupar, OLB, Penn St. (230)
Best Pick: WR Juron Criner
Worst Pick: OT Tony Bergstrom
No general manager was thrown into a tougher position than Reggie McKenzie for the Oakland Raiders. Due to the trade for Carson Palmer last year, the Raiders didn't have a draft pick until their compensatory pick at the end of the third round.
They couldn't find a single prospect who appears ready to contribute as a rookie. The only possible contributor for this team is Criner, a big receiver from Arizona.
Those who want to judge McKenzie as a GM will need to wait until next year to see what he can really do with some draft picks.
Final Grade: F
A.J. Smith, San Diego Chargers
Picks: Melvin Ingram, OLB, South Carolina (18), Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut (49), Brandon Taylor, SS, LSU (73), Ladarius Green, TE, Louisiana-Lafayette (110), Johnnie Troutman, OG, Penn St. (149), David Molk, C, Michigan (226), Edwin Baker, RB, Michigan St. (250)
Best Pick: OLB Melvin Ingram
Worst Pick: OG Johnnie Troutman
Few in the business are as good as A.J. Smith, and he proved once again just how dominant he can be in the draft.
His first three selections all have the potential of being top players in the league. Ingram was thought to be a sure-fire top-10 pick, and was one of the best value picks in the entire draft. Both Reyes and Taylor will compete for playing time right away, and both players are filled with potential.
The San Diego Chargers continued to make solid selections by grabbing Green, who reminds many of a rawer version of Antonio Gates, in the middle of the fourth round. With Gates seeming much older than he really is, San Diego needed a backup plan, and Green has the potential to be that man.
One thing that is certain year after year is that Smith will rebuild the Chargers through the draft. That definitely didn't change this year.
Final Grade: A-
Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys
Picks: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU (6), Tyrone Crawford, DE, Boise St. (81), Kyle Wilber, OLB, Wake Forest (113), Matt Johnson, SS, Eastern Washington (135), Danny Coale, WR, Virginia Tech (152), James Hanna, TE, Oklahoma (186), Caleb McSurdy, ILB, Montana (222)
Best Pick: CB Morris Claiborne
Worst Pick: SS Matt Johnson
I don't care what it cost the Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones to move up to the sixth pick; it was worth everything for the right to draft Claiborne. In this offseason, the Cowboys went from having one of the worst secondaries to having two exceptional cornerbacks in Brandon Carr and Claiborne.
While the Claiborne pick was fantastic, Jones continued to find solid and impact players throughout the draft. Both Crawford and Wilber have high ceilings, and should at least provide some rotational play as rookies.
It was a little surprising for the Cowboys to not address their offensive line earlier in the draft, as this was one of their biggest weaknesses heading into the draft. Tony Romo will likely have another year where he'll be on the ground rather consistently.
Overall, a solid draft for Jones as he looks to regain control of the NFC East.
Final Grade: A-
Jerry Reese, New York Giants
Picks: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech (32), Rueben Randle, WR, LSU (63), Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech (94), Adrien Robinson, TE, Cincinnati (127), Brandon Mosely, OT, Auburn (131), Matt McCants, OT, UAB (201), Markus Kuhn, DT, North Carolina St. (239)
Best Pick: CB Jayron Hosley
Worst Pick: TE Adrien Robinson
This was certainly an interesting draft for Jerry Reese and the New York Giants. In fact, their first two picks surprised everyone.
While Wilson and Randle were two of the better players at their respective positions, neither running back nor wide receiver was much of a need for the Giants. The selection of Wilson was even more puzzling when you consider that tight end Coby Fleener was still on the board.
The best pick of the draft came in the third round when the Giants drafted Hosley. There are some concerns about his character, but this is a kid who knows how to play cornerback with the body and skills to succeed in the NFL.
The Giants may not have had as good of a draft as the rest of the teams in their division, but they improved enough to remain the team to beat in the NFC East.
Final Grade: B-
Howie Roseman, Philadelphia Eagles
Picks: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State (12), Mychal Kendricks, ILB, California (46), Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall (59), Nick Foles, QB, Arizona (88), Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia (123), Dennis Kelly, OT, Purdue (153), Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa (194), Brandon Washington, OG, Miami (200), Bryce Brown, RB, Kansas St. (229)
Best Pick: DT Fletcher Cox
Worst Pick: None
It's hard not to love every single pick that the Philadelphia Eagles and Howie Roseman made during the 2012 NFL draft.
Even though they had to trade up to get Cox, it was absolutely worth it. He was the top defensive tackle in the class and will give the Eagles a huge boost on defense against the run.
Even a player like Curry, who wasn't necessarily needed, was a great pick for Roseman. There is a lot to like about Curry, and the fact that they got him late in the second round was just fantastic.
If you continue moving down the picks, Foles is a great insurance pick for Michael Vick at quarterback. Boykin is an extremely talented cover cornerback who should be able to replace Asante Samuel at a much cheaper cost.
All in all, the Eagles had an incredible weekend, and any hopes that 2011 was just the beginning of poor play for Philadelphia will need to reanalyze their thoughts. This is a team ready to compete for a Super Bowl in 2012.
Final Grade: A
Bruce Allen, Washington Redskins
Picks: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor (2), Josh LeRibeus, OG, SMU (71), Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan St. (102), Keenan Robinson, OLB, Texas (119), Adam Gettis, OG, Iowa (141), Alfred Morris, RB, Florida Atlantic (173), Tom Compton, OT, South Dakota (193), Richard Crawford, CB, SMU (213), Jordan Bernstine, CB, Iowa (217)
Best Pick: QB Robert Griffin III
Worst Pick: OG Josh LeRibeus
All Bruce Allen and the Washington Redskins had to do for a passing grade in this year's draft was draft Griffin.
They did that, and while the rest of their draft leaves much to be desired, Griffin is the future of this team. He'll improve everyone around him from day one.
Final Grade: B
Phil Emery, Chicago Bears
Picks: Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State (19), Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina (45), Brandon Hardin, FS, Oregon St. (79), Evan Rodriguez, TE, Temple (111), Isaiah Frey, CB, Nevada (184), Greg McCoy, CB, TCU (220)
Best Pick: WR Alshon Jeffery
Worst Pick: FS Brandon Hardin
Clearly, the Chicago Bears had two things on their mind heading into the draft.
First, they wanted to get even more pressure on quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Christian Ponder. Even though McClellin's position is a little unknown right now, he'll definitely be able to get into opponents' backfields consistently.
Their second task of the draft was to get more weapons for Jay Cutler. Jeffery has the potential to be the best receiver in this draft class, as long as he puts in the effort to do so. Adding a versatile weapon like Rodriguez who can play either fullback or tight end will also improve the Bears offense.
The only real head-scratching pick was free safety Hardin, who seems like a major reach in the third round. Even with a less-than-stellar safety class, the Bears would have likely been able to wait a round or two and still draft him.
Overall, the Bears did a good job at improving on both sides of the ball and will not be a team to take lightly in the NFC.
Final Grade: B
Martin Mayhew, Detroit Lions
Picks: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa (23), Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma (54), Dwight Bentley, CB, Louisiana-Lafayette (85), Ronnell Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma (125), Tahir Whitehead, OLB, Temple (138), Chris Greenwood, CB, Albion (148), Jonte Green, CB, New Mexico St. (196), Travis Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma (223)
Best Pick: OLB Ronnell Lewis
Worst Pick: WR Ryan Broyles
The days of the Detroit Lions completely ruining their franchise through the draft are long gone. After some solid drafts in recent years, the Lions and Martin Mayhew took another giant step forward, thanks to the 2012 NFL draft.
Their weekend started by getting a fantastic player while filling a major need on the offensive line. Reiff can play right or left tackle in the NFL, and he will help protect Matthew Stafford for years.
However, their best pick didn't come until the fourth round, when they took Lewis to boost their defense. Lewis was a fringe first-round pick early in the draft season, and his non-stop motor and ability to get after the quarterback will be huge in the NFC North.
The only questionable pick in this draft for Detroit was drafting Broyles in the second round. It's hard to argue with the production that Broyles had at Oklahoma, but no one—except Mayhew—thought he was worth a second-round pick.
Detroit is a team on the rise, and its draft picks cemented its status as an extremely dangerous team heading into 2012.
Final Grade: B
Ted Thompson, Green Bay Packers
Picks: Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC (28), Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State (51), Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt (62), Mike Daniels, DT, Iowa (132), Jerron McMillian, SS, Maine (133), Terrell Manning, OLB, North Carolina St. (163), Andrew Datko, OT, Florida St. (241), B.J. Coleman, QB, Tennessee-Chattanooga (243)
Best Pick: DE/OLB Nick Perry
Worst Pick: SS Jerron McMillian
There was little doubt that Ted Thompson was going to attempt to improve his defense during the draft, and that is exactly what he did.
It started with his best pick of the weekend in Perry. Not only does Perry hit the Green Bay Packers' biggest need at outside linebacker, but he is a high-ceiling player who should be able to produce right away opposite Clay Matthews.
After that, Thompson really went to work and did what he does best. He moved up twice during the second round to continue to boost his defense by taking Worthy and Hayward. Worthy is a prospect who will instantly see playing time at a number of positions, while Hayward is an intriguing player who might get a chance to replace Nick Collins at free safety.
As the draft continued, Thompson continued to show what a great general manager he is. Without any picks after the second round until his compensatory picks in the fourth round, Thompson took developmental players who also fill needs on his roster.
It would have been nice to see the Packers look at one of the running backs who saw their stock fall throughout the draft, but it's hard to argue with one of the best in the business.
Final Grade: B
Rick Spielman, Minnesota Vikings
Picks: Matt Kalil, OT, USC (4), Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame (29), Josh Robinson, CB, UCF (66), Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas (118), Rhett Ellison, FB, USC (128), Greg Childs, WR, Arkansas (134), Robert Blanton, CB, Notre Dame (139), Blair Walsh, K, Georgia (175), Audie Cole, ILB, North Carolina St. (210), Trevor Guyton, DE, California (219)
Best Pick: OT Matt Kalil
Worst Pick: S Harrison Smith
Rick Spielman's draft was the definition of an up-and-down draft.
First, Spielman did a great job at moving back one spot, picking up a bunch of picks and still getting their top target in Kalil. However, Spielman then traded back into the first round to draft Smith, which seems like a definite reach.
The Minnesota Vikings would have likely been able to take Smith with their second-round pick, and maybe even could have moved back and still gotten Smith. After that, Spielman got back on track by taking two players who should contribute from day one.
Both Wright and Robinson are ultra-athletic and both will provide interesting options on offense, defense and special teams. However, the pick I really loved late in the draft for Minnesota was Childs. While he still needs to develop, his size will give Christian Ponder a huge target.
While the Vikings are still the worst team in the NFC North, they certainly closed the gap some by their overall success in the draft.
Final Grade: B
Thomas Dimitroff, Atlanta Falcons
Picks: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin (55), Lamar Holmes, OT, Southern Miss (91), Bradie Ewing, FB, Wisconsin (157), Jonathan Massaquoi, DE, Troy (164), Charles Mitchell, SS, Mississippi St. (192), Travain Robertson, DT, South Carolina (249)
Best Pick: C Peter Konz
Worst Pick: OT Lamar Holmes
Without many picks in this year's draft due to their major trade last year for Julio Jones, the Atlanta Falcons needed to make the most of their picks.
Unfortunately, they failed to do that successfully. While Konz was a fantastic value and a potential All-Pro player, he was the only truly solid pick the Falcons made.
The Falcons and Thomas Dimitroff knew when they drafted Jones last year that they wouldn't be doing much damage in this year's draft.
Final Grade: D+
Marty Hurney, Carolina Panthers
Picks: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College (9), Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern St. (40), Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma (103), Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas (104), Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina (143), Brad Nortman, P, Wisconsin (207), D.J. Campbell, FS, California (216)
Best Pick: WR Joe Adams
Worst Pick: ILB Luke Kuechly
It's not that Kuechly won't be a great player in the league; it's just that the Carolina Panthers already have Jon Beason roaming the middle of the field, and middle linebacker wasn't their biggest need at all. Carolina would have done much better to draft a defensive tackle, especially with Fletcher Cox, Michael Brockers and Dontari Poe still on the board.
After the Kuechly pick, the Panthers did a great job at picking up players who will be able to produce instantly. Silatolu might become the best guard drafted in this draft with proper development. Adams is going to be an excellent special teams player, and could become quite the weapon for Cam Newton on offense.
Where Carolina really struck gold was with Norman in the fifth round. This kid is a major sleeper, and has all the tools to become one of the best cornerbacks in this year's class.
There is no doubt that the Panthers are a team on the rise, and their 2012 draft did nothing to slow them down.
Final Grade: B
Mickey Loomis, New Orleans Saints
Picks: Akiem Hicks, DE, Regina (89), Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin (122), Corey White, SS, Samford (162), Andrew Tiller, OG, Syracuse (179), Marcel Jones, OT, Nebraska (234)
Best Pick: WR Nick Toon
Worst Pick: SS Corey White
The offseason has been a complete mess for the New Orleans Saints, and if any general manager needed a solid draft, it was Mickey Loomis.
On one end, Loomis had a solid weekend. He didn't have many picks, but his first two picks of the draft—Hicks and Toon—were solid selections. Both players should contribute instantly, with Hicks having a ton of potential.
On the other end, this draft was a failure because Loomis simply didn't have enough firepower to get people's eyes off all the scandals roaming around in New Orleans.
With a higher pick or two, Loomis could have been able to draft a high-impact player who would have helped get people to focus on the future.
Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
Final Grade: C-
Mark Dominik, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Picks: Mark Barron, S, Alabama (7), Doug Martin, RB, Boise State (31), Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska (58), Najee Goode, ILB, West Virginia (140), Keith Tandy, CB, West Virginia (174), Michael Smith, RB, Utah St. (212), Drake Dunsmore, TE, Northwestern (233)
Best Pick: OLB Lavonte David
Worst Pick: ILB Najee Goode
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Mark Dominik had one of the most successful free-agent periods, and they continued that success throughout the draft. In fact, their first three picks were absolutely stunning.
Barron, Martin and David all have the ability to start from day one and produce at a high rate. Each of these players were either the top-rated prospect at their position or one of the top three.
While the Buccaneers didn't make many other instant-impact picks in the draft, they also didn't make any mistakes by reaching for a player who didn't deserve to be picked.
The NFC South is going to be an extremely interesting division in 2012.
Final Grade: A-
Rod Graves, Arizona Cardinals
Picks: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame (13), Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma (80), Bobby Massie, OT, Mississippi (112), Senio Kelemete, OT, Washington (151), Justin Bethel, CB, Presbyterian (177), Ryan Lindley, QB, San Diego St. (185), Nate Potter, OT, Boise St. (221)
Best Pick: WR Michael Floyd
Worst Pick: OT Senio Kelemete
Look, there is nothing sexy about the picks that Rod Graves made, but they were all solid players who should contribute either immediately or early in their careers.
While some may look at the Arizona Cardinals taking Floyd in the first round as a wasteful pick, I completely disagree. Teaming Floyd with Larry Fitzgerald will give Arizona one of the best one-two punches at receiver in the entire NFL. This is a passing league, and a quarterback can never get enough weapons.
After Floyd, Graves did a great job at addressing needs without reaching for any players. Some considered Massie the third- or fourth-best offensive tackle in the draft, and getting him in the fourth round was a great pick.
Even Fleming was considered as a possible late first-round pick, and he should make an impact on defense right away. Graves continued his success with two of the better developmental picks in Bethel and Lindley.
This was simply a great draft from Graves and the Cardinals.
Final Grade: A-
Les Snead, St. Louis Rams
Picks: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU (14), Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian St. (33), Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama (39), Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati (50), Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana (65), Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest (96), Rokevious Watkins, OT, South Carolina (150), Greg Zuerlein, K, Missouri Western (171), Aaron Brown, LB, Hawaii (209), Daryl Richardson, RB, Abilene Christian (252)
Best Pick: CB Janoris Jenkins
Worst Pick: CB Janoris Jenkins
Jenkins gets the honor of being the best and worst pick for the St. Louis Rams and Les Snead. He has the potential to be the best cornerback in this draft, but he could also end up being a very similar off-field headache like Adam "Pacman" Jones was for Jeff Fisher.
As a whole, St. Louis had an incredible draft. It started by trading back eight picks, while still landing one of the best players in the draft in Brockers. He fills a big hole on the roster, and could develop into quite the player.
After that, the Rams continued to address needs on both sides of the ball with two talented receivers in Quick and Givens and two talented cornerbacks in Jenkins and Johnson.
This was a great weekend for St. Louis, and it could enter the 2012 season as one of the biggest surprise teams in the league.
Final Grade: A
Trent Baalke, San Francisco 49ers
Picks: A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois (30), LaMichael James, RB, Oregon (61), Joe Looney, OG, Wake Forest (117), Darius Fleming, OLB, Notre Dame (165), Trent Robinson, FS, Michigan St. (180), Jason Slowey, C, Western Oregon (199), Cam Johnson, DE, Virginia (237)
Best Pick: RB LaMichael James
Worst Pick: WR A.J. Jenkins
This was a tough draft to grade for Trent Baalke and the San Francisco 49ers. Did they address positions of need? Yes, they absolutely did. Did they do it in the correct order? No, they did not.
Both Jenkins and James were drafted one round too early, and the 49ers would have been better served to address their defense in the early rounds and their offense in the later rounds.
It will be interesting to see what type of impact Jenkins and James have as rookies, considering that San Francisco already has Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter on the roster.
While the 49ers are still the team to beat in the NFC West, the rest of the division definitely got closer due to a poor draft from Baalke.
Final Grade: C-
John Schneider, Seattle Seahawks
Picks: Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB, West Virginia (15), Bobby Wagner, ILB, Utah State (47), Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin (75), Robert Turbin, RB, Utah State (106), Jaye Howard, DT, Florida (114), Korey Toomer, ILB, Idaho (154), Jeremy Lane, CB, Northwestern St. (LA) (172), Guy Winston, CB, Kentucky (181), J.R. Sweezy, DE, North Carolina St. (225), Greg Scruggs, DE, Louisville (232)
Best Pick: ILB Bobby Wagner
Worst Pick: OLB Bruce Irvin
The draft couldn't have started any worse for the Seattle Seahawks. When Roger Goodell announced Irvin's name in the first round, it was the first time in history that all of New York City went silent. To say that the pick was shocking would be the understatement of the century.
In fact, the Seahawks would have been better off selecting Wagner in the first round and waiting until the third or fourth round to take Irvin. It was easily the most shocking move of the 2012 NFL draft.
You do have to give John Schneider credit for not letting his first pick ruin his entire draft. His next three picks of Wagner, Wilson and Turbin will all be valuable assets to the team. While Wagner will likely start from day one, his teammate Turbin will also be a nice change-of-pace back for the team.
Final Grade: D+