2012 NFL Draft Results: 10 Best Value Picks

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIApril 29, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Results: 10 Best Value Picks

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    The key to a successful draft in the NFL is to get the best value for your pick. Some teams excel in this category of the draft, while other teams consistently reach for players and draft them way too early.

    With the 2012 NFL draft coming to an end yesterday evening, there were plenty of picks that simply screamed value. Today we'll look at the top-10 value picks of the 2012 NFL draft.

Bobby Massie, OT

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    Pre-Draft Ranking: 1st-2nd Round

    Actual Draft Pick: Round 4, Pick 17 (Arizona Cardinals)

    Heading into the NFL draft, Bobby Massie was consider one of the better offensive tackles available. Unfortunately, in a draft where we saw many talented tackles drop, Massie dropped the most.

    The fact that he was still around after the third round, and into the middle of the fourth round is just ridiculous. Not only did Arizona get an absolute steal with Massie, but they got a player who will be able to step in from day one and start at right tackle, which happens to be a huge need for the Cardinals.

    Arizona had a fantastic all-around draft, but Massie served as their best value pick.

Peter Konz, C

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    Pre-Draft Ranking: Mid-1st Round

    Actual Draft Pick: Round 2, Pick 23 (Atlanta Falcons)

    While the drop may not seem like that far, it was a massive surprise to see Peter Konz fall into the second round at all. Few thought he'd get past the Tennessee Titans with the 20th pick in the first round.

    With the Falcons' first pick of the 2012 NFL draft, they struck absolute gold. Konz can play a number of positions across the offensive line for Atlanta, and has the potential to develop into an All-Pro talent.

    Konz's fall was one of the more surprising slides during the draft, and Atlanta took full advantage while improving its offensive line greatly.

Zebrie Sanders, OT

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    Pre-Draft Ranking: 2nd-3rd Round

    Actual Draft Pick: Round 5, Pick Nine (Buffalo Bills)

    Another offensive lineman, and another fall on draft day. While Zebrie Sanders wasn't expected to get drafted in the first day, he was considered a lock to go in Day 2.

    Unfortunately, Sanders had to wait through the fourth round and into the fifth before hearing his name called. For Buffalo, this was one of its best picks of the entire draft. The Bills will be able to put Sanders in at right tackle from day one and be extremely pleased with his production there.

    Look for Sanders to have a solid career in Buffalo.

George Iloka, FS

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    Pre-Draft Ranking: 2nd Round

    Actual Draft Pick: Round 5, Pick 32 (Cincinnati Bengals)

    As one of the top safety prospects in a weak class, George Iloke was expected to get drafted early on Day 2.

    However, it wasn't until the end of Round 5 that Iloka found a home in the NFL. The Bengals got a player in Iloka who has the potential to contribute from day one for their team. He has good ball skills with the ability to cover and hit in the open field.

    Cincinnati was one of the biggest winners in the entire draft, and getting solid picks like Iloka late in the draft was a big reason why.

Jared Crick, DE

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    Pre-Draft Ranking: 1st-2nd Round

    Actual Draft Pick: Round 4, Pick 31 (Houston Texans)

    There was a time early in the draft process when Jared Crick was considered almost a first-round lock. Those who didn't see Crick going in the first could at least agree that he would be drafted early on the second day.

    That didn't happen either, and Houston was able to draft him late in the fourth round. Even though Crick doesn't have much upside to his game, he is NFL-ready and should make an impact instantly for the Texans.

    While Houston didn't exactly need to draft another defensive lineman, it's hard to overlook the impressive value they got with this pick.

Lamar Miller, RB

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    Pre-Draft Ranking: 1st-2nd Round

    Actual Draft Pick: Round 4, Pick Two (Miami Dolphins)

    This was one of the biggest surprises of the entire draft. Many believed that Lamar Miller was the second-best running back available behind Trent Richardson. While he was somewhat inexperienced, he was productive during college and has a solid all-around game.

    When he didn't get drafted in the first round, I definitely thought he'd go early in the second round. Then Day 2 came to a close and Miller still hadn't been drafted. While the Dolphins don't necessarily need another running back with Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas on the roster, Miller was simply too good to pass up.

    This is a player who could turn into an every-down back in the league. To get him in the fourth round is fantastic value.

Alfonzo Dennard, CB

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    Pre-Draft Ranking: 2nd-3rd Round 

    Actual Draft Pick: Round 7, Pick 17 (New England Patriots)

    Of all the value picks, this was my personal favorite. While I didn't expect Alfonzo Dennard to get drafted in the first round, I definitely didn't expect him to wait until the final round to get drafted.

    Sure, there are some issues with Dennard's technique and footwork, but he is a massive cornerback with great ball skills. He also has a fantastic mentality for a cornerback.

    The Patriots are one of the best teams at finding talent late in the draft, and Dennard is a perfect example of that.

Markelle Martin, FS

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    Pre-Draft Ranking: 2nd-3rd Round

    Actual Draft Pick: Round 6, Pick 20 (Tennessee Titans)

    Rated as the best free safety in this class by many, Markelle Martin's athleticism and ball skills were supposed to get him drafted in the second day. 

    However, Martin waited until the sixth round to get drafted when the Titans finally snagged him up. Martin may not be ready to start as a rookie, but he has the potential and upside to eventually become an extremely good football player.

    In a weak safety class, Martin has great value as a sixth-round pick.

Juron Criner, WR

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    Pre-Draft Ranking: 3rd Round

    Actual Draft Pick: Round 5, Pick 33 (Oakland Raiders)

    While there wasn't a huge gap between where Juron Criner was expected to get drafted and where he actually did get drafted, it's the amount of talent that Criner brings to the field that makes him such a valuable pick.

    He'll be able to get onto the field as a rookie and should excel as in the red zone. However, what makes Criner so valuable is that the has the upside and natural talents to eventually become a true No. 1 receiver. 

    It's rare to get that type of player this late in the draft, but that is exactly what Oakland did when it drafted Criner in the fifth round.

David DeCastro, OG

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    Pre-Draft Ranking: Top-15 

    Actual Draft Pick: Round 1, Pick 24 (Pittsburgh Steelers)

    I know what you're saying, and we're talking about the best value picks, not the biggest gap between pre-draft rankings and where they were actually drafted.

    What makes David DeCastro the best value pick in the entire 2012 NFL draft is the fact that he was one of the top prospects available in this draft, regardless of position. We're talking about a potential All-Pro player waiting to get drafted until the 24th pick. I'm not talking about an All-Pro player three years down the road either. 

    DeCastro will instantly establish himself as one of the best in the game at his position, and the Steelers getting him so late in the draft was the steal of the weekend.