2012 NFL Draft Grades: 10 Biggest Fails in Round 1

Dan Van Wie@@DanVanWieContributor IIIApril 26, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Grades: 10 Biggest Fails in Round 1

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    Round 1 of the 2012 NFL draft is now in the books. The first round lasted roughly three hours, which is a quick first round.

    The opening round featured eight trades, which made for a wild and entertaining evening. All the months of studying and analyzing could be thrown out the window, since nobody was drafting in the places we expected them to.

    There were some successes and some disappointments. Here, we are looking to highlight the 10 biggest failures of the first round.

    On to the presentation.

Analysts Were Way off on Bruce Irvin

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    Many NFL draft analysts were surprised to learn that West Virginia DE/OLB Bruce Irvin was the very first pass-rusher drafted in Round 1.

    Irvin went to the Seattle Seahawks with the No. 15 pick overall.

    If you check out the final mock draft of ESPN's Mel Kiper or Todd McShay, NFL Network's Mike Mayock or Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, none of them had Irvin being drafted in the first round at all, which is a pretty huge fail.

    The only draft analyst that had Irvin going in the first round was Wes Bunting of the National Football Post, who had Irvin going to Green Bay with the No. 28 overall pick.

Pass-Rushers Were Placed on Hold Early

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    Another fail at the 2012 NFL draft was how the entire group of pass-rushers was placed on hold from the No. 1 overall pick out to the No. 15 pick, when Bruce Irvin finally broke through the barrier.

    Once Irvin went, others soon followed, as pass-rushers like Quinton Coples (New York Jets), Melvin Ingram (San Diego) and Shea McClellin (Chicago) then went off the big board quickly.

    But for all of the hype that the pass-rushers were given heading into the draft, they were certainly ignored over the first 14 selections.

Roger Goodell Was Behind on Draft Pick Announcements

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    What was going on with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at the draft?

    Once we got down to picks in the 18-20 range, there were at least two or three draft cards that were already turned in, but Goodell didn't seem to be in any rush to announce who the teams drafted.

    Knowing that they were at least two or three picks behind what was going on was frustrating for the viewers.

    The NFL Network switched to a new policy of not showing the players being drafted receiving their congratulatory phone call in advance of the pick being announced. That way, the pick would be more of a surprise to the viewers.

    But with the picks so backed up, it felt like a big fail.

Analysts Were Way off on Riley Reiff

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    For the month leading up to the draft, analysts were trying to slot Iowa tackle Riley Reiff to either the Buffalo Bills at No. 10 overall or to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 13 overall.

    Most analysts felt the Bills had to take Reiff at No. 10 when they lost Demetress Bell to free agency. But the Bills weren't interested in reaching for him, so they passed and watched as he slid down the first round.

    Reiff was going to Arizona by Mel Kiper, Todd McShay and Mike Mayock. Instead, he wound up going to the Detroit Lions at No. 23, which is exactly where Matt Miller predicted he would go in his final mock draft. Wes Bunting of National Football Post nailed that selection as well.

    It seems that the experts at ESPN were missing on quite a few of their picks.

Courtney Upshaw Watches All of His Alabama Teammates Get Drafted

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    Alabama DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw was projected for most of the pre-draft period to go in the 10-16 range.

    In the last few weeks, concern was expressed about where his exact position would be, and people started wondering if he was a tweener with no true position.

    Sure enough, the other four talented Alabama players that were potential first-round draft picks were all selected ahead of Upshaw, leaving him to wonder what his fate would be.

    RB Trent Richardson (No. 3 overall), S Mark Barron (No. 7), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (No. 17) and LB Dont'a Hightower (No. 25) all went off of the big board before Upshaw.

    In the end, Upshaw went undrafted in Round 1, so he will be playing with a chip on his shoulder this season for the slight.

Did the New York Jets Make a Reach at 16?

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    With all of the chemistry issues that the New York Jets experienced in 2011, you would think that they would be on the lookout for drafting a high-caliber, no-red-flags kind of player with their first draft pick.

    Instead, they opted to draft moody defensive end Quinton Coples from North Carolina with the No. 16 pick.

    Coples has been often criticized due to questionable effort and a motor that turns on and off during games in his last year at North Carolina.

    There is the possibility that Jets head coach Rex Ryan will find a way to get through to Coples, but the Jets are taking an unnecessary risk by drafting a player that might add more chemistry issues to a team that needs to come together.

Did Colt McCoy Just Lose His Job?

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    When the Cleveland Browns came back with their second first-round pick of Oklahoma St. quarterback Brandon Weeden with the No. 22 overall pick, I immediately thought that Colt McCoy just lost his starting job.

    The Browns didn't draft Weeden in the first round to have him watch from the sidelines. Weeden is older than McCoy and has a better arm, so he shouldn't have much trouble winning the starting job in training camp.

    Tough to lose your job that way, but that's what happened in the first round.

Five NFL Teams Wound Up with No Pick in First Round

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    There wound up being a grand total of five teams that left the first round without making any draft picks: Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans and Oakland.

    We already knew about Atlanta, New Orleans and Oakland not having any picks in the first round, but Baltimore and Denver both opted to trade out of the first round to add more draft picks.

    For fans of those teams, they had to go to bed on Thursday with an empty feeling. Sure, they will have more picks later in the draft to use, but draft parties for those teams must have seemed like a huge fail.

Mike Mayock Missed Badly on Chandler Jones

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    When NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock gets behind a player, he really tries to champion their cause. That was the case with Syracuse DE Chandler Jones.

    Mayock recently shot Jones up to No. 9 overall on his big board in an episode of Path to the Draft this week. Michael Lombardi also got in on the act, proclaiming that Jones could be a top-10 draft pick.

    As it turned out, Jones wound up lasting until pick No. 21, where the New England Patriots grabbed him.

    Don't get me wrong. I like Mayock and respect his effort and dedication to his craft, but he sometimes gets overly excited about certain players.

Players Still Sitting in the Green Room

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    Out of the 26 players that decided to accept the invitation to attend the draft live in New York City, there were still six players left in the green room at the end of the first round, left to stare at each other and wonder when they would be drafted.

    The six "fails" were: TE Coby Fleener, G/T Cordy Glenn, WR Stephen Hill, WR Rueben Randle, DT Devon Still and DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw.

    Thanks for checking out the presentation.