Upshaw was an appalling miss last night. Who gets him now?
Round 1 of the 2012 National Football League draft is in the books. I hope it lived up to all of the drama, intrigue, suspense and revelry for each of you. It sure did for me. There was also an added emotion for me in the form of disappointment over how many teams evaluated and chose poorly in my estimation.
How about Bruce Irvin to the Seattle Seahawks with the 15th selection?
There were eight first-round draft-day trades. Did the Dallas Cowboys overpay to move up eight picks in order to choose Morris Claiborne and, either way, will he be enough to catapult them back to the playoffs?
With the initial stanza out of the way, the savvy fanalyst knows that the meat-and-potatoes selections on day two are the nourishment that can feed the value of an organization's draft class for the ensuing four- to five-year window.
Not only can impact starters (Eric Weddle, Marshall Yanda, Jermichael Finley) be found in this area of the class, but also crucial early-career depth that contributes to a playoff-qualifying or even championship-winning team.
Whet your appetite for Friday's draft action in the following eight slides that mocks every pick in Rounds 2 and 3, priming you for some of the famous players that fell out of Round 1, great values who will outproduce their draft slots, as well as picks that fill needs or serve as high-risk/high-reward plays at this point.
*I will not be predicting trades in this exercise.
The dynamic Luck-Fleener duo could go Cardinal to Colt.
2-33. St. Louis Rams: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
2-34. Indianapolis Colts: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford University
2-35. Baltimore Ravens: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, University of Alabama
2-36. Denver Broncos: Lamar Miller, RB, University of Miami
2-37. Cleveland Browns: Cordy Glenn, OT/OG, University of Georgia
2-38. Jacksonville Jaguars: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson University
2-39. St. Louis Rams: Lavonte David, OLB, University of Nebraska
2-40. Carolina Panthers: Devon Still, DT, Penn State University
The bevy of foolish picks in the first round gives way to a tremendous value and steal opportunity at the top of the second, as teams that either let the board come to them or traded back will have a host of talent through which to sort.
A player that I predicted would go in the late first, Coby Fleener, now may still get to the Colts and be reunited with his college quarterback in Andrew Luck.
The best player available on my board, Upshaw, and one whom I think will end up being amongst the most productive defensive players in this class, lands in an enviable spot with the Ravens. He slots in very nicely to succeed Jarret Johnson, who departed via free agency.
Three other players that I have first-round grades on (Cordy Glenn, Lavonte David, Devon Still) all fall to teams that went in other positional directions in the first round and now played the board into getting talented players at need spots on the roster.
Randle slides to the Jets to become its perimeter vertical threat.
2-41. Buffalo Bills: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford University
2-42. Miami Dolphins: Bobby Massie, RT, Ole Miss
2-43. Seattle Seahawks: Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall University
2-44. Kansas City Chiefs: Peter Konz, C/G, University of Wisconsin
2-45. St. Louis Rams: Kelechi Osemele, OG/OT, Iowa State University
2-46. Philadelphia Eagles: Trumaine Johnson, CB/FS, University of Montana
2-47. New York Jets: Rueben Randle, WR, Louisiana State University
2-48. New England Patriots: Jamell Fleming, CB, University of Oklahoma
Another player with a first-round grade from me, though it was not unanimous throughout the draftnik community, Jonathan Martin gets all the way to 41 for the Buffalo Bills at their most dire need. This is a guy that I predicted they would trade back once or twice in the first round and select at 22.
Excusing the contention that John Schneider & Co. (Seattle Seahawks) probably should not even show up for the draft's remainder after the bomb they dropped with Bruce Irvin at 15, they might as well double dip at defensive end with an actual football player in Vinny Curry. Applying devil's advocacy, though, Curry may be too solid and sensible of a pick to fit their methodology.
The Rams close out a flurry of early day-two activity (33, 39 and 45) by addressing their woeful offensive line with a right-side player that brings some early-career versatility inside with the ceiling of a mauling run-oriented right tackle.
After trading up twice in the first round, in what had to be a surprise to almost every draft analyst, the Patriots could look to trade down from 48 in order to accumulate some more picks later in the day and tomorrow. However, after picking defenders at the first two levels (line and linebacker) last night, they convert the hat trick by going with another one of my first-round grades at corner in Jamell Fleming.
Cousins points to being an Andy Reid-system backup.
2-49. San Diego Chargers: Mitchell Schwartz, OT/OG, University of California
2-50. Chicago Bears: Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern State University
2-51. Philadelphia Eagles: Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State University
2-52. Tennessee Titans: Derek Wolfe, DT, University of Cincinnati
2-53. Cincinnati Bengals: Marvin Jones, WR, University of California
2-54. Detroit Lions: Janoris Jenkins, CB, University of North Alabama
2-55. Atlanta Falcons: Mike Adams, LT, Ohio State University
2-56. Pittsburgh Steelers: Bobby Wagner, ILB, Utah State University
After splurging on a luxury/best-player-available pick with Melvin Ingram 18th overall, the Chargers are extremely fortunate to see Mitchell Schwartz staring at them in the middle of the second round. He is a plug-and-play candidate at right tackle, with some developmental upside at left, along an offensive line that is the Chargers' worst unit.
Silatolu is another player on which I placed a first-round grade and I am both disappointed and a little surprised that his small-school background (Division II Midwestern State University in Texas) has scared teams off this far.
Marvin Jones is not the flashy, catchy name of Alshon Jeffery, but he may remind Cincinnati personnel people of a pre-Ochocinco/Chad Johnson as a deft route-runner with excellent ball and movement skills to complement A.J. Green.
Two arguably talented prospects that have backers in the first round throughout the analysis community—though I am not in this camp—but who also come with troubling makeup assessments, fall to this area as upside plays at positions of need in Jenkins and Adams.
My final 1st-round grade, Boykin, comes off the board here.
2-57. Denver Broncos: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State University
2-58. Houston Texans: Alameda Ta'amu, NT, University of Washington
2-59. Green Bay Packers: Kendall Reyes, DE, University of Connecticut
2-60. Baltimore Ravens: Alshon Jeffery, WR, University of South Carolina
2-61. San Francisco 49ers: Brandon Washington, OG, University of Miami
2-62. New England Patriots: Brandon Boykin, CB/RS, University of Georgia
2-63. New York Giants: Jeff Allen, OL, University of Illinois
A round later than some pundits predicted at points leading up to the draft, the Packers further boost their defensive front seven (following the first-round selection of OLB Nick Perry) with five-tech defensive end Kendall Reyes.
At one time a top-10 overall projection, South Carolina big man Alshon Jeffery lands in the late second to Baltimore to give Flacco another aerial weapon. If Jeffery maximizes his potential, he could be an effective underneath receiver that also wins vertically at times with his size and high-pointing skills in the vein of a David Boston.
After double-dipping a year ago with consecutive day-two picks at running back (Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley), the Patriots repeat the trick by following up corner Jamell Fleming with another one in Brandon Boykin. Both of these defensive backs have first-round grades from me and Boykin comes with the bonus of giving New England a legitimate special teams weapon to boot.
After ignoring their most crucial need in the first round—offensive line—with a silly skill-player pick in David Wilson at running back, the Giants take the caliber of swing talent they typically assign to their offensive line. Allen played left tackle in college and could eventually spot there in the NFL, but he should provide immediate depth or relief inside at guard or at right tackle.
Dennard's stock is up in the air after down-trending offseason.
3-64. Indianapolis Colts: Josh Robinson, CB, University of Central Florida
3-65. St. Louis Rams: Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt University
3-66. Minnesota Vikings: Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
3-67. Cleveland Browns: Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest University
3-68. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, University of Nebraska
3-69. Washington Redskins: James Brown, OL, Troy University
3-70. Jacksonville Jaguars: Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State University
3-71. Buffalo Bills: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers University
Four of the first five picks provide a dizzying run at the cornerback position as teams angle to land a prospect with starter upside.
Robinson, Hayward and Dennard all carry second-round grades from me and the first two seem to be pretty safe projections as quality or better starters in their primes. Dennard could be as well, but he recently gained notoriety for the wrong reasons when he resisted arrest and punched a police officer in the face. We will see how much that affects his draft stock either today or tomorrow.
Following speculation that the Bills would draft either a left tackle or a wide receiver, possibly Michael Floyd, with the 10th overall pick, they went with corner Stephon Gilmore. I have them coming back in the second round to nab the blindside player in Jonathan Martin. They complete the cleanup here with Sanu, who projects as a safe fit in a No. 2 receiver capacity opposite Steve Johnson.
Hilton could be a slippery playmaker for the Texans.
3-72. Miami Dolphins: Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian State University
3-73. Miami Dolphins: Jake Bequette, DE, University of Arkansas
3-74. Kansas City Chiefs: Malik Jackson, DE, University of California
3-75. Seattle Seahawks: Brandon Brooks, OG, Miami University-Ohio
3-76. Houston Texans: T.Y. Hilton, WR/RS, Florida International University
3-77. New York Jets: Ronnell Lewis, OLB, University of Oklahoma
3-78. San Diego Chargers: Dwight Bentley, CB, University of Louisiana-Lafayette
3-79. Chicago Bears: Ladarius Green, TE, University of Louisiana-Lafayette
After using the eighth overall pick on a guy that will be the third-best quarterback on the team for the next two seasons, Ryan Tannehill, Miami comes back on day two and begins to help its ball club in 2012.
Massie at right tackle in Round 2 is followed by consecutive mid-third selections here in Quick and Bequette. Quick's development will probably follow the same slow path as Tannehill's but it is a pairing the brass can dream on. Bequette should contribute right away as a rookie and could evolve into a player that reminds some fans of Trace Armstrong.
Brandon Brooks adds to the Seahawks' stable of young, and largely poor-performing in 2011, offensive linemen. He is a massive and aggressive guard that fits well in their power-run scheme.
The Ragin' Cajuns from UL-Lafayette pull off the rare feat of having players chosen consecutively from the same school when Bentley goes to San Diego; he is the last corner on the board that I think is a likely future starter, followed by the tight end Green. The latter gives Chicago the oversized interior receiving threat it lost when Greg Olsen was ousted a year ago in a Mike Martz purge.
Polk looks like a Bengal in this photo capture.
3-80. Arizona Cardinals: Donald Stephenson, OT, University of Oklahoma
3-81. Dallas Cowboys: Antonio Allen, SS, University of South Carolina
3-82. Tennessee Titans: Tony Bergstrom, OT/OG, University of Utah
3-83. Cincinnati Bengals: Chris Polk, RB, University of Washington
3-84. Atlanta Falcons: Demario Davis, LB, Arkansas State University
3-85. Detroit Lions: Mychal Kendricks, LB, University of California
3-86. Pittsburgh Steelers: Josh Chapman, NT, University of Alabama
3-87. Denver Broncos: Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State University
Antonio Allen is an excellent box safety that allows Dallas to use Brodney Pool at free safety, where he has had success in his career, and further bolster its secondary following the first-round trade-up for consensus No. 1 corner Morris Claiborne.
I have Polk rated as my No. 3 running back in the entire class, though he comes off the board fifth following last night's first-round action and my previous mocking of Lamar Miller to Denver. He has the well-rounded skill set to develop into an every-down feature back early in his career, should do well in the style and conditions of the AFC North, and his ball security is matched perhaps only by that of his would-be teammate in this case, BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Atlanta, though quiet this year with only six total picks, could come away with some chance hope if it hits on second-rounder Mike Adams at left tackle as an upside play and then lands Davis with this pick. The latter should be a special teams ace and versatile backup at all three 4-3 linebacker spots early in his career. However, he has the physical skills to possibly develop into the best pure middle linebacker in the class with the floor of a quality outside 'backer in the same scheme.
Denver continues on its path to a likely rug-pulling season of disappointment for its fanbase following the offseason Peyton Manning fireworks. With a horrible offensive line in front of a brittle and immobile pocket passer, his quick release notwithstanding, Denver trades out of the first round and I have mocked RB and DT (Lamar Miller, Jerel Worthy) to the team followed by the "quarterback of the future" with this selection. Osweiler is a prospect the Broncos are rumored to be in love with.
Zach Brown gives the Eagles a weapon in coverage packages.
3-88. Philadelphia Eagles: Zach Brown, OLB, University of North Carolina
3-89. New Orleans Saints: George Iloka, S, Boise State University
3-90. Green Bay Packers: DeQuan Menzie, CB/FS, University of Alabama
3-91. Baltimore Ravens: Senio Kelemete, OG, University of Washington
3-92. San Francisco 49ers: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson University
3-93. Cincinnati Bengals: Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson University
3-94. New York Giants: Orson Charles, TE, University of Georgia
3-95. Oakland Raiders: Cam Johnson, OLB, University of Virginia
Once regarded as a vogue first-round projection because of his rare size/speed index, Zach Brown falls to the late third in this scenario because of questions about his ability to play physically versus the run, precluding him from being an every-down player.
If Menzie does, in fact, go this high to the Packers, it will be one of the more significant rises during the pre-draft process, as he was considered a late-round fringy depth piece in the secondary as recently as the Senior Bowl. However, with the pending release of injured free safety Nick Collins, and Charles Woodson's possible utility between both levels, Menzie's own profile as a slot corner and potential free safety are attractive.
Two of the more famous tight ends, Allen and Charles, finally come off the board here in the late third after the market on both soured in the wake of what crystallized as incomplete profiles. Allen, advertised as a pass-catching weapon, timed poorly at the combine and does not project dynamically. Charles, meanwhile, does not have the ideal size for an inline player but could be a very useful piece as a versatile-joker type with Travis Beckum injured this year in New York.