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2012 NFL Draft Grades: Full Round 1 Results Report Card

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterApril 26, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Grades: Full Round 1 Results Report Card

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    How did your team fare in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft? We're grading every pick in the first round—and every trade—giving you info on which teams hit and which teams missed in Round 1.

    Was the trade to move up and get Trent Richardson worth it? Did Dallas mess up by catapulting from No. 14 to No. 6 overall? Who was the steal of the first round?

    Find out inside.

1. Indianapolis Colts

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    Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Stanford

    The obvious pick and the one that fills the most immediate need for the Indianapolis Colts. Andrew Luck will be the face and foundation of this franchise for the next decade.

    In my experience with the NFL draft, no player has been better prepared to step in and become a starting quarterback than Luck.

    Grade: A++

2. Washington Redskins (from St. Louis Rams)

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    Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

    A pick that we knew was happening the minute the Redskins traded up to the No. 2 overall pick. Griffin steps in as the leader, face and unquestioned starting quarterback on the Washington depth chart.

    Griffin won't have great talent around him in year one, but he does have the athleticism to be an elite playmaker in the same way that Cam Newton was in his rookie season.

    Grade: A+

3. Cleveland Browns (from Minnesota Vikings)

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    Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

    The Browns made a defensive move by trading up one spot to make sure that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could not draft Trent Richardson. With so many picks in this year's class, thanks to the trade with the Atlanta Falcons last year, the Browns were able to sacrifice three late-round picks to move up and get the best back in this class.

    You might hear that this is too high for a running back. It's not.

    Grade: A+

4. Minnesota Vikings (from Cleveland Browns)

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    Matt Kalil, OT, USC

    The Vikings moved back and still got their guy—in addition to three late-round picks. Kalil isn't an elite tackle in our mind, but he is very good. With the left-tackle situation so poor in Minnesota, this is a no-brainer pick for Minnesota.

    All that Morris Claiborne talk was pointless, as Minnesota drafted the blindside protector they needed so badly.

    Grade: A

5. Jacksonville Jaguars (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

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    Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

    The Jaguars made a daring move in climbing up the board and selecting Justin Blackmon, having traded with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to secure the wide receiver.

    Blackmon is a reach here on our board. He's a good receiver who lacks great size, doesn't run fast on film and dropped too many passes over the middle. Blackmon has the potential to be good—and it will help Blaine Gabbert—but the Jaguars didn't need to trade up for him.

    Grade: C 

6. Dallas Cowboys (from St. Louis Rams)

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    Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

    The Cowboys made a smart move to climb the board for the draft's best cornerback. This fills a need and lets the Cowboys trade or move Mike Jenkins to the No. 3 role if needed.

    One of the few elite players in this draft, the Cowboys were brilliant to move up and get an elite cover man who will immediately help them against Eli Manning, Michael Vick and Robert Griffin III. 

    Grade: A+

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Jacksonville Jaguars)

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    Mark Barron, Strong Safety, Alabama

    The Buccaneers do have a need for a safety after cutting Tanard Jackson, but this pick wasn't a great one. The good news is that Tampa Bay at least traded back before drafting a non-ball-hawking safety in the Top 7 picks.

    Tampa needed help in many areas, but it's hard to argue against this pick, as Barron is one of the safer picks in the draft.


    Grade: B 

8. Miami Dolphins

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    Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, Texas A&M

    The Dolphins needed a quarterback, but not this one. Tannehill is a reach at No. 8 and could be the final straw that breaks the camel's back in terms of Jeff Ireland's job security. 

    Tannehill is a great guy and a very good athlete, but as a quarterback, he's just OK. We don't like this pick, at all.

    Grade: F

9. Carolina Panthers

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    Luke Kuechly, Inside Linebacker, Boston College

    The Panthers needed to go defense, but the smarter pick would have been Stephon Gilmore (CB, South Carolina) or a defensive tackle. The fact that they drafted an inside linebacker has us shaking our heads in the B/R war room.

    Kuechly is a good athlete, but the huge gap at defensive tackle won't help this catch-and-tackle type linebacker who lacks the strength to take on blockers and make plays.

    Grade: D

10. Buffalo Bills

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    Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback, South Carolina

    The Buffalo Bills made a great, safe pick here by selecting a lockdown cornerback in Stephon Gilmore. Buffalo could have gone a few directions here—tackle, wide receiver, linebacker—but they held tight and did the right thing by drafting Gilmore.

    With Tom Brady in your division, you have to add defense, and Buffalo has done a great job with that throughout the offseason.

    Grade: A

11. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Dontari Poe, Defensive Tackle, Memphis

    The Chiefs had let it be known that nose tackle was a priority for them, but the decision to bypass David DeCastro (OG, Stanford) here is questionable. Poe has unlimited potential, but he's a very raw athlete right now who needs a ton of coaching before he's ready to take on a two-gap role.

    The better pick would have been DeCastro, but Poe's upside makes this pick at least conceivable.

    Grade: C

12. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Fletcher Cox, Defensive Tackle, Mississippi State

    The Eagles were smart to trade up ahead of St. Louis to make sure they got their guy in Fletcher Cox. A potential Top 6 pick in yesterday's mock draft, Cox is a very valuable penetrator who can add a presence in the middle of the Philadelphia defensive line that was missing in 2011.

    Cox has great upper-body strength and very good ability to lock up blockers and then toss them aside to make a play on the ball. 

    Philadelphia had few needs as big as their hole at defensive tackle, so we like this pick.

    Grade: A

13. Arizona Cardinals

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    Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame

    Larry Fitzgerald gets his wish. Fitzgerald wanted another receiver who could help draw attention off of him on one side of the field. With safeties having to decide between Fitz and Floyd, stopping the Arizona passing game will be much tougher in 2012.

    Floyd has good speed, very good size and the ability to be the underneath receiver that the Cardinals need to play off of Fitz's deep ability.

    Love this selection in terms of need and value.

    Grade: A

14. St. Louis Rams (from Dallas Cowboys)

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    Michael Brockers, Defensive Tackle, LSU

    A pick we had been calling for some time now, Michael Brockers was the No. 1 defensive tackle on our draft board. He's a stud when taking on the run and has incredible potential as a pass-rusher once he's in a defense where they actually ask him to get upfield.

    Brockers' potential is incredible, and Jeff Fisher is the best in the game at developing defensive tackles. Not only did the Rams get their guy, but they added extra draft picks by trading back.

    Grade: A

15. Seattle Seahawks (from Philadelphia Eagles)

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    Bruce Irvin, Defensive End, West Virginia

    Well...this isn't good.

    The Seattle Seahawks made the Miami Dolphins' reach for Ryan Tannehill at No. 8 overall look like a good pick. Bruce Irvin was graded as a third-round pick. Drafted at No. 15? That's a huge mistake.

    The Seahawks also reached last year with James Carpenter at the end of Round 1, and they did it again here with Bruce Irvin. They obviously like Irvin a lot, but they could have traded back to get him.

    Grade: F- 

16. New York Jets

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    Quinton Coples, Defensive End, North Carolina

    Quinton Coples' picture above rightly sums up my feelings on this pick.

    Coples will fill a need, but with guys like Courtney Upshaw and Melvin Ingram still on the board, the Jets should have addressed the outside linebacker position over the five-technique defensive end.

    Coples has amazing athletic potential, but he plays with horrible effort and has questionable football IQ. For a team with a poor reputation and focus already, this is a bad, bad fit.

    Grade: F

17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland Raiders)

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    Dre Kirkpatrick, Cornerback, Alabama

    With David DeCastro on the board here, it's shocking that the Cincinnati Bengals drafted anyone but the Stanford guard prospect. 

    Dre Kirkpatrick is a good fit in Cincinnati, but they need to solidify their offensive line first. I could easily see the argument for this pick—especially since they picked again at No. 21—but I would have gone DeCastro here to protect from losing him between No. 17 and No. 21.

    Grade: C

18. San Diego Chargers

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    Melvin Ingram, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, South Carolina

    With Jarrett Johnson, Shaun Phillips and Antwan Barnes already on the roster, this pick is questionable. Ingram is a great value here, but he's not a need in any way if San Diego plans to stay in their 3-4 defense and keep the aforementioned players at outside linebacker.

    Johnson may be a two-down player only, but Barnes is a great third-down pass-rusher. With Phillips locking down the other side, we're still trying to figure out where Ingram fits.

    Grade: B-

19. Chicago Bears

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    Shea McClellin, Defensive End, Boise State

    The Bears needed to go defensive front seven here, and it's a bit shocking that they went with a player like Shea McClellin over Whitney Mercilus or Nick Perry. McClellin has been a high-rising player as of late, so this isn't incredibly shocking, but not a great value, either.

    There were so many better players on the board here, but this is a definite need pick. McClellin is a much better fit at defensive end than outside linebacker, a position many tabbed him to play once in the NFL.

    Grade: B-

20. Tennessee Titans

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    Kendall Wright, Wide Receiver, Baylor

    A great value for the Tennessee Titans at No. 20 overall. Wright will be an excellent option opposite Kenny Britt as a slot receiver, return man and someone who will draw safeties up and away from Britt as a deep threat.

    Wright has very high potential, and some graded him as the most explosive receiver in this draft. With Jake Locker potentially taking over this year, they need someone like Wright.

    Grade: A

21. New England Patriots (from Cincinnati Bengals)

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    Chandler Jones, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Syracuse

    The New England Patriots were a team we flagged earlier this week as a potential mover on draft day, and they moved up with Cincinnati to get Chandler Jones, an athletic pass-rusher who has incredible upside.

    Jones might be a 5-technique in this defense, but he has good ability to slide at defensive end and stand up at outside linebacker for the Patriots' 3-4 defense. This is a smart move by Bill Belichick to move up and make sure the Patriots get a defender who can make an impact right away.

    Grade: A

22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta Falcons)

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    Brandon Weeden, Quarterback, Oklahoma State

    Drafting a 28-year-old quarterback at the end of Round 1 is...questionable...but the Browns are in a good position to reach for a quarterback to challenge Colt McCoy for the starting job in Cleveland. 

    My only issue with this pick is that the Browns have to hope that Weeden can be a great player very early on. Otherwise, this is a wasted pick, and it will set the franchise back by bailing on McCoy before his third year.

    Grade: D+

23. Detroit Lions

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    Riley Reiff, Offensive Tackle, Iowa

    Love this pick. The Detroit Lions needed a left tackle to take over for Jeff Backus within the near future, and Reiff is a player we talked about back at No. 10 overall. Reiff is a future bookend tackle who could play on the right side early on until Backus is done.

    Reiff is incredibly well-coached, and even though he's a bit short-armed, he has the makeup of a left tackle.

    Grade: A+

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    David DeCastro, Offensive Guard, Stanford

    One of the best picks of the entire 2012 first round, DeCastro was our No. 6 overall player in the 2012 draft class. DeCastro's ability as a pure guard will make him a fixture in Pittsburgh along what's becoming a very good offensive line.

    DeCastro is a power guard who is more agile than most, and at worst, we see him being a multiple-time Pro Bowler in the NFL.

    Grade: A++

25. New England Patriots (from Denver Broncos)

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    Dont'a Hightower, Inside Linebacker, Alabama

    A pick we called early this morning in our final mock draft, Hightower makes a ton of sense for the New England Patriots after they traded up for the second time in the first round.

    It's uncommon for New England to trade up twice in the first round, but they do so to get two great players who will immediately help the Patriots' defensive front seven.

    With picks No. 21 and No. 25, they filled their two biggest needs.

    Grade: A 

26. Houston Texans

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    Whitney Mercilus, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Illinois

    The Houston Texans' biggest need wasn't at outside linebacker—not with the play of Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed last year—but in the NFL, you can never have too many pass-rushers. Especially in a 3-4 defense.

    Mercilus had a great 2011 season, leading the NCAA with 16 sacks, but he had just one good year of production. Some want to compare him to Aldon Smith, but he's not quite at that level of strength or burst at this point.

    Grade: C+

27. Cincinnati Bengals (from New England Patriots)

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    Kevin Zeitler, Offensive Guard, Wisconsin

    A few issues with this pick. The Bengals could have drafted David DeCastro at No. 21, but instead, they traded back to No. 27 overall and selected Zeitler. The difference between DeCastro and Zeitler was around 40 picks on our big board. Not good.

    Zeitler will be a good player, maybe very good, so it's hard to argue with this pick. But, the fact that Cincinnati traded back and missed on the elite guard for a pretty good one is a blemish.

    Grade: B 

28. Green Bay Packers

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    Nick Perry, Outside Linebacker, USC

    The best pick of the last 10 selections in our humble opinion, Nick Perry is a freaking beast off the edge. He's an athletic pass-rusher who can attack the edge and generate pressure in the backfield opposite Clay Matthews.

    The Packers could not have asked for a better pick here. Perry is an absolute steal.

    Next stop, Titletown?

    Grade: A+

29. Minnesota Vikings (from Baltimore Ravens)

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    Harrison Smith, Strong Safety, Notre Dame

    After a trade to get back into the first round with the Baltimore Ravens, the Vikings went defense after they got their left tackle at No. 4 overall.

    Smith is a strong safety who played in a quarters defense at Notre Dame, and that lets him attack the ball and show off his range. In Minnesota, he'll be able to do the same, sitting back in a Cover 2 defense and playing in a deep half that creates opportunities to ball-hawk.

    Minnesota gets a lot tougher with Smith and Matt Kalil in the lineup.

    Grade: B+

30. San Francisco 49ers

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    A.J. Jenkins, Wide Receiver, Illinois

    This is a bit of a shocker.

    The 49ers had hinted that they wanted a wide receiver at some point in this draft, but A.J. Jenkins over Stephen Hill and Alshon Jeffery is questionable. Jim Harbaugh has earned the right to make surprise picks after his 2011 draft class played so well, and Jenkins does have blazing speed, but this is just a bit questionable from our perspective.

    As much as I like Jenkins, I liked him a lot more in the late second round.

    Grade: D

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Denver Broncos)

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    Doug Martin, Running Back, Boise State

    The Buccaneers traded up to get ahead of the New York Giants in an effort to get a running back to replace LeGarrette Blount in the starting lineup. Martin is a strong, powerful runner who will be an instant starter in the Tampa offense.

    This pick sets the tone for what Greg Schiano wants his team to be. They drafted a hard-hitting strong safety and a hard-running running back. Schiano wants a tough team.

    Grade: B+

32. New York Giants

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    David Wilson, Running Back, Virginia Tech

    The Giants were intent on getting an explosive running back to pair with Ahmad Bradshaw, and they grabbed one of the fastest players at the position in this year's class. Wilson is our No. 4-ranked running back, but in a scheme like the Giants', he's a much more valuable pick.

    Wilson's speed, return skills and open-field ability will pair well with Bradshaw and give Eli Manning one more option.

    The choice to bypass Coby Fleener at tight end here isn't a great one, in our opinion, but Wilson makes sense.

    Grade: B

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