2012 NFL Draft Results: 10 Reasons This Was the Most Entertaining 1st Round Ever
We knew going into the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft that there would be plenty of excitement thanks to the buzz surrounding big names like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.
Now that the reality is in the books, it’s time to reminisce—or perhaps to actually let everything sink in.
Looking back on everything that happened, there can be no doubt that this is the most exciting first round that we’ve had in a long time.
In fact, from an entertainment perspective, this was probably the best first round the NFL has ever had. Here are 10 reasons why.
Andrew Luck to Revive Indianapolis Colts
Fans have been waiting for Luck, and in some case praying for Luck since April of 2011. We watched the Suck for Luck competition play out during the 2011 NFL season.
For the first time in years, there was actually a viable reason to be the worst team in the league.
Now that the formalities are out of the way, it is official that Andrew Luck has been brought on to be the future of the Indianapolis Colts franchise.
Although the certainty that Luck would be the first man picked in the NFL Draft has been upon us for the past week, the excitement that he single-handedly managed to generate for the better part of a year has certainly lent itself to making this one of the most exciting first rounds ever.
Robert Griffin III’s Dark Horse Comeback
As the day of the draft drew near, the unthinkable happened: Rumors spread that the Colts might not be 100 percent sold on Andrew Luck as their number one pick.
Of course, we have known for the past week that Indianapolis was committed to Luck but that doesn’t make the fact that Robert Griffin III managed to disrupt the buzz around Andrew Luck any less amazing.
R.G. III stands poised to make a name for himself in the NFL that will rival Andrew Luck’s impact. Given that he arguably has a better corps of offensive talent surrounding him for the 2012 season, it is arguable that he could actually have a better freshman year in the NFL than his counterpart.
Historic Quarterback Depth
There have only been four other times in history when the top two picks in the NFL Draft have both been quarterbacks.
Individually, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III show every sign of putting together dominating performances in the NFL for years to come. If they can each uphold their share of that promise, they represent a tandem pair that has the chance to make history.
The previous four quarterback pairs have each evolved into one success and one failure:
- Tim Couch-Donovan McNabb (1999);
- Peyton Manning-Ryan Leaf ('98);
- Drew Bledsoe-Rick Mirer ('93);
- Jim Plunkett-Archie Manning ('71).
Now, Andrew Luck-Robert Griffin III (2012) have the chance to forge a different path.
Past and Future Quarterbacks Head in Different Directions
As the future of the NFL took the stage, a piece of the NFL’s past found the spotlight back on him as well—and not in a positive way.
Ryan Leaf, the No. 2 counterpart to Peyton Manning’s No. 1 pick, was arrested on burglary and drug possession charges while Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were confirmed into history as just the fifth quarterback tandem to be the first off the board.
On a typical day the arrest of an ex-NFL player wouldn’t be that entertaining or exciting, but the timing on this one really makes it something of a big deal.
Tons of Traded Picks
At times, it felt more like Wall Street than like the NFL Draft with all of the trades flying around.
There are plenty of teams with needs that they preferred to fill through the NFL Draft instead of through free agency.
Many of those teams gave in to the temptation to pay for the privilege of grabbing their choice players early, while others gladly accepted the surplus that trading down can bring. That amount of movement really made the draft exciting to watch and kept fans checking in frequently.
It seems that these days there is nothing that the media cannot make a spectacle of—and the NFL Draft was no exception.
The days of simply showing the player’s name on a projector screen are gone, replaced by cameras everywhere feeding in live reactions and pendant speculation.
A lot of work went into preparing for any eventuality in the 2012 Draft, and that effort paid off.
At every turn the commentators were well informed with statistics and video clips of the appropriate players, even when those players’ selection in the first round was a bit of a surprise.
All of that effort really contributed to making this year’s first round memorable.
It may not have been flattering to the fans who were actually participating in the behavior, but there was plenty of entertaining audience action being picked up by the microphones.
The audience wasn’t just involved when it came to cheering for their team or for a particular player when he was drafted. There were plenty of derogatory yells off the camera, including a long, loud chant of “Dolphins Suck.”
Perhaps the most interesting and entertaining was the frequent—and heartfelt—booing every time Commissioner Rodger Goodell took the stage.
Upsetting the Experts
There’s no faster way to blow through an expert’s mock draft than to execute draft-day trades, and that’s exactly what many teams in the NFL conspired to do.
All of the time spent over the past several months putting together mock drafts and predictions was nullified the moment that the second draft-day trade gave the Jaguars the fifth overall draft pick in lieu of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With the first few picks all but set in stone weeks before the actual day of the draft, there was plenty of excitement in breaking away from the expert predictions and forge ahead into unexpected territory.
Despite the best efforts of the media to extend the opening rounds of the draft to give each new recruit into the NFL his due, the action moved along at a breakneck pace as teams chomped at the bit to add to their ranks.
There were several points when it seemed as though teams were actually jumping the gun and making their draft picks while the team before them was still waiting for theirs to be announced.
The action was fast and furious for the first 45 minutes of the draft, with Tampa Bay using their seventh overall pick to become the first team to come even close to taking the full amount of time in making their selection.
Even after that, things never really slowed down. The first round of the draft lasted for just over three hours even with all of the commercial breaks, a far shorter time span than we have seen in previous years.
There are plenty of positions that are standard areas of need that teams pick in the first round of the draft, particularly linebacker and wide receiver. What set this year aside was the standout talent available at almost all of them.
For quarterback (Andrew Luck), running back (Trent Richardson), tackle (Matt Kalil), cornerback (Morris Claiborne), wide receiver (Justin Blackmon), and more there was a single player whose name has become synonymous with talent.
Those players whose abilities are so far above their peers are perhaps the single biggest reason that this draft was as entertaining as it ended up being. The jockeying for position in the draft in order to acquire these players was both disruptive and exciting to everyone involved.