2012 NFL Draft: Ranking All 32 First-Round Picks

Dan Hope@Dan_HopeContributor IIIApril 27, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: Ranking All 32 First-Round Picks

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    The first round of the 2012 NFL Draft was one of the most surprising and unpredictable ever.

    Some players who absolutely should have been first-round picks, like Alabama outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw and Stanford offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, will still be on the board when the second round begins Friday.

    On the other hand, some teams made some absolutely head-scratching choices with their first-round picks.

    I decided to rank, from best to worst, all 32 selections from the first round this year. These rankings are not done based upon the best player selected to the worst, but rather from the best picks in terms of value and need.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers, No. 24: David DeCastro, G, Stanford

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 10

    The Steelers got the biggest steal of the first round when David DeCastro fell into their lap at No. 24 overall. They seriously needed to upgrade at the guard position, and are likely to end up with another All-Pro guard by bringing in DeCastro.

    DeCastro likely would have been selected much higher if he played a more premium position than guard, but for the Steelers, he was the absolute ideal selection to fall to them.

    The Steelers still have work to do at offensive tackle in revamping their offensive line, but bringing in DeCastro to start next to Maurkice Pouncey will give them one of the top interior lines in the league.

2. Minnesota Vikings (from Cleveland Browns), No. 4: Matt Kalil, OT, USC

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 2

    Trade: The Minnesota Vikings traded the No. 3 overall selection to the Cleveland Browns for the No. 4, No. 118, No. 139, and No. 211 overall selections.

    For weeks, it was feared that the Vikings would trade down and make the mistake of passing up the opportunity to fill their biggest need, left tackle, by drafting an elite prospect in Matt Kalil. In fact, they ended up trading down and still got Kalil.

    This was a tremendous deal all-around for the Vikings. They picked up three extra selections on Day 3, while getting the player they should have drafted all along.

    Kalil has the skills to be a future All-Pro left tackle, and he will pay huge dividends for the Vikings offense as the primary protector to young quarterback Christian Ponder.

3. Detroit Lions, No. 23: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 12

    Reiff really was an ideal choice for the Lions. The Lions needed to find a player who they could develop to be Jeff Backus’ heir apparent at left tackle, while becoming a starter at right tackle or guard over the next two years. That is exactly what Reiff can be for the Lions.

    Reiff would be a good fit to start right away at either right tackle or guard, and while he needs some development in his game to become a left tackle, he should be capable of taking over at that spot in two years after Backus’ contract expires.

    Getting Reiff at No. 23 overall was tremendous value and a perfect fit.

4. San Diego Chargers, No. 18: Melvin Ingram, OLB/DE, South Carolina

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 8

    The Chargers got a tremendous value selection when South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram fell into their hands at No. 18 overall. Ingram is an explosive hybrid pass-rusher who is a terrific fit to transition to outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense.

    The Chargers lacked a premier pass-rusher at the position, and Ingram’s value alone made him worth the selection here. This is a choice that the franchise should be very happy with.

5. Carolina Panthers, No. 9: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 6

    Two of the Panthers’ starting linebackers, Jon Beason and Thomas Davis, are coming off serious injuries, and there is certainly room for upgrade in that group. Luke Kuechly is a complete middle linebacker who can make an immediate impact, and he was a tremendous choice for them with this pick.

    Kuechly was a very productive player at Boston College, leading the NCAA in total tackles each of the past two seasons. He will be ready to step in immediately at any linebacker position and continue to be a tackling machine.

    Kuechly is my early pick for Defensive Rookie of the Year, and I expect that he will become a leader that the Panthers really need in their defensive front seven.

6. Indianapolis Colts, No. 1: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 1

    The Colts surprised absolutely no one by drafting Luck, the No. 1 overall prospect in the draft class.

    They released future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning knowing that they would draft Andrew Luck to be the next franchise quarterback of their team.

    While Luck has huge shoes to fill, he has all the tools to be a star quarterback: very accurate, great decision-maker, good arm, great athlete and terrific intangibles.

    The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, and the Colts should be all set at the most important position for many years to come.

7. Washington Redskins, No. 2: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 3

    Trade: The St. Louis Rams traded the No. 2 overall selection to the Washington Redskins for the No. 6 overall selection, No. 37 overall selection and the Redskins’ first-round picks in 2013 and 2014.

    As soon as the Redskins traded up to No. 2, it was clear that they had moved up to draft the potential franchise quarterback they have been lacking, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.

    RG3 is not quite the complete quarterback prospect that Andrew Luck is, but he would be a No. 1 overall pick in most draft classes. Griffin has a great arm, and is a very good downfield passer but is also a world-class athlete. He is a smart quarterback with all the intangibles coveted in a franchise signal-caller.

    The Redskins paid a steep price to move up and draft Griffin, but he should be worth it.

8. Green Bay Packers, No. 28: Nick Perry, OLB/DE, USC

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 23

    The Packers needed to add a pass-rushing outside linebacker in this draft, and they got very good value by selecting USC’s Nick Perry at No. 28 overall.

    Perry is a raw talent, but he is a very athletic and talented pass rusher with the upside to be a star across from Clay Matthews III on the Green Bay defense.

    The Packers made a great value selection while filling arguably their biggest need, so this is a very good choice.

9. Philadelphia Eagles (from Seahawks), No. 12: Fletcher Cox, DT, Miss. St.

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 15

    Trade: The Seattle Seahawks traded the No. 12 overall selection to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for the No. 15, No. 114, and No. 172 selections.

    This was a trade that was easy to see coming for both teams. The Philadelphia Eagles had been in talks all week about moving up to draft Fletcher Cox, while the Seahawks will looking to move down with no clear choice available. For the Eagles, this was a terrific move worth making.

    The Eagles needed to add an explosive difference-maker on their defensive front, and Cox has the potential to be exactly that. Cox’s talent is somewhat raw, but he has the most upside of any defensive tackle in this draft class, and he could end up being a tremendous player for the Eagles.

    With the flexibility of being able to making a move up for the player they coveted, the Eagles made a great choice in going after Cox.

10. Dallas Cowboys (from St. Louis Rams), No. 6: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 4

    Trade: The St. Louis Rams traded the No. 6 overall selection to the Dallas Cowboys for the No. 14 and No. 45 overall selections.

    The Dallas Cowboys made a big free-agent signing at cornerback in Brandon Carr, but they still lacked a star in their secondary. By parting ways with their second-round pick, the Cowboys moved up to get a true star in LSU’s Morris Claiborne.

    Claiborne has the all-around coverage skills to be the true No. 1 lockdown cornerback that the Cowboys have lacked for years, and he is the best defensive player in the draft class. Moving up to select him was worth giving up a second-round draft pick.

11. Cleveland Browns (from Min. Vikings), No. 3: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 7

    Trade: The Minnesota Vikings traded the No. 3 overall selection to the Cleveland Browns for the No. 4, No. 118, No. 139, and No. 211 overall selections.

    Trading up to secure the opportunity to draft Trent Richardson was a great decision by the Cleveland Browns. The Browns needed to upgrade at the running back position, and get an elite running back talent in Richardson.

    The Browns parted ways with three Day 3 picks to move up only one spot, but considering that they came into the draft with 10 picks on Day 3, they could afford to give a few up.

    Richardson has a tremendous combination of power and speed, and he will be the playmaker that the Browns offense has seriously lacked.

12. Kansas City Chiefs, No. 11: Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 18

    The Chiefs got exactly the player they were expected to take at No. 11 overall with the selection of Memphis’ Dontari Poe.

    The Chiefs needed to upgrade at nose tackle, given the importance of the position on a three-man defensive front, and Poe stands well above the pack as the best nose tackle in this draft class.

    Poe is a raw talent who would typically be a slight reach at No. 11, but the importance of the position he plays and his huge potential make him worth this pick.

    Poe is a massive nose tackle with athletic upside, and he could develop into exactly the player they need on their defensive front.

13. Houston Texans, No. 26: Whitney Mercilus, OLB/DE, Illinois

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 24

    On a hunch, I projected that the Houston Texans would pass upon the opportunity to draft a wide receiver and selected another hybrid pass-rusher to replace departed free agent Mario Williams. My mocked pick of Whitney Mercilus ended up being correct.

    Mercilus was a one-year wonder at Illinois, but he is a very talented and athletic pass rusher who will be another great addition to the Texans’ defense. It came as a surprise that the Texans passed on Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill, but in terms of value, they made a very good decision.

14. Jacksonville Jaguars (from T.B. Bucs), No. 5: Justin Blackmon, WR, Okla. St.

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 9

    Trade: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded the No. 5 overall pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for the No. 7 and No. 101 overall selections.

    After all the talk of trading down and Justin Blackmon potentially slipping, it came as a surprise that the Jaguars decided to trade up to the top five and draft him. That said, it was a good move for them to make, as they got the one truly legitimate No. 1 wideout in this draft class.

    The Jaguars had a seriously weak receiving corps last season, and signing free agent Laurent Robinson was not enough to solve that problem. Blackmon may not have tremendous speed, but he is a terrific wideout whose size, strength, hands and route-running ability give him the talent to be a star.

    The Jaguars needed to find a go-to receiver for Blaine Gabbert, and they secured their chance to select one by moving ahead of the St. Louis Rams, who were a definite threat to select him, and drafting the best receiver in the draft class.

15. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oak. Raiders), No. 17: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 14

    Trade: The Cincinnati Bengals received this draft pick from the Oakland Raiders during the 2011 season as part of a package in exchange for quarterback Carson Palmer.

    The Bengals’ decision to draft Kirkpatrick at No. 17 overall was a good decision.

    They needed to address the secondary early, and the top of the draft was thin on talent among defensive backs after Kirkpatrick. By adding Kirkpatrick, the Bengals get a physical cornerback who can be a very solid starter across from Leon Hall.

    There were better options available that also fit needs, including Stanford guard David DeCastro and Alabama outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw, so Kirkpatrick was not necessarily the best choice.

    That said, the Bengals had a chance to draft either of those players at No. 21, so they may have been smartest to get Kirkpatrick when they did.

16. New England Patriots (from Broncos), No. 25: Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 20

    Trade: The Denver Broncos traded the No. 25 overall selection to the New England Patriots for the No. 31 and No. 126 selections.

    Surprisingly, the Patriots moved up for a second time in the first round to get another player for their defensive front seven that they coveted in Alabama’s Dont’a Hightower.

    While it was a surprise to see the Patriots trade away their last remaining pick outside of the top two rounds, this is a move I liked much better.

    Hightower is a big, athletic and talented linebacker who will be a good fit for the Patriots’ hybrid defensive system. The Patriots recognized their need to upgrade the defensive front seven early in this draft, and Hightower should find a solid role in their defense.

17. New York Jets, No. 16: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 13

    The expectation was that the New York Jets would use this pick to draft a hybrid pass-rushing outside linebacker in Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw or South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram, both of whom were great values in the middle of the first round.

    But they ended up drafting a first-round defensive end for the second consecutive year in North Carolina’s Quinton Coples.

    Coples is a talented player and good addition to the Jets’ defensive front, but they needed an outside linebacker more than a 5-technique end, so drafting Coples over Upshaw and Ingram was not the best choice they could have made.

18. Buffalo Bills, No. 10: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 19

    The Buffalo Bills were looking to add another cornerback, and got one of the most talented defensive backs in the draft class in South Carolina’s Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore is a skilled cover corner who is a good addition to the Bills’ secondary, but this is not a pick that I love in the top 10.

    Gilmore was somewhat of a reach as a top-10 selection, and the Bills did not need to reach for a cornerback, given that they drafted Aaron Williams in the second round last year. There were better selections available on the offensive line and at linebacker.

    The Bills should not be knocked for this selection, because there was no ideal choice, but it was simply not one of the stronger picks of the first round.

19. St. Louis Rams (from Dallas Cowboys), No. 14: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 41

    Trade: The St. Louis Rams traded the No. 6 overall selection to the Dallas Cowboys for the No. 14 and No. 45 overall selections.

    Michael Brockers was a significant reach as a top-15 selection, but it is hard to knock the Rams for this selection.

    First of all, there were no obvious choices to fill any of the Rams’ biggest areas of needs at this pick. Secondly, having traded down twice in the first round, the Rams picked up two additional early second-round picks, given them the flexibility to draft any player they wanted in the first round.

    The Rams could have done better than Brockers, but with two of the top defensive tackles off the board, he was only going to stay on the board for so long, and they needed to upgrade at defensive tackle.

    He was a rotational player at LSU who could end up being a major bust, but he is a disruptive defensive lineman with high upside.

20. Minnesota Vikings (from Bal. Ravens), No. 29: Harrison Smith, SS, Notre Dame

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 59

    Trade: The Baltimore Ravens traded the No. 29 overall selection to the Minnesota Vikings for the No. 35 and No. 98 overall selections.

    With how weak the safety class in this draft, Notre Dame’s Harrison Smith was expected to vault into the late picks of Round 1. The Vikings were in need of safety help, so moving up into the first round made sense to select Smith.

    Smith is not quite a first-round caliber talent, and he may not have been worth trading up for, but knowing that they needed a safety, the Vikings did not want to risk missing out on him. Not one of the better moves of the first round, but a solid move to fill a position of need.

21. Tennessee Titans, No. 20: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 25

    The Titans’ selection of Kendall Wright at No. 20 overall was one of the first round’s more surprising picks. While the Titans can certainly benefit by adding another playmaker to their passing game, it was a surprise that they selected him over upgrading the defense.

    The Titans could have really benefited from adding a pass-rusher such as USC’s Nick Perry with this selection. Wright should pay immediate dividends as an explosive speed receiver, something the Titans lacked, but he was not the best choice for need or value at this pick.

22. Arizona Cardinals, No. 13: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 29

    The addition of Michael Floyd will certainly give the Cardinals a dynamic duo at the wide receiver position next season. The team’s star receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, was adamant that he wanted the team to bring in Floyd to start across from him, and the team abided by Fitzgerald’s wishes.

    That said, I am lukewarm on this pick. While Fitzgerald and Floyd can make a tremendous starting combination of receivers, they have to have good quarterback play from Kevin Kolb along with ample protection for him in order to take advantage of that talent.

    Rather than going after a wideout in Round 1, especially one who is somewhat overrated in Floyd, the Cardinals could have upgraded their offensive line with one of numerous value players such as Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff or Stanford guard David DeCastro.

    Additionally, the Cardinals passed up an opportunity to draft one of two tremendous values to upgrade at pass-rushing outside linebacker with either Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw or South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Jaguars), No. 7: Mark Barron, SS, Alabama

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 21

    Trade: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded the No. 5 overall pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for the No. 7 and No. 101 overall selections.

    Alabama strong safety Mark Barron ended up being the first overdrafted player in the draft, when the Buccaneers selected him at No. 7 overall.

    It is understandable why Barron’s stock rose to the point of being a top-10 pick, as he is head and shoulders above any other safety in this year’s draft class. That said, safeties are rarely top 10 picks, and Barron is not an elite talent.

    He will be a definite upgrade in the Buccaneers’ secondary, but rather than reaching on Barron, they should have used this pick to fill an even bigger need and selected Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly.

    At least the Buccaneers were able to move down and pick up an extra fourth-round pick, but the value here was still not great.

24. Cleveland Browns (from Atl. Falcons), No. 22: Brandon Weeden, QB, Okla. St.

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 47

    Trade: The Cleveland Browns acquired this draft pick from the Atlanta Falcons as part of a package in exchange for the sixth overall selection in the 2011 NFL draft.

    The Browns were expected to select Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden at some point in this draft, but it seemed likely that they would be able to wait and draft him at No. 37 overall. Instead, the Browns reached and took him with their second first-round draft pick.

    Bringing in another quarterback to compete for the starting job with Colt McCoy was a good decision, but not with a first-round draft pick, especially considering that Weeden is a second-round talent and 28 years old.

    The Browns should have stuck with what general manager Tom Heckert claimed the original plan to be, which was to draft a wide receiver.

    Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill would have been a great addition of another big playmaker to their offense. That said, the best pick would have been Stanford guard David DeCastro, as the Browns must rebuild the guard position.

25. New York Giants, No. 32: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 33

    The New York Giants could have addressed a position of greater need with greater value by selecting a top-12 talent at linebacker with Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw or offensive tackle with Stanford’s Jonathan Martin. Instead, they selected David Wilson, who was not a good choice for them.

    While the Giants could certainly use another running back, they should have been in the market for a more powerful runner to replace Brandon Jacobs.

    Wilson is a similar back to their feature back Ahmad Bradshaw, and he does not bring enough new to the table to justify the Giants making him their first-round selection.

26. New England Patriots (from Bengals), No. 21: Chandler Jones, DE/LB, Syracuse

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 84

    Trade: The Cincinnati Bengals traded the No. 21 overall selection to the New England Patriots for the No. 27 and No. 93 overall selections.

    When the Patriots made a move up to No. 21 overall for a hybrid pass-rusher, I immediately loved the move for them. However, that was because I thought they were trading up for Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw, who would have been a perfect fit for them.

    Instead, the Patriots drafted Chandler Jones. Jones does have great upside, with an intriguing combination of size, length and athletic ability, but his collegiate production and game play were subpar. Jones is a raw talent and projection, and while he could emerge into a star, he also has high bust potential.

    Jones is a solid fit for the Patriots, but if they were going to select him over Upshaw, they should have stayed put rather than moving up for one of the more overrated prospects in the draft class.

27. Chicago Bears, No. 19: Shea McClellin, OLB/DE, Boise State

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 43

    During this past college football season, when Boise State’s Shea McClellin was not generating much national attention, I thought he was going to end up being one of the draft’s top sleepers.

    Instead, everyone else caught onto his talent, so much that he ended up being overdrafted by the Bears at No. 19 overall.

    This is a pick that simply does not make sense for them. While the Bears needed to upgrade in the defensive front seven, McClellin is not an ideal fit for a 4-3 scheme, where he will most likely transition from playing defensive end to strong-side linebacker.

    He is skilled enough athletically and in coverage to make the transition, but the Bears could have gotten a much more complete player and sure thing in Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw to fill the same role. Stanford guard David DeCastro would have also made an awful lot of sense here.

28. Cincinnati Bengals (from N.E. Patriots), No. 27: Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 68

    Trade: The Cincinnati Bengals traded the No. 21 overall selection to the New England Patriots for the No. 27 and No. 93 overall selections.

    Had the Bengals stayed put at the No. 21 overall pick, they could have drafted an elite guard prospect in Stanford’s David DeCastro. Instead, they moved down six spots and selected a much more pedestrian guard prospect in Wisconsin’s Kevin Zeitler.

    A late third-round pick comes far from bridging the talent gap between a potential All-Pro in DeCastro, and a solid but unspectacular guard in Zeitler.

    While Zeitler still fills a need at guard and should be a solid starter, he was not a first-round talent, and the Bengals should have just taken DeCastro when they had the chance. Not the best move on their part.

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Broncos), No. 31: Doug Martin, RB, Boise State

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 51

    Trade: The Denver Broncos traded the No. 31 and No. 126 overall selections to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for the No. 36 and No. 101 overall selections.

    After picking up an early fourth-round pick in their earlier trade down, the Buccaneers moved well down from that pick in the fourth round for an unnecessary move back up into the first round to draft Doug Martin.

    If the Buccaneers were going to trade back up into the first round to draft anyone, it should have been Alabama outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw, as he would have been a tremendous steal and address a need at linebacker. Instead, they moved up to draft a running back who was not even a first-round value.

    Wanting a running back, the Buccaneers should have just stayed put at No. 36 and selected the best running back available, which most likely would have been Miami’s Lamar Miller, a better prospect than Martin anyways. This trade up was not necessary.

30. Miami Dolphins, No. 8: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 54

    The selection of Ryan Tannehill came as a surprise to no one, but nonetheless, he is still a horrible top-10 selection who was very overdrafted.

    Tannehill has impressive physical tools and the upside to be a starting-caliber quarterback, but he is not a franchise quarterback prospect yet was certainly drafted to be one.

    Tannehill should have been a Day 2 choice, not the No. 8 overall pick. Tannehill is not even close to the level of prospect that Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are, and is unlikely to be nearly as successful as either of them will be.

    The Dolphins did need a quarterback badly, and Tannehill could emerge as a solid starter for them. That said, the chances are also good that this top-10 draft selection could end up being a complete bust.

31. San Francisco 49ers, No. 30: A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 108

    It is easy to come up with a long list of players who would have been better choices at No. 30 overall for the San Francisco 49ers than Illinois’s A.J. Jenkins. Jenkins should not have come anywhere close to being a first-round pick.

    Jenkins was rated No. 20 among wide receivers alone in my pre-draft rankings, yet he was the fourth receiver off the board. Why the 49ers would select Jenkins over Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill and South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery is a question I cannot come up with a good answer to.

    Additionally, the best pick for the 49ers would have been to fill their biggest need at right guard by drafting Georgia’s Cordy Glenn. Glenn would have been a steal as a late first-round selection, and could fill that need.

    Stanford offensive tackle Jonathan Martin would have also made great sense for his tremendous value. Jenkins was not a valuable choice.

32. Seattle Seahawks (from Philadelphia Eagles), No. 15: Bruce Irvin, DE, WVU

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    Overall Prospect Rank: No. 118

    Trade: The Seattle Seahawks traded the No. 12 overall selection to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for the No. 15, No. 114, and No. 172 selections.

    There is always that one pick in the first round that has every draft prognosticator scratching their heads and wondering if Roger Goodell’s pick announcement is a joke. The Seahawks’ selection of West Virginia pass-rusher Bruce Irvin at No. 15 overall was this year’s head-scratcher.

    Irvin was the first hybrid pass-rusher to come off of the draft board, but he is far from being the best defensive end prospect in the class. While Irvin is an athletic pass-rusher who can really get after the quarterback, he has absolutely no value as a run defender whatsoever.

    Irvin could be a very good situational pass-rusher, but situational pass-rushers are not first-round picks. With great all-around talents like Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw and South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram available to play the same role, reaching so heavily for Irvin just cannot be rationalized.

    Irvin was expected to slide in the draft due to character concerns, but instead, he was drafted much earlier than anyone expected.

    Thanks for reading!

    For more live coverage throughout the 2012 NFL Draft, follow me on Twitter @Dan_Hope.