NFL Draft 2012 Results: Surprising Picks That Will Work out

Matt MoranContributor IIIApril 27, 2012

Brandon Weeden slipped into the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday night.
Brandon Weeden slipped into the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday night.Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The first round of the NFL draft saw eight trades, a stretch of six straight defensive picks and four quarterbacks go off the big board.

It also had its fair share of surprise selections. Here are four surprise picks from the first round who may shock you with their talent when the 2012 NFL season rolls around in September. 


1. Dontari Poe, DT, Kansas City Chiefs (11th pick)

The Chiefs surprised the league by selecting the raw, talented Poe ahead of Fletcher Cox, who was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the next pick. 

Every year an average college player wows NFL scouts with his combine performance and shoots up the draft charts. Poe was that player this year. According to CBSSports NFL draft analysis, Poe "ran and jumped like a little man at the Combine, but showed the strength of the big guy that he is."

The Chiefs are a good fit for Poe, as he will fit in with the team's 3-4 scheme with the right coaching. Poe may take some time to develop, but his physical skills are off the charts, and by the second half of the season he will make a massive impact on the Kansas City defensive line.


2. Shea McClellin, OLB/DE, Chicago Bears (19th pick)

All signs pointed to the Bears selecting Whitney Mercilus out of Illinois at No. 19, but Chicago went a different direction and took a flyer on McClellin. 

McClellin appeared to be the perfect fit as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 system, but he will most likely play defensive end and contribute on special teams for the Bears. However, he does not have the size to be an every-down pass rusher. 

Still, he will contribute immediately to a Chicago defense that desperately needed another pass rusher opposite of Julius Peppers. Lovie Smith is one of the bright defensive minds in the NFL, and the Bears will find a way to get McClellin on the field, whether it is at end or outside linebacker. He is an ideal third-down pass rusher who could come after the quarterback from many areas on the field.


3. A.J. Jenkins, WR, San Francisco 49ers (30th pick)

This selection may have been the biggest shock of the first round. Jenkins, who CBSSports tabbed as the seventh-best wide receiver and a second-round pick, caught the attention of San Francisco and sneaked into the first round.

The 49ers needed a weapon, and Jenkins will be a player who could be a consistent possession-type receiver in the NFL. He is not going to burn NFL cornerbacks up the sideline or out-jump defensive backs for balls in the air, but he has terrific hands and knows how to find holes in defenses. He is extremely dangerous after the catch, and he could turn a two-yard pass play across the middle into a 20-yard gain.

Jenkins had a solid career at Illinois, leading the Big Ten in receptions (84) with 1,196 yards and seven touchdowns. He will look like a veteran receiver in the NFL right away with his hands and route running.


4. Brandon Weeden, QB, Cleveland Browns (22nd pick)

Many assumed that the 28-year-old former aspiring baseball player would fall to the second round because of his age, even though he had first-round talent. The Browns gambled and selected Weeden, and he will get a chance to prove himself immediately in Cleveland.

Weeden has the arm strength and accuracy to be successful in the NFL. He has to make an impact right away because Cleveland will not be that patient with a quarterback who turns 29 this upcoming season.

Weeden has shown that he is a good decision maker and has a quick release, and his maturity could end up being one of his biggest assets. He has the size, throwing ability and toughness that will translate into success in the NFL.