NFL Draft Grades 2012: Teams That Missed Big on Day One

Jason ClarkCorrespondent IIApril 27, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26:  Shea McClellin (R) of Boise State holds up a jersey as he stands on stage with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was selected #19 overall by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The 2012 NFL Draft kicked off yesterday, and round one wasn't without its share of head-scratching moves. Several teams reached and others simply took the wrong players.

Last year's big surprise was Christian Ponder being taken at No. 12 overall by the Minnesota Vikings. Ponder wasn't projected to go in the first round and, although he showed promise in 2011, the Vikings missed out on the surprisingly effective Andy Dalton by drafting Ponder so early.

This year, the Miami Dolphins took Ryan Tannehill at No. 8, which will either turn out to be a steal in a draft with great quarterbacks or an awful mistake. Tannehill showed at his pro day that he can be competitive with Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, but his lack of experience (he is a former wide receiver who has only played one year of Division I football at quarterback) could come back to hurt him.

The Tannehill pick shouldn't be labeled a miss yet because it has the highest potential to be great. But these next set of picks are undoubtedly the biggest head-scratchers of the draft.


Pick 15, Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks exchanged picks with the Philadelphia Eagles and added selections in the fourth and sixth rounds, but that was the only good decision they made yesterday. Seattle opted to solve their problems at linebacker by taking Bruce Irvin at least a round early, maybe two.

They passed on Quinton Coples, who could have solved problems at defensive end and Melvin Ingram who could have done that in addition to taking on outside-linebacker duties. The Seahawks could have ended up with one of those players in addition to Irvin.


Pick 19, Chicago Bears

Shea McClellin is more worthy of a first-round pick than most casual fans realize, but the fact that he was drafted by the Bears is puzzling. He does fit well as a guy who can rush the passer, but linebacker was not a top need for Chicago and they passed up on some serious talent on the defensive line to take him.

Whitney Mercilus and Chandler Jones were two defensive ends that were still available, and Chicago could have gotten pass-rush out of them at a position with larger need instead. McClellin won't be a terrible bust, but the Bears could have done better with this pick. 


Pick 30, San Francisco 49ers

The 'Niners have been busy this offseason with the task of providing some wide receivers for Alex Smith to throw to, as they signed Randy Moss and Mario Manningham in free agency. The fact that they took yet another receiver in the first round of the 2012 draft wasn't a surprise, but when Illinois wideout A.J. Jenkins was the pick, it certainly raised some eyebrows.

San Francisco looked to be in a great position to draft Stephen Hill, the Georgia Tech receiver who made a splash at the combine with a 4.36-second 40 time despite being 6'4" and weighing 215 pounds. Well, they were in a great position to draft him, but decided not to. They also passed up on Alshon Jeffery and Rueben Randle, who are each rated higher than Jenkins.

There will certainly be more head-shaking decisions made as the draft continues, but these are the greatest hits so far.