As the second and third round of the 2012 NFL draft concluded Friday night, the Green Bay Packers, St. Louis Rams, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts appear to be the five teams that came away as big winners.
Green Bay Packers
Day 2 Picks: DE Jerel Worthy, Michigan State; CB Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt
The Packers addressed their need at outside linebacker by staying put at No. 28 overall and taking USC's Nick Perry in the first round, but GM Ted Thompson wasn't shy Friday night about moving up to get two other players his defense needed.
Worthy came first, as Thompson moved up eight spots to nab the potential starting defensive end for the Packers' 3-4 front in the middle of the second round. Thompson then made another move to get back into the third round, where Hayward—a top-10 cornerback that can also play safety—was still available.
If the cards fall right, both Worthy and Hayward could be plug-and-play starters for the Packers next season. Hard to ask for much more out of two picks made on the draft's second day, especially for a 15-1 football team from the season prior.
St. Louis Rams
Day 2 Picks: WR Brian Quick, Appalachian State; CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama; RB Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati; CB Trumaine Johnson, Montana
The Rams have been among this draft's most active wheelers-and-dealers, and the fruits of that labor finally paid off Friday night. With four picks in the top 40 of the second day, St. Louis got a number of players that should help accelerate the rebuilding project currently in progress.
Quick has the physical tools to be a potential No. 1 receiver, Pead is a solid change-of-pace back that will take some pounding off Steven Jackson, and Johnson can compete for a starting job right off the bat in a bad Rams' secondary.
The kicker in this group will be Jenkins, however, and whether or not Fisher can keep this top-10 talent on the field. If Jenkins stays clean in St. Louis, Fisher could have a sure-fire Pro Bowler at a need position.
Day 2 Picks: DT Devon Still, Penn State; WR Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers; DT Brandon Thompson
Still is a first-round talent who could be a top defensive lineman in this class with the right motivation, and few expected Thompson to last as deep into the third round as he did. The Bengals' defensive line looks formidable now on paper.
In the second round, Sanu was good value as a complement to No. 1 receiver A.J. Green. He could easily catch 50-60 balls as a rookie.
Credit Cincinnati for staying true to the board and ignoring any perceived need. They got three good football players as a result.
Day 2 Picks: LB Mychal Kendricks, Cal; DE Vinny Curry, Marshall; QB Nick Foles, Arizona
Absolutely love what the Eagles have done in this draft. After adding Fletcher Cox in the first round, Philadelphia stuck to the front seven with value picks in Kendricks and Curry in the second.
Kendricks is one of the draft's more underrated defensive players, and Curry could have an impact as a situational pass-rusher in year one. Both have starting-quality potential (or more) early in their NFL careers.
The Eagles capped off a solid Friday haul by getting the backup quarterback they wanted. Foles has a high ceiling and will be given the ever-important chance to develop in Philly's system.
Day 2 Picks: TE Coby Fleener, Stanford; TE Dwayne Allen, Clemson; WR T.Y. Hilton, Florida International
Give the Colts a lot of credit for how they've approached a daunting rebuilding project. Instead of spreading out picks on offense and defense, Indy has surrounded Andrew Luck—the project's centerpiece—with quality targets that should make his transition as smooth as the Colts could possibly make it.
It shouldn't take long for Fleener—the draft's No. 1 tight end and a former teammate at Stanford—to become Luck's favorite target, and Allen is another pass-catching tight end that will take a lot of pressure off the rookie quarterback. Hilton has a lot of upside and should be a factor early on in flipping field position as a returner.
The Colts may give up a lot of points next season after neglecting the defense with each of the team's first four picks, but you have to think a defensive-minded head coach like Chuck Pagano will schematically help that side of the football.
Luck is the important piece to protect in year one, and that's exactly what the Colts have done in this draft.