2012 NFL Draft Grades: Evaluating the Best Picks of Round 5
Day three of the 2012 NFL draft has seen some impressive talent wait to get selected.
Although it's easy to underrate him, Florida running back Chris Rainey is a solid fit for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers need a dynamic ball-carrier, and Rainey provides a change of pace in the backfield.
By that token, Rainey wasn't the only great fifth-round selection. So, let's see how some other teams made out:
Indianapolis Colts: Josh Chapman, DT (Alabama)
You can't go wrong with an Alabama defensive player, and neither did the Indianapolis Colts.
No, Chapman's numbers weren't overly dominant or impressive, but this is a guy that knows how to get off blocks, draw double-teams and stuff running lanes to let the linebackers make plays.
Chapman was a big reason why the Crimson Tide linebackers shined in the SEC, and his ability to stifle running backs at the line was consistent. With 71 tackles during his final three seasons, the Colts got a sound run defender to free up the rest of the front seven.
In a division that's loaded with elite ball-carriers (Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Arian Foster), Indianapolis got an upgrade with a technically disciplined player to bolster the run defense.
Carolina Panthers: Josh Norman, CB (Coastal Carolina)
Be on the lookout for the Carolina Panthers defense in 2012. Round 1 put Luke Kuechly in Carolina, and the addition of Oklahoma's Frank Alexander only enhanced the Cats' front seven.
Coastal Carolina cornerback Josh Norman has the potential to start from day one opposite Chris Gamble, as his size alone will blanket receivers in man coverage. Norman works best in press coverage and rolling down to the flats in zone coverage to get physical with receivers.
This in turn helps the Panthers on the perimeter against the run and in short-yardage situations. Norman accounted for 196 tackles, seven sacks and four forced fumbles during his time with the Chanticleers. A consistently reliable performer, Norman also defended 35 passes with 12 picks at the FCS level.
His strength is beneficial when a quarterback tries to fit the rock in a small window, as receivers won't be able to out-muscle Norman for the rock. The Panthers needed to add talented depth to the secondary, and Norman is just that in a pass-happy division.
Buffalo Bills: Tank Carder, LB (TCU)
To say that the Buffalo Bills have enjoyed a strong draft would be a vehement understatement.
Getting South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore in Round 1 to play behind a beastly front seven gives the Bills a nearly complete defense. Jump to Round 5 and we see a versatile linebacker in Tank Carder from TCU.
Despite being undersized, Carder has top-of-the-line instincts and awareness. He's a proven playmaker, with 23 defended passes, four picks and three defensive touchdowns. Against the run, Carder recognizes quickly and has the athleticism to react fast in the box.
His playing time will be limited, as Buffalo's front seven is loaded, but Carder will be used as an inside 'backer in strict passing situations. He can get depth in zone, take on tight ends and running backs one-on-one and adjust once the ball is thrown.
Buffalo got a complete defender in Carder, which only enhances the Bills' linebacking corps.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Chris Rainey, RB (Florida)
With Chris Rainey going to Pittsburgh, it doesn't look like a selection that will make a major impact in the Steelers' offense.
However, with an upgraded offensive line this draft and an inconsistent running game last season, Rainey becomes the next piece of the puzzle for Pittsburgh evolving as a pass-balanced attack.
Last season, Pittsburgh allowed 47 sacks including the postseason and didn't have a threatening ball-carrier on second and third-down. Rainey is a dual-threat player, as he compiled almost 800 receiving yards on 69 receptions.
Rainey's reliability on screens, draws and as a check-down target will prevent defenses from constantly blitzing Ben Roethlisberger. On the ground, he's a serviceable threat (2,454 career rushing yards) because of his acceleration, speed and ability to change the pace.
The enhanced lineman (namely David DeCastro) will improve the pass protection, but Rainey's addition keeps defenses off balance and from attacking the Steelers up front.
John Rozum on Twitter.
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