10 Biggest Mistakes of the 2012 NFL Draft

Matt Madsen@mmadsen5Correspondent IIApril 29, 2012

10 Biggest Mistakes of the 2012 NFL Draft

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    What were the Washington Redskins thinking when they blew their early fourth-round pick on Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins?

    Rest assured, 'Skins fans, your team wasn't the only team to choke during the draft.

    While a number of teams had a great weekend filling needs with talent, there were also—as always—a number of head-scratchers.

    I don't want to give too much away in the opener, so let's dive right in.

Washington Redskins Drafting Kirk Cousins in the Third Round

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    After the Indianapolis Colts used the first overall pick to secure Andrew Luck, they could've done anything. Their defense needs help all over, and so does their offense.

    Or so did their offense.

    The Colts made a conscious decision to abandon nearly all hope for the defense this season and instead chose to bring in as much help for their new starting quarterback as they possibly could. They spent their first four picks on offense, and eight out of their 10 total picks.

    The Redskins had a different strategy.

    After bringing in Robert Griffin III with the second pick, the 'Skins opted to give RGIII a little competition by drafting another quarterback in the fourth round, Kirk Cousins.


    Not only did the Redskins use the second overall pick on Griffin, but they traded a number of high picks to get the rights to do so. They have committed a ton to RGIII, bringing future picks to a premium due to scarcity.

    And instead of helping build around their new signal-caller, they brought in a guy to try to take his job.

    I don't get it.

St. Louis Rams Drop Back from No. 6 to No. 14

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    Sitting at No. 6, the St. Louis Rams had plenty of options before the first day of the draft began.

    They could get Justin Blackmon, who would fill a huge need at wide receiver. They could get Morris Claiborne, a shutdown corner in a league chock-full of teams throwing the ball all over the yard. They might've even gotten Matt Kalil to solidify their young and underachieving offensive line.

    Instead, a number of things went wrong.

    When the Cleveland Browns traded up to No. 3 to get Trent Richardson, the Minnesota Vikings were satisfied with the trade return. They were comfortable picking their man at No. 4, Matt Kalil.

    Instead of the Rams making a move on No. 5 to secure Blackmon, they watched the Jacksonville Jaguars jump them from No. 7 and steal the draft's top wideout.

    But lo, available to them were still options. For a team so desperate for impact players, Claiborne would've made perfect sense. They brought in Cortland Finnegan through free agency, and Claiborne would've given them a fierce corner tandem.

    Curiously, the Rams traded back all the way to No. 14, giving the Dallas Cowboys No. 6, and Claiborne.

    That trade, and a later one using picks acquired from it, resulted in the Rams acquiring Michael Brockers, Isaiah Pead and Rokevious Watkins.

    While Brockers could be a good player, experts projected him to be available until around the 20th selection.

    To make matters worse, they also missed out on the second-best wide receiver prospect, Michael Floyd, again by a single pick. He went to Arizona at No. 13.

    All in all, the Rams had big needs and weren't aggressive about filling them.

Cleveland Browns Drafting Brandon Weeden at No. 22

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    If Andrew Luck was 28 years old, I could see how the Cleveland Browns would've been enticed into taking him in the first round. After all, Luck has drawn comparisons to greats like John Elway and Peyton Manning.

    Brandon Weeden has a lot in common with whom, exactly? Drew Henson?

    Actually, Henson was really good at baseball, so that probably doesn't work either.

    This is exactly the type of pick that keeps the Browns picking in the top 10 year after year. They simply make poor decisions.

    With 13 picks in the draft this year, most of any team, the Browns really had a chance to turn it around. Things were going to be different this time.

    Except they weren't.

    After the Browns got suckered into giving up way too much to trade up one spot from four to three, at least they got their guy. Trent Richardson is expected to transform their offense into one with real potential to move the ball on the ground. He was pegged from day one of the draft process as a special talent, and he did nothing but improve that stock at his pro day.

    Then they fell victim to themselves, again. Instead of giving their 25-year-old incumbent starting quarterback another season, they invested a first-rounder in a 28-year-old former minor league baseball player. Not only that, but he wasn't even the third-best quarterback in the draft.

    What a nightmare.

    Is it worth noting they also drafted Brady Quinn in the 22nd spot?

    I would've liked to see them go all out and package the 22nd overall pick with the 37th overall pick and try to pop up to No. 5 instead of the Jaguars. Not only would that be an exciting pick for the franchise, it actually would've been a better idea. Justin Blackmon would've given Colt McCoy a real chance to succeed.

    Instead, the Browns took away every chance for him to succeed.

Kansas City Chiefs Drafting Dontari Poe at No. 11

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    This one isn't as much on the Kansas City Chiefs as it is on the entire NFL.

    Because of the evaluation process of the NFL, the Chiefs pretty much had to take Dontari Poe at No. 11 if they wanted him.

    Obviously, they did.

    However, Poe does not come with the assurances you want out of an 11th overall pick. While his combine numbers will pop your eyes right out of your head, his tape will more than replace them. It might actually put you to sleep.

    Playing in Conference USA, one would expect a man of his sheer size and speed to obliterate people.

    Think Ndamukong Suh against eighth graders.

    Instead, Poe looks sluggish and ineffective. He rarely beats double-teams. He rarely gets into the backfield. He rarely does much of anything but take up space.

    When a player doesn't even make the all-conference team in Conference USA, that's a big red flag.

    And a player picked at No. 11 shouldn't have any red flags.

Miami Dolphins Drafting Ryan Tannehill at No. 8

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    Here are some words NFL franchises try to avoid with their top-10 draft picks.

    Project. Bust potential. Experiment. Needs work. Developmental.

    And the list goes on.

    Yet, the Miami Dolphins didn't seem to care that all those words were stuck to Ryan Tannehill like a well-pinned donkey tail.

    It's convenient to say that it's the perfect situation for him to go to. There are a few common reasons flying around.

    Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman was Tannehill's head coach in college. Tannehill won't have to start right away because the Dolphins have Matt Moore. He will improve since he's only started 19 games at quarterback.

    My responses: Sherman wouldn't be the Dolphins offensive coordinator if he hadn't been fired from Texas A&M—that's not a good thing. If you draft a quarterback in the top 10, it should be because you intend to start him right away. How is only having started 19 games a positive?

    The bottom line is, this guy is not ready to go. Maybe somewhere down the road he becomes a good player, but that's not the kind of lackluster praise you want to hear about the eighth overall pick.

Seattle Seahawks Drafting Bruce Irvin at No. 15

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    The Seattle Seahawks might have the last laugh, but right now, they have many NFL fans wondering just what they were doing.

    Bruce Irvin is a talented pass-rusher, that much is true. In just two seasons at West Virginia, he tallied 22.5 sacks.

    But can he do anything else?

    At 6'3" and 245 pounds, he's undersized as an outside linebacker and vastly undersized anywhere along the defensive line. He is blazing fast, but is that enough to beat NFL offensive linemen?

    If that was the only question, people might not be so perplexed. But it's not.

    Irvin has also had a number of off-field issues. As a juvenile he spent a number of stints in jail, and was also arrested earlier this year. That charge has only recently been dismissed.

    When you draft a guy in the top half of the first round, you want to hit a home run. With as many issues as Irvin has, you have to wonder where the proverbial ball will land.

St. Louis Rams Have Corner Troubles

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    After failing to tab Morris Claiborne as their first-round pick, the St. Louis Rams got a little shaky.

    They opened the second night of the draft with three of the first 13 picks. They used the second of those picks, the 39th overall, to select troubled cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

    They waited only until the third round to pick up another delinquent corner in Montana's Trumaine Johnson.

    Jenkins was arrested multiple times for marijuana possession before being dismissed from the Florida Gator program.

    Johnson missed a number of games at Montana for eligibility reasons and was arrested in October at party. He resisted arrest and had to be disabled via taser before being taken into custody by police.

    Adding these two issue-plagued defensive backs to a secondary that just acquired Cortland Finnegan has them looking like the NFL's pick for "unit most likely to be arrested."

    It's worth noting that Central Florida corner Josh Robinson was available when the Rams selected Johnson. He was picked by the Vikings with the very next choice. The Rams probably picked Johnson over him because of his far superior size. It is thought the Rams may move Johnson to safety.

    Robinson was widely considered the fifth-best corner in the draft, above Johnson. He also ran the fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.

Jacksonville Jaguars Don't Realize It's the Third Round

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    I believe in delivering good news first.

    The Jacksonville Jaguars acquired the best punter in the draft. They were near the bottom of the league in punting last year, so that's a plus. Also, because their offense struggles so much, it will be nice to have a punter who can switch the field and give their defense a chance to stop opposing offenses.

    Now the bad news.

    They got him in the third round.

    I just can't get behind this pick, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one.

    The good news ought to be: "Because their offense struggles so much, it will be nice to have a receiver for Blaine Gabbert to throw it to."

    Or something along those lines.

    Instead, they just pack it in on offense and try to punt their way to victory?

    If this guy were Shane Lechler, I would still say this is the wrong move.

    And here's worse news: He's not Shane Lechler.

Indianapolis Colts Fail to Secure a Corner

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    When the Indianapolis Colts took Coby Fleener with the 34th pick, they were saying one thing.

    "Andrew, whom would you like next?"

    They came through by delivering Dwayne Allen in the third round.

    As a longtime Colts fan, I have an unfounded and probably illogical fear that the new Colts brass will fall into the same pitfalls of the front office they replaced. At some point during the Bill Polian era, the Colts stopped drafting players to help the Colts and started drafting players purely by Peyton Manning's preference.

    They drafted "safe" players instead of talented ones. They drafted route-runners instead of athletes. They drafted pass-rushers instead of any other kind of defenders.

    With the impending switch to a 3-4 defense, the Colts needed help at corner. They currently have nobody on the depth chart. It would be rude of me to reveal their identities.

    So when the third round began and the Colts took Allen over corners like Trumaine Johnson and Josh Robinson, I naturally began to think, "Oh no..."

    I understand that Luck liked to work with tight ends in college, but he's going to be in Indy for more than one season. The Colts could've got another tight end next year.

    I get the Fleener pick. The tight end position was completely void, and the team needed pass-catchers, anyway. To get Luck's favorite target over the past couple years, and the top receiving tight end in the draft, made enough sense.

    But Allen is nothing special.

    The Colts are going to give up 40 points per game next season, and they've run out of time to change that. Unless Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis both set the record for sacks in a season, it looks like the Colts will be picking in the top two or three again next year.

Nobody Took a Flier on Kellen Moore

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    In the final round of the NFL draft, teams are looking for something. If you can do anything well, even if it's just one thing, you have a good chance of being taken.

    One would think that if a team was looking for a quarterback in the seventh round, the number of games a guy won might be that something.

    If you asked Kellen Moore, he might set you straight.

    After winning an FBS-record 50 career games, the Boise State product couldn't even sell his services in the final round.

    This is a guy that lost only three games in his career by a grand total of five points.

    Say what?

    The NFL is so afraid of a short guy with less-than-a-laser, rocket arm that they won't even let him on the practice field. They won't even bring him in to run the scout team.

    That's not to say nobody will, because I'm sure a team will sign him as a free agent.

    But nobody even wanted to see this guy bad enough to spend their final pick on him. Guys picked in the seventh usually never get heard from again. There just aren't very many Tom Bradys out there. So you would think at least one team might see a notably proficient winner and spend their final pick on him, simply on the off-chance he can figure out how to win at the next level, too.