2012 NFL Draft Grades: Most Head-Scratching Picks of the Entire Draft
There's a lot of information that goes into making each draft selection—from the first pick to the last. Teams are assessing which players fit a need, how skilled they are, how well they fit their scheme, etc.
However, the following picks involved mental lapses by NFL teams that forgot one important thing: They could have gotten these players rounds later or possibly as undrafted free agents.
These picks were the ones that had me shaking my head most, and while you'll see the usual culprits on this list, there are also some teams you may not have expected to find.
Round 1, Pick 15: Bruce Irvin, DE, Seattle Seahawks
Pick Grade: D
Seattle certainly needed a pass-rusher, but taking a player with loads of off-field concerns and a limited range of skills in the first half of Round 1 is an absolute no-no.
Irvin doesn't have great size and lacks ability to play the run. While he may make an impact as a Von Miller-type pass-rusher on third down, he won't ever do it in the capacity of Miller, who is even more refined at getting to the quarterback.
Also, consider that Irvin could have been had in Round 2 and possibly beyond.
Notable Defensive Ends Left on the Board
Quinton Coples, North Carolina
Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
Shea McClellin, Boise State
Chandler Jones, Syracuse
Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
Round 2, Pick 1: Brian Quick, WR, St. Louis Rams
Pick Grade: D+
The Rams opened up Day 2 with a shocking pick—not as much for the player they took, but for whom they left on the board.
Quick was a late third- to fourth-round talent, and the Rams, with the first selection in the fourth, likely could have pulled the trigger on him there. Selecting him over more physically imposing and athletic players to open up the second was a miscue, based on how they missed a chance to pick up a first-round talent and then take Quick in either of the next two rounds.
Notable Wide Receivers Left on the Board
Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
Rueben Randle, LSU
Joe Adams, Arkansas
Round 2, Pick 16: Tavon Wilson, DB, New England Patriots
Pick Grade: F+
Wilson is a versatile player who can immediately add depth in the secondary, but he has a long way to go before he can do that. He's slightly undersized and doesn't have great compensatory speed and athleticism.
Wilson is not a playmaker and lacks the range, at this point, to play safety in the NFL. He's a reactive and experienced player—starting 38 consecutive games during his college career—but he's not a difference maker and could have been had somewhere between the late fifth and sixth rounds.
Notable Defensive Backs Left on the Board
Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt
Trumaine Johnson, Montana
Josh Robinson, UCF
Dwight Bentley, LA-Lafayette
Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina
Brandon Taylor, LSU
Round 3, Pick 4: Ronnie Hillman, RB, Denver Broncos
Pick Grade: D
Hillman will never be more than a complementary scat back, and with his durability concerns, the Broncos would have been better off with a variety of rookie running backs.
Although Manning will likely find a way to make Hillman fit in the offense, he's not physical enough to make his presence felt as a runner in the NFL. Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno should carry almost the entire load of carries, making this a wasted third-round pick when Hillman was a fourth- to fifth-round talent.
Notable Running Backs Left on the Board
Edwin Baker, Michigan State
Lamar Miller, Miami (Fla.)
Robert Turbin, Utah St.
Chris Polk, Washington
Round 3, Pick 7: Bryan Anger, P, Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick Grade: F
The last of the truly dimwitted picks was the selection of a punter...in Round 3.
When you make the choice to select a punter with the highest pick since 1995, the guy better be special, and the fact is that Anger is not. There were better punters left on the board, and this is awful value for a guy they could have drafted rounds later, if not acquired through UDFA.
Anger is a guy who doesn't get great hang time on his kicks—a trait that sometimes causes problems for NFL punters, who often outkick their coverage, resulting in long returns.
Notable Punters Left on the Board
Drew Butler, Georgia
Brad Nortman, Wisconsin