2012 NFL Draft Grades: Projecting Each Team's Class 5 Years Down the Road

Gordon BlockContributor IIIApril 30, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Grades: Projecting Each Team's Class 5 Years Down the Road

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    One of the unfortunate parts of the NFL draft weekend is that we as fans must wait several months, if not years, to learn how the picks of the weekend fare as professionals.

    So why not jump the gun here and try to predict how these picks will do five years down the road? Everybody, to the imaginary time machine.

    Here are projections for how each team's class will fare five years down the road.

Arizona Cardinals

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    Picks: WR Michael Floyd, CB Jamell Fleming, T Bobby Massie, OG Senio Kelemete, QB Ryan Lindley, CB Justin Bethel, OT Nate Potter


    Best-case scenario: Bobby Massie and Senio Kelemete get playing time immediately, and their high-quality play brings some much-needed protection to Kevin Kolb as he throws to the dynamic pairing of wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. The Cardinals' passing offense becomes one of the league's most prolific.

    Jamell Fleming and Patrick Peterson pair up as one of the most exciting young secondary pairs in the league.


    Worst-case scenario: The lack of a consistent passer defuses the potentially explosive pairing of Fitzgerald and Floyd. Fleming fails to break through a deep competition for second cornerback after Patrick Peterson. Massie's long draft fall is explained when he fails to adjust to the pro game.

Atlanta Falcons

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    Picks: G Peter Konz, OT Lamar Holmes, FB Bradie Ewing, DE Jonathan Massaquoi, S Charles Mitchell, DT Travian Robertson 


    Best-case scenario: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan can breathe in the pocket as Peter Konz and Lamar Holmes earn starting roles in the team's offensive line. Fullbacks become relevant again in NFL offenses for Bradie Ewing (who wrote this nice blog about being drafted) to become a difference maker.

    By his third year, Jonathan Massaquoi leads the Atlanta Falcons in sacks.


    Worst-case scenario: No matter how many offensive linemen or fullbacks the Falcons add, the team still can't convert on short-yardage situations.

Baltimore Ravens

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    Picks: OLB Courtney Upshaw, T Kelechi Osemele, RB Bernard Pierce, G Gino Gradkowski, S Christian Thompson, CB Asa Jackson, WR Tommy Streeter, DT DeAngelo Tyson 


    Best-case scenario: Courtney Upshaw continues the Baltimore Ravens' legacy for having dominant linebacker play, continuing in the tradition of the retired Ray Lewis and aging Terell Suggs. 

    The team's offensive line, anchored by Kelechi Osemele, is recognized as one of the toughest in the league. He may not have dominated immediately, but Osemele proved GM Ozzie Smith right with his improved play. 

    Bernard Pierce takes the mantle of starter when the team decides it doesn't want to deal with Ray Rice or match the high-salary offers from other teams in free agency.


    Worst-case scenario: The Ravens have only Upshaw on the roster coming into the 2017 season, with the rest of the draft class taking too long to develop into pro-level players. Smith pretends the draft never happened. 

Buffalo Bills

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    Picks: CB Stephon Gilmore, T Cordy Glenn, WR T.J. Graham, OLB Nigel Bradham, CB Ron Brooks, T Zebrie Sanders, OLB Tank Carder, OG Mark Asper, K John Potter


    Best-case scenario: The Buffalo Bills defense goes from scary to terrifying with the secondary help brought in by Stephon Gilmore and (to a lesser degree) Ron Brooks. T.J. Graham and Stevie Johnson pair up to give plenty of options for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is fresh off his second Pro Bowl appearance.

    Cordy Glenn exceeds pundit predictions and serves as the foundation for the Bills offensive line.


    Worst-case scenario: AFC East passers have career days against the Bills as the team's secondary, including Gilmore, struggles to keep up with opposing receivers. Fitzpatrick's struggles mean the team's passing offense goes down the tubes, and Cordy Glenn fails to impress and is off the team in two seasons.

Carolina Panthers

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    Picks: LB Luke Kuechly, G Amini Silatolu, DE Frank Alexander, WR Joe Adams, CB Josh Norman, P Brad Nortman, S D.J. Campbell 


    Best-case scenario: Linebacker Luke Kuechly justifies his high selection by becoming a tackling machine in the middle of the defensive unit, while Amini Silatolu proves the skeptics wrong by immediately transitioning to the left tackle spot.

    Joe Adams, after starting his career as a return man, becomes a regular pass recipient from Cam Newton by year two.


    Worst-case scenario: Kuechly's stellar numbers while at Boston College appear to be due to his positioning and the lack of tackling ability of his teammates. His skills don't translate, and he often finds himself out of position during big plays.

    Silatolu falls out of the league quickly after struggling to handle the pace of the professional game. 

    Despite the focus in this year's and future drafts, the team's defense continues to struggle.

Chicago Bears

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    Picks: DE Shea McClellin, WR Alshon Jeffery, SS Brandon Hardin, FB Evan Rodriguez, CB Isaiah Frey, CB Greg McCoy 


    Best-case scenario: The Bears find plenty of places for first-round pick Shea McClellin, sliding him to several positions in his first five years to fill various gaps. McClellin has said he feels comfortable playing anywhere from the line into the secondary

    Meanwhile, Alshon Jeffery proves be the biggest value of the draft's second round.


    Worst-case scenario: A jack of several positions at the pro level but the master of none, McClellin quickly becomes a second-banana in the defensive unit. Jeffery fails to impress, both because of his lack of development and poor mentorship from Brandon Marshall

    Brandon Hardin never fully recovers from injuries that sidelined him in 2011, making him a near worthless pick.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Picks: CB Dre Kirkpatrick, G Kevin Zeitler, DT Devon Still, WR Mohamed Sanu, DT Brandon Thompson, TE Orson Charles, CB Shaun Prater, WR Marvin Jones, FS George Iloka, RB Dan Herron


    Best-case scenario: After finding a way into the Cincinnati Bengals secondary early in his rookie season, Dre Kirkpatrick becomes a lynchpin in the team's pass defense. Kevin Zeitler and Devon Still become immediate starters on the team's lines, while Mohamed Sanu provides quarterback Andy Dalton another option across from the superb A.J. Green.


    Worst-case scenario: Dre Kirkpatrick becomes bogged down in the team's long cornerback depth chart and never plays a major role in the team's defense. Zeitler struggles to adjust to the pro game, leading to a marked increase in sacks for Andy Dalton, lowering the offenses' quality in 2012. 

    Still's inconsistency will frustrate coaches to the point that his playing time will be nearly nonexistent. 

Cleveland Browns

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    Picks: RB Trent Richardson, QB Brandon Weeden, T Mitchell Schwartz, DT John Hughes, WR Travis Benjamin, ILB James-Michael Johnson, G Ryan Miller, OLB Emmanuel Acho, DE Billy Winn, CB Trevin Wade, TE Brad Smelley


    Best-case scenario: The Cleveland Browns franchise turns around with the installment of Brandon Weeden, who shines with major help from Trent Richardson. For his part, Richardson excels like other highly drafted rushers Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson.

    The other picks in the Browns' large draft class find decent roles in the teams future, particularly Mitchell Schwartz and Travis Benjamin. 


    Worst-case scenario: The Browns go from terrible to atrocious as Weeden manages to combine the worst parts of age and inexperience to stink out loud in the early portion of his pro career. Despite given more than a season to develop, he never gets it, and he leaves the team a 30-year-old journeyman (with only two years of playing time).

    Richardson, like many other highly touted running backs, fails to get much going. With little passing threat to build upon, teams stack the box nearly completely.

    Sick of losing, the city of Cleveland demands the team's departure.

Dallas Cowboys

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    Picks: CB Morris Claiborne, DE Tyrone Crawford, OLB Kyle Wilber, S Matt Johnson, WR Danny Coale, TE James Hanna, ILB Caleb McSurdy


    Best-case scenario: After years of questions, the Cowboys' defense becomes their strength. Claiborne, pairing with free-agent signee Brandon Carr, should provide an immediate spark. Tyrone Crawford could also play a big role in the team's pass rush. 

    Danny Coale's play could remind people of Miles Austin or even Wes Welker.


    Worst-case scenario: Claiborne fails to earn a starting role in the Cowboys secondary, creating some questions about the team's second cornerback spot.

    We might be seeing plenty of this face from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, as he watches his defense get torched again and again. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan may find himself out of town faster than expected.

Denver Broncos

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    Picks: DT Derek Wolfe, QB Brock Osweiler, RB Ronnie Hillman, CB Omar Bolden, C Philip Blake, DT Malik Jackson, OLB Danny Trevathan 


    Best-case scenario: Derek Wolfe immediately contributes as a starter and becomes the team's sack leader in less than three seasons.

    Brock Osweiler finds himself in the ideal learning environment as a new quarterback, learning under the tutelage of Peyton Manning and general manager John Elway. Osweiler will learn a few tricks of the trade that should help him once the team decides he's ready for action.

    Ronnie Hillman provides an infusion of youth at the running back the team desperately needs.


    Worst-case scenario: With injuries pushing Manning to the sideline, Osweiler is thrown into action in his rookie year. Failing to adjust to the pro game, the tall quarterback may find himself short of time to prove himself as a pro passer.

    Broncos fans, noting Osweiler's failure, demand an apology from team management for trading away Tim Tebow.

    Hillman performs so poorly he gets compared to another player with college eligibility issues drafted by the team: Maurice Clarett. 

Detroit Lions

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    Picks: OT Riley Reiff, WR Ryan Broyles, CB Dwight Bentley, DE Ronnell Lewis, OLB Tahir Whitehead, CB Chris Greenwood, CB Jonte Green, OLB Travis Lewis 


    Best-case scenario: Riley Reiff first reminds people of Jeff Backus before eventually replacing him as the anchor for the team's offensive line. Ryan Broyles recovers from injury to give quarterback Matthew Stafford a receiving option coming out of the slot. Dwight Bentley provides extra depth in a secondary that could use all of the help it can get. 


    Worst-case scenario: Struggling to adjust to the pro game, Reiff sets the team's offense back at least past the initial five-year period, creating a major gap in the offense's protection.

    Broyles fails to return from injury, becoming yet another failed Lions receiving prospect.

    Bentley proves to be undersized as an NFL cornerback, making him easy pickings for opposing quarterbacks and receivers.

Green Bay Packers

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    Picks: DE Nick Perry, DT Jerel Worthy, CB Casey Hayward, DT Mike Daniels, SS Jerron McMillian, OLB Terrell Manning, OT Andrew Datko, QB B.J. Coleman


    Best-case scenario: The Green Bay Packers defense finally starts to pressure opposing quarterbacks again, as Nick Perry teams up with Clay Matthews to form one of the most devastating linebacker groups in the league. Jerel Worthy will also show value as another piece of the pass-rushing puzzle.


    Worst-case scenario: The Packers have to go back to the draft pool again, as Perry, Worthy and picks like Casey Hayward and Mike Daniels just don't have what it takes. The Packers, who in previous years coasted on the strength of their offense, find themselves struggling to return to the dominating form of the past.

Houston Texans

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    Picks: OLB Whitney Mercilus, WR DeVier Posey, OG Brandon Brooks, C Ben Jones, WR Keshawn Martin, DT Jared Crick, K Randy Bullock, OT Nick Mondek 


    Best-case scenario: Whitney Mercilus can fill in for some of the pass rushing of Mario Williams, who left this past offseason for Buffalo, and serve as another piece to what should be a solid Houston Texans defense.

    The team would also be thrilled to see DeVier Posey pair up with Andre Johnson, creating a size mismatch with almost any secondary that they play against. The offensive line would also benefit from Brandon Brooks finding a way to get some playing time on the right side.


    Worst-case scenario: Neither Posey nor Brooks can get their form together.

    While Posey's size can get him in good position for most plays, he will have to improve his route running in order to find success against more evenly sized opponents. Likewise, Brooks will struggle unless he can improve his footwork and technique.

Indianapolis Colts

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    Picks: QB Andrew Luck, TE Coby Fleener, TE Dwayne Allen, WR T.Y. Hilton, DT Josh Chapman, RB Vick Ballard, WR LaVon Brazill, OT Justin Anderson, DE Tim Fugger, QB Chandler Harnish 


    Best-case scenario: Andrew Luck, boosted by a slowly improving roster and specially tooled offense (including the drafting of two pass-catching tight ends), shows positive stats in his second season, and helps the Indianapolis Colts return to the playoffs by his third season. 

    Should all go right, Luck will be the franchise face for the next 10-plus seasons.


    Worst-case scenario: Andrew Luck's initial struggles puts him in a major battle with Mr. Irrelevant pick Chandler Harnish in what could shape up to be the Heath Shuler/Gus Frerotte battle for a new generation.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Picks: WR Justin Blackmon, DE Andre Branch, P Bryan Anger, OLB Brandon Marshall, CB Mike Harris, DT Jeris Pendleton


    Best-case scenario: Justin Blackmon becomes a Pro Bowl-caliber receiver, although the lack of a steady passing outlet means there are always questions of what he is truly capable of. Andre Branch becomes a reliable starter. Bryan Anger becomes a combination of Andy Lee and Shane Lechler with the directional ability of Jeff Feagles.


    Worst-case scenario: Blackmon, frustrated by a terrible passing situation, demands out as soon as his rookie contract expires. He still becomes a Pro Bowl receiver, but in a different uniform.

    Bryan Anger is out after two years in the league, and Rich Eisen's reaction to his pick is broadcast every year at draft time like a Charlie Brown special.

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Picks: DT Dontari Poe, OT Jeff Allen, OT Donald Stephenson, WR Devon Wylie, CB DeQuan Menzie, RB Cyrus Gray, DT Jerome Long, WR Junior Hemingway


    Best-case scenario: Dontari Poe gets past some of the motivation issues that knocked him down on several draft boards, putting up numbers similar to Albert Haynesworth with the Tennessee Titans.

    Quarterback Matt Cassel puts up his best numbers as a Chief with the extra protection from new tackles Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson.


    Worst-case scenario: Poe's numbers never really come together, and his effort is reminiscent of Haynesworth...as a Washington Redskin.

    Cassell's numbers go south again as Allen and Stephenson never pan out as pro offensive linemen, leaving some big holes in the team's protection scheme.

Miami Dolphins

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    Picks: QB Ryan Tannehill, OT Jonathan Martin, DE Olivier Vernon, TE Michael Egnew, RB Lamar Miller, OLB Josh Kaddu, WR B.J. Cunningham, DT Kheeston Randall, WR Rishard Matthews


    Best-case scenario: This draft is all about quarterback Ryan Tannehill. If he can make it work, this team will have a lot to be excited about for years to come. 

    It won't be easy, though. He'll have to do it without any major receiving weapons or a reliable offensive line to protect him (even with the selection of Jonathan Martin in the second round).

    Either way, this pick will be a turning point for the team when fans look back five years from now.


    Worst-case scenario: Ryan Tannehill's failure is yet another downer for Dolphins fans who had hoped for years for some positive development within the franchise.

    It's not all his fault: Fans should point the blame at the team for drafting him without any support at the line or at the skill positions.

    Without a starting quarterback in line, it wouldn't be a big surprise for the team to go back and try to grab another early round passer in the next few years.

Minnesota Vikings

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    Picks: OT Matt Kalil, FS Harrison Smith, CB Josh Robinson, WR Jarius Wright, TE Rhett Ellison, WR Greg Childs, S Robert Blanton, K Blair Walsh, ILB Audie Cole, DE Trevor Guyton 


    Best-case scenario: The Vikings have their starting left tackle for at least the next 10 years in Matt Kalil. While it may not be the sexiest pick, it will be one that should benefit all parts of the offensive attack for at least the next five years. 

    The team also has to hope Harrison Smith and Josh Robinson emerge as immediate starters in the team's secondary, which is now and will continue to be in desperate need of help.


    Worst-case scenario: Kalil only turns out to be average, which would be pretty disappointing given his high selection in the first round (even with the trade down). Likewise, failure from Harrison Smith would be painful given how the team jumped into the first round in order to snag him.

New England Patriots

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    Picks: DE Chandler Jones, ILB Dont'a Hightower, FS Tavon Wilson, DE Jake Bequette, DB Nate Ebner, CB Alfonzo Dennard, WR Jeremy Ebert


    Best-case scenario: The New England Patriots have landed two defensive starters for the next six to 10 years with Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower.

    Hightower, while the lower pick of the two, has to bring more enthusiasm for Patriots fans as he will likely quarterback the defense by his third year in the league.

    While an unorthodox pick, Tavon Wilson can serve as another example of how the Patriots can find diamonds in the rough.


    Worst-case scenario: The failures of Jones and Hightower mean it's back to trading down for more draft picks, after they aggressively moved up to get the pair.

    Tavon Wilson's immediate struggles will serve as another strike against Bill Belichick's draft record, which includes misses like Brandon Meriweather, Bethel Johnson and Chad Jackson.

New Orleans Saints

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    Picks: DE Akiem Hicks, WR Nick Toon, SS Corey White, OG Andrew Tiller, OT Marcel Jones 


    Best-case scenario: Akeim Hicks becomes the most prominent Canadian prospect in recent memory, adding to a defensive unit that may need some additional help due to looming league suspensions. Wide receiver Nick Toon gives quarterback Drew Brees another target.


    Worst-case scenario: The draft class is a wash, with both Hicks and Toon failing to contribute much value in their first two seasons after being trapped low on the depth chart.

    Given the limited number of picks and overall quality of the roster, fans decide they can live with the poor draft result.

New York Giants

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    Picks: RB David Wilson, WR Rueben Randle, CB Jayron Hosley, TE Adrien Robinson, OT Brandon Mosley, OT Matt McCants, DT Markus Kuhn


    Best-case scenario: New York Giants fans will be doing several back flips as they look back on this draft class, especially if David Wilson can develop into a regular back in the team's offense. Though he may seem a little small for the position, his athleticism should make him an immediate contributor.

    Rueben Randle could also play an immediate role, given the team's need of secondary wide receivers following the loss of Mario Manningham this offseason.

    Virginia Tech may become a new favorite spot for the Giants' talent evaluation should Wilson and Jayron Hosley regularly produce.


    Worst-case scenario: Team leadership will face major questions about their selections of both Wilson and Hosley if they can't quickly make themselves useful.

    Wilson was for many evaluators a reach with the last pick of the first round, while Hosley's failed combine drug test may have been a big red flag the team chose to ignore.

New York Jets

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    Picks: DE Quinton Coples, WR Stephen Hill, OLB Demario Davis, S Josh Bush, RB Terrance Ganaway, OG Robert Griffin, SS Antonio Allen, WR Jordan White


    Best-case scenario: The New York Jets have a wealth of riches to build on if all goes right with their 2012 draft picks. Quinton Coples has all the components necessary to be a defensive star, while Stephen Hill could be the draft class's biggest surprise after coming from a Georgia Tech system that gave very few opportunities to pass through the course of a game.


    Worst-case scenario: Coples fails to add much to the pass rush, and Hill's inexperience in a pro-style offense means he doesn't make an impact to the passing attack until his second season at the earliest.

    Caught in the pressure and confusion brought on by the cancerous locker room situation of the 2011 season, the 2012 Jets' rookie class all fails to make much of an impact.

Oakland Raiders

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    Picks: OT Tony Bergstrom, OLB Miles Burris, DE Jack Crawford, WR Juron Criner, DT Christo Bilukidi, OLB Nathan Stupar 


    Best-case scenario: Selected at the end of the third round, Tony Bergstrom earns his spot as a starter in his first season, after showing some strength operating in a zone-blocking scheme. If he can be of some value, any result after that is just a bonus. 


    Worst-case scenario: The draft class is a bust, but Raiders fans agree to live with it pending a full season with Carson Palmer under center (the Raiders lost their first-round pick in 2012 in order to grab him last season).

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Picks: DT Fletcher Cox, LB Mychal Kendricks, DE Vinny Curry, QB Nick Foles, CB Brandon Boykin, OT Dennis Kelly, WR Marvin McNutt, OG Brandon Washington, RB Bryce Brown


    Best-case scenario: The Philadelphia Eagles defense becomes a point of strength, aided by the drafting of Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks and Vinny Curry (among other selections). Cox could work very well on the inside of the line, while Kendricks could make some noise pairing with new signee DeMeco Ryans.

    Nick Foles could also be an interesting quarterback project and hopefully would be in the running to start whenever Michael Vick decides to hang it up (if not trade bait before then).


    Worst-case scenario: Second-year defensive coordinator Juan Castillo's hopes for an improved defensive cast are dashed almost immediately, as neither draft pick is ready to start immediately. 

    By the time these players are ready to go, both Castillo and head coach Andy Reid may be packing their bags.

    Foles is neither accurate nor athletic enough to make a big difference with either the Eagles' starting roster or as a trade piece to another team.

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Picks: G David DeCastro, T Mike Adams, LB Sean Spence, DT Alameda Ta'amu, RB Chris Rainey, WR Toney Clemons, TE David Paulson, CB Terrence Frederick, OT Kelvin Beachum


    Best-case scenario: Ben Roethlisberger might be able to handle the next five years in decent shape physically, as both David DeCastro and Mike Adams immediately improve the Pittsburgh Steelers' lackluster offensive line situation. A healthier Roethlisberger should spell an immediate improvement in both his stats and the team's chances of winning.


    Worst-case scenario: Roethlisberger won't make it another five years as his body suffers continual punishment from opposing rushers. No pressure, though, Mr. DeCastro and Mr. Adams.

San Diego Chargers

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    Picks: DE Melvin Ingram, DT Kendall Reyes, SS Brandon Taylor, TE Ladarius Green, G Johnnie Troutman, C David Molk, RB Edwin Baker


    Best-case scenario: The San Diego Chargers' defensive line excels for the foreseeable future, as Melvin Ingram and Kendall Reyes pair up to strike fear in the heart of opposing offensive lines.

    The team would also be pleased to see late picks Johnnie Troutman and David Molk find a way to get some playing time in 2012.


    Worst-case scenario: The sole highlight for Ingram will be this snappy high five with commissioner Roger Goodell.

San Francisco 49ers

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    Picks: WR A.J. Jenkins, RB LaMichael James, G Joe Looney, OLB Darius Fleming, S Trent Robinson, C Jason Slowey, DE Cam Johnson 


    Best-case scenario: A.J. Jenkins turns into the first receiver the San Francisco 49ers have sorely lacked for years, while LaMichael James takes a Darren Sproles role in the offense, piling up the yards immediately. Joe Looney and Jason Slowey bring decent depth and competition for playing time on the offensive line.


    Worst-case scenario: Jenkins turns out to be the second coming of Rashaun Woods, James can't get any carries in an overloaded backfield, while the rest of the class can't get a shot and are cut before their second year.

    The Niners say their main focus during the draft was to stockpile picks, which they did.

Seattle Seahawks

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    Picks: OLB Bruce Irvin, ILB Bobby Wagner, QB Russell Wilson, RB Robert Turbin, DT Jaye Howard, ILB Korey Toomer, CB Jeremy Lane, DB Winston Guy, DE J.R. Sweezy, DE Greg Scruggs


    Best-case scenario: Bruce Irvin starts from day one and proves all the experts wrong as he carries over his high sack output from West Virginia. His inspiring life story is developed into a blockbuster Hollywood movie, starring Denzel Washington as a mentor and/or coach who helps him turn his life around. 

    Russell Wilson improves to become a starter for the Seahawks or to become worth several draft picks in a trade. 


    Worst-case scenario: Seahawks fans are incensed as they see their draft class crumble under the poor play of Irvin and Wagner, whom many draft pundits considered reaches.

    Wilson does well enough to earn a backup role, but leaves at the end of his rookie contract. 

St. Louis Rams

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    Picks: DT Michael Brockers, WR Brian Quick, CB Janoris Jenkins, RB Isaiah Pead, CB Trumaine Johnson, WR Chris Givens, T Rokevious Watkins, K Greg Zuerlein, OLB Aaron Brown, RB Daryl Richardson 


    Best-case scenario: For a team with plenty of needs, the 2012 draft turned the tide in bringing in the right talent to compete immediately. Michael Brockers can be a difference maker right away, and (the aptly named) Brian Quick could prove to be the best wide receiver of this class. 

    Despite his off-the-field problems, Janoris Jenkins proves he is good enough for both team officials and fans to let his play speak for itself. 


    Worst-case scenario: Despite the best efforts of team officials, the class goes to waste, starting with Jenkins, who can't seem to put his personal issues to the side.

    The controversy from Jenkins' off-the-field follies will overshadow much of the rest of the team, creating a very unwanted distraction for teammates.

    Greg Zuerlein will make fans long for the return of the good old days with Josh Brown (most likely) released soon after his drafting.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Picks: SS Mark Barron, RB Doug Martin, OLB Lavonte David, ILB Najee Goode, CB Keith Tandy, RB Michael Smith, TE Drake Dunsmore 


    Best-case scenario: Mark Barron may not be able to do it alone, but his drafting is the start of a rapid improvement in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense, which allowed a staggering number of points in 2011. With Barron quarterbacking the defense, that number should drop rapidly over the next few seasons. 

    Doug Martin should pair nicely with starter LeGarrette Blount, creating one of the better one-two rushing tandems outside of Houston.


    Worst-case scenario: With Barron failing to excite playing out of the safety position, the team fails to improve much in pass defense, leading to at least another year of high draft picks.

    Martin and Michael Smith will fail to get the necessary rushes to build momentum, due to the likely rising demand for carries from Blount.

Tennessee Titans

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    Picks: WR Kendall Wright, OLB Zach Brown, DT Mike Martin, CB Coty Sensabaugh, DE/TE Taylor Thompson, S Markelle Martin, DE Scott Solomon


    Best-case scenario: Speedy wide receiver Kendall Wright will be an immediate spark plug for the Tennessee Titans, providing either Jake Locker or Matt Hasselbeck the opportunity to air the ball out more often than in 2011.

    Meanwhile, players like Zach Brown and Mike Martin could be immediate contributors on the defensive side of the ball with a good enough training camp and could build from there.


    Worst-case scenario: Wright proves to be undersized, and fails to develop into a legitimate starting receiver while in Tennessee. 

    Brown and Martin could struggle if they can't get past the logjam of talent at the line. If they're not starting by year two, these two picks could spell trouble.

Washington Redskins

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    Picks: QB Robert Griffin III, OG Josh Leribeus, QB Kirk Cousins, OLB Keenan Robinson, OG Adam Gettis, RB Alfred Morris, OT Tom Compton, CB Richard Crawford, CB Jordan Bernstine 


    Best-case scenario: Robert Griffin III alone will determine the quality of the Washington Redskins draft class. If all goes well, the team will have found its passer of the next 10-12 seasons.

    Elsewhere, the team will hope Josh Lerbeus will be able to fit into the team's offense immediately, while Kirk Cousins challenges Rex Grossman for the No. 2 quarterback role.   


    Worst-case scenario: On the flip side, the team's fortune will drop precipitously should Griffin not live up to standards (either real or perceived).

    Should Griffin underperform, it will spell the likely end for head coach Mike Shanahan and will only go to deepen the feeling of ill-will against owner Dan Snyder.