2012 NFL Draft Grades: Biggest Steals in This Year's Draft

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIApril 29, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26:  Melvin Ingram of South Carolina holds up a jersey as he stands on stage with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was selected #18 overall by the San Diego Chargers in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The 2012 NFL draft is in the books, and when reviewing what happened in this year's event, it's hard not to notice some of the ridiculous bargains a few teams got. 

There were five players who inexplicably lasted much longer than they should have, and five lucky teams snatched them up. The following are the five biggest steals from this year's draft.


18. San Diego Chargers: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina

Ingram was in a dead-heat with LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne as the best defensive player on my board, and somehow he dropped to the Chargers at 18.

Not only is Ingram a ridiculous athlete who can do it all on the defensive side of the ball, he is also a relentless pass-rusher, something San Diego was in desperate need of. 

On top of that, Ingram is a high-character kid who will do whatever it takes to win. This was an absolute score for the Chargers at No. 18.


INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 03:  Jerel Worthy #99 of the Michigan State Spartans reacts against the Wisconsin Badgers during the Big 10 Conference Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Gregory Sham
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

51. Green Bay Packers: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State

The Packers saw that Worthy was somehow still on the board at No. 51 and traded up to get him. At 6'2" and 309 pounds, Worthy will fit perfectly at one of the defensive end spots in Green Bay's 3-4 defense. 

Worthy is a nonstop-motor guy who can penetrate and disrupt things in the backfield. I had him with a late first-round grade and fully expected him to come off the board within the first 25 picks. Landing him at 51 was a coup for the Packers.


MADISON, WI - OCTOBER 16: Peter Konz #66 of the Wisconsin Badgers prepares to snap the ball to Scott Tolzien #16 against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Camp Randall Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin defeated Ohio State 31-18.  (Phot
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

55. Atlanta Falcons: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

Anyone who watched Konz play in college would be understandably shocked that he lasted this long. At 6'5" and 314 pounds, he has elite size, strength and quickness for the position.

But what separates Konz from others at his position is his outstanding instincts and his ability to read defenses and diagnose plays.

Konz is an elite talent at center and projects as a future Pro Bowler. I, along with many other experts, didn't see him lasting past the mid to late 20s, yet the Falcons scored him at 55. He will be a leader along the offensive front and will make quarterback Matt Ryan's life a whole lot easier from day one. 


SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Taylor Martinez #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers is tackled by Alameda Ta'amu #74 of the Washington Huskies on September 18, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

109. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alameda Ta'amu, DT, Washington

After Dontari Poe, Ta'amu was the best pure nose tackle on the board. I had him with an early second-round grade and figured a 3-4 team would scoop him up early to ensure it didn't miss out on a guy of his talent level. 

At 6'2" and 348 pounds, Ta'amu is incredibly quick for his size and is an outstanding run-stuffer already. He still has work to do as a pass-rusher, but his toughness, stamina and dedication to improving are all evident. 

With Casey Hampton nearing the end of his career, the Steelers had to be thrilled that Ta'amu fell so far and they were able to grab him. He has the potential to be an extremely important piece of the team's defense.


112. Arizona Cardinals: Bobby Massie, OT, Mississippi

I really can't believe Massie fell into the middle of the fourth round. Some had him going as high as No. 32 to the New York Giants, so his drop was inexplicable. 

At 6'6" and 316 pounds, Massie has excellent size and speed for the position. He is also incredibly durable, having appeared in every game of his collegiate career and finishing on a 29-game starting streak. 

While he is likely ticketed to begin his career at right tackle, Massie will eventually be able to shift to the left side if needed. He is already a very good pass-blocker and should improve in that area as well as in the running game.

Massie left school early because of financial concerns, but had he stayed in college an extra year he would have almost certainly been a top-20 pick. The Cardinals got a steal at a position of need here.