2012 NFL Draft Grades: Winners and Losers of for All 7 Rounds
The 2012 NFL draft is in the books, and a weekend that began with quarterback Andrew Luck being selected by the Indianapolis Colts and ended with quarterback Chandler Harnish being chosen by the same team has welcomed 253 new players to the National Football League.
Some of this year's picks were brilliant, while others were just plain dumb. Here's a look at which teams made what kinds of choices, with a round-by-round look at the players and teams that were the winners and losers from this year's festivities.
Round 1: Be Careful What You Wish for
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WINNER: After allowing 42 sacks in 2011, upgrading the offensive line was a priority for the Pittsburgh Steelers in this year's draft. The Steelers addressed that need in a big way in the first round, as All-American guard David DeCastro fell into Pittsburgh's lap at 24th overall.
That desperation may come back to haunt Miami, as the Dolphins reached with the eighth overall pick for a strong-armed but unproven signal-caller in Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Round 2: Singing the Green Room Blues
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WINNER: LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle received the dubious distinction of being the last of the 26 players invited to the draft to be chosen. However, the 6'4" junior's loss was the New York Giants' gain, who got an absolute steal when they selected Randle with the last pick in the second round.
LOSER: Safety Tavon Wilson racked up 81 tackles for the Fighting Illini in 2011. While the 6'0" 205-pound senior has some NFL potential, he was viewed by most pundits as a fifth- or sixth-round prospect. That made it all the more surprising when the New England Patriots selected Wilson with the 48th overall pick.
Round 3: Jacksonville Punts Their Pick
WINNER: After being the victim of a cruel prank during the first round of the draft, Rutgers wide receiver Mohamed Sanu got to enter the National Football League for real on Friday when the Cincinnati Bengals drafted the 6'2" 211-pound wideout with the 83rd overall selection.
LOSER: The Jacksonville Jaguars offense is probably going to be bad in 2012, which will no doubt lead to a lot of punts. However, this early in the draft, one would think that the Jaguars would be more interested in improving the former than the latter. That made it all the more baffling when Jacksonville selected Cal punter Bryan Anger with the 70th overall pick.
Round 4: Grab a Clipboard, Kirk
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WINNER: After allowing the second-most sacks in the National Football League last year, the Arizona Cardinals badly needed to bolster the offensive front. The team got a great value when Ole Miss offensive tackle Bobby Massie fell to Arizona at 112th overall.
LOSER: Any dreams Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins may have had about actually taking the field in the NFL anytime soon took a major hit Saturday. The Washington Redskins selected Cousins with the 102nd overall pick, leaving him stuck behind Robert Griffin and Rex Grossman on the depth chart and battling John Beck to be the third quarterback in the nation's capital.
Round 5: Bills Keep Beefing Up
WINNER: After watching starting left tackle Demetress Bell depart in free agency, the Buffalo Bills had a glaring hole at left tackle. The team looked to bolster their beefeaters in 2012 by drafting Georgia's Cordy Glenn in the second round and adding versatile offensive tackle Zebrie Sanders from Florida State with the 144th overall pick.
LOSER: The loss of Neil Rackers left the Houston Texans searching for a new kicker, but with any number of veteran options available, it seems strange that Houston would waste a valuable draft pick by making Randy Bullock of Texas A&M the first kicker taken at 161st overall.
Round 6: Bengals Bust with Boom
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WINNER: The loss of starter Jamaal Charles last year hammered home just how important depth at the running back position can be for the Kansas City Chiefs The team got an excellent value when they used the 182nd pick on 5'10" 205-pound ball-carrier Cyrus Gray from Texas A&M.
LOSER: The Cincinnati Bengals signed running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis in free agency, but they lack explosiveness in the backfield. And things aren't going to get any better, as the team spent the 191st overall pick on plodding Ohio State running back Dan "Boom" Herron.
Round 7: Burfict's Free Fall Hits Rock Bottom
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WINNER: The New England Patriots secondary was abysmal last year. It allowed the most yardage in the AFC. The Patriots took several steps to address this issue, including taking a late flier on Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, who was the Big Ten defensive back of the year in 2011 but saw his draft stock plummet after poor workouts and an arrest for assault.
LOSER: There were a number of prominent collegiate athletes that watched the draft come and go without hearing their names called. However, none of those players inflicted as much damage on themselves as Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who went from potential first-round pick to undrafted free agent following the most self-destructive spring in recent memory by a player readying to enter the draft.