50 Things We Learned from the 2012 NFL Draft

Tony Santorsa@@TonySantorsaSenior Writer IIApril 30, 2012

50 Things We Learned from the 2012 NFL Draft

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    We waited roughly three months for this past weekend, and now it has come and gone—but I will say that the 2012 NFL draft was one of the most interesting and exciting ones in recent memory. 

    The 2012 draft class didn't necessarily have elite talent aside from Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, but from the first round until the second round, we saw a nice steady group of players that were all pretty much equally talented and all had huge upside. 

    Taking that into consideration, let's take a look at 50 things that we learned from the 2012 NFL draft. 

Chris Polk Wasn't Good Enough to Be Drafted

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    Entering the 2012 NFL draft, I had Chris Polk has a second-round draft pick, despite the concern about his shoulder—but that concern was big enough to cause Polk go undrafted.

    However, Polk didn't last too long on the open market as he signed a rookie free-agent deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. 

James Brown Wasn't Good Enough to Be Drafted

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    Heading into the draft, I head Troy offensive guard James Brown listed as a possible third- or fourth-round pick; he ultimately went undrafted. 

    Brown is one of the better run-blocking guards in the 2012 class and only had to really improve on his pass-blocking skills. Either way, Brown didn't last very long on the open market as he reportedly agreed to a deal with the Chicago Bears

Chase Minnifield Wasn't Good Enough to Be Drafted

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    Chase Minnifield going undrafted actually shocked me as I had him listed as one of the better cornerbacks in this year's draft. 

    Minnifield doesn't have too many glaring weaknesses aside from adding some more extra, but he doesn't have any really noticeable strengths—he's just a well-rounded cornerback. 

    Either way, Minnifield didn't last long on the open market as he reportedly agreed to sign with the Washington Redskins

Lucas Nix Wasn't Good Enough to Be Drafted

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    I really like Lucas Nix as an offensive line prospect as he can play either guard or tackle at the NFL level.

    Entering the draft, I had Nix listed as a fifth-round selection, but he ultimately went undrafted.

    The 6'6", 310-lb. Pittsburgh product reportedly agreed to a contract with the Oakland Raiders

Dwight Jones Wasn't Good Enough to Be Drafted

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    How in the world wasn't Dwight Jones drafted?

    The North Carolina wide receiver has an NFL-ready body as he stands in at 6'4" and weighs a solid 225 lbs. His only true weakness is that he tends to catch passes with his body, not with his hands.

    Either way, Jones has all the tools to be a productive NFL wide receiver but is currently sitting as an undrafted free agent. 

Chris Owusu Wasn't Good Enough to Be Drafted

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    I was really shocked to see Chris Owusu go undrafted as a team especially like the Indianapolis Colts could have really used him on the roster.

    Owusu was one of Andrew Luck's top targets while at Stanford but dealt with several injuries throughout his career, which likely caused him to go undrafted. 

    However, Owusu isn't a free agent anymore as he reportedly agreed to a contract with former Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers

Jeff Fuller Wasn't Good Enough to Be Drafted

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    I really don't understand how Texas A&M's Jeff Fuller went undrafted—he was certainly talented enough to go in the middle rounds of the draft when many other wide receivers were selected.

    Fuller has all the talent to be a productive possession wide receiver at the NFL level. He has great hands and will catch anything that goes his way. 

    The Miami Dolphins certainly lucked out when they found him as an undrafted free agent as the two parties have reportedly agreed to a deal. 

The Arizona Cardinals Finally Found a Replacement for Anquan Boldin

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    Ever since the departure of Anquan Boldin in 2010, the Arizona Cardinals have been looking for a No. 2 wide receiver to play opposite of Larry Fitzgerald—they finally addressed that need.

    With the No. 13th overall pick in the first round, the Cardinals drafted Michael Floyd and hope he'll fill the need in their receiving corps. 

The Atlanta Falcons Addressed Their Interior Offensive Line

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    It was clear heading into the offseason that the Atlanta Falcons needed to address their offensive line as Matt Ryan spent a solid amount of time on his back this past season.

    With no first-round pick, the Falcons did a quality job of still addressing that need by selecting the top-rated center, Peter Konz, in the second round, and he'll likely slide over into the guard position in 2012. 

Not Too Many Teams Were Sold on Courtney Upshaw

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    It became clear no team felt Courtney Upshaw was a first-round talent despite nearly every single draft expert having him projected as a first-round selection. 

    Perhaps Upshaw's biggest weakness was his downfall as he stands in at only 6'1", but taking a look at his game film, you simply can't deny that he's an impact player. 

The Baltimore Ravens Had the Steal of the Draft

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    The Baltimore Ravens made a wise move in the first round as they traded out and backed into the second round and, by doing so, grabbed one of the biggest steals of the 2012 draft.

    At No. 35 overall, the Ravens drafted one of my top-rated pass-rushers in Alabama's Courtney Upshaw. 

    He will be a perfect fit in Baltimore's defensive system. 

The Buffalo Bills Had One of the Most Successful Drafts

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    I absolutely love what the Buffalo Bills did in the 2012 NFL draft. If you ask me, Buffalo had one of the most impressive showings at the draft.

    Buffalo drafted first-year impact players such as cornerback Stephon Gilmore, offensive lineman Cordy Glenn, wide receiver T.J. Graham as well as cornerback Ron Brooks. 

    I'd give Bills a solid A for their 2012 draft class. 

The Buffalo Bills Are Ready to Win in 2012

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    Be on the lookout for the Buffalo Bills in 2012.

    If they can stay healthy, unlike this past season, they can certainly make some noise in the AFC.

    The Bills have a revamped defense led by Mario Williams, Mark Anderson and Stephon Gilmore and should be just fine on offense if Ryan Fitzpatrick can take better care of the ball.

    2012 may be the year for the Bills to take a step forward and make the playoffs. 

Luke Kuechly Is Going to Be a First-Year Impact Player for the Carolina Panthers

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    Heading into the 2012 draft, Luke Kuechly was my top-rated linebacker and he will certainly make a huge impact with the Carolina Panthers in 2012.

    Granted, Kuechly might not be a playmaker, but he's a tackling machine and will be a very dependable player for the Panthers for many years to come. 

The Panthers Failed to Draft Any Wide Receivers

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    If you asked me, Cam Newton and Steve Smith needed some help in the passing game, and the Carolina Panthers failed to address that need.

    The 2012 draft class was filled with talented receivers, but the Panthers chose not to draft one, which really boggles my mind. 

The Chicago Bears Are Finally Giving Jay Cutler Offensive Weapons

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    Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and tight end Evan Rodriguez should really help out Jay Cutler in the passing game in 2012 for the Chicago Bears.

    It's about time that the Bears decided to give Cutler some weapons to throw to. 

The Chicago Bears Drafting Alshon Jeffery Was a Huge Steal

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    Alshon Jeffery falling to the second round was expected, but you can't deny his talent—just watch some of his game film.

    The Chicago Bears drafting Jeffery was a complete steal and he is going to have a huge rookie season in 2012 starting opposite of Brandon Marshall with quarterback Jay Cutler finally having some weapons to throw to. 

The Cincinnati Bengals Nailed the 2012 Draft

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    Out of all of the 32 teams in the NFL, the Cincinnati Bengals had one of the most impressive showings at the 2012 NFL draft.

    The Bengals addressed almost all of their needs as they brought in first-year impact players such as Dre Kirkpatrick, Kevin Zeitler, Devon Still, Mohamed Sanu, Brandon Thompson, Orson Charles, Shaun Parter, Marvin Jones and George Iloka. 

The Cleveland Browns Really Like Brandon Weeden

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    To draft a 28-year-old quarterback in the first round, let's just say that team has to really like that certain prospect.

    All in all, I think that it's safe to say the Cleveland Browns really like Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden. 

The Cleveland Browns Don't Really Like Colt McCoy

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    Poor Colt McCoy—will he ever get a chance to succeed in the NFL? Probably not.

    Just when you'd think the Cleveland Browns are adding offensive talent for McCoy, they end up drafting a quarterback in the first round in Brandon Weeden.

    The end of the road might be near for McCoy. 

The Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Corps Is Now One of the Best

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    The Dallas Cowboys' secondary was already looking better when they signed free-agent cornerback Brandon Carr. Now, after the draft, it just got 10 times more impressive.

    If you ask me, the Cowboys had the most impressive showing in the first round of this year's draft as they added a future shutdown cornerback in LSU's Morris Claiborne. 

The Denver Broncos Found the Quarterback of the Future

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    Out of all of the selections in this year's draft, the Denver Broncos drafting quarterback Brock Osweiler is my favorite.

    Let's face it: Peyton Manning isn't going to play forever. 

    Osweiler will now be able to sit behind Manning and prepare himself to take over the reins in a few years.

The Detroit Lions Love Drafting Wide Receivers

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    Adding wide receivers is like a hobby for the Detroit Lions.

    No matter how many areas of need that the Lions have, they will always find a way to draft a wide receiver, and they did so in this year's draft by adding Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles. 

Riley Reiff Was a Complete Steal for the Detroit Lions

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    If you ask me, Iowa's Riley Reiff is without a question a top-10 talent but fell all the way to the end of the first round and right into the lap of the Detroit Lions.

    This was arguably the greatest steal of the first round as the Lions significantly improved their offensive line with this selection. 

The Green Bay Packers Nailed the Draft as Usual

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    When don't the Green Bay Packers have a good draft? They always find a way to find value at every pick they have. 

    The Packers had the worst defense in 2012 and certainly took steps forward in improving it by adding guys like Nick Perry, Jerel Worthy and Casey Hayward. 

Nick Perry Was a Complete Steal for the Green Bay Packers

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    We all know Clay Matthews can't carry the Green Bay Packers' pass rush by himself, so the Packers went out and got themselves a top-rated pass-rusher in USC's Nick Perry.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Perry is a top-15 talent and was a complete steal for the Packers at No. 28 overall. 

The Houston Texans May Have Found Their Replacement for Mario Williams

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    This was a great selection for the Houston Texans as they very well could have found their replacement for Mario Williams.

    At No. 26 overall, the Texans added one of this year's most impressive pass-rushers in Whitney Mercilus, and he should fit in very nicely in Houston's 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker. 

The Indianapolis Colts Might Be Competitive in 2012

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    It's kind of scary saying this, but the Indianapolis Colts might fight for a Wild Card spot in 2012 if all of their rookies pan out to be first-year impact kind of players.

    Andrew Luck, Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, T.Y. Hilton, Josh Chapman and Vick Ballard could all very well have huge impacts in 2012 for the Colts. 

The Indianapolis Colts Are Going for a Two-Tight End System

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    Much like the New England Patriots do with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, it appears the Indianapolis Colts are trying to do the same with rookies Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen.

    This is a very wise decision on Indy's part. 

The Jacksonville Jaguars Are More Worried About Punting Than Anything Else

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    A team that has so little talent across the roster decided to address its need at punter in the third round. Really? That makes no sense to me at all.

    I understand Bryan Anger is a great punter, but he should have never been selected in the third round. 

    That is just laughable. 

Blaine Gabbert Finally Has Someone to Throw to

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    The Jacksonville Jaguars did what they had to do in Round 1 as they added an offensive weapon for Blaine Gabbert in Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon.

    It's about time Gabbert actually has someone to throw to, and perhaps he might be able to turn his career around with the help from Blackmon in 2012. 

Donatri Poe Is a Huge Risk for the Kansas City Chiefs

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    Dontari Poe was this year's workout warrior at the NFL combine and found himself being labeled as first-round talent—but I was never buying it.

    If you ask me. and by just watching Poe's game film, he is far from being a first-round talent, which makes this quite the risky move by the Kansas City Chiefs

The Miami Dolphins Plan on Ryan Tannehill Being the Quarterback of the Future

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    It's about time: The Miami Dolphins finally have their replacement for Dan Marino, but it's only about 15 years too late.

    Either way, the Dolphins are hoping Ryan Tannehill will be the future face of their franchise. 

The Minnesota Vikings Addressed Most of Their Needs

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    The Minnesota Vikings came into the 2012 NFL draft with some needs and left with most of those needs being filled.

    The Vikings did a great job of addressing those needs by drafting offensive tackle Matt Kalil, safety Harrison Smith as well as cornerback Josh Robinson.

    I really like the way the Vikings drafted and I'd certainly rate their draft classes as one of the better ones for this year. 

2012 Actually Might Be the End of the World

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    For the first time since 2003, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots actually traded up in the draft rather than trading backwards—can you believe it?

    The Mayans very well could be right about 2012 being the end of the world.

    The Patriots' two selections in the first round, Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower, are sure to be studs in Belichick's defense for many years to come. 

The New England Patriots Apparently Love Rugby Players

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    Just by watching this video, I think I want to learn how to play rugby.

    Either way, the New England Patriots shocked the NFL world when they drafted a safety that played only three snaps last season at Ohio State and was primarily a special teamer, but more importantly was a rugby player, and that man is Nate Ebner.

    Bill Belichick never fails to amaze me. 

The New Orleans Saints Did the Best That They Could Do

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    Thanks to the bounty scandal, the New Orleans Saints didn't have too many draft picks to play with in the 2012 draft, but they did the best that they could do. 

    The one pick that I really like is Wisconsin wide receiver Nick Toon, as he could be a nice addition to Drew Brees' arsenal. 

The New York Giants Found Brandon Jacobs' Replacement

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    Hey, New York Giant fans, forget about Brandon Jacobs—David Wilson is the next great Giants running back.

    Wilson pairing up with Ahmad Bradshaw should create one of the most productive running back tandems in the NFL for many years to come. 

Who's Going to Throw the Ball to Stephen Hill?

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    Stephen Hill is one incredible talent as he's such a speedster, but who's going to throw him the ball in New York?

    Both Jets quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow aren't the most accurate passers, so how are the Jets going to utilize Hill's blazing speed? 

The Carson Palmer Trade Really Destroyed the Oakland Raiders Draft

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    In Reggie McKenzie's first year as general manager of the Oakland Raiders, he was really handcuffed due to the Carson Palmer trade.

    Either way, McKenzie did the best that he could do by drafting offensive tackle Tony Bergstrom, outside linebacker Miles Burris, defensive end Jack Crawford, wide receiver Juron Criner, defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi and outside linebacker Nathan Stupar. 

The Philadelphia Eagles Have No Faith in Michael Vick

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    It's time to start thinking realistically, Eagles fans—Michael Vick is not worth $100 million.

    Why? Because he's a liability to always get hurt.

    With that being said, that's why the Philadelphia Eagles spent a third-round pick on quarterback Nick Foles.  

The Pittsburgh Steelers Have Totally Beefed Up Their Offensive Line

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    Ben Roethlisberger is probably breathing a sigh of relief right now as the Pittsburgh Steelers finally decided to draft some quality offensive linemen. 

    In the first round, the Steelers drafted the best offensive guard I have seen in a while in Stanford's David DeCastro and then spent their second-round selection on offensive tackle Mike Adams out of Ohio State. 

The San Diego Chargers Will Have a Nasty Pass Rush in 2012

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    Heading into the 2012 draft, the San Diego Chargers really needed to reload their defense with some help in the pass-rushing department. With that being said, they drafted Melvin Ingram in the first round.

    The South Carolina product is primed to be a sack machine at the NFL level and could very well make a run for Defensive Rookie of the Year this season. 

The San Francisco 49ers Plan on Having a Beastly Running Game

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    Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and now LaMichael James—that is one talented running back tandem. 

    If you ask me, the San Francisco 49ers are going to be pounding the ball down defenses' throats for many years to come with that running back corps. 

The Seattle Seahawks Have No Idea What They're Doing

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    I'm not going to nit-pick their entire draft, but the Seattle Seahawks drafting Bruce Irvin was nothing short of idiotic. 

    There is no way Irvin is a top-15 pick as he's strictly a pass-rusher and cannot play against the run.

    The Seahawks could have easily drafted Irvin in the second round rather than wasting a first-round pick on him. 

The St. Louis Rams' Success Depends Solely on Sam Bradford

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    It's all up to Sam Bradford in 2012 for the St. Louis Rams.

    Bradford now has a decent weapon in Brian Quick and has a totally revamped defense playing for him.

    If Bradford plays well then the Rams could very well be a Wild Card contender in 2012. 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Aced the 2012 Draft

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    I am super impressed with the way that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted in 2012.

    The Bucs added a future Pro Bowl safety in Mark Barron and brought in a running back that reminds me of Matt Forte in Boise State's Doug Martin.

    Don't be shocked if the Bucs are legitimate playoff contenders this upcoming season—they're that talented. 

Jake Locker Now Has His Future No. 1 Wide Receiver

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    Jake Locker might not play in 2012 if Matt Hasselbeck beats him out, but Locker now has his future No. 1 wide receiver in Kendall Wright.

    Wright is by far the most exciting wide receiver that the 2012 draft class had to offer as he was such a dominant force with Robert Griffin III at Baylor. 

The Washington Redskins Really Want to Develop a Quarterback

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    We all know the Washington Redskins drafted Robert Griffin III to be their quarterback of the future, but we all were scratching our heads when we saw the 'Skins draft quarterback Kirk Cousins in the fourth round. 

    I have no idea why the Redskins drafted Cousins. Yes, I really like Cousins as a prospect, but why did Washington feel the need of drafting a backup quarterback in the middle rounds? That was such a wasted draft pick. 

Robert Griffin III Has Some Fresh Socks

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    We saw Robert Griffin III's Superman socks at the Heisman Trophy ceremony and now we saw his draft day socks this past Thursday night.

    All I have to say is that those socks are the definition of swag.