2012 NFL Draft Grades: Highlighting the Best Moves of Draft Weekend

Nick HartCorrespondent IApril 30, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26:  Andrew Luck (R) from Stanford holds up a jersey as he stands on stage with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after Luck was selected #1 overall by the Indianapolis Colts 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 has come and gone, and it's time to highlight the best moves of the draft weekend.

Multiple teams struck gold throughout the draft, but the best moves were made in the first round.  The real game-changers and impact player are drafted in the first round, and if a team is going to win a Super Bowl they must nail their first-round pick. 

Obviously, the Colts nailed their first-round pick, but the Packers, Steelers, Jaguars, and Patriots all nailed theirs as well.

Here's a look at the five best moves of the NFL draft:



Indianapolis Colts drafting Andrew Luck no. 1


The NFL is clearly a quarterback’s league so why not take the best quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning in Andrew Luck?  Luck has everything necessary for a NFL quarterback.  He's smart, athletic and accurate. He has a strong arm and the size for the position. 

He fills a need for the Colts since they have no viable quarterback, and he will definitely improve the team.  Luck will also serve as a beacon of hope for an otherwise downtrodden franchise. 

This pick gets the best move by default; when you draft the best prospect in a decade, you win best move of that year’s draft.



Jacksonville Jaguars drafting Justin Blackmon No. 5


The Jacksonville Jaguars had the worst group of wide receivers in the NFL going into the 2012 NFL Draft.  Justin Blackmon is an instant upgrade.  Blackmon has the talent to be an immediate impact player in the NFL, and he should have no problem contributing from day one.

His arrival not only boosts the receiving corps, but it should also have a noticeable effect on Blaine Gabbert, helping to improve the offense overall. Additionally, if Gabbert doesn't improve, it proves that he isn't a competent quarterback in the NFL.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26:  Justin Blackmon from Oklahoma State holds up a jersey as he stands on stage after he was selected #5 overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New Y
Al Bello/Getty Images



Pittsburgh Steelers drafting David DeCastro No. 24


The David DeCastro-Pittsburgh Steelers marriage is about as perfect as they come.  DeCastro is extremely polished and was potentially a top 10 pick.  The Steelers desperately needed offensive line help and DeCastro should immediately step in to upgrade the unit.  A tough, hardnosed player, DeCastro is a perfect fit in the Steelers' organization. 



The New England Patriots' First Round (No. 21 and No. 25)


New England desperately needed defensive help from the 2012 NFL Draft, and they definitely got it in the first round.  Chandler Jones is a pass-rusher extraordinaire who also excels against the run.  A versatile player, he should work wonders for the Patriots defense. 

Dont'a Hightower is a versatile linebacker who should have no problems cracking the starting lineup.  Hightower is stout against the run, and his size and speed allow him to cover tight ends.  Hightower and Jones will provide a serious boost to the front seven of the Patriots defense and should have them again challenging for Super Bowl championships.   



Green Bay Packers drafting Nick Perry No. 28


The Green Bay Packers had the offense to win the Super Bowl in 2012.  However, they were let down by the defense. 

The Packers defensive line failed to generate enough pressure, putting too much strain on the rest of the defense.  The addition of Nick Perry should change all that. 

A natural pass rusher who will excel in space, Nick Perry should be able to step right into the starting lineup and combine with Clay Matthews to terrorize opposing quarterbacks.  With those two rushing the passer the Green Bay Packers should be challenging for another Lombardi Trophy.