2012 NFL Draft Grades: Full Grades for Each AFC North Team
The 2012 NFL Draft finished over the weekend, but writers and bloggers still get to digress the event into the week.
That includes me. The AFC North absolutely killed it in the draft. Every team was able to come out with the a talented class that will help the teams down the road.
Some teams maneuvered a full on youth revolution, while others added to veteran depth.
Here are the full grades for each AFC North team after the 2012 NFL draft.
Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Picks
Round 1: OG David DeCastro (Stanford)
Round 2: OT Mike Adams (Ohio State)
Round 3: LB Sean Spence (Miami, Fla.)
Round 4: DT Alameda Ta'amu (Washington)
Round 5: RB Chris Rainey (Florida)
Round 6: None
Round 7: WR Toney Clemons (Colorado), TE David Paulson (Oregon), CB Terrence Frederick (Texas A&M), OT Kelvin Beachum (SMU)
Pittsburgh Steelers Grade
With the 2012 NFL draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers seriously improved their offensive line. That was an area of need for them and the franchise did it in amazing fashion. They were incredibly lucky to have David DeCastro fall to them at No. 24. The Stanford product is considered the safest pick in the draft and will make an immediate impact for the black and yellow squad.
Then, they landed Mike Adams, who has first-round talent. The offensive tackle fell out of the first round after a positive drug test at the combine, but he will have his head screwed on right when he is playing for a contender.
The offensive line dramatically improved with this draft, and the Pittsburgh Steelers got better.
Cincinnati Bengals Draft Picks
Round 1: CB Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama), OG Kevin Zeitler (Wisconsin)
Round 2: DT Devon Still (Penn State)
Round 3: WR Mohamed Sanu (Rutgers), DT Brandon Thompson (Clemson)
Round 4: TE Orson Charles (Georgia)
Round 5: CB Shaun Prater (Iowa), WR Marvin Jones (Cal), FS George Iloka (Boise State)
Round 6: RB Dan Herron (Ohio State)
Round 7: None
Cincinnati Bengals Grade
The Bengals definitely had one of the best drafts this year. There were a few misfirings, such as picking Kevin Zeitler instead of David DeCastro, but, all in all, this draft was great. The Bengals added young talent to a youth revolution in Cincinnati, and the results will be elite.
Dre Kirkpatrick is a top-10 shutdown corner who will fill the hole created by Jonathan Joseph. He is aggressive and agile, and will fit into this hungry defense very well.
Zeitler is a great run blocker, and will be able to support a new flurry of Cincy backs. Devon Still is one of the best defensive tackles in the draft, and has immense amount of talent that the Bengals couldn’t pass on.
Mohamed Sanu is one of the most underrated receivers in the 2012 draft class. He will provide an immediate second target for Andy Dalton, and will thrive working with A.J. Green. Sanu is big, fast and a steal in the third round.
George Iloka, Dan Herron and Orson Charles are all incredible steals. Every time I look at this amazing Cincinnati draft class, I get excited.
Cleveland Browns Draft Picks
Round 1: RB Trent Richardson (Alabama), QB Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State)
Round 2: OT Mitchell Schwartz (California)
Round 3: DT John Hughes (Cincinnati)
Round 4: WR Travis Benjamin (Miami, Fla.), ILB James-Michael Johnson (Nevada)
Round 5: OG Ryan Miller (Colorado)
Round 6: OLB Emmanuel Acho (Texas), DE Billy Winn (Boise State)
Round 7: CB Trevin Wade (Arizona), FB Brad Smelley (Alabama)
Cleveland Browns Grade
This grade is more subjective then most. If you like Brandon Weeden then the Browns get a good grade. If you don’t like the former Oklahoma State quarterback, then things aren’t looking too bright in Cleveland.
I like the pick, but not in the round he was taken. Weeden and Trent Richardson can led the Browns to short-term success. When the 29-year-old packs up his bags, Cleveland can still have a capable quarterback in Colt McCoy.
At this point, McCoy would have matured and learned the nuances of the pro game. He can step in and win immediately. Just think Aaron Rodgers.
Mitchell Schwartz will be a stud in the offensive line. The resulting picks are good, but nothing special as the wide receiver problem still lingers.
Baltimore Ravens Draft Picks
Round 1: None
Round 2: OLB Courtney Upshaw (Alabama), OT Kelechi Osemele (Iowa State)
Round 3: RB Bernard Pierce (Temple)
Round 4: OG Gino Gradkowski (Delaware), S Christian Thompson (South Carolina State)
Round 5: CB Asa Jackson (Cal Poly)
Round 6: WR Tommy Streeter (Miami, FL)
Round 7: DT DeAngelo Tyson (Georgia)
Baltimore Ravens Grade
What a steal! Courtney Upshaw had the biggest free fall in the entire draft, and the Ravens gladly let the physical linebacker fall into their laps in the second round.
The 6'1", 273-pound monster posted 52 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 18 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and an interception in 2011 for national-champion Alabama Crimson Tide.
He is a versatile player that can line up in many different places on the defensive side of the ball. He is best at rushing the passer with huge bursts of speed and finishes explosion of a sack. He uses his hands well and can get inside the pocket.
This was a great pick for Baltimore. Upshaw is a bit underrated, but I am incredibly high on him. Watching him play in the Alabama defense was a blessing. Everything worked wonderfully for the Crimson Tide defense, and everyone had a place.
Courtney Upshaw will find a similar place in The Charm City. As will Kelechi Osemele who can replace Ben Grubbs at guard. He will destroy any run stuffers, and will be a viable asset on the offensive line.
Bernard Pierce will be a quality NFL backup for Ray Rice, and Christian Thompson and Gino Gradkowski will add to the Ravens depth.