The 2012 NFL draft was full of steals and great values. But with great values come reaches.
In 2010, it was Tyson Alualu. In 2011, Christian Ponder made a surprise appearance at the top of the first round. That's not to say these picks won't turn out, but they were unexpected.
Based on the boards and projections of draft analysts, a few guys stood out in 2011 as overdrafted. Whether they actually were is to be seen. But according to the media (and me), these guys stood out.
Who were 2012's 50 biggest draft reaches?
Until a couple weeks before the draft, Mark Barron was seen as a mid-to-late first-round pick. No one expected him to go No. 7 overall. Barron isn't a bad player, but he isn't this good either.
An explosive athlete, Bruce Irvin possesses the most upside of any edge rusher in the draft. However, Irvin's lone good trait is an elite first step, and he struggles in every other area. Irvin simply isn't good enough to be drafted this high.
Despite producing great numbers at Illinois, Whitney Mercilus isn't a first-round talent. Wade Phillips may be able to turn him into a star, but, based on his college tape, Mercilus was overdrafted. He does have some upside, though.
There's nothing about Harrison Smith that stands out. He isn't a bad player, but his lack of upside makes him more of a second- or third-round pick. Smith will be, at best, a solid player, and he could be much less than that.
A.J. Jenkins is a good-but-not-great athlete. He has good-but-not-great explosiveness and good-but-not-great catching ability. Are you sensing a trend? Jenkins isn't going to be a No. 1 wide receiver, and he will probably be only an average No. 2.
Though he is a great athlete, David Wilson isn't a first-round caliber running back. The Virginia Tech product lacks power and is more of a change-of-pace guy in the NFL. He will never produce great numbers and won't be on the field enough to prove his value.
A big, athletic wideout, Brian Quick is raw. He has solid ability but lacks the burst to become an elite player. Quick is more likely to be a No. 2 receiver in the NFL, and he is too risky to deserve the first pick in the second round.
No one thought Tavon Wilson was worth a third- or fourth-round pick, much less a second-rounder. Wilson isn't bad in coverage, but he still has a lot to work on and needs to improve as a tackler.
Brock Osweiler is talented, but he is way too raw to warrant a second-round selection. The Arizona State quarterback has an awful release that negates both his height and arm strength. Osweiler's accuracy and decision-making both need to improve as well.
LaMichael James was a college star because of his burst and quickness. However, he lacks the power to make much of an impact in the NFL. James is way too one-dimensional to go in the second round as a running back.
DeVier Posey sat out almost the entire 2011 season and has some serious flaws. The Ohio State star lacks deep speed and has had some issues with drops. He won't be a No. 1 wideout, and he needs to improve a ton in order to be a No. 2.
This has to be a joke. Who drafts punters in the third round? Oh yeah, Gene Smith is the Jaguars' general manager. Regardless of how good he becomes, Bryan Anger will not be worth the early third-round pick that was spent on him.
This was either a need pick or a hometown favor. Maybe both. Olivier Vernon was commonly seen as a fourth-round pick at best. He has some ability, but he is way too unrefined with too little upside to go on the second day.
Teams don't draft backup quarterbacks in the third round. And, as talented as he may be, that's all Russell Wilson is in the NFL. At 5'11", he is simply too short for a starting quarterback. Even the famously short Drew Brees is taller. Also, as many fans forget, Brees is the exception, not the rule.
An oversized wide receiver with limited athleticism, Michael Egnew is way too one-dimensional for the third round. Even as a receiver, he lacks burst and deep speed, limiting what he can do. So, essentially, Egnew is purely a receiving tight end, but he lacks upside there too.
This was undoubtedly a need pick by the Bears. Evan Rodriguez is a fullback/tight end hybrid without the athleticism to be much of a receiving threat. He won't offer much as a blocker at the line of scimmage, and he won't stretch the field vertically.
Nate Ebner didn't even play for the Buckeyes. He literally had three plays from scrimmage during his time at Ohio State. The Patriots drafted a special-teamer. Teams have drafted punters, kickers and even long-snappers. But how many teams have drafted a coverage man?
Yes, Justin Blackmon was considered a top talent in the draft, but he never should have been. Blackmon's upside is severely limited, and he isn't even the best wideout in this draft, much less the No. 5 player. Jacksonville fell for the common perception rather than the truth.
I do not think this was a bad pick. Franchise quarterbacks always go high, and Ryan Tannehill is talented. However, Tannehill's body of work doesn't suggest a top-10 pick. He struggled at Texas A&M and made way too many bad decisions.
If he were 24 years old, Brandon Weeden is a surefire top-15 pick. He is not 24, though. He's 28. The Browns are, at best, getting a quarterback for seven years. And if Weeden is bad or his body deteriorates early, they're getting much less than that.
Blair Walsh wasn't even that good in his last year at Georgia. He made just 21 of 35 kicks and just five of 12 between 40 and 49 yards. That doesn't sound like a kicker worthy of being drafted, does it?
This wasn't a bad pick, really, but most analysts had Derek Wolfe as a third-round pick at best. Wolfe struggles against the run and will be abused at times. He can rush the passer, but there are some potentially fatal flaws in his game.
Even if he were healthy, Ryan Broyles wouldn't be worth a second-round pick. Broyles is a slot receiver in the NFL with limited upside. He doesn't have deep speed and won't make a ton of big plays. And we don't know how well Broyles' knee will hold up.
Though he is fairly quick and fast, Ronnie Hillman is small and lacks power. He isn't explosive enough to compensate for his lack of strength and will probably serve as a backup in the NFL. There were much better running backs on the board.
An explosive player with terrific deep speed, T.J. Graham is one-dimensional. He can stretch the field vertically, but he won't make many plays underneath. Graham simply isn't a complete player and doesn't really have the ability to become one.
No one expected Josh LeRibeus to go in the third round. He isn't overly big, he isn't overly athletic and he isn't overly strong. Nothing about LeRibeus looks like the skills of a future starter. This pick was confusing at best.
John Hughes is actually strong against the run, but he doesn't have much burst or pass-rushing ability. The Browns know what they're getting, but not many teams draft one-dimensional run-stoppers in the third round. Most analysts had Hughes as a late-round pick or undrafted free agent.
Though he has the size and athleticism to become a starting tackle, Lamar Holmes is incredibly raw. He has some huge issues in his game and will need years to develop. That's if he develops, of course. Not a small if either.
Though he has upside, Akiem Hicks played football in Canada. That alone tells how risky Hicks is, and he is incredibly raw as a player. There's nothing wrong with high-upside players, but Hicks is questionable in the third round.
Travis Benjamin is as one-dimensional of a receiver as there is. He possesses blazing speed and great burst, but he isn't good at catching the football or running routes. Benjamin also has a history of mental errors and inconsistency.
This is nothing against Greg Zuerlein, but don't the Rams have enough needs without spending draft picks on kickers? It's hard to justify a kicker to any team, let alone a team as bad as St. Louis. This is simply a bad pick.
Adrien Robinson is the definition of a project. He has limited experience and production, but is an absolute physical freak. He runs a 4.58 40-yard dash and weighs in at 6'4", 264 pounds. However, Robinson is unlikely to ever develop. He is more of a late-round flyer than a fourth-round pick.
Zach Brown was drafted as an athlete. Those picks don't usually work at linebacker. The North Carolina linebacker intentionally avoids contact and plays like a safety. He doesn't have the mentality to start in the NFL. He should not have been a second-round pick.
Despite being commonly projected as a first- or second-round pick, Jerel Worthy was a reach in the second round. He has a good first step, but his timing and strength are awful. Worthy is a one-dimensional player who won't develop in the other areas of the game.
As inconsistent as can be, Devon Still is a huge risk. He doesn't make plays as often as he should and is frequently dominated at the point of attack. Still's athleticism and high-recruit status make him worthy of a second-round pick, but his tape doesn't.
An offensive tackle at Utah, Tony Bergstrom isn't a great athlete and lacks power. He isn't awful at anything, but he isn't great at anything either. Though Bergstrom may be able to start, similar players can be found much later than the third round.
Coty Sensabugh simply isn't a mid-round talent. The Clemson product is only a decent athlete and lacks the strength or technique to compensate. Odds are Sensabaugh won't even be able to stick as a backup, much less develop into something better.
Rarely projected as draftable, Jerron McMillian was not worth a fourth-round pick. The Maine product lacks great athleticism and speed to go with average size. McMillian is unlikely to ever contribute much for the Packers.
I have no clue what makes Matt Johnson a fourth-round pick. He isn't a great athlete, he isn't great against the run and he isn't great in coverage. Maybe Dallas likes his intelligence, but Johnson was barely seen as draftable for a reason.
A small, coverage linebacker, Tank Carder lacks the speed to cover tight ends in the NFL. Unfortunately, he lacks the size and strength to do much against the run. Carder is a one-dimensional player who won't be able to perform at his dimension in the NFL.
As a senior, Randy Bullock attempted just two kicks of more than 50 yards and missed one of them. Sure, he was accurate and consistent at shorter lengths, but accurate kickers can be found anywhere. Bullock wasn't worth a draft pick.
Dan Herron is an undersized power back. That's not a good combo. The Ohio State product lacks burst and agility while providing only decent power because of his size. Herron wasn't even that good at Ohio State, and he definitely won't be that good in Cincinnati.
In his college career, John Potter attempted three kicks of more than 50 yards. He missed all three. He made just 10 of the 17 kicks between 40 and 49 yards. Potter wasn't even perfect under 40 yards. I have no clue why he was drafted.
Nick Foles is a solid developmental quarterback, and Andy Reid will probably make something of him. However, Foles is a massive product, and quarterbacks with similar upside were available much later.
Rhett Ellison is good at catching the football. He isn't good at blocking, running or separating. So essentially, the Vikings drafted a tight end who can't block and can't get open. I struggle to see this turning out well.
An undersized player even in Green Bay's 3-4 defense, Mike Daniels will never start. He isn't explosive enough to offer much as a situational pass-rusher, and he lacks the strength to stop the run. Daniels shouldn't have been drafted until long after the fourth round.
Tavir Whitehead should not have been drafted. He isn't a great athlete and he weighs just 233 pounds. That is a terrible combination for a linebacker. The Temple product is just a special-teamer in the NFL. The Lions could have at least drafted someone with starter potential.
This isn't an awful pick, but Jeff Allen is schematically limited. The Illinois tackle will play guard in the NFL, but he isn't powerful enough to play in anything other than a zone-blocking scheme. So, for many teams, Allen wasn't worth anything close to a second-round pick.
Though he has some upside, Donald Stephenson isn't talented enough to warrant a third-round pick. The Oklahoma product is a big project and won't be able to start at a high level for several years. These types of players are mid- or late-round picks.
There's nothing about Kirk Cousins that stands out. He isn't big, he isn't mobile, he doesn't have a great arm and he isn't brilliant. He may be a decent backup in the NFL, but he isn't someone you want starting either. This is a limited-upside player with a pretty low floor.