2012 NFL Draft Grades: Eagles, Cardinals and Jets Get Even Better
The NFL draft yielded a few obvious winners, however the rest of the league will look to rookie camps to churn their new draft picks and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Following one of the best draft classes in recent history, here are the playoff contenders that are all smiles after the 2012 draft...
Philadelphia Eagles GM Howie Roseman explained that Fletcher Cox was the highest-rated defensive lineman on their draft board, so moving up to the 12th overall pick was simply to help stack up their run-stopping ability.
The Eagles then selected Cal's ILB Mychal Kendricks 46th overall—one of the biggest steals of the draft.
Kendricks' only negative is that he's undersized, but he makes up for it with his speed and quick reaction time. His speed gives him more range on the field, which will be big in helping chase down running backs, blitz quarterbacks or drop back in coverage.
The Eagles just missed the playoffs last year, even though they closed the season winning the final four games. With superstars Mike Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson leading the offense, Cox and Kendricks will help the team's underrated defense get back into prime playoff contention.
2012 Prediction: 10-6
The Cardinals play in one of the weakest divisions in the NFL, where just last year the San Francisco 49ers dominated, while the struggling Rams and Seahawks clawed their way to losing records yet again. With the 49ers looking stronger than ever, the Cardinals came in to draft day looking for an extra spark to ignite their playoff hopes.
Drafting Notre Dame's Michael Floyd was the perfect move.
All season long, Larry Fitzgerald racked up monster numbers despite the fact that defenses focused solely on him. So, drafting Floyd will put more pressure on the secondary—allowing Fitzgerald to run more freely.
The Cards also drafted Oklahoma corner Jamell Fleming, offensive tackle Bobby Massie out of Mississippi and one of the best 7th-round picks of the draft in offensive lineman Nate Potter.
The Cardinals biggest question going into 2012 is whether Kevin Kolb is "their guy" under center. After signing a five-year, $63 million it's clear the Cardinals have a vested interest in him. However, Kolb's health and overall ability are the main focus going into camp.
If Kolb can storm into the 2012 campaign dropping bombs to Fitzgerald and Floyd, the Cardinals will be a true contender for an NFC Wild Card spot.
2012 Prediction: 9-7
Will the Jets Solve their Locker Room Problems?
Coming into the 2012 draft, the Jets needed as much help as possible on the defensive line. Drafting UNC's end specialist Quinton Coples with the 16th overall pick is a great value for Ryan and the Jets defense—hopefully bringing back the New York Sack Exchange.
After taking Coples with their first-round pick, the Jets selected two truly gifted athletes in Stephen Hill (2nd round) and Demario Davis (3rd round). Hill was the fourth best receiver in the draft on Mel Kuiper's big board predicting that he will go late in the first round and early in the second, utilizing his 6'4'' frame and 4.36 40-yard dash.
If the Jets can solve all their locker room problems while churning their three new draft picks, they are a certain threat to get back to the AFC Championship game.
2012 Prediction: 11-5
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