2012 NFL Draft Grades for All 32 Teams
Of course, it is much too early to make critical opinions on each NFL team's 2012 draft. But that will not stop us from doing so.
Giving each team a letter grade for how well it improved its roster when the real answers won't be revealed for three, four, five years from now is idiotic, so idiotic it could be considered the action of a fanatic.
Let's go through from worst to first.
Adding two additional mid-round picks by trading down in Round 1 does little to offset making the biggest reach of the draft.
Taking Bruce Irvin, a part-time player with limited upside, as their first selection would have been questionable even for a team with the luxury of taking a player with one specific skill. Seattle does not even have that luxury.
Russell Wilson has the potential to carve out a spot for himself in this league, but having already paid big money for Matt Flynn this offseason, Seattle again seems to be the wrong fit for this move.
Two first-round selections hardly buoyed their draft grade considering the picks they made. Giving up three additional late-round picks for the right to draft Trent Richardson third overall seems silly when he would have most assuredly been available at their original slot if Minnesota kept their pick.
Always worrisome is the player that flew up draft boards very late in the process, well after games were finished being played. Shea McClellin might turn into a good player, but he shows evidence of being another combine-mover.
Alshon Jeffery was also questionable coming off a bad year and coming into the draft process overweight.
To make matters worse, Chicago didn’t address their need at defensive end or their biggest need on the offensive line.
It is hard to make a huge improvement to a weak roster without high draft picks. Only the future will determine the real value of Oakland’s 2012 draft, but after that horrendous Carson Palmer trade where it gave up all those high picks, it was going to be tough to make any kind of headway this year.
San Francisco 49ers
Taking a downfield, speed wide receiver was a good option to complement Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree. The problem was San Francisco didn’t take the best one available.
In addition, LaMichael James seemed superfluous to a team already with Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter in the backfield.
Kansas City Chiefs
Dontari Poe is a very risky pick, especially in Round 1. Adding offensive line help and skill-position players later do not offset the uncertainty created by Poe as their draft anchor.
Two great picks cannot fully compensate for Miami’s first selection. Taking Jonathan Martin in Round 2 and Lamar Miller in Round 4 are both tremendous. However, Ryan Tannehill is who will make or break this draft.
Not only is he a huge question mark, but it also remains to be seen whether he can actually play better than Miami’s current quarterback option: Matt Moore.
New Orleans Saints
New Orleans did the best it could with the situation it put itself in.
Without a first-round pick from a prior deal with New England and having lost their second-round pick because of the penalties from Gregg Williams’ bounties, the Saints were forced to fill holes with late-rounders.
Nick Toon was an impressive receiver in college, and getting him in the fourth round is a nice value.
Even without a first-round pick, Atlanta was able to add some defensive help late and find a solid center, Peter Konz, in Round 2. Atlanta's big draft-splash was Julio Jones last year, and it took him knowing it would affect this year’s options.
Denver made a lot of moves that seemed to not get them very far.
They addressed some team needs, swapped mid-round selections, acquired some additional picks and added a quarterback for the future.
But for a team that just added Peyton Manning and might have been trying to make a splash for the current roster, Denver missed the boat.
Trading up to select Justin Blackmon makes sense, but the many holes elsewhere on the Jags’ roster were not necessarily filled.
With only six total picks made and one being a punter in Round 3, Jacksonville left some talent on the board. Andre Branch in Round 2 was a nice selection, though.
New York Jets
Stephen Hill is a great Round-2 pick. The Jets also added depth at outside linebacker and running back—two areas of need.
Yet taking Quinton Coples in Round 1 is too risky to warrant a higher grade. When the Jets made this selection, there were better, safer players still available who play the exact same position as Coples.
Tennessee delivered a nice, solid draft. Kendall Wright is a weapon to pair with a returning Kenny Britt. Zach Brown is a smart selection as well.
By addressing some team needs, the Titans neither disappointed nor blew anyone away with their weekend moves.
Robert Griffin III is the guy Washington wanted. However, it gave up an awful lot to get him, and he is not nearly the sure thing Andrew Luck is deemed to be.
Pretty much their entire draft rests on RGIII’s success—a worrisome outcome for a team that has been without a quarterback for so long.
Michael Floyd is a nice weapon to place opposite Larry Fitzgerald in the Arizona offense. He should open up the middle of the field for Fitzgerald on crossing routes as well as for backs and tight ends running shorter routes.
Their best value pick was Bobby Massie in Round 4.
Luke Kuechly is a solid first-round selection, and Joe Adams could be a difference-maker as a return man in Round 4.
However, Carolina missed on a number of team needs, including defensive tackle and outside linebacker.
Giving up their second-round pick to trade up and get Morris Claiborne is the kind of big draft-day move Cowboys fans wanted to see. It certainly addresses a major team need, and he was the best cornerback in the draft.
Their best pick was Danny Coale, a wide receiver taken in Round 5. He is tremendously reliable and should fit in well as a possession receiver.
Green Bay Packers
A team like Green Bay has few roster holes. Rushing the passer was one of them.
Fortunately, both of their first two selections addressed this. Nick Perry, the USC rush end, and Jerel Worthy, the big tackle in Round 2, both should help a depleted defensive line.
Trading back in Round 3, picking up three additional picks and still getting their man, Matt Kalil, is a move to be admired.
Their second pick of day one was a little more questionable, as safety Harrison Smith seems to have a low ceiling in the minds of scouts.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay took the best safety in the draft and the second-best running back with their two first-round picks, respectively. These picks filled two major team needs.
The Bucs also selected Lavonte David in Round 2, a player many people felt might go in Round 1.
Trading away their first-round pick and still being able to nab Courtney Upshaw in Round 2 is great draft work.
With their other second-round pick, the Ravens took offensive guard Kelechi Osemele to help with depth.
The Bills added no quarterback depth and will rely fully on Ryan Fitzpatrick for the foreseeable future. However, Stephon Gilmore and Cordy Glenn make up one of the best two-round combinations of players any team made.
Grabbing the national leader in sacks and forced fumbles late in Round 1 is solid reasoning. Whitney Mercilus will try to fill the void left by Mario Williams.
DeVier Posey was a nice pick in Round 3, but Houston’s best pick was Jared Crick in Round 4.
New England Patriots
New England Patriots
Normally fond of trading back, New England went in another direction by trading up twice on day one. Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower are both talented defensive players who can greatly help the Patriots pretty quickly.
Their best pick, though, might have been Alfonzo Dennard in Round 7.
New York Giants
The Giants lost Brandon Jacobs and needed a replacement running back: check.
They lost Mario Manningham and needed a replacement slot receiver: check.
They added depth to their defensive backfield—one of the most banged up spots on their roster for the past few seasons.
In addition to tight end depth and offensive line help, the Giants would have hit a home run if they were able to add any type of linebacker, but they did not.
St. Louis Rams
St. Louis Rams
Trading down and taking Michael Brockers is a nice move for a team needing help all over its defense. By taking Janoris Jenkins in Round 2, St. Louis makes the statement that it is willing to take risks in the hopes of adding talent to a depleted roster.
Detroit’s franchise outlook seems to be shifting. Riley Reiff was great value late in Round 1. And going Oklahoma-heavy the rest of the draft is an easy way to collect talent.
Ryan Broyles’ production was historic in college. Coming off an injury was the only reason he dropped on draft day. Ronnell Lewis in Round 4 and Travis Lewis in Round 7 were both good risks to take as well.
For the Colts, Andrew Luck as their first pick was a no-brainer. This does not diminish their selection, though. He is indeed the best quarterback prospect since John Elway.
Adding two tight end weapons later on, both with first-round talent, is a bonus.
Their best value pick came in Round 5 in the form of Josh Chapman, a player once thought of as a first-day possibility.
Pittsburgh needed help along its offensive line in a major way. Taking David DeCastro, the best guard in the draft, in Round 1 and Mike Adams, a first-round talent at offensive tackle, in Round 2 were great moves toward filling that void.
Running back Chris Rainey’s speed and versatility in Round 5 was a bonus.
San Diego Chargers
San Diego’s draft is oversimplified yet overshadowed by the first player it took. Melvin Ingram was thought of as a Top-10 possibility, so not only was he perhaps the single best first-round value in the draft, he also addressed one of the biggest team needs.
The overall quality and quantity of Cincinnati’s picks led to this grade.
Dre Kirkpatrick fills a giant need as the team’s first selection. Kevin Zeitler might have been a bit of a reach as their next selection, yet Wisconsin offensive linemen are as solid as they come.
Devon Still in Round 2 was a smart pick, and the Bengals also managed to add weapons at receiver, tight end and running back, including Dan Herron, a possible contributor from the sixth round.