Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: NFC Review

Here is part 2 of my overview of the 2012 NFL draft.  Below is my analysis of the NFC teams:

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys
Good Picks: Morris Claiborne (CB – 1st rd), Danny Coale (WR – 5th), James Hanna (TE – 6th), Caleb McSurdy (LB – 7th)
Questionable Picks: Tyrone Crawford (DE – 3rd rd), Kyle Wilber (LB – 4th), Matt Johnson (S – 4th)
Grade: B
Review: The Cowboys made a great move during the first round to move up and select the super talented Claiborne.  They made good use of their late round picks to get more talented depth at wide receiver (Coale) and Tight End (Hanna) while adding more linebackers for defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to add into his gameplans.

New York Giants
Good Picks: Ruben Randle (WR – 2nd), Adrien Robinson (TE – 4th), Brandon Mosley (OT – 4th), Markus Kuhn (DT – 7th)
Questionable Picks: David Wilson (RB – 1st), Jayron Hosley (CB – 3rd), Matt McCants (OL – 6th)
Grade: C+
Review: The main reason for my draft grade is the Giants selection of David Wilson with their first round pick.  Wilson is very similar to Giants current starting Running Back Ahmad Bradshaw which does not address the Giants need for a sturdy, dependable backup for Bradshaw.  The selection of Ruben Randle is a great move after the departure of Manningham.  The Giants seemed to miss out on getting better players who were available in the draft, they just filled roster depth.

Philadelphia Eagles
Good Picks: Fletcher Cox (DT – 1st), Mychal Kendricks (LB – 2nd), Marvin McNutt (WR – 6th), Bryce Brown (RB – 7th)
Questionable Picks: Vinny Curry (DE – 2nd), Nick Foles (QB – 3rd), Brandon Boykin (CB – 4th), Dennis Kelly (OL – 5th), Brandon Washington (OL – 6th)
Grade: B-
Review: The Eagles got two, NFL ready players with their first two picks who can immediately help their defense (Cox and Kendricks).  But then they use their next four draft picks on player who underachieved at the collegiate level.  The selection of McNutt and Brown in the late rounds are solid additions to the Eagles offense but does not make up for their questionable picks during the middle rounds of the draft.

Washington Redskins
Good Picks: Robert Griffin III (QB – 1st), Kirk Cousins (QB – 4th), Keenan Robinson (OLB – 4th), Adam Gettis (OG – 5th),
Questionable Picks: Josh LeRibeus (OL – 3rd), Alfred Morris (RB – 6th), Tom Compton (OL – 6th), Richard Crawford (CB – 7th), Jordan Bernstine (CB – 7th)
Grade: B-
Review: The Redskins got their franchise Quarterback in the Heisman Trophy winner RG3 but they did little to surround him with more talent on offense.  Gettis was a good Guard at Iowa and Cousins is a good selection as a backup quarterback but they overreached in efforts to sure up the offensive line.

NFC North

Chicago Bears
Good Picks: Shea McClellin (LB – 1st), Alshon Jeffery (WR – 2nd), Brandon Hardin (S – 3rd), Greg McCoy (CB – 7th)
Questionable Picks: Evan Rodriguez (TE – 4th), Isaiah Frey (CB – 6th)
Grade: B+
Review: The Bears addressed major needs through the draft on defense to add good depth by selecting McClellin (Linebacker) and Hardin (Safety) while selecting one of the most underrated wide receivers in the draft (Jeffery).  They also got good value by drafting a smart, talented cornerback in the seventh round (McCoy).

Detroit Lions
Good Picks: Riley Reiff (OT -1st), Ryan Broyles (WR – 2nd), Ronnell Lewis (LB – 4th), Travis Lewis (LB – 7th)
Questionable Picks: Dwight Bentley (CB – 3rd), Tahir Whitehead (LB – 5th), Chris Greenwood (CB – 5th), Jonte Green (CB – 6th)
Grade: B
Review: The Lions did more than draft the best all around Offensive tackle in this years draft class (Reiff) but they also got deeper and more talented at linebacker by adding the Lewis’s from Oklahoma.  Broyles was one of the top wide receivers in college football before his season ending injury last season so he may turn out to be a pleasant surprise partner to team up with the superstar Calvin Johnson at wide out.

Green Bay Packers
Good Picks: Nick Perry (DE – 1st), Jerel Worthy (DT – 2nd), Casey Hayward (CB – 2nd), Mike Daniels (DL – 4th), Terrell Manning (LB – 5th)
Questionable Picks: Jerron McMillian (S – 4th), B.J. Coleman (QB – 7th), Andrew Datko (OL – 7th)
Grade: B+
Review: The biggest weakness for the Packers last season was exposed during the postseason: the defense.  Through the draft Green Bay upgrade every level of their defense through out this year’s draft.  Perry, Worthy and Daniels could see serious playing time as rookies this up coming season while Hayward and Manning give the Packers speed and talented backups at the respective positions.

Minnesota Vikings
Good Picks: Matt Kalil (OT – 1st), Harrison Smith (S – 1st), Jarius Wright (WR – 4th), Greg Childs (WR – 4th), Blair Walsh (K – 6th),
Questionable Picks: Josh Robinson (CB – 3rd), Rhett Ellison (FB – 4th), Robert Blanton (S – 5th), Audie Cole (LB – 7th), Trevor Guyton (DE – 7th)
Grade: B
Review: The Vikings got two NFL ready players in the 1st round in Kalil and Smith.  In the fourth round the grabbed two underrated wide receivers (Wright and Childs) which will give young quarterback Christian Ponder more weapons and top pick Kalil will help protect Ponder.  The Vikings are doing all they can to make sure Ponder can succeed.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons
Good Picks: Peter Konz (OL – 2nd), Bradie Ewing (FB – 5th), Travian Robertson (DT – 7th)
Questionable Picks: Lamar Holmes (OT – 3rd), Jonathan Massaquoi (DE – 5th), Charles Mitchell (S – 6th),
Grade: C
Review: After trading away numerous picks last season to make sure they got Julio Jones, the Falcons under performed in this year’s draft.  Although they drafted some good, NFL ready players (Konz and Ewing) they used most of their picks on players that could be labeled “projects” who are a year or two away from truly contributing to the team.

Carolina Panthers
Good Picks: Luke Kuechly (LB – 1st), Joe Adams (WR – 4th), Josh Norman (CB – 5th), Brad Nortman (P – 6th)
Questionable Picks: Amini Silatolu (OG – 2nd), Frank Alexander (DE – 4th), D.J. Campbell (S – 7th)
Grade: B
Review: The Panthers used their first round pick on one of the best all around defensive players in the draft, Luke Kuechly.  Despite using their fourth and fifth round picks to get some underrated talented players (Adams and Norman) the Panthers overreached with some of their other picks selecting players that are raw talents that need development.

New Orleans Saints
Good Picks: Nick Toon (WR – 4th)
Questionable Picks: Akiem Hicks (DT – 3rd), Corey White (S – 5th), Andrew Tiller (OG – 6th), Marcel Jones (OL – 7th)
Grade: C-
Review: The turmoil of the Saints offseason and having Sean Payton not involved in this year’s draft showed in the weak draft for the Saints this season.  New Orleans used many of their picks on players who are projects in need of polishing and development before they are ready to make a serious impact in the NFL.  The Saints did pick up an experience, talented receiver who could see some playing time this season (Toon).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Good Picks: Mark Barron (S – 1st), Doug Martin (RB – 1st), Lavonte David (LB – 2nd), Najee Goode (LB – 5th), Drake Dunsmore (FB – 7th)
Questionable Picks: Keith Tandy (CB – 6th), Michael Smith (RB – 7th)
Grade: A-
Review: The Buccaneers had a great draft I which they addressed their needs with top prospects at each position.  The Bucs re-tooled their defense by selecting the top Safety prospect in the draft (Barron) and the most overlooked talented, pro ready Linebacker in the draft (David).  Tampa also rebuilt their offensive backfield by selecting one of the best running backs available in this year’s draft class (Martin) along with a “football smart” and talented fullback who could start this coming season (Dunsmore).

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals
Good Picks: Michael Floyd (WR – 1st), Jamell Fleming (CB – 3rd), Nate Potter (OL – 7th)
Questionable Picks: Bobby Massie (OL – 4th), Senio Kelemete (OG – 5th), Justin Bethel (S – 6th), Ryan Lindley (QB – 6th)
Grade: B-
Review: After finishing the 2011 season 7-2 one would think the Cardinals would go into the draft looking to reload with more talent to make a run at the division winner 49ers.  Instead they selected a batch of interesting prospects who need development (Massie, Kelemete, Bethel) along with an overrated Quarterback (Lindley).  Good news for Cardinal fans is they selected one of the most talented football players in this year’s draft class (Floyd) and a tough, hard hitting defensive back (Fleming).

San Francisco 49ers
Good Picks: LaMichael James (RB – 2nd), Darius Fleming (LB – 5th), Trent Robinson (CB – 6th)
Questionable Picks: A.J. Jenkins (WR – 1st), Joe Looney (OG – 4th), Jason Slowey (C – 6th), Cam Johnson (DE – 7th)
Grade: B-
Review: The phrase “the rich get richer” is an apt description for the 49ers 2012 draft.  They didn’t select many high level, NFL ready prospects, they get add depth on both sides of the ball.  San Francisco got lucky when collegiate super talent LeMichael James fell to them in the second round.

Saint Louis Rams
Good Picks: Michael Brockers (DT – 1st), Brian Quick (WR – 2nd), Janoris Jenkins (CB – 2nd), Isaiah Pead (RB – 2nd), Trumaine Johnson (CB – 3rd),
Questionable Picks: Chris Givens (WR – 4th), Rokevious Watkins (OG – 5th), Greg Zuerlein (K – 6th), Aaron Brown (LB – 7th), Daryl Richardson (RB – 7th)
Grade: B
Review: The Rams made the best out of their drafting situation by twice trading down to obtain more draft picks and they used their top picks on players who can make an impact on this team as rookies.   Brockers and Pead are both high level football talents who could start as rookies in the NFL.  The Rams also drafted two talented cornerbacks who have had some off the field issues (Jenkins and Johnson) that new Head Coach Jeff Fisher will look to bring out the best in them.

Seattle Seahawks
Good Picks: Russell Wilson (QB – 3rd), Robert Turbin (RB – 4th), Jaye Howard (DT – 4th), Greg Scruggs (DT – 7th)
Questionable Picks: Bruce Irvin (LB – 1st), Bobby Wagner (LB – 2nd), Korey Toomer (LB – 5th), Jeremy Lane (CB – 6th), Winston Guy (S – 6th), J.R. Sweezy (DT – 7th), 
Grade: C+
Review: The Seahawks for a second straight year overreach on a first round selection that would have probably been available in the second round.  Irvin was a blitzing specialist at the collegiate level who when game planned against seemed to disappear.  Seattle did well with their mid round selections by drafting a talented quarterback who started most of his college career (Wilson), a talented power back (Turbin), and an underrated skilled defensive lineman (Howard).