2012 NFL Draft Grades: Round 1

I am going to give my grades for the first round of the 2012 NFL draft! Let’s go!

#1 Colts select: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford  Grade: A+   This is an easy pick for the Colts here. When you give away Peyton Manning you need to make sure you have someone who can fill his shoes. This kid has the potential to do that.

#2 Redskins select: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor Grade: A  RG3 better be as advertised. He has the skill and talent to be a star. The Redskins gave up a lot to get this pick. But if you think RG3 is a future star you give up whatever it takes to get him.

#3 Browns select: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama Grade: B+  The Browns got exactly what they needed here. They needed a play-maker on offensive. They gave up some late picks to get here, but Richardson has Adrian Peterson like potential that you can’t pass up on. The Browns have a lot of needs that they still need to address later in the draft.

#4 Vikings select: Matt Kalil, OT, Southern California Grade: A  Ponder needed protection from his O-line and the Vikings take the best offensive linemen in the country. Helps Ponder and also helps Adrian Peterson. Solid pick here.

#5 Jaguars select: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State Grade: A  The Jaguars move up to take a big time WR. They have had trouble through the air for a number of years. Blackmon will open up the pass game, as well as the run and draw some attention from MJD.

#6 Cowboys select: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU Grade: A  The Cowboys needed secondary help and they really get it here. I am surprised that Claiborne fell this far. He has the skill set to be a top CB in the NFL. Pair him with Carr the Boys’ off-season pick up and now Rob Ryan can blitz as often and as much as he wants to.

#7 Buccaneers select: Mark Barron, SS, Alabama Grade: B+ Many thought that Barron was going to be picked by the Cowboys, but Claiborne slipped to them. As a result the Bucs’ get the best safety on the board, a need that they needed to fill.

#8 Dolphins select: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M Grade: C+   The Dolphins miss out on Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn and have to settle with Tannehill. I think this is a huge risk this early in the draft, but Tannehill has the talent to be good.

#9 Panthers select: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College Grade: A  Kuechly is a tackle machine. Pair that with Jon Beason who is returning off injury and you have a dangerous core of linebackers. Great solid pick, you know what you are going to get with Kuechly. He draws many Brian Urlacher comparisons.

#10 Bills select: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina Grade: B The Bills had a lot of needs to fill and getting the second best corner in the draft fills one of their needs. They have Mario Williams on the inside and Gilmore on the outside balancing out their defensive attack.

#11 Chiefs select: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis Grade: C  Poe is a very risky pick for the Chiefs here. The last big man they took Glen Dorsey still has not met his potential. Poe could follow suit of Dorsey. He is big and quick and has the talent, but tends to be too inconstant even against lower talented college teams in the division.

#12 Eagles select: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State Grade: B- The Eagles move up to grab Cox. He is fills a need for them in the middle and has covers the field from end to end. He is a good big body on the front line that the Eagles needed.

#13 Cardinals select: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame Grade: B+ He is faster than Blackmon and has the same big play ability as him. His problems come off the field and staying out of trouble. The talent is there to become a great wide-out opposite Larry Fitzgerald. Opposing teams better fear this 1-2 combo.

#14 Rams select: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU Grade: B- The Rams needed help on their D-Line and they address it here. Brockers has the talent, but still has not reached his full potential. He is a pick that fills a need.

#15 Seahawks select: Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia Grade: D  This was the most surprising pick of the draft here. They take a 2nd or 3rd round talent here. Irvin is a speedy pass rusher, but that is about all he is. With a lot of other talented pass rushers on the board this pick is a surprise here.

#16 Jets select: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina Grade: B  The Jets needed help on the D-Line and that is what they got. Coples has the size, strength and talent to be great. He is not very consistent and does not have a high motor. Rex Ryan is hoping that he could help Coples reach his full potential and not turn into another Vernon Gholston.

#17 Bengals select: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama Grade: B  Kirkpatrick has the tools to be a solid corner. He was once considered a top talent, but his stock dropped as the draft approached. Pair him with Leon Hall and that helps the Bengals secondary where they needed a lot of help.

#18 Chargers select: Melvin Ingram, OLB, South Carolina Grade: B  Ingram was projected to be in the top 10 and the Chargers get good value here. Some question his size and arm length, but Ingram plays with a high motor and can play almost any position on the field.

#19 Bears select: Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State Grade: B–  The Bears grab a solid linebacker here. They would’ve went DE to add another dynamic pass pusher along side Julius Pepper, but they take the LB. Either way the Bears needed help on defense and they get it.

#20 Titans select: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor Grade: B  Wright gives the Titans the big play receiver that they need. They have a young QB who now has two young WR’s to throw to in Kenny Britt and Kendall Wright. Wright is a home run type receiver that adds another piece to the Titans offense.

#21 Patriots select: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse Grade: A-   The Patriots will take all of the help on defense that they can get. Jones has top 10 type talent and the Patriots trade up to get him here. He is strong and has good vision that will help him at the next level.

#22 Browns select: Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State Grade: C+  The 28-year-old has a skill set to be a good NFL QB in the league. He beat RG3 and Luck head to head, but you have to think that his age only gives him about 5-7 years in the league. Take that plus he has to win the QB job and has to produce right away.

#23 Lions select: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa Grade: A  One of the top OL in the draft. He was a projected top 15 pick and the Lions get him here at #23 pick. He fills a much-needed for the Lions and can give Mathew Stafford some time to breathe.

#24 Steelers select: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford Grade: A  When it comes to drafting linemen the Steelers are the best. They take the former lineman for Andrew Luck here. The Steelers always build their teams from the inside out and this pick proves just that.

#25 Patriots select: Dont´a Hightower, ILB, Alabama Grade: C+  The Patriots traded up once again to take Hightower. He really doesn’t have a set position and could be undersized depending where he would lineup on defense. He still has the skill set to produce at the next level.

#26 Texans select: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois Grade: C+  Mercilus had a big 2011 season that really raised his draft stock. He has the athletics and the high motor, but still lacks the technique and finesse you want in a DE.

#27 Bengals select: Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin Grade: B  The Bengals get some help on the offensive line here. Zeitler is a tough, player between the trenches. He has the work ethic and is good against both the run and the pass.

#28 Packers select: Nick Perry, DE, Southern California Grade: C+  Perry is undersized for his position and sometimes get lost among larger tackles. That being said he still is fast and has the quickness you would want in a DE. There were some better option still on the board such as Courtney Upshaw.

#29 Vikings select: Harrison Smith, SS, Notre Dame Grade: B+  The Vikings get the second best SS in the draft. A big hitter with a big frame. They need a lot of help in the secondary and this was a good pick to fill the void. Smith was the captain on Notre Dame and the Vikings need a captain to step up in their defense.

#30 49ers select: A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois Grade: B–  Jenkins has the speed to open up the 49ers offense. He gives the opposing defensive something to worry about other than Frank Gore. Any wide receiver would be an upgrade over what they have now.

#31 Buccaneers select: Doug Martin, RB, Boise State Grade: B+  Martin is a good pick and good compliment to Legarrett Blount. He is tough between the tackles and has the explosivness to still get to the next level. I think this is the 2nd of two solid picks for the Buccaneers in this draft.

#32 Giants select: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech Grade: B  With Brandon Jacobs now with the 49ers the Giants took no time to replace him. They would’ve went many different ways with this pick such as an a linebacker or offensive linemen, but the Giants get another home run hitter to go with Ahmad Bradshaw.

2016 update: I regret my #2, #3 and #15 grades, but the rest aren’t too bad.

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Author: Vinny Lanni

I'm a fan of writing and Italian food.

14 thoughts on “2012 NFL Draft Grades: Round 1”

  1. Nice website. You have the wrong grade on Seahawks pick though. At least four teams had him rated for 1st round. Don’t go by talking heads and so called draft experts. NFL scouts are the true guru’s. Look at film of this guy. He will get a lot of sacks for the Hawks, something they need. Carroll and Schneider have done well the last two years bringing in talent, especially in late rounds.

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    1. Thanks, but I came up with my opinion on each of my grades! Stretching for a player who isn’t a every down DE and only used for rushing purposes is a big risk in my opinion. Especially when you take him ahead of other proven defensive players.

      It’s hard judging players, they haven’t played a down in the NFL. All of my grades could be wrong or right, we won’t know until about 5 years!

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  2. The Bills are defiantly on the rise. Their defense is getting pretty darn good. I’m going to predict that C.J Spiller is going to have a big year and that Stevie Johnson doesn’t drop as many open passes lol

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  3. Lets go Buffalo!! First draft in the past few years I havn’t been pulling my hair out at the end. Love our picks, everyone except Round 2 Graham.

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  4. Well that’s the reason Mario is a monster. He’s pushing 300 and is still quick enough to get to the QB on a countless basis. If Chandler has any type of intensity as his brother(Jon Jones, UFC lightweight champ), he can be a force on the outside. He’s a hybrid guy too because of his weight. He could try to mimic Aldon Smith’s first year, but Aldon just went beyond expectations. The Hightower pick up really got my nerves working just because I feel like Belichick can turn him into something. They do need a secondary, and they still have 2 picks in the 2nd round left where they could try to get some DBs.

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    1. I know! I feel like whatever pick the Pats make is a pick that that other teams missed on. They are so good at getting the most out of all of their players. The secondary is a bigger need than linebackers for them. I’m sure they will find some good players in the later rounds like always.

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  5. It all depends where he lines up. I was just comparing him to the elite pass rushers off the edge such as Mario Williams and Julius Peppers. Mario Williams plays LB as well as DE. Those guys are beasts, their like 6’6, 280lbs and up. Hightower is going to be a good player in the NFL. He plays aggressive and has a high motor. I think the Pats definitely still need to address their secondary.

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    1. It’s not very shocking lol I think that the Panthers should be pretty good this year. There a team on the rise and have a lot of good young players!

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  6. I was just speaking according to where they would play him. As a LB he is average size, but there is talk he could play DE as well depending on different schemes. If he played DE he would be undersized. They really don’t know where they want to play him. As a Jets fan, I really hope that they aren’t that great lol I respect Billichick and what he has done though. I’m never one to knock another team or player.

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    1. He’d be a nice sized DE as well, though. 260 is a nice size for a pass rusher, and I don’t see Bill using him as a 3-4 DE to just take up space. Belichick has weird defensive sets too, so Jones is probably gonna be a primary pass rusher whether it be 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB. As a 3-4 DE he is undersized, but I don’t see Belichick using him as a 3-4 DE.

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  7. Dont’a undersized? He’s like 6’2 260+ lbs. It was a bold move by the front office, but probably one that’ll pay off. You never say someone’s gonna be a star, but if Bellicheck picks up two first rounders, chances are one of them is gonna be great. Either way, great blog.

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