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.