2012 NFL Draft: AFC Grades
Not that I’ve taken a look at how the NFC teams fared in the 2012 NFL Draft, it’s now time to see how the AFC did. Obviously this draft will go down as the Luck draft, but other teams in the conference did plenty to help themselves, while others did not do so much. The first round entered bizarro land when instead of trading back, Belichick traded up twice, apparently finding the droids he was looking for.
With an aging Peyton Manning on board, the Broncos are in a win now mode, but didn’t really help their cause in the draft. No receiver was to taken to help Manning, plus they took QB Brock Osweiler in the 2nd which could have been a pick to fill a need. RB Ronnie Hillman(3rd) and CB Omar Bolden(4th) fill needs and Phillip Blake(5th) could be their center of the future, but not enough was done to help Manning. If they’re going to invest that much in him, they should’ve done a better job of surrounding him with what he needs.
Kansas City Chiefs
Taking DT Dontari Poe with the 11th pick might have the biggest potential for a bust in the first round. He was great at the Combine, but doesn’t have the tape to back it up. OG Jeff Allen(2nd) and OT Donald Stephenson(3rd) were decent picks, but better O-linemen were available. The rest is hit or miss. CB DeQuan Menzie(5th), RB Cyrus Gray(6th) and WR Junior Hemingway(7th) were good values where they were picked., but WR Devon Wylie(4th) and DT Stephen Long(7th) were not.
Not picking until the end of the 3rd makes it a bit difficult to grade Da Raiduhs here. LB Miles Burris(4th) and DE Jack Crawford(5th) have promise as edge rushers, while firts pick Tony Bergstrom can play multiple positions on the O-line. WR Juron Criner is the 5th was a steal and great value. DT Christo Bulukidi(6th) is a headscratcher because he was nowhere near being projected to be drafted. Some nice players, but no real impact ones due to the team’s lack of high draft picks.
San Diego Chargers
Melvin Ingram was an absolute steal at No 18 since he could’ve gone in the Top 10 and filled their biggest need at OLB. DT Kendall Reyes didn’t fill a need, but was a great value in the 2nd. S Brandon Taylor(3rd) and OC David Molk(7th) were solid picks that filled needs and TE Ladarius Green(4th) is raw, but can learn from Antonio Gates. OG Johnnie Troutman(5th) and RB Edwin Baker(7th) do fill needs but probably won’t have much impact for the Chargers.
DE Whitney Mercilus, besides having a great last name, is a great value at No 26 who is a pass rush beast. They beefed up their O-line, which needed depth, with G Brandon Brooks(3rd) and C Ben Jones(4th). WR DeVier Posey was a massive reach in the 3rd and WR Keshawn Martin got mixed reviews, so it’s unclear if he has any value or is a reach. Getting DE/DT Jared Crick at the bottom of the 4th is a big steal as he had 2nd round talent but fell due to injury concerns.
There is no doubt Andrew Luck is a good pick, but the Colts did alot to surround him with talent. To help Luck adjust they got his Stanford teammate TE Coby Fleener in the 2nd. Other weapons picked were TE Dwayne Allen and WR TY Hilton, both in the 3rd. Getting DT Josh Chapman at the top of the 5th filled a big need and was amazing value since he could have gone 2 rounds earlier. RB Vick Ballard(5th) is a solid pick and DE/OLB Tim Fugger gives some value in the 7th. They got their franchise QB and gave him guys to succeed with, so you can’t ask for a better draft.
The Jags badly wanted WR Justin Blackmon and traded up to get him and since receiver was such a dire need, this is a great pick for the team. DE Andre Branch fits a big need and was a good value in the early 2nd. The rest of their draft goes downhill from there, starting with the questionable pick of a punter in round 3. It might be the most baffling pick besides Irvin-Seattle. They didn’t draft a single OT and didn’t address their CB need until the 6th with Mike Harris, who could contribute despite his size.
WR wasn’t really a need, but Kendall Wright was too good to pass up at No 20. OLB Zach Brown has fallen due to attitude and performance and is risk unless his flaws can be coached. DT Mike Martin(3rd) is an underrated pick who can be a rock in the middle of the D-line. The team needed a safety and got one in Markelle Martin(6th) who could’ve gone in the 3rd. CB Coty Sensabaugh will give dpeth after Cortland Finnegan left. What really brings down the grade is the failure to address the interior offensive line, a glaring need.
Trading out of the 1st and still landing a 1st round talent in OLB Courtney Upshaw is a big steal. OG Kelechi Osemele(2nd) and WR Tommy Streeter(6th) both fill needs and have potential. RB Bernard Pierce(3rd) will be a quality backup to Ray Rice and CB Asa Jackson(5th) only makes a good secondary better. However, they did reach for OG Gino Gradkowski and S Christian Thompson, but overall the Ravens got good value on their picks while filling needs.
The Bengals had alot of picks and used them to fill some big needs. 1st rounders CB Dre Kirkpatrick and G Kevin Zeitler will be starters, though in the latter case they traded down and missed out on the best guard in the draft, David DeCastro. DT Devon Still(2nd) could be a steal if he produces and WR Mohamed Sanu and DT Brandon Thompson are definite steals since they could have gone late 1st, but fell to the 3rd. Even some of their later picks got them value. However, they didn’t address their S and RB needs until their last two picks.
They got pilfered by Minnesota, but could be worth if Trent Richardson lives up to the hype. Their back-to-back picks in the 6th of LB Emmanuel Acho and DE Billy Winn are good values picks late as well as CB Trevin Wade(7th). However, DT John Hughes(3rd) and WR Travis Benjamin(4th) were reaches and they took OT Mitchell Schwartz in the 2nd when Cordy Glenn and Jonathan Martin were available. Their most baffling pick was QB Brandon Weeden at No 22, when they could have easily gotten him 15 picks later. The bad picks cancel out the good ones, so this was an uneven draft for the Browns.
David DeCastro falling to no 24 has to be one of the bigger steals of the draft. He plays like he was meant to be a Steeler. OT Mike Adams(2nd) and DT Alameda Ta’amu(4th) are great values for where they were picked and fill needs. RB Chris Rainey(5th) has versatility and home run ability and even the later round picks filled needs even if they didn’t get much value. The only questionable pick was LB Sean Spence(3rd) since he doesn’t seem like he fits the scheme, but could be developed by Dick LeBeau.
Stephon Gilmore rose up draft boards rapidly, so that may be a need for caution and is a boom or bust player. Getting 1st round talent OG/OT Cordy Glenn in the 2nd was their best pick, but there are questions ifh e can play left tackle. WR TJ Graham in the 3rd was a reach and their 6th and 7th round picks are questionable. However, they nailed it in the 4th and 5th, with LB Nigel Bradham, CB Ron Brooks, OT Zebrie Sanders and LB Tank Carder. All could have been picked earlier then they were and fill needs.
Ryan Tannehill has big upside, but has an equally big chance to be a bust. They did get OT Jonathan Martin(2nd) to pair with Jake Long. The teams receivers are pretty bad and waiting until the 6th to get a WR is questionable. BJ Cunningham and Rishard Matthews will get a chance to catch passes right away. They were betters TEs availble in the 3rd then Michael Egnew, but the Fins did get value with a few of their later picks. RB Lamar Miller(4th), LB Josh Kaddu(5th) and DT Kheeston Randall(7th) fill needs, but this draft’s success depends solely on Tannehill.
New England Patriots
Eschewing tradition the Pats traded up twice in the 1st and landed starters with both picks in DE Chandler Jones and LB Dont’a Hightower. CB Alfonzo Dennard is a steal in the 7th despite his off field issues. The rest had analysts baffled. S Tavon Wilson(2nd) was a major reach since he had a 7th round tag, DE Jake Bequette was taken a round or two too early, CB Nate Ebner(6th) wasn’t even ranked and WR Nate Ebner(7th) could’ve easily been signed after the draft. You’d like to think Belichick knows what he’s doing, but the majority of this draft leaves some room doubt.
New York Jets
Quinton Coples had stud potential, but has more potential to bust. Ingram was still on the board at 16, so the Coples pick is a bit surprising. Getting WR Stephen Hill in the 2nd both fills a need and is great value since he could’ve gone late 1st. Demario Davis(3rd), though a slight reach, fills a big pass rush need. Terrance Ganaway(6th) is another RB for the Jet ground and pound offense. S Antonio Allen could’ve gone in the 3rd or 4th so getting him in the 7th was a big steal. Some picks need a bit of work and the O-line was addressed until the 6th, but a solid draft overall.
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