2012’s First Round NFL Draft featured 8 trades (not including the Redskins/Rams trade) and was completed in record time (a little over 3 hours). Four quarterbacks were drafted, including 3 in the first eight picks. I thought the draft was much more exciting than 2011’s without the uncertainty of the last year’s lockout and the ability for teams to trade players (although no players have been traded so far). The adjusted rookie salary cap is now place, which has encouraged teams to trade up since they are no longer paying top dollar for prospect. The draft really started with the third pick for me, since it was given the Colts were drafting QB Andrew Luck, and the Redskins were taking QB Robert Griffin III after trading up to the second overall pick.
St. Louis Rams: The Rams began the NFL Draft with having the second overall pick, and could have drafted Robert Griffin III if they wished. St. Louis believed in Sam Bradford and traded away the pick to the Redskins for the 6th pick this year, along with Washington’s second round pick (33rd overall pick) and Washington’s 2013 and 2014 first round picks. After the Jaguars traded to the 5th overall pick, the Rams moved back again, this time with the Cowboys, for the 14th pick and the 45th overall pick in this year’s draft. Although I think the Rams were hoping WR Michael Floyd was available for them at the 14th pick (Floyd was drafted by the Cardinals with the 13th pick), the team has several picks to improve the team with young talent with this draft and 2 first rounders in the next two years.
Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings were rumored to be interested in drafting OG Matt Kalil for months by the draft experts. The last couple days, rumors were the Vikings were looking at other options. The Browns wanted to ensure they drafted Trent Richardson, and traded up to the third pick, trading way the 4th overall pick along with the Brown’s 4th, 6th and 7th round picks. The Vikings still got their man, along with 3 other picks. The Viking also traded up to the 29th pick (from the Ravens) to draft S Harrison Smith from Notre Dame, which should help improve secondary from last year and may help slow down the high-powered offenses in the NFC North.
New England Patriots: The last few years, I’ve grown accustomed to the Patriots trading down for more picks in the future. They usually draft good players with their picks and normally pick high value players. This year was a different story. The Patriots traded up to the 21st pick (traded with the Bengals for the 27th and 93rd picks) for DE Chandler Jones. Less than an hour later, the Patriot made another move, this time acquiring the 25th pick from Broncos for the 31st and the 126th picks to draft linebacker Dont’a Hightower. I think the Patriots needed to improve their defense to take some of the pressure off of Tom Brady and the offense to outscore opponents to win games.
Other Notable Winners: Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts, and Dallas Cowboys.
Miami Dolphins: I think the Dolphins needed to do something with their quarterback situation, but drafting a Ryan Tannehill, who only started a year and a half at quarterback for Texas A&M, seems to be a stretch for me. Mike Sherman coached Tannehill for the Aggies and knows the type of player he will be working with, but I don’t know if he is worthy of the 8th overall pick.
Seattle Seahawks: I was shocked (like many people) with Bruce Irving to be picked with the 15th pick. I don’t think the linebacker was projected to go this high by anyone, and many didn’t have him going in the first round. If the Seahawks likes Irvin, I think they could have traded down at least 10 picks and wouldn’t have had to worry about their man being off the board. This pick is still very puzzling to me, but maybe coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider know something the rest of don’t know about this prospect.
Jacksonville Jaguars: I think Justin Blackmon was one hell of a college receiver, who played in a system that made him very successful. Blackmon reminds me a lot of Michael Crabtree, a receiver from Texas Tech who was very successful in college, but hasn’t amounted to much for the 49ers. I think Brandon Weeden helped Blackmon into the receiver he was. I don’t see Blaine Gabbert is as accurate or the type of quarterback Blackmon needs to be successful. Jacksonville also traded with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (the Jags acquired the 5th pick for the 7th overall pick and the Jaguars’ 4th round pick) to acquire the right to Blackmon, which gives them one less pick to help improve the team with many needs.
Other Notable Losers: San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, Carolina Panthers
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