The first 32 names of the 2012 Draft were called overnight from Thursday to Friday. These three hours of trading and commotion began with the expected selections of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin. Then everything started moving.
The Browns distinguished themselves by rebuilding their offense around Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden. Good move also for the Cowboys with the selection of Morris Claiborne that even the player had not seen coming since he explained that he had never been in contact with the team before the Draft.
The Dolphins also have their quarterback of the future in Ryan Tannehill. Inevitably, a few surprises also enamelled this first evening.
1. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck, Quarterback
Unsurprisingly, the Colts selected Peyton Manning’s heir. A new era begins in Indianapolis.
2. Washington Redskins (via St. Louis Rams) – Robert Griffin III, Quarterback
No surprise either in Washington where Robert Griffin III also becomes the quarterback of the future.
3. Cleveland Browns (via Minnesota Vikings) – Trent Richardson, Runner
The leaders of the Browns were so charmed by the runner from Alabama that they decided to go up to third place to select him. Richardson is an all-around runner capable of re-energizing Cleveland’s offense.
4. Minnesota Vikings (via Cleveland Browns) – Matt Kalil, Offensive tackle
The good deal of the Vikings. The trade with the Browns allows them to recover additional picks in the 4th, 5th and 7th round in addition to recovering the player they wanted. If all goes well, Kalil will be Christian Ponder’s guardian angel for the next decade.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Tampa Bay Buccaneers) – Justin Blackmon, Receiver
Blaine Gabbert now has a quality target. Again, a team decided to go up to choose the player they were targeting. Justin Blackmon might suffer from his lack of speed at the highest level but he also has the hands to succeed.
6. Dallas Cowboys (via St. Louis Rams) – Morris Claiborne, cornerback
After the signing of Brandon Carr, the Cowboys continue to strengthen their back lines. An excellent operation for Dallas since Claiborne is the best corner of this Draft. Fast and excellent in coverage while being a solid tackler, he will fill one of the big weak points of last season.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaners (via Jacksonville Jaguars) – Mark Barron, Safety
Very coveted for a few days, Mark Barron finally flies to Florida. A big hitter also able to hold his ground in cover. An immediate reinforcement for the Buccaneers.
8. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback
The Dolphins finally have their quarterback franchise! At least that’s what they hope. Tannehill has potential, but he still needs a little work after switching between receiving and quarterback in college. The mind seems to be there but it may take a little patience.
9. Carolina Panthers – Luke Kuechly, Linebacker
A safe choice for the Panthers who land a tackle machine to round out their already interesting linebacker lineup.
10. Buffalo Bills – Stephon Gilmore, cornerback
A cornerback full of physical qualities and potential. Not always on the level mentally but with serious assets to bring to an air defense of the Bills which suffered last year due to its inconsistency and a few injuries.
11. Kansas City Chiefs – Dontari Poe, Defensive tackle
An unusual choice for the Chiefs who are not accustomed to betting. Poe will bring his exceptional measurements and his potential to the center of the Chiefs line. If he manages to express himself, the pass rusher behind him should benefit.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (via Seattle Seahawks) – Fletcher Cox, Defensive tackle
The Eagles are also strengthening the middle of their defensive line with a player capable of breaking the pocket but also lining up on the side of the line. The depth of the workforce of the Eagles on the defensive line should also allow him to gradually return to the bath.
13. Arizona Cardinals – Michael Floyd, Receiver
Larry Fitzgerald is smiling, the Cardinals have just found someone who will take some pressure off him. Incidentally, it is also Kevin Kolb who is happy. Floyd is a wide-handed receiver who is going to be a big boost to Arizona’s second receiver position.
14. St. Louis Rams (via Dallas Cowboys) – Michael Brocks, Defensive tackle
The third defensive tackle who leaves in the space of four selections. Brockers arrives in a defense that had nothing serious in the middle. It should therefore quickly establish itself as the « penetrator. » »
15. Seattle Seahawks (via Philadelphia Eagles) – Bruce Irvin, Defensive end
The first big surprise of this Draft. Bruce Irvin is a player who was not expected in the first round. Specialist pass rush, he is not supposed to bring much else. However, he is one of the most explosive pass rushers this year.
16. New York Jets – Quinton Coples, Defensive end
Quinton Coples is very talented and very versatile. But there are also many questions surrounding his work ethic and his ability to find a real position in the NFL. It’s up to defense specialist Rex Ryan to figure out how to use it.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (via Raiders) – Dr. Kirkpatrick, cornerback
Very physical, Kirkpatrick can defend with efficiency and hardness against the run. On the other hand, he must still show some progress in the air.
18. San Diego Chargers – Melvin Ingram, Defensive end
A great talent, Ingram was expected higher in this Draft. The Chargers therefore have reason to be happy to recover it at this level. Like Coples, Ingram is a defensive end/linebacker hybrid. He excels on the pass rush but can also cover a little. He’s going to help Shaun Phillips in the pursuit of opposing quarterbacks.
19. Chicago Bears – Shea McClellin, Linebacker
Perhaps the most surprising selection of this first round. Not because McClellin is a bad player. On the contrary, he is able to put pressure on the opposing quarterback and he is a potentially solid linebacker. But excellent linemen like Riley Reiff and David DeCastro were always available when they had to be gone. And Chicago needed help in this area and it’s passing on such expected players that makes this selection surprising.
20. Tennessee Titans – Kendall Wright, Receiver
A threat in depth capable of slipping to the touchdown on every action. An excellent complement for the big target that is Kenny Britt. Tennessee quarterbacks are rubbing their hands.
21. New England Patriots (via Cincinnati Bengals) – Chandler Jones, Defensive end
Small event since the Patriots have set up an exchange to climb to this position. Jones was not the most anticipated player in the Draft, but he should bring his sense of the pass rush to the defense of the Patriots. He still has a good margin for improvement and his ability to play linebacker or defensive end depending on the system used certainly pleased Bill Belichick.
22. Cleveland Brows (via Falcons) – Brandon Weeden, Quarterback
The 28-year-old rookie is packing his bags in Cleveland. Weeden should quickly compete and dethrone Colt McCoy for the starting spot. Precise, fast and powerful, Weeden still has to improve in his reading of the blitz, but his association with Trent Richardson has something to give Cleveland fans some hope.
23. Detroit Lions – Riley Reiff, Tackle
One of the Lions’ desires was to better protect their young and talented quarterback Matthew Stafford, with Reiff they get one of the best offensive linemen this draft. Good at protecting the setter and the ability to make holes for his runner. He should also have time to develop a little further behind tackle Jeff Backus. A nice pick from the Lions
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – David DeCastro, Guard
One of the falls of the evening to the delight of the Steelers. DeCastro should have an immediate impact on the Steelers offensive line. Excellent in one against one, he is a player with a strong game intelligence and a good blocker for the race. The Steelers with this pick take the best player available and fill one of their biggest needs.
25. New England Patriots (via Denver Broncos) – Dont’a Hightower, Linebacker
Second surprise since the Patriots have made another trade to get into the draft and take the linebacker from Alabama. Excellent against the run in the middle, his versatility should benefit the entire Patriots linebacking squad. One of the very nice shots of this draft.
26. Houston Texans – Whitney Mercilus, Defensive end
Mercilus is one of the best pass rushers in this draft. But still needs to improve against the run. He is an ideal player for the Texans 3-4 defense where he will be able to attack the opposing quarterback from the linebacker position.
27. Cincinnati Bengals (via Patriots) — Kevin Zietler, Offensive Guard
Pick obtained during an exchange with the New England Patriots, the Bengals make the logical choice to want to provide protection to their quarterback Andy Dalton. Zietler is a physical, intelligent and mobile player.
28. Nick Perry – Green Bay Packers, Defensive End
After the success of Clay Matthews as a defensive end from USC, the Packers try again with Nick Perry. Perry is a very athletic and pass rush oriented player, so he should be the counterpart to Clay Matthews.
29. Minnesota Vikings (via Baltimore Ravens) – Harrison Smith, Safety
Thanks to a trade with the Ravens, the Vikings return in this first round to choose safety Harrison Smith, considered the second safety of the draft. Good in deep coverage and play against the run. He arrives in a safety squad diminished by injuries.
30. San Francisco 49ers – AJ Jenkins, Receiver
The surprise pick of this draft, the 49ers select a receiver expected in the 2nd or 3rd round. Jenkins is a good road-runner who will therefore fight for a place in a workforce that has become denser in terms of receivers during the offseason.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via Broncos) – Doug Martin, Running back
The Buccaneers thanks to a trade with the Broncos come back in this first round to select Doug Martin, considered the second best runner in the draft. Martin can also be used from time to time as a receiver and therefore brings a dimension to the Tampa Bay offense that Blount did not have.
32. New York Giants – David Wilson, Running Back
Choice that may surprise more than one Giants fan who expected an offensive lineman (Glenn, Adams…). But with the loss of Brandon Jacobs, the Giants want a replacement for Ahamad Bradshaw. David Wilson is a fast runner who should help control the clock.