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2012 NFL Draft: Impressions from the second and third rounds

Street barricades surround the site of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on April 26, 2012. Stanford University quarterback Andrew Luck is projected to be drafted as the #1 overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts. UPI /John Angelillo

- The story of the second day wasn’t Janoris Jenkins coming off the board or even Ruben Randle slipping to the bottom of the second round. No, the headliner was the Jaguars taking a freaking punter in the third round. Bryan Anger might wind up being the greatest punter in the history of the NFL but you don’t take a punter in the third round…ever. If I squint hard enough I can envision a team taking a highly skilled specialist in the fourth, but the first three rounds are where teams have to find starters on offense and defense. Much of the good press the Jaguars received for leapfrogging the Rams to land Justin Blackmon in the first round was erased the moment Anger’s name was announced in the third. (No offense, Bryan.)

- One of the more underrated storylines from Day 2 was the Bengals selection of Rutgers’ receiver Mohamed Sanu in the third round. Sanu was the victim of a cruel prank the night before, when someone acting like the Bengals called to tell him that he had been drafted by Cincinnati. Sanu had to wait until the third round, but the real Bengals finally did call to give him the great news. It was a nice ending to a screwed up story.

- Ruben Randle is a perfect fit for the Giants. Mario Manningham was excellent at pressuring defenses by running the seam in New York’s offense the past few seasons. I envision Randle fitting into a similar role as Manningham and thus, serving as Eli Manning’s new vertical threat in the slot. Hopefully falling all the way to the bottom of the second round will motivate the former Tiger to prove teams wrong for passing on him.

- The Packers are having an excellent draft but what else is new for Ted Thompson? Landing an explosive pass rusher like Nick Perry in the first was huge, but I liked Thompson’s strategy in the second round even more. He traded up for Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy, who was inconsistent in college but who also has first-round talent, and for Vanderbilt cornerback Casey Hayward, who was an instinctive, productive player in college. Teams have to find potential starters in the first three rounds and once again, Thompson has done that.

- The risk could be well worth the reward for the Rams when it comes to Janoris Jenkins. Everyone knows about his off-field issues so there’s no use going into them again. The bottom line is that if he flies right off the field, he could be a hell of a playmaker for a team that has been in desperate need for playmakers the past few years. I also liked the team’s selection of Brian Quick at No. 33 and Trumaine Johnson is another player with first-round talent that slipped. The questionable pick was running back Isaiah Pead in the second. The Rams had an opportunity to snag an outside linebacker at that slot and decided to draft Steven Jackson’s compliment instead. Nothing against Pead, but the running back position could have been addressed later in the draft.

- Ozzie Newsome once again did well on draft day. Trading back and still landing a first-round talent in Alabama outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw was excellent. Upshaw fits extremely well into Baltimore’s defensive system and he’ll look great playing alongside Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed in that defense.

- The Bills got great value in Georgia offensive lineman Cordy Glenn, who is projected as a guard at the next level but who also has experience as a tackle. Many thought Glenn would go in the first round so for him to slip all the way to No. 41 was surprising. Buffalo did well.

- He’s raw and it may take him a couple of years to develop but Amini Silatolu is an intriguing football player. He’ll kick inside to guard after playing tackle at Midwestern State and while he’s raw, he’s got the size and power to dominate at the next level. Well done, Ron Rivera.

- Brock Osweiler is a project but he wound up in a great situation. Who better to show him the ropes for a few years than Peyton Manning, who is also a tall, lengthy quarterback with a laser-rocket arm.

- The most questionable pick in the second round was Detroit’s selection of Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles. He tore his ACL late in the season at Oklahoma and projects as a slot player at the next level. So why the Lions felt the need to take him with the No. 54 overall pick is beyond me. Not only would Broyles likely be there in the third or even the fourth, the Lions could have found safer slot options, such as Arkansas’ Jarius Wright.

- At first glance I questioned why the Colts would go back-to-back tight ends in Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen with their selections in the second and third rounds. But Fleener isn’t a very good blocker and you can definitely get both players on the field at the same time. Plus, the Colts are just looking for weapons at this point to give to Andrew Luck, so the selections make sense.

- The more I see of Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette the more I like. He’s got great size and quickness, has excellent pass-rushing tools and is a “high motor guy.” Bill Belichick continues to find gems.

- Count me among those that like Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill. The Jets will get him up to speed on their route tree – I’m not worried about the fact that he played in the Wishbone while in college. He has great size and speed, he can catch the ball and he can block. That’s all I need to know.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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2012 NFL Draft First Round Recap

Notre Dame Wide Receiver Michael Floyd hugs NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the Arizona Cardinals select him as the #13 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on April 26, 2012. UPI /John Angelillo

Which teams emerged from the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft as winners?

Honestly? Who knows. It’ll be at least three years before we can answer that question.

That said, based on draft strategy, trades, value based on pre-draft projections, here are my thoughts from Thursday’s first round, including moves that I liked and didn’t like.

- The Vikings traded down one spot, collected three extra picks, and still landed the player they wanted at No. 3. While I bought into the rumors that Morris Claiborne was the top player on their board, Matt Kalil made the most sense for a Minnesota team that needs to protect young quarterback Christian Ponder. GM Rick Spielman did a great job not only landing the top left tackle in the draft, but also acquiring three extra picks. (Albeit they were late picks, but extra picks nonetheless.)

- While the Cowboys could stand upgrades at safety and along both lines, they didn’t have any pressing needs coming into this year’s draft. Thus, for them to nab a top 5 prospect when they came into the draft with the No. 14 overall pick was impressive. At the end of the day, giving up a second rounder to pair Morris Claiborne with Brandon Carr was an opportunity that Jerry Jones couldn’t pass up. And say what you want about Jones, he usually lands impact players in the first round.

- Based on his potential alone, Fletcher Cox should have gone in the top 10 and could have gone in the top 6 based on some of the pre-draft reports that emerged about his soaring stock. So for the Eagles to land him at No. 12 was huge, especially considering how porous their run defense was last season. Cox is still raw in some areas but his skill set is a perfect fit for Philadelphia’s aggressive defense.

- Rams fans are no doubt frustrated that their team didn’t land either of the top two receivers in this year’s draft. But once the Jaguars traded up for Justin Blackmon and Les Snead was presented with the option to trade back, he took it. As you would imagine, the 2-14 Rams have a ton of holes to fill so acquiring as many picks as Snead did was impressive. Plus, they land the best run-stuffing defensive tackle in Michael Brockers, who will look great playing alongside Kendall Langford…

- …that said, the Rams had a golden opportunity to land a top 5 prospect had they just stayed at No. 6. Granted, St. Louis did sign Cortland Finnegan in the offseason but this was a team decimated by injuries in their secondary last year. Having a chance to add Claiborne opposite Finnegan would have been an opportunity I would have jumped at, but Snead weighed that option against potentially acquiring one more starter (i.e. that second round pick he acquired from the Cowboys). Time will tell if he should have went with the impact player instead of the opportunity to address another need in the second round.

- Three years ago A.J. Smith whiffed on Larry English in efforts to beef up the Charges’ pass rush. He should have more success with Melvin Ingram, who could be an impact defender if San Diego can get creative with his skill set.

- There’s no doubt that the Titans’ selection of Kendall Wright was a surprise but it’s hard to argue with the pick. Wright is a playmaker with outstanding run-after-the-catch ability and he’s a great add to an up-and-coming offense.

- It’s amazing that one of the safest picks in the draft fell into the Steelers’ laps at No. 24. David DeCastro has the talent to be a top 15 pick but since guards aren’t viewed as impact players he fell into the middle 20s. The Steelers always seem to draft well and this is why – they continue to select players at the top of their position class.

- The Bengals did well to land two players in Dre Kirkpatrick and Kevin Zeitler that not only addressed needs, but could also make impacts in their rookie seasons. Kirkpatrick helps the Bengals get younger and more physical at corner, while Zeitler is a mauler in the running game that helped Wisconsin finish eighth in the league in rushing last season.

- Just like the Eagles and Steelers, the Packers had a very good prospect fall into their laps and they didn’t over think the situation – they just pulled the trigger. Nick Perry should have been off the board well before No. 28 based on his explosiveness and ability to rush the passer as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He’ll look great opposite Clay Matthews in Dom Capers’ defense.

- Bruce Irvin looks like a reach in the first round. He gets swallowed up by offensive lineman because he relies too much on his speed and athleticism to get to the quarterback. He’s also undersized as a 4-3 defensive end and isn’t thick enough to shed blockers as an outside linebacker. With Quinton Coples still on the board at No. 15, I’m surprised the Seahawks went with Irvin.

- With how many trades transpired in the first round this year, I’m surprised that the Bears weren’t able to trade back and still land Shea McClellin. Not to knock the highly productive, high-motor defensive end/outside linebacker out of Boise, but you’re telling me the Bears couldn’t trade back, acquire more picks and pick him in the 20s? I didn’t have the luxury of being in the war room with Phil Emery and Lovie Smith so maybe McClellin was at the top of their board and they just pulled the trigger on their guy. But again, with how many times teams moved back and forth tonight, I’m shocked the Bears stood pat and took McClellin at No. 19.

- Neither Ryan Tannehill nor Brandon Weeden look like first-round prospect in my eyes, but I can understand why the Dolphins and Browns felt the need to take each quarterback where they did. Weeden can make all the throws but he played in a college offense, he doesn’t fare well under pressure and he’s already 28. Tannehill has limited experience, he’s a major work in progress and he wouldn’t have been a top 10 pick in most other drafts. But we’ll see if either quarterback can prove doubters wrong in a couple of years.

- Dont’a Hightower is just a pure football player in every sense of the word. He’s going to make a ton of plays in Bill Belichick’s system and while I don’t know enough about Chandler Jones as Mike Mayock, he’s an intriguing talent on paper. No surprise – the Patriots did well in another draft.

2012 NFL Scouting Combine: 15 players that improved their draft stock

Missouri Tigers Michael Egnew (82) gets past the Iowa State Cyclones defense for a 39 yard touchdown in the first quarter at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri on October 15, 2011. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Which NFL prospects improved their draft stock at this year’s scouting combine?

Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
Poe may have been the most impressive player at this year’s combine. He’s already a physical marvel at 6-foot-5 and 348 pounds that can play in either a 3-4 or a 4-3. But toss in the fact that he ran an unreal 4.9 forty and did 44 reps on the bench press and what you have is a sure-fire top 20 pick.

Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Hill ran a 4.36 forty, which was the fastest time among all of the receivers (Miami’s Travis Benjamin also ran a 4.36) and placed him second behind only Central Florida cornerback Josh Robinson (who ran a 4.33). He also posted an impressive 39.5-inch vertical jump and displayed good quickness in short shuttle drills. At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, Hill has the size and speed that teams look for in a potential No. 1 receiver. With his stellar combine workout, he may have moved himself into the late first round.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Griffin made the Rams very happy with his 4.41 forty time, which bested all quarterbacks at the combine. He was a top 5 pick heading into Indianapolis but he may have just upped his asking price with his impressive performance. The Rams seemingly want to deal the No. 2 overall pick and after Griffin shinned in Indianapolis, they should have plenty of trade suitors come April.

Luke Kuechley, LB, Boston College
Teams were well aware of Kuechly’s productivity (he finished with 532 tackles at Boston College), instincts, toughness, and I.Q. before the combine. But after he posted a 4.50 forty and a 38-inch vertical leap, he cemented his status as a top-20 pick. He looks like one of the safer first-round prospects in this year’s draft.

Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida
Robinson blew scouts away when he ran unofficial forty times of 4.31 and 4.29, respectively. Those times made him the fastest prospect at this year’s combine and he also posted the best broad jump among the defensive backs with a mark of 11-foot-1. He’s a raw underclassman but after compiling 10 interceptions at Central Florida, Robinson has the speed and ball skills to merit a second round selection.

Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Kalil is a monster at 6-foot-7 and 306 pounds and is the younger brother of Panthers Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil. He posted a 4.99 forty, was excellent in the three-cone drill, and also did 30 reps on the bench. He cemented his status as the top left tackle in the draft and he may have guaranteed that the Vikings will select him with the No. 3 overall pick in April.

Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia
Glenn shocked observers by running a 4.96 forty and proved that he’s quick enough to play either right tackle or guard at the next level. He’s a massive run blocker at 6-foot-6 and 345 pounds, yet he stood out in the 10-yard split by clocking a 1.76. He also posted 31 reps on the bench press and cemented his status as a top-20 pick.

Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Behind Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill, Floyd was the most impressive receiver in Indy this year. He quelled some fears about his ability to separate from defenders by clocking a 4.47 forty, and at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds he has prototypical size for a receiver. While some scouts remain skeptical about his on-field speed, Floyd definitely improved his draft stock this past weekend.

Nick Perry, USC, OLB/DE
Perry was highly impressive in most of the drills at the combine, posting a 4.50 in the forty, a 38 1/2 –inch vertical leap, 10-foot-4 broad jump, and 35 reps on the bench press. He looks like an ideal fit as an edge-rusher in a 3-4.

Mychal Kendricks, LB, California
I included Kendricks in my “Spotting defensive value” article last week and he didn’t disappoint at the combine. At 5-foot-11 and 239 pounds, there are questions about his size, which is why he was projected to go in the fourth or fifth round before last week. But he posted the fastest forty in the linebacker group with a time of 4.47 and is a violent, explosive hitter from his inside linebacker position. I think he has a spot on a NFL roster and will make some team extremely happy in the fourth round.

Michael Egnew, TE, Missouri
Egnew was one of the top performers at the tight end position in the three-cone, broad jump, short shuttle, and vertical jump, and also posted a 4.6 forty. Some believe his game speed isn’t as fast as his forty would suggest but he nevertheless looks like a solid “Y” or slot tight end at the next level.

Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State
Cousins was arguably the most impressive quarterback in passing drills last weekend. Granted, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin II and Ryan Tannehill didn’t throw but that shouldn’t take away from the natural skill set that Cousins possessed in the three and five-step drop drills. Before the combine, Cousins was projected to go in the third round but he may have jumped into the second with his impressive performance.

Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
Gilmore posted a 4.37 forty, which highlighted his excellent speed. Considering he’s also 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, teams will be just as intrigued by his size as they are with his speed. He looks like the third best corner in the draft and is ideal for a zone scheme.

Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina
Brown is a former track star and after running an unofficial 4.4 forty, teams will love his potential as a weak-side linebacker. He’s an ideal fit in a Cover-2 scheme that will allow him to track down ball carries in the open field. Look for him to be drafted in the late first or early second.

Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Ingram was already viewed as a first-round pick coming into the draft but he may have guaranteed that he’ll be a top-15 pick with his performance at the combine. He clocked an unofficial 4.66 forty and a 1.65 10-yard split, and teams could fight over his versatility and athleticism come April.

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