by Russ Bliss (4/27/12)


Round 1 NFL Draft Recap


1) Indianapolis Colts: QB Andrew Luck, Stanford

We've known this was the pick since last season ended. Will start immediately and should. The right pick for a rebuilding franchise.

2) Washington Redskins: QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor

We've also known this was going to be the pick since the Redskins acquired the pick from St. Louis. Like Luck, RG3 will start in week 1 and rightly so. Fits Mike Shanahan's system near perfectly.

3) Cleveland Browns: RB Trent Richardson, Alabama

The Browns traded up one spot to make sure they got Richardson as they were afraid the Vikings would deal the pick to someone else. Smart move for Cleveland as Richardson is a complete RB who should definitely infuse life into their offense both as a power runner, and as a receiving RB. 

4) Minnesota Vikings: OT Matt Kalil, USC

The Vikings traded down one spot and still got the guy they wanted all along despite much disinformation in the last couple of weeks. They desperately needed to upgrade their OL to give Christian Ponder a chance to prove he isn't a bust and this was the right pick for them.

5) Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State

The Jaguars jumped up to 5 from the 7th pick to make sure they got the WR they coveted that they also know the Rams would have taken with the next pick. As much as the Vikings need to protect their QB, Jacksonville needs good WR's and Blackmon is 3 times better than any they have on the roster right now. A playmaking WR will help Blaine Gabbert immensely. This was a smart move by J-ville.

6) Dallas Cowboys: CB Morris Claiborne, LSU

Sensing the Rams would be willing to deal this pick after Jacksonville took the WR St. Louis wanted, Dallas stepped up and acquired the pick to grab the best CB in the draft; a position they were in dire need to upgrade. Again, another smart move.

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: S Mark Barron, Alabama

I think Tampa Bay got suckered when they traded down as I think if they expected Morris Claiborne to be there with the 5th pick, they would have stayed there. But they bought the disinformation about the Vikings wanting Claiborne and thusly moved down. At this point they were stuck with no decent trade partners to move down further and thusly did the best thing they could: take the best Safety (and widely considered one of the best players in the draft regardless of position) and help fill another position of great need in their defensive secondary. While they may have been taken in by the rumors, they did the smartest thing they could to redeem it by taking Barron.

8) Miami Dolphins: QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M

Despite reports to the contrary, Miami really were hoping Tannehill would fall to them as they needed to do two things: first was to address a position that they lack any type of excitement about with who they currently they have on the roster; second was to appease an increasingly disinterested fan base. I've got my questions about Tannehill being as good as the hype he generated over the last couple of months, but there is big upside with him and it's very likely he'll get to sit for 2012 (which he does need to do) before really competing for the job in 2013. No one knows Tannehill's strengths, weaknesses, and upside than Miami offensive coordinator Mike Sherman (who coached Tannehill last year at Texas A&M). If Sherman is convinced he can be the guy for Miami, I'm willing to at least give him the benefit of the doubt. If he flops, Miami will be looking for a new coaching staff in 3 years.

9) Carolina Panthers: ILB Luke Kuechly, Boston College

The Panthers have huge question marks at LB and Kuechly will immediately compete for a starting job. Injuries and age are starting to take a toll on the position for Carolina and few players in this draft can match the intensity Kuechly plays the game with, or the production he produced on the field. It wasn't a sexy pick, but it was a smart pick for them.

10) Buffalo Bills: CB Stephen Gilmore, South Carolina

Gilmore has been rising up boards the last few weeks. Exceptional speed and strong cover skills will help a Bills secondary that disappointed in 2011. I thought OL was a bigger need but the Bills have many needs when you play Tom Brady twice each year, you need to do something to prevent him from throwing all over you. A good pick.

11) Kansas City Chiefs: DT Dontari Poe, Memphis

This reminds me a lot of when the Chiefs used the 3rd pick to take Tyson Jackson in 2009. I thought that was a reach then and I think this was a reach now. Poe has all the measurables but his work ethic and desire have been questioned. The Chiefs needed a big time inside run stuffer at NT and if Poe dedicates himself they may have a great one. But it's a gamble, and I'm 50/50 on it not working out.

12) Philadelphia Eagles: DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State

The Eagles had needs at DT and LB and in Cox by trading up to this spot from the 15th pick they got the best pass rushing DT in the draft. Cox lining up on that defensive line for Philadelphia makes their front 4 formidable. Excellent job of seeing an opportunity and making it happen by making the trade and selecting Cox.

13) Arizona Cardinals: WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame

While OL was a bigger area of need, the Cardinals also needed to get a legitimate #2 WR opposite Larry Fitzgerald. In Floyd they got just that. Should push for a starting job right away. It also doesn't hurt that it's very likely the Rams with the next pick were really hoping to have Floyd fall to them.

14) St. Louis Rams: DT Michael Brockers, LSU

After trading down to this spot I think the Rams really would have preferred Michael Floyd here, but when the Cardinals took him at 13, Jeff Fisher went back to his defensive roots and addressed one of the biggest areas of need: a strong force equally adept at stuffing the run and collapsing the pocket at interior DL. By trading down twice, the Rams now own 3 of the first 13 picks in round 2 and it's a good bet they address WR, DB, and OL at that time. Brockers isn't an elite talent, but a high motor guy who has the potential to become a disruptive DT.

15) Seattle Seahawks: DE Bruce Irvin, West Virginia

This was the first real head scratcher in the first round, but that's Pete Carroll for you. Irvin is considered to be the best pure pass rushing specialist as he possesses exceptional speed off the edge. But he isn't a 3 down player and likely will be a non-factor against the run as he is very undersized for a DE. There was some talk that Irvin may have been targeted at the end of the first round, but most places had a lower grade on him than that and I think this was a big reach for a situational player only. At the very least they should have been able to trade down further and likely still get Irvin if they thought that highly of him.

16) New York Jets: DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina

This guy has Rex Ryan written all over him. A big agile complete DE who gets knocks for questionable attitude and over aggressive playing style when motivated; he'll fit right in as a Jet. If the Jets coach him up to his potential they got a steal here as he has the size and enough speed to be a 3 down DE. Worth the risk here.

17) Cincinnati Bengals: CB Dre Kirkpatrick Alabama

I really thought the Bengals (who never seem to shy away from a problem child) were going to take Janoris Jenkins instead, but they opt to go with Kirkpatrick instead and I think it was smart on their part. Kirkpatrick is a good CB who could be great if he betters conditions himself. Right position and right player for them to take.

18) San Diego Chargers: DE/OLB Melvin Ingram, South Carolina

San Diego could have gone anywhere on defense as they have needs practically everywhere on that side of the ball. Ingram has good speed and athleticism, and has a knack for making spectacular plays but lacks ideal height for a DE and may be best at OLB. He's played both positions (and some DT too) but the Chargers would be smart to place him at OLB exclusively and let him concentrate on the position so he can become great at it. A good pick.

19) Chicago Bears: DE/OLB Shea McClellin, Boise State

I really thought OL would be the position they drafted for here as there are some excellent OL on the board still, but instead they follow in San Diego's footsteps and take a hybrid DE/OLB. McClellin is good as a rusher or dropping in coverage and gives top effort. This is a little higher than I liked McClellin and I think the Bears are strong at the position already, but age is creeping up and this pick has the look of being one more for the future than the immediate. Overall I have no problem with reloading a strength now in preparation before it goes into decline. But still a bit of a reach to me.

20) Tennessee Titans: WR Kendall Wright, Baylor

Ultra-productive as RG3's primary target at Baylor. Wright has excellent speed and despite only being 5'10" (short for a WR these days) plays bigger with a fearless attitude. Tennessee needed to add someone competent opposite Kenny Britt and Wright probably would have been more highly thought of if he were only 3 inches taller. Good move finally addressing one of their offenses biggest problems: someone besides Britt starting at WR.

21) New England Patriots: DE Chandler Jones, Syracuse

Supremely athletic and has the body type to grow bigger, Jones has been silently rising up draft boards for weeks because of his size and athleticism. May take some coaching and time to get him to develop consistency and reach potential, but it's the right place for him to get both in New England. While I am not sold on Jones ever living up to potential, I applaud Bill Belichick for not being afraid to trade up and get a guy he really wanted to have on his team.

22) Cleveland Browns: QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State

You just knew the Browns were going to take Weeden, but I thought they would gamble on him being in round 2 instead of using the 22nd pick to grab him. At the very least they should have been able to trade down a few spots and still have gotten Weeden. No one in the next few picks was going to take him and there must have been a deal that could have been someone to re-coup at least one of the picks they traded away when they traded up earlier in the round to get Trent Richardson. Don't get me wrong, I fully expected the Browns to take Weeden, but thought they could have done it later and taken a WR here. I wonder if they would have jumped all over Kendall Wright if he had been available instead?

23) Detroit Lions: OT Reilly Reiff, Iowa

A strong technician with size and ability to compete for starting time right away, I started the Reiff watch at pick #10. That he slid all the way to Detroit at 23 reminds of last year when the Lions got the gift of Nick Fairley mid-way thru the first round. This was a great value pick and also addresses a position of need for the Lions. While CB was the bigger need and I thought they might take the chance on Janoris Jenkins here, I think they made the right pick in Reiff.

24) Pittsburgh Steelers: OG David DeCastro, Stanford

Pittsburgh needs help on the OL desperately and DeCastro is almost made in the Steelers mold: tough, gritty, willing to mix it up, and technically sound. There are no weaknesses in his game and he should step in as a rookie and start right away. They could have addressed an aging defense at any number of positions, but DeCastro was probably the best player on the board regardless of position.

25) New England Patriots: ILB Dont'a Hightower, Alabama

Another great move by Bill Belichick. Moving up again to get a disruptive ILB, another area of great need for the Patriots. I actually like the Hightower pick more than the Jones pick 4 picks earlier. The Patriots have an offense that can compete with anyone, but their defense has needed work. They have spent many picks recently on DB's, and now they are addressing the front seven. Very smart move and great selection in my opinion.

26) Houston Texans: DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus, Illinois

Another great pick. While not in the same category as departed Mario Williams, Mercilus burst onto the scene in 2011 with a great season and shows a relentless motor going full speed every play. This wasn't the greatest position of need for the Texans, but Wade Phillips knows how to get the most out of his defensive players and in Mercilus he has a guy with great skills. The Texans defense used to be a laughingstock; not any more.

27) Cincinnati Bengals: OG Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin

The Bengals have struggled to put together a complete OL the last couple of seasons and with so much transition at the OG position, they needed someone who could compete for a starting job right away. Not a sexy pick, but it makes sense.

28) Green Bay Packers: DE Nick Perry, USC

The Packers needed help on the outside of their DL and they get it in the speedy pass rusher Perry. He also has good enough size to be good against the run as well. The offense in Green Bay certainly didn't need much help so the Packers could have addressed DL, LB, or DB as each are positions of need.

29) Minnesota Vikings: S Harrison Smith, Notre Dame

Trading with the Ravens to get back into the end of the first round, the Vikings addressed one of their other huge needs: DB. CB or S, they need both and Smith was easily the second best Safety in a weak draft class for the position. I'm a little surprised they didn't grab Janoris Jenkins instead, but maybe the team is trying to clean up its image.

30) San Francisco 49ers: WR A.J. Jenkins, Illinois

The 49ers didn't have any glaring needs coming into the draft and while they did address WR in free agency, it probably was the weakest position on the team. That said, I thought they would take the best available player regardless of position, and barring that, I certainly didn't think Jenkins was the best remaining WR on the board at this point. That said, Jenkins is a burner with terrific speed and provides insurance in case Randy Moss doesn't live up to hope in the bay. This was a questionable pick that will need time to tell if they're right.

31) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: RB Doug Martin, Boise State

Trading with the Broncos to move up ahead of the Giants was a smart move for the Bucs as they snag the second best RB in the draft. They lost out on Trent Richardson earlier in the round and knew that there was a good chance Martin wouldn't make to their second round pick. Martin will step in and probably start right away. Great move by the Bucs.

32) New York Giants: RB David Wilson, Virginia Tech

The Giants must have been a little deflated to see Martin go with the pick before theirs as RB was one of the few areas they have a true need at, but they make out okay with the speedy Wilson. If Coby Fleener was a better blocker, I think they would have gone with him instead as TE was another area of need, but Wilson will provide some big play capability their rushing attack has lacked as Brandon Jacobs was never a speed guy and Ahmad Bradshaw's chronic foot problems are well documented.