2012 NFL Draft

Philadelphia Eagles select Fletcher Cox, Grade A-

The Philadelphia Eagles have been in love with Fletcher Cox for awhile, and I’m actually a little surprised they waited this long before trading up.

I’m not as high on Cox as some, but I really like how he fits in Philly. He need to work on his performance against the run, but he’ll be used in a rotation early in his career with the Eagles, which will allow them to put him in situations that play to his strengths. He is going to make a significant impact as a rookie, even if he’s only plays roughly 2/3s of their defensive snaps.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Eagles Comments Off

Kansas City Chiefs select Dontari Poe, Grade B

The Kansas City Chiefs are rolling the dice on Dontari Poe, but I love the fit.

Poe didn’t play like a top-15 pick last year, but he absolutely has the size/athleticism combo to be a stud at nose tackle. While I wouldn’t be crazy about some other teams taking him this high, I trust Romeo Crennel to groom him into a quality nose tackle. Crennel worked with Vince Wilfork early in his career, and got briefly rejuvenated Shaun Rogers career by turning him into a nice tackle in Cleveland as well.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Chiefs Comments Off

Buffalo Bills select Stephon Gilmore, Grade B

The Buffalo Bills defense is going to be surprisingly formidable in 2012. I’m not crazy about Stephon Gilmore, especially not in the top 10, but he fills an obvious need and gives them the depth they need to compete with the Patriots.

I probably would have tried to trade down if I were them but, assuming that wasn’t option, Gilmore was one of the few prospects on the board capable of stepping into a starting role and making an immediate impact. It’s definitely a risk to draft for need rather than value when you aren’t sure if you’re a legitimate contender, but I do like the Bills aggressive approach. They’re acting like they’re ready to win now for the first time in over a decade.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Bills Comments Off

Carolina Panthers select Luke Kuechly, Grade A+

This is a brilliant pick for the Carolina Panthers. No, it’s not their biggest need, but either Luke Keuchly or Jon Beason can shift over to weak-side linebacker.

The Panthers are still a long way from being serious contenders, so simply adding the best available player is a smart move. Kuechy is an absolute sure thing. He may not fully live up to expectations but, at worst, the Panthers got themselves a very solid starter for the next decade.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Panthers Comments Off

Miami Dolphins select Ryan Tannehill, Grade F

Well, after handing out seven A’s I can finally rip on a team.

The Miami Dolphins are simply headed in the wrong direction and this is a desperation move. Ryan Tannehill is a nice developmental prospect, and there’s a lot to like about his potential. But he has significant flaws (albeit, fixable ones) in his game than need work before he’s ready to play in the NFL. In Miami, he’ll probably be thrust into a starting role too early which could be detrimental to his development.

I certainly won’t guarantee Tannehill turning into a bust, because I do like aspects of his game. But if I’m drafting a quarterback in the top 10, I want to be extremely confident in his ability to lead my franchise for the next decade, and I simply don’t feel that way about Tannehill.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Dolphins Comments Off

Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Mark Barron, Grade A

I love everything about this for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Yes, Morris Claiborne is a better prospect than Mark Barron. And yes, cornerback is a more glaring need. However, strong safety is a significant issue as well (he’ll replace Larry Asante) and they picked up extra picks in the process.

This is a slight reach for Barron, which is why I give it an A rather than A+, but if they traded down much further he may not have gotten past the Bills at No. 10. Barron will start from day one, and immediately be one of the few impact players on the Bucs defense.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Buccaneers Comments Off

Dallas Cowboys select Morris Claiborne, Grade A

I absolutely love this trade for both teams.

The Dallas Cowboys now have one the game’s best duos at cornerback in Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr. Claiborne is arguably more NFL-ready than Patrick Peterson was a year ago (at least in terms of coverage) and will make an immediate impact in Dallas.

As for the trade, I’m ok with teams trading up for players when they believe they’re one or two pieces away from contention. The Cowboys have overhauled their secondary this offseason, fixing the only glaring weakness on the roster.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Cowboys 1 Comment

Jaguars select Justin Blackmon, Grade: A

Everyone is making great decisions so far tonight, which is a rarity. The Jacksonville Jaguars needed to upgrade the talent around Blaine Gabbert, and Justin Blackmon will immediately become their No. 1 receiver.

Don’t expect this to immediately turn things around in Jacksonville, but in a year or two Gabbert/Blackmon could be a special connection so long as GM Gene Smith continues to surround them with the pieces they need to succeed.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Jaguars Comments Off

Vikings select Matt Kalil, Grade A+

After creating much drama over the past few days, the Vikings end up selecting the guy we assumed they had targeted all along. I was worried about this franchise for awhile there when they were reportedly considering Claiborne, but they made the right choice.

After rolling the dice on Christian Ponder last year, they absolutely had to address the offensive line in this draft (especially considering his injury history). Matt Kalil will be, at worst, a solid starter for the next decade.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Vikings Comments Off

Browns select Trent Richardson, Grade A

The Cleveland Browns absolutely had to take Trent Richardson, given what was on the board. I’m not crazy about the trade (if the Vikings were willing to settle for a few late round picks, obviously no one was seriously considering a blockbuster trade up) but the Browns still have 11 picks in the draft and will still be able to completely overhaul the roster.

The reason Richardson makes more sense than Justin Blackmon, is due to the fact that Blackmon is very similar to Browns 2011 2nd-round pick, Greg Little. While they would have probably settled for Blackmon in a difference scenario, they’re better off waiting until late in the 1st round or early 2nd round for a receiver who better fits their system.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Browns Comments Off