Baltimore Ravens select Courtney Upshaw, Grade A+

This is why teams like the Baltimore Ravens remain contenders year after year. They don’t get cute in the draft, they just wait for a great player to fall into their lap.

There are legitimate reasons why Courtney Upshaw fell into the 2nd round. He’s a ‘tweener, who doesn’t really look the part physically. But he’s been nothing but productive at Alabama, and the Ravens have the coaching staff and the leadership on the field to get the most out of his potential. They’ll use him in ways to fit his strengths and I have no doubt Upshaw will be productive from day one.

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

Indianapolis Colts select Coby Fleener, Grade A

I would have criticized anyone who took Coby Fleener in the 1st round, or even early 2nd, with the exception of the Indianapolis Colts.

Fleener is strictly a pass-catching tight end, and even in that department he’s overrated, but his connection with Andrew Luck gives him added value for the Colts. Fleener will immediately make Luck feel more comfortable. Even if his long-term upside is relatively modest, his ability to help develop Luck makes him an extremely valuable asset in Indy.

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

St. Louis Rams select Brian Quick, Grade B-

Pretty cool to have Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt at the podium to introduce the St. Louis Rams next No. 1 receiver. However, this was too early for Brian Quick.

Sam Bradford needs someone who can come in and help him immediately, and the FCS receiver is too raw to make a significant impact early on. Unfortunately, this feels an awful lot like the when the Rams reached for Donnie Avery in the 2nd round in 2008. Quick will take time to develop, and probably isn’t the security blanket that Bradford needs. They would have been better off selecting a guy like Stephen Hill who, while he is also raw, could at least make an impact as a deep threat early on.

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

1st Round Winners: San Diego Chargers

The San Diego Chargers, somewhat unexpectedly, took a patient approach to the draft and came with one of the potential steals of the 1st round.

There were rumors that the Chargers were interested in trading up for Mark Barron, which would have been a desperation move in what may be the final year of the A.J. Smith/Norv Turner era. But they stayed put and ended up with Melvin Ingram, who could have an even bigger impact on the Chargers defense.

The pairing of Ingram and Shaun Phillips gives the Chargers two quality pass rushers, something which they have been lacking since Shawne Merriman began to decline.

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

1st Round Winners: Dallas Cowboys

I typically don’t praise teams that trade up as far as the Dallas Cowboys, but I have to give them credit for addressing a glaring need with the best player at the position.

By adding Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, the Cowboys have completely overhauled their secondary and now have, at least on paper, the look of a top-10 defense. The Cowboys did part with their 2nd round pick, but with relatively few holes to fill, they could afford to come away with just one elite player in the first two rounds.

Claiborne will be an instant-impact cornerback, especially since he’ll typically be matched up with opponents No. 2 receivers.

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

1st Round Winners: Pittsburgh Steelers

This is exactly why the Pittsburgh Steelers are perennial contenders. They sit back, let everyone else around them panic and then take the best available player who falls into their lap.

The Steelers probably didn’t anticipate addressing their interior offensive line in the 1st round, but when David DeCastro was on the board, they simply couldn’t pass him up. DeCastro will immediately step into a starting role, likely at right guard, and help solidify an offensive line that needed a boost.

This move looks particularly strong since it immediately followed two division rivals, the Browns and Bengals, who reached to fill needs and who both would have been better off selecting DeCastro.

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

Day 2 Mock Draft

33. Rams – Stephen Hill – WR – Georgia Tech

34. Colts – Coby Fleener – TE – Stanford

35. Ravens – Courtney Upshaw – LB – Alabama

36. Broncos – Devon Still – DT – Penn State

37. Browns – Cordy Glenn – OT – Georgia Read more

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Mock Draft Comments Off

Browns wanted Kendall Wright, settled for Weeden

A quarterback should never be your fall-back option in the 1st round, but that’s exactly what happened to the Cleveland Browns.

According to Adam Schefter, the Browns were prepared to take Kendall Wright at No. 22 and were disappointed when the Titans surprisingly grabbed him at No. 20.

Brandon Weeden felt like a 1st-round reach to begin with, but this report further calls into question the strategy being used in the Browns war room. If you have a similar grade on a quarterback and a receiver in the 1st round, you always target the quarterback. Quality receivers are found in the mid-to-late rounds every year. Quarterbacks are not.

If the Browns were targeting Wright at No. 22, they obviously felt comfortable moving forward with Colt McCoy. Now it’s possible that they could have landed Weeden at No. 37 or traded up to get him, but you certainly can’t count on that option. If they took Wright at No. 22 they had to be OK with McCoy as their starting quarterback.

So if they were willing to move forward with another year of McCoy, why make Weeden the backup plan?

This entire situation makes it looks as though the Browns panicked, and calls into question just how much confidence they have in their new franchise quarterback. This is definitely not the type of publicity Mike Holmgren’s front office needs when they’re already losing the confidence of the fan base.

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

Top 150 Available for Day Two

A few notes entering Day Two…

    • A.J. Jenkins was the lowest-rated player on my board to go in the 1st round. I gave him a late 3rd-round grade. Tannehill, Weeden Irvin and Zeilter also had 3rd-round grades on my board.
    • Six players with 1st-round grades are still on the board.
    • Expect a run on skill position players early in the 2nd round. There’s not much left to choose from at running back especially, so someone will likely trade up for Lamar Miller and possibly Robert Turbin also.
Rk Player
Pos
Pos Rk
School
Rating
1 Courtney Upshaw
OLB
1
Alabama
94
2 Brandon Thompson
DT
2
Clemson
93
3 Cordy Glenn
OG
1
Georgia
92
4 Andre Branch
DE
3
Clemson
91
5 Pete Konz
C
1
Wisconsin
91
6 Vinny Curry
DE
6
Marshall
90
7 Dwayne Allen
TE
1
Clemson
90
8 Devon Still
DT
5
Penn State
89
9 Terrell Manning
OLB
3
N.C. State
88
10 Jerel Worthy
DT
6
Michigan State
86
11 Lavonte David
ILB
3
Nebraska
86
12 Stephen Hill
WR
4
Georgia Tech
85
13 Coby Fleener
TE
2
Stanford
85
14 Chase Minnifield
CB
4
Virginia
85
15 Jayron Hosley
CB
5
Virginia Tech
85
16 Jonathan Martin
OT
3
Stanford
84
17 Mike Martin
DT
7
Michigan
84
18 Lamar Miller
RB
4
Miami FL
82
19 Mike Adams
OT
4
Ohio State
82
20 Mohamed Sanu
WR
5
Rutgers
82
21 Janoris Jenkins
CB
6
North Alabama
82
22 Jared Crick
DT
8
Nebraska
82
23 Alshon Jeffery
WR
6
South Carolina
81
24 Marvin Jones
WR
7
California
81
25 Mychal Kendricks
ILB
4
California
81
26 Ladarius Green
TE
3
La-Lafayette
80
27 Bobby Wagner
ILB
5
Utah State
80
28 Brian Quick
WR
8
Appalachian State
80
29 Zach Brown
OLB
4
North Carolina
80
30 Ron Brooks
CB
7
LSU
80
31 Kendall Reyes
DT
9
Connecticut
79
32 Robert Turbin
RB
5
Utah State
79
33 Leonard Johnson
CB
8
Iowa State
79
34 Rueben Randle
WR
9
LSU
79
35 Brandon Boykin
CB
9
Georgia
78
36 Bobby Massie
OT
5
Ole Miss
78
37 Josh Robinson
CB
10
Central Florida
77
38 Michael Egnew
TE
4
Georgia
77
39 Brandon Washington
OG
4
Miami FL
77
40 DeVier Posey
WR
10
Ohio State
76
41 Alfonzo Dennard
CB
11
Nebraska
75
42 Trumaine Johnson
CB
12
Montana
75
43 David Molk
C
2
Michigan
75
44 Eric Page
WR
11
Toledo
74
45 Jake Bequette
DE
8
Arkansas
74
46 Zebrie Sanders
OT
6
Florida State
74
47 Mike Brewster
C
3
Ohio State
74
48 Jamell Fleming
CB
13
Oklahoma
72
49 Jarius Wright
WR
12
Arkansas
72
50 Boom Herron
RB
6
Ohio State
72
51 Josh Chapman
DT
10
Alabama
72
52 Casey Heyward
CB
14
Vanderbilt
71
53 Amini Silatolu
OG
5
Midwestern State
71
54 Adonis Thomas
RB
7
Toledo
71
55 Joe Adams
WR
13
Arkansas
71
56 T.Y. Hilton
WR
14
FIU
70
57 Orson Charles
TE
5
Missouri
70
58 Kelechi Osemele
OG
6
Iowa State
70
59 Ronnie Hillman
RB
8
San Diego State
70
60 Billy Winn
DT
11
Boise State
70
61 Ronnell Lewis
OLB
6
Oklahoma
70
62 Brandon Brooks
OG
7
Miami OH
70
63 Cam Johnson
DE
9
Virginia
69
64 Bernard Pierce
RB
9
Temple
69
65 Donald Stephenson
OT
7
Oklahoma
69
66 DaJohn Harris
DT
12
USC
69
67 Ryan Steed
CB
15
Furman
69
68 Chris Rainey
RB
10
Florida
69
69 Josh Norman
CB
16
Coastal Carolina
68
70 Russell Wilson
QB
5
Wisconsin
68
71 Devon Wylie
WR
16
Fresno State
68
72 Chris Polk
RB
11
Washington
68
73 Mitchell Schwartz
OT
8
California
68
74 Derek Wolfe
DT
13
Cincinnati
68
75 Nick Toon
WR
17
Wisconsin
67
76 Ben Jones
C
4
Georgia
67
77 Alameda Ta’amu
DT
14
Washington
67
78 James-Michael Johnson
ILB
6
Nevada
67
79 Brock Osweiler
QB
6
Arizona State
67
80 Shawn Prater
CB
17
Iowa
67
81 Dwight Jones
WR
18
North Carolina
67
82 Kirk Cousins
QB
7
Michigan State
66
83 Antonio Allen
S
3
South Carolina
66
84 Trevor Guyton
DE
10
California
66
85 LaMichael James
RB
12
Oregon
66
86 Tommy Streeter
WR
19
Miami FL
66
87 Senio Kelemete
OG
8
Washington
66
88 Dwight Bentley
CB
18
La-Lafayette
66
89 Nigel Bradham
OLB
7
Florida State
66
90 Tyrone Crawford
DE
11
Boise State
65
91 Ryan Broyles
WR
20
Oklahoma
65
92 Omar Bolden
CB
19
Arizona State
65
93 Trenton Robinson
S
4
Michigan State
65
94 Kheeston Randall
DT
15
Texas
65
95 Sean Spence
OLB
8
Miami FL
65
96 Keenan Robinson
OLB
9
Texas
65
97 Jerry Franklin
ILB
7
Arkansas
65
98 Jeff Allen
OT
9
Illinois
65
99 Malik Jackson
DT
16
Tennessee
65
100 George Iloka
S
5
Boise State
65
101 Taylor Thompson
TE
6
SMU
65
102 Tauren Poole
RB
13
Tennessee
65
103 Isaiah Pead
RB
14
Cincinnati
65
104 Greg Childs
WR
21
Arkansas
64
105 DeAngelo Peterson
TE
7
LSU
64
106 Julian Miller
DE
12
West Virginia
64
107 Travis Lewis
OLB
10
Oklahoma
64
108 Justin Bethel
CB
20
Presbyterian
64
109 Greg Zuerlein
K
1
Missouri Western
64
110 Brandon Taylor
S
6
LSU
63
111 Marvin McNutt
WR
22
Iowa
63
112 James Hanna
TE
8
Oklahoma
63
113 Coryell Judie
CB
21
Texas A&M
63
114 Danny Coale
WR
23
Virginia Tech
62
115 Andrew Datko
OT
10
Florida State
62
116 Matt McCants
OT
11
UAB
62
117 Ryan Miller
OG
9
Colorado
62
118 Mike Daniels
DT
17
Iowa
62
119 Josh Kaddu
OLB
11
Oregon
62
120 Cyrus Cray
RB
15
Texas A&M
62
121 Keith Tandy
CB
22
West Virginia
62
122 Janzen Jackson
S
7
McNeese State
62
123 Juron Criner
WR
24
Arizona
61
124 Olivier Vernon
DE
13
Miami FL
61
125 Rhett Ellison
TE
9
USC
61
126 Brandon Mosley
OT
12
Auburn
61
127 Marcus Fortson
DT
18
Miami FL
61
128 Kyle Wilber
OLB
12
Wake Forest
61
129 Donnie Fletcher
CB
23
Boston College
61
130 Christian Thompson
S
8
South Carolina St
61
131 Bradie Ewing
FB
1
Wisconsin
61
132 Asa Jackson
CB
24
Cal Poly
60
133 Nick Foles
QB
8
Arizona
60
134 Davin Meggett
RB
16
Maryland
60
135 Jordan White
WR
25
Western Michigan
60
136 Derek Carrier
TE
10
Beloit
60
137 Jeff Adams
OT
13
Columbia
60
138 William Vlachos
C
5
Alabama
60
139 Kourtnei Brown
DE
14
Clemson
60
140 Bryan Anger
P
1
California
60
141 Vaughn Meatoga
DT
19
Hawaii
60
142 Jonathan Massaquoi
OLB
13
Troy
60
143 Chad Diehl
FB
2
Clemson
60
144 Markelle Martin
S
9
Oklahoma State
60
145 DeQuan Menzie
CB
25
Alabama
59
146 Levy Adcock
OT
14
Oklahoma State
59
147 Jaymes Brooks
OG
10
Virginia Tech
59
148 Audie Cole
ILB
8
N.C. State
59
149 Vick Ballard
RB
17
Mississippi State
58
150 Lance Lewis
WR
26
East Carolina
58
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

New York Giants select David Wilson, Grade B-

I have to wonder if the New York Giants were prepared to take Doug Martin and panicked when the Bucs moved up and landed him with the 31st pick.
David Wilson is a decent prospect, who I gave a 2nd-round grade, but I’m not excited about how he fits in New York.

As long as he holds on to the football he’ll be a quality running back, but just doesn’t project as a difference maker with the Giants. Wilson has a similar style to Ahmad Bradshaw, and I don’t think they complement each other well.

Jerry Reese usually goes for the best available player, which he clearly did not do in this situation. He could have added Cordy Glenn or Jonathan Martin and arguably landed the best available player, and still filled a need.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Giants 2 Comments