Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Doug Martin, Grade A+

I typically don’t like to see rebuilding teams trade up, but this was a great move by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Doug Martin is one of the most underrated prospects in this draft class, and I fully expect him to be a difference maker from the day he sets foot on the field. Martin is no Trent Richardson, but he’s still one of the most well-rounded running backs to enter the draft in recent years.

With Martin and LeGarrette Blount in the same backfield, the Bucs will be able to wear teams down the with their running game. The Bucs have now completely overhauled their offense, and should be legitimate contenders in the NFC South this year.

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

San Francisco 49ers select A.J. Jenkins, Grade C+

The San Francisco 49ers obviously needed to add a receiver in this draft, but there was no need to reach for A.J. Jenkins here. When you’re this close to Super Bowl contention, it just doesn’t make sense to add a guy like Jenkins this early who needs time to develop.

I do think Jenkins can develop into a quality starter, but there were better options. How about adding a guy like Cordy Glenn, who can start from day one and improve the offensive line?

If they were dead set on adding a receiver, I would have gone with Stephen Hill. While he’s also raw, I think he can be a better deep threat than Jenkins, which is an aspect of his game which immediately translates to the NFL.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, 49ers Comments Off

Minnesota Vikings select Harrison Smith, Grade C

This was a desperation pick by the Minnesota Vikings. Harrison Smith is not a 1st-round prospect, and only comes off the board here because of the significant dropoff in talent at safety once he’s off the board. And while safety was definitely a need, the Vikings had more crucial holes to fill.

I also don’t like to see teams like the Vikings trade up. When you’re in full rebuilding mode, there’s no reason to trade up unless it’s for a difference maker at a critical position such as quarterback.

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

Green Bay Packers select Nick Perry, Grade A

Nick Perry will be a difference maker from Day One for the Green Bay Packers. He remained on the board until the late 1st round due to questions about his NFL readiness, but he has the upside to be a dominant pass rusher at the next level.

In Green Bay, Perry’s deficiencies will be masked by his supporting cast, which eases the concerns some teams had about throwing him into the fire. I fully expect him to suffer some growing pains as a rookie, but I trust the Packers coaching staff to prepare him and use him in situations which will maximize his strengths. This was a great value pick, and will end up looking like one of the steals of the 1st round in a few years.

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

Cincinnati Bengals select Kevin Zeitler, Grade C+

The Cincinnati Bengals already added guards Travelle Wharton and Jacob Bell this offseason, so I’m a little confused by the selection of Kevin Zeitler. Does he even have a spot on the first team offense?

On top of that question, Zeitler wasn’t even the top guard on the board. Cordy Glenn is more NFL ready and has more upside than Zeitler. I do think he can develop into a decent starter but I would not have spent a 1st-round pick on Zeitler, especially considering the other options available.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Bengals 3 Comments

Houston Texans select Whitney Mercilus, Grade B

Whitney Mercilus is a decent value pick for the Houston Texans here, but I don’t think it was the home run they needed to improve their chances of competing for the Super Bowl in 2012.

The Texans already had solid outside linebackers in Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed, so Mercilus will only be part of the rotation early on. He’s definitely a nice piece to the puzzle, but there were some guys on the board, such as Cordy Glenn, who would have made a bigger impact in 2012.

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

New England Patriots select Dont’a Hightower, Grade B

I’m not crazy about this pick for the New England Patriots, but I’ll give Bill Belichick the benefit of the doubt. I don’t see Dont’a Hightower as a great fit in New England’s defense, but I have to assume Belichick has a specific plan for him. It will be interesting to see where he lines up, either at inside or outside linebacker. Or maybe even at defensive end in some 4-3 sets.

I probably would have added a defensive back here, such as Harrison Smith, especially considering the fact that they already added Chandler Jones earlier in the round.

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

Pittsburgh Steelers select David DeCastro, Grade A

This is why the Pittsburgh Steelers are consistently among the elite teams in the NFL. They’re patient on draft day, and never out-think themselves. They probably didn’t expect to come away with David DeCastro in this draft, but he was simply too good to pass up here. It’s a great value pick and also fills a glaring hole on the offensive line.

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

Detroit Lions select Riley Reiff, Grade B-

This is a solid selection for the Detroit Lions, but I’m not sure it was the right choice. Riley Reiff isn’t a left tackle, which is fine late in the 1st round, but Gosder Cherlius is already entrenched at right tackle. And if the Lions plan on moving Reiff or Cherlius to guard, then why not just take David DeCastro? It’s a questionable choice, but Reiff does have decent value here.

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

Cleveland Browns select Brandon Weeden, Grade D

The Cleveland Browns got themselves a starting quarterback, but it sort of feels like a lateral move to me.

I can’t give them a failing grade because I do think Brandon Weeden can be a starter. However, he is much more of a developmental prospect than he’s been made out to be. Being 28 years old doesn’t make you NFL ready. He needs time to develop, and by the time he does, he’ll be 30 years old. Weeden’s ceiling, in my opinion, is only as a Chad Pennington-like middle-of-the-road starter.

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