4 Winners: New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears, St. Louis Rams
New York Jets
What to do you do when you have a dominating defensive line? The Jets draft what some consider the best defensive player in the draft in DT Leonard Williams. The Jets are building one of the best defensive units because of their strong D-line. Williams brings exceptional power and athleticism. He should end his career with several Pro Bowl selections and should follow in the same footsteps as Kevin Williams or teammate Sheldon Richardson. The Jets were also able to add weapons for quarterback Geno Smith when Ohio State wide out Devin Smith came off the board. Smith’s ability to track the deep ball while it is in the air is outstanding. He has a 4.4 forty time so he will be able to take the top off the defense. The addition of Smith can help relieve the pressure on Eric Decker. The Jets have to hope Decker’s production can increase and meet the monetary value on his contract. As long as the Jets are able to keep quarterback Bryce Petty on the bench for the near future, he will be able to develop and be a success for being drafted in the fourth round.
The Bengals saw a crucial need for lineman and were able to address this with two athletic tackles. First is tackle Cedric Oghuehi from Texas A&M who was selected 21st overall. Fellow tackle Jake Fisher will be able to use his exceptional quickness to keep faster edge rushers from hurrying Andy Dalton. Speaking of Andy Dalton, he now has the protect and he has the offensive pieces to finally break out. If he can’t this season, Dalton will prove he is unable to lead a team deep in the playoffs. My favorite pick for the Bengals was Paul Dawson. This headache of a player causes the brain to hurt of his opponents with crushing hits and his coaches for constantly showing up late for meeting or busses. The last name to remember is Jermaine Gresham’s replacement at tight end. TE Tyler Kroft has drawn comparisons to Travis Kelce because of the way he attacks the ball in the air.
General manager Ryan Pace fell in love with Kevin White because of his size and speed. White is great at high pointing the ball which makes him a valuable option in the red zone across from Alshon Jeffery. While he lacks the polish that Amari Cooper has, White has exceptional speed that he showed while running a 4.35 forty at the combine. The Bears were also able to solidify a strong defensive tackle in the second round by selecting NT Eddie Goldman. This was a massive need for the Bears because they have not been able to stop the run up the middle. A common concern surrounding the Bears is the need for a replacement for Matt Forte. When the Bears selected Jeremy Langford from Indiana they knew they solidified a backup running back for 2015. Langford is similar to Forte with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
St. Louis Rams
While I may be one of the few with the Rams as major winners in the draft I stand strongly by this opinion. The Rams were able to walk away from the draft with a smile because they selected their number one prospect in running back Todd Gurley. The Georgia back gives the Rams something Jeff Fisher has been searching for since he arrived in 2012. He is elusive and powerful with every step he takes. The only problem is he can only step with one foot right now because he tore his ACL on November 15th. The stat that stands out most when looking over Gurley’s numbers from Georgia is that he averaged 7.4 yards per carry. Having Gurley as the featured back helps newly acquired Nick Foles by allowing the offense to be run heavy while Foles becomes comfortable with the offense. Furthermore, to ensure the running game will be dominant, Fisher found himself a major mauler in offensive tackle Rob Havenstein from Wisconsin. Havenstein stands in at 6’7″ 320 pounds. Although the main reason I love the pick is because he can dominate in the running game, he also posses the leadership the offensive line will need because they have such little game experience. The Rams addressed the offensive line with 4 selections out of 9. Jeff Fisher took a gamble by selecting quarterback Sean Mannion with the 89th pick overall. The signal caller from Oregon State wowed scouts during the workouts before the draft. Several scouts said he threw better than Marcus Mariota when they made their way through Oregon. While I am not in any way saying Mannion is better than Mariota but he has gained confidence late in his career. He will have time to develop behind Foles. The Rams must rely on their coaching to help ensure the offensive line can create a pocket for Foles on a consistent basis.
Want an employee that has failed a drug test, had academic problems, shows up late to meetings, and being dismissed from his previous team? This is the off the field resume of Washington cornerback Marcus Peters. The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Peters with the 18th pick. The Chiefs hope this baggage does not come back to haunt them. Peters, who many would have considered a top 10 pick if not for these issues must have wowed head coach Andy Reid and GM John Dorsey during his interviews. Too be honest, I trust Andy Reid. The Chiefs definitely did their background checks and see Peters as someone that can be productive without causing problems. The alarming aspect to his rap sheet in my eyes is the problems he had with the coaching staff and other Washington teammates. These off the field antics had Peters completely removed from several teams draft board but all it takes is one team to see past his issues to make his dream of playing in the NFL come true.
In 34 games for UW, Peters had 11 interceptions and 129 tackles. The cornerback allowed just 38.1 percent of the passes against him to be completed. Peters was elected to the second-team All-Pac-12 in 2013.Peters has truly prototype size for the position. He competes hard during his battles in press-man coverage and tries to intimidate receivers with his physicality. He will be active and disruptive when ball is in the air and although this may draw penalties, the Chiefs want Peters to keep his competitive edge. He is at his best when contesting catches and often times comes away the winner on 50/50 throws. Unlike other corners in this years draft, Marcus is able to step up and make open field tackles against stronger running backs. The biggest weakness in his game is the fact that he gets grabs receivers off the line when he is beaten which will draw flags from officials in the NFL.
There have been several fitting comparisons for Marcus Peters such as Jason McCourty, but I feel he has the potential to have a similar, if not better career than Aqib Talib. Overall I would rate the Chiefs pick as a B. The reasoning behind this pick is because it filled a need with exceptional talent. I am scared away from calling it an A because of his past but the pick has the boom or bust feeling. During the next two rounds the Chiefs have to address their glaring issue at wide receiver. I hope John Dorsey has some type of plan to draft WR Jaelen Strong out of Arizona State because he fits perfectly with what the Chiefs try to do in the passing game. Strong would come in and be a younger and better Dwayne Bowe. NFL.com has Bowe as their NFL player comparison for Jaelen Strong because both guys use their body to shield the ball from the defender. Neither player creates great separation but both win 50-50 balls. If the Chiefs can not land Strong, I hope they aim to cover their holes of linebacker and center. For linebacker I desire Phil Dawson because of the tenacity he would bring to the Chiefs. Like Derrick Johnson, Dawson has a nose for the ball but can find himself being caught cheating in play action.
The quarterback is the most important position in the NFL and the 2013 NFL draft quarterback class will be special. This draft class may not have as good of a prospect as Andrew Luck, but it could have as many as 6 first round picks.
Saint Louis Rams – The Rams had five picks in the first 3 rounds and picked quality players at each pick. They started in round 1 with Michael Brockers, who will be a great run stuffer for the Rams. Next, they drafted Brain Quick, a big wide receiver out of Appalachain State who will help out Sam Bradford. They drafted two cornerbacks in Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson, both have the skills to be a shut down corner in the NFL. Also, they drafted running back Isaih Pead, who should be a good rotational back for the Rams.
Philidelphia Eagles – The Eagels have had an all around good draft. They have addressed their pass rush situation by drafting Fletcher Cox and Vinny Curry. Also, they drafted Mychal Kendricks who is the most athletic linebacker in the draft. He should be an immediate starter this year. Lastly, they drafted quarterback Nick Foles who they will develop at quarterback behind Michael Vick. Also, this pick insures they will have a good back up in case MIchael Vick can’t make it through the entire season.
Indianpoils Colts – The Colts drafted Andrew Luck, the best prospect in this draft, but what they did on day 2 really impresses me. They drafted 2 tight ends in Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, which should really help Andrew Luck. Next, they drafted T.Y. Hilton who is a slot wide receiver. When the ball is in his hands, he has the potential to score a touchdown.
Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks have reached on every single pick so far. They drafted Bruce Irvin who is there first round pick, but should have been picked in the 2nd round. They then drafted Bobby Wagner, who I felt should have been picked in the 3rd or 4th round. Finally they drafted Russel Wilson, the 5’10” quarterback and he probably won’t succeed because of his height.
Oakland Raiders – The Raiders had one pick at the end of the 3rd round and picked a 25 year old offensive guard who probably should have gone in the 5th round. I’m not bashing the pick of Tony Bergstom, but I am bashing them for only having one pick in the first 3 rounds.
New Orleans Saints – The Saints only had one pick in the first 3 rounds and drafted Akiem Hicks. Hicks is a high upside defensive tackle who could become a great defensive tackle in the NFL. The Saints are a loser, because they too only had 1 pick in the first 3 rounds.
Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jaguars drafted a great wide receiver in Justin Blackmon. In the second round, they drafted Andre Branch at defensive end, but I am a huge fan of him. However, there 3rd round pick was a real head scratcher; They drafted Bryan Anger a punter who is the highest punter drafted since 1995. Bryan Anger could have been drafted in the 7th round.
Best player: Of course Andrew Luck and RG3 are rare talents that only come along every decade or so, but outside of those two players, I believe Trent Richardson has the chance to be a truly special player in the NFL. He’s arguably the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson. He runs with power, speed, and agility. He’s also a receiving threat out of the backfield. The team that ends up with Richardson will reap the benefits.
Biggest bust: Obviously depending on where they are selected, I believe Ryan Tannehill and Dontar’i Powe have the highest probabilities of being deemed “busts.” While Tannehill does have the potential to become a productive quarterback at the next level, he needs a few years to ride the pine and develop more as a quarterback. Powe is what we call a “combine warrior.” He performed unbelievably well at the combine, but his production in college was lacking. He could be the next Vince Wilfork, or the next Vernon Gholston.
Sleeper: As an avid Notre Dame fan, I watched most of the Irish’s game this past season, and while Michael Floyd is obviously a first round pick, a player I think could be a very solid contributor at the next level outside the first round is safety Harrison Smith. Smith has ideal size for the safety position and has good instincts. He’s a high character guy and was the captain of the Irish defense for 3 years.
Chiefs pick: If Kansas City doesn’t trade down, I think the pick at 11 will be David DeCastro. DeCastro is possibly the best guard prospect since Steve Hutchinson, and with the addition of DeCastro, the Chiefs could have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. With a healthy Jamaal Charles and a determined Peyton Hillis, the Chiefs would be well on their way to leading the league in rushing as they did in their playoff season of 2010.
Bust player: Ryan Tannehill from Texas A&M has by far the most bust potential. First, Tannehill has only started QB for only 19 games. Tannehill ran a pro-style, West Coast offense under Mike Sherman, a former NFL head coach. Tannehill has mobility, he was athletic enough to play wide receiver during his first two seasons at Texas A&M. However, Tannehill’s lack of experience as a starting quarterback could make it difficult for him to have instant impact. Teams are going to jump on the bandwagon of Tannehill because of the need for a franchise quarterback. He is not the answer!
Sleeper: Janoris Jenkins is the best at man coverage of all cornerbacks in this draft class. While he may not be the best corner, he will surprise people if he can stay on the field. After being labeled as a pothead at the University of Florida, Jenkins has had to battle to gain a good reputation. While he has yet to gain a good reputation, he is an elite corner. If drafted by the right team, Jenkins can have the same effect Joe Haden had with the Cleveland Browns.
Chiefs Pick: Luke Kuechly, Line backer from Boston College. Kuechly is the best linebacker in this draft class. He has extremely great instincts that help stuffing the run. At Boston College, he managed to record over 200 tackles his senior season. With one of the Chief’s needs being inside linebacker, Kuechly can step in and contribute immediately. He would an outstanding fit in the Chiefs system because of his great flow to the ball.
Bust Player: Dontari Poe has the biggest but potential of and player in the 2012 NFL draft. Dontari has bust potential because he didn’t dominate in a weak C-USA conference. Also, Dontari before the combine was considered a fringe first round pick and after the combine he was considered a top ten pick. Dontari dominated the combine measuring at 350 and running his 40 yard dash in the 4.9’s and showed amazing athleticism for a man his size. Another concerning part of Dontari’s game is his hot and cold motor he shows on the field. Dontari will often flash brilliance one play and then for the next ten plays he will disappear. However, Dontari has the highest upside of any player in the draft, but with high reward also comes high risk.
Sleeper Pick: My sleeper of this draft is Beau Reliford a tight end from Florida State. Beau is a former basketball player who actually came to Florida State on a duel sport scholarship. Beau is a big measuring in 6’5’’ 256 pounds and is incredibly athletic. Beau shows a good burst off the line of scrimmage and is a good pass catcher. The only problem with Beau is he isn’t a very good blocker. However, Beau shows great potential as a blocker with a big frame and is strong, but sometimes he plays soft and gets dominated at the point of attack. If Beau is able to become a good in-line blocker he could become one of the better tight ends in the NFL which isn’t bad for a 5th or 6th round draft pick.
Chiefs Pick: In my eyes the Chiefs should play it safe and draft David DeCastro. David is the best guard prospect in the last 10 years. David projects as a starting NFL guard who will be a pro bowler for many years to come. If the Chiefs draft DeCastro, the interior of their line will be set for the next 10 years. Also, David fills a position of need and should immediately start in front of Ryan Lilja. He will help to Chiefs to regain their potent running attack from 2010.
NFL Big Board 2012
- Andrew Luck. QB Stanford.
- Robert Griffen III QB.Baylor.
- Matt Kalil OT USC
- Trent Richardson RB Alabama
- Morris Claiborne CB LSU
- Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma State
- Fletcher Cox DT Mississippi State
- Luke Kuechly LB Boston College
- Melvin Ingram DE/OLB South Carolina
- Michael Floyd WR Notre Dame
- Quinton Coples DE North Carolina
- Mark Barron S Alabama
- Chandler Jones DE Syracuse
- David DeCastro OG Stanford
- Riley Reiff OT Iowa
- Ryan Tannehill QB Texas A&M
- Dont’a Hightower ILB Alabama
- Stephon Gilmore CB South Carolina
- Jerel Worthy DT Michigan State
- Kendall Wright WR Baylor
- Cordy Glenn OT/G Georgia
- Michael Brockers DT LSU
- Dontari Poe DT Memphis
- Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama
- Jenoris Jenkins CB North Alabama
- Shea Mcclellin DE/OLB Boise State
- Courtney Upshaw OLB Alabama
- Harrison Smith S Notre Dame
- Doug Martin RB Boise State
- Jonathon Martin OT Stanford
- Coby Fleener TE Stanford
- Mike Adams OT Ohio State