1st Pick Overall: Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Stanford
To say the least, Andrew Luck has extensively prodigious shoes to fill. As the Peyton Manning-Indianapolis Colts regime concluded in March, a new era has been born in Indy. Additionally, Luck has tremendous expectations. Young quarterbacks have been succeeding phenomenally as of late, so immense pressure has already fallen on his shoulders.
2nd Pick Overall: Washington Redskins (via St. Louis Rams): Robert Griffin III, Quarterback, Baylor
After years of subpar quarterback play, the Washington Redskins have finally solved the on going problem. They traded multiple first round picks plus a second to the St. Louis Rams to climb up this far, but RG3 should make the deal worth the price. The Redskins bolstered their roster this offseason also, and their team just got even better with the selection of this unique signal-caller.
3rd Pick Overall: Cleveland Browns (via Minnesota Vikings): Trent Richardson, Running Back, Alabama
Trent Richardson is a top-tier talent that will immediately boost the production of the Cleveland Browns’ lackluster offense. He is powerful, strong, fast, durable, and reliable. It was a great pick for the struggling Browns.
4th Pick Overall: Minnesota Vikings (via Cleveland Browns): Matt Kalil, Offensive Tackle, USC
The Minnesota Vikings desperately needed a sturdy pass blocker, and Matt Kalil brings that to the table. The Vikings drafted a quarterback in the first round last year (Christian Ponder), and have no choice but to protect him like no other.
5th Pick Overall: Jacksonville Jaguars (via Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State
The Jacksonville Jaguars selected quarterback Blaine Gabbert in the first round last year, but did not get the production they would like to see out of a signal caller drafted that high. The Jags, however, didn’t have playmaking wideouts, and that was a large part of the problem. Justin Blackmon will immediately change that.
6th Pick Overall: Dallas Cowboys (via Washington Redskins through St. Louis Rams): Morris Claiborne, Cornerback, LSU
The Dallas Cowboys decided to move up to select this special cornerback. According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Morris Claiborne “is expected to be Darrelle Revis-like.” Dallas needed pass coverage help, and with the selection of Claiborne, they fixed the glaring need at corner.
7th Pick Overall: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via Jacksonville Jaguars): Mark Barron, Safety, Alabama
Mark Barron’s stock has been rising very quickly, and is a tough, rugged defensive back that can thwart the run and cause passing problems for opposing quarterbacks. He’s a hard-hitting ballhawk, which is one fantastic combination.
8th Pick Overall: Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, Texas A&M
After last year’s quarterback struggle between Chad Henne and Matt Moore, the Miami Dolphins selected Ryan Tannehill, an inexperienced signal caller who used to play wide receiver. It’s a bit of a gamble, but it’s undoubtedly an improvement from last year’s quarterback shenanigans.
9th Pick Overall: Carolina Panthers: Luke Kuechly, Linebacker, Boston College
The Carolina Panthers now have a fantastic linebacker core, led by Jon Beason. Now with Kuechly, the Carolina defense is pretty darn good.
10th Pick Overall: Buffalo Bills: Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback, South Carolina
Stephon Gilmore is quite an athlete and has immense potential. He is a raw defensive back with some work cut out for him, but he will immediately benefit the Bills. He, like Barron, is a ballhawk. His stock rocketed right before the draft, also.
11th Pick Overall: Kansas City Chiefs: Dontari Poe, Nose Tackle, Memphis
Dontari Poe is a 346-pound monstrous force in the trenches. The KC Chiefs needed a interior defensive lineman very badly, and Poe will fill that hole. He is going to be a disruptive force at the next level.
12th Pick Overall: Philadelphia Eagles (via Seattle Seahawks): Fletcher Cox, Defensive Tackle, Mississippi State
The Philadelphia Eagles have expressed deep interest in this defensive tackle prospect, but they had to trade up to select him. The anchor had the talent to be a top ten pick, but multiple teams took a pass on Cox before the Eagles jumped up to acquire him.
13th Pick Overall: Arizona Cardinals: Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame
Michael Floyd, a big, strong wide receiver, will play across from Larry Fitzgerald, one of the league’s best wideouts to step foot on the gridiron. Floyd will take heaps of pressure off of LaFitz, and will be a reliable target for whoever quarterbacks the Arizona attack.
14th Pick Overall: St. Louis Rams (via Dallas Cowboys): Michael Brockers, Defensive Tackle, LSU
The St. Louis Rams needed help at this position, and Michael Brockers will immediately prove himself beneficial to this upcoming, young defense. They needed defensive back help, but cornerback Dre’ Kirkpatrick would have been a bit of a reach at this pick. Selecting Brockers was the right move by St. Louis.
15th Pick Overall: Seattle Seahawks: Bruce Irvin, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, West Virginia
First things first: Bruce Irvin in the first round alone is reach. He was a projected late-second round pick, but is a solid pass rusher. He is small, but Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks must know what they are doing because they rolled the dice with this massive gamble.
16th Pick Overall: New York Jets: Quinton Coples, Defensive End, UNC
Talk about a value pick! Coples was supposed to be a top ten pick, but he slid and the Rex Ryan-led New York Jets pounced on the pass rusher. They needed a defensive end very badly.
17th Pick Overall: Cincinnati Bengals (via Oakland Raiders): Dre’ Kirkpatrick, Cornerback, Alabama
The Cincinnati Bengals will end up loving this pick. Dre’ Kirkpatrick, despite some recent legal trouble, will be a fantastic defensive back in the next few years. He is big and effective in multiple coverage schemes.
18th Pick Overall: San Diego Chargers: Melvin Ingram, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, South Carolina
Despite being a tad undersized, Melvin Ingram is an athletic pass rusher that will immediately benefit the San Diego Chargers. In the AFC West, the Chargers will be playing Peyton Manning twice a year, so having multiple efficient pass rushers is more than a necessity.
19th Pick Overall: Chicago Bears: Shea McClellin, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Boise State
With Julius Peppers and now Shea McClellin, the Chicago Bears have one scary pass rushing combination. Peppers and McClellin will be a lethal combo that will shake up the NFL.
20th Pick Overall: Tennessee Titans: Kendall Wright, Wide Receiver, Baylor
The Tennessee Titans now have a blazingly fast wide receiver that will complement the rest of the Titans’ offense, which features RB Chris Johnson and WR Kenny Britt. He has phenomenal game speed.
21st Pick Overall: New England Patriots (via Cincinnati Bengals): Chandler Jones, Defensive End, Syracuse
In order to select Chandler Jones, the New England Patriots had to trade up with Cincinnati. Rather than trading out of the first like they normally do, the Pats decided to jump up and snag the defensive end.
22nd Pick Overall: Cleveland Browns (via Atlanta Falcons): Brandon Weeden, Quarterback, Oklahoma State
The Colt McCoy-Cleveland Brown era has come and gone. The Browns used their previously acquired first round pick to select a 28-year old gunslinger and former pro baseball player, Brandon Weeden. The new-look Browns’ offense may not be so lackluster after all.
23rd Pick Overall: Detroit Lions: Riley Reiff, Offensive Tackle, Iowa
This offensive tackle prospect has slid a lot. Reiff was projected to go somewhere around the tenth overall pick, so the Detroit Lions got a lot of value at this selection. The key here is protecting quarterback Matthew Stafford.
24th Pick Overall: Pittsburgh Steelers: David DeCastro, Offensive Guard, Stanford
The Pittsburgh Steelers lucked out here, and now will have much more offensive line stability. DeCastro will pave the way for RB Rashard Mendenhall and pass protect for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
25th Pick Overall: New England Patriots (via Denver Broncos): Dont’a Hightower, Linebacker, Alabama
The Patriots’ defensive resurgence continues. They traded up two first round picks to first get Chandler Jones and now Dont’a Hightower. Hightower will immediately be a factor in New England’s refreshed defense.
26th Pick Overall: Houston Texans: Whitney Mercilus, Defensive End, Illinois
After losing Mario Williams to the Bills via free agency, the Houston Texans gained a talented pass rusher. The Texans had a great defense last year, and want to build off of what they have meanwhile fill their current holes. The selection makes sense.
27th Pick Overall: Cincinnati Bengals (via New Orleans Saints through New England Patriots): Kevin Zeitler, Offensive Guard, Wisconsin
The Bengals have had a great draft thus far, as they have acquired extra picks and two immediate-starter plans. Kevin Zeitler will help anchor the offensive line and pave the way for the Cincinnati offense.
28th Pick Overall: Green Bay Packers: Nick Perry, Defensive End, USC
As the 2011 season concluded, it became evident that the Green Bay Packers needed another efficient pass rusher. Nick Perry will immediately benefit the Packers’ once dominant defense.
29th Pick Overall: Minnesota Vikings (via Baltimore Ravens): Harrison Smith, Safety, Notre Dame
The Minnesota Vikings have not had an elite safety for quite some time. They traded back into round one to select Harrison Smith, the 2012 NFL Draft’s second best safety.
30th Pick Overall: San Francisco 49ers: AJ Jenkins, Wide Receiver, Illinois
Yes, the San Francisco 49ers needed a wide receiver, but AJ Jenkins in the first round is a bit of a stretch. WR’s Alshon Jeffry, Stephen Hill, Rueben Randle, and Mohamed Sanu were all on the board. If they really wanted Jenkins, they should have traded out of the first.
31st Pick Overall: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via New England Patriots through Denver Broncos): Doug Martin, Running Back, Boise State
After failing to acquire Trent Richardson, the Bucs traded back into the first to bolster their offense by drafting running back Doug Martin out of Boise State. I have to say, the Buccaneers have had a magnificent draft thus far.
32nd Pick Overall: New York Giants: David Wilson, Running Back, Virginia Tech
The New York Giants lost RB Brandon Jacobs via free agency to the San Francisco Giants, but quickly made up for the loss. Solid pick for the G-Men.
5. New England Patriots
Defense, defense, defense. The Patriots selected two solid defensive players and efficiently used their two first round picks. Grade: A-
4. Cincinnati Bengals
While their picks may not be very popular, they racked up a few more by trading down meanwhile picked up an offensive lineman and a cornerback. Grade: A
3. Cleveland Browns
The Browns got an elite running back and their starting quarterback. In other words, they solidified their offense for the most part. Grade: A
2. Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III is one heck of a quarterback, and after a series of key offseason transactions, the Redskins should be off to the races pretty soon. Grade: A+
1. Indianapolis Colts
Anytime you get the “next John Elway”, you are undoubtedly a winner. As I previously mentioned, it’s a new era in Indianapolis. Andrew Luck is bound to kick it off in magnificent fashion: A+