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2012 NFL Draft Awards


By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
May 1, 2012


2012 NFL Draft Awards

With the 2012 NFL Draft in the books, it is only fair to dish out some awards for a job well done by a number of teams across the NFL. It also doesn't hurt to look at which teams may have made regrettable picks.

Pass along your thoughts on these awards and 2012 NFL Draft. I'll put together a mail bag that answers questions/comments sent via email draftcampbell@gmail.com or on Twitter @draftcampbell.



Best Value-Pick Round 1: Riley Reiff, OT, Lions

I'm really torn on this choice, but of the top value-picks in the first round, I think Reiff could be the player who has the biggest impact on his team making the postseason and potentially winning championships. For a long time, he was viewed as a top-16 pick. Entering the NFL Scouting Combine, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock had Reiff ranked ahead of Matt Kalil as the top offensive tackle prospect. Reiff had a draft stock fall that seemed more to do with nitpicking and over-analysis rather than legitimate criticisms.

Reiff walks into a good situation. More than people realize, the right team with veterans and quality coaches have a massive impact on whether a player pans out. The Lions have a good coaching staff and Reiff can learn from a veteran like Jeff Backus for a year before taking up the duties of protecting the blind side of franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford. Reiff also will be prepared well by practicing against Detroit's talented defensive linemen.

If Reiff plays well, the Lions should be a playoff and Super Bowl contender for the next 5-10 years. Finding a franchise left tackle was a critical need for Detroit, and to land that at pick No. 23 without trading up is tremendous value. An offensive lineman like Reiff could have a long career that has him playing well into his 30s while others in this draft class will long since be out of the league.

Honorable mentions: David DeCastro, G, Steelers (No. 24); Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, Chargers (No. 18); Nick Perry, DE/OLB, Packers (No. 28).

Best Value-Pick Day 2: Janoris Jenkins, CB, Rams

This is a really tough call. My other two finalists were Courtney Upshaw to the Ravens and Lavonte David to Tampa Bay. I think both players have pro bowls in their future for their respective teams if they are coached well. However, staying true to my board, I had Jenkins as the highest-rated player who was selected on the second day of the draft.

Jenkins is an elite cover corner who shut down Julio Jones and A.J. Green in multiple games. As a football player, Jenkins had the ranking of a high first-round pick on a par with the sixth-overall pick, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. If Jenkins stays out of trouble, he should give the Rams the value of landing an elite talent in the second round of the draft. You really can't do any better than that in terms of value in the NFL draft.

Honorable mentions: Coby Fleener, TE, Colts (Rd. 2); Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Ravens (Rd. 2); Amini Silatolu, G, Panthers (Rd. 2); Cordy Glenn, OT/G, Bills (Rd. 2); Jerel Worthy, DT, Packers (Rd. 2); Lavonte David, OLB, Buccaneers (Rd. 2); Devon Still, DT, Bengals (Rd. 2); Mohamed Sanu, WR, Bengals (Rd. 3); Brandon Thompson, DT, Bengals (Rd. 3).



Best Value-Pick Day 3: Bobby Massie, OT, Cardinals

The Cardinals landed a steal in Massie. He could be an instant starter at right tackle. Arizona badly needed help at the position, and to land a quality prospect like Massie in the fourth round is a steal. If the Cardinals had their second-round pick that was traded to the Eagles for Kevin Kolb and had used it on Massie, that still would have been a quality selection. Arizon is still going to need to acquire a left tackle in the years to come, but the team was able to upgrade its line in the fourth round last Saturday.

Honorable mentions: Alameda Ta'amu, DT, Steelers (Rd. 4); Ronnell Lewis, DE/OLB, Lions (Rd. 4); Brandon Boykin, CB, Eagles (Rd. 4); Jared Crick, DE/DT, Texans (Rd. 4); Josh Norman, CB, Panthers (Rd. 5); Marvin McNutt, WR, Eagles (Rd. 6); Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Patriots (Rd. 7); Andrew Datko, OT, Packers (Rd. 7).

Best Trade: Justin Blackmon, WR, Jaguars

General manager Gene Smith is rolling with Blaine Gabbert as his quarterback in 2012. If he plays well, Smith will probably stay as Jacksonville's general manager. If Gabbert plays like he did in 2011, then Smith will probably be a contributor for a TV network next draft season. He was able to swing a deal to get in front of the St. Louis Rams, so the Jaguars could land the top receiver available in Blackmon. He is a legitimate No.1 receiver who will do more to help Gabbert in 2012 than any other prospect in the draft.

Tampa Bay was desperate to move down and recoup the fourth-rounder it traded away for Luke Stocker in the 2011 draft. General manager Mark Dominik dropped the two spots for less than what the trade chart said the Buccaneers should get. Other deals in the top five to move down that were made by the Rams and Vikings saw those teams get more than what the trade chart advised. Smith was able to get his quarterback the best player possible, and Smith landed Blackmon at a discount. Thus, the best trade belongs to Jacksonville.

Honorable mentions: Tampa Bay moving up to No. 31; Minnesota moving down to No. 4; Baltimore moving down to No. 35.



Biggest Reach Round 1: Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB, Seahawks

This one is a no-brainer with the Seahawks taking Bruce Irvin. It definitely looks like the Seahawks have really been working the media hard, off the record, trying to get out there that other teams had Irvin as a first-rounder. However, Seattle's recent history with reaching for James Carpenter in 2011 is working against it. Irvin had a lot of character issues, aside from his shortcomings on the field. He was a one-trick-pony speed rusher for West Virginia.

It is hard to achieve sustained success in the NFL with a one-dimensional player. Irvin really was a fit for a 3-4 outside linebacker. Seattle runs a 4-3, so that adds to the project of fitting him into his NFL defense. It is hard to believe the claims that another team would have taken Irvin in the first round.

Honorable mentions: A.J. Jenkins, WR, 49ers (No. 30); Kevin Zeitler, G, Bengals (No. 27).

Biggest Reach Day 2: Bryan Anger, P, Jaguars

This is another no-brainer since the Jaguars took Bryan Anger with the 70th overall-pick. Jacksonville went 5-11 last year and needed to acquire talent throughout its roster. Taking a punter with a top-100 pick in any draft is questionable, but for a team that has a struggling young quarterback, it is incomprehensible. Unless you don't believe that the quarterback is going to be any good.

The Jaguars could have taken another big receiver in Mohamed Sanu, a speed receiver in T.Y. Hilton or a guard like Brandon Brooks to improve Gabbert's blocking. Anger has to have a career the equivalent of Shane Lechler to validate this draft pick and that is a massive expectation.

Honorable mentions: Tavon Wilson, S, Patriots (Rd. 2); Ryan Broyles, WR, Lions (Rd. 2); Isaiah Pead, RB, Rams (Rd. 2); DeVier Posey, WR, Texans (Rd. 3); John Hughes, DT, Browns (Rd. 3); Akiem Hicks, DT, Saints (Rd. 3); Brandon Hardin, S, Bears (Rd. 3).



Best Undrafted Free Agent Signing: James Brown, OT, Bears

It was a tough call to go with Brown over the Eagles signing of running back Chris Polk, but Brown could turn into a long-term contributor with starting potential. Polk will only start over LeSean McCoy if the veteran gets injured, and Polk still has to beat out Dion Lewis. Brown was viewed as a potential third-round pick by many.

The Bears have needed tackle help for a while. It isn't out of the question for Brown to be a quality backup at left tackle who eventually pushes out the incumbent J'Marcus Webb (6-7, 333). While Brown (6-3, 307) is shorter and doesn't have Webb's strength, the Troy product Brown is a good athlete who may be better equipped to handle speed rushers. If Brown had been the Bears' third-round pick over Brandon Hardin, many would understand that selection and it wouldn't be getting ripped.

Chicago needs to improve its pass protection for Jay Cutler, and Brown could figure into that. Many undrafted offensive linemen have had good NFL careers, and it wouldn't be surprising if Brown is next in line.

Honorable mentions: Chris Polk, RB, Eagles; Mike Brewster, C, Jaguars; Leonard Johnson, CB, Buccaneers; Cody Johnson, FB, Buccaneers; Matt Reynolds, OT/G, Panthers; Ronald Leary, G, Cowboys; Gerell Robinson, WR, Broncos; Cliff Harris, CB, Eagles; Austin Davis, QB, Rams; Chase Minnfield, CB, Redskins; Vontaze Burfict, LB, Bengals; Dwight Jones, WR, Texans; Donnie Fletcher, CB, Jets; Marcus Forston, DT, Patriots; Jeff Fuller, WR, Dolphins; Coryell Judie, CB, Broncos; Philip Thomas, S, Eagles.

Best Draft Class: Pittsburgh Steelers

The popular choices for best draft classes have been Philadelphia and Tampa Bay. My choice for the draft class that I like the most belongs to the Steelers. They didn't have extra picks or a high draft slot that made picking easier, yet Pittsburgh put together a class that will provide both immediate and long-term success. First, the Steelers addressed their biggest need with guard David DeCastro. They, somehow, landed the best guard in the draft at pick No. 24, and it was a big surprise he didn't go in the top 15. DeCastro should form one of the best guard-center combos in the NFL with Maurkice Pouncey.

In the second round, Pittsburgh landed a player with a first-round skill set in left tackle Mike Adams. He showed motivation to get back on the Steelers' draft board. If Adams takes to Pittsburgh's good coaching, he could be their long-term starter at left tackle. The offensive line has been a weakness for the Steelers, but these two picks should finish off a young and talented line for years to come.

Pittsburgh got a playmaking linebacker in Sean Spence in round three. Even though he is undersized, Spence could be a replacement for James Farrior. The Steelers really scored in the fourth round when they landed their nose tackle of the future in Alameda Ta'amu. There were only three natural nose tackles in the draft: Ta'amu, Dontari Poe and Josh Chapman. Pittsburgh managed to land one of them at pick No. 109. Thus, the Steelers potentially added two offensive starters and two defensive starters, all at important positions.



Worst Draft Class: Seattle Seahawks

I won't belabor the point on Irvin, but the Seahawks had another reach with Russell Wilson in the third round. One team told me they had him as a middle third-day pick, and that seemed appropriate for a quarterback who is fighting the odds. Wilson is likely to be mostly a backup in his career.

Bobby Wagner was a decent second-round pick, but there were higher-rated players at positions of need available: DT Devon Still, DT Jerel Worthy and DE Vinny Curry. I think Seattle's best picks were fourth-rounders Robert Turbin and Jaye Howard, but they are slated for backup duty. The Seahawks' draft class reeks of reaches and situational players who really won't make a big impact in the short term and, possibly, the long term.

Top Draft Newcomer: Indianapolis Colts: Ryan Grigson

It is a tough call, but overall, I would have to go with Ryan Grigson with the Colts. Les Snead with the Rams is worth considering given St Louis' solid draft, but Snead had draft veterans like Kevin Demoff and Jeff Fisher as part of the Rams' decision-makers.

Grigson made some bold picks on the second day. He gave Andrew Luck two good security blankets in tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, and a deep threat slot receiver in T.Y. Hilton. Grigson also landed a nose tackle for his new 3-4 defense with Josh Chapman in the fifth round. The Allen pick especially took guts, but the Colts stayed true to their board and selected a second-round talent to start the third round.

Grigson didn't reach for players at other need positions. Over time that will lead to Indianapolis having a more talented football team. He had the tough task of remaking the worst team in the NFL. Furthermore, the Colts were, as a team, extremely old, too. Grigson is off to a nice start in Indianapolis.

Once again, pass along your thoughts on these awards and 2012 NFL Draft. I'll put together a mail bag that answers questions/comments sent via email draftcampbell@gmail.com or on Twitter @draftcampbell.




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Rama 01-03-2014 01:47 am xxx.xxx.xxx4.66 (total posts: 1)
2     2

Hey, you used to write wonderful, but the last sevreal posts have been kinda boringa1K I miss your super writings. Past few posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!
Chassidy 01-02-2014 06:32 pm xxx.xxx.xxx2.73 (total posts: 1)
2     2

Just what the doctor orreedd, thankity you!
Sebastian 01-02-2014 05:05 am xxx.xxx.xxx0.72 (total posts: 1)
2     2

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Kyle W. 12-20-2012 09:25 pm xxx.xxx.xxx4.20 (total posts: 1)
161     10

I bet you feel dumb as hell with the Seahawks getting the Worst Draft Class.
Temuan 06-15-2012 11:22 am xxx.xxx.xxx1.18 (total posts: 1)
17     18

Shoot, so that's that one suoppses.
FranktheTank 06-13-2012 02:10 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.228 (total posts: 1)
18     17

Best Value-Pick Day 3:
Lamar Miller, RB (Dolphins) - I think acquiring a 1st-Rd talent RB in the 4th Rd deserves an honorable mention.
Steve 05-07-2012 10:08 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.177 (total posts: 1)
27     22

How is Rueben Randal not at least an honorable mention for biggest Day 2 steal?
barnaby 05-07-2012 12:42 am xxx.xxx.xxx.240 (total posts: 1)
22     124

Leo, Cleo, Meo, Theo, Neo, Deo....Seahawks are still a 7-9 team this year, next year, the year after, the year after that, and the one after that...bad team in a bad division that is not relevant no team from this division has won a SB since...yeah its been that long
Misconceptions 05-03-2012 06:08 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.216 (total posts: 1)
24     21

@kevin l

Wall of text incoming.

#1: On the "rapidly aging defense"...This is just plain wrong and has been for the past 5 years people have been parroting it. Cam Heyward and Almeda Ta'amu are set up to replace Keisal and Hampton in a year or two, Jason Worilds showed last year that he could step in and replace Harrison while Spence and Sylvester have the potential to take over from Larry Foote after this season. The only CB on the roster over 26 is Ike Taylor and they just spent a 3rd and 4th last year on two promising young CBs last draft. The only place on defense they don't have replacements set up at are at the safety positions, and there wasn't a safety worth taking in the first 3 rounds after Harrison Smith and Mark Barron went off the board. The Steelers might have some old starters, but they're still starting for a reason, and as soon as one of the young guys starts to outplay them they'll be forced to the bench.

#2: Mike Adams nothing special? He's one of two (3 if you believe Riley Reiff can do it) LTs prospects in this draft. He's got great size and power and he uses his hands well. Prior to the combine drug test he was considered a consensus top 25 talent. What makes you believe that he's nothing special beyond your own opinion and the opinions of people after the failed drug test. As for the drug test...
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1170963-was-answering-mike-adams-plea-by-taking-him-in-2nd-the-right-move-for-steelers
Interesting article on why the Steelers took Adams even with the drug test. He reached out to the Steelers, and only the Steelers, to discuss his issues. prior to him coming to them he wasn't even on their draft board. If, after talking with him, Colbert and Tomlin believe that he's sincere and worth the risk then i'll give him the benefit of the doubt, the Steelers front office is pretty good at that sort of thing.

#3: What do you consider a premium pick? A first or second rounder? They took Sean Spence with a 3rd. Would you rather they reach on an inferior defensive player over a better offensive player who still fills need?
kevin l 05-03-2012 12:43 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.114 (total posts: 1)
24     26

Steelers took advantage of other teams moves (foolish as they may be) and were able to snatch up an excellent guard. But, they have gotten a lot of praise for Mike Adams, he fell, yes in part for the failed drug test, but also because hes nothing special. They have a rapidly aging defense that they did not address with their premium picks..

Very good looking draft for the Eagles, in addressing needs, improving talent and depth, and maximizing pick value. They use some spare picks to slide up and guranteed themselves Cox. Nice pick of Kendricks, followed by arguably their best tactical move of the draft With pick 51 they slid back 8 spots and re-couped the 4th rd pick from the Seattle deal. Eventually, that picked turned into Curry, and Boykins. Not too bad. Go back farther, the Eagles for a 2nd and 4th rd pick got Demeco Ryans, Curry, and Boykins, that is getting maximum value, and shows the improtance of having some extra picks to play with.
Drew 05-03-2012 01:25 am xxx.xxx.xxx8.20 (total posts: 1)
59     25

Quoted from your 2011 mock draft

"The best player available of those three aforementioned positions could arguably be Aldon Smith. Some may think this is a bit too early for Smith, but I couldn't disagree more. It's never too early to draft a potential double-digit sack artist. Pass-rushing defensive ends often go earlier than projected."

Irvin had 14 sacks his junior year as a pure pass rusher. His senior year they changed to a 3-5-5, where he played at 245lbs and still notched 8 sacks.

With the defensive scheme the Seahawks run, he will be groomed to replace Clemons after this season and run the Leo where he will just get after the QB while Big Red and Mebane plug up the run
Tom 05-03-2012 12:29 am xxx.xxx.xxx.124 (total posts: 1)
78     23

It will be a few years before we see who had the best draft class. That being said, Green Bay did it again. And just a few years ago some of their fans were calling for the head of their great GM.
Frank from PA 05-02-2012 09:34 pm xxx.xxx.xxx4.26 (total posts: 1)
20     48

Charlie,

All due respect but the best value of round 1/day 1 was Decastro at 24. I know what you are saying about Reiff but the Steelers outright STOLE Decastro at 24. There is no way in hell he should have fallen to 24. As Walt about Decastro- A++ best draft pick of the draft consideriing where they got him. Another "best" day 2 pick you omitted was Jonathon Martin to Miami at 42. He was mocked to the Dolphins and ARizona at picks 10 and 13 respectively. So two Stanford guys are omitted from your awards. Are you a "Cal" guy or something? LOL
JDay 05-02-2012 08:58 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.150 (total posts: 1)
19     60

Not even an honorable mention for Dallas trading up to get a guy this same site gushes over (e.g. shutdown corner, as in shuts down one side of the field, as in makes even good quarterbacks nervous, as in becomes a huge contributor towards wins, as in best defense player available in the draft)?

I'm not going to claim they had a great draft class overall, but it seem's to me giving up only a 2nd rounder for that was a fantastic deal.

yo boi 05-02-2012 07:46 pm xxx.xxx.xxx0.92 (total posts: 1)
23     24

colts hands down to me had the best draft class. i say that because while everyone else filled needs and wants, Colts drafted a entire building block to build their team on that will carry them into the LUCKy future



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