1. My mind is spinning from all of those trades. There were eight in the first round. Expect this every year until further notice because of the new CBA salary structure. Teams used to be scared of moving in the top 10 because of all the guaranteed money that had to be used on unknown commodities. That is no longer the case.
2. Speaking of trades, the Jaguars have been smitten with Justin Blackmon throughout this entire draft process, so their move up for him didn't surprise. But what would they have done if they stood pat at No. 7? I've been told by a reliable source that they would have selected Melvin Ingram. So, for all of you who had Ingram in your mocks at No. 7, you can curse this new draft process for ruining your mock. Though you have to admit, it was pretty fun.
3. Another instance in which a popular mock pick was ruined: The Steelers reportedly wanted to take Dont'a Hightower, but were just too intrigued by David DeCastro, who was still somehow on the board. It's amazing how smart organizations like the Steelers can constantly benefit from inept franchises. DeCastro should have been chosen at No. 11, or the early teens at the latest. It doesn't matter that he's a guard; he's going to be the top player at his position over the next decade. Steeler fans have to be thrilled right now.
4. One such inept franchise is Seattle. What the hell is Pete Carroll doing? James Carpenter was a horrific reach at No. 25 last year, but Bruce Irvin was a billion times worse. He's just an athlete playing football, and he can only do one thing on the field. Plus, he was arrested for robbery earlier in his life and recently was arrested again for ruining public property. There's no way he should have gone in the top four rounds. Check out my 2012 NFL Draft Grades because I gave Seattle the worst grade in the history of this Web site.
Oh, and check out this related e-mail I received: "Next year, remember Pete Carroll and John Schneider likes exceptional speed and/or height. They are like Al Davis."
Maybe they aren't like Al Davis. Maybe they ARE Al Davis. No, wait. They definitely are Al Davis. The man has found a new host body. Bruce... Irvin... is a... great... playa...
5. Speaking of the Seahawks, the next time I hear Michael Lombardi reporting that a surprise prospect is getting into a helicopter, I'll remember to mock that player to Seattle. What the hell was the helicopter for, anyway? Were they scared that Irvin was going to rob a cab driver and then spray paint his vehicle?
6. St. Louis is another NFC West team that screwed up. The Rams could have drafted Morris Claiborne at No. 6. They could have jumped ahead of Arizona after moving down to No. 14 to obtain Michael Floyd. Instead, they wound up with Michael Brockers, an extremely raw run-stuffer with little playing experience. Ugh. They do know they have this guy named Sam Bradford, and that he only has Steve Smith and Danny Amendola to throw to, right?
I like the idea of moving down and getting extra picks, but you have to draft talent at some point.
7. What is it with teams west of the Mississippi? I don't quite understand the Broncos' strategy. Trading down is nice, but Peyton Manning's skills are eroding. He wants to win now. Shouldn't Denver have traded up instead of down to secure a skilled player who can help them right away? But what do I know? I'm a buffoon, according to Woody Paige.
8. My 2012 NFL Mock Draft results were frustrating. I think I did better than some major publications on the Huddle Report, but I would have gotten 10-11 picks correct if I had just stuck with my Tuesday version. On the bright side, I went a perfect 32-for-32 in my 2012 NFL Not Draft. Oh, and I also find it amusing that Emmitt Smith had five picks correct.
9. I'd like to apologize for the Web site being slow Thursday evening. My Web host explained the problem to me. I didn't quite understand what he was saying, but he assured me the problem would be fixed going forward.
Here are the top 2012 NFL Draft Prospects still available per the consensus draft board:
21. Cordy Glenn, G/OT, Georgia
26. Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
28. Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
29. Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
31. Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
33. Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
34. Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
35. Devon Still, DT, Penn State
36. Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
37. Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska
38. Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut
39. Amini Silatolu, G/OT, Midwestern State
41. Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
46. Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
47. Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss
48. Mychal Kendricks, ILB, California
49. Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
50. Derek Wolfe, DT, Cincinnati
2012 NFL Draft Biggest Round 1 Reaches:
Here were the worst players drafted in Round 1, per the consensus draft board:
64. A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois (49ers)
61. Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB, West Virginia (Seahawks)
45. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State (Browns)
43. David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech (Giants)
42. Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin (Bengals)
I've received word that Jenkins was a target of Jacksonville's - in the THIRD round. It's also worth noting that except for the Giants, these teams have a combined two playoff victories in the past four years.
WalterFootball.com was present at One Buc Place to see the drama unfold as Tampa Bay made two surprising picks. The Bucs traded down from the fifth pick to the seventh. That cost them a shot at LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. After missing out on the six prospects that were considered elite, the Bucs took another highly coveted prospect in Alabama safety Mark Barron. General manager Mark Dominik said that Barron was in consideration at the fifth pick.
"He was in mind at five. It's something that coach and I spent a lot of time going over on the phone prior to the draft. All I try to do is call around to every general manager in the National Football League and try to figure out and anticipate what trades could happen and what we could do. I certainly spent some time on the phone with Gene Smith prior to the draft to see if there was a possibility. We targeted Mark Barron at five, but felt that there was a chance to move back a bit and still get the guy we wanted. We were actually a little nervous when the Dallas Cowboys traded to six, but we're very excited and we're excited for our guy and that we was there, and we're happy to get a fourth-round pick that we think is going to be another very valuable member to this football team in this draft class. But to answer your question at five, we're excited about our value with Mark Barron."
Barron broke out in 2009 with a dynamite sophomore season, making seven interceptions, 76 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss and 11 passes broken up. He had 75 tackles, three interceptions, two sacks and a forced fumble as a junior. Barron had some coverage lapses in 2010 that knocked his stock down some, but he built it back up by playing extremely well as a senior. Barron had 68 tackles (43 solo) with five passes broken up, five tackles for a loss and two interceptions in 2011.
Dominik said the Bucs did not plan or attempt to move up in the draft for running back Trent Richardson, even though that was a popular rumor. New Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano said that Barron is a perfect scheme fit.
"We spent a heck of a lot of time talking about a lot of prospects. My being in those meetings for the first time as a head coach, I can't tell you how impressed I am with the personnel people and how hard they work and the information they gather. I am really excited about this player. I think he fits into what we do defensively perfectly. You couldn't draw it up better. As Mark said, we spent hours and hours watching tape and making sure. But I can tell you the first video I watched of Mark Barron, I thought I had selected his best game. This guy he plays at a high level, even though he plays in arguably the best football conference in the land. I thought he was a dominant player at his position. I can't tell you how excited I am to get him down here. I was talking to him on the phone. He's fired up. He said, coach, can you send me a playbook. I told him he's going to be down here tomorrow and I'll get you a playbook. I promise you. That's the kind of guy he is. He lives it, he loves it, he studies it. I can't wait to coach him."
The Bucs came back to grab another first-rounder with running back Doug Martin. The New York Giants were expected to take Martin with the final pick, but Tampa Bay moved up in a trade with the Denver Broncos. Dominik talked about landing Martin and how he adds to the roster.
"We're excited upstairs. There was a guy that we targeted that we had a lot of interest in. There were a couple of reasons we made that trade for Doug Martin. Number one is who he is. He' a great young man and a team leader at Boise State, running a fantastic football program. He was voted team captain and is a productive football player, a guy that can play all three downs for us and work with LeGarrette Blount, and I'll let coach deal with all that stuff. He's a guy that we really think complements Blount. As for us again, we talk about guys that great strength. He's got good explosion numbers, he catches the ball really well, and when you watch him on tape, that's all the exciting things about it.
"For us, as an organization there were also a couple of reasons I thought the trade made sense. One, we wanted to get a back in this year's draft and we thought he was a very complete back. Number two, we decided to move up to the second round into the first round. To do that, not only do you get a four-year deal on a contract, but you end up with a five-year deal on a first round pick. That's important to me because that's extra value that you get that sometimes isn't seen. The other thing is we just took the fourth we acquired when we made the trade for Mark Barron, moving from the top of the fourth to the bottom of the fourth, so we didn't lose a fourth-round pick, we just moved down in the fourth. I felt like that was good value too so we could continue to have more selections in this draft. We obviously have five more selections to go and a lot of work ahead of us and an excited two more days to go."
Dominik said that in the Bucs opinion, Martin is comparable to the draft's top back, Trent Richardson.
"I think that they're close, but Richardson's a special back. We feel very good about Doug Martin, so I'm not surprised he's the second running back off the board. Obviously we made him the second running back off the board, but I also think he was garnering that grade. I think if you talk to scouts around the National Football League, I think if you talk to the coaches at Boise State and I think if you talk to his teammates you'll understand why no one is really surprised he's a first-round running back in the National Football League."
Schiano said that he believes Martin is similar to his former Rutgers running back Ray Rice.
"I do see some of it. I do. I see a guy that's an incredible competitor and runs hard and plays hard. So there's probably some of that. We all have our guys that we coached that you like."
Tampa Bay turned out to be one of the most active teams in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and they added two players that they believe will establish a new identity on offense and defense.
Jacob Hollister of Wyoming is one heck of a TE. Great run blocker (one of the reasons that Hill was so successful). And he showed his great hands the last half of the season. He will be a diamond draft pick or an amazing UDFA for some team. Especially since he has been working in a pro style O.