Alright, well we’ve made it through the first two rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft. With the third round comes the first time that the Saints are on the board and due to the departure of Asomugha after the 2010 season, the Raiders sneak in right at the end of the 3rd round, with a compensatory pick. Without further ado, I round out my top 100 of the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Colts talked Reggie Wayne into returning but the rebuilding process has to involve surrounding Andrew Luck with some weapons. Criner is a big, physical receiver who has large hands that seemingly swallow up every ball thrown his way.
The Rams would like to get some depth at the running back position as well as find an heir to Stephen Jackson’s position. Wilson is a fierce runner and an absolute steal at the top of the 3rd round.
The Vikings have been trying to find an answer for the safety position ever since Darren Sharper went to the Saints. Tyler is one of the best safeties in the draft and a great value for Minnesota here.
Trumaine Johnson is one of the more underrated players in this draft. He’s a very physical cover corner who has a great ability to make a play on the ball.
The Buccaneers are in desperate need of running back help. In the 3rd round, they land one of the top running backs in the draft. Lamar Miller can be a threat for Tampa both on the ground and in the passing game.
The Redskins need some help at the tackle position and now that they have their QB of the future they must protect him. Schwartz is a tough tackle who is excellent in the run game and shows promise as a pass protector.
The Jaguars have a number of needs but solidifying the offensive line is a big one. Jacksonville lands one of the draft’s best centers here.
The Buffalo Bills have got to get someone opposite of Stevie Johnson and Marvin McNutt is their man. He’s a large target who has great separation skills and shovels for hands. Definitely a much needed addition to this receiving corps.
The best receiver left on the board at this point, Jenkins has good separation skills, great hands, and is unbelievably humble which may be a nice change of pace for the Dolphins who just traded away Brandon Marshall.
The Dolphins are back on the board again and with this pick they select Jared Crick. A player who can play the defensive end or tackle position, I believe if Crick has success in the NFL, it will be on the interior defensive line.
And so far the Kansas City Chiefs are having an excellent draft. Here in the 3rd round, they select the 3rd best pure nose tackle in the draft at a great value. This fills the one remaining void in a very young and potent defense.
Even though Seattle was able to extend Marshawn Lynch, they are still looking for depth at the position. Landing one of the top 5 running backs in the draft in the third round is a no-brainer for the Seahawks.
There are a lot of things I love about Zebrie Sanders and I believe he’s a steal in the third round. He’s a tough athletic tackle who excellent a pass protection. While his run blocking is lacking, this is a great addition to the Texans’ line
The Jets land Zach Brown in the 3rd round which allows them to commit Upshaw to the defensive end position. A superb tackler who is great against the run, Brown’s a perfect fit for Rex Ryan’s defense.
The Chargers definitely need some help in their secondary and Bentley is the best corner left on the board at this point. Bentley is a potential “ballhawk” type corner who could be a huge part of San Diego’s rebuilding efforts on the defensive side of things.
The Bears made a must-needed move in the offseason by trading for Jay Cutler’s all-time favorite target in Brandon Marshall but the Bears’ receiving corps still needs a lot of work. In Keshawn Martin, the Bears select a very athletic and skilled, but very raw wide receiver with a high ceiling.
The Cardinals were able to re-sign Early Doucet but they still have to bolster their wide receiving corps. Ryan Broyles was originally projected to be a late 1st round/early 2nd round pick. He has fallen due to injury but Arizona will take a chance on him here.
The Cowboys continue the much needed project of building up their offensive line by selecting Ben Jones here. Jones is a very instinctive and aware tackle who is a solid blocker in both the passing and running game. He is the best center left on the board and a necessary pick for Dallas here.
The Titans really need some help in their receiving corps. There are some good young weapons there in Kenny Britt and Jared Cook but this corps is lacking. Projected by many early on to be an early to mid second round pick, Toon is an excellent route runner with a great ability to make a play on the ball.
The Bengals are a young team on the rise who have some major concerns in their secondary. They have already addressed the cornerback position and here they find one of the top 5 safeties in the draft in Martin. He’s a great value this late in the 3rd round and the right pick for Cincy.
There are a lot of things I love about Brandon Boykin and I feel that he is vastly underrated. A lights out cornerback at Georgia, Boykin is great against the run, has the ability to make a play on the ball, and has phenomenal coverage skils. While many have questions about Boykin’s instincts and recognition skills, he represents a great value for the Falcons here and I believe he can be a successful corner in the NFL.
Most seasons, Chase Minnifield and Brandon Boykin would be top 40 draft picks but where they fall shows you how deep this cornerback class really is. Chase Minnifield is a cornerback with phenomenal ball skills and a very rare sense of awareness. He reads defenses well and plays exceptionally well against the run. Most of the questions surround Minnifield are in regards to his size and a knee injury that required surgery in January, 2012.
The Steelers need some help on the offensive line and Stephenson is best offensive tackle left on the board. In college, Stephenson was excellent in pass protection and pretty solid at opening up lanes for Oklahoma’s backs. The issue with Stephenson is his inconsistency and his lack of hustle. Doesn’t always block until the whistle but he has the tools to be a good lineman for Pittsburgh.
Many will be shocked that I have Nick Foles falling this far but after the run on quarterbacks in the 1st and 2nd rounds, there are a number of teams with much bigger needs. Now that Elway has shipped out Tebow and taken out a 3-5 year lease on Peyton Manning, the Broncos need depth at the quarterback position and somebody to develop behind Peyton. Foles is a large quarterback with a big arm who is a proven leader. While his pocket presence leaves much to be desired, he is an accurate quarterback with great athleticism who has a pass first mentality but can gain yards on the ground. Something tells me Elway will see a little bit of himself in Foles.
The Eagles have not had a safety since the departure of Brian Dawkins and any thought that the Eagles might move Asante Samuel to the safety position is out the window now that he’s been traded to Atlanta. Antonio Allen is the best safety on the board and fills a huge need for Philadelphia.
And for the first time all draft, we see the New Orleans Saints make a draft pick. The Saints largest need is overwhelmingly the outside linebacker position and Terrell Manning represents a good value at this point. He’s a solid tackler with good instincts who could help New Orleans’ defense.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you have to respect how well Green Bay drafts. The Packers are in need of some help in their backfield and Pead is the best available rusher. He’s a competitive runner with good vision who is solid between the tackles and adds much needed depth behind Starks.
It’s no secret that Baltimore needs to bolster their wide receiver corps and Joe Adams is a speedy dynamic receiver who could be dangerous in the slot. As an added bonus, Adams can be a threat in the return game and adds one more dimension to a very talented and dangerous Baltimore team.
The Miami of Ohio product is the best interior lineman available at this point and could go a long way to help solidify San Francisco’s offensive line. He’s excellent at pass protection and pretty good at run blocking as well. Most questions that surround Brooks are in regards to a shoulder injury he suffered in 2010.
The Patriots also have a number of needs on their interior offensive line and Joe Looney is the best available option. Bellichick knows the value of a strong offensive line and he must address that need here. He’s a big guard who blocks extremely well and has good instincts. Looney could’ve gone much higher but drops because a left foot injury held him out of 2012 workouts.
Josh Norman is an exceptional athlete with superb coverage skills who is great against the run and has Darren Sharper type potential as far as being a “ballhawk-type” corner are concerned. There are questions about his instincts and character but the Giants need help at the position and Norman is the best possible pick here.
The Raiders finally get to make a pick! Thanks to the departure of Nnamdi Asomugha last offseason Oakland receives the highest possible compensatory pick. While the team has a number of needs the overwhelming need is outside linebacker. Spence is a fierce outside linebacker who was great on 3rd down for Miami and is a solid tackler. He has excellent instincts and reads plays well. There are questions about his size and durability but he’s likely the pick Oakland makes here. But you never know – Oakland could feel the need to take yet another quarterback…
THE 4TH ROUND
And now, as an added bonus to round out the top 100 picks, the first five picks of the 4th round. A nice little bonus for all of you whose teams had just an awful season.
For all the St. Louis Rams fans who complained about a lack of receivers after having a tradition that boasted Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, you are welcome to rejoice. Tommy Streeter is my biggest sleeper at the wide receiver position and someone who I believe, in the right situation, could be a #1 wide receiver in this league. He is the perfect complement to Justin Blackmon. He is 6’5″ and has the big play ability to stretch the filed. While he has issues with separation, he is the type of guy you can throw a jump ball to and have confidence he’ll come down with it. He has great hands and long arms and is a great addition to this St. Louis team.
The Colts have always loved the tight end position and I don’t see that changing under Pagano. Orson Charles is the 3rd best tight end in the draft and a necessary weapon for the Colts to add if Luck’s going to win any games.
The Vikings have to be excited to be getting Chris Cook back after some legal trouble but Cedric Griffin is gone and Antoine Winfield is getting older. Casey Hayward is a great value in the 4th round and fills a necessary need for Minnesota.
I don’t know how Brandon Thompson falls this far but he does and the Texans are here to snatch him up as a result of the DeMeco Ryans trade. Thompson is a violent player who is a perfect fit for Wade Phillips’ defense.
The Browns have a need at the inside linebacker position and will be thrilled to find Wagner available at the 100th overall pick. A superb tackler who plays well against the run, he’s an excellent pick for Cleveland at this point in the draft.
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Enjoy the Draft!