The 2012 NFL Draft is finally here and it’s going to last several days. Al Dannity looks at the important moves at the top and bottom of the draft as teams get ready for the 2012 season.
Who goes at #3? The decision by St. Louis to trade down with the Redskins appears to have been the start and end of major moves at the top of the draft. With the Colts openly proclaiming that they will draft Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III a lock to go to D.C., the real questions surround moves immediately after the two big quarterbacks.
Ryan Tannehill was briefly on track to go as high as #3 overall but with the Vikings not in the market and nobody looking to move up, he appears set to fall lower in the top 10. The former Texas A&M Aggie appears to be coveted by Miami and he might well still be sitting there for the Dolphins at #8. Morris Claiborne, a cornerback out of LSU, appears to be the best option available for Minnesota and he would be a major asset in a pass-happy division. The consensus pick however looks to be Matt Kalil, the top offensive tackle in the draft and an important asset for protecting Christian Ponder.
The rich get richer? The excellent Harvard Sports Analysis Collective has found that trading up in the NFL Draft rarely delivers value. With that in mind it’s worth taking note of what sort of assets will be available to those teams that made the playoffs in 2011. The Bengals, with the bonus of Oakland’s first round pick, could make an effective defense even stronger with Quinton Coples and Dre Kirkpatrick both projected as picks for Cincinnati. The Super Bowl champion Giants will look to add to their offensive options and the likes of Coby Fleener and Stephen Hill. The Patriots, who have perennial secondary problems, are unlikely to find sufficient value there for their two picks at #27 and #31. Look for improvements on the defensive line where the class looks pretty deep.
The other stories Canadian fans will be keeping an eye out for Tyrone Crawford, who is currently projected to be a fourth round pick. As the top prospect on the CFL Draft board, once Crawford is selected by a NFL franchise the move will send ripples north of the border.
Another trend to note will be the potential drafting of local quarterbacks. The Cardinals could see Brock Osweiler or Arizona State or Nick Foles as solid mid-round choices. Ryan Lindley of San Diego State would also prove a natural fit as back-up to Philip Rivers with the Chargers.
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