Wow was Round 1 an absolute mess or what? There was a record setting nine trades in this first round (two of which came before the draft even started). I knew a lot of trades were coming this year, but I did not expect anything like this. However, it was not the trades or even the players teams traded up to get that surprised me. Let’s go over the most baffling topics from Day 1 of the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Seahawks draft Bruce Irvin with the 15th overall pick:
|Can Bruce Irvin put his past behind him and find a way to|
be as productive in the NFL as he was at West Virginia?
Besides the sheer amount of trades on Day 1, this might have been the biggest surprise tonight. Irvin had been considered by many as possibly the best pure pass rusher in the draft, but at 240 pounds, no one really knew what position he would play at the next level. Irvin is not a three down player since he is questionable against the run and in coverage, so it will be hard for him to become a full time starter (not what you want to hear about a top 15 pick).
Most had considered Irvin a second or third round pick because of a ton of character concerns (he spent two weeks in jail for breaking into a drug dealer’s house), so taking him in the first half of Round 1 made little to no sense. Pete Carroll did something similar last season in over drafting two offensive linemen, so I guess I should not be so surprised.
Irvin will be used in a similar role as Defensive Rookie of the Year Von Miller in Denver, but I cannot see him having even close to the type of season Miller had last year, or even being on the field as often as Miller was due to his limitations. This is the type of bold move that tends to get coaches fired. Luckily for Carroll, he is good friends with the Seahawks’ owner so he has a long leash. However, that leash might get tested this season if Carroll’s picks don’t start panning out.
The Titans get offensive with Kendall Wright:
|Drafting Kendall Wright seemed like a bit of a stretch at 20,|
but maybe the Titans realized that to stay competitive in
this pass happy league, they needed to stock pile weapons.
This is a team that lost a ton of talent on defense in free agency. With so many great defensive line prospects left on the board, it was shocking to see them take an undersized speed receiver. Kenny Britt is recovering from an injury, but when healthy, he is an explosive big receiver. Nate Washington had a good year filling in for Britt and is a speed receiver similar to Wright. Even third year player Damian Williams showed potential as a slot receiver and has the potential to be a decent number two receiver.
So why would they add a receiver when they have so many other needs? Some will say that Wright has added value because he can return kickoffs and punts. However, Marc Mariani fills that role for the Titans and even went to the Pro Bowl as a returner in his rookie season (2010). So that does not add much value for the Titans.
Even if the Titans are afraid Britt will not fully recover from his injury, Wright does not add much of a new dimension to the offense because of his similarities to Washington. Why not trade down and get a big receiver like Stephen Hill if you wanted to add a receiver?
Michael Irvin called this pick right before the draft started, so maybe there is more going on in Tennessee than I cannot see. However, this was one of the picks that really stood out to me.
The free fall of offensive lineman:
|Tackles Matt Kalil and Riley Reiff were the top two|
offensive lineman taken in the draft, yet somehow almost
20 picks separated the two of them on draft day. Why?
After Matt Kalil got snapped up by the Vikings with the fourth overall pick, we did not see an offensive lineman come off the board until 23 to the Lions. Riley Reiff was considered a top ten pick, but fell to the Lions at 23. David DeCastro was waiting there for the Steelers at 24 despite being considered one of the best guard prospects in years. Jonathan Martin, Cordy Glenn, Mike Adams, and Peter Konz were all considered to be first round talent, yet none of them heard their names called on Day 1.
With the NFL becoming a passing league, it is hard to believe that the guys who keep the quarterbacks off the ground would be devalued. That leads me to believe that these players simply are not all that talented. Reiff is a good prospect, but many think his arms are too short to play left tackle and is a better fit on the right side. Since left tackles are in much higher demand than right tackles, that pushed him down. Martin also looks to be a better fit on the right side and Glenn might be best suited to play guard. Adams fell out of the first round due to his poor work ethic and character concerns.
The one thing that all of these prospects besides Adams have in common is that they all seem to be better run blockers than pass blockers. So maybe it is not that these guys are not talented, but just old school players who do not fit what teams are looking for right now. With less of an emphasis on the run game, mauling run blockers have lost a lot of appeal.
I think there will be a run on these players at the start of the second round because a lot of teams at the top of the draft have offensive line issues. While these guys might have fallen out of the first round, the early run on these players might actually push up some lineman who were thought to be later round talents into rounds two and three. It should be an interesting Day 2.