Top 10 surprises from Round One
The first round of the 2012 NFL Draft is in the books and there were plenty of surprises. Here is a recap of the 10 biggest.
The action was quick and chaotic and boasted plenty of surprises. In descending order, here is a recap of the ten biggest surprises of the night.
10. Ten trades in the first round: A year ago there were just four trades in the first round. This year teams proved that with an entire off-season in which to converse and the significantly lower cap implications, teams were willing to move up and down the draft board to take "their guy" where they wanted.
9. Cleveland Browns trades up to select Trent Richardson: In the weeks leading up to the draft it had been thought that Browns might not be willing to invest the No. 4 overall pick in a running back... even one as good as Richardson. As it turned out, they had to invest even more as the club obviously was convinced St. Louis had made a deal with another team and if the Browns didn't flip picks, they'd lose the talented runner. What made the deal even more surprising was the fact that it actually occurred prior to the draft beginning.
8. Dallas Cowboys Cowboys trade up for Morris Claiborne: The Cowboys have been linked to an SEC defensive back as the draft approached but it was with Alabama safety Mark Barron rather than a cornerback. With the Cowboys obviously gearing up to defend the three and four receivers sets taking over the NFL, the addition of Claiborne, along with free agent addition Brandon Carr gives Dallas a secondary that could be frightening.
7. New York Jets select Quinton Coples at No. 16: The Jets were expected to address their rather marginal pass rush but the focus had appeared to be on outside linebackers. The Jets could be looking to use Coples similarly to how the Houston Texans utilized JJ Watt.
6. SEC stars Glenn, Upshaw slip out of first round: Of NFLDraftScout.com's best available players remaining, SEC standouts Cordy Glenn and Courtney Upshaw stand out. Glenn started all four years of his career while with the Bulldogs, demonstrating the power to be a dominant guard and the length and athleticism to potentially play tackle in the NFL, as well. Upshaw was simply the Defensive MVP of both of Alabama's last two bowl wins, including last year's BCS title game.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers take Mark Barron at No. 7: Tampa Bay made the first real surprising pick of the draft with Barron at No. 7. I'm higher on Barron than most so I don't have a problem with the pick but considering that the Bucs needs at cornerback, it was surprising to see the team look so early another option in the secondary.
4. Seattle Seahawks take Bruce Irvin at No. 15: The Seahawks pulled one of the real stunners of the draft with the No. 15 overall pick by selecting West Virginia pass rusher Bruce Irvin. While Irvin was a chic pick to sneak into the end of the first round, it had been assumed that it would be a 3-4 club that selected him, utilizing him at outside linebacker. The pick could pay off for Seattle as the team needed a pure pass rusher and Pete Carroll, having recruited Irvin heavily while at USC, obviously felt comfortable with Irvin's troubled upbringing. Considering that I had Irvin rated as the No. 48 prospect on my Big Board, I see this as a reach -- but not as big as the Seattle's NFL West opponent San Francisco made later in the first round.
3. San Francisco 49ers select A.J. Jenkins at No. 29: Right about this time it is important to note that the real NFL draft experts are the men employed in NFL front office offices and as scouts making these picks. However, in terms of NFLDraftScout.com's evaluating of prospects, there wasn't a bigger reach in the first round of the 2012 draft than the one the 49ers made with Jenkins, our No. 58 rated prospect. The Illini receiver enjoyed a spectacular senior campaign and really worked out extraordinarily well but frankly I didn't see this type of explosiveness throughout his career. Considering how effective the 49ers were with their 2011 draft picks, they have earned the benefit of the doubt but for a team with some concerns, adding a wideout who may start the season only fourth or fifth on the depth chart was a stunner.
2. New England Patriots trade up... twice: Under Bill Belichick the Patriots have made a living out of trading out of the first round in an seemingly endless effort to build more picks for next year. With timing running out on Tom Brady's career and the Patriots having the ammunition to move up aggressively, they did certainly did that Thursday, twice moving up to land defensive end Chandler Jones at No. 21 and inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower only four picks later.
1. Three running backs selected in first round: For all of the talk about how the NFL has shifted to a pass-oriented league, general managers apparently didn't get the memo as three first round picks were dedicated to running backs, with the Browns taking Trent Richardson at No. 3 overall, the Buccaneers moving back up into the first round to nab Doug Martin and the Giants using the final pick of the initial frame on Virginia Tech's David Wilson. At closer inspection the picks make sense -- while the shelf life on running backs can be relatively short so too, often, is the adjustment period to the pro game -- but few of us expected to see three backs come off the board in the top 32 picks.
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