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2012 NFL Draft Winners and Losers: Colts stay on offensive with smart draft

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer
The Colts go on the offensive during the NFL Draft and take Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick. (Getty Images)

The 2012 NFL Draft is all wrapped up and it's got some nice symmetry to it courtesy of the Mad Tweeter Jim Irsay, who picked his second quarterback of the event in Northern Illinois' Chandler Harrish with the final pick of the draft, bookending things with Stanford's Andrew Luck. The Colts were my big winner for their offensive plan of attack during the draft, although if they'd taken their second quarterback in the fourth round like the Redskins, that wouldn't be the case.

Winners and losers below and please don't forget to call me a stupid jerk leave your picks for best and worst drafts in the comments.

Winners
Indianapolis Colts -- It was a bit surprising to see the Colts, who just hired a defensive-minded coach in Chuck Pagano, go heavy on the offense during the draft. But that doesn't mean it's not smart -- they tagged Andrew Luck No. 1 overall and then proceeded to build around him by drafting the two top tight ends in the draft in Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen and a wide receiver in TY Hilton who can make an impact on the passing game early. Do they need guys on defense? Yeah, but the defense was going to stink anyway, even if they used their other nine picks on that side of the ball. This will make the Colts interesting, it will make Luck's transition easier, it will put fans in the stands again, and it sets them up to make significant moves on defense down the road.

Cincinnati Bengals -- Cincy's run of success is, frankly, shocking. They killed the 2011 draft with A.J. Green and Andy Dalton, then they turned Carson Palmer into a second first-round pick this year. Their first six picks in this draft -- Dre Kirkpatrick, Kevin Zeitler, Devon Still, Mohamed Sanu, Brandon Thompson and Orson Charles -- are all arguably first- or second-round value guys. Mike Brown's en fuego and it's no longer looking like anything resembling a fluke, which means the Bengals will challenge in the AFC North again next year.

Pittsburgh Steelers -- Kevin Colbert's crew had one of the most impressive first few rounds of anyone, picking up David DeCastro and Mike Adams in the first two rounds, which could go a long way towards revamping the Steelers offensive line. (If it was even vamped in the first place.) Then they beefed up their defensive depth by grabbing Sean Spence (though he's surprisingly undersized given the Steelers history) and Alameda Ta'amu. I'll just assume that seventh-round wideout Toney Clemons will eventually become a star like the rest of the late-drafted Steelers wideouts.

Green Bay Packers -- I neglected to include the Packers in my Day 2 list of winners and losers and that was wrong. So my apologies for that, because Ted Thompson crushed this draft, going defense with his first six picks. Nick Perry will help limit the number of double teams Clay Matthews sees and moving up to snag Jerel Worthy in the second was superb. Thompson then proceeded to pile on the depth all over the defense with good value picks like Terrell Manning and Casey Hayward. I love the pick of B.J. Coleman from Chattanooga late in the seventh round too. He's going to be their next Matt Flynn type guy, watch.

Carolina Panthers -- It's funny, because you wouldn't think the Panthers could end up doing a good job in the draft if they didn't attempt to fill their primary position of need, defensive tackle. But they took a big step addressing their rush defense by adding Luke Kuechly, they found Cam Newton a sneaky weapon in the fourth round in Joe Adams and Amini Silatolu could end up ultimately replacing Jeff Otah at right tackle. Frank Alexander and Josh Norman are nice depth on defense too.

Losers
Washington Redskins -- Unless the NFL is suddenly going to start using the same rules as a two-quarterback fantasy league, the decision to grab Kirk Cousins doesn't make any sense. Even if someone gives the Redskins two good picks for Cousins later, there's no guarantee Shanny will be there if he doesn't improve the talent around Robert Griffin III. They gave away a pile of picks to get Griffin, and I'm absolutely fine with that, but if you're going to lose all those future guys, you need to make sure the rest of your picks are going to have an impact. Cousins can't unless he's on the field, and if he's on the field any time soon, it's a disaster for the Redskins, because it means that RG3 is either injured or Jamarcused.

Jacksonville Jaguars -- Here's the thing about drafting a punter in the third round: it immediately negates any other awesome draft picks. There were playmakers like TY Hilton, Mohamed Sanu and former Blaine Gabbert teammate Michael Egnew (who caught 90 passes from Gabbert in 2010) on the board when Jacksonville selected Bryan Anger with the 70th overall pick in the draft. Anger boldly guaranteed that he would be drafted before things kicked off in New York, but even he was surprised the Jags took him that early.

Kansas City Chiefs -- The Chiefs took a gamble with Dontari Poe in the first round and it's hard not to be worried about how it'll work out, given how the Chiefs have developed defensive line guys recently. It just doesn't feel like they really addressed any of their primary needs in this draft or landed any high-impact players. I'm not the only one who feels that way:


Cleveland Browns -- Not a fan of the Brandon Weeden pick in the first round, especially when the wide receiver class was so deep in this draft. That pick was what Cleveland got in exchange for wideout Julio Jones when they swapped with Atlanta in the 2011 NFL Draft. Would you rather have the trio of Colt McCoy, Trent Richardson and Julio Jones or the combo of Weeden, Richardson and Greg Little? I can't find any reasonable explanation for why you would choose the second group. (Although I'm sure Browns fans will figure out a way to justify it in the comments.) The move to protect themselves from having Richardson yanked away was good I think, but they also could have called the Vikings bluff and taken Justin Blackmon if someone else tried to hop them, and gotten some bodies later in the draft. He's a great pick but the rest of their draft is best summed up by the last name of their final pick.

Denver Broncos -- John Elway and John Fox won their division in 2011 and even won a playoff game. So naturally, they traded their starting quarterback and shoved all in on Peyton Manning. That's a worthy gamble but the draft should reflect that too and feature picks that help the team immediately. So unless Denver's planning on using Brock Osweiler as a red-zone target, it's kind of hard to imagine how they did that by grabbing him in the second round. They got some depth on defense and I like Ronnie Hillman as a guy to fit into what Manning does on offense, but Denver needed to be more aggressive about making their team better immediately and they didn't do that.
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