Re-grading the 2012 NFL Draft: The time I gave Russell Wilson a C+

To truly grade an NFL Draft, even in this era of immediate grades and knee-jerk reactions, it takes three years to give it a real evaluation.

We love to give out grades as the picks happen or in the days following a draft, which opens us all up to loads of criticism and grades that hang in cyberspace forever -- only to come back in focus when fans throw it back in our faces. That's part of the fun of doing those grades: Stirring the masses with an educated grade. Like the teams, I miss. Unlike the teams, it doesn't cost me.

So each spring I go back three years to re-grade the NFL Draft, using my original grades and thoughts as a benchmark. It is humbling, to say the least. I am willing to admit here that I have made some major mistakes when it came to giving out grades. Then again, so did the teams who picked the guys who busted.

As I look back on the 2012 NFL Draft to do my re-grading, one of the biggest misses was the Seattle Seahawks' draft that year. They landed quite a haul, including quarterback Russell Wilson in the third round and Bobby Wagner in the second. I gave that grade a C-plus. That's what you call blowing it.

That group of players has keyed the Seahawks to two Super Bowls in the past two seasons, with one win. Wilson has been much better than anybody expected -- even the Seahawks. If you don't believe that, why did they wait until the third round to pick him?

Without giving the grade away, let's just say Seattle's new grade is much better.

As you scan my re-grading of that draft, it's easy to see why teams that had major issues in 2014 can look to the 2012 draft as a big part of the blame. Oakland and Jacksonville, two of the worst teams in the league last season, both got failing grades. If you don't draft well, you can't win -- as this re-grade will once again remind us.

Arizona Cardinals

2012 Grade: C+

The Skinny: They picked receiver Michael Floyd in the first round, and he's turned into a good player, but not quite what they expected. They landed starting right tackle Bobby Massie in the fourth round and corner/special teams player Justin Bethel in the sixth. He could start this season. They missed on third-round corner Jamell Fleming.

How I did: I questioned the Floyd pick, saying he didn't run well enough and they needed line help more. The jury is still out. I liked the Fleming pick. Not good. I had Ryan Lindley as my third-day gem. He's far from that, but he did start a playoff game last season for the Cardinals.

New Grade: B-

Michael Floyd hasn't been a bust but he's not exactly a star.(Getty Images)
Michael Floyd hasn't been a bust but he's not exactly a star. (Getty Images)

Atlanta Falcons

2012 Grade: C

The Skinny: The Falcons didn't have a first-round pick (sent to Cleveland as part of the Julio Jones trade), so their first pick was center Peter Konz. He has been a sometimes starter, but he played just six games last season because of injury. Of the five remaining picks, none would be considered a sure starter in 2015.

How I did: I thought landing Konz was a good move, but he hasn't had the power needed to become a consistent player. I liked the pick of Jonathan Massaquoi in the fifth round, but he didn't become the edge rusher they expected.

New Grade: C- (Jones trade factors)

Baltimore Ravens

2012 Grade: B+

The Skinny: They traded out of the first round and ended up with eight picks. Of those eight, two are starters in second-round picks Courtney Upshaw and left guard Kelechi Osemele. They took running back Bernard Pierce in the third round, and he was a solid player before being waived after a DUI earlier this month. Fifth-round corner Asa Jackson and seventh-round defensive tackle DeAngelo Tyson were contributors last season.

How I did: I liked the pick of Upshaw and questioned the Osemele pick, but mainly because I thought they needed a tackle and thought he was a guard. He has turned into a good guard. My third-day gem was sixth-round receiver Tommy Streeter, but that didn't work out.

New Grade: B+

Buffalo Bills

2012 Grade: B

The Skinny: The Bills landed two good starters with their first two picks in corner Stephon Gilmore and left tackle Cordy Glenn. They also got starting linebacker Nigel Bradham and backup corner Ron Brooks in the fourth round. They missed on third-round receiver T.J. Graham, who is now with the Jets.

How I did: I liked the picks of Gilmore and Glenn and questioned the selection of Graham. So I did OK with this team. My second-day gem was tackle Zebrie Sanders, but he didn't work out.

New Grade: B+

Carolina Panthers

2012 Grade: B+

The Skinny: They took linebacker Luke Kuechly in the first round, and he has proven to be the foundation of their defense. He's even better than what they had to expect. Second-round guard Amini Silatolu has been a starter and fifth-round corner Josh Norman is an above-average starting corner. Backup defensive end Frank Alexander came in the fourth round. He was suspended for 14 games last season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

How I did: I liked this draft, but I missed on fourth-round pick Joe Adams, a receiver I thought could help. He didn't. Norman was my third-day gem, so that worked out.

New Grade: B+

Luke Kuechly has turned into a stud in Carolina. (Getty Images)
Luke Kuechly has turned into a stud in Carolina. (Getty Images)

Chicago Bears

2012 Grade: C

The Skinny: They didn't get a hit on first-round pick Shea McClellin, who has been a disappointment as a pass rusher. But they hit big time on second-round receiver Alshon Jeffrey. None of the remaining four picks did much of anything.

How I did: I questioned the decision to draft Jeffrey. Big miss. He has proven to be a big-play receiver, which I didn't think he'd become. I liked third-round safety Brandon Hardin, but injuries crippled his chances.

New Grade: C-

Cincinnati Bengals

2012 Grade: A+

The Skinny: The Bengals had 10 picks. Of those 10, seven are still with the team and four will be starters in 2015, five if you count the third receiver. The first pick, corner Dre' Kirkpatrick, flashed late last season and should be a starter after a slow start to his career. The team's other first-round pick, guard Kevin Zierler, and fifth-round safety George Iloka are also starters. They also landed receivers Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones, their No. 2 and No. 3 receivers, in this draft.

How I did: I really liked their draft, as you can tell by the grade. When you look at it now, it really paid off. I liked the pick of Jones in the fifth round more than the pick of Sanu in the third.

New Grade: A+

Cleveland Browns

2012 Grade: C-

The Skinny: This is the draft they traded up to get Trent Richardson, who they then traded to the Colts. He was a bust, but trading up for a back is never a wise thing to do. They also drafted quarterback Brandon Weeden late in the first round. Bad move. They had nine other picks. Of those nine, the only projected starters in 2015 are right tackle Mitchell Schwartz and defensive end Billy Winn.

How I did: I didn't like the first two picks, and that played out. I liked the pick of Schwartz, and he has been decent. I was not a fan of this draft -- and that has played true.

New Grade: F

Dallas Cowboys

2012 Grade: B+

The Skinny: The Cowboys moved up to take corner Morris Claiborne in the first round, giving up their second-round pick, and he hasn't lived up to the expectations and is now coming off a torn ACL. Third-round pick Tyrone Crawford has become one of their better defensive players. Sixth-round tight end James Hanna has turned into a solid blocker.

How I did: I liked the move up to get Claiborne, so missed there. But I really liked the pick of Crawford in the third round, so got a hit there.

New Grade: C-

Should the Cowboys have traded up for Morris Claiborne? Probably not.  (Getty Images)
Should the Cowboys have traded up for Morris Claiborne? Probably not. (Getty Images)

Denver Broncos

2012 Grade: C+

The Skinny: They traded out of the first round and added some picks and landed three players who will be defensive starters this season in second-round pick Derek Wolfe, fifth-round pick Malik Jackson and sixth-round pick Danny Trevathan. This draft also produced backups Brock Osweiler (QB), Ronnie Hillman (RB) and Omar Bolden (DB).

How I did: I questioned the move to trade out of the first round and take Wolfe, who has been a good starter. I liked the pick of Hillman in the third round, and he hasn't been what they expected. My third-day gem was Bolden.

New Grade: B

Detroit Lions

2012 Grade: C+

The Skinny: They took starting left tackle Riley Reiff in the first round and he has developed into a good player. They took receiver Ryan Broyles in the second round, even though he was coming off a torn ACL, and he hasn't worked out. The best value pick was fifth-round linebacker Tahir Whitehead, who started 15 games in 2014.

How I did: I questioned the pick of Broyles, and that has played true. I liked the pick of corner Dwight Bentley in the third round, and he hasn't panned out like they expected. I liked fourth-round pick Ronnell Lewis as my second-day sleeper and he is no longer in the league.

New Grade: C-

Green Bay Packers

2012 Grade: B

The Skinny: They took pass rusher Nick Perry in the first round, and while he isn't a dominant player he is a solid starter. They got corner Casey Hayward in the second round, and he will start this season and has started in the past. The steal of their draft was fourth-round defensive end Mike Daniels, one of their better defensive players. Second-round pick Jerel Worthy was a major disappointment and was traded to the Patriots, and is now with the Chiefs.

How I did: Bad. I loved the pick of Worthy and thought he had first-round talent. My third-day gem was linebacker Terrell Manning. He's now with his fourth team, the Giants.

New Grade: B

Houston Texans

2012 Grade: B

The Skinny: They had eight picks and five of those are projected to be starters in 2015. That's pretty good. There are no stars in that group, but some solid players. They are center Ben Jones, right guard Brandon Brooks, outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus, defensive end Jared Crick and kicker Randy Bullock. They also landed backup receiver DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin in this draft for a nice haul.

How I did: I made Brooks, their third-round pick, the best pick and that is now true. He's the best of this group. I questioned the Mercilus pick in the first round, and he's been just OK. My third-day gem was Crick in the fourth-round, and that has worked out.

New Grade: A-

Ben Jones has turned into a solid starter in Houston. (USATSI)
Ben Jones has turned into a solid starter in Houston. (USATSI)

Indianapolis Colts

2012 Grade: A

The Skinny: This is the draft that has been the foundation for turning this team into a Super Bowl contender. They landed Andrew Luck with the first overall pick, which was an easy choice. But then they also got tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen as well as receiver T.Y. Hilton in the first three rounds. Starting nose tackle Josh Chapman came in the fifth round.

How I did: Like everybody else, I loved the Luck pick. My question was taking Allen after taking Fleener, but I see how that played out now. My third-day gem was Chapman, and he's now a starter. I loved the Hilton pick.

New Grade: A+

Jacksonville Jaguars

2012 Grade: B-

The Skinny: They traded up in the first round to land receiver Justin Blackmon, a move that certainly hasn't paid off for off-the-field issues. He is serving a league-imposed suspension for violating the substance-abuse policy. They took Andre Branch in the second, and he's nothing special as a pass rusher. The rest of the draft produced little.

How I did: Not good. I liked the move to get Blackmon. But who knew he would have so many problems? When he played, he showed why they made the move. My questionable move was taking punter Bryan Anger in the third round. He's a decent punter, but he's a punter. I made linebacker Brandon Marshall my third-day gem, and he is coming off a good season with the Broncos.

New Grade: F

Kansas City Chiefs

2012 Grade: C

The Skinny: They had seven picks and the only big hit was on first-round defensive tackle Dontari Poe. He is a force inside. Second- and third-round offensive linemen Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson have started, and might start this year, but they aren't considered above average at all. Late-round picks Cyrus Gray and Junior Hemmingway are backups.

How I did: Not good. I didn't like the pick of Poe, and he has worked out in a big way. My third-day gem was receiver Devon Wylie, who is now a backup with the Rams. I did like the Gray pick in the sixth round.

New Grade: C+

Miami Dolphins

2012 Grade: B+

The Skinny: The Dolphins landed three quality starters in this draft, including quarterback Ryan Tannehill. That's a good haul. The others are defensive end Olivier Vernon (third round) and fourth-round running back Lamar Miller. They missed on second-round tackle Jonathan Martin, who is now with Carolina, his third team. Seventh-round receiver Rishard Matthews would be a starter right now.

How I did: I liked the pick of third-round tight end Michael Egnew, but he didn't work out. I questioned the move to pick Tannehill in the first round, and some would say that's still up for debate. My third-day gem was Miller.

New Grade: B+

Minnesota Vikings

2012 Grade: B+

The Skinny: They took tackle Matt Kalil in the first round, but he hasn't come close to playing the position the way they expected. He has struggled at times. They took safety Harrison Smith with the 29th pick in the first round, and he is a playmaker on the back end. They had eight other picks and four could be starters in 2015. Kicker Blair Walsh will be one, while corner Josh Robinson (nickel), safety Robert Blanton and middle linebacker Audie Cole are the others.

How I did: I liked their move to trade back in the first round, get extra picks, and still land Kalil. He needs to play better. I love the Smith pick. I questioned the pick of fullback Rhett Ellison in the fourth round as a fullback, but he's now a tight end. My third-day gem was receiver Jairus Wright, who has done some good things.

New Grade: B (Kalil holds it down)

New England Patriots

2012 Grade: B-

The Skinny: They had seven picks and only two are starters, their two first-round picks. They are defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Dont'a Hightower, who they traded back into the round to land. Seventh-round corner Alfonzo Dennard has started. Only one of the seven picks is no longer on the roster.

How I did: I loved the pick of Jones, a pick some questioned, and that has worked out -- when he's on the field. I questioned the move to pick safety Tavon Wilson in the second round, and he's been mostly a backup. I liked Dennard as the third-day gem.

New Grade: B

New Orleans Saints

2012 Grade: F The Skinny: They didn't have a first-round pick (traded the year before for Mark Ingram) and lost their second-round pick in the Bounty-gate scandal. That made it tough. They hit on third-round defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, who has turned into a good starter. Receiver Nick Toon is the only other player from the draft left on the roster, and he's a backup.

How I did: I liked the pick of Toon and didn't like the Hicks pick at all, which Saints fans remind me of all the time. My third-day gem was sixth-round guard Andrew Tiller, which didn't work out.

New Grade: D- (Hicks is the reason it isn't an F)

New York Giants

2012 Grade: B

The Skinny: They took running back David Wilson in the first round, but he was forced to retire early with a neck injury. He flashed some big-time talent before suffering the neck injury in 2013. Second-round receiver Reuben Randle is coming off a 71-catch season in 2014. Third-round corner Jayron Hosley has been a backup, as has fourth-round tight end Adrien Robinson and fourth-round offensive lineman Brandon Mosley. Seventh-round defensive tackle Markus Kuhn has one start, but could be projected as a starter this season.

How I did: I liked the pick of Randle, and he's been a nice contributor. I questioned the pick of Hosley for off-the-field concerns and he was suspended for four games last season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. My third-day gem was Mosley.

New Grade: C-

New York Jets

2012 Grade: C-

The Skinny: The Jets took Quinton Coples in the first round and he is a solid starter. But he isn't the pass rusher they expected him to become. Second-round receiver Stephen Hill was a bust, and he is now with Carolina. They did hit on third-round linebacker Demario Davis, who is a starter. Seventh-round defensive back Antonio Allen has started 18 games in three seasons.

How I did: I missed this team big time. I liked the pick of Hill. Why? But I did say it was a boom-or-bust pick. I questioned the pick of Coples. He has 16 1/2 sacks in three seasons, which is decent. My third-day gem was running back Terrance Ganaway, which didn't work out.

New Grade: C+

Oakland Raiders

2012 Grade: D

The Skinny: They traded their first-round pick to land Carson Palmer and traded away the second in the 2011 draft. They also wasted a third-round pick taking Terrelle Pryor in the supplemental draft. Their first pick in this draft was No. 95 in the third round, and they took offensive linemen Tony Bergstrom. He has been mostly a backup. They did hit on fourth-round linebacker Miles Burris, who has been a decent starter.

How I did: I liked the trade for Palmer, but hated the draft. They didn't get much. My third-day gem was receiver Juron Criner, which didn't work out. I hated giving up the third for Pryor, which they did.

New Grade: F

Philadelphia Eagles

2012 Grade: B+

The Skinny: The Eagles landed Fletcher Cox in the first round and he has become a force on their defense. Their next four picks were: Linebacker Mychal Kendricks, pass rusher Vinny Curry, quarterback Nick Foles and corner Brandon Boykin. They also got running back Bryce Brown, now with the Bills, in the seventh round. Kendricks is a starter, while Boykin is the nickel corner and Curry is a rotation player on the line. Foles was the starter last season, but he was traded for Sam Bradford in March.

How I did: I really liked this draft, highlighted by Cox, which I made the team's best pick. I questioned the pick of Foles, but he was better than I expected. Sort of. My third-day gem was Boykin.

New Grade: A

Pittsburgh Steelers

2012 Grade: A

The Skinny: They landed two of their starting offensive linemen in this draft. They took guard David DeCastro in the first round, and he's a good player. They also landed underrated left tackle Kelvin Beachum in the seventh round. That's great value. But he plays over second-round pick Mike Adams, which makes that a miss. The rest of the draft didn't produce much with third-round round pick Sean Spence a backup after suffering a major knee injury as a rookie.

How I did: I loved the pick of DeCastro and questioned the pick of Adams. So that's good. But I really liked this draft, and it didn't work out the way I expected or the way the Steelers hoped. Hitting on Beachum late helps up the grade in a big way.

New Grade: B-

St. Louis Rams

2012 Grade: B-

The Skinny: This is the draft they traded back with the Redskins to get extra picks so Washington could take Robert Griffin III. The Rams then took Michael Brockers with their first-round pick -- after a second trade down -- and he's become a good down player. They got starting corner Janoris Jenkins in the second round and nickel corner Trumaine Johnson in the third. Running back Isaiah Pead, taken in the second round, has been a disappointment. They also got receiver Chris Givens and Brian Quick in this draft, as well as kicker Greg Zuerlein.

How I did: I questioned the Jenkins pick, but mostly for character concerns. I liked the Johnson pick as the best, but he hasn't developed into a starter. My third-day gem was Givens.

New Grade: B+

San Diego Chargers

2012 Grade: B+

The Skinny: They did a solid job with their first two picks, landing pass rusher Melvin Ingram and defensive end Kendall Reyes. When he's been healthy, Ingram has been good, but injuries have limited him. Reyes has been a a quality starter. They missed big on third-round safety Brandon Taylor. Backup tight end Ladarius Green came in the fourth round. Sometimes starting guard Johnnie Troutman came in the fifth.

How I did: I liked the pick of Ingram, and still do. He just needs to stay on the field. I questioned not taking any offensive linemen in the first four rounds, and that has been an issue. My second-day gem was Green, which I still like.

New Grade: B-

San Francisco 49ers

2012 Grade: C-

The Skinny: They took receiver A.J. Jenkins in the first round, and that was a major bust. He was a disaster and eventually was traded to the Chiefs, who cut him this year. They took running back LaMichael James in the second round, and he is no longer with them. In fact, the only draft pick still left on the roster is backup guard Joe Looney, who was taken in the fourth round.

How I did: I liked the pick of Jenkins. Not good. I questioned the pick of James, which was right. I didn't really like the draft much, but it's even worse now.

New Grade: F

Seattle Seahawks

2012 Grade: C+

The Skinny: This is the draft that brought them quarterback Russell Wilson, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, outside linebacker Bruce Irvin, nickel corner Jeremy Lane and right guard J.R Sweezy. That's a heck of a haul for John Schneider. Wilson is the big steal in the third round. Sweezy came in the seventh.

How I did: Not good. I questioned the pick of Irvin in the first round -- mainly for character reasons -- and I didn't like them taking Wilson when they just got Matt Flynn and gave him a big deal. I was way off. I thought their best pick was Wagner in the second, and he's been a huge part of the dominance of the defense.

New Grade: A+

Russell Wilson turned out to be one of the biggest steals of the 2011 draft. (USATSI)
Russell Wilson turned out to be one of the biggest steals of the 2011 draft. (USATSI)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2012 Grade: B

The Skinny: Of their seven picks, the only 2015 definite starter is linebacker Lavonte David, who they took in the second round. He has proven to be a star and a steal. They blew it on first-round safety Mark Barron, who was traded to St. Louis. Doug Martin, their other first-round pick, flashed early as a runner, but an injury in 2013 slowed him last season. Can he get his form back?

How I did: I loved the pick of David, one of my favorite players in this draft, and he has lived up to the expectations. I didn't like the move to take Barron, and that played true. My third-day gem was linebacker Najee Goode in the fifth round. He is now with the Eagles.

New Grade: C

Tennessee Titans

2012 Grade: B-

The Skinny: They took receiver Kendall Wright in the first round, and he has been a solid player. They followed that up with linebacker Zach Brown, who is coming off a season that saw him lost in the first game. He's decent when he's on the field. Defensive tackle Mike Martin (third round) and corner Cody Sensabaugh (fourth round) have both been part-time starters.

How I did: I liked the pick of Martin in the third round, which has been just OK. I questioned the pick of Brown in the second and I liked the pick of Wright.

New Grade: B-

Washington Redskins

2012 Grade: B-

The Skinny: This is the draft they traded up to get Robert Griffin III, which is a move that certainly hasn't worked out so far. They also took Kirk Cousins in the fourth round, a rogue pick for sure now. Third-round guard Josh LeRibeus has one start in three seasons. The best pick was running back Alfred Morris in the sixth round.

How I did: I liked the trade to go get RG3 -- even if I was never a big fan of his game. You have to take chances at that position. I questioned the Cousins pick, and was right about that one. I made Morris my third-day gem.

New Grade: D

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an... Full Bio

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