Evan Silva

NFL Draft Grades

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Draft 2012: NFC Grades

Sunday, April 29, 2012

New Orleans Saints

89. Akiem Hicks, defensive tackle, Regina.
122. Nick Toon, receiver, Wisconsin.
162. Corey White, safety, Samford.
179. Andrew Tiller, guard, Syracuse.
234. Marcel Jones, tackle, Nebraska.

Overview: The grade for the Saints' 2012 draft is going to be low. They traded their first-round pick for Mark Ingram last year, and had their second-rounder stripped for trying to injure opponents. Hicks and White are interesting small-school prospects. Toon's game tape is far less impressive than his big name suggests. Tiller and Jones are bottom-barrel backups. Hicks does have a shot to be an impact player, but until he becomes one there is no saving this draft's rating.

Grade: D

New York Giants

32. David Wilson, running back, Virginia Tech.
63. Rueben Randle, receiver, LSU.
94. Jayron Hosley, cornerback, Virginia Tech.
127. Adrien Robinson, tight end, Cincinnati.
131. Brandon Mosley, tackle, Auburn.
201. Matt McCants, tackle, Alabama-Birmingham.
239. Markus Kuhn, defensive tackle, N.C. State.

Overview: There are a couple of things on which we can count in each year's draft: the picks are unpredictable, and Jerry Reese will use his masterfully. Reese's first three selections reflect a common theme: He wanted explosive, dynamic playmakers, and Wilson, Randle, and Hosley all possesses those traits with first-round caliber resumes. Robinson is a height-weight-speed freak who was underutilized in college. McCants is a project, and Kuhn a try-hard guy. Quietly, the gem of Reese's class could be Mosley. A former high school and JUCO tight end, Mosley is light on his feet with prototypical tackle size. On this draft weekend, the rich got richer.

Grade: A

Philadelphia Eagles

12. Fletcher Cox, defensive tackle, South Carolina.
46. Mychal Kendricks, linebacker, California.
59. Vinny Curry, defensive end, Marshall.
88. Nick Foles, quarterback, Arizona.
123. Brandon Boykin, cornerback, Georgia.
153. Dennis Kelly, tackle, Purdue.
194. Marvin McNutt, receiver, Iowa.
200. Brandon Washington, guard, Miami.
229. Bryce Brown, running back, Kansas State.

Overview: It's safe to say Andy Reid and Howie Roseman approached this draft with defense in mind. The best four picks (Cox, Kendricks, Curry, Boykin) play on Juan Castillo's side of the ball, and at least two of them are Week 1 starters. Boykin could make it a trifecta if he unseats slot corner Joselio Hanson and the nickel package counts. Surrendering picks 114 and 172 to slide up three first-round spots for Cox seems like a lot, but the Eagles made an offsetting move by dropping eight selections in round two and adding pick 123 in a trade with Green Bay. The late-rounders were impressive as well. McNutt has requisite size and straight-line speed, and college tackle Washington is a potential future starter at guard. While this draft group fell just shy of an "A" grade, it makes Philadelphia's roster considerably more impressive, particularly on "D."

Grade: B+

San Francisco 49ers

30. A.J. Jenkins, receiver, Illinois.
61. LaMichael James, running back, Oregon.
117. Joe Looney, guard, Wake Forest.
165. Darius Fleming, linebacker, Notre Dame.
180. Trent Robinson, safety, Michigan State.
199. Jason Slowey, center, Western Oregon.
237. Cam Johnson, linebacker, Virginia.

Overview: The Niners must not have been smitten with the 2012 draft class. They made three trades on the draft's second and third days, netting extra 2013 picks in the third, fifth, and sixth rounds. San Francisco's lone trade up was for Looney, and it didn't affect next year's picks. While GM Trent Baalke has earned the benefit of the doubt, on the surface his 2012 selections don't especially impress. Pick 30 is awfully high for a slot receiver in Jenkins, and scatback James was a luxury choice at 61. Fleming and Robinson are solid, if unspectacular players. Slowey is a small-school project, and Johnson plays without consistency. Baalke's 2011 draft turned out far better than projected, and this haul may do the same, but at first glance it looks fairly mediocre.

Grade: C+

Seattle Seahawks

15. Bruce Irvin, defensive end, West Virginia.
47. Bobby Wagner, linebacker, Utah State.
75. Russell Wilson, quarterback, Wisconsin.
106. Robert Turbin, running back, Utah State.
114. Jaye Howard, defensive tackle, Florida.
154. Korey Toomer, linebacker, Idaho.
172. Jeremy Lane, cornerback, Northwestern State.
181. Winston Guy, safety, Kentucky.
225. J.R. Sweezy, guard, N.C. State.
232. Greg Scruggs, defensive end, Louisville.

Overview: It's popular to pan the Seahawks' draft. While we're not giving them an "A," the 2012 Seattle picks are largely understandable and hardly "mindboggling" as Mel Kiper's hair has claimed. No. 15 is early for a situational pass rusher, but no defender in this class has a quicker first step than Irvin. Wagner is a thumper and addresses a need. Wilson is going to make Tarvaris Jackson expendable. Turbin adds physicality to a backfield lacking it behind Marshawn Lynch. Howard, Toomer, and Guy can be year-one role players. Lane, Sweezy, and Scruggs are under-the-radar picks. Realistically, the Seahawks didn't overdraft anyone on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, and they consistently kept in mind need. It's a better group than people are saying.

Grade: B-

St. Louis Rams

14. Michael Brockers, defensive tackle, LSU.
33. Brian Quick, receiver, Appalachian State.
39. Janoris Jenkins, cornerback, North Alabama.
50. Isaiah Pead, running back, Cincinnati.
65. Trumaine Johnson, defensive back, Montana.
96. Chris Givens, receiver, Wake Forest.
150. Rokevious Watkins, guard, South Carolina.
171. Greg Zuerlein, kicker, Missouri Western.
209. Aaron Brown, linebacker, Hawaii.
252. Daryl Richardson, running back, Abilene Christian.

Overview: Rookie GM Les Snead wanted Justin Blackmon with the sixth pick. When St. Louis was leapfrogged by Jacksonville, Snead shrewdly traded out and picked up No. 45 overall in exchange for dropping from 6 to 14. The Rams again traded down in round two, adding a fifth-rounder to drop just five spots. This was an approach needed to upgrade the league's weakest roster. The Rams had Brockers as a top-ten player and a first-round grade on Quick, so those picks provided value. Jenkins is a top-15 on-field talent. Givens has second-round tape, and Pead and Johnson offer playmaking ability at need positions. Watkins is a mauler, Zuerlein essentially saved the club $2.7 million by making Josh Brown expendable, and Brown and Richardson both possess quality physical tools. The Rams got much better over the course of the last three days.

Grade: B+

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

7. Mark Barron, safety, Alabama.
31. Doug Martin, running back, Boise State.
58. Lavonte David, linebacker, Nebraska.
140. Najee Goode, linebacker, West Virginia.
174. Keith Tandy, cornerback, West Virginia.
212. Michael Smith, running back, Utah State.
233. Drake Dunsmore, tight end, Northwestern.

Overview: GM Mark Dominik calls the shots, but the Bucs showed a newfound sense of aggressiveness in coach Greg Schiano's first draft. The wheeling-and-dealing Buccaneers pulled off three trades in the first two rounds involving 11 picks. They came away with at least three Week 1 starters, each at a position of glaring need, and didn't surrender anything in future drafts. Schiano fell back on his Big East roots for Goode and Tandy, and Smith was one of the better running backs in this class no one talked about. This was a draft packed with big-time additions.

Grade: A

Washington Redskins

2. Robert Griffin III, quarterback, Baylor.
71. Josh LeRibeus, guard, SMU.
102. Kirk Cousins, quarterback, Michigan State.
119. Keenan Robinson, linebacker, Texas.
141. Adam Gettis, guard, Iowa.
173. Alfred Morris, running back, Florida Atlantic.
193. Tom Compton, tackle, South Dakota.
213. Richard Crawford, defensive back, SMU.
217. Jordan Bernstine, defensive back, Iowa.

Overview: Beyond RG3, this was a draft bound to lack star power after the historical haul required to land Washington's first franchise passer since Joe Theismann. Left without another top-70 selection, the Redskins stayed true to their board. LeRibeus, Gettis, and Compton are all athletic linemen -- system fits for Mike Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme. Robinson has sideline-to-sideline range. Cousins projects as a quality long-term backup. Morris, Crawford, and Bernstine are special teams prospects. Still, this draft was obviously all about Griffin, and will be judged in the future based almost entirely on how he performs on the field. We think he'll be pretty good.

Grade: A-

Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva

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