Richner: 2012 Team Evaluations
NFL Draft Expert Matt Richner evaluates the good and bad moves made by every team in the NFL Draft.
Good Idea: Bobby Massie (OT, Ole Miss) - Massie was the top rated right tackle on my board and is an absolute steal in the fourth round. The Cardinals have a desperate need for help on their offensive line and Massie should be able to step in andwin a starting spot.
Bad Idea: Ryan Lindley (QB, San Diego State) - Though Lindley put up some impressive numbers in college with 12,690 career passing yards, his completion percentage of 55.5% was the lowest of ANY QB selected in this year’s draft class.
Good Idea: Jonathan Massaquoi (OLB, Troy) - Massaquoi put up similar production results as Troy alumni (DeMarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora). With 20.5 career sacks in college, give him some time to develop and perfect his craft and he could be a positive contributor as a pass rushing specialist in a few years.
Bad Idea: Lamar Holmes (OT, Southern Mississippi)- With only two seasons of play at Southern Mississippi, Holmes has limited experience. His limited physical abilities leave a lot to be desired. The Falcons had plenty of better options like Brandon Mosley and Zebrie Sanders to choose from instead of Holmes.
Good Idea: Courtney Upshaw (DE/OLB Alabama) - The fourth highest rated pass rusher on my board, Upshaw provides great value for the Ravens. With 17.5 career sacks and 36.5 career tackles for loss (TFL) in college, the Ravens should see similar results in a short period of time from Upshaw.
Bad Idea: Tommy Streeter (WR, Miami) - With only 46 career receptions and 811 career receiving yards, Tommy Streeter is a major project at the wide receiver position. The Ravens had the opportunity to select quality, more prepared wide receivers, (Jordan White, Lavon Brazil) who would be better suited to step in a be contributors from the slot position. Streeter had a one-year wonder index rating of 88%, the highest amongst all draft eligible WR’s in this year’s draft class.
Good Idea: Tank Carder (LB, TCU) - Carder posted solid career numbers at TCU with 182.5 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 25 tackles for loss. His 19 career pass break ups (PBU), show his athleticism and his ability to run with tight ends in college. With a fifth round selection, the Bill’s got a great value and possible starting inside linebacker for the next few years.
Bad Idea: T.J. Graham (WR, N.C. State) - In almost every statistical measurement that I use to evaluate WRs, Graham failed to meet my standards for an NFL caliber player. His single season reception total of 46 falls well short of the benchmark of 72, while he had limited production in career receiving yards at only 1,463. At 6’0" tall and only 180 lbs., Graham is not a player with size or speed potential that could be used on special teams or in short yardage situation.
Good Idea: Frank Alexander (DE/OLB, Oklahoma) - With a solid career at Oklahoma, where he registered 20.5 career sacks and 44 TFL, Alexander will be a great addition to the linebacker unit for the Carolina Panthers. He brings a great amount of flexibility for a defensive front seven. Alexander can play outside and inside linebacker in addition to putting his hand in the ground and rushing the passer from a 5-technique position. With Luke Kuechly, the Panthers' first round pick in this year’s NFL Draft, and Frank Alexander, Carolina now have a stable of young linebackers that will surely help solidify its defense.
Bad Idea: Joe Adams (WR, Arkansas) - Adams had the lowest production numbers of the Razorback WR teammates who were drafted this year. The Panthers need to get some help opposite of Steve Smith, and allow Cam Newton to continue to grow. Adams will provide little assistance to this issue.
Good Idea: Alshon Jeffery (WR, South Carolina) - At 6’3" and 220 lbs., Jeffery and Brandon Marshall will provide Jay Cutler with two big targets who can work on the outside and across the middle. Jeffery had excellent production at South Carolina with 183 career reception and 23 career receiving TDs. His production dropped in his final season, which was mostly due in part to inconsistent play from the QB position.
Bad Idea: Brandon Hardin (Safety, Oregon State) - Though Hardin has great size (6’3", 222 lbs.) to cover the bigger tight ends in the NFL, he really only played one season at Oregon State. The other two years were marred by injuries. A third round pick for a guy with a history of injuries and limited production is a big gamble by the Bears' front office.
Good Idea: Orson Charles (TE, Georgia) - The Bengals had one of, if not the strongest, drafts this year. Charles is the fourth rated TE on my board and he is an absolute steal in the fourth round. He is an excellent blocker and has decent hands as evidenced by his 93 career receptions and 10 career TD receptions.
Bad Idea: Dan Herron (RB, Ohio State) - This is a little nit-picky because normally I advocate teams building depth at the running back position in the later rounds of the NFL Draft. But, with only 44 career receptions in college, Herron has limited skills in terms of pass catching.
Good Idea: Trent Richardson (RB, Alabama) - There isn’t a whole lot I like about this class, but there is no denying Richardson is a good running back. With his speed and power, it should open up the offense a little bit more for whomever is playing quarterback for the Browns.
Bad Idea- Travis Benjamin (WR, Miami) - At 5’10" and 172 lbs., Benjamin is built like and would normally be expected to contribute as a slot receiver and as a return specialist, which are the only positions the Browns didn’t need to upgrade because they have Josh Cribbs on their roster.
Good Idea: Morris Claiborne (DB, LSU) - The best cover corner in the NFL Draft came at a high price, but the Cowboys pass defense was putrid last season and needed a player of Claiborne's caliber. He should make an immediate impact on the Cowboys defense.
Bad Idea: Tyrone Crawford (DE, Boise State) - Crawford isn’t a pass rushing specialist or a run stuffer. He has a limited skill set to go along with a slight frame to play the DE position in a 3-4.
Good Idea: Derek Wolfe (DE/DT, Cincinnati) - Wolfe amassed 27 tackles for loss throughout his career. He has above average pass rushing skills for a guy his size, with 19.5 career sacks in college. He is perfectly suited to provide some pass rushing presence from the inside of the Broncos' defensive front seven.
Bad Idea: Brock Osweiler (QB, Arizona State) - The perfect QB to learn from Peyton Manning in this year’s draft class is Kirk Cousins. Brock Osweiler amassed only seven career wins in college, which puts him in the company of previous Manning backup, Jim Sorgi. That didn’t work out so well for Indianapolis and Osweiler isn’t the long term answer the Broncos will be looking for either.
Good Idea: Ryan Broyles (WR, Oklahoma) - Broyles is the best slot receiver in this year’s draft. With 349 career receptions and over 4,000 career receiving yards, Broyles can be a dynamic force for the Lions offense. Though it may take him a season to fully recover from injury, Broyles should have no problems adjusting to the NFL.
Bad Idea: The Lions had a very productive, efficient NFL Draft this season and they were able to get good value from each of their draft selections. Players such as Jonte Green (CB) and Travis Lewis (OLB) were productive players in college and should provide some quality depth for their special teams unit.
Green Bay Packers
Good Idea: Second Round Draft picks Jerel Worthy (DT, Michigan State) and Casey Hayward (DB, Vanderbilt) - Worthy was the third highest rated defensive tackle on my board, and someone who I thought could be a late first round talent. He slides to the Packers late in the second round and gives them someone who has great size, speed and ability to be an anchor on the interior of the defensive line. He met all the team requirements I look for when grading defensive tackles and should be a quality producer for the Packers for years to come. Casey Hayward was ranked third on my defensive back rankings. With 15 career INTs and 46 PBU, he will be a welcome addition to the Packers secondary.
Bad Idea: B.J. Coleman (QB, Chattanooga) - Coleman failed to reach the minimum benchmarks on a few of the statistical markers I look for when reviewing QBs. He only amassed 14 career wins in college despite playing at a lower division school. Secondly, he had a career completion percentage of 57.4%, far below the required mark of 60%. Lastly, he was careless with the football as shown by his TD to INT ratio of 1.6. The Packers have a history of drafting and developing QB’s. I'm not sure why they didn’t take a flier on Kellen Moore.
Good Idea: Jared Crick (DE/DT Nebraska) - If he is one hundred percent healthy and fully recovered from the torn pectoral muscle injury he sustained last season, Crick should produce at a level similar to J.J. Watts last season. With 20 career sacks and 29 career TFL, Crick is the ideal fit for a DE in a 3-4 scheme.
Bad Idea: DeVier Posey (WR, Ohio State) - Posey is one of those players who shows flashes of his talent and skill set, yet doesn’t consistently produce at a high level. Posey fails to reach the benchmark of at least 60 receptions in a single season for any draft eligible WR. He had a few off the field issues as well and the Texans need a more polished WR to help their offense grow.
Good Idea: Coby Fleener (TE, Stanford) - The highest ranked tight end on my board this year, Fleener was Andrew Luck's security blanket in college and he should be able to fulfill the same role in the NFL. At 6’6" and 250 lbs., with 4.45 40-speed, Fleener is a matchup nightmare all across the field.
Bad Idea: Vick Ballard (RB, Mississippi State) - Having only one season of significant playing experience, I wonder if he will be able to handle a full work load in the NFL. With only 30 career receptions in college, he will need to show he is a capable of being a target in the open field. Also, he had five career fumbles on only 409 career touches, one of the highest fumbling rates of any running back in this year’s draft class.
Good Idea: Justin Blackmon (WR, Oklahoma State) - The Jaguars don’t have any skill position players to speak of outside of Maurice Jones-Drew. Blackmon gives them an immediate upgrade at wide receiver. With his 40 career receiving TDs, he can be a beast in the red zone. Unfortunately for him, he will have to wait a few years before the front office finds him a decent QB to get him the ball.
Bad Idea: Bryan Anger (P, California) - Really, a punter in the third round? This is why Jacksonville is one of, if not the worst franchises in the NFL.
Kansas City Chiefs
Good Idea: Cyrus Gray (RB, Texas A&M) - The Chiefs have a strong running game with Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis. Gray is a versatile running back that will provide immediate dividends on third down. He is a former wide receiver in college who can be a play-maker in the open field.
Bad Idea: Dontari Poe (DT, Memphis) - You can’t say the Chiefs have been avoiding upgrading their defense the last several years through the draft. Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson, Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, and Eric Berry were all first round draft picks on the defensive side of the ball. Poe failed to meet all the necessary team and individual marks found in our DT Report. Hopefully the Chiefs defensive coaching staff will get more out of him than the coaches at Memphis. If not, he will be another draft bust.
Good Idea: B.J. Cunningham (WR, Michigan State) - With 218 career receptions, 3,086 career receiving yards and 25 career TDs, Cunningham leaves college as one of the most productive receivers in Big 10 history. The Dolphins need to fill the void vacated by the trading of Brandon Marshall; Cunningham has the skill set to be a quality receiver on the outside in the NFL. As a sixth round draft pick, he is an absolute steal in this year’s draft.
Bad Idea: Ryan Tannehill (QB, Texas A&M) - Mike Sherman is talked about as being a coach who is able to develop QBs. Looking through his career at Texas A&M, he failed to develop any quality quarterback for the NFL. Tannehill is a great athlete who happens to play quarterback. He needs time to develop and should have been taken in the seventh round (or undrafted), in the mold of a Matt Flynn. I am curious if the franchise has the number one pick next year, will it consider Matt Barkley, a more polished QB who is ready for the NFL?
Good Idea: Matt Kalil (OT, USC) - Not only did the Vikings get the player they wanted and needed, they also enticed the Browns to give them a few extra picks to move up and take Trent Richardson. Kalil should be the cornerstone left tackle the Vikings need. They invested heavily in Christian Ponder and need someone to protect his blindside.
Bad Idea: Rhett Ellison (FB, USC) - There were only three fullbacks selected in this year’s NFL Draft. Besides Ellison, the other two were taken in the fourth and seventh round respectively. The Vikings could have waited and taken another defensive back, a position for which they have little depth or quality players. The fullback position is a dying position and you can find talent in the seventh round or sign an undrafted free agent.
New England Patriots
Good Idea: Jake Bequette (DE, Arkansas) - with his 6’5" 275 lbs. frame, Bequette can line up as a DE in a 4-3 alignment or a DE in a 3-4. He had 23.5 career sacks and 31 TFL at Arkansas. Bequette was a really productive player for four seasons. He is a versatile lineman who will allow Bill Belichick the opportunity to move him around and cause matchup nightmares for opposing lineman.
Bad Idea: Tavon Wilson (Safety, Illinois) - From my conversations with teams around the NFL, few had Tavon Wilson as a fifth round pick or better on their boards. Wilson was a consistent producer in college. He had 38 consecutive starts and is more suited to play free safety in the NFL. If he turns out to be a productive, efficient NFL player, then they shouldn’t worry about selecting him too soon.
New Orleans Saints
Good Idea: Nick Toon (WR, Wisconsin) - Toon was a very productive wide receiver in college with 171 career receptions and 18 career receiving TDs. Though he was consistent, Toon was never the dominant force one would expect from a 6’3" 220 lbs. receiver who had two above average starting QBs throwing him the ball. The Saints have a deep receiving core and he should be able to come in and learn the system for a few years before taking over the number three receiving role.
Bad Idea: Akiem Hicks (DE, Regina) - Hicks is a player who has a lot of potential, but with little production to show for it. He played in Canada last season, but, for a guy who is 6’3" and 320 lbs., he only registered 6.5 sacks. For a team that has limited draft picks this season and next, I would have expected the Saints to focus on players who are not such developmental projects.
New York Giants
Good Idea: Brandon Mosley (RT, Auburn) - He was the second rated right tackle on my board. Mosley had 25 career starts at right tackle and was a dominant force on an offensive line that won the national championship in 2011. He is a very good athlete who played tight end and defensive end his first two years in college before taking ownership of the right tackle position. He should provide some quality depth and become a good NFL offensive lineman in a few years.
Bad Ideas: David Wilson (RB, Virginia Tech) and Rueben Randle (WR, LSU) - For an organization that has prided itself on selecting defensive lineman, pass rushers and not reaching for specific positions, that playbook was thrown out the window with these two picks. David Wilson had nine fumbles, which is the highest rate amongst any running back in this year’s class. The Giants have won two Super Bowls with late round and undrafted free agents at the running back position. Rueben Randle failed to meet the requirements for career receiving yards (1,634), career receiving TDs (13) and single season receptions (53) that a WR must meet to become draft eligible by my standards. He was a five star high school recruit, who happened to play for a major BCS team. Randle has yet to live up to the hype that has followed him since stepping foot on LSU's campus.
New York Jets
Good Idea: Jordan White (Western Michigan) - Here is a player who broke all of Greg Jennings' receiving records at Western Michigan. White had 306 career receptions, 4,187 career receiving yards and 32 career receiving TDs. He did what anyone would want an elite WR to do against mid-level talent, and that is to dominate. White is a seventh round draft pick who will be an excellent slot receiver and route runner in the NFL.
Bad Idea: Stephen Hill (WR, Georgia Tech) - I understand the potential for Stephen Hill. He averaged 25.5 yards-per-reception for his career at Georgia Tech. He needs a lot of work on his route running and understanding a pro-style offense. His biggest strength is run blocking and he will be asked to do a lot of that for the Jets - especially if they move Tim Tebow into the starting QB role.
Good Idea: Miles Burris (OLB, San Diego State) - In terms of drafting a player who can be productive in rush defense, there are few more capable than Miles Burris. Anytime a player is able to produce 60 or more TFL throughout his college career, NFL teams should take notice. Burris managed 67 career TFL at San Diego State. The Oakland front office didn’t have a lot of draft picks this year, but was able to come away with a few productive players who should contribute right away.
Bad Idea: Jack Crawford (DE, Penn State) - Playing on the outside opposite of Devon Still (DT, Penn State), Crawford should have produced more than just 13.5 sacks for his college career. He has had a couple of foot injuries slow him down the past two seasons to go along with a few off field issues as well.
Good Idea: Marvin McNutt (WR, Iowa State) - The Eagles get a tremendous amount of value by selecting McNutt in the sixth round. He was very productive in college with 170 career receptions, 2,861 career receiving yards and a 16.8 yards-per reception average. At 6’3" 216 lbs., he should be a big target in the red zone to go with fellow Eagles' teammates Riley Cooper, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.
Bad Idea: Nick Foles (QB, Arizona) - Foles has the size and measurables you like to see from the QB position, but he lacked production. A three year starter, Foles was only able to lead his team to victory 15 times. His completion percentage dropped below the 60% mark when attempted throws beyond 10 yards. For the Eagles, hopefully they can make him look good enough so a team will overpay for Foles just like the Cardinals did with Kevin Kolb.
Good Idea: David DeCastro (OG, Stanford) - The ninth highest rated player on my entire board this year, DeCastro, is an absolute monster on the offensive line. Teaming him with Maurkice Pouncey will solidify the interior portion of the Steelers offensive line for the next 10-12 years. This was the best pick of the entire first round of the NFL draft.
Bad Idea: Chris Rainey (RB, Florida) - I understand the desire to get some more playmakers on offense. Rainey has great measurables. He posted one of the fastest 40 times at this year’s combine. When breaking down his tape though, he had one of the lowest yards after contact totals of any running back in this year’s draft class. His true value will probably be limited to special teams. He is a productive kick returner with an average of 25.2 yards-per-return while at Florida.
San Diego Chargers
Good Ideas: Melvin Ingram (DE/OLB, South Carolina) and Kendall Reyes (DT, Connecticut) - The Chargers not only selected the top rated pass rusher on my board in Melvin Ingram, they were also fortunate enough to select Kendall Reyes, the top rated defensive tackle on my board as well in the second round. Ingram had 21.5 sacks in college and should produce at a similar level to what Shawne Merriman did his first few years in the NFL. Kendall Reyes exceeds the benchmarks I look for from NFL prospects at DT. He led a Connecticut team that held opposing team’s offenses to 85 rushing yards a game last season. In addition to team performance, he had 11.5 sacks and 32.5 TFL for his career. Reyes is a complete defensive tackle who should have a long productive career in the NFL.
Bad Idea: Johnnie Troutman (OG, Penn State) - Troutman has a history of injuries to his knee, which kept him out of games throughout his college career. In addition to injuries, he has also had a few run-ins with law enforcement, most recently for a DUI arrest this past February. He isn’t overly athletic and he is going to be better suited for a man-blocking scheme versus zone-blocking.
San Francisco 49ers
Good Idea: Darius Fleming (OLB, Notre Dame) - Fleming is a quality, all-around good linebacker that can play either outside or inside in a 3-4 defensive scheme. He will provide quality depth at the position and more than likely be a top performer on special teams. He had 14.5 career sacks at Notre Dame to go along with his 32 TFL and 121.5 career tackles. Fleming's personality and character fit the mold what Coach Harbaugh wants.
Bad Idea: A.J. Jenkins (WR, Illinois) - The typical response amongst scouts is he didn’t have the production in college because he didn’t have a decent QB throwing him the ball. Jenkins was able to catch a respectable 163 career passes and 19 receiving TD’s; however, he was only able to manage a paltry 7.6 yards-per-catch, the lowest amongst ALL draft eligible wide receivers in this year’s draft class.
Good Idea: Robert Turbin (RB, Utah State) - One of my favorite players in this year’s draft class, Turbin has a physical running style and his athletic build is comparable to Marshawn Lynch, the player he will be backing up in Seattle. As a fourth round selection, the Seahawks gained tremendous value. Turbin should have the opportunity to be a productive third-down back and possibly be the team’s leading rusher in a few years.
Bad Idea: Korey Toomer (LB, Idaho) - The Seahawks passed over a few good linebackers when they selected Korey Toomer. With their defensive scheme and need for quality linebackers, Terrell Manning from North Carolina State, who had 153 career tackles, 27.5 TFL and 8 forced fumbles for his career in only 36 games, would have been a better fit.
St. Louis Rams
Good Idea: Brian Quick (WR, Appalachian State) - The Rams need wide receiver help especially on the outside. They selected two good receivers last season in Greg Salas and Austin Pettis. Quick gives them a bigger wide receiver at 6’4" 220 lbs. Sam Bradford should have no problem seeing him down the field. He dominated the FCS level with 202 career receptions, 31 receiving TDs and 3,418 career receiving yards. Though it's not a specific draft selection from 2012, the Rams also netted the Redskins first round draft picks in 2013 and 2014.
Bad Idea: Michael Brockers (DT, LSU) - I'm not sure how Michael Brockers was labeled as an interior pass rusher. It only takes a quick look at his stats to see that he only had two career sacks in college. He is a redshirt sophomore and only has 27 college games under his belt. Brockers is a developmental player who will need time, coaching, and special attention before he will show any impact in the NFL. The Rams would have been better suited to stay at number six and select Michael Floyd to bolster their receiving core.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Good Idea: Lavonte David (LB, Nebraska) - David has impressive sideline to sideline abilities and shows a willingness to give complete effort on every play. Though he is a bit undersized, his speed and athletic ability make-up for it. He had 218 career tackles in only 27 career games to go along with being the leader on the Cornhuskers' defense once Jared Crick went down in the early part of last season. The Bucs will be happy to plug David in on the outside and allow him to make plays in the backfield.
Bad Idea: Doug Martin (RB, Boise State) - The Bucs have a lot of holes in their defensive secondary, offensive line and tight end. LeGarrette Blount is a capable running back, who needs to work on his ball protection, but there was no need to trade back into the first round for Martin. The former Boise State Bronco is a versatile running back who can play, but the price they paid was too high. Robert Turbin or Cyrus Gray could have been found in the later rounds and it wouldn’t have cost the Bucs those extra picks.
Good Idea: Markelle Martin (FS, Oklahoma State) - The top rated free safety on my board, I think the Titans found an absolute steal in the sixth round. He was a captain of the Oklahoma State defense that was able to keep Kendall Wright out of the end zone and hold the Baylor offense to its lowest offensive efficiency rating all season. Martin has great range as noted by his 39 PBU, the highest amongst all safeties in this year’s class.
Bad Idea: Zach Brown (LB, UNC) - Brown played behind quality NFL prospects in Quinton Coples, Robert Quinn, Bruce Carter and Marvin Austin. With such elite talent around him, Brown had the opportunity to be productive, but he failed to materialize. In 47 career games, he tallied 230 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 19.5 TFL. Though the Titans needed help upgrading their linebacker core, Brown will most likely not be that answer.
Good Idea: Robert Griffin III (QB, Baylor) - He better be a "good idea" because the franchise just mortgaged the future to get him. They have done a good job of surrounding him with talent like Pierre Garcon and Fred Davis. "RGIII" has the athletic ability to create plays when the pocket collapses, but he will have to work on his decision making. His completion percentage dropped when he led his Baylor team into the red zone.
Bad Idea: Kirk Cousins (QB, Michigan St) - I really like Kirk Cousins. In fact, he is the third highest rated QB on my board this year. I'm not sure why the Redskins felt the need to draft two QBs this year. Cousins will be an excellent backup. I just wish he went to a team where he could have the opportunity to become a starter in a few years. That won’t be the case if RGIII stays healthy. The Redskins traded a lot of picks to get RGIII; they should save the ones they have to surround him with better talent.