When the clock started ticking at 8:00 pm eastern Thursday night at Radio Music City Hall, the football world knew who the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins were going to draft. As expected, Stanford’s Andrew Luck was selected first by Indianapolis and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III was selected second by Washington. After the expected took place, the Cleveland Browns made a big splash by trading with the Minnesota Vikings for the third pick and selected standout running back Trent Richardson out of Alabama. Cleveland wasn’t the only team to make a blockbuster move early on as the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers swapped picks.
Jacksonville received Tampa’s 5th pick and selected one of the better receivers, Justin Blackmon out of Oklahoma State and Tampa Bay received Jacksonville’s 7th selecting safety, Mark Barron out of Alabama. The Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones traded their 14th pick to the St. Louis Rams in exchange for the 6th pick and selected the best cornerback in the draft, Morris Claiborne out of LSU. All of this was the beginning of an intriguing 2012 NFL Draft. Now that the entire selection making is in the books, it’s time for me to go deep inside the helmet and rank my top five picks and sleepers of this year’s draft.
Ranking my top 5 picks
1: David DeCastro OG Stanford – Pittsburgh Steelers, 1st round 24th pick – How on earth does the best offensive lineman of the draft end up in the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers? DeCastro will make an immediate impact at his position, and for the Steelers to grab him late in the first round is a big huge steal.
2: Trent Richardson RB Alabama – Cleveland Browns, 1st round 3rd pick trade from Minnesota – Outside of left tackle, a running back is a quarterbacks best friend. Richardson has a tremendous upside and should solidify the Browns cloudy backfield.
3: Morris Claiborne CB LSU – Dallas Cowboys, 1st round 6th pick trade from St. Louis – Jerry Jones wasted no time to get the best cornerback in the draft. The Cowboys secondary has been dreadful, and by signing Brandon Carr via free agency and adding Claiborne, a player that has all the tools of being a shutdown corner, locking up the outside should give defensive coordinator Rob Ryan the luxury of a more aggressive blitzing approach.
4: Fletcher Cox DT Mississippi State – Philadelphia Eagles, 1st round 12th pick trade from Seattle – Getting a player projected to be a top 10 pick at number 12 is a steal. Cox will join a talented Eagles defensive front that just moved up a few notches with him aboard. Bravo!
5: Coby Fleener TE Stanford – Indianapolis Colts, 2nd round 34th pick – Great way to start the Luck era. After drafting Andrew Luck with the 1st pick, the Colts grabbed Luck’s best weapon and teammate from Stanford.