The first round of the 2012 NFL draft was the fastest in history, a three-hour round that still saw eight trades made.
Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III went to the Colts and Redskins with the first two picks as expected. Then things became interesting.
The Vikings did very well, trading out of the third selection with the Browns but moving down only one spot. They received three more picks (a 4th, 5th and 7th) and still got the player they would have selected anyway, offensive tackle Matt Kalil of USC.
Cleveland wanted to move up to select running back Trent Richardson Alabama. Give credit for a good smoke screen by the Vikings for saying they liked Richardson even though they have Adrian Peterson. The Browns bought the bluff.
Minnesota was not finished however. They used a 2nd and 4th round pick to acquire the Ravens 29th overall in round one to select safety Harrison Smith from Notre Dame. Using extra ammo from the first trade made the second one easier.
The Jaguars liked receiver Justin Blackmon from Oklahoma State and traded up with the Bucs from #6 to the #5 spot and only gave up a 4th round selection for a number one receiver desperately needed in Jacksonville.
The Cowboys secretly coveted LSU cornerback Mo Claiborne and gave up a 2nd round pick to move up to number six, the Rams pick. Dallas took the top corner in this draft.
There were some surprises next with players over-drafted in my opinion starting with quarterback Ryan Tannehill from Texas A&M going to the Dolphins at number eight. He has talent but the raw passer may have to sit a year due to lack of experience; Tannehill only started 19 games at quarterback as a former wide receiver in college.
The Seahawks reached for outside linebacker Bruce Irvin (West Virginia) to get a much needed pass rusher. Irvin probably could have been had in round two.
Another reach was by the 49ers in the selection receiver A. J. Jenkins Illinois with the 30th pick. I had him rated much lower, but a fast time at the combine clearly excited San Francisco.
The Bears selection of linebacker/defensive end Shea McCellin from Boise State may work out, but he shot up the draft board after the season was over. Workout warrior status makes me wonder about that pick. McCellin only weighed in at a little over 240 pounds at the Senior Bowl but bulked up to 260 at the combine; he may have to make it as a rush linebacker.
The Patriots, as usual, were active but with a new twist. Trading up this year instead of down as they have in past years was the New England strategy Thursday. They received the #25 pick from the Broncos and used it to take linebacker Dont'a Hightower out of Alabama. The Crimson Tide run-stuffer is a good fit in Bill Belichick's 3-4 scheme.
Before that, the Pats traded away their #27 pick to the Bengals moved into the 21st spot to take defensive end Chandler Jones, a player drafted on potential who is still raw but has great upside. They are trying hard to improve their suspect defense.
Alabama had four players taken in round 1, the most of any team. So-called mid-major Boise State had two players going in round 1 as did LSU, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Illinois, Stanford, USC, South Carolina, and Notre Dame.
Day two has the Saints finally joining the party with their first selection at 89th overall (Third Round).
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