For the first time, a quarterback was taken with both the first pick and the last pick in the draft. And to top it off, they were selected by the same team.
Andrew Luck of Stanford will be joined by Mr. Irrelevant, quarterback Chandler Harnish from Northern Illinois, who was also taken by the Colts.
The Saints added depth to their team, but I don't think the drafted any starters (at least not for the 2012 season) but they added depth to positions of need like offensive line, defensive line and defensive back.
I like Nick Toon, the wide receiver out of Wisconsin. I think the fans will like him, too. He has consistent hands, runs good pass routes and comes up with acrobatic catches.
The best draft on paper in my opinion was had by the Bengals. With two number one picks, they took cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama), who has fine ball skills, will sky for the ball, plays with desire and has a good work ethic. The kid is a vocal leader and good character prospect.
With the second top choice, Cincy selected Kevin Zeitler, offensive guard from Wisconsin. He had a solid week at the Senior Bowl and is a strong weight-trained athlete who plays with a mean streak.
Running back Bernard Pierce of Temple had a super productive 2011 season with 27 touchdowns. He is a nice sized back (220 pounds) who will pound the ball between the tackles. The physical down-hill runner was the Bengals' 1st third rounder.
I really like defensive tackle Devon Still (Penn State Cincinnati's second pick in round three. He is long, 6-5 306 and has the physical tools to excel at the pro level. Versatile enough to project to a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme, I like Still's quick feet to shoot the gap and be disruptive.
The Bengals fourth round selection was tight end Orson Charles from Georgia. He is a natural athlete, a solid pass catcher, and has enough speed to stretch a defense. He has been productive in the tough SEC. They also picked up a corner Shaun Prater (Iowa), and receiver Marvin Jones (California) and safety George Iloka from Boise State with their 5th rounders. Iloka was a prospect I had rated much higher. Concy capped their haul with their 6th round selection, Ohio State 's Dan Herron, a tough, hard-working back.
The worse draft in my opinion was put together by the Seahawks. They reached for a defensive end because they needed a pass rush and took Bruce Irvin, defensive end from West Virginia, way too high for him the 18th pick in round one. He is a one-trick pony; all he can do is rush the passer. Irvin, who will have to play as a rush linebacker, only weights in at 237 pounds. He didn't become a starter until the 2011 season but did come up with 8.5 sacks. He also had academic problems and at one point dropped out of high school.
Seattle's second round pick was okay. Bobby Wagner, linebacker from Utah State, is a natural athlete with quickness but has only average ball skills in pass coverage. He lacks an extra gear and is slow to react at times.
A real gamble was the Seahawks' selection of a 5-foot-11 quarterback Russell Wilson from Wisconsin who threw a lot of picks in 2011. In the fourth, they selected Jaye Howard, the defensive tackle out of Florida who lacks strength needs to spend much more time in the weight room. He also plays too high and has trouble shedding blockers.
In the lower rounds, Seattle took Korey Toomer, a linebacker from Idaho in the 5th. Defensive back Winston Guy (Kentucky) was their 6th round selection and in round 7seven they took Louisville defensive end George Scruggs, who I had rated as a free agent.
In the NFC South, the Buccaneers and Panthers did well.
The Bucs got a very good safety in Mark Barron from Alabama in round one. He has Pro-Bowl potential with good size (6-2 217). A physical hitter who has been very productive in the competitive SEC, Barron is a proven solid run defender and a team leader.
Tampa has a second first round pick and pulled the trigger on a big running back from Boise State, Doug Martin. He is a 223-pound tough, physical runner who is strong near the goal line and will move the pile. Martin runs low and is hard to bring down.
In round two, Lavaonte David, a undersized linebacker from Nebraska with fine speed was a Bucs' choice. He can blitz the quarterback and is a solid wrap-up tackler who has been a playmaker. Najee Goode, inside linebacker from West Virginia whois versatile enough to also play outside linebacker, was their 5th rounder. And in round six, they went for a West Virginia player again in cornerback Keith Tandy who is also versatile and can play the safety position. In round 7, they took another versatile player, Drake Dunsmore, who can project to tight end and fullback. He played H-back and fullback at Northwestern, has soft hands, can catch the ball and is a willing reliable blocker as well.
The Panthers took a tackling machine, linebacker Luke Luechly (6-2 236) out of Boston College at the 10th overall spot. He led the nation in tackles with over 40 more than anyone else. Very instinctive, Luechly is a real playmaker with 4.56 speed.
In round two, Carolina selected Amini Silatolu (6-3 325) out of tiny Midwestern State. He is an offensive guard who had two productive seasons in a row. He is quick off the ball and a tough competitor.
With two 4th round selections, the Panthers took Oklahoma defensive end Frank Alexander (6-3 260), a quick and fast lineman with a good work ethic. He plays hard and has a good motor. The other fourth rounder was speedy wide receiver Joe Adams, the Arkansas star with 4.38 speed who is a dangerous punt return man and very elusive in the open field.
Carolina closed out their draft with a corner from Costal Carolina, Josh Norman (6-1 195), who helped himself with a good week at the East-West Game. Norman should be a good special teams prospect as well. He was their 5th round pick. In round 6, they took punter Brad Norman (Wisconsin) and in the 7th, they grabbed D. J. Campbell, a free safety from California.
The Falcons draft was not as impressive but they did get a good center prospect with their second round pick. Atlanta didn't have a number one thanks to last year's Julio Jones deal. Peter Konz from Wisconsin was the top rated center in this draft, he is 6-4 ½ 317 and an experienced starter who played against top college competition. He has the long arms that scouts like but is also an agile, quick big man. The rest of their draft was only average.
The NFC South will be tough and competitive in 2012.
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