Analysis By ColdHardFootballFacts.com
An athletic specimen from a small school. He has a lot of talent but is also a work in progress. But Sam Bradford needs all the help he can get. With limited weapons around him, the young QB has struggled mightily to master the pro game.
TE Dallas Clark was one of Peyton Manning's top weapons for years. But now both are gone. Indianapolis uses its second pick of 2012 to reunite QB-of-the-future Andrew Luck with one of his biggest weapons from Stanford. Fleener averaged an awesome 19.6 yards per catch last season.
Upshaw is the fourth defender from Alabama's standout defense of 2011 taken in the first 35 picks. If he lives up the hype, he can help the Ravens rebuild their famous -- but aging -- defense and serve as a dangerous OLB opposite 2011 Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs.
Denver uses its first pick of 2012 to pack the middle of a defensive line that has all kinds of holes in it. Paired with 2011 Defensive Rookie of the Year and sack specialist Von Miller, Denver now has the building blocks to field a strong and potentially lethal defensive front.
Cleveland has had a potentially monster draft so far, with three of the first 37 picks -- all devoted to rebuilding its pathetic offense. Schwartz gives Cleveland a bookend tackle opposite perennial Pro Bowl LT Joe Thomas, some insurance at the position and a chance to open up holes for RB Trent Richardson and protect QB Brandon Weeden.
Branch has game-breaking pass-rushing potential from the outside (10.5 sacks in 2011). The Jaguars certainly need the help. They chalked up just 31 sacks in 2011.
The Rams have now used two of their first three picks of 2012 on defensive players. They were so bad last season that they needed help everywhere. But the pick is curious for two reasons: the offense was really the team's biggest problem last year (32nd in scoring) and Jenkins joins the team with a checkered past that includes numerous off-the-field incidents.
Silatolu is a very athletic interior offensive lineman, but obviously played against lower-level talent at Midwestern State. It's a bad needs-based pick, too. The OL was Carolina's top unit last year: No. 4 on the CHFF Offensive Hog Index and No. 1 on the ground, with an average of 5.43 yards per attempt.
Glenn was seen by some as a first-round talent and was among the players invited to Radio City Music Hall on Thursday night. He could make a big impact for a Buffalo offense that was wildly inconsistent in all phases of the game last year.
Martin was extraordinarily effective as Andrew Luck's blindside tackle for three years at Stanford. The Dolphins are desperate for the same kind of pass protection. They were 30th in the NFL last at protecting the passer, according to the CHFF Offensive Hog Index. Potential to be a home-run needs-based pick.
Hill wasn't very productive (28 catches) in Georgia Tech's run-heavy offense last season, but he was explosive, averaging 29.3 yards per catch. He has potential to be the game-breaker the Jets need on offense to open up the field for either Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow, two young quarterbacks who have struggled to pass consistently and effectively.
The Chiefs are intent on building their team from the inside out, first with DT Dontari Poe and now a likely starting offensive lineman in the second round. Kansas City needs help opening up holes. They averaged just 3.9 yards per attempt on the ground last year (28th) without injured RB Jamaal Charles.
Jeffery was electric in 2010, with 88 catches for 1,517 yards and 9 TDs, but fell back to earth for the Gamecocks in 2011 (49, 762, 8). In either case, he should be a big upgrade for the always offensively challenged Bears. Their top wide receiver last year, Johnny Knox, caught a Stone Age-like 37 passes for 727 yards and 2 TDs.
The Eagles have gone with interior defenders with each of their first two picks. Kendricks was a stud all-purpose LB at California but is haunted by questions about his undersized frame.
The Seahawks, like the Eagles, have also gone DL, ILB with their first two picks. The problem for Seattle? They have much greater needs everywhere else. The team's strongest card last year was its defensive front and great run defense.
New England has left as many as three Super Bowl titles on the table because it sported defenses that couldn't make critical stops in 2006, 2007 and 2011. The all-out effort to change those fortunes continues with their third defender -- one at each level -- drafted among the first 48 picks. Wilson, a three-year starter, was one of the Illini's best tacklers.
Reyes is a beefy fireplug with some explosive speed for his size (4.9 40). The Chargers need to add some toughness and explosiveness to a DL that was often abused last year. And Reyes, coupled with first-round pick Melvin Ingram, represents a pair of potentially strong needs-based selections.
Pead put up explosive numbers during his career at Cincinnati, with a career average of more than 6.0 yards per carry. The team has to prepare for the inevitable demise of productive but heavily used RB Steven Jackson -- the team's best weapon for years.
Credit Green Bay for properly identifying its greatest weakness -- a surprisingly rare skill among NFL teams. The often overmatched defensive front was easily the team's statistical weakness in 2011 and the biggest difference between that team and the 2010 champs. Worthy is a big talent and the second Green Bay effort in 2012 to remake the defensive line.
Brown was projected by some draftniks as a first-round talent, so he could prove to be a great value find for the Titans. Tennessee could use his athleticism as a pass rusher. They were dead last in 2011 at pressuring the passer, according too CHFF's Defensive Hog Index.
The Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year was expected by many to go in the first round (he was invited to Radio City on Thursday). Paired with DT Geno Atkins (7.5 sacks in 2011), the Bengals have the potential to field one of the most devastating defensive interiors in the NFL.
Broyles played second fiddle as the second best receiver in the Sooner State behind Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, the No. 5 overall pick. But Broyles is a spectacular talent, too. Over the last three seasons he averaged 101 receptions for 1,300 yards and 13 TDs. The Lions still haven't addressed huge needs on defense, though.
The Badgers' massive center was a big reason the team rushed for 3,298 yards and 48 TDs last season. He represents the future at center to replace longtime stalwart Todd McClure, who's now 35 years old and tiny (6-1, 295) compared to Konz.
The Steelers continue to rebuild in the trenches. The first two picks have each gone to the offensive line. Pittsburgh has struggled to protect Ben Roethlisberger in recent years and the massive Adams could help improve that situation.
Osweiler enters the NFL in a relatively enviable situation: with a chance to learn the position from the master, Peyton Manning, who's well into the back nine of his career. Osweiler has a lot to learn: he played just 24 games at ASU -- and lost each of his last five. But he gives Denver a project QB with plenty of upside potential.
The Buccaneers fielded the worst defense in franchise history in 2011 (494 points allowed) thanks largely in part to terrible play from their defensive line and linebackers, ranking No. 32 on the CHFF Defensive Hog Index. David is a tackling machine, with a school-record 152 in 2010 and another 123 in 2011.
The Eagles continue their heavy-duty effort to rebuild their defense into a Super Bowl contender. They've devoted all three picks so far to that side of the ball. Curry was one of the best pass rushers in football last year, with 11 sacks and 22 tackles for loss.
Michael Oher was Baltimore's first-round pick in 2009 and famous the subject of "The Blind Side." But he has largely underachieved and was even flipped from the blind side to right tackle last season. The massive Osemele is more physically imposing than even Oher and could represent the future anchor on the OL. The unit is already stacked, too: Baltimore was No. 2 on CHFF's Offensive Hog Index in 2011.
James was truly electrifying during his three years at Oregon, highlighted by 1,805 rushing yard (7.3 ypc) and 18 TDs in 2011. San Francisco was a great team in 2011, but sorely lacked explosive players. The dangerous James should change that dynamic.
The Packers surrendered 4,988 passing yards in 2011 -- the most in the history of the NFL. Their inability to play pass defense killed them in the playoff loss to the Giants. Hayward is the third defender, and the first DB, the team has taken in the first two rounds. Hayward is a great all-purpose talent. He hauled in 7 INT last year, with 62 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss.
Randle was LSU's greatest deep threat each of the past two seasons and gives Eli Manning yet another weapon and a potentially great replacement for Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham (signed by San Francisco). Manning's receiving corps is shaping up as again perhaps the most deadly arsenal in the league. Watch out (again), NFL.
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