April 30, 2012

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Top 2012 NFL Draft Surprises

By: Anson Whaley

With this year’s NFL Draft concluded, there were, as always, plenty of surprises. Here were some of the big ones from last week’s mega event.

Browns Trade up to grab Trent Richardson: Few would argue that Richardson is a top talent in this year’s draft. He was projected by most as the top running back, so it’s difficult to lambaste Cleveland too much for this pick. But it’s what the Browns gave up that made this a bit of a head-scratcher. Cleveland was so determined to snag Richardson that they gave up 4th, 5th, and 7th round picks to move up a single spot in the trade to Minnesota. The Vikings already have Adrian Peterson, so there was little chance they would have drafted Richardson. The Browns were hedging against the possibility of another team moving up in front of them and wanted to be sure they got their man. Still, three picks was probably a bit much to move up a single spot.

Redskins Draft RGIII … and then Kirk Cousins: Talk about a fairly awkward moment. The Redskins, as expected, took Heisman winner Robert Griffin III with the No. 2 pick overall, essentially making him their franchise quarterback. Washington is without any real stability under center, so it’s safe to say that he’ll probably get his shot to start sooner rather than later. Teams are usually interested in giving a young quarterback weapons, but the Redskins did just the opposite in the third round. You could almost hear the collective ‘huh’ from fans after Washington drafted Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins in the third round. The move made little sense as the Redskins have more pressing needs and instead of giving Griffin a weapon to make the team better, they drafted another player at his position that probably won’t play much. It’s doubtful that Cousins will really push Griffin, but Washington appeared to be buying some insurance with this move. If Griffin doesn’t pan out, then it could be argued that this was a wise move. But until that happens, the Cousins pick warrants plenty of criticism.


RG3 will be joined by fellow QB Kirk Cousins in Washington this year.

Patriots Trade up to take Dont’a Hightower: Hightower was one of the elite linebackers in this draft and once the Steelers passed on him, New England moved up in the first round to take him fearing he wouldn’t last long. Hightower was a prime target of the Steelers, but once highly-rated guard David DeCastro fell to them, they couldn’t resist the opportunity to upgrade their offensive line. That opened the door for the Patriots to, in turn, upgrade their defense – one of the league’s worst last season.

Seahawks take Bruce Irvin at No. 15: This was perhaps the first big reach of the first round and one of the bigger ones in the whole draft. Irvin was a strong player for West Virginia, no doubt. But there are questions that he may not even be able to play every down in the NFL since he’s fairly one-dimensional, used mainly as a pass-rusher. Seattle could have probably traded down to secure an additional pick or two and still ended up with him if he was really the guy they wanted all along.

Mohamed Sanu gets Scammed: The story of the entire draft may have been when Sanu was prank-called by a fan claiming to be a Bengals representative, saying the team was taking him in the first round. An excited Sanu and company were then mortified when Cincinnati went with Kevin Zeitler and hilarity ensued in the Twittersphere. Ordinarily you might feel bad laughing about something like that, but the Bengals took him later in the draft so everything turned out fine. Still, imagine being told you were drafted only to find out you weren’t. Embarrassing.