Friday, April 27, 2012
Updated: April 28, 4:42 PM ET
Day 2 winners and losers
By John Clayton
NEW YORK -- NFL teams zipped through Rounds 2 and 3 in just under four hours Friday.
There was a run on offensive linemen in the second round. Surprise moves were made on quarterbacks. Russell Wilson went to Seattle. Nick Foles went to Philadelphia. Michigan State's Kirk Cousins didn't get drafted. The Broncos landed Brock Osweiler to be Peyton Manning's understudy.
And, yes, there were trades. After an eight-trade first round, there five trades in each round Friday. Still surprising is how fast teams were making selections. Teams had their picks in before the league had time to announce them.
So who were the winners and losers on Day 2?
1. St. Louis Rams: General manager Les Snead nailed it. His offseason was on trial Friday during the second round. The Rams have spent an offseason angling to find players whom coach Jeff Fisher could play on a team being totally rebuilt. Snead worked trades with the Redskins during the offseason and the Cowboys on Day 1. They entered Friday with three second-round picks. Snead drafted wide receiver Brian Quick, cornerback Janoris Jenkins and running back Isaiah Pead in the second round. Quick is a big receiver who can help quarterback Sam Bradford on routes outside the numbers. If he picks up the offense, he can do for Bradford what Brandon Lloyd offered last season -- become a big, dependable target. Quick might have been taken a little higher than expected, but at least the Rams got a wide receiver. The Rams have needed an explosive backup running back for years. Pead can be a significant upgrade from the backups of the past two years. Last season, the Rams tried Cadillac Williams behind Steven Jackson. This Cadillac had run out of gas. Pead comes to the Rams with a full tank and plenty of elusiveness. The selection of cornerback Trumaine Johnson in the third round capped the first two days of the draft. The Rams seemingly had more cornerback injuries than they scored points last season. Now, they have Cortland Finnegan, Jenkins and Johnson. First-round pick Michael Brockers will help disrupt quarterbacks and running plays at the line of scrimmage.
2. Green Bay Packers: Statistically, the Packers had one of the worst defensive years in NFL history. How they won 15 games while giving up 411.6 yards a game is remarkable. General manager Ted Thompson needed a good defensive draft and he got it. The key came Friday when the Packers made defensive lineman Jerel Worthy their second-round pick, trading up to get him. This must have been important. Thompson traded up only three times in drafts before this season. On Friday, he traded up for Worthy and second-round cornerback Casey Hayward. The Packers miscalculated last year by letting Cullen Jenkins go to Philadelphia in free agency and thought Mike Neal could be his replacement. Now Worthy looks like the worthy replacement at defensive end. What helps is he's 309 pounds and has the size and flexibility to help out at nose tackle. The key to the draft is how quickly linebacker Nick Perry, the first-round pick, develops as a pass-rusher on the other side of Clay Matthews. For the record, Matthews was one of the few draftable players Thompson traded up to select.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers: Sometimes, you can get lucky in drafts. The Steelers were more than lucky. The offensive line has been a problem for years. Age caught up to it several years ago. Injuries have plagued it for the past two seasons. The Steelers needed a break that didn't involve a fractured arm or leg. They got it in the first round when guard David DeCastro fell to them at the No. 24 pick. He's the best guard prospect since Steve Hutchinson. Friday night capped the draft when Mike Adams fell to them in the second round. Getting a potential starting left tackle in the second round is a huge break. Adams had a first-round grade until the league informed teams Adams failed a drug test for marijuana. With Adams at left tackle, Mike Pouncey at center and DeCastro at left guard, the Steelers are assembling one of the better young offensive lines in football. In the third round, they added a young linebacker prospect Mike Tomlin can groom in Sean Spencer. The Steelers always like to stockpile young linebackers and get them ready for the 3-4.
1. Detroit Lions: The selection of wide receiver Ryan Broyles in the second round might be great for the future, but it doesn't offer a lot for the beginning of the season. The Lions must win now. Broyles is a project because he's coming off an ACL knee reconstruction. Plus, the Lions are pretty solid at wide receiver. They are thin at cornerback, particularly with the loss of Eric Wright to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency. Broyles might develop into a great slot receiver, but it's likely he will be on the physically unable to perform list until November. While the Lions might be looking for a replacement for receiver Nate Burleson, they needed a cornerback now. Their current starters are Chris Houston and former nickel corner Aaron Berry. They did take cornerback Dwight Bentley in the third round, but there is no guarantee he can make the transition into an NFL starter coming from Louisiana-Lafayette. Tackle Riley Reiff is a good first-round selection to eventually replace Jeff Backus at left tackle, but the Lions have been neglecting their secondary a little too long.
2. San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers drew criticism in the first round when they took wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, who wasn't a first-round pick on some teams' boards. The selection of running back LaMichael James in the second round was even more puzzling. How many running backs do the 49ers need? They have Frank Gore, one of the more dependable backs in the league. Gore might be wearing out, but he's still good. Kendall Hunter is a good inside runner. They added free-agent Brandon Jacobs for short-yardage and goal line. James might be a good fit as a third-down back. The 49ers average 31 carries a game. Unless they are running off Gore, they'd need 40 carries a game to keep this group happy. The 49ers are overdoing it at running back.
3. Arizona Cardinals: Where's the beef? Quarterback Kevin Kolb took a pounding last year. Part of it was poor offensive line play. Part of it was Kolb's bad instincts in the pocket. He needed help along the offensive line, but he didn't get it in the first three rounds of the draft. The Kolb trade with Philadelphia kept the Cardinals out of the second round. No one can criticize taking wide receiver Michael Floyd in the first round. He's the second-rated receiver in the draft. In the third round, though, they took cornerback Jamell Fleming from Oklahoma. The Redskins, Oilers and Chiefs got offensive line help in the third round in the 10 picks before the Cardinals' third-round selection of Fleming. If the Cardinals thought the draft was running out of blockers, they should have traded up for help. If the Cardinals don't get blocking help for Kolb, he'll be a concussion waiting to happen.