Every year, the NFL draft provides a springboard for some teams while others simply fall flat on their faces. It’s nice to talk about which teams made the biggest leaps forward, but it’s a lot more fun to talk about teams that stumbled right before the jump, causing them to wipe out in an epic fashion. That’s what this piece is all about. Here’s the 3 teams I thought did nothing do help themselves out in the 2012 NFL draft.
The Browns entered the draft with two first round picks, including the 3rd overall selection which they traded for just prior to the beginning of the draft. What did they do with their two high picks? They picked a very good running back in Trent Richardson, and they drafted Brandon Weeden, a quarterback, with the 22nd pick. I would have liked the Richardson pick if it had occurred between picks 10 and 15 of the draft, and Weeden isn’t ready to start in the NFL. It’s not all bad however. Mitchell Schwartz is a solid tackle out of California that will be able to solidify their offensive line. Still, don’t expect the Browns to win many games in 2012. They’re in a tough division, and they didn’t impress me with their draft picks this year.
Picking Matt Kalil to help protect 2nd year quarterback Christian Ponder was an obvious pick, and it was a good pick. The Vikings added a lot of reliable protection when they decided to go with Kalil, but the one thing Kalil won’t be doing is helping Ponder find targets to throw to. Christian Ponder became a member of the Vikings at the wrong time. The Vikings’ future in Minnesota is still in doubt, and their franchise quarterback still doesn’t have enough reliable weapons to move the football down the field with. The Vikings drafted 2 wide receivers in the draft, Jarius Wright and Greg Childs, both in the 4th round. Don’t expect those guys to contribute a lot to the Vikings passing attack. My prediction — another top 10 pick for the Vikings in 2013.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay was once considered the “youngriest” team in the NFL, but they’ve fallen a long ways since that distinction was coined. Last year, Josh Freeman was only a shell of his former self, and the team as a whole imploded in ways no one thought was possible. Like the Browns, the Buccaneers ended up with two first round selections. With the 7th overall pick, they selected Mark Barron, a solid strong safety, but he’s also a guy I thought the Buccaneers shouldn’t have been picking at 7th overall. Then, with the 31st overall pick, they selected Doug Martin, a running back out of Boise State. The pick itself would be okay, but the Buccaneers should have been using that pick on one of the many positions they needed a lot of help at. Yes, Martin adds depth to the running back position, but there were many more positions that needed to be addressed (offensive line anyone?) that were also far more important to the Buccaneers success in 2012 than finding another running back. Again, this team won’t be much better in 2012.