Indianapolis Colts: B+
The Indianapolis Colts came into the draft knowing exactly who their selection would be. Essentially, there was only ever two potential picks that the Colts would make, and they stuck with the early consensus pick, taking Andrew Luck and anointing him as their next franchise quarterback.
After picking Luck, Ryan Grigson went to work, trying to give Luck some weapons to work with in an effort to ensure his success as a rookie. Those weapons included TE Coby Fleener who is also from Stanford, TE Dwayne Allen, WR T.Y. Hilton, and WR LaVon Brazill.
The Colts have a lot of young pieces on their team, but they all revolve around Andrew Luck. His level of success will determine how successful the above mentioned draftees will be in the NFL which is why I only gave the Colts a B+. You may say that Andrew Luck was the obvious pick for the Colts, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was the right pick. The only major downside to Grigson’s inaugural draft is that it puts all of the Colts’ eggs in the Andrew Luck basket. There’s a lot riding on Luck’s success in Indianapolis.
Jacksonville Jaguars: A-
Using baseball terms, the Jaguars hit a homerun, a triple, and a solid double with their first three picks of the 2012 draft. The Jaguars sacrificed their 4th round selection to move up two spots in the first round to snag Justin Blackmon, the first true #1 receiver they’ve had in Jacksonville since the days of Jimmy Smith. That pick should allow Blaine Gabbert to spread the ball around to his other receivers as well as Blackmon, leading to more success from the Jaguars’ passing attack.
From there, the Jaguars drafted DE Andre Branch in the second round and P Bryan Anger in the 3rd round. Branch is a pass rusher that the Jaguars will put to work immediately. The hope is that he’s the final piece in what could be one of the better defensive units in the NFL. Bryan Anger is a pick the Jaguars have caught a lot of flak over, but I really like the pick. Taking a punter is a safer pick than taking virtually any other position in the draft, and if he can indeed change field position as well as many think he can, he’s definitely worth a 3rd round pick.
Tennessee Titans: B+
You may call me generous with my draft grades, but I also really like what the Tennessee Titans did in this year’s draft. My biggest complaint about the Titans last season was that they just looked bland. By that I mean they had the appearance of a solid team, but there was nothing I considered special about them. In last week’s draft, they went to work on that image.
Kendall Wright was a solid pick at 20th overall, and he should add a dynamic threat to the Titans’ passing attack, but I felt the Titans did their best work in picking OLB Zach Brown, DT Mike Martin, and CB Coty Sensabaugh. Those three players add great depth to the Titans’ defense, and they should allow the Titans to begin to emerge as a dominant defense instead of a very average unit.
Houston Texans: B
I’ll start off by saying that the Texans did okay with their draft, considering they ended up without a 2nd round pick, but they only earned a “B” because I just wasn’t impressed with their selection of Whitney Mercilus. To me, he doesn’t fit perfectly into their 3-4 scheme, and I question whether he can be greatly effective coming from the OLB position in the NFL. Only time will tell on that front.
The rest of the Texans’ draft was more to my liking. They added depth to their wide receiving unit as well as their offensive line by taking DeVier Posey at WR, Brandon Brooks at G, and Ben Jones at C. Those three picks reinforce an already stellar offensive unit, and they should be able to contribute to the Texans’ offense in a big way.