The first round of the NFL Draft is the most exciting offseason day on the calendar. It is where teams make some of the best, and worst, moves that dictate their future. It is where you will find future Hall of Famers and busts alike. Sleepers and slides, surprises and shockers; this is the best day of any NFL diehard.
Teams sit in rooms stocked full of individuals who are considered experts on the game of football and the players that play it. The term 'war room' is used loosely when describing the hour's long imprisonment in a room with team executives, coaching and scouts.
Those individuals are human and make mistakes. However, others take full advantage of those mistakes by selecting a great player with a huge amount of potential. Each selection needs to be taken with a grain of salt because of the vast amount of 'can't miss' prospects that have missed horribly.
Here is a nod to the best decisions, without the power of foresight, made by teams in the first round of tonight's NFL Draft:
St. Louis makes this list for two reasons. The first is that Brockers is going to be an immediate starter on the inside and improve St. Louis' interior defense. However, the main reason the Rams made this list is because, due to their trade tactics, they'll have six picks within the first 96 selections. The front office knows they have a lot of holes and them having a large quantity of young talent is what their team needs most. If they draft intelligently, they could find a half dozen players who have an immediate impact on their 2012 roster.
The defensive end from the South Carolina Gamecocks was one of the top pass rushers in the Draft this year. However, teams didn't see him fitting as well as other defensive lineman. Ingram's slide was to the Chargers gain. The Gamecock product could have gone in the Top 12 picks and no one would have doubted that team's choice. However, San Diego takes full advantage by selecting the dynamic defensive end. Ingram's athleticism alone will allow the Chargers to move him all over the field and impact the game immediately.
3) Jacksonville Jaguars - Pick #5 - Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.
The Jags needed to give Blaine Gabbert something to work with on offense. They have placed their near future in the hands of Gabbert and needed to give him a weapon on the currently irrelevant Jacksonville team. If Blackmon turns into the threat that he is projected to be, the 3rd round pick they gave up to move ahead of the St. Louis Rams will pay off huge dividends. One player doesn't solve all the Jaguars problems but it is a great first step for the team that finished last in passing offense last season.
2) Pittsburgh Steelers - Pick #24 - David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
The Steelers needed to improve their offensive line in order to protect their big quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. Multiple teams had a chance to pick this phenomenal lineman coming out of Stanford. However, DeCastro slid to the Steelers who happily chose the offensive lineman without hesitation. He is a player who can come in and start from day one, and barring injury, could very well become one of the NFL's very best when his career is over. I had him ranked as the number 2 lineman in the draft and to be picked at #24 is a steal for the Steelers.
1) Minnesota Vikings - Pick #4 - Matt Kalil, OT, USC
The number four selection is on here, not because of the obviousness of the choice at the time, but because of the events that occurred before it. No one expected the Vikings to take Trent Richardson with the #3 pick (even hurt, Adrian Peterson is their man at RB). However, it didn't stop the Cleveland Browns from making, in my opinion, one of the least intelligent trades of the draft. Cleveland's mistake is Minnesota's gain. The Vikings got exactly who they wanted, and just for fun, got a three pick bonus from Cleveland.
Patrick Tompkins is a sports enthusiast and an up and coming sports writer. He grew up in Greenville, Michigan and many of his articles focus on revealing a new perspective on the teams and sports we have watched for decades.