Long before the 2012 NFL draft, the Washington Redskins considered themselves big winners when they moved from No. 6 to No. 2 to eventually take quarterback Robert Griffin III – raising the fan base's hopes, not to mention those of coach Mike Shanahan.
On the flipside, the St. Louis Rams didn't just get a huge haul from that deal, it continued to work its way down the draft board and stockpile players. After making a total of three trades with Washington, the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears, the Rams walked away as a huge winner.
Here's a detailed look at St. Louis and other winners – and losers – from the draft:
• St. Louis Rams – On March 10, the Rams turned the No. 2 pick into one of the biggest hauls in NFL history by getting three first-rounders (the No. 6 overall pick this year, plus Washington's first-round selections in 2013 and 2014) and a second-rounder this year (the No. 39 overall). On Thursday, the Rams took the No. 6 overall pick and traded it to Dallas for the No. 14 overall and the No. 45 overall. The Rams took defensive tackle Michael Brockers at No. 14 and cornerback Janoris Jenkins at No. 39 and then traded the No. 45 to Chicago for picks Nos. 50 and 150. The Rams ended up with running back Isaiah Pead and guard Rokevious Watkins with those picks. So far, the Rams have turned the rights to Griffin into Brockers, Jenkins, Pead and Watkins and still have two first-round picks left to use. Nice work.
Janoris Jenkins – Speaking of Jenkins, he was a big loser in one way: His off-field issues (two marijuana arrests and four children with three women) dropped him from a potential top-six pick to No. 39. That cost him roughly $3 million on his first contract. But Jenkins did land in a great spot. He has a chance to walk in and be a star right away for the Rams and coach Jeff Fisher should have a better understanding of how to deal with Jenkins after the "Pacman" Jones experience in Tennessee.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger – Roethlisberger has been sacked at least 40 times in five of the past six seasons. It would likely be all six for six if not for his four-game suspension to start 2010 (he was sacked 32 times in 12 games that year). The big problem for most of that stretch has been the offensive line's absurdly awful play. The Steelers worked hard to address that by taking Stanford guard David DeCastro in the first round at No. 24 overall and then Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams in the second round. DeCastro was projected by some to go as high as No. 11 and Adams was projected as a first-round pick until it was revealed he tested positive for marijuana at the combine. Adams agreed to several stipulations with the Steelers since the combine after lying to the team about his drug use. If Adams gets his act together, he, DeCastro, Marcus Gilbert and Maurkice Pouncey could form the best line the Steelers have had in the Roethlisberger era.
New England coach Bill Belichick – After years of auditioning for "Hoarders" when it came to draft picks, Belichick finally spent some of his cache to get a couple of top defensive players in the first round. Belichick traded up twice in the first round to get former Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones and former Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower. Hightower can also line up at defensive end from time to time, which will help make up for the loss of backup defensive end Mark Anderson in free agency and the potential loss of veteran free-agent defensive end Andre Carter. The Patriots should have done something like this last year in the draft, but better late than never.
[Les Carpenter: Draft picks' nervy green-room experience]
Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener –
Even before the draft, Fleener was a big winner when he donated his formerly long hair to Locks of Love, an organization that donates hairpieces to disadvantaged children fighting diseases such as cancer that lead to hair loss. After the draft, Fleener was also a huge beneficiary, even if he didn't go in the first round as he had hoped. Fleener was taken with the No. 2 pick of the second round and will be reunited with former Stanford teammate Andrew Luck. Couple that with the selection of fellow tight end Dwayne Allen of Clemson in the third round and Fleener has a serious chance to be the same type of big-play receiver he was in college.
San Diego Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram and commissioner Roger Goodell – Ingram and Goodell got together for the most fun handshake of the draft when Ingram was selected. The moment was full of personality and showed a lighter side of Goodell, who is not really the draconian monster of discipline that many people make him out to be. To put it another way: Do you think former commissioner Paul Tagliabue would have ever done something like this?
Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland – Perhaps the most embattled executive in the league, Ireland could have easily given in to desperation, particularly after there were so many trades on Thursday (six of the top seven picks, counting St. Louis shipping No. 2 in March, were dealt and the No. 6 pick was traded twice). Instead, Ireland sat tight and got the player he wanted all along in quarterback Ryan Tannehill. This is the first time since 1983 that the Dolphins have used a first-round pick on a quarterback. It was about time.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy – McCoy went from one end of the spectrum to the other in the draft. After getting news that the Browns had traded up from No. 4 to No. 3 to secure the rights to running back Trent Richardson, McCoy probably felt huge relief because he finally had a great skill-position player to help him. Then things changed a couple of hours later when McCoy was basically relieved of his starting job after the Browns took quarterback Brandon Weeden No. 22 overall. There were initial rumors that McCoy would be traded, but he appears headed for a backup job. Then again, given McCoy's propensity to get hurt, maybe it's best overall that he take a seat.
Redskins and quarterback Kirk Cousins – I understand the logic behind taking a quarterback prospect you think can lead to more draft picks in a year or two. From that perspective, the selection of Cousins in the fourth round wasn't bad. However, you usually don't do that in the same year you take a quarterback in the first round, especially after you spent so many draft picks to move up from No. 6 to No. 2 for Griffin. You'd think that, of all teams, Washington would understand that best after what it went through with Heath Shuler and Gus Frerotte in the 1990s. Oh well, some teams never learn.
New Orleans Saints – This doesn't have a lot to do with the players the Saints took. By all accounts, defensive tackle Akiem Hicks from the University of Regina (that's up in Saskatchewan, Canada, for those unfamiliar with that football powerhouse) and wide receiver Nick Toon (son of Al) are solid pickups. However, the penalties for the bounty scandal continue to loom for the Saints and one of the big reasons that the team didn't find out how bad things will be before the draft is that the players have refused to talk to the NFL. That refusal isn't going to stop the penalties from happening, but it has delayed the announcement.
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The temporary NFL Store across from Bryant Park on 42nd Street and 6th Avenue –
Whoever ran this operation butchered the outside of it. Along the north and south side of the building, the store had pictures of every No. 1 overall pick since 2001 (Michael Vick) … with a couple of obvious mistakes. First, the store had Jake Long listed as the No. 1 pick in 2007. He went in 2008. Second, JaMarcus Russell, who was the No. 1 pick in 2007, wasn't pictured at all (the store just left off one year). Then again, Russell is the only top pick in the past 11 years who is no longer in the NFL. He's not exactly a character worthy of much sympathy.
Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle Bobby Massie – There were some people who felt that Massie, who came out following his junior season, could possibly go in the first round after he worked diligently with former Pro Bowl offensive lineman LeCharles Bentley. But Massie is still considered too stiff as an athlete and fell to the Cardinals in the fourth round. That could be to Arizona's benefit. Massie could easily end up as the starting right tackle by the end of training camp. He's a much better athlete than most people realize.
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