Draft: Pick-by-pick analysis

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

The formality at the top of the draft became official at 8:06 p.m. ET, when the Colts named Andrew Luck of Stanford the first overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft. Four minutes later, Robert Griffin III was selected No. 2 by the Redskins.

With that, the anticlimactic stage of the draft came to an abrupt halt. Trades were made for six of the top seven picks, including the predraft deal by Washington.

1. Indianapolis Colts: QB Andrew Luck, Stanford -- The centerpiece to a foundation largely to be constructed in this draft, Luck is compared to his predecessor, Peyton Manning, who quickly became the pillar of the Colts' franchise the last time Indy drafted a quarterback first overall in 1998.

2. Washington Redskins (from St. Louis): QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor -- Coach Mike Shanahan called Griffin the ideal fit for the West Coast offense, and pundits compare the Heisman winner to Aaron Rodgers and Steve Young.

3. Cleveland Browns (draft-day trade with Minnesota): RB Trent Richardson, Alabama -- Team president Mike Holmgren missed out on RG3 when the Redskins outbid Cleveland for the No. 2 pick in March and decided not to roll the dice that his other coveted target wouldn't be available at No. 4, pulling the trigger on a draft-day deal Thursday afternoon to move up one spot. The Browns didn't settle the QB questions, but are starved for a difference-maker. Richardson runs big but is also elusive and was effective facing eight-man fronts at Alabama.

4. Minnesota Vikings (draft-day trade with Cleveland): OT Matt Kalil, Southern Cal -- Minnesota surrendered 50 sacks last season, meaning improved protection for 2011 first-round pick Christian Ponder was essential. Ponder has had three straight injury-shortened seasons including his rookie year.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars (draft-day trade with Tampa Bay): WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State -- As the Vikings before them, the Jaguars made a move that should greatly benefit their second-year quarterback (Blaine Gabbert). Blackmon, a two-time Biletnikoff Award winner, had 40 career touchdowns and gives the Jaguars their first legitimate No. 1 receiver since Jimmy Smith.

6. Dallas Cowboys (draft-day trade with St. Louis): CB Morris Claiborne, LSU -- The Cowboys spent $50 million to land free agent cornerback Brandon Carr and then parted with their top two picks in 2012 to land Claiborne, a smooth, athletic lead cornerback who can also spark the return game.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (draft-day trade with Jacksonville): SS Mark Barron, Alabama -- Barron is a tough, in-the-box safety but also snagged 12 interceptions in his career with the Crimson Tide and was charged with calling the team's defense. He should shore up the Buccaneers' shaky defense in more ways than one.

8. Miami Dolphins: QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M -- The Dolphins last drafted a quarterback in the first round way back in 1983, and the guy named Marino wasn't the headliner in the fabled QB Class -- he was the fifth passer picked that year. Tannehill has only 19 career starts but played for Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, which should make him a candidate to compete with incumbent QB Matt Moore as a rookie.

9. Carolina Panthers: LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College -- A tackle machine, Kuechly and outside linebacker Jon Beason should stabilize the Panthers' run defense and both can cover downfield.

10. Buffalo Bills: CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina -- After spending heavily to build a potentially dominant defensive line, Gilmore brings a physical presence and excellent athleticism to blanket outside receivers and received a high competitive grade.

11. Kansas City Chiefs: NT Dontari Poe, Memphis -- A 346-pound dancing bear of a defensive lineman, Poe has freakish athletic ability for his size, but wasn't a major factor in the Tigers' defense. Head coach Romeo Crennel can draw a lot out of him, but the Chiefs have missed on talented defensive linemen before.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (draft-day trade with Seattle): DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State -- Cox runs like a tight end but has defensive end size, the kind of penetrating one-gap tackle coach Andy Reid covets between speed edge rushers Jason Babin and Trent Cole.

13. Arizona Cardinals: WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame -- A workout partner with fellow Minnesota native Larry Fitzgerald, Floyd now pairs with the perennial Pro Bowl lead receiver to bring a solid second option to a suddenly explosive Cardinals' offense.

14. St. Louis Rams (draft-day trade with Dallas): DT Michael Brockers, LSU -- In February, the Rams were slated to pick second overall. Two deals later, the Rams landed a defensive tackle with the developmental upside to prove one of the real steals of the draft.

15. Seattle Seahawks (draft-day trade with Philadelphia): DE Bruce Irvin, West Virginia -- A lightning-quick but undersized defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid, Irvin had off-field problems in Morgantown but is a pressure-package player who can make the most difference on third downs.

16. New York Jets: DE Quenton Coples, North Carolina -- Coples played defensive tackle and defensive end for the Tar Heels. He passes the eyeball test, but at 6-6, 280, he's chided for inconsistent effort and doesn't dominate as much as expected based on his natural skills.

17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland): CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama -- The Bengals' collection of cornerbacks is only average, and Kirkpatrick's size and long arms could make him a left cornerback starter immediately despite questions about his deep speed and lean frame.

18. San Diego Chargers: -- OLB Melvin Ingram, South Carolina -- Ingram is super-athletic with 19 sacks the last two seasons, but wasn't a fulltime starter in his college career. With only 32 sacks, the Chargers were pliable in the secondary, giving up 29 TD passes and too many big plays. Pass rush was a need, in part, because the No. 16 pick in 2009, Larry English, has been dogged by injuries.

19. Chicago Bears: LB-DE Shea McClellin, Boise State -- A fast-rising, athletic pass rusher compared to Clay Matthews, he could be used at strong-side linebacker and rush the passer in the Bears' nickel package opposite Julius Peppers.

20. Tennessee Titans: WR Kendall Wright, Baylor -- A reliable route-runner and return threat, Wright is explosive and can be groomed to become Jake Locker's favorite target opposite Kenny Britt.

21. New England Patriots (draft-day trade with Cincinnati): DE Chandler Jones, Syracuse -- The most explosive edge rusher on the roster in more than a decade, Jones is the younger brother of UFC star Jon "Bones" Jones and should help turn around a woeful pass defense in New England.

22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta): QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State -- As promised to incumbent Colt McCoy, competition will be in training camp in the form of 28-year-old Weeden, a former minor league baseball player who played in a similar-style offense at OSU. His age and shoulder issues could be lingering concerns.

23. Detroit Lions: OT Riley Reiff, Iowa -- Right tackle remains a lingering concern and left tackle Jeff Backus is closer to 40 than 30.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers: OG David DeCastro, Stanford -- The top-ranked interior lineman in the draft, DeCastro is more skilled coming out of college than Alan Faneca, a longtime fan favorite at left guard.

25. New England Patriots (draft-day trade with Denver): ILB Dont'a Hightower, Alabama -- Thumper with pass-rush skills, Hightower had a strong endorsement from Bill Belichick pal Nick Saban. He adds versatility to New England's scheme-flexible front seven.

26. Houston Texans: DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois -- A 3-4 linebacker convert candidate with enormous shoes to fill after the free-agent loss of Mario Williams. Mercilus led the nation in sacks as a junior.

27. Cincinnati Bengals (draft-day trade with New England): OG Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin -- A strong interior blocker and fine fit in the Bengals' run-heavy offense.

28. Green Bay Packers: OLB Nick Perry, Southern Cal -- Perry is one of the best all-around athletes in the draft. If he hones those skills and polishes his pass-rush technique, he could become the sackmaster the Packers need opposite Clay Matthews.

29. Minnesota Vikings (draft-day trade with Baltimore): FS Harrison Smith, Notre Dame -- A converted safety with range to get to the sideline in Leslie Frazier's two-deep defense.

Draft-day trade summary:
--The Browns acquired the No. 3 pick from the Vikings in exchange for the No. 4 pick and picks in the fourth (118), fifth (139) and seventh (211) rounds.

--The Jaguars acquired the No. 5 pick from the Buccaneers in exchange for the seventh overall pick and the Jaguars' fourth-round pick (101).

--The Cowboys acquired the No. 6 pick from the St. Louis Rams for the 14th overall pick and their 2012 second-round pick (45).

--The Eagles acquired the 12th overall pick from the Seahawks in exchange for the No. 15 selection, a fourth-round picks (114) and a sixth-rounder (172).

--The Patriots acquired the 21st overall pick from the Bengals in exchange for the No. 27 pick and a third-round pick (93).

--The Patriots acquired the 25th overall pick from the Broncos for the No. 31 pick and a fourth-round selection (126).

--The Vikings acquired the 29th overall pick from the Ravens for the 35th overall pick and a third-rounder (98).

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