Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Trent Richardson Top 3 Picks in 2012 NFL Draft

By Chris Malumphy

As expected, the Indianapolis Colts drafted Andrew Luck with the first selection in the 2012 NFL Draft. Luck has been the favorite to be the first pick for nearly two years. A two-time runner up for the Heisman Trophy. Andrew is the son of former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck. Some view it as the safe choice among two sterling quarterbacks. Most believe it is just the right choice.

The Washington Redskins accomplished their goal of moving into the second spot in the draft with their trade with the St. Louis Rams seven weeks ago when they shipped their first round pick in 2012, the sixth choice overall, as well as their second round pick this year and first round picks in 2013 and 2014. Today they got their man, quarterback Robert Griffin III of Baylor.

The Browns may have given away too much to move up one spot to draft Alabama running back Trent Richardson by sending the fourth pick along with 4th, 5th, and 7th round choices to the Minnesota Vikings. Richardson is a stud. But so are wide receiver Justin Blackmon and cornerback Morris Claiborne of LSU, both of whom would have been available even if some else traded with the Vikings and took Richardson. The Browns get a good player, but those picks could probably have been used for other trades that would have had more impact. Looking ahead, the Browns could have rejoined college teammates Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden without giving up the extra picks.

After swapping picks with the Browns, the Vikings selected USC tackle Matt Kalil, the player Minnesota was predicted to take all along. The Vikings swapped their number three pick to the Browns for the fourth choice and additional picks in rounds

The Jaguars acquired the fifth pick from Tampa Bay for the seventh pick and a fourth round choice and used it to take Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon. The Dallas Cowboys traded up to select cornerback Morris Claiborne of LSU with the sixth choice in the draft after sending the 14th pick in round one and a second rounder, the 45th choice, to the St. Louis Rams. The Buccaneers drafted safety Mark Barron of Alabama with the seventh pick.

With the eighth pick, the Miami Dolphins reached to draft quarterback Ryan Tannehill who only started 19 games at quarterback in college. Tannehill is a good athlete, who might become a good quarterback, but he appears to be at least a year or two away. Matt Moore is the Dolphins quarterback for the moment, but the pressure will be on to switch to Tannehill quickly if Moore stumbles.

The Carolina Panthers tabbed Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly with the ninth pick. The Buffalo Bills added South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore to their defensive backfield. The Kansas City Chiefs hope Memphis defensive tackle can plug the center of their defensive line. The Philadelphia Eagles hope defensive tackle Fletcher Cox can due the smae for them. Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd will join Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona to provide quarterbacks Kevin Kolb and John Skelton with sterling targets.

The St. Louis Rams finally made a first round pick after trading down multiple times by selecting LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers. The Seattle Seahawks seemingly reached deep into the second round with the 15 pick by choosing defensive end Bruce Irvin from West Virginia, who was rated by some as no better than the eighth best defensive end. Defensive end Quinton Coples, a physical speciman with consistency problems, will join the New York Jets.

The Cincinnati Bengals, who lost cornerback Jonathan Joseph a year ago, and then saw Leon Hall injury his achilles tendon, drafted Dre Kirkpatrick from Alabama. The San Diego Chargers followed by picking defensive end Melvin Ingram from South Carolina with the 18th pick.

Boise State defensive end Shea McClellin will join Julius Peppers on the defensive line in Chicago. Wide receiver Kendall Wright of Baylor was drafted by the Tennesse Titans and will join Kenny Britt as prime targets for Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker. The New England Patriots added Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones.

Quarterback Brandon Weeden has beaten Nick Foles in a bowl game. He beat Robert Griffin 59-24. He beat Andrew Luck in the Fiesta Bowl. He beat Landry Jones and he beat Ryan Tannehill. The question is, as a 29-year old rookie, can he help the Cleveland Browns beat Ben Roethlisberger, Joey Flacco and Andy Dalton. The selection probably marks the end a meaningful career in Cleveland for Colt McCoy.

The Detroit Lions took a big step to protect Matt Stafford by picking Iowa tackle Riley Reiff. The Pittsburgh Steelers followed by using the 24th pick on guard David DeCastro from Standford. The New England Patriots used their second selection in the first round, by continuing its focus on defense by taking Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower.

The Houston Texans will try to replace the loss of Mario Williams with the selection of Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus. The Bengals added to Wisconsin guard Keith Zeitler with the 27th choice. Defensive end Nick Perry of USC was selected by the Green Bay Packers.

The San Francisco 49ers attempted to improve their passing game by adding Illinois wide receiver A.J. Jenkins. Tampa Bay traded with the Denver Broncos to obtain the 31st selection and then drafted Boise State running back Doug Martin. The New York Giants ended the first round by selecting running back David Wilson from Virginia Tech.

Alabama had four players selected in the first round: running back Trent Richardson, safety Mark Barron, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and linebacker Dont'a Hightowers. Several other colleges had two players selected including Stanford: quarterback Oliver Luck and guard David DeCastro; Baylor: quarterback Robert Griffin III and wide receiver Kendall Wright; Oklahoma State: wide receiver Justin Blackmon and quarterback Brandon Weeden; USC: tackle Matt Kalil and defensive end Nick Perry; LSU: cornerback Morris Claiborne and defensive tackle Michael Brockers; South Carolina: cornerback Stephon Gilmore and defensive end Melvin Ingram; Notre Dame: wide receiver Michael Floyd and safety Harrison Smith; and Boise State defensive end Shea McClellin and running back Doug Martin.

NFL teams with multiple first round picks were Browns: running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden; Vikings: tackle Matt Kalil and safety Harrison Smith; Bengals: cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and guard Kevin Zeitler; Patriots: defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Dont'a Hightower; and Buccaneers safety Mark Barron and running back Doug Martin.

2012 NFL Draft First Round
111Andrew LuckColtsQBStanford
122Robert Griffin IIIRedskinsQBBaylor
133Trent RichardsonBrownsRBAlabama
144Matt KalilVikings TUSC
155Justin BlackmonJaguarsWROklahoma State
166Morris ClaiborneCowboysDBLSU
177Mark BarronBuccaneersDBAlabama
188Ryan TannehillDolphinsQBTexas A&M
199Luke KuechlyPanthersLBBoston College
11010Stephon GilmoreBillsDBSouth Carolina
11111Dontari PoeChiefsDTMemphis
11212Fletcher CoxEaglesDTMississippi State
11313Michael FloydCardinalsWRNotre Dame
11414Michael BrockersRamsDTLSU
11515Bruce IrvinSeahawksDEWest Virginia
11616Quinton CoplesJetsDENorth Carolina
11717Dre KirkpatrickBengalsDBAlabama
11818Melvin IngramChargersDESouth Carolina
11919Shea McClellinBearsDEBoise State
12020Kendall WrightTitansWRBaylor
12121Chandler JonesPatriotsDESyracuse
12222Brandon WeedenBrownsQBOklahoma State
12323Riley ReiffLionsTIowa
12424David DeCastroSteelersGStanford
12525Dont'a HightowerPatriotsLBAlabama
12626Whitney MercilusTexansDEIllinois
12727Keith ZeitlerBengalsGWisconsin
12828Nick PerryPackersDEUSC
12929Harrison SmithVikingsDBNotre Dame
13030A.J. Jenkins49ersWRIllinois
13131Doug MartinBuccaneersRBBoise State
13232David WilsonGiantsRBVirginia Tech