I tried to watch as much of the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft as I could, but as it started at 1.00am on Friday morning here in England I feel happy in the fact I made it to Ryan Tannehill being picked at #8 overall by the desperate Miami Dolphins.
When I woke up about five hours later I checked out NFL.com and Rotoworld to find out the 24 first-round picks selected that I missed whilst dreaming of Robert Griffin III lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy some time this decade.
Perhaps the biggest first-round head-scratcher to me was the Cleveland Browns picking the oldest rookie in NFL history at #22.
Yes the Browns managed to, by handing in a single scrap of paper, simultaneously wipe the grin from incumbent quarterback Colt McCoy’s baby face, and also puzzle many Cleveland fans across the world.
Their selection of Brandon Weedon, the 28-year-old (who will be 29 in October) can be arguably seen as a bad move, as the former draft pick of the New York Yankees baseball team (yes I am not going mad) has spent much of his throwing arm’s energy pitching in the minor leagues.
He does have the added advantage of maturity, leadership, experience with one of the biggest sports franchises on the planet and a calm temperament that will equip him well to run an NFL huddle, but he is around 5-6 years older than the rest of his rookie class.
Unlike the Indianapolis Colts and the Washington Redskins who opted for super-stud senior quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III (pictured above) hoping they will still be leading their team in the 2020s, it is unlikely that Weeden will be heading up a Browns team anytime past 2016.
The Browns did the safe thing and moved up to #3 (moving up just one pick) to get the best running-back prospect in the draft with ‘Bama’s Trent Richardson as their first selection.
I was pretty upset that the Cowboys managed to swoop in and draft LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne at #6. The Rams gave up the opportunity to pick at that spot, just like they gave up the chance to pick at #2 (having traded with the Redskins). Fortunately for St Louis they managed to get themselves an LSU alumni for themselves, and most likely someone they did not think would be available at #14.
Their selection, Michael Brockers the defensive tackle, will start from day one. Like cornerback, it is incredibly hard for a defensive tackle to make an immediate impact. Most rookie defensive tackles take at least a year to get into the groove. There are exceptions like the Detroit Lions Ndamukong Suh, but this is rarer that a blood soaked T-bone.
It also chokes me that the New England Patriots managed to avoid trading down again, instead selecting two future NFL starting defensive players, nabbing Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones at #21 and then one of my personal favourites Dont’a Hightower, the 2012 NCAA National Championship winning inside linebacker from the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The Jaguars also showed some balls by moving up to #5 to piss-off Rams head-coach Jeff Fisher (who originally held the #6 spot) and draft the best wide-receiver in the 2012 draft class, Justin Blackmon from OSU.
I did like the Lions selection of offensive tackle Riley Reiff the humongous offensive tackle from Iowa. With Matthew Stafford living up to his #1 selection expectation in 2011, Detroit needed to do all they could to make sure he stays standing every week.