The Minnesota Vikings found themselves in a rare position in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft where they could take advantage of swapping first-round picks with the Cleveland Browns while gaining three additional draft picks and still land the player they originally wanted at No. 3 in Matt Kalil. The Vikings knew focusing on the offensive line was their top need heading into the draft and were able to take care of it in the first round by selecting Kalil.
As for the New England Patriots, they managed to snag not one, but two key players to help improve one of the league’s worst defenses in 2011 by selecting Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower. While Jones should have an immediate impact when it comes to having an effective pass rusher, Hightower fills one of their needs at linebacker and could work his way into the starting role at some point during his rookie season. New England has a history of trading down in drafts, but it was good to see them move up for a change and select some key defensive players.
Despite landing one of the top players in the draft in Trent Richardson, the Cleveland Browns had to surrender three late draft picks just to move up to No. 3 and acquire him (luckily they entered the draft with 13 picks). However, many question whether or not they made the right move by selecting Brandon Weeden later in the first round considering the former Oklahoma State star enters the league at 28-years-old. Most rookie quarterbacks take a year or two to develop at quarterback, but Weeden may already be close to retirement by the time that happens–which means Weeden should have been a second-round pick at the earliest.
Imagine what it’s like being a St. Louis Rams fan knowing the team is in position to land Justin Blackmon with the second or sixth pick in the draft–only to miss out on him because of the Jacksonville Jaguars trading up to acquire him at No. 5. For a team that finished 2-14 in 2011, the Rams ended up selecting in the mid-first-round instead of No. 2 or No. 6 because they decided to get greedy with their trades. Michael Brockers makes a great addition when it comes to having an effective pass rusher, but Blackmon would have made an excellent weapon for Sam Bradford in the passing game.