Perhaps the only thing more impressive about the NFL draft than the amount of time it takes to complete all seven rounds is the amount of grades produced in the aftermath of each selection. The draft’s winners and losers are decided before any pick plays a down of professional football.
For all the immediate evaluation that is done, it is impossible to fairly assess a draft class without data and the gift of time. Starting with 2010, 110 Sports is going back and grading every NFL draft of the past decade on a team-by-team basis.
These grades are based first and foremost on production. Other factors were taken into consideration, but the primary goal is figuring out how successful teams were at identifying talent.
The NFC East is the second stop in our 2012 NFL Draft re-grade.
*All stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com and accurate through the end of the 2019 season.
Picks: DB Morris Claiborne (6th overall), DE Tyrone Crawford (81), LB Kyle Wilber (113), DB Matt Johnson (135), WR Danny Coale (152), TE James Hanna (186), LB Caleb McSurdy (222)
Best pick: Tyrone Crawford
From 2014 to 2018, Crawford started at least 14 games and registered at least three sacks every year. He has the most starts and second-most games played of the seven guys Dallas selected. Crawford boasts 23 sacks and 180 in eight seasons, one of which he did not play in due to a torn Achilles.
Worst pick: Matt Johnson
The three players taken before Johnson have all appeared in at least 85 games. Johnson played in zero. He was widely viewed as a reach when the Cowboys took him in the fourth round and battled hamstring injuries throughout his career. Johnson entered 2013 with a chance to win the starting free safety job but sprained his foot in the Hall of Fame Game and went on injured reserve. Dallas released Johnson on Sept. 3, 2014.
Claiborne’s a decent player who never lived up to his billing as a top-10 pick and has only started more than seven games four times. Wilber has played in 117 games with over two-thirds of his time spent on special teams. Hanna made 37 starts and caught 37 passes. Johnson, Coale, and McSurdy never played in an NFL game. That’s 43% of Dallas’ draft picks.
New York Giants
Picks: RB David Wilson (32), WR Reuben Randle (63), DB Jayron Hosley (94), TE Adrien Robinson (127), OT Brandon Mosley (131), OT Matt McCants (201), DT Markus Kuhn (239)
Best pick: Reuben Randle
Randle was the most effective player the Giants took by every reasonable metric. He made twice as many starts and played in 21 more games than anyone else in the group. In his four-year career, Randle put together three seasons with more than 40 catches and 600 receiving yards. He produced 938 yards in 2014 and found the end zone eight times in 2015.
Worst pick: David Wilson
Poor performance met serious injury in Wilson’s brief NFL career. He fumbled on his second carry in the 2012 season opener and didn’t receive a handoff the rest of the game. Wilson appeared in every contest as a rookie and racked up 358 rushing yards. His 2013 campaign was finished in Week 5 due to what got diagnosed as spinal stenosis. He underwent neck surgery in January 2014 and retired on Aug. 6, 2014 based on the advice of doctors.
Besides Randle, Hosley’s 15 starts and 43 appearances are the most in this class. Wilson was the first to call it quits and no one was active past 2016. New York did select seven guys who got on the field for multiple seasons, which is why the grade isn’t lower. There aren’t many positives to take away other than that.
Picks: DT Fletcher Cox (12), LB Mychal Kendricks (46), DE Vinny Curry (59), QB Nick Foles (88), DB Brandon Boykin (123), OT Dennis Kelly (153), WR Marvin McNutt (194), OG Brandon Washington (200), RB Bryce Brown (229)
Best pick: Fletcher Cox
The five-time Pro Bowler and 2018 First Team All-Pro is the one indispensable piece on Philadelphia’s defense. Cox has missed three games in his career and started every one he’s played in since 2013. Four players have at least 45 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, 10 fumble recoveries and two defensive touchdowns since Cox entered the league. Cox is one. The other three are Hall-of-Fame-caliber defensive ends: J.J. Watt, Justin Houston and Julius Peppers. Aaron Donald is the most dominant force in football, but no defensive tackle changes games the way Cox does.
Worst pick: Brandon Boykin
Boykin gets the nod as the Eagles’ other five picks in the first five rounds have played twice as long as Boykin did. He played in at least 25% of his team’s snaps on defense all four seasons he saw the field. Boykin spent the 2016 and 2017 seasons on injured reserve and last played in a regular season game in 2015. This is just one of those ridiculously stacked classes where someone ends up here who shouldn’t.
This is not an all-time great class, but what Philly did in rounds one through five is remarkable. Boykin — who tied for second in the NFL with six interceptions in 2013 — was clearly the worst player the Eagles took in the first 190 picks. Nobody really knows how good Foles is, and we probably never will. What we do know is he won a Super Bowl with his defense giving up 613 yards to Tom Brady’s Patriots. Seven of the nine picks played at least 42 games and Brown rushed for over 1,000 yards in his career.
Washington Football Team
Picks: QB Robert Griffin (2), OG Josh LeRibeus (71), QB Kirk Cousins (102), LB Keenan Robinson (LB), OG Adam Gettis (141), RB Alfred Morris (173), OT Tom Compton (193), DB Richard Crawford (213), DB Jordan Bernstine (217)
Best pick: Kirk Cousins
Say what you want about Cousins, but the man has four 4,000-yard seasons and led the NFL in completion percentage in 2015. The two-time Pro Bowler is 42-35-2 since becoming a full-time starter. He has led two different teams to the postseason. Whether he is worth the money the Vikings are paying him is a separate discussion.
Worst pick: Robert Griffin III
Washington gave up the No. 6 overall pick in 2012, its second-rounder in 2012 as well as its first-round picks in 2013 and 2014 to move up for Griffin. He lit up the league as a rookie and got benched in favor of Kirk Cousins two years later. Griffin served as the team’s third-string quarterback in 2015 and was let go after the season. He played in seven games as Lamar Jackson’s backup in 2019. It turns out Mike Shanahan had a reason for taking two signal callers with his first three picks.
This is an A- were it not for the extenuating circumstances surrounding Griffin. Washington did not just miss on a first-round quarterback; it sacrificed its future for a guy who made the team better for one season. Morris made two Pro Bowls and put together three 1,000-yard seasons in a row. Robinson and Compton have made at least 30 starts while LeRibeus appeared in 50 games. In the end, Washington did find a franchise quarterback, though not one it wanted to keep around long-term.
Click here to see the entire draft grades series.
Photo by Chris C / Flickr