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2012 NFL Draft Re-grade: AFC West

by Joshua Doering

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 AFC West is the penultimate stop in the 2012 NFL Draft re-grade.  

*All stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com and accurate through the end of the 2019 season.

Denver Broncos

Picks: DT Derek Wolfe (36th overall), QB Brock Osweiler (57), RB Ronnie Hillman (67), DB Omar Bolden (101), C Philip Blake (108), DT Malik Jackson (137), LB Danny Trevathan (188)

Best pick: Malik Jackson

Jackson had missed two games in his career prior to 2019. Both of those came as a healthy scratch in a rookie season where he played sparingly. Over the next six years, Jackson compiled 66 starts, 32.5 sacks and 55 tackles for loss. He recorded a career-high eight sacks in 2017 and made the Pro Bowl. He suffered a foot injury in the 2019 season opener and was out the rest of the season.  

Worst pick: Philip Blake

The only player to appear in fewer games than Osweiler in this class is Blake, who spent one season with Denver and never dressed for a regular season game. He spent a year on the Cardinals’ practice squad before getting released on Aug. 30, 2014. The Toronto native has been playing in the Canadian Football League since 2015. 

Grade: B+

The six players not named Blake have appeared in an average of 79 contests. Wolfe and Jackson have 65.5 sacks between them. Though clearly a mistake, the Texans thought Osweiler was worth investing $72 million in, which has to count for something. He also won exactly half of the 30 games he started. Trevathan has three seasons with over 100 total and 70 solo tackles. Any team without a first round pick should be content with a draft class like this one.  

Kansas City Chiefs

Picks: DT Dontari Poe (11), OG Jeff Allen (44), OT Donald Stephenson (74), WR Devon Wylie (107), DB De Quan Menzie (146), RB Cyrus Gray (182), DT Jerome Long (218), WR Junior Hemingway (238)

Best pick: Dontari Poe

This past season was the first time in Poe’s career he played in fewer than 15 games. He started every contest as a rookie and was a Pro Bowler the following two seasons. Poe recorded four or more sacks for the third time in an injury-shortened 2019 campaign, bringing his career sack total to 20.5. He had been a starter for every game the previous three seasons. 

Worst pick: DeQuan Menzie

Menzie spent one season with the Chiefs and never got into a game. The Lions claimed him off waivers on May 15, 2013, and released him on Aug. 27. Menzie signed a reserve/future contract with the Panthers in 2014 and was let go before the preseason. The day after Carolina released him, head coach Ron Rivera said Menzie was retiring. Menzie confirmed the news in a tweet hours after Rivera’s comments. An honorable mention goes to Wylie, who was a member of nine different teams and played in eight games. 

Grade: B

None of Kansas City’s last five picks started more than three games. However, Gray and Hemmingway both logged over 30 appearances. Allen has 66 starts in his eight-year career. Stephenson made 80 appearances and started 37 times. Wylie caught six passes for 53 yards and Gray came one rushing yard short of 100 for his career. Hemingway had 25 receptions, two of which were touchdowns. 

Las Vegas Raiders (then the Oakland Raiders)

Picks: OT Tony Bergstrom (95), LB Miles Burris (129), DE Jack Crawford (158), WR Juron Criner (168), DE Christo Bilukidi (189), LB Nathan Stupar (230)

Best pick: Jack Crawford

Crawford made four starts and appeared in every game for the Falcons last season, marking the fourth time in five years he saw action in all 16 contests. Six of his 16 career sacks came in 2018 when he also started a career-high 11 games. Crawford has 21 tackles for loss in his eight-year career. 

Worst pick: Juron Criner

Criner only played in one game after his rookie season. After catching 16 passes in 2012, he was not active until Week 9 in 2013. He had three receptions in that game but injured his shoulder and was placed in injured reserve. Criner was on the Giants’ practice squad for 11 months before joining the Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League and helping the team win the Grey Cup in 2016. 

Grade: B

None of these names stand out but half of them played last season. Bergstrom, Crawford and Stupar have over 80 appearances. Everyone except Criner and Bilukidi have made more than 10 starts. The Raiders didn’t have an outstanding draft by any means, but that is a satisfactory return on six picks at the end of the third round or later. 

Los Angeles Chargers (then the San Diego Chargers)

Picks: DE Melvin Ingram (18), DT Kendall Reyes (49), DB Brandon Taylor (73), TE Ladarius Green (110), OG Johnnie Troutman (149), C David Molk (226), RB Edwin Baker (250) 

Best pick: Melvin Ingram

Ingram ranks fifth in his rookie class in career sacks with 49 and is one of 10 players with more than 40 sacks in the last five seasons. In 2019, he recorded at least seven sacks for the fifth year in a row and made his third consecutive Pro Bowl. Ingram started 75 straight games from Week 10 of the 2014 season through Week 4 in 2019. He has 350 total tackles and 70 tackles for loss in 106 games.  

Worst pick: Brandon Taylor

Taylor played in four games before a knee injury ended his rookie season prematurely. He was on the Chargers’ roster in 2013 but never got into a game. They released him on June 19, 2014, and Taylor never got another opportunity in the NFL. 

Grade: B+

Four of the seven guys in this group made at least 24 starts and all seven of them started a game. Five of them reached the 20-appearance mark in their career. Reyes started 46 times in three seasons from 2013 to 2015. Green hauled in 95 passes and scored eight touchdowns. Everyone except Taylor saw the field in 2014. A legitimate case can be made that the Chargers got a return of equal or greater value for six of their seven picks. 

Click here to see the entire draft grades series. 

Photo by Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons

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