Top 10 “Best Fits” for the 2012 Draft
1. David DeCastro, Steelers– This is exactly why the Steelers are one of the NFL’s top teams year in, year out. Pittsburgh just sat back, let the chips fall into place, and ended up with easily the top player at his respective position. DeCastro will come in day one and immediately improve one of the more depleted offensive lines in all of football. If there was ever a perfect fit in the NFL Draft, this is it.
2. Brian Quick, Rams– Last year, the Rams were in a similar dilemma after the first round. After bypassing a wide receiver with their first selection in 2011, St. Louis tried to address their offensive needs as best they could with what fell to them in the middle rounds. As a result, they still needed a big-time target in the 2012 draft because neither Austin Pettis, nor Greg Salas established themselves as a reliable target for Sam Bradford. Quick has the size, speed and athleticism to develop into that No. 1 wideout…in time.
3. Courtney Upshaw, Ravens– Similar to their top division rival, the Ravens and GM Ozzie Newsome really understand how to work the draft. They trade out of the first round, and still end up getting a player who not only was considered a first-round talent by many, but also get someone who fits the defense perfectly. Now that Terrell Suggs suffered a potentially season-ending injury, this draft selection makes Newsome look even more brilliant. Upshaw will step right in and fill that void until Suggs comes back.
4. Dwight Bentley, Lions– Well, the Lions finally got their cornerback. No, not the surefire first-round talent like a Stephon Gilmore or Dre Kirkpatrick, but one that fits their scheme to a tee. Bentley was widely considered by many to be a second rounder, and the Lions sat back and waited till the middle of the third to scoop up Bentley. Because of the lack of talent Detroit has at the cornerback position, Bentley is already the top contender for the nickel spot, and could move outside once he puts on some weight to handle the rigors of tackling at the next level.
5. Jared Crick, Texans– If not for an injury-riddled final season in Lincoln, Crick may very well have been a first-round draft pick. Despite being selected later than expected, Crick ended up in a perfect situation with the Texans. Houston has last year’s first round pick, J.J. Watt, on one side, and solid veteran Antonio Smith on the other with little depth behind the two. Crick played defensive tackle in college, but is a bit undersized for the position and should fit perfectly at the five-technique when he is fully recovered from the injury. With the frontline talent that the Texans have up front, though, Crick will have plenty of time to get back into form.
6. Janoris Jenkins, Rams– There are a couple reasons why this is a good fit, and it has little to do with the scheme the Rams run on D. One, Jenkins will have a great mentor in Cortland Finnegan. Some may disagree based on Finnegan’s attitude on the field, but from all accounts, he is a solid teammate that has leadership qualities in the locker room which will help Jenkins transition to the NFL. Also, the spot opposite Finnegan is wide open in the depleted St. Louis secondary, so Jenkins will have ample opportunities to seize the starting spot.
7. Brock Osweiler, Broncos– This would almost be a perfect spot for any young quarterback, considering that they would be learning behind one of the greatest QBs to every play in the league. But Osweiler is practically a Manning clone in terms of height and arm strength, with a little bit a athleticism added in. Furthermore, Osweiler still has plenty of untapped potential so sitting for a few years and developing that talent will be great in the long run for both the Broncos organization and the young quarterback.
8. Michael Egnew, Dolphins– Think Jermichael Finley. Egnew is in the same mold in practically every fashion. He can lineup outside, in the slot, and inside if needed. Given the recent success the new head coach Joe Philbin had with Finley, look for him to have a specific plan in place for how to utilize Egnew and get him in space to provide a big weapon for whomever wins the starting QB job.
9. Demario Davis, Jets– I would not be surprised one bit if Davis turns out to be the most productive player from the Jets 2012 draft class. While the Jets LB core may be solid, they are extremely old and slow to put it lightly. Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas cannot be counted on anymore for 16 games, and we still aren’t positive Bart Scott will be with the team in 2012, although that looks to be the case as of now. Head coach Rex Ryan has also stated that he expects big things already from the rookie, even bringing up the likes of Ray Lewis when talking up the young linebacker. In this scheme, Davis could line up both inside and outside, making him a great fit for the Jets.
10. Nick Toon, Saints– Toon was the only selection the Saints had that will make any kind of significant impact during the upcoming season. With Robert Meachem in San Diego, the fourth wide receiver spot is up for grabs. Generally, that spot doesn’t see the field as much with most teams, but we all know how much the Saints spread the field, with or without Sean Payton running the offense. Toon seems to be a shorter version of Colston. Not a burner, but knows how to get open and can be a reliable weapon for any quarterback.