Brew: Grading the top five selections from the 2012 NFL draft

As the NFL reaches the halfway point of the season, let’s look at how the top five picks from the 2012 draft are doing with their new teams. I have ranked the five players based on the order they were picked in the draft. I have also given each player a grade on how they are doing thus far in their young rookie careers.

#1 Andrew Luck QB
Indianapolis Colts
Grade: A
2012 Stats: 2404 passing yds, 10tds, 8ints
So far at the midway point of the season Luck has answered all his critics by leading the Colts to a 5-3 record. This is already three more wins than the 2011 squad who finished the season with a miserable 2-14 record. Last Sunday, Luck set a new rookie record for passing yards in a game when he threw for 433 yards against the Miami Dolphins last Sunday. Luck broke Cam Newton’s record (432) that Newton passed for in his first career NFL game in his rookie season last year. The Colts sit in 2nd place right now in the AFC south right behind the Houston Texans. If the Colts and Luck’s success continues, we might be seeing the Colts in the playoffs this season after being the worst team in the NFL last season.

#2 Robert Griffin III QB
Washington Redskins
Grade: A
2012 stats: 1,993 passing yds, 3 ints/ 529 rushing yds, 14 total tds
Griffin was the second pick in the 2012 draft, and is the main reason that the Redskins have had any success this season. Griffin has led the Redskins to a 3-6 record so far this season with many offensive injuries, and a defense that hasn’t been able to stop anyone’s opposing offense. The last few games Griffin hasn’t got too much help out of his receiving core though, as they have dropped too many passes. Two of the Redskins’ best receivers, Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss, have been injured for the majority of the season as well. One player who has provided Griffin with the most help on offense is rookie standout running back Alfred Morris. Morris, from Florida Atlantic, is 4th in the NFL in rushing yards with 793. Once the offense gets healthy and the defense starts improving, this team will make a lot of noise in the NFC east for years to come.

#3 Trent Richardson RB
Cleveland Browns
Grade: A-
2012 Stats: 575 rushing yds, 5tds
Richardson, who was the third pick in the 2012 draft, has had about as good of a season as a running back can have with a struggling team like the Browns. The Browns feature a rookie running back/quarterback duo with Richardson and the 29-year-old rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden. The only problem with this duo is that Richardson is the only one who does his part. Weeden has a 67.9 passer rating and has thrown only 9 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. Weeden’s 67.9 passer rating is the 2nd worst in the league, and even Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel has a higher passer rating than Weeden. Even with an impressive two 100-yard rushing games Richardson should have more yards than 575. Richardson’s tough-nosed running and work ethic should help him develop into a star in the league for years to come.

#4 Matt Kalil OT
Minnesota Vikings
Grade: B
2012 stats: N/A
Kalil, from UFC, has done a great job at the left tackle position for the Minnesota Vikings this season. Kalil has provided protection and made life easier for the Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder. He has also opened up running lanes for arguably the league’s best running back in Adrian Peterson. Kalil has emerged as one of the best offensive linemen for the Vikings and looks to help Peterson and the Vikings in the long-run. The Vikings currently hold a 5-4 record and are 3rd in the brutal NFC north.

#5 Justin Blackmon WR
Jacksonville Jaguars
Grade: D
2012: 225 receiving yds, 1td
The former Oklahoma State star Blackmon has yet to establish a real identity in the NFL. Blackmon’s production is extremely low for someone who was taken 5th overall in the 2012 draft. Blackmon is not the main problem though; it’s the fact that the Jacksonville Jaguars are just plain awful. At 1-7 the Jaguars feature a below-average quarterback in Blaine Gabbert who has struggled to develop chemistry with Blackmon. Sooner or later Blackmon will likely have more production in the NFL. The major concern with Blackmon is that he doesn’t amaze you with his skill set the way that the young receivers Julio Jones and A.J. Green do. Yes, Blackmon’s only a rookie, and receivers often take longer to develop in the league, but so far he lacks the big play ability and the breakaway speed that the elite receivers in the NFL possess.

  • Updated Nov. 7, 2012 at 6:59 pm
  • Edited by Madison Schultz