The 2012 NFL Draft is now on the books and it did not disappoint. We’re guessing you’re not a draft junkie and didn’t spend the weekend glued to the TV. Worry not, below are the biggest and best highlights, including what the Bears did which will be the lead topic of any Draft conversation in this town.
The first round on Thursday night went off at lightning speed, and as expected the two best quarterbacks went #1 and #2. The Colts took QB Andrew Luck from Stanford with the No. 1 overall pick, and the Redskins followed suit by taking QB Robert Griffin III (known as RG3) from Baylor at No. 2.
There was an unprecedented number of trades in the first round, with teams moving up and down to get their key players. But the Bears kept their No. 19 pick and took Shea McClellin, a Defensive End from Boise State. READ MORE about Shea HERE. I’ll admit I don’t know a ton about Shea (yet), but both the Packers and Patriots had their eyes on him, so that’s good enough for me.
Rounding out the first five picks, who were all offensive players, are Trent Richardson, the running back from Alabama at No. 3 to the Cleveland Browns, Matt Kalil, the offensive tackle from USC at No. 4 to the Minnesota Vikings, and Justin Blackmon, the wide receiver from Oklahoma State at No. 5 to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
What You Need to Know:
- The Bears ended up with six picks and took both offensive and defensive players to improve their team. In addition to McClellin, in the second round they took Alshon Jeffery, the wide receiver from South Carolina,who will be another big weapon for QB Jay Cutler.
- In the third round the Bears took Brandon Hardin, the safety from Oregon State, and in the fourth round Evan Rodriguez, the tight end from Temple.
- The Bears finished the draft by picking up two cornerbacks, Isaiah Frey from Nevada and Greg McCoy from TCU.
- The biggest surprise and most controversial outcome of the Bear’s draft was what they DIDN’T do. The Bears did not draft one player for their offensive line. The offensive line are the the guys that protect Jay Cutler and allow him ample time to get rid of the ball. The Bears’ offensive line has been one of weakest elements of the team over the last 2 seasons, resulting in Cutler being one of the most sacked and intercepted QBs in the league, in large part due to the inadequacies of the Offensive Line.
Your Takeaway Piece: The Draft has gotten so big it’s practically an Awards Show in and of itself. So I find it only fitting to give out my “Best of” Awards. Drum roll please…
Best Dressed: Robert Griffin III in his powder blue suit (few men can pull off this color suit and he nailed it). And of course his burgundy and gold socks in his new Redskins team colors that said “Go Catch That Dream”.
Best Smile: Andrew Luck’s permanent grin. Commissioner Roger Goddell proclaimed “The 2012 NFL Draft is officially open” and not one second later Luck’s phone was ringing to be selected as the No. I overall pick.
Best Big Ten Team Showing (by far): The University of Illinois who boasted two first round picks and two second round picks, including the electrifying Whitney Mercilus, the defensive end who went No. 26 to the Texans. To put it in perspective, only six Big Ten players were taken in the first 50 picks, and four of these were Illinois players. I-L-L!
Best Attitude: Mohamed Sanu who got a phone call in the first round from someone pretending to be the Bengals ready to draft him. Sanu called his agent, celebrated with his draft party, waited for his name to be called, and then found out it was a joke. Sanu was composed, laughed it off and didn’t panic. He was then (really) taken by the Bengals anyway in the third round. Kudos to you Sanu for being the better man.
Best Sport: Commissioner Roger Goodell who was greeted by boos from the crowd the minute he walked on stage, and almost every time he took to the podium. And every trip up there he had a smile on his face. It was painful to watch. Goodell brought new meaning to the phrase ‘don’t let them see you sweat’.
Most Heartwarming Moment: When they honored all the men and women of the armed forces on stage and played “Proud to Be an American”. Absolutely touching.
What’s Next: The fanfare of the Draft is over and it’s time for them to get to work. None of these guys want to be labeled as ‘the bust’ of the Draft (just google Ryan Leaf to see what I am talking about). Chicago is a football-obsessed city, so you’ll be hearing a lot about the Bear’s new rookies, how they’re getting along and the impact they are expected to make on the team. Consider them the new “IT” boys of the Bears.