Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 4/27/12
The 2012 NFL Draft started off as expected with Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III going No. 1 and No. 2, but soon the trading frenzy ensued, making Day 1 anything but ordinary. With six rounds still to come, let’s take a look at the winners and losers coming out of Thursday’s future star swap-meet.


Winners


Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys may have had the steal of the Draft when they jumped up to No. 6 to take LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. The Cowboys’ No. 1 need coming into Thursday was to bolster their depleted secondary, and say what you will about Jerry Jones, the man got it done by getting the best DB on everyone’s draft-board. Better yet, Big D gave up relatively little to make this deal happen. All Dallas had to do was swap their No. 14 pick with the Rams and cough up their 2nd round pick. If Claiborne is the “can’t miss prospect” everyone assumes he is, than the Cowboys should be dangerous in 2012.


Minnesota Vikings: Minnesota did not want to pick a No. 3. By all accounts their pick was always going to be Matt Kalil, offensive tackle out of USC, and when the Vikes traded down to No. 4, they still got Matt Kalil and managed to pick up three of the Cleveland Browns' picks – essentially for free.

The Vikings were then able to jump back into the first round to fill their need in the secondary by taking Notre Dame Safety Harrison Smith. If Minny can find a good wide receiver in a later round, they may find themselves the overall winner of the entire Draft. The goal is to identify your needs and then fill them, and that is exactly what the Vikings were able to do on Thursday.  


Losers


St. Louis Rams: Jon Gruden said it best during ESPN’s draft coverage when he stated, “At some point the Rams have to pick a player.” That quote may sound odd on a day built around that precise activity, but the Rams tried their best to avoid taking anyone, leaving many scratching their heads trying to understand why a team which needs so much is choosing to fall back, back and back.

I’m all for hording picks, but the Rams went from No. 2 to No. 6 to No. 14, and in the process lost out on virtually every player they were said to be targeting. Justin Blackmon went to the Jacksonville Jaguars after they jumped the Rams and grabbed the Tampa Bay Bucs pick at No. 5. After passing on Morris Claiborne and trading with the Dallas Cowboys, the Rams once again lost out on their second wide receiver option when the Arizona Cardinals picked Michael Floyd one spot earlier at No. 13.

So what did the Rams get for all their trouble? They drafted Michael Brockers, a defensive tackle from LSU, with the 14th pick, and received the Dallas Cowboys’ 45th pick.


Cleveland Browns: If anyone was wondering why the Cleveland Browns have been relegated to NFL purgatory pretty much ever since Jim Brown decided to retire, look no further than the way they handled their first round selections this year.

The Browns moved up one pick to take a player the Minnesota Vikings had no interest in (Trent Richardson), and who may still have been a reach no matter where he was selected on Thursday. Despite that, the Browns coughed up three other picks for the privilege of taking a running back at No. 3 – like that is really going to solve their problems.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the Brown then took an extreme reach at No. 22 by taking Brandon Wedden, a rookie who will be 29 years old when the season starts. Wedden may turn out to be a good player, but if you get five good years out of him it will be a miracle, and for a first round pick, and the fact they already have Colt McCoy, this pick was just confusing. If they wanted Wedden they could have picked him up tomorrow and not wasted a first round pick on him.

Just compare the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' first-round selections with the Browns, Tampa’s picks could have easily been Cleveland’s, but the Browns are the Brown after all, so here we go again.


Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins gave away Brandon Marshall for two 3rd round picks, so they were already coming into this Draft in quite a large hole, but then the Fins compounded that mistake by taking Ryan Tannehill, a QB who played more college games at wide receiver than he did at quarterback. With Matt Moore having a pretty decent season, racking up the 12th best passer rating in the NFL last year, Miami just wasted a first round pick on a position that was not their biggest concern at the moment. It is hard to justify taking someone in the Top 10 if they are not going to be an immediate starter, and I do not think the Miami Dolphins can say that is the case with Ryan Tannehill. 

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