- Round 1: QB Robert Griffin III
- Round 2: FS Jairus Byrd
- Round 3: OLB/DE Brian Orakpo
- Round 4: DT Fletcher Cox
- Round 5: DE Adrian Clayborn
- Round 6: LT Cordy Glenn
- Round 7: DT Dontari Poe
- Round 8: OLB/DE Melvin Ingram
- Round 9: ILB Brandon Spikes
- Round 10: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
- Round 11: RT Bobby Massie
- Round 12: QB Jake Locker
- Round 13: WR Kenny Britt
- Round 14: WR Alshon Jeffery
- Round 15: CB Eric Wright
- Round 16: CB Leodis McKelvin
- Round 17:
- Round 18:
- Round 19:
- Round 20:
- Round 21:
- Round 22:
Round 1, Pick 6: Robert Griffin III, Quarterback
Let’s get this out of the way right away: I’ll happily take on Robert Griffin III’s injury risk in exchange for everything else he offers. Team Bloom will evaluate the wisdom of his future use a a read option quarterback, but I feel the need to point out that he was injured on a scramble, not a designed run. The bitter taste of a playoff loss should help develop a greater sense of self-preservation on the field, although Griffin wasn’t flagrantly leaving himself open to injurious hits.
Now, onto the good stuff. Griffin has a singular combination of athleticism and passing accuracy. He’s brilliant, charismatic, and a natural leader. He gives an offense a tactical advantage that can be exploited in numerous ways. I’m thrilled to start a franchise around Griffin. If I’m going to build a franchise in the image of one player, RG3 is it.
Round 2, Pick 59: Jairus Byrd, Free Safety
One the greatest benefits of having a quarterback like Griffin is that I don’t feel the need to invest in a marquee talent on offense in the second round. Griffin showed this year that he lifts both the running and passing game. He also puts less of a demand on the offensive line as pass blockers because of the offensive design. So, this pick was always going to be defense.
While pass rush is the premier commodity on defense, I envisioned my defense being built around a free safety that can cover the deep middle. I identified Earl Thomas as my ideal second-round pick and Jairus Byrd as my fallback. Both are young, proven players who excel at being the last line of defense against the pass and are not liabilities against the run. I chose to build around a ballhawk in the back of the defense because it will allow me to target a different kind of corner and strong safety – a more attacking breed who now have someone to cover for their mistakes. The whole defense can have more of an attack mentality with Byrd patrolling centerfield.
I gave serious thought to Lardarius Webb, a player I would thrilled to get this late as a premier shutdown corner who is in the discussion for best in the game with Sherman and Revis, but is also coming off of an ACL tear. I didn’t want to tempt fate by starting my franchise with two players who are coming back from ACL surgery.
Round 3, Pick 91: Brian Orakpo, Outside Linebacker/Defensive End
Staying focused on the defensive side of the ball, it’s time to get some pass rush and attitude in my front seven. Orakpo is not a supreme speed rusher, but speed rushers were a coveted commodity in this draft (rightfully so). He can still generate pressure with a terrific power rush and motor, and Orakpo continues to get better at dropping into coverage in a 3-4. The way he sets the edge against the run and Orakpo’s size makes me think that we can also line him up with his hand on the ground, and potentially even switch to a 4-3 base set if necessary.
Orakpo is also young (turning 27) and tone setter on the defensive side of the ball. More than any one aspect of his game, his physicality and intensity made this pick somewhat easy, Orakpo will light the fuse of this group on and off of the field and lead by example, much like his teammate Griffin. I have a blueprint and definitely want players that fit in that plan, but more than that, I want my cornerstones to typify the qualities that I want on my roster from top to bottom. Orakpo furthers that mission.
Round 4, Pick 102: Fletcher Cox, Defensive Tackle
This pick was supposed to be Sean Lee, but Sam Monson intervened, so I went to my fallback, Fletcher Cox. Lee has missed a lot of time due to injuries, but he’s as good as any linebacker in the game. I loved Cox coming out of Mississippi State because of his combination of size, strength, and explosion. He can play in a 3-4 or a 4-3, and he can also play defensive end in run situations.
I want to stay young with my early picks and give my franchise the best chance of both competing now and getting even better in upcoming years. Cox fits that mold. I would have taken him in the top six last year. He’s definitely in my top 100 players to build a franchise around.
Round 5, Pick 155: Adrian Clayborn, Defensive End
I didn’t set out to stack my roster with players who had their 2012 campaign ended prematurely due to injury, but Griffin, Orakpo, and now Clayborn were all too attractive to pass up. Like Orakpo, Clayborn has a relentless motor. He showed a ton of promise as a pass rusher in 2011, along with a natural knack for forcing fumbles. With Clayborn and Orakpo, I have two front-seven players who can fit in both three and four-man fronts, keeping my options open as the draft goes on, and giving my defense the ability to change up when the competition demands it.
Round 6, Pick 166: Cordy Glenn, Left Tackle
Many thought Glenn couldn’t stay at tackle, and most who did saw him as a right tackle in the pros. Not only did Buffalo draft Glenn to play left tackle, he actually looked pretty good doing it. Glenn might not be the best at mirroring speed rushers, but our offense won’t feature many seven-step drops, and will often pass out of play action. Glenn is more of a mauler (at least among left tackles) in the run game, which will be the cornerstone of our offense. He could be an even better right tackle or guard, but that’s a plus, not a liability. If my franchise finds a better left tackle in the next few years, Glenn can move and make that a double positive.
Round 7, Pick 219: Dontari Poe, Defensive Tackle
Round 8, Pick 230: Melvin Ingram, Outside Linebacker/Defensive End
Round 9, Pick 293: Brandon Spikes, Inside Linebacker
Round 10, Pick 294: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Cornerback
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