Kiper's 2012 NFL draft grades

Tampa Bay, Philadelphia and Cincinnati get top marks in 2012 NFL draft

Originally Published: April 28, 2012
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider

I know you can't grade an NFL draft on performance the day it ends. And we often go back to look at how my assessments held up. What I'm asked to do here is grade how well teams hit their needs based on where I had the players valued. That's it. I talk to teams, and they have players rated higher and lower than I do. I'm not claiming to be smarter than them about how they value a player, but if they get a guy in Round 2 whom I had tagged with a late-round grade, it matters here. I factor need and value, including the value created by trades and added picks.

It's amazing how nimble teams were on the draft board this year. The first round not only flew by, teams were dealing left and right. The cost certainty now locked into place with rookies opens things up. And because teams were able to move, I felt like they were able to target specific needs with early picks a little more than they have in years past. If you can move freely, "the best player available" turns into "the best player available at a specific need." Nice option, huh?

Grading Scale: In my mind an "A" means it's exceptional; a "B" means it's very good; a "C" means average, with hits and misses; a "D" means it's below average with some big questions. An "F" … well, I didn't have one this year.

As always, feel free to disagree. I'm well aware I'll feel differently about a lot of picks next year. A lot of you ripped me for being too kind last year, so let me know what you think about this class.

More Kiper NFL draft content:

Draft Grades | Impact players: Round 1 | Rounds 2 and 3 | Rounds 4-7


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Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst