Regrading the 2012 NFL draft

Few drafts 'improved' more than Seattle's, but many look different today

Originally Published: January 24, 2013
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider
Kiper Draft Re-GradesESPN.com IllustrationTampa Bay and Seattle's 2012 drafts look much better after one season.

How can I hand out grades immediately after the NFL draft? Why not? I just have to be clear on context. I simply use my player evaluations at the time to gauge how well teams maximized value at each draft slot and addressed personnel needs. This is what we ended up with last April. But if I'm going to hand out grades then, something many could consider unfair, it's only right that we all take a look back to see how I did and hand out some new grades now that we have some results to evaluate.

So let's do that, and keep me accountable. Overall, there were a number of rookies who proved more valuable than I imagined at the time -- check out the Seahawks -- but there are also many grades that still look pretty reasonable today. And obviously, there's still so much to find out, because so many players are just getting started. In April, we lined this up best grades to worst, but for this one, it's organized by division.


AFC East

Post-draft grade: B-

Summary: Buffalo fans might view this re-assessment as a little harsh. From a fan's standpoint, you can say the team landed starters at a few spots, which ostensibly means they drafted well. The flip side is you have to consider if those players are starting on a better team. Take second-round pick Cordy Glenn, for example. I really liked Glenn, and he was a regular on my Big Board last year, but I had questions about whether he could be an effective left tackle due to a lack of quickness. Well, he started there for Buffalo this season and held up reasonably well against low expectations, but the tape shows a player that wasn't among the top 20-25 left tackles in the NFL. Should he remain there? We still need to find out. But he wouldn't start there for most teams. Nigel Bradham also became a starter at linebacker, but that's a weakness for Buffalo, a team that couldn't stop anybody from running. T.J. Graham came on a little late in the season and could be a good player for the offense. Stephon Gilmore could be a good one, but he had major trouble with penalties. No obvious sleepers here. The grade stays basically the same as we hope this class shows more.

New grade: C+



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Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst