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Panthers draft Luke Kuechly ninth overall

04.26.12 at 9:01 pm ET
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Boston College consensus All-American inside linebacker Luke Kuechly was taken by the Carolina Panthers with the No. 9 overall pick in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night.

Kuechly impressed scouts in his three years at Chestnut Hill. This past season, when he won the Lombardi, the Lott IMPACT trophy and the Bronko Nagurski trophy. He led the nation with 191 tackles (102 solo) during the season, averaging nearly 16 tackles per game.

Early on in his career, Kuechly showed versatility that NFL scouts love, moving from his natural inside linebacker position to the outside when Mark Herzlich was diagnosed with bone cancer.

Kuechly compiled his stats in the 12-game regular season, as the team finished with a 4-8 record and was ineligible for post-season play. He still almost broke the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) single-season tackle record of 193, and did break the single season tackles mark with 15.9 per game.

Kuechly broke the BC and ACC career tackle records with 532 tackles, eclipsing the previous record of 524 held by Stephen Boyd and only 13 tackles short of the NCAA FBS record held by Tim McGarigle. He also broke the BC and ACC single-season tackle records, records that he had set the year before. On Dec. 4, Dick Butkus personally presented the 2011 Butkus Award to Kuechly at the Boston College team banquet a week before the expected formal announcement of the recipient.

Read More: 2012 NFL Draft, Boston College, Carolina Panthers, Luke Kuechly

Dolphins draft Ryan Tannehill eighth overall

04.26.12 at 8:51 pm ET
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The Dolphins made their latest attempt at replacing Dan Marino Thursday night as they drafted Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill eighth overall.

Tannehill isn’t anywhere near the type of prospect as Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. His experience as a starting quarterback is limited (19 starts), as he also played receiver in college. Miami may have been better off going another year with Matt Moore under center.

Read More: 2012 NFL Draft, NFL Draft 2012, Ryan Tannehill,

Bucs draft Mark Barron seventh overall

04.26.12 at 8:48 pm ET
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The Bucs may have dashed the Patriots’ hopes at filling a need with a star player, as Tampa Bay selected Alabama safety Mark Barron seventh overall in the NFL draft on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-1, 213-pounder is the only safety in this draft who truly warrants selection in the first-round this year. Notre Dame’s Harrison Smith could also be had late in the first, but overall it’s a tremendously weak year at the position. Teams could select Montana corner Trumaine Johnson (6-foot-1 7/8, 204 pounds) and move the hard-hitting defensive back to safety.

Read More: 2012 NFL Draft, mark barron, NFL Draft 2012,

Rams trade down again, Cowboys select Morris Claiborne

04.26.12 at 8:39 pm ET
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With Justin Blackmon off the board, the Rams elected to trade down for a second time, this time moving from No. 6 to No. 14 overall in a swap with the Cowboys. Once on the clock, the Cowboys used the pick to draft LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne.

The Rams had initially held the second overall pick before trading it to Washington in exchange for No. 6, No. 34 and first-rounders in the next two years. St. Louis got a second-round pick in their trade with the Cowboys, giving them three second-round picks in this year’s draft.

The Claiborne selection is a slam-dunk for the Cowboys. Claiborne may be an even better prospect than former teammate Patrick Peterson, who went fifth overall to the Cardinals last year.

One off note: Picks No. 2-7 have all been traded in this draft.

Read More: 2012 NFL Draft, Morris Claiborne, NFL Draft 2012,

Jaguars trade up for Justin Blackmon

04.26.12 at 8:32 pm ET
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The Jaguars traded up two spots from No. 7 to No. 5 Thursday night and selected Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon in the first round of the NFL draft.

Blackmon had 121 receptions for 1522 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. He gives the Jaguars a badly needed weapon for quarterback Blaine Gabbert. The Jaguars had traded up to select Gabbert 10th overall last year, but he had a dreadful rookie season. Part of that was because he didn’t have an elite receiver, so having a star at the position to develop with should be a major help.

The Jaguars gave up a fourth-round pick in order to move up. The trade allowed them to leapfrog the Rams at six, as St. Louis was a logical landing spot for the receiver.

Read More: 2012 NFL Draft, Justin Blackmon,

Vikings draft Matt Kalil fourth overall

04.26.12 at 8:27 pm ET
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Some help is on the way for Christian Ponder, as Minnesota selected USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil fourth overall in the NFL draft Thursday night.

The Vikings initially held the third overall pick but moved down a spot in a trade with the Browns. There was speculation that the Vikings could have moved down a second time, but they stayed put and chose Kalil, the highest-rated non-skill position player in the draft.

Kalil is the brother of Panthers center Ryan Kalil.

Read More: 2012 NFL Draft, Matt Kalil,

Browns draft Trent Richardson

04.26.12 at 8:20 pm ET
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The Browns couldn’t get a star quarterback, but they were still able to get a potential offensive star by taking Alabama running back Trent Richardson third overall.

The Browns moved up one spot in a trade with the Vikings shortly before the draft, sending fourth, fifth and seventh-round picks to Minnesota in order to move from No. 4 to No. 3.

This is the highest a running back has been selected in the draft since Reggie Bush was taken second overall by the Saints in 2006.

The feeling here (and it’s backed up by years of proof) is that selecting running backs in the first round is a bad idea. However, some running backs, such as Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson, have been worth top-10 selections and Richardson is the best prospect at the position since Peterson.

Read More: 2012 NFL Draft, Trent Richardson,
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