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Winners, losers from first round of NFL draft

04.27.12 at 1:19 am ET
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With first round of the draft in the books, there’s time the breathe a sigh of relief and take in the hectic night, which featured the quickest first round in history. Now, we take a look at the five winners and losers of Day 1.

WINNERS

1. Bruce Irvin, DE, Seahawks – Many teams knew of Irvin’s explosive — but raw — pass-rushing skills, with some seeing him as the most talented pass rusher in the draft. However, Irvin had a lot of character concerns coming into the draft, leading some teams to take him off of their boards completely. Mock drafts anticipated him going anywhere between the late first and late second rounds, so his selection at No. 15 wasn’t too many picks ahead of where some had him going. What’s surprising is that Irvin was the first edge rusher off the board in what was perceived to be a decent class for the position.

2. Rams – During much of the draft process, the Rams made it clear to other teams that they were looking to trade down from the No. 2 spot and collect as many picks as possible to rebuild their roster. After trading down to No. 6 weeks ago and again to No. 14 on draft day, the Rams have picked up two second-round picks to use on Friday in addition to two future first-round picks. They also grabbed dynamic LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers at No. 14 once they were finished wheeling and dealing.

3. Patriots fans – While a fan base tends to call for a lot of things heading into the draft, there was a near consensus with Pats fans as to what they wanted this year: They wanted Bill Belichick to draft a top-flight pass rusher early on, and they wanted him to stop trading down in the draft and to trade up to get an elite player. Much to their surprise, they got exactly what they wanted.

4. Cowboys — The Cowboys are always an aggressive team on draft day (Jerry Jones’ trade up to No. 6 on Thursday night marked his 59th draft-day trade). However, the move to grab LSU corner Morris Claiborne with the sixth overall pick was a perfect strike in a draft class that was considered to have six “elite” prospects. The ability to grab one of those six (the Cowboys reportedly had Claiborne as the second-best player on their board) at the last available spot all the way from No. 14 was a great move for the Cowboys, despite having to sacrifice a second-round pick for it.

5. Jets — The Jets had only a few basic needs heading into the draft: a premiere edge rusher and a safety, mainly. In the end, they landed Quinton Coples, possibly the most talented pass-rusher in this draft class, without having to trade up with their choice at safety long off the board. There are questions about Coples’ work ethic and there will always be concerns about a player who is a bit of a head case in that locker room. On the other hand, Rex Ryan having that type of talent at his disposal should be a concern for the Patriots.

LOSERS

1. Dolphins/Browns – No one really though that Ryan Tannehill (a wide receiver until halfway through his junior season) and Brandon Weeden (30 years old next October) were the eighth and 22nd-best players in this year’s draft, respectively. Still, there was no way either team was going to come out of this draft without a passer to hang their hats on. Unfortunately for them, they had to reach way too far to make sure they landed them.

2. Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama – There was a point in time when it was unthinkable to believe Upshaw would fall all the way to the Patriots at No. 27. The fact that he waited through all of Day 1 in the green room in New York without hearing his name is even more shocking. There were concerns that the former top 15 projection’s stock was falling, but nothing like this.

3. Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia – Glenn is a versatile, powerful blocker who was almost universally projected to go in the low 20s on Day 1. He’s another player that few saw falling into the second round. However, there was a surprisingly low number of offensive linemen on Day 1, which pushed a number of linemen, particularly Glenn, to Day 2.

4. Tight ends – After Rob Gronkowski set the world on fire last season, the expectation was that teams would try to mimic that success within their own offense. Apparently, that player was not in this draft class, as no team elected to draft a player from the position on Day 1. This tight end class was projected as a weak one, with just 14 prospects at the position invited to the scouting combine. Still, many expected at least Stanford’s Coby Fleener to sneak in with one of the last couple of Day 1 picks.

5. The Patriots’ draft past Round 2 – It’s less of a loser than the fact that it no longer exists. The Patriots made some exciting moves up in the draft on Day 1. However, it came at the cost of the team’s third- and fourth-round selections. This means that, unless the Patriots make a deal, they are done after they make their second selection in the second round. Some Patriots fans may enjoy this, as it means they can find something more constructive to do on their Saturday.

Read More: 2012 NFL Draft, Bill Belichick, Bruce Irvin, Jerry Jones
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