04-27-2012, 09:40 AM
Given that 2012 marked the first season with a rookie wage scale and the absence of a lockout, speculation was high that teams would be trading around the first round with a frequency rarely seen. Little did we know. There were three trades among NFL teams with the first 10 picks alone, starting with the Cleveland Browns, who moved up from the fourth overall pick to the third in order to grab Alabama running back Trent Richardson. That move took the Minnesota Vikings from the third pick to Cleveland's fourth, and added a fourth, fifth, and seventh-round picks to an already stacked Vikings pick list -- they now have 13 picks overall in this year's draft, and they got their much-needed elite pass protector in USC's Matt Kalil. The Vikings later made a deal with the Baltimore Ravens to move down again in the first round. The Jacksonville Jaguars then moved up to the fifth pick by trading their seventh overall selection and an extra fourth-round pick for the privilege of taking Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon. The Bucs may have been in the hunt for Richardson,* but the move down still netted them Alabama safety Mark Barron, one of the safest and most versatile players in this draft class. The big traders in that top 10 were the Dallas Cowboys, who took their 14th overall pick and their second-rounder and gave it to the St. Louis Rams to move up to St. Louis' sixth-overall selection. From there, they took LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne and left the Rams with even more chips in the later rounds. You;ll be hearing from them a lot on Friday and Saturday. Later in the first round, the New England Patriots proved once again that they see no fixed positions in any draft by trading up twice for two much-needed additions to their front seven -- linebacker Dont'a Hightower and Syracuse pass rusher Chandler Jones. Not bad for a couple of fourth-round picks. The Bucs and Denver Broncos, who were also part of one of the Patriots' trades finished things off by switching picks in the 30s so that Tampa Bay could grab Boise State running back Doug Martin. But the most surprising trade, at least when it came to the final result, happened when the Seattle Seahawks took their twelfth overall pick and dropped with Philadelphia's 15th. The Eagles selected Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, which seems a great value pick, as many mocks had Cox going as early at 6 overall to the Rams. The Seahawks confounded most observers by taking West Virginia's Bruce Irvin while some impressive and much-needed talent -- including Stanford guard David DeCastro, South Carolina end Melvin Ingram, and Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw -- were still on the board. Irvin is a speed pass rusher who reminds some of an embryonic Von Miller, but few expected him to go in the first round at all. Seattle knew better, or at least they thought they did. Sources said that the San Francisco 49ers had basically guaranteed Irvin a pick at 30th overall if he fell that far, and the Seahawks already felt they had their man. Brushing the naysayers aside, head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider seemed thrilled to come out of the first round with Irvin and two more picks.