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Hutton's Hotspot: Winners and losers of the 2012 NFL draft

By Joe Hutton Sports editor
On May 2, 2012

The 2012 NFL draft came to a close Saturday, April 28, bringing us that much closer to the beginning of the regular season. The first two picks went as expected - Andrew Luck went to the Indianapolis Colts and Robert Griffin III went to the Washington Redskins - but what about the other 251 athletes who were drafted? Here are some of the notable picks that were made during the 2012 draft. Some picks were solid choices,  but others left me scratching my head.

No. 5 overall - WR Justin Blackmon

With its first pick of the draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Blackmon out of Oklahoma State. The big-target wide receiver dominated the Big 12 last season, leading the conference in receptions and touchdowns. Seeing as how the Jags finished dead last in passing and receiving, they desperately needed to add a wide receiver. Blackmon will have no problem making an impact in Jacksonville. I just feel bad that he has quarterback Blaine Gabbert throwing him the ball.

No. 7 overall - SS Mark Barron

Barron, the strong safety out of Alabama, was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Good thing the Buc's went defense - Tampa gave up the most points out of any team in the league. Barron was a huge reason why Alabama ranked No.1 in the nation in pass defense, scoring defense and total defense. Barron's got an eye for the ball and can lay a solid lick too. He should do tremendous things for Tampa.

No. 15 overall - DE Irvin Bruce

Selected by the Seattle Seahawks, Bruce was a stretch at No. 15. Seattle made the right move to go with defense, but Bruce was projected to go as late as the second round. Although he's a good player, Bruce has had some past off-field issues. He served jail time as a juvenile and was arrested earlier this year, although the charges were dropped. This was a risky pick by head coach Pete Carroll and the gang.

No. 30 overall - WR A.J Jenkins

This was a solid pickup for the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners made it all the way to the NFC Championship game last season before falling to future Super Bowl Champions, the New York Giants. It certainly wasn't their passing game that helped them win games last season - it was ranked 29th in passing offense. Besides TE Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree was pretty much the only receiver who quarterback Alex Smith could throw to. Jenkins hauled in 90 passes last season for Illinois, scoring eight touchdowns. Jenkins, along with recently acquired Randy Moss and Mario Manningham should help open things up for both Crabtree and Davis.

No. 54 overall - WR Ryan Broyles

As a Lions fan, I'm up in the air about this pick. Broyles was a standout at Oklahoma - 45 career touchdowns - and the Lions could use another receiver to complement Calvin Johnson. Also, the Lions rely on its passing game - a little too much - to win ball games. But that's not where the team needs to improve. I would have liked to see the team go with someone on the defensive side of the ball. The Lions were No. 22 in pass defense and No. 23 in rush defense last season. After the Lions went with offensive tackle Reiff Riley out of Iowa in Round 1 it should have addressed the defense.

No. 61 overall - RB LaMichael James

Why? I really don't understand this 2nd round pick by the Niners. Don't get me wrong, the running back out of Oregon could be a deadly weapon, but I don't see where he fits in the offense. San Fran ranked 8th in the NFL in rushing last season and there isn't much room for improvement. Running back Frank Gore still has plenty gas in the tank and Kendall Hunter averaged 4.1 yards a carry as a rookie last season. Not to mention San Fran recently acquired Brandon Jacobs from the New York Giants. This was a wasted pick.

No. 102 overall - Kirk Cousins

I'm a little confused. Didn't Washington select RG III No. 2 overall? Cousins was a three-year captain at Michigan State, so maybe the Skins brought him in to be a leader off the field. I'm not trying to knock Cousins' ability - he's a solid quarterback- but he won't be seeing any playing time soon. Even if Griffin doesn't pan out this season, Rex Grossman will get the start before Cousins.

Obviously this is only a small portion of the NFL draft, but these were some of the picks that really stood out. Now we just sit and wait to see how the season pans out. Who will be a bust, who will emerge? We will see in a few short months when the season begins.

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