2012 NFL Draft Grades: Best Picks from Second Round and Beyond

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterApril 28, 2012

EAST HARTFORD, CT - NOVEMBER 26: Mohamed Sanu #6 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights carries the ball as Yawin Smallwood #33 of the Connecticut Huskies defends on November 26, 2011 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. The Connecticut Huskies defeated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 40-22.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The NFL Draft is winding down, bringing to a close one of the most exciting moments for offseason football. Throughout, we couldn't help but notice some very solid picks in the later rounds. 

There are far too many great picks to list them all here, but we wanted to take a moment and single out some particularly great decisions. 

Whether it was tremendous value falling in a team's lap, or a player that will fit perfectly into the franchise, we are loving these picks. 

 

1. Baltimore Ravens: Round 2 take Courtney Upshaw No. 35

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Linebacker Courtney Upshaw of Alabama takes part in a drill during the 2012 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Grade A: 

We won't spend much time on the second round, but we still can't help but like what is to come with Courtney Upshaw in Baltimore. 

The Ravens get scarier on defense, taking a player that boarders on elite athleticism. Upshaw already plays with a chip, and will be that much more tenacious after his slide into the second round. 

 

2. Cincinnati Bengals: Round 3 take Mohamed Sanu No. 83

Grade: B+

I love everything about this pick, from value to fit. Sanu dropped to this round after concerns on his overall speed and route running. 

I have confidence he will iron out his routes, but I really love his physicality, making him a candidate to surprise us all with red-zone theatrics. 

 

3. Miami Dolphins: Round 4 take Lamar Miller No. 97

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Lamar Miller #6 of the Miami Hurricanes rushes during a game  against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Grade: B+

The Dolphins get a running back with great burst out of the backfield down in the depths of the fourth round. 

Durability and pass protection will be an issue, but I love his upside as a runner that has breakaway potential. 

 

4. Pittsburgh Steelers: Round 4 take Alameda Ta'amu No. 109

Grade: B+

The Steelers had a great draft throughout, and continued to add bulk through the weekend.

Ta'amu has the size we like as well as the explosion off the snap. All that has us confident he will mature into a very nice pass rusher.