Apr 27, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner (right) and first round draft pick Melvin Ingram hold up a jersey during a press conference at Charger Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

2012 NFL Draft: Understanding Draft Grades

As the 2012 NFL Draft moves into the meat and potatoes of selections in rounds two through seven, NFL teams will begin to rely on pre-draft evaluations of all available players to help determine their upcoming picks.

Once the clock begins to roll on a given selection the coaches, general managers, and scouts of said NFL team will make a final decision on a player with high importance given to the NFL combine numbers.

A team’s personal preference or off the field problems of any former college football player aside, the following chart is how all future NFL players are gauged entering the draft.

Many NFL draft picks are selected by the best available talent instead of need for a NFL team. The term “best available” refers to a player’s combine grade.

When all else fails, NFL fans can look at player’s combine grade to get a better understanding of why their favorite team just picked a kid from a Division II school they have never heard of until now.


How NFL.com projects the grades of all players regardless of position:

100-96, top pick, future Hall of Fame player

95-85, first round pick, immediate starter

84-70, 2nd to 3rd round pick, eventual starter

69-50, 4th to 7th round pick, draft worthy

49-20, free agent player, not draft worthy


Notable 2012 Combine Grades:


Andrew Luck, Stanford, 97

Robert Griffin III, Baylor, 95

Russell Wilson, Wisconsin, 68.5

Darron Thomas, Oregon, 55.0

Case Keenum, Houston, 53.5

Kellen Moore, Boise State, 51.0

Jordan Jefferson, LSU, 40


Running Backs:

Chris Polk, Washington, 86.0

LaMichael James, Oregon, 78.5

Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M, 75.5

Doug Martin, Boise State, 74.2

Chris Rainey, Florida, 73.7

Fozzy Whittaker, Texas, 51.2

Vick Ballard, Mississippi State, 50.5


Wide Receivers:

Michael Floyd, Notre Dame, 89.5

Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma, 84.0


Tight Ends:

Colby Fleener, Stanford, 85.2

Orson Charles, Georgia, 79.0



Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama, 92.0

Morris Claiborne, LSU, 91.5

Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina, 84.0


Offensive Linemen:

Matt Kalil, Southern California, 94.0

David Decastro, Stanford, 92.5

Cordy Glenn, Georgia, 72.5

Donald Stephenson, Oklahoma, 53.5

Adam Gettis, Iowa, 52.2



Luke Kuechly, Boston College, 91.0

Dont’a Hightower, Alabama, 85.0

DeMario Davis, Arkansas State, 51.2


Defensive Linemen:

Melvin Ingram,South Carolina, 90.5

Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State, 77.0

Whitney Mercilus, Illinois, 72.5



Charles Mitchell, Mississippi State, 54.7

Kelcie McCray, Arkansas State, 51.5

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