Archive for the ‘2012 NFL Draft Big Board’ Category

*Rankings are as of Super Bowl Sunday (2/5/12) and are bound to change between now and the 2012 NFL Draft in April. Here is the list of players I currently feel have 1st round ability and deserve consideration. Feel free to criticize and discuss these rankings, I look forward to your input and thoughts.

 QB Andrew Luck Stanford: Always has and always will be the top player on this Big Board. Luck has so much football talent and intelligence it isn’t even fair. If the NFL was to do a mock draft involving all 32 NFL teams, Luck would likely go in the Top 10 overall…he’s that good.

2- LT Matt Kalil USC: Elite athleticism and length make Kalil a very good pass protector and future Pro-Bowl type player. His range and ability to ride defenders around the edge make him a potential franchise Left Tackle.

3- RB Trent Richardson Alabama: Richardson is an elite prospect who will probably get drafted later than he actually should because of lack of draft value for the position he plays in the NFL. Richardson’s ability to consistently pick up yards after contact make him one of the better backs overall to come out in quite some time.

4- QB Robert Griffin III Baylor: The Heisman winner has elite physical talent and forces the defense to cover every square inch of the football field. The question with Griffin will be if he can hold-up physically and stay healthy in the NFL due to his slighter frame for the position.

5- CB Morris Clairborne LSU: Elite size, length, and athleticism while possessing great ball skills make Clairborne a potential shut-down corner capable of playing on an island and shutting down one half of the football field.

6- WR Justin Blackmon Oklahoma State: Not overly athletic or fast, Blackmon does most of his damage by executing on underneath type routes. possessing excellent body control and spacial awareness, Blackmon has the makings of a #1 type receiver in the NFL who can make an instant impact in the highly important red-zone.

7- OT Riley Reiff Iowa: Excellent technique make this former All-State wrestler a potential starting Left Tackle in the NFL. his background in the sport gives him a very deep understanding of leverage and hand placement, while also displaying his toughness and tenacity in both the run and pass game.

8- DE Quinton Coples North Carolina: Not your classic pass-rush specialist with speed to threaten the Edge, Coples does his damage by playing with excellent dis-engagement skills thanks to his powerful and violent hands. Coples may not be a 10+ sack guy a season but he is impressive against both the run and pass and will find a way to be effective at the next level.

9- DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw Alabama: Upshaw is a little on the shorter size but don’t underestimate the amount of power Upshaw has. He plays with excellent leverage and can dis-engage from opponents thanks to his superior hand to hand combat skills. Upshaw will make for a very good starting 3-4 OLB in the NFL, who could have a Von Miller type impact if put into the right system.

10- G David DeCastro Stanford: The most impressive interior blocker in all of college football last season, DeCastro has the physical tools to be the 1st player drafted at his position in the Top 10 since The New Orleans Saints selected Chris Naeole with the 10 overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft.

11- LB Luke Kuechly Boston College: Incredible instincts and recognition skills, Luke Kuechly more than makes up for his lack of elite range and athleticism by displaying an incredible feel and understanding of the game.

12- DT Devon Still Penn State: The most dominant player at his position in college football this past season, Still’s ability to penetrate the backfield and affect both the pass and rush makes him a valuable player. Still needs to develop more consistency to his game and is a big risk-reward type player, but he was simply a man amongst boys this season and has incredible upside to his game.

13- S Mark Barron Alabama: Easily the best safety prospect in this class Barron possesses the ability to play the point in coverage as well as come up as an in the box type safety and fill running lanes.

14- T Jonathon Martin Stanford: Martin had the all important task of protecting Andrew Luck’s blind side the past two seasons at Stanford and did an admirable job for the most part. I still have questions about his ability keep with speed rushers and defend players who can turn speed into power in the NFL. Martin hasn’t proven to me that he can stick at Left Tackle in the NFL and I see him more of a Right Tackle where his good run blocking skills would be most taken advantage of.

15- CB Janoris Jenkins North Alabama: A nearly forgotten man, Jenkins flashed the impressive skills that made him such an intriguing prospect while at Florida. After an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl, Jenkins is riding a nice wave into the draft season and beginning to get back into good graces with scouts and general managers around the NFL.

16- DT/DE Michael Brockers: A rare red shirt sophomore who has decided to declare, Brockers has shown flashes of brilliance, leading to comparisons to All-Pro Richard Seymour of the Oakland Raiders. Brockers doesn’t have much film available but his upside is undeniably high and scouts are split on where he should end up in the NFL Draft. Brockers will be one of the players to watch closely this Draft season and is truly a boom or bust type player.

17- C Peter Konz Wisconsin: One of my personal favorites in the 2012 NFL Draft, Konz is one of the best center prospects to come out in quite some time, and maybe the best to come out of the Big Ten since New York Jets Center Nick Mangold. Konz plays with great technique and executes line calls/adjustments pre-snap to get his men on the same page before the play. Konz also flashes a mean streak and nice tenacity by finishing plays and driving his opponents to the ground. Konz should be the first player drafted at his position by a wide margin.

18- DE/OLB/DT Melvin Ingram South Carolina: A versatile player who excelled in one on one drills at the Senior Bowl, Ingram possesses incredible quickness and acceleration off the football. He needs to work on his technique a little bit,but his upside as a pass-rush specialist is undeniable, as he is capable of attacking the quarterback from multiple angles.

19- WR Michael Floyd Notre Dame: Floyd had the opportunity to compete at the Senior Bowl and stake claim to the #1 overall Senior Wide Receiver in this draft but surprisingly turned down the opportunity. luckily Baylor’s Kendall Wright also did not participate because of an injury, however Floyd has a lot to prove come Combine time when his talents will be on full display for evaluators.

20- CB Dre Kirkpatrick Alabama: A recent drug-related arrest for possession of marijuana has Kirkpatrick’s draft stock in limbo. There is no doubting his combination of size, length, and overall athleticism but Kirkpatrick did himself no favors by getting into trouble with the law before the biggest job interview of his life. Kirkpatrick has a lot to prove and a lot of questions about his character and maturity to answer before he can be considered an elite prospect once again.

21- OT Mike Adams Ohio State: Perhaps the biggest riser from the Senior Bowl, Adams consistently looked the part by shutting down multiple pass-rushers during one on one drills. His performance in the game against players like Melvin Ingram and Courtney Upshaw was also impressive and has his draft stock climbing in he right direction.

22- WR Kendall Wright Baylor: Wright is a highly explosive player whose speed and athleticism make him a big play threat in the NFL. Wright will be competing closely with fellow Senior Wide Receiver Michael Floyd for the #2 spot behind Justin Blackmon in the 2012 NFL Draft.

23- OT/OG Cordy Glenn Georgia: Glenn is a mountain of a man who I consider a “dancing bear” because of his impressive movement skills and nimble footwork. Glenn did surprisingly well at Left Tackle during the Senior Bowl and his added versatility to play Right Tackle or Guard in the NFL makes him a very intriguing prospect.

24- QB Ryan Tannehill Texas A&M: Tannehill is a former Wide Receiver who has all the tools to become a franchise quarterback at the next level…he just needs time to develop and should not be asked to start immediately in his rookie season.

25- RB Lamar Miller Miami: The acceleration Miller shows in and out of his cuts is an extremely rare and impressive trait. His home run ability should get him drafted in the 1st round despite off-season shoulder surgery.

26- DT Dontari Poe Memphis: A mammoth nose tackle, Poe could become the premier player at his position in this draft, which will undoubtedly send his draft stock soaring. I haven’t been able to find or watch much film on Poe for myself but have like what I have heard and found from respected talent evaluators in the industry.

27- WR Alshon Jeffrery South Carolina: An immensely gifted and towering wide receiver, Jeffery is one of the harder players to grade in this entire draft class. Jeffrey was essentially un-coverable last season and struggled some this year to gain separation and make the same type of impact he did during his Sophomore season. With that said, Jeffrey is incredibly gifted and deceptively fast, while using his big body to shield defenders from himself and the football. The off-season will be very important for Jeffrey in determining his draft stock, but comparisons to former USC Wide Receiver Mike Williams will hurt his draft value a bit.

28- LB Vontaze Burfict Arizona State: Burfict has all the talent in the world, however questions about his mental-makeup and attitude have scouts turned off a bit. Burfict will need to clear up these questions if he is to rise any leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft.

29- CB Alfonzo Dennard Nebraska: What some considered a poor performance from Dennard at the Senior Bowl, I was acutally impressed with how he responded and came out and competed after the amount of criticism he received after practice on Monday. If anything the Senior Bowl proved the weaknesses some scouts had leading up to the Senior Bowl about Dennard’s ability to flip his hips and turn and run with receivers down the field. Dennard is much more comfortable playing off coverage and fits best in a Cover 2 type scheme where he can keep the play in front of him, while having the added luxury of having help over the top. Dennard is still an extremely gifted corner who deserves consideration in the late 1st-early 2nd round range. His ability to recognize routes, click and close, and mirror his man while staying in their hip pocket makes him an effective corner…although he is better served and limited to some schemes that fit his strengths the best.

30- DT/DE Fletcher Cox Mississippi State: A versatile defensive lineman who can play inside or out, Fletcher Cox is somewhat falling under the radar. His impressive motor and hustle on every play will get him noticed, as will the fact that he played in the dominant SEC Conference.

31- WR Mohamed Sanu Rutgers: Another one of my favorite players in this Draft, Sanu has flown under the radar some to this point. He’s not extremely athletic or overly fast to create consistent separation, but Sanu simply catches the ball with great consistency. His ability to come down with the difficult catch and use his physicality and toughness as both a blocker and a receiver make him a very enticing player who could rise substantially going through the scouting process in the coming months.

32- RB Doug Martin Boise State: A player who has always been one of my favorites, Doug Martin is built low to the ground and possesses a nice build, as his low center of gravity and balance make him a hard player to bring down. He runs well behind his pads with good forward lean and has some natural speed to take it the distance, although I wouldn’t call him a true home run threat. Martin also excels as a receiver out of the backfield and shows the toughness/willingness to pick up blitzing defenders in pass protection…he truely is a complete back who reminds me some of Ray Rice and Ahmad Bradshaw.

-Hope you ejoyed this post-

-Brandon

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First edition of my 2012 NFL Draft Big Board. Things are sure to change as we continue to advance into the scouting season. Hope you enjoy and will let me know if you think there is a player I missed that should be included.

1- QB Andrew Luck Stanford: This is the one part of these rankings that will not change between now and the 2012 NFL Draft. Luck is the best quarterback prospect I have ever scouted and probably ever seen coming out of college since Peyton Manning, who he ironically might replace in Indianapolis.

2- OT Matt Kalil USC: Matt Kalil is an oustanding athlete with unbelievable size and length. In my opinion Kalil is the only franchise worthy left tackle in this entire draft, which will make him a very valuable and hot commodity come draft time.

3- RB Trent Richardson Alabama: You can’t say enough good things about Trent Richardson. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s fast, and he is an absolute load to bring down. Trent does most of his damage after contact and is a complete running back that can become a feature back in the NFL…something that is extremely rare in today’s game.

4- WR Justin Blackmon Oklahoma State: Blackmon doesn’t possess elite speed to burn you deep consistently, but he has outstanding hands and ball skills. His body control and ability to high point the football make him a threat in the red-zone and potential #1 wide receiver in the NFL even though he sometimes has lapses in concentration resulting in dropped passes.

5- CB Morris Clairborne LSU: Clairborne has made everyone in Baton Rouge forget about Patrick Peterson this year. His play has been great and he possesses elite size/length, athleticism, and excellent ball skills to become a lock down cornerback at the next level.

6- QB Matt Barkley USC: Matt Barkley has grown up and grown up nicely in the bright lights of Southern California where the quarterback position is talked about more than in some NFL cities. Barkley has rare intangibles and his pocket presence, poise, and decision making is second to none outside Andrew Luck.

7- LB Luke Kuechley Boston College: You want to talk about a great player, look no further than Boston College’s Luke Kuechley. Kuechley possesses rare instincts and very good coverage ability as he seems to have an extraordinary feel for the game and his position. I believe his best fit lies in a 4-3 scheme, particularly the Cover 2 where his skills can be on full display from the middle linebacker position.

8- QB Robert Griffin III Baylor: Is there a more exciting player in all of college football right now than RG3? Griffin has unbelievable athleticism and has a very strong/accurate arm. His deep ball and ability to hit receivers in stride on stick throws 20+ yards down the field is fun to watch. Griffin has some clean up work to do in the areas of footwork and transitioning from a spread offense, but the sky is the limit with this kid.

9- LB Manti Te’o Notre Dame: When talking about aggressive football players Manti Te’os name is one of the first to come up. Te’o flashes impressive athletic ability and blitzing skills. His downhill attacking style of play makes him a perfect fit in the 3-4 scheme where he can contribute on all downs.

10- WR Michael Floyd Notre Dame: I can’t wrap my head around why Floyd has been downgraded so much this season by NFL Scouts. Floyd is an exciting player with the ball in his hands and is a player who can beat you on short, intermediate, and long routes. His skill-set is rare and I for one am a firm believer in his ability to become a #1 wide receiver in the NFL.

11- OT Jonathon Martin Stanford: Jonathon Martin plays with very good pad level and his mirroring ability is extremely fun to watch. I’m not quite sure Martin has the ability to play on the left side in the NFL, but his ability to get to the 2nd level and run block is one of his greatest strengths.

12- DE Quinton Coples UNC: Coples has had somewhat of a disappointing Senior season after bursting onto the scene in 2010. Coples has elite size and his scheme flexibility makes him a very intriguing option for team’s in need of an impact defensive end. In a weak defensive end class overall Coples should benefit by being the first player taken from his position.

13- OT Riley Reiff Iowa: Iowa seems to put out massive talented offensive lineman prospects every single year and Reiff is next on that list. A former All-State Wrestling Champion from South Dakota, Reiff knows how to use leverage and techniques to neutralize his opponent. I love the way he finishes blocks and keeps his feet chopping. Reiff has some work to do in terms of balance and being more patient but he looks to be every bit as good if not better than former Hawkeye and 1st round pick Bryan Bulaga.

14- OG David DeCastro Stanford: Seeing a guard rated this high is extremely rare and speaks to the immense physical talent DeCastro has shown this season. DeCastro has great size and is an absolute road-grader in the run game, consistently opening up holes for his running back to run through. His ability to get to the 2nd level is exceptional and his pass protection is above average, making him a complete player worthy of this ranking.

15- CB Dre Kirkpatrick Alabama: Kirkpatrick possesses more than adequate NFL size and length, but it is his physicality and effort in run support that really stands out. Dre has the ability to be a great cornerback in the NFL, however his ball skills need some work if he is to become a complete player who can impact the game from a turnover standpoint. Upside is most definitely there though.

16- DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw Alabama: Upshaw is just a part of the piece that makes up a talented and scary defense for the Crimson Tide. Courtney Upshaw is an effective pass rusher who shows natural ability to disengage from his defender and get after the quarterback thanks in large part to his strength. In run support he sets the edge better than any player in the country and his versatility to play upright or with his hand in the dirt makes him special.

17- CB Alfonzo Dennard Nebraska: Dennard has somewhat flew under the radar this season as he has been hampered with an injury. Now healthy, we are starting to see the same player who looked better than former Cornhusker and #1 draft pick Prince Amukamara last season. Dennard will probably get drafted later than he should and will present excellent value for whoever drafts him.

18- LB Vontaze Burfict Arizona State: Bufict has had a rough season this year with many mistakes and penalties that have caused evaluators to question his mental make-up. Despite all this Burfict still presents a freakishly athletic skill-set that is better than any I have ever seen at his position. He plays out of control at times, but when he is on he is on. Burfict needs to go into the right situation where he can get the proper coaching and guidance from teammates he needs to become great.

19- C Peter Konz Wisconsin: You want to talk about tough, physical, and mean then you have to watch Peter Konz play football. Konz is an extremely good run and pass blocker who takes pride in finishing his blocks and driving his opponent all the way to the ground. Konz is a special center who should be one of those rare players at his position to wind up being a first round draft pick.

20- WR Kendall Wright Baylor: Wright is RG3’s favorite target and a heck of a football player and prospect in his own right. His speed and quickness allow him to separate and beat you deep. Kendall Wright is the type of player who can blow the top off the defense and make big plays, making him a bit of a poor man’s Mike Wallace.

21- OT/G Cordy Glenn Georgia: Cordy Glenn is the kind of prospect that grows on you the more and more you watch film of him. He has great size and above average feet for a man his size. His best fit in the NFL will be inside at the guard position, but I’m starting to believe he has right tackle ability, which would make him very valuable due to his versatility to play multiple positions along the offensive line.

22- DT Brandon Thompson Clemson: Brandon Thompson benefits some from what is somewhat of a poor defensive tackle class. There are no elite defensive tackles but a number of above average ones in this draft (depth). Thompson creates penetration and gets into the backfield quickly thanks to his impressive burst and get-off the line of scrimmage.

23- LB Ronell Lewis Oklahoma: Ronnell Lewis is an extremely good football player. He’s smart and instinctive as he always seems to be in position to make a play thanks to his supreme awareness and discipline. Lewis also displays fantastic closing speed and ability to deliver the violent hit. 3-4 teams will love Ronell’s skill and he could end up being the type of player who has a better pro career than college career.

24- WR Alshon Jeffry South Carolina: There is little doubting just how physically imposing and dominating Alshon Jeffry is as he continually out-muscles defenders for the football. However, I have questions regarding his ability to consistently separate at the next level due to his lack of great top-end speed. Jeffry does possess great hands and uses his big frame well to shield defenders from the football. Should Jeffry decide to come out this year his workouts leading up to and through the combine will be closely watched and scrutinized by talent evaluators looking to see just how athletic/skilled this big man is.

25- WR Mohammed Sanu Rutgers: Sanu may be the best kept secret in all of college football and may not mean more to his team than any other player outside Andrew Luck. Sanu has been a staple for the Rutgers football team and in the Big East Conference since his Freshman season. Those who don’t know much about Sanu as a prospect soon will once film begins to get broken down by NFL evaluators as he displays great pass catching skills and is absolutely a terror as a blocker down the field.

26- QB Landry Jones Oklahoma: Landry Jones is an intriguing and interesting prospect. On one hand he has a great arm that is capable of making all the throws. On the other hand his decision-making and accuracy is erratic, unpredictable, and inconsistent at times, especially in the face of pressure. Jones would be wise to stay another year at Oklahoma to better improve his skills and declining draft stock in my honest opinion.

27- DE/OLB Jarvis Jones Georgia: Only a red-shirt Sophomore Jones would be wise to come back to school and continue to develop size, strength, and more pass rush moves. With that said Jones has a tremendous amount of upside and his ceiling is possibly higher than any other defensive player eligible for this year’s draft. He can bend the edge like no other and gets after the quarterback, never giving up on the play.

28- DT Devon Still Penn State: Devon Still has played lights out this season as he has the ability to get skinny and penetrate the opposing team’s backfield in a hurry. His burst and explosion is undeniable, but I still have some questions about his stamina and ability to anchor in the run game as he plays with somewhat of a narrow base at times and has a tendency to twist his upper body and raise his pad level when neutralized off the snap.

29- DE/OLB Melvin Ingram South Carolina: Ingram has burst onto the scene this season and has had an enormous impact making splash plays for the Gamecocks all season. I still need to do more film-work on Ingram and I could be way off by saying this but my initial impression of Ingram is that he is a better athlete than football player right now. Not saying he can’t become a good one, but I just don’t feel comfortable putting him in my top 25 as of yet.

30- CB Chase Minniefield Virginia: Chase Minnifield is a vastly under-rated player in my opinion. He is the son of former All-Pro cornerback Frank Minnifield who played for the Cleveland Browns. Minnifield displays impressive ball skills and I love the way he challenges and is willing to fight wide receivers for positioning and the ball. Chase is also a film room junkie, which is something that always entices me as an talent evaluator.

31- S Mark Barron Alabama: Barron has really improved his play from a year ago. He seems to be much more comfortable in coverage and his ability to come up and fill versus the run is something that has always been impressive about his game. I’m not completely sold on Barron just yet and need to put in more film work, but he seems to be the best saftey prospect in what is a relatively weak position in this draft.

32- LB Zach Brown North Carolina: Zach Brown is an incredibly athletic linebacker who has the ability to play sideline to sideline. His first-step quickness and closing speed is second to none, making him a terriffic blitzing linebacker. He also seems to be reliable in coverage and is quick to pick up receivers coming out of the backfield, with the ability to run with them vertically. However, Brown lacks prototypical NFL size for the position and his tackling leaves something to be desired. Brown will need to get stronger in order to dis-engage consistently from bigger lineman/tight ends and would be best off by going to a team with two big DT’s that can keep him clean (Lions). Sky is the limit for Zach, but he definitely has some areas of his game to improve upon before he can be considered an elite prospect.