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NFL Draft 2012: Most Overrated Players Available

Jon DoveContributor IOctober 15, 2016

NFL Draft 2012: Most Overrated Players Available

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    It's shocking to see how much of an impact the media has on the stock of NFL draft prospects. NFL teams rarely tip their hands and talk about where they rank a prospect, so that means all the direction we receive is from "sources" or individual evaluations.

    This also results in some copy cat or twitter-fueled thoughts and opinions. A good example of this is Arizona's Dan Williams who received some early first-round love, but really was seen as a late first-round prospect.

No. 10 Matt Kalil, Offensive Tackle, USC

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    Projected Position: Top 3

    Where He Should Land: Top 5

    USC's Matt Kalil is a terrific talent but may fall short of his projected hype. Many feel that Kalil is the top offensive lineman in this draft, and a lock to be a top three pick. However, there's some stiffness to his game which might force him to the right side.

    In order to live up to a top five billing, Kalil needs to develop into an Pro Bowl caliber left tackle. His lack of elite foot speed and stiff movements could prevent him from developing into a top-level pass blocker. The NFL features pass rushers with exceptional quickness and ability to attack the edge. Kalil isn't a lock to be able to handle those type of speed rushers.

    Kalil lands on this list mainly because he isn't the runaway top prospect most believe, and he isn't even the top tackle on my board. Stanford's Jonathan Martin is a more fluid athlete and has more upside as a pass blocker.

No. 9 Whitney Mercilus, Defensive End, Illinois

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    Projected Position: Mid 1st Round

    Where He Should Land: Late 1st Round

    Prior to this season, Illinois' Whitney Mercilus had two career sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss. However, he used a 16 sack and 22.5 tackle for loss season to propel himself into the first-round discussion. There is no overlooking his breakout season, but one year wonders tend to have a high bust rate.

    Mercilus deserves to be in the first-round discussion, but it would be a reach to take him in the top 15. One year of production doesn't guarantee a prospect's success at the next level. However, the NFL values pass rushers which typically inflates the stock of players like Mercilus.

No. 8 Quinton Coples, Defensive End, North Carolina

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    Projected Position: Top 10

    Where He Should Land: Mid 1st Round

    Oftentimes production is overlooked because of a prospect's natural ability. This isn't more true when it comes to evaluating pass rush prospects. North Carolina's Quinton Coples falls into this category, as his natural abilities are greater than his production on the field.

    During his time at North Carolina, Coples reached a double-digit sack total only once. His critics feel his inconsistent motor is to blame for the lack of production. Any prospect selected in the top 10 needs to make a major impact. An early draft pick who struggles to reach double-digit sacks can be disastrous for the team making the selection.

No. 7 Dont'a Hightower, Linebacker, Alabama

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    Projected Position: 2nd Round

    Where He Should Land: 4th- 5th Round

    Alabama's Dont'a Hightower enjoyed a very successful college career, but that doesn't mean he will find success in the NFL. While at Alabama, Hightower found himself surrounded by elite talent who helped make his job easier. A lot of this talent came along the defensive line, where guys like Marcell Dareus occupied blockers and allowed Hightower to purse the ball.

    The biggest concern I have with Hightower is his lack of elite instincts. He doesn't do a great job deciphering post-snap information and reading his keys. His tendency to take poor angles to the ball puts him out of position to make the tackle.

    Teams expected to select Hightower and plug him in at middle linebacker should not expect immediate help.

No. 6 Ronnell Lewis, Linebacker, Oklahoma

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    Projected Position: Late 1st Round

    Where He Should Land: Late 2nd- Early 3rd Round

    Oklahoma's Ronnell Lewis has complied only 9.5 sacks in his college career. This isn't an eye popping number for a prospect who will be asked to rush the quarterback. Lewis registered 5.5 of those sacks this season, but that still isn't an impressive number.

    NFL teams love players with the potential to rush the quarterback, which will likely be the reason Lewis is selected early. He does possess good quickness and a burst off the edge, but needs to develop stronger pass rush moves.

    Selecting Lewis in the first round would be a mistake, as he isn't a finished product and not a guarantee to develop into a top-level pass rusher.

No. 5 Jerel Worthy, Defensive Tackle, Michigan State

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    Projected Position: Mid-Late 1st Round

    Where He Should Land: 2nd Round

    Michigan State's Jerel Worthy is another prospect whose lack of consistency makes him a risky addition. Worthy's combination of size and athletic ability have many evaluators mentioning him as a first-round prospect. However, he only plays like a first-round prospect a portion of his time on the field.

    There is no doubting his raw abilities, but a top-level prospect should be dominating game in and game out. Comparing the stats of Worthy and Penn State's Devon Still is a good way to paint this picture. Still compiled seven more tackles for loss and was a more disruptive player.

    Landing Worthy in the second round would be good value, but selecting him in the mid-first round is a major reach.

No. 4 Brock Osweiler, Quarterback, Arizona State

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    Projected Position: 3rd Round

    Where He Should Land: 6th Round

    Arizona State's Brock Osweiler possesses good size and a strong throwing arm but is nowhere near a top-level prospect. Other than his physical talents, he lacks the skills necessary to develop into a starting NFL quarterback. Osweiler makes poor decisions, struggles with accuracy, has a long throwing motion and lacks a feel for the game.

    The above problems are enough to push most quarterbacks into the undrafted category. However, somebody will fall in love with Osweiler's size and arm strength. NFL coaches believe they can develop any player into a star.

No. 3 Michael Brockers, Defensive Line, LSU

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    Projected Position: Top 15

    Where He Should Land: 2nd Round

    With only two years of experience under his belt, LSU's Michael Brockers decided to enter the 2012 NFL Draft. Many evaluators and draft analysts instantly plugged him in the top 15 of their draft boards. However, I see a project player who will need time to develop.

    There's no denying Brockers' raw talent, but he just didn't show enough this season to warrant a first-round grade. The combination of his 6'6" frame and inconsistency maintaining a low pad level results in some major problems. Brockers doesn't do a great job holding at the point of attack or creating a push on the pocket. These problems limit his ability to play two-gap football.

    Brockers is a good athlete, who boasts a decent first step. However, it takes an elite first step to make an impact in the NFL. Overall, Brockers doesn't have a defined position and is someone who could disappoint at the next level.

No. 2 Nick Perry, Defensive End, USC

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    Projected Position: Mid 1st Round

    Where He Should Land: 2nd Round

    USC's Nick Perry is being projected by some to climb as high as No. 13 to the Arizona Cardinals. His stock continues to rise despite the lack of overly impressive play. He is considered to be a defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid prospect, whose main job will be to rush the passer. However, Perry has yet to register double-digit sacks in a season.

    Perry doesn't strike me as a very explosive player, boasting only an average initial burst. He doesn't possesses the quickness needed to consistently create pressure off the edge. Teams looking to add him early in the first round will expect an impact pass rusher, a title Perry has yet to earn.

No. 1 Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, Texas A&M

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    Projected Position: 1st- 2nd Round

    Where He Should Land: Late 3rd- Early 4th Round

    Most elite-level quarterbacks have a few things in common—they have a strong throwing arm, deliver the ball with good accuracy and make good decisions. Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill doesn't possesses all the necessary skills to be considered an elite quarterback prospect. Too often evaluators fall in love with physical talents, which leads to poor selections like JaMarcus Russell.

    Tannehill boasts good athletic ability and a strong throwing arm, but struggles with the other necessary quarterback skills. At this point, his biggest problem area is his ability to read a defense and make sound decisions. He often forces the ball into coverage, which usually means he isn't properly deciphering post-snap information.

    His ball placement and accuracy also doesn't matchup with the other top quarterback prospects. Seeing Tannehill as anything more than a developmental quarterback is a mistake. He hasn't shown enough to warrant the first-round discussion.

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