2012 NFL Draft: 4 Players Who Will Slip out of the Top 10

Brian LendinoCorrespondent IIJanuary 17, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: 4 Players Who Will Slip out of the Top 10

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    It’s almost always certain which players will land in the first four or so picks in the NFL draft, with those players usually being aware of their destinations before the picks are even registered.

    For some players, their draft selection sometimes relies upon team needs, and that’s when we start getting into drafting positionally or for the best player available.

    Most remember the Brady Quinn debacle of 2007 when he was thought to be the top overall talent, but because of team needs, he slipped all the way to No. 22 overall.

    The following is a list of four players who have high expectations and tremendous talent but could see their names drop on the draft board out of the Top 10. 

Alshon Jeffery

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    Very early in the 2011 season, many believe Alshon Jeffery to be the best wide receiver the 2012 class had to offer.

    However, mostly due to poor quarterback play, Alshon Jeffery has slipped on teams' draft boards behind Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon.

    Jeffery is a physical gift that uses his large frame and elite jumping ability to shield off defenders and attack the ball in the air.

    Once upon a time a sure-fire Top 10 pick, Jeffery may see himself drop out if one of the teams from No. 6 to No. 10 take a nab at him.

    Teams who could use Jeffery include the Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars and even the Buffalo Bills. That said, all three teams have a plethora of other issues they need to address as well, meaning Jeffery may see himself get overlooked as teams draft positionally. 

Dre Kirkpatrick

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    Dre Kirkpatrick is widely regarded as the second best cornerback in the 2012 class behind Morris Claiborne. Claiborne is a sure Top Five pick, likely to Minnesota or Tampa Bay.

    Kirkpatrick, however, has a few teams that may vie for his services including Carolina and Jacksonville.

    Dre Kirkpatrick is a solid selection in the Top 10 and is likely to go there, but if teams look elsewhere, he could see himself drop all the way to Dallas at No. 14 overall.

    Kirkpatrick certainly improved his stock some with a strong performance in the BCS National Championship game, blowing up option plays and showing he can be a help in run support. 

Devon Still

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    I’ve seen Devon Still as high as No. 8 overall and as low as the second round, depending on where you look.

    The reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year has used a strong senior campaign to boost his draft stock all the way to Top 10 overall talks.

    Unfortunately for Still, Top 10 in itself would be an overdraft, and there is really only one team that could adequately use his services—Carolina at No. 8 overall.

    He’s emerged as a defensive game-changer, but he still has a lot of work to do in burst off the snap and in his ability to move offensive linemen rather than them moving him.

    Still’s draft selection is one based on pure potential, and whoever drafts him may have the next big thing at defensive tackle, but if Carolina doesn’t snag him at No. 8, we’ll see him drop into the mid-20s of the first round. 

Trent Richardson

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    Trent Richardson has the talent of a top-five overall draft pick, but for many reasons, I can't see it happening.

    For instance, the track record of running backs drafted in the Top 10 overall is not good. For every Adrian Peterson, there’s a Ronnie Brown AND a Cadillac Williams; for every Darren McFadden, there's a Cedric Benson.

    You just don't know.

    Plus, with likely trades within the Top 10 for players like Robert Griffin III and Justin Blackmon, you don’t know how things will shake up.

    Teams that could really use Richardson’s services above all others would be Cleveland and Tampa Bay.

    However, no one knows what Cleveland is going to do with Robert Griffin III a possibility, and the Buccaneers seem to be looking directly toward Morris Claiborne to aid their ailing defense.

    I like Richardson, and I hope he’s going to become a good player, but I would be none too surprised if we see him slip into the 11-14 range.