2012 NFL Draft: Six Dark Horses Who Could Be Top Ten Picks

Jackson DworakContributor IIIJanuary 21, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: Six Dark Horses Who Could Be Top Ten Picks

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    The stocks of this year's NFL draft prospects have been changing more rapidly than I ever remember before. There are at least 50 players worthy of a first round selection, but obviously there will only be 32. With so much talent, it's hard to judge which players will be top ten picks. That's why some of them just might surprise you.

    Here are six players that you may not expect to, but have a serious chance of being selected with the first ten picks in the 2012 NFL Draft. 

Courtney Upshaw (DE/OLB, Alabama)

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    Courtney Upshaw is one of many Alabama defensive stars who could go in the first round. He helped keep the number one team in the nation, LSU, to 9 points over two games. Upshaw had 9.5 sacks on the season, and showed himself to be a true threat to take down the quarterback.

    A team like Buffalo or Jacksonville could definitely benefit from his services.  

David DeCastro (OG, Stanford)

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    A big key to the success of Andrew Luck was the great protection he had from his offensive linemen, anchored by guys like David DeCastro. In my opinion, DeCastro is the second best offensive line prospect in the draft after Matt Kalil. It is very rare to see an interior offensive lineman drafted in the top 10, but DeCastro is one of the best I've seen in years.

    Carolina or Miami could benefit from improvement at the guard position.

Luke Kuechly (MLB, Boston College)

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    Luke Kuechly is not only the best defensive player in school history, but one of the best in the history of college football. He had 191 tackles this season, a number that is just unfathomable. Kuechly is a rare prospect that should get recognition as a top 10 selection.

    Tampa Bay and Washington could benefit from a solid middle linebacker.

Whitney Mercilus (DE/OLB, Illinois)

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    Racking up 22.5 tackles for losses this season, Whitney Mercilus strikes fear into the hearts of offensive players. Mercilus is very, very consistent and never takes off a play. Not only does Mercilus have the coolest name in the draft, but he is also one of the best defenders, even though he tends to go overlooked at times.

    Miami or Carolina would be great fits for Mercilus. 

Michael Floyd (WR, Notre Dame)

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    A big play waiting to happen, Michael Floyd is one of the top receivers in the 2012 draft. He doesn't remind us of Randy Moss like Justin Blackmon does, or of Brandon Marshall like Alshon Jeffery does. However, Michael Floyd has a skill set that is very unique to him. He can burn even the best corners in the game.

    Washington or Jacksonville could be acquiring his services come April.

Devon Still (DT, Penn State)

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    A lot of NFL teams need help at the defensive tackle position, and Devon Still is the best in the draft. He doesn't really display extreme superstar potential, but he's a guy you could definitely plug into the starting lineup right away, and he'd fill a hole very well.

    Carolina and Buffalo need help along the defensive line, so they could be looking at Still in the draft.