2012 NFL Draft: 10 Players Whose Stocks Have Fallen Since End of Season
The months leading up to the NFL Draft can be a very stressful time for a prospect. Each movement or decision is heavily scrutinized and can have a major impact on a player's draft position. It seems that there are more opportunities to hurt a stock than help it.
Things like off-the-field issues, injuries and poor workout numbers can all have a disastrous impact. For example, Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett fell from a potential first-round pick to coming off the board in the third-round. His fall can be attributed to the many question marks surrounding his decision-making and maturity.
Nick Toon, Wide Receiver, Wisconsin
Potential Round: 5th-7th Round
Wisconsin's Nick Toon possesses a lot of talent, but his struggles with injuries have derailed his draft stock. Toon hoped that he would be able to use the Senior Bowl to help himself, but due to a foot injury, he was unable to participate. This injury only helped fuel the discussion that he is injury-prone and a risky pick.
Prior to this latest setback, Toon was gaining some early second-round consideration. However, his inability to workout and run at the combine should push him into the fifth- or sixth-round range. A big red flag will appear next to his name on most teams' draft boards.
Zebrie Sanders, Offensive Tackle, Florida State
Potential Round: Late 3rd Round
Florida State's Zebrie Sanders is an athletic offensive tackle, who possesses good upside. However, his recent performance at the Senior Bowl exposed some of his weaknesses. Sanders doesn't have great bulk which limits his ability to anchor after contact.
During the week of Senior Bowl practice, he was routinely pushed back into the pocket by North Carolina's Quinton Coples and Alabama's Courtney Upshaw. This issue doesn't completely derail his draft stock, but puts him into the project category.
The fact that Sanders isn't ready to make an immediate impact is what will ultimately drop him down the draft.
Vontaze Burfict, Linebacker, Arizona State
Potential Round: Late First Round
Many NFL prospects seen their draft stock take a hit because of character and maturity concerns. NFL franchises need to do their due diligence because they are investing a lot of money and a draft pick in these prospects. Arizona State's Vontaze Burfict is someone that teams will look at closely as they try to determine the possible character red flags.
Burfict's college career ended on a poor note with several benchings and even a demotion to the second team. His undisciplined play and numerous personal foul penalties caused the rocky end to his college career.
He boasts top-10 talent, but the maturity concerns will push him into the late first-round range. The franchise decision-makers need to find a way to balance his risk-reward ratio.
Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, Texas A&M
Potential Round: Third Round
Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill is another prospect whose draft stock is dropping because of an injury situation. Prior to the Senior Bowl, Tannehill broke his foot which kept him out of the game and will like limit his participation at the combine.
The assumption was that he would benefit from the draft process and possibly work himself into the first-round discussion. Because of his athletic ability, he expected to turn heads at the combine. However, scouts and evaluators now only have his game tape to evaluate.
Tannehill's game tape is filled with questionable decisions and limited accuracy. He still possesses upside, but nothing scouts will see on tape will make him a first-round prospect.
Alfonzo Dennard, Cornerback, Nebraska
Possible Round: Late Second Round
Nebraska's Alfonzo Dennard hoped to use the Senior Bowl to help solidify his first-round status. However, after playing stiff and suffering an injury Dennard's stock is at an all-time low. The week of practice exposed his lack of fluidity and quickness. He struggled to keep receivers in front of him and was beaten deep on several occasions. Before he was able to get on track, Dennard suffered a hip injury that cut his week short.
He left the Senior Bowl leaving a poor impression, and his stock took a serious hit. Cornerbacks with stiff hips and questionable speed tend to struggle at the next level. Dennard hopes to be fully recovered by the combine so he can try to get his stock trending up.
Ronnell Lewis, Linebacker, Oklahoma
Potential Round: Late Second Round
In order to succeed in the NFL, a player needs to be committed and focused. Oklahoma's Ronnell Lewis exhibits behavior that raises red flags about his maturity and decision making skills. He missed Oklahoma's season finale and bowl game because of issues in the classroom.
Lewis was suspended for the Oklahoma State game because he skipped to many classes. This wasn't the first time his eligibility was in jeopardy because of academic problems. Evaluators will notice these repeated mistakes and place a red flag on Lewis.
At one point, Lewis was considered a late first-round prospect, but now he will be lucky to hear his name called in the second round.
Dre Kirkpatrick, Cornerback, Alabama
Potential Round: Mid First Round
The process leading up to the NFL Draft is very important for the status of each prospect. Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick made a big mistake when he put himself in a position to get arrested for marijuana possession. NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell takes a very hard-line when it comes to player conduct, which means teams need to be weary of off-the-field issues.
Kirkpatrick's stock hasn't taken a major hit, but this arrest could potentially keep him out of the top 10. Teams selecting that high in the draft will be more reluctant to take a risk on a player with some character concerns.
Jeff Fuller, Wide Receiver, Texas A&M
Potential Round: Late Third Round
There was a point at the beginning of the season where Texas A&M's Jeff Fuller was considered a possible first-round prospect. However, injuries and inconsistency throughout his senior season pushed him into the second-round range. Fuller hoped to use the Senior Bowl to get his draft hopes on track, but it had a reverse effect.
His week of practice only magnified his inconsistency and limited explosiveness. During the game, Fuller was unable to make a major impact and was a non-factor. Other prospects like Arkansas' Joe Adams have passed him on my ranking.
Devon Still, Defensive Tackle, Penn State
Potential Round: Mid-to-Late First Round
Penn State's Devon Still needed a strong showing at the Senior Bowl to help keep his stock moving in a positive direction. However, a toe injury forced him to miss the entire week and could cost him a shot at cracking the top-10. A prospect's draft stock is about leaving a strong impression and being visible to the evaluators.
Still remains a strong first-round prospect, but his stock doesn't figure to get any higher. He isn't an elite-level athlete, which limits how much the combine will help his potential draft position.
Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame
Potential Round: Late First Round
Notre Dame's Michael Floyd made the decision to skip the Senior Bowl and prepare for the combine. The real reason behind this decision is unknown, but it raised questions about his competitiveness and desire to be the best. His no-show robbed him of the opportunity to potentially overtake the other wide receiver prospects.
At this point, I have Floyd ranked behind Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery and Baylor's Kendall Wright. A strong performance at the Senior Bowl could have propelled him to the top of this ranking. However, he now has other prospects like Rutgers Mohammed Sanu challenging him for the No. 4 ranking.