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2012 NFL Draft: 7 Defensive Stars Falling Down Draft Boards

Ross ReadContributor IIIFebruary 7, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: 7 Defensive Stars Falling Down Draft Boards

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    The New York Giants have proven again this year defense can still win championships. They are the perfect example that when defensive players get on a roll, you can ride them all the way to a Super Bowl win.

    Defense once again will be made a focus in this year's NFL Draft. Teams are going to look at last season to see who made in impact on the college level.

    These players might have hurt themselves in the upcoming draft with less than stellar seasons. 

West Virginia Defensive End Bruce Irvin

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    Coming out of the 2010 season, Bruce Irvin was looked at as a first-round pick. After racking up 14 sacks that season, he was looked at as one of the best pass-rushers in the land.

    Last season, he only got seven sacks. People figured out his game and his stock has fallen because of that. Look for him to go around the second or third round this year. 

UCLA Safety Tony Dye

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    Rahim Moore of the Denver Broncos had a solid rookie campaign this past year. He was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

    If you were to ask most scouts during that time, they would have told you Tony Dye was the better prospect. However, his lack of instincts and affinity to give up big plays have now dropped him to the back end of the draft. 

Boise St. Defensive End Billy Winn

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    Maybe Billy Winn is hampered by not having a consistent position. Some people want to make him a defensive end while others see him as a defensive tackle.

    Either way, what scouts don't like is when they see first-round talent but a lack of effort and consistency that drops him down about two rounds. 

South Carolina Defensive End Devin Taylor

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    Devin Taylor was supposed to be the man everybody talked about last season on South Carolina's defense. He went into the season as a projected first-round pick but a couple things happened. First, he did not progress the way most thought and, second, Melvin Ingram had a monster year.

    Taylor has now slipped out of the first round and Ingram has taken his spot. 

Nebraska Defensive End Jared Crick

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    This might not be fair to Jared Crick. Going into last season, he was tabbed with the "potential" tab. A big physical kid coming from Nebraska has to be a first-round pick, right? That's what most scouts thought.

    Poor display and injuries have changed those views. He might go in the second round at this point if he comes back with a strong combine. 

North Carolina Defensive End Quinton Coples

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    It's tough for me to put a potential top-10 pick on this list, but I have to in the curious case of Quinton Coples. Here is a guy who has talent similar to Mario Williams and Julius Peppers and many people believed he could have been drafted where they were—somewhere in the top two.

    But while he shows how great he can be quite often, he also shows some laziness and inconsistency. 

Arizona St. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict

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    Vontaze Burfict was supposed to be the next Ray Lewis. A player with uncanny instincts and an athletic ability to get to wherever he wanted on the field had him at least in the top five on most boards going into last season.

    He still had a great year, but has a ton of character flaws that have dropped him in the first round. The on-the-field personal fouls and unsportsmanlike penalties scare scouts at a position where you must always keep your cool. 

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