2012 NFL Draft: 3 Big-Name Prospects from the SEC That Could Fall on Draft Day

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2012 NFL Draft: 3 Big-Name Prospects from the SEC That Could Fall on Draft Day
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Aaron Rodgers (1) fell all the way to 24th in the 2005 NFL Draft after being projected as a possible No. 1 overall pick.

2012 NFL draft: April 26-28
Profiling Dre Kirkpatrick, Trent Richardson and Alshon Jeffery

It happens every year.

Just as surely as there will be busts in the 2012 NFL draft, there will be buried treasures whose collegiate careers were played in relative obscurity but who will soon become household names.

And despite the countless hours, days and weeks spent by the big networks' and this site's NFL draft experts analyzing each potential specimen and determining his slot in the most anticipated, debated and watched American lottery, they will not get it completely right.

 

No assurances

While there is virtually no doubt that the quarterback from Stanford, Mr. Andrew Luck, will be the No. 1 overall selection taken by the Indianapolis Colts on April 26, 2012, the rest of the draft is up for debate.

There is a lot of great talent that could move up or down the draft ladder in the next couple of months, including players like 2011 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Baylor's Robert Griffin III; Oklahoma State's record-setting wideout Justin Blackmon; and LSU's indomitable cornerback Morris Claiborne, who could shuttle up and down among the top-five selections.

There is also a great deal of talent at the skill positions and on the offensive and defensive lines deep into the middle rounds of the 2012 NFL draft pool, which is among the deepest in years.

 

Falling stock

As I set out to write this article profiling several of the nation's top NFL prospects who could find themselves falling precipitously on Draft Day, à la Aaron Rodgers in the 2005 NFL draft, I did not intend to focus all of my efforts on SEC players.

However, I kept coming back to the same three players at the top of my list: Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick and Trent Richardson and South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery.

Though the SEC has the most and the best first-round NFL talent in the 2012 NFL draft, there are other players I considered, including UNC's Quinton Coples, Baylor's RG3 and another Alabama player, Dont'a Hightower.

You may recall that Rodgers was projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in 2005 before falling all the way to the Green Bay Packers with the 24th selection and he has since gone on to be named MVP of both the Super Bowl and regular season in 2011.

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