2012 NFL Draft: Ranking the 10 Biggest Red Flag Players

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: Ranking the 10 Biggest Red Flag Players

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    Every year going into the NFL Draft there are a handful of players who draw serious red flags from scouts looking for the next great player to lead their team over the top.

    Every year there is a few teams that will ignore these red flags thinking the talent that the player brings to the field will outweigh any concerns.

    There are many reasons teams will stay away from a player such as injuries, mental mistakes on the field or arrests and other trouble off it.

    Here is a list of the top 10 red-flagged players in order from least concerning to the most sketchy choice.

10. Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

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    Konz is clearly the top-rated center available in the draft this year and is a potential first round pick.

    A pretty good pass blocker, Konz really stands out as a run blocker. A team looking for interior line help will be intrigued by his all-around game as he could probably play guard as well as center.

    There is a bit of a concern with the injury history Konz has behind him, however. Konz missed time in each of his three years at Wisconsin including missing the Big Ten Championship game this year.

    Teams interested in his services will need to take a good look at his ankle before committing a high draft pick on him.

9. Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

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    One of the top three corners available, Kirkpatrick has great size at 6'2" and 195 pounds in addition to the skills to be a lockdown corner in the NFL.

    Kirkpatrick earned the respect of his coaches and fellow players at Alabama for his quiet yet confident demeanor and work ethic.

    It seems that Dre has a problem making good choices off the field however, as he was cited for marijuana possession in Florida the day after he declared for the draft.

    No charges have been filed in connection with the case, but just putting himself in that position raises questions about his character.

8. Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State

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    One of the most explosive players in this draft, Burfict has a great build at 6'3" and 250 pounds, but can fly around the field and make plays anywhere on the field.

    The concern with Burfict is that he lets things get to him and is constantly hit with personal foul penalties for late hits.

    While he may still go in the late first round, it will have to be a team willing to put up with his distractions on the field.

7. Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M

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    Considered a first round prospect after his junior season, Fuller should have probably came out last year as his stock has dropped significantly.

    There is no questioning his physical attributes but he has had trouble catching the ball on a consistent basis. No team will put up with a receiver who can't finish the completion on a consistent basis.

    After a senior season in which he was overtaken as the best receiver on his own team, his performance at the Senior Bowl reflected his struggles.

    No longer a first round possibility, Fuller may be waiting until the third day of the draft before he hears his name called.

6. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma

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    After becoming the all-time leader in receptions at Oklahoma, Broyles suffered an ACL tear in November and will probably not be ready for the opening of the season.

    There is no denying Broyles' production as he racked up 349 catches and 45 TDs including an amazing 131 catches as a junior.

    A team willing to take a chance on Broyles will have to understand that he will be limited in his rookie year, but they may be able to pick him up in the fourth or fifth round.

5. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon

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    One of the most electrifying players in college football the past three years, James comes with his share of concerns.

    The main concern is with his size. At 5'9" and 195 pounds he doesn't look to be able to handle running between the tackles in the NFL. James missed time after dislocating an elbow in 2011 leading to concerns about his durability.

    Another concern comes from an altercation with his girlfriend that resulted in him being suspended for the 2010 season opener and serving 10 days in jail.

    I know that there have been smaller running backs that have found success in the league but they are just not that common. I don't see James coming off the board before the fourth round.

4. Tony Dye, S, UCLA

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    A versatile safety who can man either the free or strong safety spot, Dye had a productive career at UCLA.

    Until his senior season that is. After a knee sprain limited him in spring practice, Dye suffered a neck injury in the season opener and was limited the next two games before sitting out seven games. Upon his return he injured an ankle just a few plays into the game. Dye was then ruled academically ineligible for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

    When your injury history includes a pretty major neck injury, teams tend to shy away. Dye may be lucky to get drafted at all. 

3. Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

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    The corner with the best cover skills is Jenkins. After three productive season at Florida where he was named to the first team All-SEC team as a junior, Jenkins was dismissed from the Florida program after two marijuana possession charges in a three month span.

    The fact that Jenkins is still considered a lock for the first round shows the talent he has, and I think a team will take a chance on him considering how the league has evolved into more of a passing game.

2. Andrew Datko, OT, Florida State

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    Datko was an immediate star at Florida State winning Freshman All-America honors. Datko then continued his stellar play the next two years and was a possible first round pick.

    Then came a shoulder injury early in his senior year that required surgery. After hearing the words "the surgeries didn't take" from FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher, Datko would be completely off my board.

1, Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon

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    Harris is another player who was a first round possibility before the 2011 season started but ran into problems.

    Harris picked off six passes in 2010 returning one for a TD and also returned four punts for TDs leading scouts to rave about his explosive play.

    Then Harris only played in six games last year after being suspended by coach Chip Kelly for racking up thousands of dollars in traffic fines and a poor work ethic.

    I would not be surprised to see Harris fall to the sixth round, as he also shows no interest in making tackles in the running game.