2012 NFL Draft Projections: Predicting the 4 Most Troublesome Players
Every year going into the NFL draft there is a handful of players that have high grades as a player but scare teams off with the off-the-field problems they bring to the table. For example, Randy Moss was a clear top five talent coming out of Marshall in 1998 but slipped to the Vikings at 21 one spot after Terry Fair went to the Lions.
There are a few prospects this year who could slide down the board due to the baggage they have accumulated. Let's take a look at four examples who won't be drafted as high as their talent suggests.
1. Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
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Janoris Jenkins is considered a top 10 talent by anyone who has seen him play. After earning a starting job at Florida as a true freshman, Jenkins developed into an All-SEC player his sophomore and junior years and fared well against high draft picks A.J. Green and Julio Jones.
After two drug-related arrests in a three-month span, Jenkins was dismissed from the Florida program and transferred to North Alabama where he had no trouble dominating the lesser competition.
Jenkins probably has the most pure cover skills of any corner in the draft, but teams will have to look past his troubles in college before they invest a high draft pick on him.
Teams like the Cowboys, Bengals and the Lions that need a corner could be the landing spot for Jenkins.
2. Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon
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Another talented cornerback who will fall a long way down the draft board and possibly out of the draft is Oregon's Cliff Harris.
Harris has big-play ability as a return man and makes plays in the passing game, intercepting six passes and returning four punts for TDs in 2010. He is a liability in stopping the run, however, as he is a poor and uninterested tackler.
The real concern with Harris, though, is his run-ins with the law. He racked up thousands of dollars in traffic tickets and was suspended for the season opener in 2011 after being stopped for doing 118 mph on the interstate. After being asked "Who's got the marijuana?" by the police officer, Harris responded, "It's gone, we smoked it all."
He may be more of a hassle than NFL teams are willing to put up with.
3. Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
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One of the bigger corners available this year, Dre Kirkpatrick offers the size needed to match up with the biggest NFL receivers.
Winner of the Bart Starr Award as the most improved player on the Alabama squad in the spring of 2011, Kirkpatrick also has a great work ethic and is looked up to by his teammates at Alabama.
An arrest for possession of marijuana the day after he declared for the draft raises red flags as to where his head was at at such a big moment in his life. The charges were eventually dropped, but Kirkpatrick may still drop 10 spots or so in the first round.
4. Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia
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It has been quite a long road to the NFL for West Virginia's Bruce Irvin.
Academically ineligible to play football in high school, Irvin decided to get his life back on track after spending time in a juvenile detention center and tried out for the Butler Community College team. He didn't make it.
He made the most of an opportunity at Mt. San Antonio Junior College and was named a first-team All-American there.
Irvin moved on to West Virginia and has become a terror rushing the passer. As a junior, Irvin posted 14 sacks, which was the second highest total in the nation, leading to second-team All-Big East honors.
Any team that takes a chance on Irvin will want to be sure of his commitment to football before using a second- or third-round pick on him.