2012 NFL Mock Draft: College Studs Who Will Be NFL Duds
If the NFL draft were an easy thing to evaluate, every team would be on a level playing field and no general managers would be fired. We aren't living in that dream land, of course, because there are tons of mistakes made on a yearly basis by each and every judge of talent.
Every year Pro Bowl-caliber players go undrafted or slip to the late rounds, while relative bums are drafted in the first round and rewarded with a fat signing bonus. There are inevitably going to be some first-round misses this year as well because some players simply can't handle the pressure involved with being a franchise player.
Along with a full first-round mock draft, here are three college studs who will ultimately become NFL duds.
1. Indianapolis Colts (2-14): Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Peyton Manning looks as good as gone, making Luck the franchise player and starter from day one.
2. St. Louis Rams (4-12): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Sam Bradford was a train wreck in his second season, but adding a huge weapon like Blackmon should get him back on track.
3. Minnesota Vikings (3-13): Matt Kalil, OT, USC
The Vikings were forced to release the declining Bryant McKinnie last year, so it makes sense to take Kalil as the replacement at left tackle.
4. Cleveland Browns (4-12): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Perhaps Colt McCoy deserves more time, but quick results are needed in the NFL, so the Browns will turn to the Heisman Trophy winner.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12): Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
The Buccaneers have so many holes that they're in best-player-available mode, making a safe pick like Richardson logical.
6. Washington Redskins (5-11): Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Every year there is a late-rising quarterback who finds his way into the first round despite not originally having that type of grade. Sometimes it works out (Joe Flacco) and other times it doesn't (Jason Campbell), but either way, there is likely to be one this year. The primed candidate is unquestionably Texas A&M gunslinger Ryan Tannehill.
Tannehill certainly has some good skills in that he is mobile and accurate, there are always some red flags when a prospect rises for no apparent reason. The Washington Redskins are a quarterback-starved team, and unless they trade up, top signal-callers Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are going to be off the board by the time they pick at No. 6.
Because of that, I can certainly see the 'Skins reaching and nabbing Tannehill. As much as Luck and Griffin seem like locks to be successes in the NFL, there are too many question marks surrounding Tannehill. He only started at quarterback for two years in college and he played in a spread offense, so the bust potential is very high with Tannehill.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11): Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
The Jaguars could use major improvements on both sides of the ball, but grabbing the best corner in the draft would be a big help.
8. Carolina Panthers (6-10)*: Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
Carolina is still looking for a replacement for Julius Peppers, and another former Tar Heel in Coples fits the bill.
9. Miami Dolphins (6-10)*: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Jake Long has left tackle locked down, but there are deficiencies elsewhere along the line, making Reiff a great choice as a bookend.
10. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
The Bills are switching back to a 4-3 defense and need a threat off the edge, so Upshaw should be the target here.
Which player is most likely to bust at the next level?
11. Seattle Seahawks (7-9)*: Devon Still, DT, Penn State
Seattle is solid if unspectacular on the defensive line, but a disruptive force like Still could make the unit great.
12. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9)*: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
The Chiefs look for a good dark horse next season with many players returning from injury, and a tackling machine like Kuechly would only bolster that.
13. Arizona Cardinals (8-8): Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Even when the Cardinals made the Super Bowl their offensive line was questionable, making Martin a long-overdue pick.
14. Dallas Cowboys (8-7): David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
The Cowboys overhauled their offensive line prior to last season and there were some growing pains, but DeCastro should be able to step in immediately.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8): Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
This pick has much to do with how the Eagles handle DeSean Jackson, but they would be better off letting him walk and taking Floyd.
16. New York Jets (8-8): Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
The Jets defense lost a lot of its edge last season, but a ferocious pass-rusher like Ingram can help restore the roar.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (via OAK 8-8): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
There is no question that Kirkpatrick is a character risk, but he and Leon Hall could form the league's best cornerback tandem.
18. San Diego Chargers (8-8): Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
At 6'3" and 250 lbs., USC pass-rusher Nick Perry is a physical specimen with plenty of possibilities at the next level. Not only can he play defensive end in a 4-3, but he can also be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. The San Diego Chargers figure to take Perry for the latter as they have lacked a consistent pass rush since Shawne Merriman declined and was waived.
There appear to be several great pass-rushers with first-round value every year, but it seems like only a select few ultimately pan out. The Bolts look to have swung and missed on Larry English, so it is imperative they are accurate this season with a pick like Perry.
Although Perry had some collegiate success, racking up 9.5 sacks this past season, he had a habit of feasting on the weaker teams like Minnesota and Colorado. That isn't to say that Perry can't translate to the next level, but it is a warning sign. He will also have to adjust to rushing the passer from an upright position, and not every player is capable of making that transition.
19. Chicago Bears (8-8): Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
The Bear' offensive line wasn't the same last season without center Olin Kreutz, but Konz has the potential to be the next Kreutz.
20. Tennessee Titans (9-7): Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Tennessee has been without an impact interior defensive lineman since Albert Haynesworth departed, making Brockers an ideal pick.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7): Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
Running back Cedric Benson is on his last legs, so a speed merchant like Miller would be a great complement and eventual replacement.
Is Ryan Tannehill worthy of being a first-round pick?
22. Cleveland Browns (via ATL 10-6): Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
With Griffin already in their back pocket, it makes sense for the Browns to take his favorite college weapon and address a need in the process.
23. Detroit Lions (10-6): Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
Jeff Backus is getting up there in age and Gosder Cherilus is average, so Adams would be an improvement for the Lions offensive line.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4): Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
The Steelers offensive line has been a mess for quite a while, but Glenn could provide a solid presence right away.
25. Denver Broncos (8-8): Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
The Broncos already have two great pass-rushers in Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, so Cox is needed to take up blockers.
26. Houston Texans (10-6): Mark Barron, S, Alabama
Houston's defense made incredible strides this past season, and Barron may be the last piece needed to become elite.
27. New England Patriots (via NO 13-3): Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
The Patriots probably don't really need another receiver, but Jeffery would open things up for Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
28. Green Bay Packers (15-1): Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
Green Bay's secondary took a huge step backward last season, but a physical, talented corner like Dennard should help.
29. Baltimore Ravens (12-4): Vontaze Burfict, LB, ASU
Burfict may be a bit of a headcase, but there is no better situation for a linebacker than to learn from the great Ray Lewis.
30. San Francisco 49ers (13-3): Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
Whenever a player sees a dramatic leap in production and quickly declares for the draft, there are some red flags to consider. Such is the case with Rutgers wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. The 6'2", 215-lb. Sanu outproduced his previous two seasons combined in 2011 as he reeled in 115 passes for 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns.
One explanation could be that he was often used successfully as the Wildcat quarterback over his first two seasons, but being a "one-year wonder" is troubling nonetheless. It's impossible to tell for sure, but Sanu likely would have had trouble playing as well in a stronger conference because he often took advantage of weak Big East defenses.
Sanu would make sense for the San Francisco 49ers since he can get down the field and complement the likes of Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. At the same time, though, quarterback Alex Smith doesn't push the ball deep with great regularity, so Sanu will have to get used to some dry spells as well as not being the main man in the passing game. This wouldn't be an ideal situation for Sanu.
31. New England Patriots (13-3): Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Jenkins has some character concerns, but he is the type of talent that could immediately help the Patriots' sorry secondary.
32. New York Giants (9-7): Zach Brown, OLB, UNC
The Super Bowl champions don't have many glaring needs, but more depth at linebacker with the addition of Brown would be great.
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