The 2012 NFL Scouting Combine is almost finished, and the best players have cemented their positions with strong showings.
We learned that Andrew Luck is an athlete on par with Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly is a workout warrior on top of being a darn good player, Dontari Poe is going to be a force in the NFL and Vontaze Burfict isn't anywhere close to being a first-rounder.
We learned all these things and more, but most of all we can now draw a clearer picture of what the 2012 NFL draft might look like when the dust settles at the end of April.
Let's take a look at the best prospect at each position as it stands at the end of the 2012 NFL Combine.
Andrew Luck, Stanford
Luck's athletic abilities are every bit as impressive as Cam Newton's. His performance at the combine further emphasized his position over Robert Griffin III as the best quarterback in the 2012 NFL draft class.
He makes good decisions with the football, has a strong, accurate arm and a will to win that rivals his old head coach Jim Harbaugh, who called Luck "one of the top five guys I've been around."
Luck has all the physical, emotional and mental tools to become a tremendous success in the NFL. There is no doubt in my mind that the Indianapolis Colts will select him with the first-overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Trent Richardson, Alabama
Richardson didn't participate in any events at this year's combine because he is recovering from minor knee surgery.
Still, he is far and away the best running back in this year's draft class. In my book, he's the best back I have seen coming out since Adrian Peterson was selected by the Minnesota Vikings with the seventh-overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft.
Richardson could be picked even higher than that, provided his knee is fully recovered.
His combination of size (5'11" and 225 pounds), speed (just watch one of his highlight videos) and instincts make him a can't-miss prospect.
Richardson should be a top-10 pick in this year's draft, and he should inject some major firepower into whichever offense is fortunate enough to land him.
Bradie Ewing, Wisconsin
I had Ewing as my top fullback before the combine. He separated himself from his competition by putting together a phenomenal performance in Indy.
Ewing placed in the top-five out of all the running backs in the draft class in three categories: vertical jump, broad jump and 20-yard shuffle.
Ewing is a traditional fullback. He is a devastating run-blocker with athleticism and good hands in the passing game. He isn't going to make many people miss, but he will run a few of them over.
If you have trouble finding highlights, just look up Montee Ball highlights and watch what happens in front of Ball.
Ewing won't come off the board until day three, though. The curse of the fullback.
Coby Fleener, Stanford
Fleener didn't participate in any of the on-field drills at the combine due to a high ankle sprain suffered in Stanford's Fiesta Bowl loss to Oklahoma State. He is expected to be ready in time for his pro day on March 22.
There is no consensus No. 1 in this year's draft class. Some say it should be Orson Charles out of Georgia, but I prefer Fleener.
Fleener can step in and be a starter from day one for most teams in the NFL. He was one of Andrew Luck's favorite targets in Stanford's passing game, catching 10 touchdowns in 2011.
Fleener was also a big part of the Cardinal power running game and will be a dangerous weapon in all phases of an NFL offense for whichever team is lucky enough to secure his valuable services.
I predict Fleener will come off the board at the top of the second round.
Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
Blackmon wasn't able to participate in most of the drills at the combine due to a sore hamstring. He was able to hit the weights, posting 14 reps on the 225-pound bench press. He also looked good in the pass-catching drills, showing off good hands and body control.
His lack of a 40-yard dash time won't deter teams from picking him, though. His game tape is proof enough that Blackmon has enough speed to make plays downfield.
Blackmon might not end up being as good as A.J. Green, but he should provide a major boost to a team lacking in wide receiver talent. He is a polished route-runner with sure hands and a desire to own the ball in addition to being a superb athlete.
I expect Blackmon to be taken within the first seven picks of the draft.
Matt Kalil, USC
If you had any doubts about Kalil's spot atop the list of "best offensive tackles" before the combine, they should very well be cast out by now.
Kalil dominated the drills, showing exceptional power, quickness and fluidity for a man of his stature.
His specialty is in his abilities as a blind-side pass-protector. He displays excellent footwork and leverage, allowing his big body to handle both speed and power on the edge. Rarely did Kalil get beat in college, though his competition is bound to get stiffer in the immediate future.
Kalil will need to improve his run-blocking to become a truly elite offensive tackle in the NFL. He struggles at times to generate the kind of surge you need and can end up on the wrong side of the line of scrimmage.
Still, Kalil is going to be a top-five pick in this year's draft, and I will be shocked if the Minnesota Vikings don't take him with the third-overall selection.
David DeCastro, Stanford
DeCastro is easily the best guard prospect coming out of this year's draft class. His performance at the combine simply highlighted this fact.
You won't be impressed by his 40-yard dash time (it was 5.43 seconds) or his broad jump (only 98 inches), but DeCastro shined where it matters most for his position: He placed first in the three-cone drill (7.30 seconds) and third in the 20-yard shuffle (4.56 seconds), both of which are indicators of lateral movement and quickness.
DeCastro is going to be a devastating pulling guard in the NFL, and his quick feet and power at the point of attack will serve him well.
Don't expect him to surrender too many sacks, either, as DeCastro is also a top-notch pass-protector.
I don't expect him to fall out of the top-15 in the draft.
Peter Konz, Wisconsin
Konz didn't participate in any other drills after a disappointing 18-rep performance on the bench press. Don't expect this to knock his value too much, though. He is still the best center prospect in this year's draft class.
Coming from Wisconsin, I'm sure it won't surprise you to know that Konz's strength is in the running game. He is a punishing run-blocker who can move his man out of the way and was a major part of Montee Ball's Heisman Trophy-nominated season. I guess it goes to show you that sometimes drills don't tell the entire story.
Konz is also a good pass-protector, as Russell Wilson would be happy to tell you. He handled himself well against some of the top defenders in his class: Jerel Worthy and Jered Crick have both struggled when they have faced him.
Konz will likely be selected towards the end of the first round, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him end up in a Baltimore Ravens jersey next year in the NFL.
Michael Brockers, LSU
Brockers is the most disruptive defensive tackle in this year's draft class. He is a solid overall athlete, though his combine numbers don't necessarily jump out at you.
He has the ability to play as either a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme or a three-gap defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme. I prefer him at the latter position, and I believe he will thrive on a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars or Tennessee Titans.
Brockers should continue to get stronger and improve his overall level of play going forward as he has done every season while at LSU. He displays rare awareness for a young defender, which in combination with his size and athletic abilities makes him a prototypical prospect who should be taken in the top-10 of the draft.
Dontari Poe, Memphis
Poe could actually play just about anywhere on the line in any defensive scheme. He is powerful and quick enough to handle the best offensive linemen the NFL has to offer, given the practice and technique he is sure to get in spades from the team lucky enough to draft him and his rare skills.
Poe blew things up at the combine, running a sub-five-second 40-yard dash and putting up 225 pounds 44 times. He also showed good explosion, jumping almost 30" high and 105" in the broad jump.
His combine performance on top of the solid game tape he put up in 2011 will have NFL general managers drooling over him on draft day.
Poe is going to be a prized prospect from any 3-4 defense looking for a nose tackle. The Kansas City Chiefs could think about taking him with the 11th-overall pick.
Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
Mike Mayock of NFL Network won't shut up about how good he thinks Ingram is going to be in the NFL as a 4-3 defensive end. Can't say I blame him.
Ingram looked really good in gym shorts at the combine, running a 4.79 40-yard dash and placing in the top five in the three-cone and 20-yard shuffle drills. He also looked fluid and powerful while performing in the on-field drills.
Ingram also shined in the week of the Senior Bowl, winning most of his one-on-one matchups with the top senior tackles. He can bull-rush men who are much larger than him, but he can also run around them with a quick first step and fabulous bend around the corner.
He is impressing just about everyone in Indianapolis, and I don't expect to see Ingram slip out of the top-10 in the draft.
Devon Still, Penn State
Still has the skills to be valuable in any scheme, but he looks like a 3-4 defensive end to me.
He had a solid showing at the combine, showing above-average speed and strength.
Still, at 6'5" and 303 pounds, he's stout against the run, which is the first task of importance in any 3-4 scheme. He is good about staying low and is best when slanting to one side or another, suggesting a one-gap system like the one the San Francisco 49ers run, which would be the best fit.
Unlike Michael Brockers, Still won't be as disruptive in the passing game and could be moved inside to defensive tackle when the team that drafts him moves into a nickel formation. He did manage to tally 4.5 sacks in 2011 from his defensive tackle spot, though, showing he does have a nose for the quarterback.
Still might fall towards the bottom half of the first round of the draft, but I won't be surprised to see him taken in the top 20.
Zack Brown, North Carolina
Brown is going to be a terrific weak-side linebacker in a 4-3 scheme. His insane speed (4.50 seconds in the 40-yard dash) and quickness will serve him well in a read-and-react system.
Brown's overall game is quite raw and he will need to spend plenty of time in the film room learning to understand what he sees, but once he is confident about what is happening in front of him, he will flourish.
He was a real playmaker for North Carolina, racking up 105 tackles with 13.5 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, four passes broken up, three interceptions and three forced fumbles.
Brown's physical abilities and natural instincts should transition well into the NFL, and he could very well be the next Derrick Brooks for one lucky team.
I don't see Brown falling outside the first round of the draft, though he could fall towards the bottom.
Nick Perry, USC
B/R's own Matt Miller has been raving about Perry for weeks now, and now that I've seen him perform at the combine, I too must join the Perry bandwagon.
It's not like he is just a combine prodigy, either. Perry posted 9.5 sacks in 2011 for USC playing defensive end in a 4-3 alignment.
Perry's combine was insane. He posted a better 40-yard dash time than Andrew Luck while putting up 35 reps on the bench, jumping 38.5 inches in the vertical, jumping 124 inches in the broad while looking fluid and confident in the on-field drills.
He is going to be a terror off the edge as an outside linebacker for a 3-4 defense once he learns the nuances of dropping back in the passing game and setting the edge in the running game.
As a 49ers fan, it saddens me to say I don't see Perry falling out of the top 15 in the draft.
Luke Kuechly, Boston College
Going into the combine, Kuechly was thought to have all the intangibles you could hope for out of a middle linebacker. The knock on him was that nobody believed he would be a good enough athlete to stay on the field for three downs.
I admit that I was one of the people who wasn't sold on Kuechly before the combine. He made a believer out of me with his incredible combine performance, though, landing in the top five in five different drills.
When you combine Kuechly's strong combine with his legendary college career and drool-inducing natural football instincts, you find yourself looking at potentially the next great middle linebacker in the NFL.
After these latest developments I will be shocked if Kuechly makes it past the Philadelphia Eagles, who own the 15th-overall selection in the draft.
Morris Claiborne, LSU
As of this moment, the cornerbacks and safeties have yet to perform at the combine.
Claiborne is clearly the best cornerback coming out of this year's draft. In my book, Claiborne is a much better cornerback than Patrick Peterson was last year, not to mention he can also provide the same kind of boost in special teams as Peterson did for the Arizona Cardinals.
He is excellent in man-to-man coverage and shouldn't be asked to change once he's made the transition to the NFL. Claiborne is also a gutsy gambler of a cornerback who loves to jump routes once he's seen the quarterback make up his mind.
Claiborne should be a top-five pick, and I will be shocked to see him slide past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (fifth-overall).
Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State
Martin could see his stock take a hit, as he is sitting out the combine due to a knee injury.
Martin is a prototypical free safety. He is a rangy defender with great ball skills who can make quarterbacks pay for bad decisions all over the field. He reminds me a bit of Dashon Goldson, the San Francisco 49ers' free safety.
Martin hits like Goldson as well. He loves to time up his hits to separate the receivers from the ball, and he is a willing tackler in run support.
It is a thin year at the free safety position and there are some solid options in free agency. As a result, I don't expect to see Martin taken off the board until at least mid-way through the second round of the draft.
Mark Barron, Alabama
Barron is another top player who won't be performing at the combine. He is recovering from surgery on a double hernia and expects to be fully healthy in time for his March 7 pro day.
Barron is in no danger of losing his top spot, though. He should be an immediate starter for the team that drafts him, and he has all the tools to be a fantastic player in the NFL.
It is hard to find a weakness in Barron's game. He is excellent as a zone defender in the passing game and is a ferocious tackler in the running game, though he could use a bit of brushing up on the fundamentals.
Barron is an excellent defender on the back end of any defense, and his talents will be in high demand, as he is the best safety coming out of the draft. He won't last the first round, and I won't be surprised to see him go in the top 20.
Blair Walsh, Georgia
Walsh is a successful college kicker who should make a smooth transition into the NFL.
He was named to the University of Georgia's Team of the Decade for the 2000s, breaking an NCAA record by hitting at least one field goal in 45 straight games. Additionally, Walsh broke various other school and SEC records during his time at Georgia.
Unfortunately for him, I don't expect Walsh's name to be called until day three, if he is drafted at all.
Such is the life of kickers in the NFL.
Bryan Anger, California
Anger is the best punter coming out of this year's draft.
He may not have the strongest leg, but Anger is a specialist when it comes to pinning opponents behind the 20-yard line. This is an important part of the NFL game, and teams that can do it on a regular basis are usually the ones winning more often than not.
He will likely be taken on day three of the draft.