NFL Combine 2012 Results: Underrated Players That Boosted Their Stock

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistFebruary 29, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Defensive lineman Dontari Poe of Memphis takes part in a drill during the 2012 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

With the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine out of the way, the hard work of figuring out which player will be drafted by which team truly begins.

As much as the No. 1 pick is a lock, the chaos looks to start at No. 2 overall, which could be traded by the St. Louis Rams to the highest bidder. With that said, there are plenty of surprises from the combine that could dazzle us again early in the draft.

All of the following players were unheralded coming into this event, but are coming out serious candidates to be taken early in the first round.


Michael Brockers

OXFORD, MS - NOVEMBER 19: Barry Brunetti #11 of the Ole Miss Rebels scrambles with the ball against Michael Brockers #90 of the LSU Tigers on November 19, 2011 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi.  (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)
Joe Murphy/Getty Images

Coming into this draft process, the defensive tackle position was an open race to see which would steal the show and be the first selected. LSU’s Michael Brockers will win that battle.

Brockers looked solid in the combine and has looked great on tape. With his versatility on the line, a team with needs in the middle of their defense would be foolish to pass on this future stud.

B/R Draft Guru Matt Miller’s Take

Brockers doesn't compare well to any top defensive tackle over the past several drafts, but his overall athletic ability is high enough for the Rams to consider him the anchor they need in the middle of their defensive line.

With St. Louis trading back with Washington, the Rams will get the kind of defensive tackle that a specialist like Jeff Fisher could turn into a Pro Bowl-caliber player.


Dontari Poe

If fans didn’t know who Dontari Poe was or still aren't familiar with the big defensive tackle, this is a class-A athlete from Memphis.

After putting up a 4.87 in the 40-yard dash to along with his 44 reps on the 225-pound bench press test, the stock for this defensive stud couldn’t be higher.

B/R Draft Guru Matt Miller’s Take

Poe's ability as an athlete is unquestioned. What NFL teams will have to worry about is the fact that Poe's tape doesn't show the same beast-like qualities. A player with this athletic ability should have dominated at Memphis, but Poe didn't. 

The idea that he didn’t dominate in college is not uncommon, as many players struggle to grasp the tougher defensive concepts. If Poe is paired with a great defensive line coach, he will be a star in the NFL.


Stephon Gilmore

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 28:  Stephon Gilmore #5 of the South Carolina Gamecocks runs off the field during the game against the Clemson Tigers at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 28, 2009 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Image
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

With the controversy surrounding one of the top cornerback prospects in Janoris Jenkins, teams like the Dallas Cowboys will be looking for a safe alternative.

That’s where South Carolina Gamecocks cornerback Stephon Gilmore comes in.

B/R Draft Guru Matt Miller’s Take

Stephon Gilmore hasn't yet reached the mainstream hype train, but he will in due time. Gilmore is the type of solid, all-around cornerback the Dallas Cowboys lack. And he comes with a clean track record and no off-field concerns, something a defense lacking leadership needs.

With a strong combine performance in almost every category, Gilmore’s work ethic and clean track record, coupled with his stellar on-field abilities, will make him an easy choice for the Cowboys at No. 14.


Check back for more on the National Football League as it comes, and check out Bleacher Report’s NFL Page to get your fill of all things football.