2012 NFL Draft: Kendall Wright and 6 Players Sliding Down Draft Boards
The order of NFL Draft boards are about as uncertain as cell phone reception in the forest. This sensation makes the construction of any pre-Combine mock draft pointless.
However, due to the fact that die hard football fans rely on offseason news to avoid slipping into a football depraved depression, ranking NFL prospects has become a ridiculously popular spring-time tradition.
In the spirit of alarming the football world, this slide show will question the draft stock of potential first-rounders.
Time for some pro football Prozac.
Kendall Wright: WR, Baylor
Among the redwood wideouts poised to be drafted in the first round stands one true speedster: Kendall Wright.
Wright averaged 15.4 yards per reception and caught 14 touchdown passes in 2011 thanks to his rapid stride which allowed him to chase down Robert Griffin III's long bombs.
Following the 2011 season, Wright was a concensus first rounder who could be selected as high as No. 7 to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
At 5'10" an 196 pounds, Wright was expected to put up a 40-yard dash time that showed off his speed at the NFL Combine. Instead, he clocked in at a measly 4.61 seconds: a time that the 6'3," 216 pound Alshon Jeffery can supposedly beat.
His disappointing 40-yard dash time will have scouts reanalyzing his game film while questioning whether he is the deep threat as advertised.
With a solid collection of taller, more physical and proportionately faster wide receivers with first-round potential (Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd and Stephen Hill), Wright will need to run in the low 4.40's at his Pro Day if he wants to earn first-round money.
Courtney Upshaw: OLB, Alabama
Courtney Upshaw had the potential to move past Melvin Ingram as the best 3-4 outside linebacker in the 2012 NFL Draft. But after a disappointing showing at the NFL Combine, Upshaw is sliding down draft boards.
At 6'2" and 272 pounds, Upshaw is on the heavy side for an outside linebacker. This combined with his strong stubby arms and tree trunk legs makes him a unusual prospect.
Prior to the Combine, Upshaw was featured in an ESPN special, which hyped the man hunter as an explosive talent with intense determination get to the quarterback.
After all the talk, Upshaw was unable to prove himself at the Combine. For unknown reasons, the Alabama All-Star decided not to participate in the 40-yard dash and other events which would measure his explosiveness.
Upshaw hurt his stock by putting up an underwhelming 22 reps on the bench-press. Considering that he was supposed to be a powerful rusher that relied on strength over speed, his poor performance on the bench-press is a major concern.
Add on the fact that he looked out of his element during on the field drills, Upshaw will likely fall toward the end of the first round and may have to convert to a defensive end in a 4-3 alignment.
Mike Adams: OT, Ohio State
At 6'7," 323 pounds, Mike Adams has the ideal frame for an NFL offensive tackle. Add on a 68" wingspan and you will get guys like Charley Casserly, an analyst on NFL Network, predicting that Adams will go as high as No. 13 to the Arizona Cardinals.
After a strong week at the Senior Bowl, Adams rivaled Riley Reiff and Jonathan Martin as the next best tackle after Matt Kalil.
However, he was unable to impress at the NFL Combine and will likely be the sixth offensive lineman picked in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Adams did not stand out in any event besides for the bench-press. The ginormous human being was only able to rep 225 pounds a pedestrian 19 times. As a comparison, the 6'7" Matt Kalil was able to put up 30 reps on the bench-press.
Adams may be drafted higher than he deserves due to the fact that there is a high demand for offensive tackles. Regardless, he will end up being selected long after the 13th pick and will have to hit the weight room if he wants to perform like a first rounder.
Dwayne Allen: TE, Clemson
NFL teams are looking for matchup nightmares who can beat defenses with a combination of size, speed and athleticism. With the emergence of playmakers like Vernon Davis, Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, the tight end position is more valuable than ever.
Dwayne Allen (6'3," 255 pounds) opted to forgo his senior season at Clemson to capitalize on this growing trend.
Entering the Combine, Allen was viewed as the top tight end in the draft over Stanford's Coby Fleener and Georgia's Orson Charles.
Allen's performance in Indianapolis was solid. He placed in the Top 5 of four events including the bench-press where he raised the bar 27 times. This will uphold his reputation as a dependable run blocker.
However, his 4.89 seconds in the 40-yard dash will have scouts wondering if he is fast enough to outrun defensive backs.
Compared to the abundance of vertically gifted wide receivers in this year's draft, Allen may be overlooked by teams looking for an uncoverable target in the first round.
If he is unable to show his speed during his Pro Day drills, he may fall into the middle of the second round.
Mark Barron: SS, Alabama
Mark Barron stood alone as the only premiere safety among a mediocre crop of 2012 prospects. With a demand for stalwart defensive backs in the NFL, Barron looked primed to be off draft boards by the middle of the first round following his senior season.
Barron was unable to strut his stuff at the Combine due to a double hernia surgery, which may cause him to miss his Pro Day on March 7th.
On film, Barron appears slower than desired. He is an intellectual athlete, but his reaction time is limited by his heavy feet. His lethargic acceleration forces him to rely on momentum to get to top speed which will concern scouts.
If Barron is unable to return to the football field before the draft, teams may question his impressive collegiate resume and pass on him in the first round.
Mohamed Sanu: WR, Rutgers
Mohamed Sanu has been quietly sensational during his three seasons with the Scarlet Knights. Even so, it was not until the conclusion of the 2011 season that his name began surfacing as a legitimate first-rounder.
At 6'2" and 211 pounds, Sanu is not known to be the fastest, tallest or most explosive receiving threat, but he has proved that he has the confident ability to do whatever is asked of him.
Prior to the Combine, CBSSports.com had him rated as a late first-round pick. Following his weekend in Indianapolis, the website dropped him into the late second round.
This is not because of a poor performance at the Combine. As expected, he was solid in all the events but did not wow with his athletic ability.
His stock is declining because of the many wide receivers who were able to show off their elite talent. Players like Stephen Hill, Michael Floyd and Rueben Randle impressed scouts with their combination of size, speed and athleticism.
I do not agree with CBSSports.com's rating. His game film alone earns him early second-round consideration. However, his maximum potential is nowhere near that of his fellow prospects (a factor that will weigh heavily on the minds of NFL teams looking to add a playmaker).
Vontaze Burfict: LB, Arizona State
Anybody who has been paying attention to the NFL draft knows that Vontaze Burfict's stock is in a free fall. His troubled past, which includes disobedience toward coaches and referees, is well documented.
Burfict was anything but remorseful during the Combine interview process. When asked about his drop off in production he blamed his coaches when he answered:
His interview combined with a lazy 5.09 second 40-yard dash time has Burfict jumping off of draft boards.
"I wouldn't touch him," said one scout. "He does have some talent, but he is so undisciplined on and off the field. The guy is completely out of control. There's no way you could trust him. I can't believe they (ASU coaching staff) didn't cut him loose."
Burfict's inability to realize that he needed to do everything in his power to make his maturity and work ethic a non-issue is astounding.
The man's unquestionable physical potential is blanketed by his character which can only be described as insane. At this point, he is a sad story that may never enjoy the peaceful retirement his talent deserves.