2012 NFL Draft: 4 Prospects Who Will Shock Everyone by Going Early

Jon SiddowayCorrespondent IMarch 9, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, IN - OCTOBER 08:  Dusty Kiel #8 of the Indiana Hoosiers attempts a pass while defended by Whitney Mercilus #85 of the Illinois Illini during the game at Memorial Stadium on October 8, 2011 in Bloomington, Indiana.  Illinois won 41-20.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Who would've thought that a bunch of guys wearing suits (some suits much uglier than others), sitting in a room and announcing names could be so entertaining?

It didn't work for Sleuth, but it does for the NFL Draft.

To put the hoopla into perspective, 42 million tuned in to watch the 2011 NFL Draft compared to the 37.75 generated by President Obama's recent State of the Union address. 

Why the astounding number of viewers?

Because the NFL Draft has it all: suspense, surprises, excitement, disappointment, cheers and boos.

It's April Madness; the perfect sequel to March Madness.

Here are four players destined to increase the madness by going earlier than expected.  


DT Dontari Poe, Memphis

Just a few weeks ago, Poe was considered by most to be a second-round pick at best. Then the Scouting Combine happened. Listed at 6'4" and 346 lbs., Poe looked like a small house, yet ran like a small mouse.

He clocked a 4.98 forty-yard dash and looked very agile throughout the drills. The massive defensive tackle also put up a combine-best 44 reps of 225 lbs. An intriguing blend of speed and strength we haven't seen since Haloti Ngata. 


DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus, Illinois

Aldon Smith's rookie success has skyrocketed the stock of sack artists in this year's draft, and Mercilus is the cream of the crop when it comes to taking down the quarterback. He displayed a lethal combination of quickness and pass-rush moves while leading the NCAA with 16 total sacks this season. Teams will have a hard time resisting such impressive on-field production.


CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama

Jenkins, despite baggage not even Southwest Airlines could ignore, is arguably the top corner in a draft brimming with talent. He's fast with fluid movements and has the strength to jam his receiver at the line. The red flags (multiple arrests and a dismissal from the University of Florida football team) are alarming, but there is no denying his future as a shutdown corner.  


DE/OLB Nick Perry, USC

At 6'3", 271 lbs., Perry is an especially attractive prospect with his combine marks of 4.64 seconds in the forty-yard dash, 38.5" vertical leap and a 10'4" broad jump. He was a workout warrior in Indianapolis and has the on-field production to back it up.

Perry led the Pac-12 Conference in 2011 with 9.5 sacks. A Top 10 selection is not out of the realm of possibility, as players in his mold are a hot commodity these days.