NFL Draft 2012: 15 Prospects Who Aren't Nearly as Good as the Hype
Every single year there are prospects in the NFL Draft that go much higher than their talent may dictate. These are the reaches that set franchises back years and leads to losing on a consistent basis.
It cannot be stated enough that value means something when it comes to the annual event in New York City. It makes absolutely no sense to reach for a player because he fits a position of need when there is a tremendous amount of value at another position.
This is why teams like the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens have been successful in recent drafts. They understand that reaching for need doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
The 2012 NFL Draft is one of the deepest in terms of talent that I have come across since I started scouting 10 years ago or so. This doesn't mean that teams are not going to reach for certain players, this happens every single year.
Today's article is going to focus on 15 prospects that are nowhere near as good as their hype suggests.
15. Mike Adams, Offensive Tackle, Ohio State
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The former Buckeyes standout was jumping up the boards prior to a pedestrian combine performance. There are major issues in regards to technique and footwork.
Adams just isn't going to be able to make an immediate impact as a pass protector at the next level. Instead, he is going to need to refine that technique and become strong in terms of lateral movement.
Until that happens you can expect him to struggle a great deal early in his career.
At this point the value of reaching for Adams in the first-round just isn't there. He would be better off going to a team that has a veteran presence to start for a season or two.
This leads me to believe that Adams isn't worth much more than a second-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
14. Jerel Worthy, Defensive Tackle, Michigan State
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Aside from this disturbing photo, Jerel Worthy just doesn't have the look of a top-tier player at the next level. He struggles a great deal with consistency, disappearing from games for large stretches.
While Worthy is a strong interior linemen, he does struggle with getting too high at the point of contact, which enables blockers to throw him off his base.
You are also looking at a player that seems to give up on a play when he doesn't advance into the backfield on his initial move.
There are concerns with his passion and character as well.
Despite this, CBS Sports has him ranked No. 23 overall.
I however, wouldn't touch Worthy anywhere near the first-round. Instead, he seems to be nothing better than a late second-round pick at this point.
13. Michael Brockers, Defensive Tackle, Louisiana State
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I was one of the first people to come out in favor of Michael Brockers being a top-10 pick after he declared for the NFL Draft. The former Louisiana State star has the frame to be absolutely dominating at the next level.
The dude stands at 6'6" and weighed in at 322 pounds at the combine in Indianapolis. More than this, Brockers is still growing at the ripe age of 21.
Many expected Brockers to dominate at the combine but it just didn't happen. He ran a disappointing 5.36 40-yard dash, one of the worse among defensive linemen at the scouting event.
I previously had worries about how much of an impact he would make initially. These worries were magnified in watching tape of Brockers in college. He doesn't possess pro-ready pass rush moves, struggles in terms of containment between the tackles and doesn't use that massive frame to the best of his ability.
Of course these are things that can be fixed with the right coaching and some more seasoning. There still is a question as to whether a player as raw as Brockers should be considered a top-20 pick.
While I do believe that Brockers is going to be a difference maker at the next level, it just seems that he isn't fully prepared to make an impact early on. This leads me to believe that the best value for the up-and-coming defensive tackle is in the bottom third of the initial round.
12. Orson Charles, Tight End, Georgia
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Orson Charles was quickly climbing the draft boards prior to a DUI arrest earlier this month. That incident has seen his stock drop a great deal.
NFL organizations do place a huge value on character and a prospect being arrested just a little over a month before the draft shows some horrible judgment.
You are still going to see some team take a chance on the talented tight end in the second-round because of his athleticism and ability. Most major draft pundits still have the former Georgia standout as one of their top tight ends in the draft.
In fact, Mel Kiper has Charles third among all tight ends behind Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen. While it is hard to argue with that in terms of pure talent, it is even harder to envision Charles going in the top-two rounds right now.
You might even see an up-and-coming prospect like Ladarius Green leapfrog Charles as the draft approaches. I am extremely close to making that switch myself.
11. Mohamed Sanu, Wide Receiver, Rutgers
For reasons unbeknownst to me, Mohamed Sanu was skyrocketing up draft boards prior to a horrible combine performance. While the Rutgers star does possess some talent, I see way too many holes in his game to justify a high ranking.
His 4.54 40-yard dash really didn't worry me all too much at the combine. I never viewed Sanu as a speed burner that was going to get past the defensive backfield because of pure speed.
He just isn't that type of player.
He struggles catching the ball fluidly, isn't great off the break and struggles to get separation at the line. These are three factors that lead me to believe that Sanu is going to have issues early on in his NFL career.
You are looking at a project at this point.
Todd McShay seems to have gotten the idea, as he didn't even include Sanu in his recent two-round mock draft. With that said, experts like Matt Miller still remain pretty high on the Rutgers prospects. Miller has him going in the top-40, which is a reach at this point.
10. David Wilson, Running Back, Virginia Tech
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"Extremely raw" is the term that I would best use to describe David Wilson.
He has one of the highest ceilings of any running back in the 2012 NFL Draft, but doesn't possess the necessary skills to make an immediate impact at the next level.
You are looking at a prospect that struggles a great deal with field vision. Wilson doesn't possess the necessary patience, instead he cuts away from blocks and finds himself in less than enviable situations on the outside.
However, this is something that can be learned. My issue is not as much with Wilson as it is with scouts that consistently place him in the top-40, which makes absolutely no sense.
This is one situation where it would have made sense for a running back to stay in college and get more seasoning.
More of a third-round pick in my book.
9. Whitney Mercilus, Defensive End, Illinois
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Production in college doesn't necessarily translate to the next level, especially when looking at pass rushers. There are a lot more variables that come into play than the number of sacks you rack up.
Sure it was pretty impressive to see Whitney Mercilus lead all of Division I in sacks during the 2011 season, but that really isn't important in the entire scouting process.
He is going to be more of a pass rushing specialist at the next level.
Teams will have success running directly at Mercilus, which will limit his production a great deal. Scouts really aren't going into the first-round looking for someone that can contribute on just a couple plays per set of downs.
Mercilus is also a scheme specific player. He doesn't translate well to playing outside linebacker due to limited athletic ability in coverage and stopping the run.
While there is a lot wrong with Todd McShay's most recent mock draft, nothing surprises me more than his projection of where the former Illinois standout is going to be drafted. The "expert" indicates that Mercilus will go to the Detroit Lions with the 23rd overall pick in the draft.
Really? I wasn't aware that Detroit needed to add more players to their front-four. Additionally, Mercilus just isn't a first-round pick right now.
8. Zach Brown, Linebacker, North Carolina
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Speed might be one of the most important aspects of playing linebacker in the National Football League. Just take a look at the success Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman had with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011.
With that said, it isn't going to make or break a prospect.
While Zach Brown might have elite speed, he struggles with so many other nuances of the game that I have a hard time projecting him as a first-round pick.
Brown doesn't stay home when he needs to, rather he tends to over-pursue certain plays and takes himself completely out of it in the process.
Moreover, he doesn't have natural instincts on the football field.
You are not looking at a player that is capable of calling shots from the linebacker position or quarterbacking the front-seven. This is something most scouts look for in a first-round talent.
Maybe this is the reason why Scouts Inc. has dropped Brown to No. 63 on their big board.
7. Luke Kuechly, Linebacker, Boston College
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I have heard some crazy talk recently that Luke Kuechly might go in the top-10. That makes absolutely no sense in my humble opinion.
Don't get me wrong, the Boston College product is going to be a solid starter at the next level. Still, I highly doubt the term "solid starter" comes to a general managers' mind when selecting in the top ten.
Kuechly isn't going to make an impact in the offensive backfield as he struggles a great deal in the pass rush. He might be one of the most instinctive linebackers in the draft, but isn't great going sideline-to-sideline.
What you see is what you get when it comes to the linebacker prospect. He will rack up 100 or more tackles and be decent in pass defense.
If that is the case it is hard to justify a top-20 pick at this point.
This hasn't stopped Scouts Inc. from ranking Kuechly No. 8 overall. Give me a break!
More of a late first-round pick in my book.
6. Alshon Jeffery, Wide, Receiver, South Carolina
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Opinions vary as to where Alshon Jeffery is going to go in April's draft. Some have him as a top ten pick, while others view the South Carolina product as a second-round pick.
I fit in that latter category.
Jeffery struggles a ton getting off of his break, doesn't possess natural instincts and wont run tight routes early in his NFL career.
Despite having prototypical size at 6'3", Jeffery doesn't use it to the best of his ability. Rather, he tends to play soft on the outside and lets defenders get the upper hand.
He still has some of the softest hands in the entire draft and possesses a tremendous amount of upside. This is why Jeffery will hear his name called in the first half of the initial round.
I just don't see it. In fact, I have him ranked as the sixth wide receiver in an already loaded draft.
5. Nick Perry, Defensive End, Southern California
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Prior to watching more tape of Nick Perry I had concluded he would be a great fit as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. It now appears that the Southern California product is a scheme specific, 4-3 defensive end.
This limits his value in the first-round and may lead some teams to pass up on the talented defensive player.
I am taking a minority view in this opinion. Most "experts" conclude that Perry fits best in a 3-4 scheme as an outside linebacker.
My friends over at Optimum Scouting are a perfect representation of this. "Perry is probably best suited as an OLB in a 3-4 scheme as he has shown the ability to drop back into coverage and make plays in space as well."
Matt Miller is right to assume that Perry will go in the top half of the first round. He has the talented defensive end headed to the Arizona Cardinals. This is because teams fall in love with athleticism and fail to look at the broader picture when it comes to a prospect.
I view Perry as more of a late first-round pick.
4. Dre' Kirkpatrick, Cornerback, Alabama
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Dre' Kirkpatrick is more suited as a free safety than cornerback at the next level. He possesses tight hip movement on the outside, gets turned a round a ton and lacks the speed to stay with receivers if the initial bump doesn't work.
I could care less that Kirkpatrick ran an impressive 4.51 40-yard at the combine in Indianapolis. He isn't nearly as quick on the football field in real game situations. In short, he plays much slower than he actually is.
Kirkpatrick will be drafted to play corner, that is pretty much assured.
Teams like the Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals, who have multiple needs in the secondary, might actually be smart to take him. If it doesn't work out at corner, they could easily transition him to the safety position.
With that said, I see absolutely no reason to believe that the talented defender is the second best corner in the entire draft behind Morris Claiborne.
That is just crazy talk.
3. Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State
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The only reason why Justin Blackmon is so high on this list is because he is being talked about as a top-five pick.
The former All-American does possess the size and speed to be a dominating player on the outside. He gives the quarterback a huge target down in the red zone and can beat any corner with pure physicality at the point of contact down the field.
Blackmon tends to struggle releasing from the line against press coverage and doesn't catch the ball incredibly clean.
There has been talk of Blackmon going as high as No. 4 to the Cleveland Browns. In fact, my most recent mock has him going to the Rams with the sixth pick. By no means does this indicate that he will provide value at that position. Instead, the former Oklahoma State standout would be nothing more than a need pick.
I still have Blackmon as a top-15 pick. It just doesn't make much sense for him to go in the top-five when there is much better value at other positions at that slot.
2. Quinton Coples, Defensive End, North Carolina
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By far one of the least impressive "top-prospects" in the draft, Coples is an enigma of sorts. He possesses some of the most jaw-dropping talent, but fails miserably when it comes to other aspects of the game.
The defensive end prospect struggles with consistency and effort at times, which has led me to believe there is an issue with passion. He disappears from games for far too long and seems to give up on plays.
Teams selecting in the top-20 need to acquire a player that is going to be consistent early on in his career. This isn't going to happen when it comes to Coples. Instead, you are looking at a prospect with one of the highest bust possibilities in the entire draft.
Scouts Inc. has him ranked No. 7 overall, which is an absolute joke in my opinion. There are so many more deserving prospects that are worthy of that grade. For example, Melvin Ingram is a much better prospect and a better bet than Coples.
Our friend Dan Kadar over at Mocking the Draft had the following to say about the former Tar Heel' standout.
"The effort put forth by Coples has been inconsistent, particularly during his senior season. Doesn't always work through double teams as relentlessly as you'd prefer. When Coples is working hard, he can be a terror."
Sure the heck doesn't sound like a top-10 pick to me.
1. Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, Texas A&M
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This is just crazy talk. Isn't it?
Seriously, there are some that have concluded that Ryan Tannehill might go as high as No. 4 to the Cleveland Browns. If that happens their fans should move to California and invest their money on Super Lotto rather than throwing money to this franchise.
In short, they would immediately become the biggest laughing stock in the entire National Football League.
Accordingly, there has been some talk that the Miami Dolphins might be looking to trade up past the Browns to select Tannehill.
The great American actor Will Rogers once said, "If Stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?" This has to be the train of thought when it comes to those two struggling franchises.
Tannehill is absolutely nowhere near ready to see the football field on Sunday's. To suggest that he is worthy of a top-10 pick is an absolute joke.
You are talking about someone that has played this position for less than two seasons, struggles with accuracy, cannot hit receivers in stride and has horrible technique in the pocket. His throwing motion causes a lot of balls to be batted down at the line, he doesn't read defenses too well and cannot escape the pocket a great deal.
With all this said, Tannehill has one great quality.
He has a hose of an arm, which leads people to believe that he can play immediately. If throwing the ball fast was the only important factor in deciding whether a quarterback can play, then Jeff George would have a bust right now in Canton.
I do think that the Texas A&M product has a tremendous amount of upside, and can turn into a really good quarterback at the next level. He is just going to have to sit on the bench for two or three seasons before he can make a positive impact on the football field.
That means he is nothing more than a second-round pick.