2012 NFL Draft Projections: 7 Prospects Who Won't Be First-Round Selections

Jake Martin@JakeMartinSECCorrespondent IIIApril 2, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Projections: 7 Prospects Who Won't Be First-Round Selections

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    The 2012 NFL draft is quickly approaching, and overhyped prospects like Devon Still won't be selected in the first round.

    Still is a defensive lineman who teams will be reluctant to pick because of his two major leg injuries in college and the fact that there are better defensive linemen ahead of him.

    Time and time again, the mainstream media builds up athletes and make them seem like locks in the first round. They've done that yet again with Still, along with six other prospects

    Because of the depth at the position or because the player didn't impress scouts enough, these are the prospects that will have to wait until April 27, rather than being selected on April 26 in prime time.

Devon Still

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    Devon Still was a dominant force inside for Penn State, but he's the third-best defensive lineman in the draft at best.

    There are simply too many great defensive tackles available for Still to be a first round selection, and with players like Michael Brockers and Jerel Worthy on the board, you'd have to be a fool to take Still above them.

    Still is a 6'5", 305-pound lineman who is very limited with his rushes. Basically, all he does is bull rush, and in the NFL, he's going to need a better array of rushes.

    He's had a problem with getting too high, and as we all know, if your pad level is too high in the NFL, those offensive lineman are going to win the battle every time.

    Still's nagging injuries in the past also bring up an area of concern.

Stephen Hill

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    Stephen Hill will be a star in the NFL one day, but he hasn't reached his full potential just yet. Better yet, he hasn't impressed NFL scouts quite like Michael Floyd, Rueben Randle and Kendall Wright have.

    Hill is a 6'4'', 215-pound wide receiver, and his athleticism is off the charts. The guy ran a 4.3 in the 40-yard dash for crying out loud, but he is simply too raw to be selected above Floyd, Wright and even Randle.

    Most of Hill's attributes might be better than Randle's, but Randle is a better route-runner than Hill, and route-running is everything in the NFL.

    Because of that, Randle will be selected late in the first round, and Hill will fall to the second round.

Nick Perry

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    Nick Perry is not going to be selected in the first round because he's too one-dimensional.

    Perry has one motive when he lines up, and that's get to the quarterback. That's good and all, but you have to worry about containment on the backside or you'll get burned.

    We've seen this far too many times in the past with teams giving up a 50-yard gains because their defensive end was out of place and they lost containment.

    With that said, Perry is an excellent pass-rusher, and he's proved that at USC with his 21.5 career sacks with the Trojans.

    But until he develops into a versatile defensive end, he'll be a risky first-round pick who teams will be timid about taking.

Lamar Miller

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    Lamar Miller is a system running back, and a system running back isn't first-round pick-worthy.

    For most of the offseason, I've seen Miller being taken in the first round by the Cincinnati Bengals with their second first-round pick on one mock draft after another, and that's baffling to me.

    Miller has great speed, which will allow him to see the field, but he's not one of those running backs that can take a lot of hits.

    He's not very powerful and won't break too many tackles, and he's going to have to work on his pass protection before he can be used in a lot of shotgun play scenarios.

    Mark my words, if two running backs are taken in the first round this year, they will be Trent Richardson and David Wilson, not Miller.

Dont'a Hightower

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    Dont'a Hightower would be a perfect fit for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Too bad they're going to be drafting a defensive lineman instead.

    If Hightower were to go in the first round, Pittsburgh would be the ideal place, as they would groom him into being James Farrior's replacement.

    Hightower is a run-stopper, and while he impressed many with his speed at Alabama's Pro Day, Hightower isn't known for his pass-coverage ability. His 265-pound frame can work against him in that aspect, and that causes reason for concern.

    As if that wasn't enough, Hightower's old ACL injury in 2009 warrants more reason to speculate his drop in the second round.

Whitney Mercilus

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    I'm really going out on a limb with this pick, but I'm just not sold on Whitney Mercilus yet.

    Mercilus is fast, strong, has great hands and is extremely athletic, but does this guy have the experience to hang with the big boys in the NFL?

    Mercilus had 16 sacks in 2011 for Illinois, but how many sacks did he have in 2010? Oh yeah that's right, he only had one sack. So it's safe to say that Mercilus is a one-year wonder.

    Though he put up incredible stats last season, was it against the best competition in college football?

    Mercilus posted his season-best three sacks against Indiana, and with 11 of his games coming against unranked opponents, it's hard to see him as a guy who can come in and start immediately with the experience he lacks.

    First-round picks are generally supposed to come in and contribute right away, and I'm not so sure a team would be getting that with Mercilus.

Alfonzo Dennard

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    Once upon a time, Alfonzo Dennard was thought to be one of the best cornerbacks in college football. That time has long passed, and there are far too many great cornerbacks in this draft that will easily be taken ahead of Dennard.

    With cornerbacks like Janoris Jenkins, Stephon Gilmore, Dre Kirkpatrick all higher than him on the big board, Dennard being selected in the first round is highly unlikely.

    The thing that separates all of those cornerbacks from Dennard is their speed. Dennard's speed is average at best, and because of this, he gets physical with receivers on the line of scrimmage. This can lead to penalties, and with minor injuries like hamstring and shoulder ones on his track record in college, Dennard getting drafted in the first round is a long shot.