2012 NFL Draft Predictions: Predicting the Best Rookies Outside of Round One
Every team in the NFL will be trying to find steals in the later rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft. In the following slideshow, I am providing them with a handy guide to contributors that can be grabbed after day one.
Good teams pick up players late—players who often prove to be better pros than the majority of those taken ahead of them. Just look at the Green Bay Packers, a team that won Super Bowl XLV with a roster stocked with draft picks that came outside of the first round.
These kids can be counted on when their numbers are called.
Brandon Brooks, Offensive Guard, Miami (Ohio)
6'5", 343 lbs. Brandon Brooks played multiple positions while at Miami of Ohio.
This mammoth man was born to play in inside the trenches, where he can avoid facing athletic defensive ends in space.
Brooks is at his best when he can initiate contact and use his strength. His size provides the framework for coaching to turn him into a stellar NFL guard.
Shea McClellin, Linebacker, Boise State
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Shea McClellin has a skill that the NFL pays a premium for: pass-rushing.
He is big enough to hold down an end spot at 6'3" and 258 lbs. However, he can also use the physical attributes he displays when rushing the passer to be effective in coverage.
Scouts love his relentless style as he finishes every play through the whistle. Additionally, the senior prospect was the leader of a stout defense in college.
A glance at the scouting report likens McClellin to a smaller Kyle Vanden Bosch.
Marvin McNutt, Wide Receiver, Iowa
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The Iowa Hawkeyes are a traditional Big Ten team. They trot out a strong defense and balance it with a power running game.
Despite these limitations, Marvin McNutt excelled. He was still explosive and consistent enough to produce 82 catches for 1,315 yards and 12 touchdowns.
He has decent size for a NFL wideout at 6'2" and 216 lbs. There is hope that he can use that body to become a poor man's Plaxico Burress.
T.Y. Hilton, Wide Receiver/Kick Returner, Florida International
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Do not dismiss T.Y. Hilton because of his small 5'10", 175-lbs. stature.
The kid can flat out fly. All he needs is a seam and he runs away from people.
At his Pro Day, Hilton vindicated his four years as a collegian by posting a 4.34 forty time.
Additionally, there is no real learning curve when it comes to returning kicks. He can step in right away and let his natural instincts guide him.
Hilton can also be a change of pace guy on offense as had 72 catches for 1,038 yards and seven touchdowns as a wide receiver.
Right away, the kid can be a Titus Young-type player. In the future, there is the possibility of becoming the next DeSean Jackson.
Josh Norman, Cornerback, Coastal Carolina
Josh Norman of Coastal Carolina has some serious potential in the secondary.
He is not a burner, but he has above-average size at 6'0 and 197 lbs.
Norman also has a knack for breaking up passes. His 48 pass deflections in college are a testament to his intelligent aggression.
However, he will need to refine his game by studying film to ensure that he doesn't get turned inside-out by NFL quarterbacks.
Trumaine Johnson, Cornerback, Montana
Trumaine Johnson doesn't have the flat-line speed that scouts love, but he makes up for his 4.5 flight time with excellent size.
He is a 6'3", 210-lbs. athlete with leaping ability and great instincts. His pedigree as a three-sport high school star should serve him well in the NFL.
Johnson is a natural who will be able to challenge the jump ball and create turnovers with his former wide receiver hands. In today's game, these are two invaluable skills.
Lastly, this kid played the 2009 season with a fractured forearm, proving he has the necessary toughness to stick in the pros.
Edwin Baker, Running Back, Michigan State
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Edwin Baker is a downhill runner who doesn't dance. He runs tough, low and fluid and has the strength to break tackles.
For Michigan State, he broke off big runs and picked up the tough yards. Baker is the type of running back who will always fall forward.
He needs to prove that he can catch the ball coming out of the backfield. However, his physicality should translate well to the protection aspect of the game.