NFL Draft 2012: The Biggest Knock on Each of the Top 8 Prospects

Shawn Brubaker@@63brubakerContributor IIApril 10, 2012

NFL Draft 2012: The Biggest Knock on Each of the Top 8 Prospects

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    For the top players in the NFL Draft, this must be the most exciting time that many of them have ever experienced.

    Unfortunately, they've also never been under as much scrutiny as they are now.

    Scouts are examining their every move, both on and off the field, to look for red flags that could hurt a prospects stock.

    Not even Andrew Luck, considered the best quarterback to enter the draft in years, is immune from the onslaught of examination, and inevitably, the red flags that surface.

    With this in mind, here are the biggest knocks on each of the top 8 prospects.

Andrew Luck

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    Andrew Luck is as close to a flawless prospect as has been seen in quite some time, but even he is not perfect.

    The biggest knock on Luck is the ease with which he succeeded in college. Luck was surrounded with excellent coaching and talented teammates, and he rarely had to carry the team.

    While Luck is accustomed to high expectations, he is also accustomed to having help in achieving them.

    In his first few years in (presumably) Indianapolis, though, Luck will be the face of a franchise nearly devoid of talent on both sides of the ball.

    The biggest question, then, for Luck is whether or not he will be able to carry a struggling team for the first time in his career.

Robert Griffin III

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    Robert Griffin III is the opposite of Andrew Luck in one main regard.

    Whereas Luck simply was the ringleader for a tremendously talented team, Griffin truly was the Baylor Bears. Without Griffin, Baylor would have been stuck at the bottom of the Big 12 barrel, but Griffin was able to carry the team to a bowl victory.

    One thing that Griffin does not have, though, is extensive experience in a traditional pro-style offense.

    The offense Griffin orchestrated in college operated predominantly out of the shotgun, and it may have momentarily stunted Griffin's footwork and ability to read defenses.

    Quarterbacks out of college spread offenses have generally struggled in the NFL, but as the NFL shifts to a more passing oriented approach, these success rate of these quarterbacks is gradually rising.

    Still, Griffin should have a steep learning curve early in his career that could set him back significantly.

Matt Kalil

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    Moving on from the top quarterbacks, Matt Kalil is the consensus third best prospect in the NFL draft this year.

    The biggest knock on Kalil is his power in run blocking. While his technique is impeccable, he has a thin build for an offensive lineman, and it occasionally hinders him from generating great push in run blocking.

    Kalil's impressive bench press at the Combine should alleviate some concerns regarding his strength, but he will need to continue to add lower body strength to grow into a top left tackle in the NFL.

Morris Claiborne

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    The top defensive player in the draft, Morris Claiborne, is an impressive prospect who could even be a better prospect than former teammate and top five pick Patrick Peterson.

    Unfortunately, Claiborne isn't among the fastest cornerbacks in this draft.

    While his speed is more than adequate, he won't be able to run with the top deep threats in the NFL, and that could keep him from being a true shut down corner.

Trent Richardson

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    Trent Richardson is the complete package at running back, with tremendous size, speed, power and receiving ability.

    Unfortunately, the biggest knock on Richardson is simply his position. Running backs are not highly valued in the NFL Draft, and recent first-round running backs have struggled.

    That should make teams think twice about selecting Richardson too highly, especially considering the wealth of running backs that will be available later in the draft.

Ryan Tannehill

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    Though an afterthought at the beginning of the draft process, Ryan Tannehill has quickly assumed a position among the draft's top prospects.

    This comes as somewhat of a surprise considering Tannehill's inexperience as a starting quarterback.

    With only 20 starts at the college level, Tannehill hasn't had a chance to grow accustomed to the finer points of the game.

    Any team that drafts him must keep this in mind and be patient with their new quarterback.

Justin Blackmon

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    Two-time Biletnikoff Award winner Justin Blackmon has proven to be among the most productive and dynamic receivers in this year's draft.

    While Blackmon is good at a lot of things, he is not great at any one thing. His hands are solid, but not perfect, his size is good, but not great, and his speed is just average.

    Blackmon should have little trouble being a productive receiver in the NFL, but he might lack the skill set to be among the NFL's elite receivers.

Melvin Ingram

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    Perhaps the best pass rusher in this year's draft, Ingram has a nice combination of explosion and strength that allows him to beat offensive tackles with finesse or power.

    One thing that he does not have, though, is height. At only 6'1", Ingram lacks the height to be a top 4-3 defensive end.

    His lack of height could lead to him being engulfed by bigger offensive linemen, which would really hurt his ability to stop the run.

    While his lack of height is not a deal-breaker for a team looking for a top pass rusher, any team drafting Ingram has to be aware of his limitations.