2012 NFL Draft Big Board: Top 10 Overall Prospects
Here are the top ten prospects, regardless of position, entering this year's NFL Draft. The prospects are ranked based on their overall talent as football players.
1. Andrew Luck
Analysis: Luck is widely regarded as the best quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning, and potentially since John Elway. Luck is the most complete player in this draft, with his ability to manipulate defenses and deliver the ball accurately.
Projected Selection: #1 Overall (Indianapolis Colts)
2. Trent Richardson
Analysis: Richardson is a true "bell cow" that can carry the load in a run heavy offense and perform at an elite level. I rate Richardson higher as an overall running back than I did Adrian Peterson in 2007.
Projected Selection: # 4 Overall (Cleveland Browns)
3. Robert Griffin III
Analysis: RG3 brings together the best talents of Michael Vick (speed), Cam Newton (arm strength), and Sam Bradford (accuracy). Despite his speed and athleticism, Griffin is much more of a traditional pocket passer than he is given credit for and will revitalize the fans in Washington next year.
Projected Selection: #2 Overall (Washington Redskins)
4. Matt Kalil
Analysis: Kalil has the rare combination of physical tools, footwork, and mental skills in one package at the left tackle position. While not as pure a pass blocker as Joe Thomas, Kalil has the ability to dominate in pass and run blocking.
Projected Selection: #3 Overall (Minnesota Vikings)
5. Morris Claiborne
Analysis: Pay no attention to the Wonderlic score because the tape does all the talking for Claiborne. A dominant cover corner that excels in press and zone coverage, Claiborne has a natural feel for a receiver's position, which allows him to read the quarterback and make an early break on passes. Not as skilled a return man as Patrick Peterson, but much more of an "island" corner.
Projected Selection: #5 Overall (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
6. David DeCastro
Analysis: DeCastro is the most dominant run blocker available in this draft, and that includes Matt Kalil. Turn on the tape and you will see DeCastro plowing through not only his first assignment, but then reaching the second and sometimes third level of the defense. We have not seen an elite plug-and-play guard like this in many years.
Projected Selection: #13 Overall (Arizona Cardinals)
7. Luke Kuechly
Analysis: The middle linebacker position is traditionally undervalued, but teams that were not afraid to draft elite prospects like Patrick Willis and Brian Urlacher have benefited greatly. While not as physically imposing as Willis or Urlacher, Kuechly has the athleticism and mental aptitude to diagnose plays quickly and make a move anywhere in the front seven.
Projected Selection: #12 Overall (Seattle Seahawks)
Analysis: There are few players who have the opportunity to face NFL-caliber talent multiple times in college football, and even fewer who succeed on a regular basis. Jenkins was able to neutralize players such as A.J. Green, Alshon Jeffery, Julio Jones, and more. If it were not for the off-field concerns, Jenkins would be a surefire top 15 pick. I still believe he is worth that selection with those concerns.
Projected Selection: #27 Overall (New England Patriots)
9. Fletcher Cox
Analysis: In one of the deepest defensive tackle drafts in recent memory, Cox is the cream of the crop. While many will drool over Combine winner Dontari Poe, Cox is the supreme DT talent this year. Cox is a massive penetrating tackle that excels against runs and passes. Cox may not be the flashiest, but he is a low risk/high production player.
Projected Selection: #14 Overall (Dallas Cowboys)
10. Courtney Upshaw
Analysis: Each year 3-4 teams experiment and attempt to convert 4-3 defensive ends into a hybrid outside linebacker; Upshaw already is that player. Upshaw proved that he can dominate rushing the passer in 3-4 and 4-3 defenses at the highest level of college football (SEC). Upshaw will likely slide a little on draft day because he is not a track athlete, but he is a top 10 talent.
Projected Selection: #16 Overall (New York Jets)
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