The 2012 NFL draft is just around the proverbial corner, and it seems that as we get closer to the draft the news and speculation regarding this year's crop of collegiate standouts hits harder and faster with each passing day.
In an effort to keep you up to speed on all the latest reports regarding this year's draft class here's a breakdown on some of the latest information on this year's offensive stars, including an update on the most talked-about incoming rookie of the past week.
The Latest on Ryan Tannehill
That much-publicized player would be Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. As the third-ranked quarterback in the 2012 class Tannehill has been the subject of rampant speculation as to his draft status recently given that the landing spots of Andrew Luck of Stanford and Robert Griffin of Baylor are all but certain.
It's also all but certain that Tannehill will be a top-10 pick after throwing for over 4,700 yards last season for the Aggies, and Mike Freeman of CBS Sports echoed the sentiments of many Thursday that the Miami Dolphins appear to have set their sights on the 6'4", 221-pound signal-caller.
In speaking with several team personnel executives, there is a distinct possibility the Dolphins will take Tannehill with the No. 8 pick. This could be the Dolphins using their Enigma machine to send out counter-intelligence (another draft staple), but the Tannehill-Miami speculation seems legitimate.
However, Tannehill's draft status is as much a testimonial to how much quarterbacks are overvalued in the draft and how desperate the Dolphins are to acquire a signal-caller as it is an endorsement of the talent of a quarterback with fewer than 20 career starts. Freeman cautions that the Dolphins are on the verge of potentially making a big mistake should they reach for the strong-armed but unproven passer.
Tannehill vaulting upward like Carl Lewis is more a sign of teams desperate for a quarterback and wishful thinking. There are two great throwers in this draft: Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. After that, it's more of a hodgepodge. After that, for the most part, it's a cluster of second-tier guys, and you're fooling yourself if you believe Tannehill's drastically superior than some of the other quarterbacks.
Alshon Jeffery Battles More Bad Press
South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery has seemingly been paddling upstream all offseason, as rumors about his weight, speed and work ethic have been chipping away at the 6'3" 216-pound junior's draft stock for months.
Jeffery dispelled some of the misgivings about his conditioning and speed with a solid pro day, but now a report has surfaced claiming that NFL teams are concerned about Jeffery's "sense of entitlement and poor work habits". Mike Tanier of Yahoo! Sports recently pointed out that some of the criticism of Jeffery appears to be misplaced, but that doesn't mean that there isn't some risk involved for the team that drafts him.
Jeffery has been the subject of some off-the-mark criticism, but the fact remains that Jeffery's production tailed off badly in 2011, and that conditioning played a part in his problems. His career path could be decided by a Jets-Giants dichotomy. If he lands in a rumpus room program like the Jets, he could become a Mike Williams type. If he is drafted by a no-nonsense team like the Giants, he should develop into an excellent possession receiver and goal line receiving threat.
Unfounded or not the plethora of negative reports that have swirled around Jeffery have almost certainly knocked him into the 2012 draft's second round, but if the team that selects him there gets the player that led the SEC in receiving in 2010 then Jeffery could turn out to be a player that's talked about as a huge steal a few years from now.
Jonathan Martin Takes Shot from Draft Expert
Offensive tackles are always a hot commodity in the NFL draft, and Stanford tackle Jonathan Martin is widely considered a potential first-round pick, although the 6'5", 312-pound senior wasn't among the 26 players invited to the draft's first round in New York City.
However, at least one draftnik doesn't have nearly that high an opinion of the Cardinal standout, as Pro Football Weekly senior editor Nolan Nawrocki recently told the Detroit News in a conference call that he expects Martin will be "significantly overdrafted".
"I don't think he has left tackle feet or right tackle power," he said. "I look at him as a fourth-round-type project, but he's getting looks in the second round and possible late in the first."Nawrocki believes Martin would need at least one "redshirt" year in the NFL and would have to commit to a strength program.
Tony Pauline of Sports Illustrated recently stated that Martin is "all over draft boards" after a lackluster showing at Stanford's pro day. However, with teams such as the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and New York Giants all in need of help at the position I have a hard time seeing Martin dropping into the second round given Martin's collegiate resume and the premium on quality tackles in the National Football League.