2012 NFL Draft Predictions: 10 Prospects Who Will the Be Most Sought-After UDFAs
All were undrafted.
Andrew Luck is to go first, Robert Griffin III next and after that, it's all speculation.
There is one inescapable fact, though: Talented players will be underrated, overlooked and undrafted. It happens every year. And their draft-day dreams will morph into chips on their shoulders, that extra fuel to succeed in the NFL.
Here are 10 such players in this year's draft.
FB Shawn Asiata, Utah
What this guy does is an almost-forgotten art.
Asiata moves like a running back—he used to be one—yet has the size and strength of a lineman, and he uses it all to plow lanes and punish would-be tacklers. He is also a reliable receiver out of the backfield and a quality option to grind out yards on the ground.
Asiata will not only make a roster, he'll make an impact at the next level.
FS Neiko Thorpe, Auburn
Thorpe has looked natural transitioning from corner to free safety.
In 2011—his first season at the new position—he tallied 102 tackles, three interceptions and six passes defended. He is very active, flies to the ball and has the ideal size (6'2", 190 pounds) and length to play center field.
And he will only get better as he learns the nuances of the position. A lot of teams will regret passing him up in the draft, that's for sure.
CB Cliff Harris, Oregon
Harris is following a similar path to the NFL as former teammate LeGarrete Blount. A series of off-the-field issues led to his dismissal from Oregon and has likely damaged his stock as well.
When on the field, though, Harris was superb as both a corner and return man. He hounds receivers, has good hands and has a knack for returning punts the distance.
Look for teams to shy away from him throughout the draft and then line up for his services in free agency. And if he gets his act together, the reward will be substantial.
WR Jordan White, Western Michigan
Despite leading the nation in receptions (140) and yards (1,911) in 2011, White continues to fly under the radar. While he lacks straight-line speed—clocked a 4.69 40-yard dash at the combine—White is quick and knows how to get open.
He is a savvy route-runner with glue for fingertips and will find a way to produce in the NFL—even if he has to take the undrafted path.
WR Derek Moye, Penn State
The blend of size (6'4", 210 pounds) and speed (4.52 40-yard dash) alone should be enough to hear his name called on draft day, but a quiet senior season may alarm scouts.
Moye is not to blame, though. Inconsistent play at the quarterback position caused his stats to drop to a pedestrian 40 receptions for 654 yards and three touchdowns. He is a big target, dedicated blocker and will be a welcomed addition to his new team.
RB Lance Dunbar, North Texas
A small-school prospect with big games against big schools.
At 5'8" and 205 pounds, Dunbar is a compact runner with good vision and a nice burst of speed. He ran a 4.47 and 4.50 40-yard dash at his recent pro day. Most importantly, he has the on-field production to pad his resume.
A three-year starter at North Texas, Dunbar accumulated 4,224 career yards and 41 total touchdowns. He could sneak into the later rounds, but free agency is the likely destination.
CB Jeremy Lane, Northwestern State
Not too many people, scouts included, know about Jeremy Lane; they will soon enough.
Lane is listed at a lean 5'11" and 175 pounds, and he utilizes his very long arms in press coverage. He will need to add about 10 pounds to his frame, but that should be easy. He is also aggressive in run support and rarely misses tackles.
Teams will fall in love with his versatility, as he was also a special-teams standout.
LB J.K. Schaffer, Cincinnati
Schaffer, a non-combine invitee, had a stellar senior season. He recorded 114 tackles with 12.5 for a loss, three sacks, three interceptions and three forced fumbles.
At 6'1" and 237 pounds, he will need to bulk up before being an inside linebacker in the NFL. What Schaffer lacks in size, however, he more than makes up for as a sure tackler with good instincts. He's a sleeper with the potential to develop into a starter and contributor on special teams.
K Carson Wiggs, Purdue
Kickers not named Janikowski tend to slide to later rounds or out of the draft completely. Wiggs is headed for the latter.
He was 19-of-25 on field goals in his senior season—he finished by connecting on 12 of his final 14—and has above-average leg strength and accuracy on deep kicks.
Also, his ability to combat returns with touchbacks will attract several suitors.
CB Conroy Black, Utah
Scouts love speed, so it's a shocker to see the speedy Black—who clocked a 4.30 40-yard dash at his pro day—go unnoticed as the draft approaches.
Black, Utah's top corner, was asked to cover some of the better receivers in all of college football (Marquess Wilson, Juron Criner, Stephen Hill, Keenan Allen and Robert Woods), and he responded with four interceptions and four passes defended.
He's relatively raw and needs to add weight to his frame, but he has the potential to make an impact at the next level.
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