With the opening of the 2012 NFL draft Thursday, April 26 at 8 p.m. ET, the realization that the football season is closer than we thought is starting to sink in.
This is the next wave of NFL stars we get to watch walk across that stage at Radio City Music Hall, and before we know it, they will be wearing our team’s uniforms. As excited as the players are, the fans feel like this is the Christmas they really wanted.
Where: Radio City Music Hall in New York, N.Y.
When: Thursday-Saturday, April 26, 27 and 28
Round 1 - Thursday, April 26 at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN and NFL Network)
Rounds 2 and 3 - Friday, April 27 at 7 p.m. ET (ESPN and NFL Network)
Rounds 4 through 7 - Saturday, April 28 at 12 p.m. ET (ESPN and NFL Network)
Day 1 Stud: Quinton Coples, North Carolina, DE
With many questions in the top-ten this season, there is bound to be a few surprises that push everything backwards. When these reaches happen, star players fall lower than they should.
That’s what will happen when UNC defensive end Quinton Coples falls to the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 15 overall. With Coples slated to go as late as No. 9, falling to Philly wouldn’t be a bad scenario for the young star.
There is no doubt that Coples is a great player, but problems off the field and questions about work ethic at the next level may be a blessing in disguise as he falls to a better team with real leadership.
Day 2 Stud: Devon Still, Penn State, DT
With teams falling out of love with the Penn State defensive tackle because of a lower ceiling on his potential, a team picking early in the second round will fall into one of the best college players in 2011.
I can’t believe Still will fall to the second round, but if it happens, a team will trade up and snag him No. 1 overall on Day 2. Still is that good.
He is coming from a pro-style defense where he was the leader on and off the field. Not to mention he was an absolute wrecking machine on the field. Watching how far he falls will be an interesting aspect to keep an eye on.
Day 3 Stud: LaMichael James, Oregon, RB
While Day 3 is the time for the casual college football fans to turn away and the NFL fans to evaluate the big-name talent their teams snagged, this is the time for the real sleepers to come out.
A player like Oregon Ducks running back LaMichael James is sure to go later in the draft, but no one is certain exactly where. I have heard everything from second to sixth round for this kid, but I think he will fall to the third day.
Just like Devon Still, the first pick of Day 3 will be a team trading up to open the day by selecting James. A fitting end to what will be a wild weekend in NFL circles.
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