NFL Draft 2012: Impact Players Still Available in NFL Draft
The 2012 NFL draft is now complete through the end of the third round, and by the culmination of Friday night's action, nearly 100 of college football's top players had found new homes in the National Football League.
That doesn't mean that there aren't still some players available who can make a significant impact for an NFL squad in 2012, and here's a look at the best players who remain available as the draft enters its final day.
Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss
Ole Miss offensive tackle Bobby Massie was expected by many pundits to be a second-round pick after a standout junior campaign, and the 6'6" 316-pounder spent much of Friday as the top player on ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper's list of the best available players.
However, even with the premium placed on quality offensive linemen, it appears that either there's an off-the-field or medical issue that we haven't heard of or many NFL teams disagree with the assertion made earlier this week by Massie's agent that Massie is "the best right tackle in this year’s draft class, bar none.”
Regardless of the reason for Massie's fall, it's hard to imagine that he'll last much longer, and some NFL team may be getting quite the steal when one finally rolls the dice on the burly blocker.
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
After a 2011 season in which he ran for over 1,200 yards, Miami running back Lamar Miller entered draft season as a borderline first-round prospect.
It also didn't seem that the 5'11" 212-pound back damaged his stock when he ran the 40-yard dash in under 4.4 seconds for scouts.
At the very least, it was believed that Miller would be the first Hurricanes player selected, but that honor went to defensive end Olivier Vernon, and much like Massie, this unexpected drop makes one wonder if there's a hidden red flag of which we're not aware.
Orson Charles, TE, Georgia
With athletic tight ends that are essentially really big wideouts more en vogue than ever in the National Football League, it wasn't believed that Georgia tight end Orson Charles would last past the draft's second day after a junior season in which the 6'2", 251-pound pass-catcher reeled in 45 passes, scored five times and earned first team All-SEC honors.
Charles wasn't the greatest run blocker in the world in Athens, but he showed solid strength at February's NFL scouting combine with 35 reps on the bench press, and it's more than a little puzzling that he remains available heading into the fourth round.
Ronnell Lewis, DE/OLB, Oklahoma
Oklahoma defensive end Ronnell Lewis was a first-team All Big 12 selection in 2011, as the 6'2" 253-pound junior tallied 60 tackles, 5.5 sacks, a forced fumble and an interception.
It appeared that Lewis only helped his draft day cause with a strong showing at February's combine.
Lewis bulked up just to get to 253 pounds, so he would seem to be best suited as a "tweener" or 3-4 outside linebacker at the professional level. Add to that the fact that Lewis' relatively low sack totals portend better skills as a run stuffer than pass-rusher and the cause of Lewis' slide could well be the lack of sizzle on this particular steak.
Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was the Big Ten defensive back of the year in 2011, and although the hard-hitting 5'10", 204-pound senior didn't post big numbers last season, that was largely an effect of opposing quarterbacks avoiding Dennard altogether.
However, the offseason has been nothing short of an absolute disaster for Dennard, and it's no huge surprise that after a horrible showing at the Senior Bowl and so-so combine that Dennard's recent arrest for assaulting a police officer set the stage for a draft day plunge.
It's also true that any capable defensive back has value in today's pass-wacky NFL, however, and given Dennard's tackling skills and coverage abilities, he should at the very least provide a team with depth in the secondary.