NFL Draft 2012: The 5 Biggest Free Falls of This Year's Draft
"Well, IF they draft me."
It would be difficult to put it better than Andrew Luck did in his interview with ESPN. Even when you know when and where you'll be drafted, you never really KNOW.
For all the projections, predictions and everything you read/hear from the so-called experts, the NFL draft is a fickle beast. It is difficult to truly predict where a player is going to go and when/if he will even be selected.
For every starry-eyed prospect who gets to hug Roger Goodell on national TV, there is a somber athlete squirming in his seat, waiting for that coveted phone call.
For some, that phone call never comes; for others, it comes way later than they ever expected. It can be difficult to say why a player falls in the draft. Sometimes, it's character concerns, while other times it is medical history.
And some players are just simply overlooked.
No matter the reason, the players never enjoy it.
5. Courtney Upshaw, OLB/DE; Round 2, Pick No. 35 (Baltimore Ravens)
Courtney Upshaw now carries the stigma as the only member of the BCS national champion Alabama Crimson Tide to be selected outside the first round.
Seen as the second-best pass-rusher in this draft behind Melvin Ingram, Upshaw was projected to easily join his Alabama teammates among Thursday night's selections.
Upshaw was eventually selected in the second round by the Baltimore Ravens, but only after much speculation as to why it happened that way.
Granted, he was still 35th overall, but it has got to sting that the Ravens traded several spots down out of the first round to select him.
Frankly, it is a head-scratcher that the Houston Texans let the BCS title game MVP slip by them.
Somebody is going to have a chip on their shoulder this season.
Reason for the Fall: Lack of ability in coverage hurt scouts' perception of Upshaw; small size may have led Houston to pass on him for Whitney Mercilus.
4. Cordy Glenn, OT; Round 2, Pick No. 4 (Buffalo Bills)
Cordy Glenn projected as the draft's third-best tackle behind stud Matt Kalil and Riley Reiff. It seemed likely that Glenn would be selected by some team in the first round.
He took a slight tumble instead to join the Buffalo Bills in Round 2, giving them an incredible value selection. Most puzzling about Glenn's fall is that the Browns drafted Mitchell Schwartz over him.
This isn't quite a Jimmy Clausen-type fall, but Glenn did get undervalued in this draft.
Reasons for the Fall: Most teams' first-round needs were at other positions and an excess of lower-round offensive linemen likely led to Glenn's drop.
3. Zebrie Sanders, OT; Round 5, Pick No. 144 (Buffalo Bills)
Once again, the Buffalo Bills rescued an offensive tackle in a free fall.
This time, it was prospect Zebrie Sanders out of Florida State University.
Sanders was projected as a third-round pick on most boards, and with good reason; at 6'6'' and 330 pounds, Sanders is athletic and extremely strong. He is a good blocker who is willing to play either offensive tackle position.
Somehow, Sanders fell to the middle of the fifth round despite good measurables and no known character issues.
Reasons for the Fall: Unknown; likely a snowball effect of his non-selection.
2. Bobby Massie, OT; Round 4, Pick No. 112 (Arizona Cardinals)
Rated the sixth-best offensive tackle in the 2012 draft class by NFLDraftscout.com, Bobby Massie was a projected second-round pick and instant starter in the NFL.
Somehow, he took a skydive down into the fourth round, where the Arizona Cardinals eventually decided he was too good to pass up with that value.
It makes little sense as to why Massie fell as far as he did, and he will now be out to prove teams wrong.
Reasons for the Fall: Unknown
1. Lamar Miller, RB; Round 4, Pick No. 97 (Miami Dolphins)
Lamar Miller is an electric, playmaking runner who happened to be the fastest running back in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Despite the drop in running back value in recent seasons, Miller was projected as a second-rounder with a chance to sneak into the bottom of the first.
Instead, every team in the league passed up on Miller for three rounds until he was finally available to the Miami Dolphins with the second pick in Round 4, ensuring that the Miami product would stay in his college city.
As far as pure talent goes, Miller's drop is inexplicable, and he will make a solid addition to the rebuilding Miami offense at a far lower cost.
He must be breathing a sigh of relief.
Reason for the Fall: NFL teams were concerned with his medical history. Uncertainty about his previous knee and shoulder injuries led some teams to wipe Miller off their boards altogether. If he gets hurt, the fall is justified; if he stays healthy, 31 teams are going to regret this.
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