Nebraska Football: 10 Potential Cornhusker Picks for the 2012 NFL Draft

Brandon CavanaughCorrespondent IMay 6, 2011

Nebraska Football: 10 Potential Cornhusker Picks for the 2012 NFL Draft

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    The 2011 NFL draft is in the books and Bo Pelini saw another one of his pupils yanked off of the board in the first round.

    Seven Cornhuskers in total would find themselves on pro rosters thanks to the yearly event.

    2012 doesn’t look to be any different as there are plenty of prospects on Nebraska’s roster that will very likely be in an NFL camp next year.

    This is assuming that sanity returns to the league and both sides realize that there’s literally billions of dollars to be made.

    Spoiler alert: They will.

    Which of the current Cornhusker crop will be signing NFL contracts come this time next year?

Jared Crick

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    Photo by Huskers.com
    Photo by Huskers.com

    2011 marks the final chapter in a career that saw Crick wreck offensive lines with current Detroit Lion Ndamukong Suh then step out of his shadow and hold his own last season.

    Now, he looks to solidify his legacy by lending his veteran leadership to Nebraska’s defensive line much like Suh did as a senior.

    Crick is considered one of the best defensive linemen in the FBS and will be off of the board during the first day of next year’s draft.

Alfonzo Dennard

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    The interesting thing about Dennard is that several people considering him an early pick if he would’ve come out of school early for this past draft.

    With another year of seasoning, he could very well be the best overall prospect at his position come 2012.

    He might suffer the same fate as Prince Amukamara as Big Ten offensive coordinators try to avoid his presence entirely.

    Dennard will make his opportunities count and his new conference mates should feel them as he brings a more physical presence than his former teammate.

Lavonte David

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    LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 30: Linebacker Lavonte David #4 tof the Nebraska Cornhuskers takes aim at quarterback Blaine Gabbert #11 of the Missouri Tigers during first half action of their game at Memorial Stadium on October 30, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebr
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    You’d have to go back to 1998 to find the last time two Cornhuskers were taken in the first round of the NFL draft (Grant Wistrom and Jason Peter), but it could very well happen again with Crick and Dennard.

    Could Nebraska have three players drafted in the first round for the first time since 1984?

    Thanks to Lavonte David, the Cornhuskers have as good of a chance as any.

    David’s ferocity, speed and freakish athleticism may make him too good to pass up late in the first round.

    He won’t last long on day two if he slips that far.

Terrence Moore

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    SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 18: Defensive tackle Terrence Moore #90 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers looks on during warmups prior to the game against the Washington Huskies on September 18, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Moore has been a pleasant surprise over the past two seasons.

    When you’re playing behind athletes like Suh and Crick, making enough of an impact to see any time is impressive.

    He eventually reached a point in 2010 where he was rotating heavily with Baker Steinkuhler opposite Crick.

    If Moore continues to progress, he might find himself leapfrogging Baker for the starting spot and it’s that kind of work ethic that will land you an NFL contract.

Jermarcus Hardrick

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    At 6’7” and 325 pounds, Hardrick has the opportunity to solidify a spot in the 2012 draft with a solid senior season.

    He hasn’t had the opportunity that other Nebraska offensive linemen have in that he’ll have only been in the system for two years due to him being a junior college transfer.

    Regardless, his size and blocking skills are enough to warrant a pick.

Brandon Kinnie

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    LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 13: Brandon Kinnie #84 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers runs after a catch against the Kansas Jayhawks during their game at Memorial Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska Defeated Kansas 20-3. (Photo by Eric Francis
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    Kinnie’s not a wide receiver that is going to wow you with elite speed, but he could make a solid living in the NFL as a possession receiver.

    He’s put together well at 6’3” and 225 pounds.

    His vertical leap along with those measurables makes him a valuable asset to any team.

    Kinnie will likely be picked up in the later rounds, but he could be a valuable selection after some polish.

Marcel Jones

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    Marcel Jones is this year’s Keith Williams.

    Williams was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers and is likely to provide depth in the coming years.

    His work ethic is unquestioned and he played through multiple injuries during his time as a Cornhusker.

    The exact same can be said for Jones.

    A team looking for a quality backup with appropriate size and the passion to get better would do well to scout Marcel.

Anthony Blue

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    SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 30:  Cornerback Anthony Blue #14 of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers celebrates after a defensive play during the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl against University of Arizona Wildcats on December 30, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San D
    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Blue is on the fence right now when it comes to selection.

    It’s unlikely that he’ll start for the Cornhuskers in 2011, at least right away.

    He’s not going to unseat Dennard, so he needs to give some of the younger corners a run for their money for playing time.

    If Blue can make take advantage of the snaps that he’s given and contribute to a turnover parade, he might find himself being drafted to the NFL rather than the UFL.

Austin Cassidy

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    SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 18: Safety Austin Cassidy #8 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers looks on during the game against the Washington Huskies on September 18, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    If Cassidy’s going to get picked up at all, it’s going to be because of what’s between his ears.

    He has quite possibly the best football mentality of the entire 2011 Nebraska defense.

    While he might not have amazing speed, he can play run support very well and reads a quarterback’s eyes with expert precision.

    If he were to be picked up by a franchise with a seventh round pick, the selection would be hard to argue.

Rex Burkhead

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    LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 13: Rex Burkhead #22 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers scores a touchdown during first half action of their game at Memorial Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska  (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    It seems natural to throw a junior that fans are worried to death about leaving for the NFL early into the mix.

    The good news is that in Burkhead’s case, it’s about as likely as Nebraska considering a move back to the Big 12 conference.

    If Burkhead did decide to skip his senior season, some franchise would select Nebraska’s current do-it-all back and likely on the draft’s second day.

    In the meantime, Cornhusker fans can (and will) thank their lucky stars that No. 22 is in their backfield.

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