This weekend will mark the third official week of college football.
As we assimilate back into the fever that is football season, I don't think it is ever too early to start making projections for the NFL Draft.
I mean, everyone else is already trying to project bowl games and the NFL playoff picture, so why not look to the draft as well.
I think that going into the 2012 draft, fans should be excited to go back to a draft free of a media controversy surrounding any lockouts or legal battles. For this coming draft we can simply focus on football—the way it should be.
Because it's so early in the 2011 college season, it is difficult to project who will get drafted and when. However, it is interesting to look at projected first-round picks and explore whether or not they really are first round material.
Here are three projected first-round picks that won't be seen that way at the end of the 2011 season.
Lamar Miller is a sophomore running back out of Miami.
He is considered one of the top RB prospects for the 2012 draft at this point, but things could change as the season goes on.
In 2010, Miller put up some decent numbers. He ran for 646 yards on 108 carries for six touchdowns. While his number of touchdowns isn't astounding by any means, his yards per carry average is very respectable.
The two things working against Miller going into the draft are his lack of experience and the lack of NFL need for RBs.
Being that Miller is only a sophomore, he's only got one season under his belt as of right now. So far, he's on pace to reach the same statistical level he played last season, but if he wants to raise his draft stock, he'll need to raise the bar a little higher.
The NFL has really evolved into a passing league. The last few Super Bowl teams aren't built around a run game. That's not to say that rushing teams can't win, it just goes to show that a team can have success without spending a lot of money on a RB.
Miller may be one of the more talented RBs in the 2012 draft, but the need for his services may be less than expected. He is easily a second or third-round pick, simply because of lack of experience and lack of need.
Mark Ingram, who won the Heisman Trophy, slid almost all the way to the end of the first round—and he was the first RB selected. Ingram, who is a very talented player felt the sting that the NFL is no longer a rushing league, In my mind, Miller is nowhere near the value of Ingram, so that tells me that he probably isn't worth the first-round pick.
Oregon's Cliff Harris is considered a Top 15 talent and one of the best corners in college football.
In 2010, Harris totaled 30 tackles and six interceptions, taking one back for a score.
Though Harris has been one of Oregon's best players on defense, his trouble with the law will likely keep him off the field for most of his junior season.
Last June, Harris was suspended indefinitely from the team after receiving a citation for speeding, driving nearly 120 mph at 5 am just outside of Eugene, OR with two teammates in the car. This incident shows Harris' immaturity as he put both his life and the lives of two teammates in danger.
This incident isn't Harris' only offense either, and his bad decision making and bad attitude will likely hurt his draft stock significantly.
Harris has been compared to LSU star Patrick Peterson who was taken in the Top 10 of the 2011 draft. It's unfortunate, though, that Harris' off the field issues will keep him from ever being in the same league as Peterson.
Going into 2011, Michael Floyd was one of the premier receivers in the nation. Notre Dame was looking pretty solid and could actually have made a splash in college football once again.
Then they actually started playing, and lost two consecutive games to teams that they should have been able to handle.
I'm not going to put direct blame on Floyd, because the Irish's Achilles heel has really been their turnovers, but some more offensive production out of the receiver couldn't hurt either.
In 2010, Floyd had 79 receptions for 1025 yards and 12 touchdowns. This year, however, lazy routes and seemingly uninspired play could leave the junior receiver with much less production than what was hoped.
Floyd could have cemented himself as a first-round pick if he had a solid season this year, but now he just seems to be Randy Moss, but with a lot less talent.
He could still end up pulling himself out of this funk, but if he doesn't pull it together and produce, there is no way he goes in the first round. Notre Dame doesn't even need to win any significant bowl games for Floyd's value to recover, he just needs to look like he actually wants to play football.
Thanks for reading.