South Carolina vs. Arkansas: A Look at the Teams' Top 2012 NFL Draft Prospects

Johnathan CaceCorrespondent INovember 4, 2011

COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 17:  Wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey #1 of the South Carolina Gamecocks grabs a warmup pass against the Navy Midshipmen September 17, 2011 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

In the most forgotten game of the week, No. 7 Arkansas takes on No. 9 South Carolina in what should be a very entertaining matchup.

But more than that, this game will feature a bunch of future NFL players.

Everyone knows about super freshman Jadeveon Clowney, the most touted high school defensive end in years, and sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore, who was in the running with Trent Richardson to win the SEC rushing title before suffering a season-ending injury.

But what about the players you could see as early as next year? There are plenty of those too.

According to Scouts Inc.’s Todd McShay, the two top players both play for South Carolina.

Receiver Alshon Jeffery hasn’t had the same statistical season he had last year where he had over 1,500 receiving yards, but without Tori Gurley and Stephen Garcia, he is the only threat South Carolina has in the passing game.

Jeffery is one of the biggest receivers in the draft at 6’4”, 232 lbs but lacks the acceleration necessary to become a top-10 pick. He has been clutch throughout his entire career, and teams definitely like that about him.

Defensive end Melvin Ingram is the next highest rated player and for good reason. He has done just about everything for South Carolina from sacking the quarterback to getting interceptions and fumbles, and he even ran a fake punt in for a touchdown.

He is on the shorter side for linemen at 6’2”, but at 272 lbs he can match up with just about anyone. His motor is constantly running, but all of his sacks this year have come against Vanderbilt and Auburn, so he needs to prove that he can get by better, more experienced offensive tackles.

For Arkansas, realistically only one player can crack the first round—receiver Jarius Wright. In a very crowded receiving corps, Wright has separated himself this year, averaging 16.1 yards per reception including an incredible 281-yard game against Texas A&M.

The biggest knock on him is his height. At 5’10” he isn’t the biggest guy on the field, but he has over 2,500 yards on his career, including seven touchdowns just this year.

Jake Bequette could also crack the first round as a defensive end, but his production this year was cut short by an injury that cost him three games, including the Razorbacks' lone loss to Alabama.

If he impresses in the combine, his stock could rise dramatically, but NFL teams don’t typically like players who are recently coming off an injury.