From Tim Tebow in 2010 to Michael Vick in 2001, there are certain college prospects we just can't take our eyes off of and can't wait to see at the next level. Featuring the most-heralded quarterback prospect in years this draft is no different.
In a draft highlighting Andrew Luck, here are the most exciting athletes entering the 2012 NFL Draft.
Andrew Luck is the most-heralded quarterback prospect since John Elway. Taking a quarterback with the top overall pick can be an inexact science (JaMarcus Russell, anyone?), but as far as prospects go, Luck seems like a sure thing.
Luck has the prototypical size and skill. He has the athleticism and toughness to make plays when the going gets tough and plays break down. At Stanford he continues to play in a coach’s system (Jim Harbaugh) that has turned around a proud NFL franchise. To top it off, he is the son of a coach, so he was raised talking football at the dinner table.
For my money John Elway is the greatest quarterback of all time. Obviously Luck has some serious work to do to get that level. Still, it seems the question is not “will he be good,” but rather “how good will he be?”
Robert Griffin III just might be the most intriguing player in the NFL draft.
RG3 has unreal athleticism and runs a 4.5 40-yard dash. For a good portion of the season, he had more touchdowns than incomplete passes. If prospects were based solely on statistics, he would be the top pick in the draft over Andrew Luck.
In spite of the college success, Griffin is raw in terms of NFL standards. In an ideal world Griffin would be drafted by a team with a veteran quarterback that can hold down the fort for a year or two, maybe three. If Griffin is thrown into the fire, he could develop bad habits by relying too much on his athleticism and not on quarterback skills.
Right now, Richardson is a man amongst boys and can choose to go around or through his opponents. At the next level his speed (4.5 40) is good but not elite. To be great Richardson needs to concentrate on taking all that weight room strength and delivering the blow to his opponents as a power back.
LaMar Miller has the best 40-yard dash time in the draft, tied with LaMichael James. Where he differs from James is that Miller has an NFL body at 215 pounds, and could easily get to 220 without losing a step.
Miller will probably be taken behind Trent Richardson near the end of the first round, but could turn out to be the better pro. On the season Miller is averaging over 100 yards per game on nearly six yards per rush with six touchdowns.
Quinton Coples might be the most dominant physical specimen on the line since Mario Williams. The North Carolina product checks in a tad smaller than Williams at 6’6,” 285 pounds, and runs and a touch slower with a 4.76 40-yard dash.
Coples has played both end and tackle at UNC, but is projected as a defensive end and will likely be the top defensive player drafted. By moving into the interior this year, Coples' stats have taken a dip, though he still is an impact player. Playing end in 2010, Coples had ten sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss.
Of all the receiving prospects in the draft, I like Alshon Jeffrey the best. A lot of scouts and mock drafts have Justin Blackmon as the top prospect at the position, but I disagree.
At 6’1”, 210 pounds, with a 4.5 40-yard dash time, Blackmon checks in as a Michael Crabtree clone. Both were extremely productive college wideouts with well over 100 catches in their final two college seasons. Blackmon and Crabtree are also the highest-rated receiving prospects I can remember without one physical attribute that jumps off the page, whether it be speed or size.
In three NFL seasons Crabtree has yet to equal the 134 catches he had in 2007. Crabtree is a decent player, but has hardly been elite, and that is how I project Blackmon’s career will turn out. Give me two productive receivers with identical 40-yard dash times like Blackmon and Jeffrey, and I am drafting the taller, stronger guy 1,000 times out of 1,000.
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