5 Reasons 2012 NFL Draft Will Be Most Exciting in Years
The College Football season is winding down while the draft-eligiible studs need to finish their final games strong to provide NFL teams good film.
There are separate story lines for each and every NFL draft but 2012 should resemble the high amount of talent in multiple positions that previous years have provided football fans. The depth of good players for this April will be greater than at least the past four drafts.
Here are specific reasons why the 2012 NFL Draft will be the most exciting since 2006 while not necessarily having the best crop of players long term.
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These corners aren't just good at covering receivers. Someone like Morris Claiborne can take punt returns and interceptions to the house. The LSU corner will have trouble living up to Patrick Peterson's return skills though.
Don't forget about two other SEC corners who are held in high regard: South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore and Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick. Former Florida stud Janoris Jenkins can go as high as the first round but his character issues will pose problems for potential suitors.
Offense will always be more exciting and it remains to be seen if the return aspect will be regarded as highly as before with the kickoffs moved up to the 35-yard line.
4. Pass Blockers and Pass Rushers
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The NFL game today is about trying to knock down the opponent's quarterback and keeping yours upright. With stud offensive tackles like Matt Kalil, Jonathan Martin and Riley Reiff among others, teams will get the opportunity to protect its quarterbacks.
The depth of the pass rushers is better than that of the top guys, maybe even prompting Bill Belichick to even invest in someone to get after the other team's thrower.
The elite left tackles outnumber the top pass rushers in the 2011 class but the NFL has many more dominant quarterback hunters than protectors.
While fans won't get as excited for linemen or outside linebackers, players like Aldon Smith for San Francisco have shown immediate impact for their teams.
3. Justin Blackmon, Alshon Jeffery Argument
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Oklahoma State's and South Carolina's top pass catchers aren't as highly touted as A.J. Green and Julio Jones from last season but it'll be interesting to see who goes ahead of the other in the 2011 NFL Draft. Green may have been selected two spots ahead of Jones but Atlanta gave up more to get Alabama's former receiver.
Those in favor of Alshon Jeffery cite SEC competition as Justin Blackmon supporters talk about his dominating statistics albeit in the Big 12.
Advantages for Blackmon include arguably better hands and route running while Jeffery is taller and is playing in a pro-style system.
The NFL Combine will likely determine which receiver is picked first. Jeffery will presumably get in better shape for the February competition and it'll be close as to which player runs the faster 40-yard dash.
2. Trent Richardson
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There have been running backs taken in the upper half of the first round over the past few drafts but none with the potential of Trent Richardson.
Running back is a position that can have rookies make a significant impact early and many teams could use a stud, well-rounded runner. The 2011 NFL Draft could see a contender trading up to take the Alabama product like San Diego did for Ryan Mathews in 2009.
Don't expect any franchise to mortgage its future similar to what the Falcons did for Richardson's former Crimson Tide teammate Julio Jones last draft but Richardson has the qualities to be the best overall runner in the NFL, discounting pass catching ability.
Richardson's hype hasn't been matched since Adrian Peterson was taken seventh overall in the 2007 Draft.
Many fans will get excited because at least half the teams in the NFL could use Richardson's talent in its backfield.
1. Quarterback Craze
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The 2011 NFL Draft has the most depth in the quarterback class since Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger were taken in 2004. This isn't to say that Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, Robert Griffin and Landry Jones will have the same success, but the four have the potential.
It should be noted that none of the previously mentioned players are seniors, but the stock for all will not be higher.
Every NFL team should have its future starter in place unless Washington, Seattle and Indianapolis wish to pass on the top four.
The talent in every NFL draft is good but greater excitement will be garnered when the top players involve many quarterbacks.