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2012 NFL Draft: College Players Who Will Have an Immediate Impact in the NFL

George WrighsterGuest ColumnistNovember 16, 2011

2012 NFL Draft: College Players Who Will Have an Immediate Impact in the NFL

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    Every year the NFL draft is littered with players with amazing physical attributes who have a ton of "potential." Potential is worth nothing in the NFL until it starts producing results.

    Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Patrick Peterson, Von Miller and Aldon Smith are a few of the rookies who have picked up right where they left off in college.

    The NFL Draft is an inexact science so sometimes teams and "experts" get it all wrong. You no longer have to rely on them. I am here to help you sort through the mess.

    As usual, don't be mad at me; the facts are the facts. Leave a comment.

LB Dont'a Hightower: Alabama

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    Standing 6'4", 260 pounds, Hightower has the size of a defensive end with freakish athleticism. He is fast, powerful and has great instincts.

    Expect him to be in the opening day lineup wherever he is drafted.

WR/KR Joe Adams: Arkansas

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    Adams is a decent receiver, but his biggest impact in the NFL will be on special teams. He has proven to be a dynamic return man in college.

    When a player is a great returner in college, it typically translates well to the NFL game. 

WR Alshon Jeffery: South Carolina

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    Imagine Brandon Marshall, now imagine him with good hands (sorry BM fans, but he does drop a lot of passes every year).

    Jeffery is big, fast and strong. He needs to improve his route running a little, but what he lacks in route running he more than makes up for in playmaking.

    You see the type of impact Julio Jones is having with the Falcons? Jeffery will have a similar rookie year.

TE Dwayne Allen: Clemson

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    I know good tight ends when I see one, and Allen is a good one. He is a natural ball catcher, and catches the ball with his hands.

    When Clemson needs a play in crunch time, No. 83 is usually the number they call. He is NFL-ready.

S John Boyett: Oregon

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    Boyett is a junior and will likely return to Oregon for his senior season. He is a hard-hitting safety that has the athleticism to be good in pass coverage. As a sophomore he was an All American and has kept up his play this season.

    Boyett is very similar to a safety who played at Oregon a few years ago, Patrick Chung, and he will make an immediate impact on whatever team drafts him. 

OT Matt Kalil

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    He is following in a long line of great USC offensive tackles. This guy could be the second coming of Tony Boselli.

    Kalil is 6'7", 300 pounds with feet like a ballerina. Any quarterback will be happy with him as a first pick.

WR Justin Blackmon: Oklahoma State

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    Imagine if you made a carbon copy of Dez Bryant and left off a little breakaway speed; you would be left with a great receiver named Justin Blackmon.

    He is the most physical of all this year's receivers and will make a big splash his rookie year. Blackmon looks like a man playing with boys when DBs try to tackle him. He has great hands and an affinity for making big plays.

    In addition to being a carbon copy of Dez Bryant on the football field, I have a feeling you can expect similar off-the-field issues.

CB Morris Claiborne: LSU

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    Think Patrick Peterson.

    Morris Claiborne is a shutdown corner. He has good size, speed and toughness. He plays the ball more than the receiver, which is the sign of a great corner. If the ball is thrown his way, he reacts like the ball was thrown to him.

    He will make some NFL defensive coordinator a happy man. 

QB Matt Barkley: USC

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    The question has been asked, "Is Barkley better than Andrew Luck?" For most people this question has a simple answer: no.

    Which QB makes a better pro remains to be seen, but either way you can't go wrong. Barkley could be the best of the recent USC signal-callers in the NFL.

RB Trent Richardson: Alabama

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    Even with Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram still at Alabama last year, many would argue Richardson was the best running back on the team.

    Richardson does not possess breakaway speed, but he is fast enough. If you add up his vision, elusiveness and power it will be hard for any team to keep him off the field as a rookie.

    Expect 1,000 yards in his rookie campaign.

WR Michael Floyd: Notre Dame

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    Floyd could be every bit as good as A.J. Green is in this his rookie season. He had a few legal issues last year, but if he can keep himself on the right path he will make a name for himself early in his NFL career.

    Of the three receivers on this list, he could be the best. I see a little Larry Fitzgerald in him.

DE Jared Crick: Nebraska

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    Crick is a football All-American and an Academic All-American. He is an intelligent player, so he will pick up an NFL defense easily.

    The player I would compare him to would be Kyle Vanden Bosch. He is a high motor, high energy player that is disruptive on every play.

    Nebraska is known to put out great defensive linemen. Crick will add to the list.

QB Andrew Luck: Stanford

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    Andrew Luck is the "golden boy" of college football. He can do no wrong, and you can't find anything wrong with him either. He can make every throw and carries his team.

    Stanford does run the football a lot, but they would throw more if they had even one receiver who was worthy of making an NFL team. Luck is so impressive that the Colts (who will likely have the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft) will mostly likely select him even though they have Peyton Manning.

    There will be a lot of maneuvering behind the scenes to see who gets Luck at the No. 1 pick. We could be looking at the next "Herschel Walker" trade. 

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