2012 NFL Draft Big Board with Video Highlights
Fans across the country, from Washington to Arizona, are already looking ahead to the 2012 NFL draft as their teams fall out of playoff contention. For the fans of the Indianapolis Colts, they are one loss away from officially going on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick.
The NFL draft brings hope, promise and a fresh start for fans of struggling franchises. In places like Green Bay and San Francisco, the draft brings a chance to add more talent to an already loaded roster. This is what makes the draft a year-round process for fans, writers and scouts.
Today we update the Big Board, breaking down the top 50 players in the 2012 draft class.
*denotes player has declared for 2012 NFL draft as eligible underclassman
**denotes player expected to declare for 2012 NFL draft as eligible underclassman
50. Fletcher Cox, Defensive Tackle, Mississippi State*
Strengths: Has the ideal body type to make an easy transition to the 3-4 defensive end position that's very much in demand. Plays with great leverage. Could shoot up boards.
Weaknesses: Has just average production. Lacks the burst to be as effective playing inside and may be limited to teams running a 3-4 set.
49. Brandon Jenkins, Outside Linebacker, Florida State**
Strengths: An impressive athlete who jumped off 2010 film. Great upside as pass-rusher.
Weaknesses: Production has not matched hype or athleticism. Struggling with double-teams.
48. Ronnell Lewis, Outside Linebacker, Oklahoma**
Strengths: An athletic and talented pass-rusher, Lewis plays right end at Oklahoma but has the skill set to make the drop to outside linebacker in a 3-4 set as an edge pass-rusher.
Weaknesses: Injuries have plagued Lewis' career. He's struggled to stay on the field and could benefit from a healthy season before jumping to the NFL.
47. Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, Texas A&M
Strengths: A very live arm and upper-level mobility; able to make plays outside the pocket.
Weaknesses: Only in his second year as a starter, Tannehill lacks experience and pocket presence to help early in his career. His second-half play in games this season was a stark contrast to his first halves.
46. Rueben Randle, Wide Receiver, LSU**
Strengths: Has the size and strength to be an impact player in the NFL at the split end position. Is big enough to beat press coverage and does an excellent job going up to high-point the ball.
Weaknesses: Doesn't have elite speed and will have to answer questions about his ability to separate from NFL cornerbacks. Doesn't have a great feel for space on the field.
45. Billy Winn, Defensive End, Boise State
Strengths: Excellent motor with the body and strength to play on the end of the line in a 3-4 defense. Winn could also see himself playing three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 set. Very versatile.
Weaknesses: Is limited athletically and doesn't have the burst to be a pass-rusher from the edge. Will fit best when asked to plug gaps and set the edge.
44. Dwayne Allen, Tight End, Clemson
Strengths: A pure pass-catcher but an improving blocker, Allen is a plug-and-play tight end.
Weaknesses: Isn't an explosive player and will drop due to that lack of burst.
43. E.J. Manuel, Quarterback, Florida State**
Strengths: A great athlete who has the arm to make every NFL throw you could think of. Can make defenses pay if he gets outside the pocket.
Weaknesses: Just one year as a full-time starter. Manuel hasn't shown the ability to break down a defense and is very raw as a passer.
42. Brandon Thompson, Defensive Tackle, Clemson
Strengths: A penetrator who can disrupt the backfield from an interior tackle position; Thompson has the chance to really shoot up the board in a weak defensive tackle class.
Weaknesses: Just average strength and technique. Thompson won't be a high-impact player early on.
41. Jerel Worthy, Defensive Tackle, Michigan State
Strengths: Worthy passes the eyeball test. Has the numbers of a top-15 player.
Weaknesses: Worthy has not shown the production to match his talent. He lacks effort.
40. Vinny Curry, Defensive End, Marshall
Strengths: Curry has the ideal size and burst for a pass-rusher once in the NFL. Had great production at defensive end and was impressive beating tackles off the edge.
Weaknesses: Curry may be a man without a position. Is he a 40-system end or 30-scheme linebacker?
39. Mark Barron, Strong Safety, Alabama
Strengths: Barron is a hard-hitting safety with great vision and aggression. Loves to separate receivers from the ball and is a menace in the middle of the field.
Weaknesses: Barron lacks the elite burst and flexibility to flip in coverage or make a break on the ball.
38. Nick Perry, Defensive End, USC*
Strengths: A big, strong defensive end with great burst off the line and the athletic ability to be a factor at end or outside linebacker.
Weaknesses: Can struggle coming off blocks and may struggle to find his place at outside linebacker if asked to drop into coverage.
37. Dont'a Hightower, Inside Linebacker, Alabama**
Strengths: An instinctive linebacker with solid between-the-hashes agility and great vision to track the football.
Weaknesses: Is a limited athlete who will be best served playing the TED position in a 3-4 defense.
36. Nick Foles, Quarterback, Arizona
Strengths: Has a big, live arm and can spread the football around to every corner of the field. Excels at throwing timing routes and pressing the ball vertically.
Weaknesses: Played in a scheme that inflated his accuracy numbers. Will need to learn how to read a defense and call out audibles.
35. Dontari Poe, Nose Tackle, Memphis*
Strengths: Ideal size and strength to play nose tackle. Gets great leverage at snap.
Weaknesses: Doesn't bring much to the table in pursuit or penetration. Purely a two-gap plug at nose tackle.
34. Janoris Jenkins, Cornerback, North Alabama
Strengths: A very talented press corner who is aggressive, tough and has the quickness to bail from the line and run with receivers. An impressive athlete.
Weaknesses: Dismissed from the University of Florida after multiple drug arrests. Character is a major issue for Jenkins.
33. Alex Okafor, Defensive End, Texas**
Strengths: A great athlete at the position who has moved back and forth between outside linebacker and defensive end. Very versatile.
Weaknesses: Has limited production outside of a very good 2011 season. Needs more work before he's NFL-ready.
32. Mohamed Sanu, Wide Receiver, Rutgers**
Mohamed Sanu is an exceptional athlete with dynamic skills for the NFL today. He's big enough to handle being an outside receiver but has the quickness and agility to move inside to the slot and also work in motion. Could make an impact from multiple spots on the field and is NFL-ready.
For all Sanu's athletic ability, he won't time very fast when the NFL scouting combine comes around. During the 2010 season Sanu struggled with injuries, and he has shown just one season of great production.
31. Chris Polk, Running Back, Washington**
A big, strong running back with exceptional burst in the open field. Polk has great vision and can handle the ball between the tackles. He has shown good ability on screen passes to catch with his hands, turn and get up the field in a hurry. Polk is very talented and is quickly rising on my board.
Polk's injury history can be worrisome. He missed the 2008 season and had arthroscopic knee surgery before the 2011 season began. If he checks out healthy, he's a first-round talent and a featured back.
30. Nick Toon, Wide Receiver, Wisconsin
Nick Toon has NFL size and immediately passes the eyeball test with a thick frame and big, strong hands. His father, Al, was a record-setting wide receiver in the NFL. Toon has great ability to separate at the line, uses his frame well to shield off defenders and is consistent in bringing the ball in with his hands. He's a good route runner and would be an ideal option in a West Coast offense.
Many will point out that Toon is not a deep threat and doesn't have blazing speed. Both true. He's also battled injuries over the last two seasons and struggled with production during the 2010 season. Plays in a run-first offense that has limited his exposure.
29. Quinton Coples, Defensive End, North Carolina
Quinton Coples is a versatile defender who has played both defensive end and defensive tackle at North Carolina. Has good size and build to play left or right defensive end. Coples has shown very good strength to pop the offensive tackle and rock him off the line. Most notably, Coples is very strong and will show up well in workouts.
Has not always shown the speed and flexibility to be a consistent pass-rusher on the edge. Coples has not been as productive as other top defensive ends. Coples hasn't shown elite agility, particularly lateral agility, and may struggle in space and in pursuit. Does not show much change of direction ability. Questionable flexibility. I like him much more as a left defensive end than as a pass-rusher off the right side.
28. Orson Charles, Tight End, Georgia**
Orson Charles is a great athlete at the position and a proven receiver down the field. He's able to get off the line cleanly, has potential as a blocker and can be a matchup nightmare against slower linebackers or smaller defensive backs. Charles will benefit from the production of Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski this season as copycat NFL teams look to find their own athletic tight ends.
Hasn't been asked to block much and will need to learn angles and leverage. Is a bit undersized at 240 lbs and could be asked to bulk up once he gets in the NFL. Charles will struggle initially to beat the jams of NFL defensive ends and linebackers at the line of scrimmage. May be a passing-down tight end more along the lines of Aaron Hernandez than an all-around threat like Gronkowski.
27. Kendall Wright, Wide Receiver, Baylor
Kendall Wright is a dynamic receiver who could contribute early in the slot or at flanker, depending on the offense. Wright isn't the type of guy who will line up at split end, where he would have to play on the line of scrimmage.
Wright brings great speed to the position and could even be a contributor on special teams as a return man early in his career. He projects very well to a DeSean Jackson-like skill set.
Wright is undersized and will be asked to line up mostly in the slot. At 5'10" and 190 lbs he will struggle to beat press coverage and will need to be used by an innovative offensive coordinator who isn't afraid to move Wright around on the field to find the best matchups.
26. Devon Still, Defensive Tackle, Penn State
Devon Still brings an interesting skill set to the NFL. He's aggressive and has the burst to penetrate against guards when placed in a three-technique position, but he's also strong enough to set the edge when in a five-technique. Still has great value as a 3-4 or 4-3 defender.
I see Still being drafted too early once the actual NFL draft gets here, as too many teams need defensive tackles and will reach to fill needs in his weak class at the position.
Good guard play will shut Still down on the inside. In the Wisconsin game he was held without impact by a smart scheme and a good guard in Kevin Zeitler. Still can't afford to have a down game or practice at the Senior Bowl. With a weak defensive tackle class, he could see his stock rest on his performance in Mobile.
25. Luke Kuechly, Inside Linebacker, Boston College**
Luke Kuechly is among the most productive tacklers in college football. Is a smart player with good vision. Kuechly is a read-and-react player who excels when he can see the ball and track to it. Has good speed and can cover the entire field in pursuit. A high-character player with no black marks off the field.
Kuechly is undersized for the middle linebacker position. Could stand to add at least 10 lbs. Will need to play in a two-tackle system that protects him from blockers. Kuechly does not work well when fighting through traffic and can be countered on outside runs with strong downfield blocking.
His tackle stats are somewhat inflated, but the most concerning aspect of Kuechly's game is that he makes so many tackles five to 10 yards downfield. NFL coaches won't play a linebacker who can't cut through traffic and make plays at the line of scrimmage.
24. Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker, Alabama
Is a big-play linebacker who is seemingly always around the football. Courtney Upshaw has the size to line up either on the inside or outside in an NFL defense. Upshaw is very versatile and could be used much like a Terrell Suggs in multiple positions and alignments to find the best matchup against blockers. Is an able and willing blitzer from inside or outside. Can help some in coverage.
Upshaw does not always show the burst at the snap to drive blockers off the ball when blitzing. I also wonder how well Upshaw will play outside the Alabama defense that is loaded with NFL talent. Upshaw lacks elite speed and could struggle to play in space against NFL speed. When considering Upshaw for an NFL scheme, he is a much better fit in the 3-4 defense than the 4-3.
23. Jared Crick, Defensive End, Nebraska
Jared Crick has the ideal size and strength to play either inside on a 40 defense or outside in a 30 system. Crick is highly productive as a college player. Has the burst to play either inside or outside along the offensive line. Crick is a very good athlete with the flexibility and leverage to be a factor as a rookie.
A torn pectoral muscle has Crick out for the season and his pre-draft workouts in question. Crick hasn't shown the same ability playing without Ndamukong Suh beside him at defensive tackle. Can disappear at times against strong offensive tackles.
22. Whitney Mercilus, Defensive End, Illinois**
A very good athlete who has some potential as a right defensive end in a 40 scheme or an outside pass-rusher in a 30 set, Whitney Mercilus is one of the fastest rising players in the pre-draft scene.
He has good quickness off the ball and uses his hands well to disengage from blockers. Mercilus is relentless in pursuit and has the flexibility to turn the corner and get to the quarterback. One thing that separates Mercilus from some of the other defensive end/outside linebacker hybrids in this class is his strength. He's great at ripping off blockers and coming clean to make the tackle.
Has more raw athletic ability than solid fundamentals. Mercilus is a work in progress but brings the size, speed and agility that NFL general managers will be looking for as they try to find the next Aldon Smith or Von Miller.
21. Peter Konz, Center, Wisconsin**
Peter Konz is an elite center with experience running a pro-style offense as well as a shotgun system at Wisconsin. Konz has ideal size for the position and is quick enough to get out in space and work to the second level in blocking. Konz is quick out of the snap and does a good job transitioning from snap to block. Has quick hands and does not show delay after snap in punching.
Konz missed the last month of the season with an injury. The long-term status of this injury is unknown, but Konz is expected back for the team's bowl game. Konz may also be seen as too tall (6'5") for some offenses that feature shorter quarterbacks and could see a move to guard in these systems.
20. Mike Adams, Offensive Tackle, Ohio State
Mike Adams has the build and body lean of an elite left tackle. He's big enough to handle power rushers but has good agility and surprising quickness in space. He's able to come out of a two- or three-point stance and kick out to pick up pass-rushers on the corner. Adams comes to the NFL ready to start at left tackle, but he also has the size and strength to make a move to right tackle.
Adams missed five games this season due to suspension after receiving tattoos in exchange for autographs. This may be seen as a character concern in some NFL locker rooms.
Adams' footwork can be inconsistent—too often he'll set his feet too soon and get beat with a strong counter move. This is something that NFL coaches can correct if Adams responds to coaching.
19. Alfonzo Dennard, Cornerback, Nebraska
Alfonzo Dennard has been great in press coverage, often lining up on or near the line of scrimmage and being asked to control the receiver at the snap. He's strong at the point of attack and is finally showing the aggressive style of play that was missing earlier this season.
Dennard isn't physically imposing, but his leaping ability more than makes up for his lack of height. He's a great fit in press schemes.
Missed time early this season with injury and then struggled in his return. Dennard's height will be something brought up often in the pre-draft run. He's just 5'10" and doesn't have elite speed (4.49). His overall athletic ability is something we'll be watching closely at the Senior Bowl.
18. Melvin Ingram, Defensive End, South Carolina
Melvin Ingram is a versatile defender who can play in space or in-line. Ingram has good size and bulk and fills out his 275-lb frame well. Has good speed and burst off the line of scrimmage, with the agility to make plays in space. Ingram is strong at the point of attack and has the vision to read and react from either the end or outside linebacker position.
Ingram is a player without a true position. Could be benefiting from elite talent around him on the South Carolina defensive line. Ingram may not have the quickness to keep up with backs and tight ends if expected to play in space and may lack the strength to stay in-line.
17. Cordy Glenn, Offensive Tackle, Georgia
Cordy Glenn has shown the versatility to play guard and tackle at the next level. At 6'5" and 350 lbs, Glenn has a massive frame coupled with surprising agility and quickness off the ball. He shows a good kick-step from the tackle position and has shown this season he can play in space. Glenn is a very patient blocker who doesn't overextend. He is a powerful drive blocker off the line of scrimmage from both guard and tackle.
Glenn can be inconsistent in his quickness out of his stance. As a taller player, he struggles to maintain his pad height and will get too high at times. Gets off the ball late too often, which could be either technical or a concentration issue.
16. Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame
Since dropping weight before 2011 season, Michael Floyd has shown renewed burst and explosion in his routes. Floyd has prototypical size and route-running ability for the NFL. He has quick feet and very good balance. During the 2011 season, Floyd's route running has been much improved, as has his burst off the line of scrimmage and concentration. He has the size to box out defenders when running slants and ins.
Floyd has several black marks on his report today. He's had trouble with injuries twice, with arrests and with other off-field character issues. Three alcohol-related arrests in two years should cause concern among NFL teams. Floyd has average straight-line speed and will struggle against quicker cornerbacks in NFL. Can be inconsistent as a receiver and will drop easy catches too often.
15. Vontaze Burfict, Inside Linebacker, Arizona State**
Vontaze Burfict is a freakish athlete with the size and speed of an NFL linebacker. Burfict has excellent vision from the MIKE position and does a great job tracking the ball side-to-side. Has the speed to run in space and make plays from behind. Does a good job blitzing from "A" gaps and has the strength to push past blockers on the inside. Has experience dropping into coverage and is able to come up with interceptions.
Burfict is a violent and aggressive tackler who throws himself into run support. Can fight through traffic to make the play. He shows excellent burst from the snap and has ideal recovery speed, as he plays much faster than timed.
Burfict's greatest weakness is also a strength. His inability to control his aggression leads to overplaying the ball at times and penalties for late hits. Some scouts and teams may remove Burfict from their board for his reckless style of play. Once harnessed, could be a dangerous player in the middle of the field. However, much like Jimmy Smith and Ryan Mallett in the 2011 draft, Burfict needs to be drafted into the right locker room and right system to succeed.
14. Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback, South Carolina**
Stephon Gilmore is a true four-down player. He has ability to come up and play the run, excels in coverage and doubles as a return man. Gilmore plays mostly in a zone coverage for South Carolina and has the quickness to plant and drive on the ball.
Gilmore grades highest among all eligible cornerbacks in run support and is a very aggressive tackler. Is a threat to make plays after interceptions and has been a factor with the ball in his hands both on defense and special teams.
Limited experience in man coverage and may lack strength to knock receivers off the ball. Will need to be taught press technique if drafted into that system. May time poorly in 40-yard dash and doesn't show the same elite straight-line speed as other cornerbacks.
13. Dre Kirkpatrick, Cornerback, Alabama**
Dre Kirkpatrick is a tall cornerback with good range and the height to high-point the ball against taller wide receivers. Kirkpatrick has ideal size for man coverage and is very physical on the boundary, both in coverage and against the run. Has good hips and shows the agility to flip his hips and run with receivers. Has good enough speed but is not a burner. Has been used on corner blitzes and is productive here.
Is only a second-year starter who can be inconsistent at times. Kirkpatrick has questionable foot speed and can be beat off the break in routes. Kirkpatrick can be too weak against the run and will drop his eyes, showing poor form. Can be overaggressive when in press coverage and will be beat off the ball by experienced receivers.
12. Jonathan Martin, Offensive Tackle, Stanford**
Jonathan Martin is as solid as they come at left tackle. He has good feet and lateral agility to wall off defensive ends and the quickness to jump out in space and take on an outside pass rush. Martin plays with a wide base and has shown he can anchor the edge against either the pass rush or in the run game.
Tall and lean, has the look of a tight end on film. Has the length to reach defenders at the second level and in space. Martin plays with a mean streak that will help him transition to the pounding of the NFL.
For all his good qualities, Martin will most likely test as an average athlete. He has struggled with upper-body strength and consistency sustaining blocks in the past, although he has looked slightly better in 2011. Martin hasn't shown the strength to lock on and drive block, but does do a nice job keeping his feet moving.
11. Riley Reiff, Offensive Tackle, Iowa**
Riley Reiff is a big, athletic offensive tackle who passes the eyeball test on the left side. He's long, lean and solid without much loose fat. Reiff has elite lateral agility and quickness, showing good foot speed and balance when working to get out in space against edge rushers. Is strong enough to drop his weight and become a power blocker in the run game. Hip flexibility, arm length and feet are all upper-level.
Reiff was arrested in 2008 but has since avoided trouble. Reiff is very sound but doesn't always show elite quickness off the ball and could stand to add strength to help with inside power rushers. He may see a move to the right side, especially if drafted into a zone scheme.
10. Zach Brown, Outside Linebacker, North Carolina
A two-sport standout for the North Carolina football and track teams, Zach Brown is an elite athlete. On film, he shows the agility, speed, strength and quickness of an instant contributor at the NFL level. Has been clocked in the high 4.2 range in the 40-yard dash by UNC coaches.
Brown has the speed and agility to help in coverage and could be a better pass-rusher than North Carolina has asked him to be. Brown has good hands and is coachable enough to become an asset in coverage.
Brown excels mostly due to his athleticism. A classic freelancer who struggles to read and react to the play. Can be beaten on play-action and misdirection plays. Is very raw as a pass-rusher and may not contribute in this area once in the NFL. Relies too often on pure speed and lacks technique to rush passer and drop into coverage.
9. David DeCastro, Offensive Guard, Stanford**
A highly decorated right guard who has excelled in a pro-style offense at Stanford, David DeCastro is as accomplished as any guard in the country. Stanford loves to pull DeCastro, and he has the speed and balance to be a factor in space. He has textbook technique and is tough enough to handle the pounding an NFL guard will take. As a Stanford student, DeCastro is highly intelligent.
There are not many weaknesses here. DeCastro can overextend at times and will get beaten if he tries to stand up and hand fight with defensive tackles. Is a bit light for the position and may struggle when facing larger defenders in the NFL. As good as DeCastro is in space, he does not have top-level foot speed.
8. Lamar Miller, Running Back, Miami (FL)*
A two-year starter with little wear and tear, Lamar Miller is a complete and powerful running back with three-down ability. Miller shows exceptional burst from the backfield and does not hesitate or pause when attacking the line of scrimmage. While showing great burst, he's also a patient runner who can let his blockers develop on the outside.
A very good receiver who has the ability to make plays out of the backfield or lined up in a slot position. Could help as a return man. Elite, LeSean McCoy-level agility. Surprisingly violent in attacking tacklers.
Can be too aggressive approaching the line of scrimmage and will run into blockers. Can forget to cover up the ball with both hands when running through the line. Is not much of a blocker yet. Relies on his speed too much and can be guilty of cutting back instead of falling forward to take yards.
7. Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State*
Justin Blackmon has a chiseled frame that is loaded with muscle. He passes the eyeball test and has the frame of an NFL wide receiver. Blackmon has exceptional strength for the job and will not be jammed at the line by NFL cornerbacks.
With good hands and run after catch skills, Blackmon is dangerous on short to intermediate routes where he can use his frame to box out defenders. Has been used both outside and in the slot and is comfortable with both. Would be used best in a West Coast offense that lets him work off the line of scrimmage and does not ask him to separate downfield.
Blackmon may not time as well athletically as other wide receivers. Is limited in straight-line speed on film and can struggle to get separation. Was arrested for misdemeanor DUI in October 2010 and suspended for one game. Suffered a high left ankle sprain in 2010 against Kansas that has shown no ill effects.
The biggest issue on the field is that Blackmon does not have elite speed to separate in his route. Has not seen many elite cornerbacks in the Big 12. Blackmon can drop easy passes and has been known to fumble.
6. Alshon Jeffery, Wide Receiver, South Carolina**
Alshon Jeffery has the size, speed and athleticism to stand out among the best players in the country. Jeffery's size and strength jump off the film at you. He's strong at the point of attack and can get off a jam at the line of scrimmage. Has the height and length to high-point the ball over even tall cornerbacks. Has long legs and a thick frame. Good agility to work in and out of breaks. Shows some ability to make plays after the catch and is a strong, powerful runner.
His production is not on a level with other top wide receivers, but this is due more to a lack of sound quarterback play. Is not a player with much quickness or burst but has to build up to his top speed. There are rumors that Jeffery has had trouble managing his weight and conditioning.
5. Morris Claiborne, Cornerback, LSU**
With added weight this summer, Morris Claiborne has the size and speed to be a lockdown cornerback in the NFL. A former wide receiver, Claiborne has a mix of athleticism and intelligence on the edge, giving him an advantage over most wide receivers.
Claiborne has the size, quick feet and reach to make an impact early in his NFL career as a cover man. Playing in a pro-style defense, Claiborne is ready to step into a man-cover scheme in the NFL. Is very willing in run support and has been used on blitzes. Is a strong tackler.
Claiborne has limited experience in zone coverage and could take time to learn a new scheme. There are few negatives to point out, but one would be that Claiborne gives too much of a cushion at times and can be inconsistent in his alignment.
4. Matt Kalil, Offensive Tackle, USC*
Matt Kalil is an elite athlete with the quickness, balance and lateral agility to step in as a left tackle right away at the next level. Kalil has ideal size and strength, with good length and quickness for the position. Switched to left tackle in 2010 and became an immediate impact player. He has experience on both the left and right side.
Kalil is quick and agile, showing the balance and flexibility of an elite prospect. He is an accomplished pass protector coming from a pro-style offense. Kalil has every trait of an elite tackle and should be an immediate upper-level starter in the NFL. Would have ranked as my No. 1 offensive tackle last year had he been eligible.
Just a two-year starter at left tackle, so there is still learning to be done. Kalil doesn't show a ton of burst off the snap, but so far this hasn't been an issue for him in blocking. May need to add strength at the NFL level, depending on the scheme he's drafted into. Can be stiff in his movement, especially in space and when getting out in front of the run game.
3. Trent Richardson, Running Back, Alabama**
Trent Richardson is college football's most productive and talented running back. Coming from a pro-style offense at Alabama, Richardson is asked to be a runner, receiver and blocker. Has the ideal frame, with big legs and a powerful upper body, to play in the NFL.
Richardson has been timed in the 4.4 range in the 40-yard dash and is much quicker than he appears initially. Is an accomplished receiver and blocker who could contribute early on third downs. Is just a first-year starter after sharing carries with Mark Ingram and has relatively little wear. Is a strong, powerful runner who will break tackles but also has elite agility to cut back and change direction.
Richardson can show limited vision at times and will lose yards when looking for cutback, but this is doesn't happen consistently. He doesn't have game-breaking speed to run away from defenses once he hits daylight. As complete of a prospect at running back as I've seen, so there's not much to pick on here.
2. Robert Griffin III, Quarterback, Baylor**
Robert Griffin III is a dangerous player both as a passer and a runner. Has running back speed and moves in the open field but is a skilled and productive passer both from the pocket and on the move. Griffin has improved as a passer dramatically over the last three seasons. Enters the end of his junior year with over 70 percent of passes being completed.
Griffin has the arm strength to put the ball on a line when throwing outside the hashes and downfield. Top-notch arm strength is there, but he also has the touch and accuracy to throw a catchable ball over the middle. I've heard complaints about his mechanics, but since the 2011 season started, I have not seen any issues in his delivery or release.
Playing with limited offensive talent, Griffin will too often press or force throws out of frustration. Is listed at 6'2", and some question this measurement. Will take hits in the pocket and the open field too often. Like most college quarterbacks, he relies on coaches to make reads and adjust the play call.
1. Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Stanford*
Andrew Luck will leave Stanford as the most complete NFL draft prospect I have seen. Compared by many to a Peyton Manning or John Elway, Luck has lived up to high expectations and enormous pressure this season. Luck does it all—his accuracy is off the charts, he has more than enough arm strength to throw every pass and he has elite-level intelligence and field vision.
Luck is mobile and able to make throws on the move or tuck the ball and run. Is light on his feet in the pocket and does a great job moving up or out to find passing windows. Luck grades out at least a "9" in every category and is overall the gold standard for how a quarterback prospect should look.
There are fundamentally no weaknesses. To be picky, Luck doesn't have a rocket of an arm, and in 2011 he forced too many throws (probably trying to live up to expectations of perfection on every throw).