NFL Draft 2012: Projecting the Top Rookie Playmakers

David Levin@@davidlevin71Senior Writer IIJanuary 7, 2012

NFL Draft 2012: Projecting the Top Rookie Playmakers

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    While the NFL playoffs are heating up the cold fall afternoons, the NFL draft is also making causing some serious discussion over who will be the next "hot" playmaker.

    Size, speed, intangibles—they are all being considered. Who will break out and prove they were worthy of the Top 10, or who can surprise and show that some teams just missed out on a great opportunity?

    In 2006, 32 teams passed on Maurice Jones-Drew in the first round. Big mistake. Jones-Drew wears the No. 32 to remind him that those 32 teams missed out on a great product. And now, the Jaguars are reaping those benefits.

    While some draft prospects don't have the grade they used to when the college football season began, for whatever reason, they can still play and, most of all, score.

    Here is a look at five college standouts who could be the top playmakers out of this rookie class.

Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State

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    He could be the most exciting receiver to come out of the draft since Calvin Johnson.

    Blackmon does not have blazing speed (4.54 in the 40), but he gets great separation from defensive backs, and at 6'1", he appears to be a nice target in the red zone.

    Blackmon should be the first receiver off the board this year, most likely to either St. Louis or Minnesota, who both need a receiver to add to their passing games.

Robert Griffin III, Quarterback, Baylor

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    Who will we compare him to?

    Michael Vick? Steve Young? Randall Cunningham? Tim Tebow?

    Griffin has a good, strong arm and is as mobile as any player in this draft. Where he is selected will determine how he is used in the NFL as a quarterback. He could be in Cleveland with the fourth selection or in Washington where they need a quarterback and some excitement in the offense.

    He could fall to ninth overall and Miami could land him, which would be interesting with Reggie Bush and Brandon Marshall already on this team.

    Wherever he is drafted, he will provide offense.

Jeff Demps, Running Back/Receiver, Florida

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    I put him on this list because he could be instant offense for some team that takes a flier on him in the third or fourth round.

    At 5'8" and 191 pounds, he is a lot like Warrick Dunn, who had a pretty good career in the NFL as a small back out of FSU.

    Demps can run, catch and aid in the return game. He also proved on a mediocre Gators team this year that he was one of a handful of bright spots.

    Whoever drafts him will benefit from his 4.26 40-yard speed.

Michael Floyd, Receiver, Notre Dame

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    At 6'3" and 224 pounds, Floyd is one of the bigger receivers coming out in this draft.

    Hopefully size and speed will mean more scoring opportunities.

    While Justin Blackmon has clearly become the top choice on everyone's draft board at this position, Floyd can do many things in an offense as an outside threat and a nice target in the red zone.

    He could be the one player who moves up on draft boards in the days before and the day of the draft. And when all is said and done, he could be the best receiver coming out of this draft class.

T.Y. Hilton, Receiver, Florida International

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    I have been high on him all season.

    When you go into a draft, it is not necessarily the top pick in your draft class that makes the list special. This could be case with Hilton.

    At 5'10" and 184 pounds, he is not the "prototypical" receiver all scouts and coaches drool over. But he is a nice dependable receiver who could surprise with 4.48 speed and will be used in the slot and on the outside.

    While New England uses Wes Welker and New Orleans uses Lance Moore across the middle, Hilton could be used in that same capacity.


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