Top 50 NFL Draft Prospects
The final phase of scouting for the 2012 begins this week with the combine. Now that the season is complete as are all the All Star games, it's time to revisit and reshuffle the big board. Here are the fifty players expected to impact the initial two rounds of April's draft. Luck has been the top NFL prospect in the nation for almost two years and nothing has changed. He'll be the first player selected in the draft and the Indianapolis Colts will barely notice the bump in the road as they transition from the Peyton Manning era.
Kalil's pass protection skills are on a par with former Trojan great and All Pro tackle Tony Boselli. The junior needs to improve his run blocking yet possesses all the skills necessary to be a big time left tackle in the NFL.
Richardson is the most complete running back in this draft and likely the only first round pick from the position. He's a versatile ball carrier that also positively effects the game as a pass catcher. The junior has the skills to immediately produce as a rookie in the NFL.
Griffin has the misfortune of being in a draft which includes Andrew Luck, the best quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning. Despite this he's a legitimate franchise signal caller and a great combination of athleticism, arm strength and maturity.
The top senior on this list is a pure dominator that can play several spots on the defensive line. He's a man amongst boys when on his game, but scouts question Coples intensity on an every down basis.
His game was NFL ready last year but Blackmon decided to return to school to improve his skills as well as work on his degree. Blackmon matured last season as a player and person and his game on the field reminds many of Terrell Owens.
Though not the athlete of former LSU star Patrick Peterson, the fifth pick in last April's draft, scouts think Claiborne is more polished in his ball skills. The junior has the ability to develop into a number one corner for an NFL franchise.
Reiff is a tremendous pass blocking left tackle though many scouts think could shift to the right side. He possesses the footwork, body type and wherewithal to break into a starting line-up early into his rookie career.
Wright was the top recipient of passes coming from the arm of Robert Griffin and scouts love his game. He's a legitimate field stretcher with polished receiver skills. Wright's name sits atop the wide out position on a number of draft boards around the league.
Few defensive prospects raised their game and draft stock as did Ingram last season. He's a playmaker that stands out in almost every aspect of the defense with his ability to make plays behind the line of scrimmage or out to the flanks.
Andrew Luck's top blocker has been the dominant force on Stanford's offensive line the past two seasons. He's rightfully being compared to All Pro Steve Hutchinson and offers potential in a variety of NFL blocking schemes.
Brockers capped off a tremendous sophomore season with an awesome showing in the national title game. He's an explosive interior lineman that eats up blocks and collapses the pocket.
Kirkpatrick is a feisty corner that physically beats down opponents to defend passes. He possesses outstanding size, continues to display improved ball skills and projects as a number one cornerback in the NFL.
Cox is one of the hidden values at the defensive line position. Scouts feel he's one of the few three down defenders and offers the ability to play as many as four different positions on the defensive line.
Upshaw was the feared pass rusher in Alabama's suffocating defense and scouts expect much the same from him at the next level. The lingering question is which position will Upshaw play at the next level; outside linebacker? Defensive end? Both?
Floyd opted to return to Notre Dame for his senior season and that choice is paying off for the big wide out. He's a game controlling receiver and the go-to guy that cannot be stopped. Floyd is not a field stretcher rather a large target that consistently comes away with the reception.
Adams returned to the Buckeye line-up after missing seven games last season due to suspension then played inspired football. He's a terrific pass protector at 330-pounds with the strength to overwhelm defenders when run blocking.
Brown is a terrific athlete that's been a consistent force for the Tar Heels. He's a three down linebacker that stuffs the run or easily defends running backs and tight ends in coverage.
Martin is an athletic tackle that protected Andrew Luck's blind side on a weekly basis. He's rough around the edges and needs to complete his game yet comes with a big upside.
The Trojan underclassman is a pass rushing terror that combines quickness and speed to harass opposing quarterbacks. He offers tremendous potential and can stand up over tackle or be used out of a three point stance.
Still is a nuts and bolts type of defender in the middle of the line. He's explosive, tough and does the little things well. Still is not a player-maker with eye popping production rather a steady lineman that won't make many mistakes.
Kuechly offers some of the best instincts of any prospect in this draft. He possesses almost a sixth sense on the field and makes up for deficient size/speed numbers with intelligent play.
Konz is the best center prospect in the draft since Nick Mangold was selected in the first round of the 2006 event. He's powerful at the point of attack as an inline blocker and takes defenders from the action blocking on the move.
A force in the middle of the Tides defense, Hightower is a dominant run defender that controls the action in the box. He quickly makes waste of blockers and stop ball carriers dead in their tracks. More of a two-down defender, Hightower can be a liability in coverage.
Barron performed brilliantly as a senior at Alabama after a tough campaign in 2010. He's a dominant run defender that does not get enough credit for his coverage skills. Recent hernia surgery will set Barron back but he'll quickly produce in the NFL once at full health.
Poe is a massive defender that easily moves his body around the field, making plays behind the line of scrimmage or out to the flanks. He offers a tremendous amount of upside potential and has the ability to play in a variety of defensive systems.
Red flags have been raised recently on Jeffery yet he's still a quality prospect. The big bodied receiver has the ability to out-jump or out-muscle defenders and consistently comes away with the tough reception.
Glenn has been an impressive offensive line prospect scouts have watched the past three years and he continues to improve his game. He's a big-bodied lineman that excels as a pass protector and run blocker. The ability to line-up at right tackle or offensive guard further enhances Glenn's attractiveness to NFL teams.
The Aggies senior has been much talked about in recent months and his draft stock has been all over the map. He's a talented athlete that grew as a passer in '11 and a quarterback prospect that offers a large upside.
The former Gator proved his worth to NFL scouts at the Senior Bowl and is fighting for a position in the late part of round one. He's a talented cornerback that shuts down opponents with regularity.
Curry harassed quarterbacks for three years playing at Marshall and is one of the best pass rushers in this draft. He's athletic, fluid and exceptionally quick. Whether Curry lines up at outside linebacker or defensive end all depends on how fast he runs at the combine.
Mercilus is yet another pass rusher that graces the top part of the draft. He came out of nowhere in 2011 and was omnipresent behind the line of scrimmage. He's another that projects to multiple positions in the defense.
The LSU junior could be the most underrated receiver in the draft. He's a tall wide out with deceptive speed and the ability to beat defenders down the field or in underneath coverage. His game is not as polished as many of the top receivers in the class yet Randle comes with a large upside.
Allen is shorter than some of the elite tight ends in the NFL yet his physical skills and pass catching abilities measure up with the best. He's a natural receiver that consistently gets downfield and creates mismatches in the opponents secondary.
Martin is a complete back that beats opponents carrying the ball, catching it out of the backfield or stopping opponents cold as a blocker. He's not as physically gifted as many of the junior running backs available in April but the attention to detail will have Martin off the board early in round two.
Thompson is the top player from a talented Clemson defense. He's a penetrating tackle that opponents struggle to stop from the snap of the ball. He's also well like by scouts for his ability to lead by example.
Miller offers tremendous ball carrying skills and home run hitting speed. He has the ability to quickly get through running lanes then take it the distance. Miller needs a little more experience yet comes with big time potential.
Gilmore has the makings of a fast riser in the draft if he turns in good workouts at the combine. He's a speedy cornerback with developing ball skills and a prospect with unlimited potential.
Teams that need a dependable possession receiver will look to Sanu in the second frame. He's well built, resilient and constantly comes away with the difficult catch in a crowd.
Ta'amu turned a lot of heads during the Senior Bowl and is well thought of in the scouting community. He's a powerful plugger that can line up at defensive tackle or on the nose.
Fleener is a tremendous pass catching tight end that moves around the field like a large possession wide out. He possesses reliable hands and a body that should only get bigger and stronger in the future.
Branch is the next in a long line of athletic pass rushers that have come from the Clemson program. He forcefully makes plays behind the line of scrimmage and easily chases the action in pursuit. Like many of his predecessors from the school, many question his every down intensity.
Wagner is possibly the most underappreciated linebacker in the draft. He combines instincts, athleticism and passionate play to stop opponents. Wagner also offers the potential to play in a variety of defensive systems at the next level.
Osemele was a fine left tackle for Iowa State that exceeded expectations on the field. He possesses the skill set to move to the strong side and offers the body type for offensive guard. Wherever he ends up Osemele should be a productive starter in the NFL.
Dennard consistently shut down opponents in college but a poor week of practices at the Senior Bowl has caused his draft stock to plummet. He needs to run fast at the combine or a move to safety could be in the offing.
Boykin is a solid cover corner whose game has been moving North since September. He offers elite speed which he uses to shut down opponents or break games open returning punts.
The junior is an explosive interior lineman that consistently penetrates the line of scrimmage then makes plays in the backfield. Worthy offers starting potential for the next level yet must attend to the details of his position and consistently play with proper mechanics.
Weeden was the arm behind Oklahoma State's lethal passing game. He offers what every NFL team wants in a starting quarterback but will turn 29 years of age during the '12 season, which has some franchises looking away from him.
Wilson turned in a career season with the Hokies and hopes to cash in during the draft. He's a game breaking back that can immediately switch gears and run away from opponents. Wilson is not the most instinctive ball carrier yet comes with a lot of potential.
Burfict, once considered a top ten selection, has taken a big tumble down draft boards. He's a dominant defender at the top of his game but Burfict was plagued with inconsistency, poor decision making and a lack of maturity much of last season.