2012 NFL Draft: Players That Will Be Drafted Sooner Than You Think

Reuben Randle Patriots Draft

Reuben Randle may be drafted before you think. (Photo: ICON SMI)

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

Every April a handful of prospects end up going much higher than originally thought. Often times we refer to them as “reaches” or players who were unworthy of their draft spot.

This list isnt’t to identify reaches, but more so to identify players who will go higher than they are being talked about right now. I expect a lot of the players on this list to rise before the draft rolls around.

*This list is in no particular order.

LSU WR Rueben Randle
Randle’s combination of size and athleticism is something that is always coveted high in the draft. With WRs like Jeffery and Floyd unlikely to light the track on fire in Indy, it could open up for a WR to pass them on teams boards.

If Randle posts a low time and shows good route running, he could move into the first round mix. He wasn’t able to make a huge impact in LSU’s offense due to poor QB play. People seem to be giving Alshon Jeffery a pass because of that and Randle should get the same. He’s a borderline first round pick right now and could be solidily in there by April.

Oregon RB LaMichael James
A lot of the mocks I have seen have him as a late 3rd-4th round pick. While that ma ybe where he should end up, players like James tend to go much higher. I can see a team falling in love with his home run ability and drafting him high in the second round to be their “gadget back”.

Dexter McCluster went at the beginning of the second round. James in my opinion is a much better all around player. His speed, ability to catch the ball and special teams capability will have some team willing to take him high.

Iowa OT Riley Reiff
Reiff’s stock is already sky high. However with so many teams at the top of the draft needing OT I can see Reiff going as high as #3 in the draft. I have heard rumors that the Vikings are going to do everything they can to make sure they get one of the top OT in the draft. With Matt Kalil likely going off the board at #2, I could see the Vikings pulling the trigger on Reiff at #3.

Boise State DL/LB Shea McClellin
McClellin played DE in college at Boise State, but was moved to MLB at the Senior Bowl. While McClellin looked unnatural at first, he got better as the week went on. I have heard great things about his work ethic and coach ability. McClellin can play DE, OLB and MLB. I would say he is a more polished Dane Fletcher and can see McClellin going as high as round 3.

After the top 3-4 MLB the board thins out. If McClellin impresses teams at the combine and at work outs he will move up the ILB board.

Alabama DT Josh Chapman
Chapman is a player who isn’t flashy, didn’t put up big stats and is coming off a torn ACL. No way he would go that high, right? Wrong, Chapman is very highly thought of in NFL circles. I have him as the best pure NT in the draft. His able to anchor the LOS and play against the run, is some of the best in the draft.

He also played the final eight games with a torn ACL in the SEC, which is pretty incredible. I think Chapman goes mid-second round easily, regardless if he has a torn ACL or not. He is simply a brick house who a team can plug and play at NT the minute he steps foot on the practice field.

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4 Responses to “2012 NFL Draft: Players That Will Be Drafted Sooner Than You Think”

  1. Mike J says:

    I think Nigel Bradham will go higher than folks think. Also, teammate, CB Mike Harris.

  2. Ken W says:

    I really like Derek Wolfe also. Just wondering what you guys think of him? Think he could be a pretty good DE for the pats.

  3. Ken W says:

    Just checked out some youtube clips of Sammy Brown and Keenan Robinson. I liked what I saw and wouldn’t mind either one of these guys in the middle rounds. Streeter would be interesting but don’t think he fits the patriot mold and don’t think pats would draft him.

  4. Wes says:

    In terms of gong after players who have had injury problems, I can see the Patriots go after Boykin. Seems like he could contribute right away. Another player I am surprised not listed in this column is Notre Dame SS Harrison Smith. Very smart player, with great ball hawking skills. Seems like a good fit if Barron was not available.

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