A Scout’s Take: 15 Thoughts on the 2012 NFL Draft

2012 NFL Scouting Combine

Mike talks NFL Combine and much more.

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

It is time again for my weekly “A Scout’s Take” column.

With the combine slated to start in two days here are 15 thoughts on the 2012 NFL Draft that I have had over the course of the last week:

1) With many of the big name QBs like Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Ryan Tannehill electing not to participate in throwing drills at the combine, it will give other QBs the chance to steal the spotlight in Indianapolis.

Two QBs who I am particularly excited to watch are Northern Illinois’ Chandler Harnish and Oregon’s Darron Thomas. While both players were “running” QBs while in college they are both better passers than they are given credit for in my opinion.

Thomas especially has some tools that scouts look for. He has good size at 6’3″ and has a very good throwing arm. He needs to pack on some weight and prove that he can be a pocket passer.

If both Harnish and Thomas show that they can make the throws at the combine and display good accuracy they could see a boost in their stock. At the very least they are both players I would take a chance on late in the draft as a developmental QB prospect.

2) This week I published my positional rankings and while doing them I got a sense for just truly how deep this draft is at the RB position. Teams usually shy away from drafting RBs high in the draft simply because they can be found in later rounds.

I would however consider Alabama RB Trent Richardson, who is the best RB to enter the draft since Adrian Peterson, an exception to the rule and would have no problem drafting Richardson in the top five. Aside from Richardson, I wouldn’t draft another RB in round one and would instead wait until later in the draft where there is going to be tremendous value at the position. Players like Lamar Miller, David Wilson, LaMichael James, Bernard Pierce, Doug Martin, Cyrus Gray and Chris Polk are all quality RBs who are likely to be available from the middle of round two until the middle of round four.

Not only is this RB class deep but, all the RBs have very different styles and bring different things to the table. Miller and David Wilson are the explosive home run hitters. Doug Martin is the rock solid, between the tackles RB. LaMichael James is that gadget back who teams will try to get the ball to anyway they can. Pierce has exceptional vision and balance. With so many NFL teams looking for different qualities in a RB the way theses RBs will be graded on team’s boards is going to vary. It will be fun to watch the order these guys come off the board in April.

3) While the RB back position is deep the WR position may be as deep as any position I can ever remember in one draft class. As of right now I have given 43 WRs draftable grades and that number may rise as the process goes one.

There will be a point in the draft where we will see a run on WRs. Somewhere between rounds 3-4 that run will happen and each one of these WRs is likely to be able to produce at the next level. The position is so deep this year that I have a player like Jeff Fuller ranked in the 20’s on my positional rankings. Fuller definitely has his questions-he’s not very explosive and has concentration and focus issues.

But in a normal year, Fuller would likely be ranked somewhere near the top ten due to his size and potential as an outside receiving threat. What makes the class really unique is the extraordinary number of slot WRs who will be drafted fairly high. Look for Rounds two and three to be littered with slot WRs. Guys like Joe Adams, TY Hilton, Jarius Wright, Eric Page and Devon Wylie are all slot type receivers who will go in that range. For teams that need WR help this is definitely the off-season to fix that problem.

4) Although I love to watch the 40 yard dash at the combine and everyone tunes into to see how fast their favorite prospect will ru,n I would love to see the NFL make a significant change to the event.

I really wish they would go through the effort and make the players run the 40 in full football pads. While it would be more work to get everyone padded it would give scouts and NFL teams a more realistic evaluation of how fast a player will be on the football field. It’s great if a WR can run a 4.3 forty, the problem is that same player may run a 4.6 in pads.

Some players are fast and some players are football fast. In terms of getting the pads all the players are able to get their pads shipped to the all-star games they play in so it wouldn’t be as tough logistically as people think. It just makes too much sense to make these guys work out in pads. It may be pipe dream but, it’s something myself and I’m sure many others would love to see.

5) The Indianapolis Colts own the #1 pick in the draft and will get Stanford QB Andrew Luck, but no team is in better position in this draft than the St. Louis Rams. The Rams already have their young franchise QB in Sam Bradford so they won’t be in on Baylor QB Robert Griffin III at all. This will allow them two options.

First, they could stay put and draft USC OT Matt Kalil who is rumored  to be the player they highly covet if they stay at #2. They drafted Baylor OT Jason Smith #2 in 2009 and within months of drafting Smith they knew he couldn’t play LT in the NFL. Kalil is on a completely different level than Jason Smith and is one of the best OT to enter the draft the last five years.

The second option for the Rams would be to put the pick on the market and sell it to the highest bidder. There will likely be a feeding frenzy from teams trying to trade up to get Griffin and the Rams could be the beneficiary of that. They have a huge need at LT and if they trade out of #2 they will definitely miss out on Kalil, but could also miss out on the other top tackles in the draft as well.

The Rams will have to make a decision. Do they take their future LT or trade down and acquire multiple assets for a team that has many holes. This will likely be the #1 story heading in the draft.

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4 Responses to “A Scout’s Take: 15 Thoughts on the 2012 NFL Draft”

  1. Jeff says:

    I don’t think the Rams would have to make as tough a decision as you think. They may very well have their cake and eat it too.

    If Cleveland is the one to trade, they’d most likely be giving both 1st rounders…the #4 pick and ATL’s. The #4 may lose them Kalil if Minn takes him, but they’d still have Reiff there at #4 who is almost the same, and if not, it’s about as slim a margin as you can get.

  2. gregory bishop says:

    I agree about running the 40 in pads, but you should do both with and without and see who has the smallest difference in the two times.

  3. TD says:

    While I would be all for getting Wallace, I don’t see BB tying up that much money in one grouping, WR. Welker is likely to get $8-9mil and Wallace would be close to that as well. If BB is going to put out big money to a FA, it would have to be a DE like Seymour in his prime.

    Also have to factor in a WR’s ability to read defenses and adjust. Branch is able to do that, but does not have the wheels anymore. My money would be on Lloyd coming here at between $3-5mil.

    Unless a really really good player drops to Pat’s, I see them moving completely out of round 1 and more into round 2 if this draft really is deep, especially at DB, OL and WR.

    • jim r says:

      I agree Welker and Carter to a lesser extent will cost you a few bucks. No high picks on WR’s round 3 or 4 they will get somebody. Other FA money will go to a safety/Corner or a WR. They just might get out of round 1 all together. If they stay An Offensive Linemen would not suprise me. They usually are safe picks.

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