NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed
Every year, we have “our guys” in the NFL Draft.
They’re the guys we will go to bat for in every argument, the guys that we have ranked higher and expect more out of. The guys that you want your name associated with ten years down the line when they are All-Pros or at least quality players drafted in the late rounds.
I’m a big fan of this draft class in general, so it was very difficult whittling down the list to just ten. On each one of these guys, I have a good, gut feeling about as pros that I’ll throw my reputation on the line for.
Here are my ten favorite players in the 2012 Draft sorted by position:
Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
He may be just 5-10, but he has a high release point that nullifies that to some degree. The most impressive thing about Wilson is what is upstairs. Wilson went from a west coast offense at NC State to a pro style offense at Wisconsin and had no problem picking it up in weeks. Wilson is also an incredible athlete who was drafted by the Colorado Rockies as a second baseman. Wilson’s accuracy, arm strength and poise in the pocket further sets him apart. Despite his size, I think Wilson can be a starter in the NFL. Wilson is at his best when he gets outside of the pocket and uses his athleticism and skills in throwing on the move. His 4.5 speed shows on tape when he decides to tuck the ball and run as well. Wilson is a high character guy and a true team leader.
Marvin Jones, WR, California
Jones is probably the guy I’m the most associated with in this class. He impressed me immediately at the Senior Bowl, and all those skills were still there when I went back and checked his game tape. I’d put Jones among the top five WRs in both route running and hands. He’s got deceptive speed and does a great job tracking the ball in the air and then going up and getting it. His footwork and over exaggerated movements in his routes are what really set him apart for me. He’s also a high character guy, who I got to speak with extensively who’s a smart player and comes from the Cal pro style offense. He can break down plays and coverages better than any other WR I talked to this draft season. He never flashed great physical play at Cal, but bulking up in the NFL is common for WRs. I compare him to a young Chad Johnson.
Jeff Allen, OT/OG, Illinois
At 6-4 flat, he’d be an undersized tackle, especially left tackle, in the NFL, but he has the skills to beat the odds. He’s one of the best pass blockers in the draft and shows off great athleticism. Allen could probably afford to bulk up a little bit, which would help him transition to guard in the NFL, or at least become a better run blocker. If a team gives him a chance at left tackle, he could really surprise some people, but at the very least he could be an immediate starter at guard or right tackle. I think Allen could be a surprise 2nd round pick with a weak tackle class after Kalil, Reiff, Martin, Glenn and Adams.
Go to page 2 for my favorite defensive players.