Thursday, April 26, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: 1st Round in the Books

The 1st round has concluded, and it was the fastest 1st round in draft history, at just over 3 hours. Follow the link below for the complete recap of day one action.

Another note: Our 2012 Preseason NCAA Team by Team Previews start next week! Join us for every team, position by position!

2012 Draft: Vikings Take Kalil at #4

Minnesota has moved with the 4th pick of the draft and has taken OT Matt Kalil of USC. He will be the new LT for the Vikings, installed to cover the blind side of second year QB Christian Ponder.

Jacksonville has traded into the #5 spot in a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They are on the clock.

Browns Take Richardson at #3

Cleveland, as we had said earlier, has now drafted Alabama RB Trent Richardson with the 3rd pick. Minnesota is on the clock, and will draft either Matt Kalil or Morris Claiborne.

2012 NFL Draft

The Draft is underway in New York!

We already know that Andrew Luck of Stanford is going to the Colts at #1, and we also know that Robert Griffin is heading to Washington at #2.
#3 pick is going to Cleveland by way of trade with Minnesota, and it is highly belived that they will take Alabama RB Trent Richardson there.
Minnesota has the #4 selection by way of the trade with the Browns, and they are in talsk with Minnesota right now to trade down again. Updates coming...

Browns Trade to 3 Pick, Likely to Take Richardson

Cleveland traded a 3rd round pick and the #4 selection to the Vikings for the #3 overall selection after Tampa showed strong interest in drafting Trent Richardson in the #5 spot. Cleveland is now highly likely to announce that they will draft Richardson at #3 overall. Andrew Luck goes to the Colts at #1, while Robert Griffin heads to Washington at #2.

2012 NFL Draft: Bills, Chiefs, Seahawks, Cardinals Needs

Needs for the Buffalo, Kansas City, Seattle, and Arizona are now posted. We'll be posting throughout the day today, so stay tuned!

2012 NFL Draft: Bucs Needs

The Bucs have needs across the board, but have three primary needs on each side of the ball. With coaching change in place (Greg Schiano), Tampa could be an enigman come draft time.

Needs: DT, LB, CB, RT, RB, WR

Best Options

DT Devon Still, Fletcher Cox: Both are different fits, with Still being more of an outside threat, and Cox fitting best in a 3-4 setting. The Bucs are not happy with their current inside game of McCoy and Price, so a change is seen as needed here.

LB Luke Kuelchy: He's a machine, and the Bucs are really thin on talent at LB. Kuelchy would fit as an early leader and producer here for a unit that has nothing going for it right now.

CB Morris Claiborne: Ronde Barber is on his way out at 37, and the Bucs need a stable shut down corner. Claiborne would be a starter from day one, and comes from a an amazing defense. Major talent, would be hard to pass on.

RT Riley Reiff: Josh Freeman needs some help on the line, and Reiff would be a great fit, but not sure if this is the most pressing concern right now.

RB Trent Richardson: The starter right now is LaGarrette Blount. Enough said.

WR Kendall Wright: Freeman needs weapons, and he needs them now. Wright fits the bill, and has been screaming up the boards this offseason. A very nice fit.

I Pick: CB Morris Claiborne...This pick has been rumored for months, and Claiborne immediately replaces Barber. With Schiano's defensive mindset, this may make the most sense right now.

2012 Draft: Browns Needs

The Cleveland Browns are a team in need of many things all over the field on both sides of the ball, but wht they really need right now is someone who can ttack the field on offense, someone who can spread things out and give Colt McCoy any chance of succeeding, if they intend on sticking with him. Lets take a look at their team needs overall...

Needs: QB, LG, WR, RB, DE, CB

Best Options

QB Brandon Weeden: He has been flying up the charts in recent weeks, and has worked tirelessly in the offseason to raise his stock. I love the guy, and I think that he is a winner, but don't see him going this soon. Browns would be smart to see him drop tp the bottom of the round and take him with their latter 1st round selection.

OG David DeCastro: DeCastro is a monster of a guard, and is incredibly talented, but again, it's hard to see him going this soon. Smart money says let him fall, or trade down to acquire him.

WR Justin Blackmon: Blackmon is the stud of the receiver class. We had the Vikings considering him before letting him slide in favor of Kalil. The Browns should not make that choice for another pick.

RB Trent Richardson: The Browns need to replace Peyton Hillis, but not here. Richardson is not enough of a playmaker on his own to go out and change the Browns fortunes.

DE Quentin Coples: Coples could change the defense up front, but he could be had later. He's worth it here, but the need is for playmakers on offense.

CB Morris Claiborne: There is no doubt that the Browns need a guy like Claiborne, and it could be a painful choice between he or Blackmon.

I Pick: WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State...Blackmon is the guy that the Browns absolutely need. The offense is lacking big time playmakers, and Blackmon could be a star here right away.

2012 NFL Draft: Vikings Team Needs

The Minnesota Vikings are on the clock at #3, so lets take a quick look at their greatest needs for the 1st round.

Top Needs: LT, WR, Receiving RB

Charles Johnson was an abject disaster at LT last season, and with injury plagued Christian Ponder starting his second season (and first full season) at QB, someone needs to be covering his blind side, or he'll end up on his ass more than David Carr. Matt Kalil makes the most sense if the Vikings go in this direction. He is the top rated tackle in our 2012 Draft Prospectus, and he fits right in on the left side on day one.

If they go the WR route, nobody gets it done better than Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon. One of the better receivers to come out in the draft since Calvin Johnson, Blackmon is a do all type who makes plays on the perimeter, and also does all of the stuff away from the ball that you need in a top flight receiver, such as route running, defensive recognition, and blocking away from the ball.

If they go receiving RB, that would be a problem, as Trent Richardson has never been asked to be much of a receiver. You also still have Adrien Peterson and Toby Gerhart on the roster. Too crowded if you ask me. The best available receiving back would be Doug Martin, and he will not go at #3 in this draft.

Our choice: Matt Kalil, OT, USC

2012 NFL Draft Has Begun

The first two picks of the 2012 NFL Draft have already been made, and the draft is over 4 hours away. The Indianapolis Colts have made their selection (and likely did so months ago), and Andrew Luck of Stanford is their new franchise QB.
The Redskins have followed up by doing what we all felt they would, and selected Robert Griffin of Baylor with the second overall pick. This is the first time since 1999 that two QBs were selected to start the draft, when Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, and Akili Smith were all selected to start that draft.
We all pretty much know how that worked out...

For more draft info, and to see the order of today's 1st round, follow the link below. We will be blogging and updating all day as news progresses.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

2012 Preseason All-Big 10 Team

Here is a link to our annual preseason All-Big 10 team for 2012!

All ACC 2012 Preseason Team

Here is the first of our all-conference preseason teams for 2012. We begin with a look at our ACC team!

2012 NCAA Football Week One Schedules

The schedule for all FBS, FCS, and D2 Football games for week one is now posted! Please follow the link below to see the entire lineup for the first week of the 2012 College Football Season!

Our team by team previews begin in two weeks!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Jeff Long Makes the Right Choice For Arkansas

     Jeff Long had a very difficult decision to make over this past weekend. His head football coach, Bobby Petrino had been in a motorcycle accident, the details of which were sketchy at best, and this one careless accident created a growing shockwave that would lead to a moment in the spotlight for Athletic Director Jeff Long, one that he never would have wanted. Once the dust cloud settled from that momentus accident, and all of the information had become public, not always (or even often) by genuine means, Long was left with the unenviable task of making a decision to keep or fire Petrino. Some of us could look at the bare boned facts and make the initial decision based on cold logic that Petrino had to go. Others of us could look at the darker side of sports, and claim that Petrino should be saved for reasons that I'll explain later. Long, as it turned out, had one hell of a ponderous decision to make.
     Looking at this situation from top to bottom, you have to look at it for the facts first. On March 28, 2012, Bobby Petrino hired Jessica Dorrell, a former Arkansas student and volleyball player, as his new Student Athlete Development Coordinator. Her job was to help with recruiting and eligibility issues regarding incoming and current Arkansas football players. What was not known when this hiring occurred was that Dorrell and Petrino were already engaged in an affair. Dorrell is 25, and was engaged to the Arkansas Swimming and Diving Coach. Petrino is 51, married, and is the father of four. Dorrell was one of three finalists for the job out of 159 applicants for the position, and was hired much to fast to comply with the schools affirmative action hiring practices.
     We did not know any of this information, and would never have cared, if Bobby Petrino had not been involved in a motorcycle accident on April 1, 2012. This accident was called a single motorcycle accident, and according to a statement from the university, much of it coming from initial police reports and Bobby Petrino himself, no other individual was involved, much less injured. Petrino suffered a fractured vertabrae in his neck, and several other relatively minor injuries. The official statement from Arkansas regrding Petrino being the sole person involved in this accident came on April 2, 2012.
     On April 3, 2012, Petrino was released from the hospital, and returned to the university, which was in the midst of spring practice. He was wearing a bulky neck brace, and he met with the media. He admitted to not wearing a helmet, and conveniently remembered very little about the accident other than the sun shining in his eyes. I'm sure it was...
     On April 5th, the story took a strange turn, as a police report emerged stating that Petrino was not exactly alone, and Bobby was having a bit of convenient memory loss. It turns out that Bobby had a female passenger on the back of the bike that was not exactly his beloved spouse. Naughty Bobby had to come clean to his boss, as his memory fog cleared. He was indeed riding his bike with Dorrell, pictured below:

This little nugget of information leads this situation into a tumble. Jeff Long immediately (and rightly) places Petrino on paid administrative leave while he sets up a deeper investigation into the relationship between Dorrell and Petrino, and Tavar Johnson is named as the interim coach while the investigation takes place. Petrino released a statement to the press, but does not appear in person. His statement admits to an inappropriate relationship with Dorrell. Petrino did not exactly come to making this announcement all on his own, however. Twenty minutes before the police released their report of the accident, Petrino was tipped off by his personal bodyguard, a state trooper, about what would be in the report. Bobby had to come clean. Had the report reflected what Petrino wanted it to say, we'd still be in the dark about everything that happened. On April 6, the 911 call was released, where the person calling in to the authorities reported a female passenger that had been uninjured, leaving nothing more to be "foggy" about the situation.
     On April 10, after a long and grueling process of an investigation, and after speaking with the hierarchy of the administration at Arkansas, Long had come to a decision. A press conference was called for 7:15 that evening, and Long announced his intention to fire Bobby Petrino with cause. This was a decision that men like Long are hired to make, but nobody envies them of it. It could not have been as cut and dried, as simple as it may seem.
     There were more items that were released in regards to this situation, the more it painted Petrino as an over privilidged insolent child. He had given $20,000 in cash to Dorrell out of his own funding. He was carrying on with an affair that not only was an afront to his wife and four kids, but was also an afront to a fellow coach on staff who was engaged to Dorrell. Lives were wrecked on both sides, like they often are in situations like this.
     Petrino had initially lied to Long about his relationship with Dorrell. Even though the situation surrounding her hiring was far from normal. He lied to his boss about the accident, lied to his boss about the whole thing. That would get any normal employee terminated from employment.
      Here is why this decision was far from easy. First, as we live in a highly cynical society, was the fact that Arkansas was WINNING! Petrino took Arkansas to a BCS Bowl, had won 10 and 11 games the last two seasons. They were an early favorite to supplant Alabama and LSU in the SEC West this season.
     Money is a concern. According to reports, Arkansas has a collective value of 59% more than what is worth when the school hired Petrino in 2009. The school is constructing a new $40 million football facility. Season tickets are moving like crazy as Arkansas is in position to compete for a national title in 2012. Most of these mentioned issues would be tempting to any administartion to keep the embattled coach, despite the slime.
     What Long chose to do was (gulp) fire the cash cow. Long stated that no individual was bigger than the school or the program. In other words, in a world where the right thing rarely occurs, Long made the right choice. He chose a moral compass above and beyond winning at all costs. He chose a path so rarely travelled, that it was the first time that I can remember a decision in sports that didn't make me immediately feel as if I needed a shower. It was refreshing to see a man and an administration travel a course that could be looked up to by the very students and families that they represent, and who represent them in change. It certainly sent a message that Arkansas has taken the course of wanting to not only win, but win the right way, a way that they could be proud of.
     Petrino didn't do anything that we know of that would bring NCAA scrutiny to the front, but it was an open door to let Petrino do more down the road that would have created more damage to the reputation of an institution of higher learning. It's a lesson that has been learned far too many times by far too many current and former ADs to mention here.
     What Long chose to do was become a beacon for what should happen when coaches go renegade and start acting like petulant children. It could not have been easy, and I am sure to a large degree, Long feels empty and isolated. He had to tell his football players that their coach would not return, had to tell them to carry on despite this, and had to look at the broken hearts of kids that had vowed to follow Petrino into battle. He had to tell them all of this, all the time full knowing that their chances of competing for that national title may have very well taken a giant hit for reasons that had nothing to do with their performance as a team. That's not easy to do, and it would have been far too tempting to go the other way. Long took the hard road, which is usually the right one. In this case, it certainly was.
     Long had to explain to a rabid fan base that he made this decision, all the while knowing that it could damage prospects for this season and beyond. He had to ask them to understand and accept this. He had to, I am sure, take some shots from s strong base of donors, the suits and money bags that always enable people like Petrino. He had to tell them that while Petrino was gone, that they needed to move forward and tow the line. How comfortable do you think that this was for him?
     At the end, Long stated that he was committed to providing strong leadership to his student athletes. That being said, I say this: Well done Jeff Long! Not only is he providing said leadership, he is providing a fine example of a man who can lead from the right side of the road in an age where cynisism and winning at all costs has blinded us to right and wrong. He has provided a beacon of light in a dark time for our kids to look up to. He has provided a lesson for us all, that although it is never easy, doing the right thing is above all. Jeff Long certainly did that this week.

Friday, April 6, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Prospectus-Tight Ends

We contniue our look inside our 2012 NFL Draft Prospectus with a peak at our top 5 Tight Ends coming out of college. As always, you can read the entire report at, as we have profiled over 600 players eligible for this draft.

Tight Ends

If I am being honest, this is not a great class for the TE position in 2012, but hey, the TE, for the most part, has been a dying position in the NFL and in college football for a long while. As more teams go to multiple receiver sets, the TE, like the FB, is getting shut out of the mix more and more often, and coaches are forgetting how to coach the position in today's modernized offenses. There is a solid little group at the top of this lot, and then it's a drop.

The Top Prospects

#1, Dwayne Allen, Clemson
Allen is largely believed to be the best of this group by far this year, which may make him an early round, maybe even 1st round selection. In 41 games at Clemson, he caught 93 passes for 1079 yards and scored 12 times. He caught 50 passes in 2011 for 598 yards and scored 8 times, his best season as a Tiger by far. He caught 33 passes in 2010, and caught only 10 passes in 2009. He left after his junior season for this draft, and it's an interesting argument to say that he could really have dominated with one more season in college, but we'll have to go off of what we see now.
Pros: He is largely thought to be the best block/catch combo TE available. Solid TE size at 6-4 and 255 lbs listed. Despite his size, he moves very well, and is great in short bursts in the short to mid range passing game. Rarely drops passes, and has receiver caliber hands, and can make catches away from his body. Solid body control. Can block well at the point of attack, and also blocks well in traffic.
Cons: Not an elite talent as far as stretching the field. While he does have solid receiving skills, he is not a game changer, Tony Gonzalez typed receiver out of the position. He did not dominate at his position every season, leading me to believe that coming out as a junior was not the best decision for him. He'll need some time to develop into a real threat on the next level, and should not have much expected of him in his first season or two. He needs to be out on the slow cooker.
Overview: Really good, but not great, and did not really produce on a high level until his junior year, which he cashed in on and bolted afterwards. While he has potential, it would have been good to see him if he had two seasons in which to dominate instead of one, because it's hard to tell whether he was a flash in the pan or not. He'll be an early pick for a team that wants to feature the TE spot in their offense.

#2 Coby Fleener, Stanford
Other publications have called him overrated, but it's hard to ignore what Fleener did at Stanford during his career. Fleener became a favorite of Andrew Luck, and caught 22 career TD passes while racking up 96 grabs for 1543 yards for his career. He caught 34 passes in 2011 for 667 yards and 10 scores, while catching 28 passes for 434 yards in 2010, and 21 passes for 266 yards in 2009. He caught 13 passes his freshman season in 2008, and redshirted in 2007.
Pros: Big target at 6-6. He is a big play receiver. Need a 1st down? He'll get it. Need a big redzone score? He'll get it. LBs have trouble covering him, and DBs are not big enough to get the ball from him. Tough tackle down the field, and can move with the football. Is not limited as a mid-range receiver. You can line him up as a receiver and he's not out of place. Solid body control for a big guy, and has very nice hands. Has amazing straight line speed for the position.
Cons: He's more of a smart player than an athletic one. He will not look dynamic on film in any way. He is not the best blocker in the game, and is not normally used as a 3rd tackle typed TE. He may not have a big enough width to be a great blocker off of the edge, and may not be athletic enough to take out a top flight rush end.
Overview: Don't buy too much into the lack of athleticism quip. He does not look like an elite athlete on film, but all he does is get the job done. He is the type of TE that will be a QBs best friend on a team without elite receivers. If I have to be realistic, he compares to a poor man's Todd Heap.

#3 Michael Egnew, Missouri
Egnew was one of the most productive TEs in college football the last few seasons, and caught 147 passes for his career with the Tigers. He caught 50 passes for 523 yards and 3 TDs in 2011, caught 90 passes for 762 yards and 5 scores in 2010, and only caught 7 passes combined in 2008 and 2009.
Pros: At 6-5 and 250 lbs, he is certainly built for the part. With his size, he has surprising quickness and really interesting game speed. He is like having another receiver on the field on every down, and makes catches like a receiver. Despite having a big drop off in 2011, he is still an elite class receiver at the TE position and is a guy who can stretch the field. Was not used to being a blocker in Missouri's offense, but it doesn't mean that he can't. He is one of the threats at TE where LBs have no shot to cover him, and DBs are not big enough to take him out of a play.
Cons: Huge drop in 2011 after Missouri lost Blaine Gabbert. He was double teamed constantly, showing that with that coverage, he can be slightly neutralized, and probably could be more so at the pro level. Not his fault on the lack of blocking, as the Tigers rarely asked him to do so in their spread attack. He'll need some coaching and an adjustment period to an NFL offense. While he was at Mizzou for 4 years, he was only a presence for two of those seasons.
Overview: Think Aaron Hernandez of the Patriots, and that gives you a good guess as to what to expect from Egnew on the NFL level. He has some serious skill sets as a receiver, but comes out of college limited as a blocker. He's a smart guy who will pick up on the game, but he needs some time. Once he matures in the game, he could be a really good pick.

#4 Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette
Our TE of the Year in 2010, Green was a threat in the passing game that may make the right team drool. He scored 22 times during his career with the Cajuns, and caught 149 career passes, both highs for the TE class in 2012. His 2201 career yards were also by far a high for this group. He caught 51 passes for 606 yards and 8 scores in 2011, 44 passes for 794 yards and 7 scores in 2010, 32 for 533 yards in 2009, and caught 22 passes for 268 yards as a freshman in 2008.
Pros: At 6-6, he's a really tall target who can go up and get the ball. He is a serious receiving threat who can move all over the field, and is a threat in all aspects of the passing game. He has solid speed for his height, and has very solid game speed and quickness on routes. Changes direction well, and has very good body control in traffic. He can fight through jams, and is hard tocover for LBs and DBs both. You can double team him, but he'll still get the football. If the ball gets anywhere near him in the end zone, he's going to get it.
Cons: He's just not a blocker. He was never really used as a blocker, and may be too lanky to be effective even if he was asked. He may move to WR just because he has no value in run blocking schemes. Probably due to his lankiness, he is an easy tackle down field, and is not the toughest receiver in the game as far as fighting off tacklers. There was some yardage drop off in 2011, but his receptions rose slightly.
Overview: Obviously the most prolific pass catcher in this group, but he is just not a traditional TE on the next level. He is a great receiver, however, and should use that skill to obtain employment in the NFL. Green will make someone very happy, but needs to learn the finer points of being a wide receiver, or needs to gain 30 lbs to become a blocker, again, needing coaching to learn the finer points, or the points period that being the case. A right fit for the right situation.

#5 Orson Charles, Georgia
Another big pass catching threat for this class. Charles was a Miami recruit, and produced some solid numbers for the Bulldogs in his three seasons on campus. He caught 94 passes for his career for 1370 yards and 10 scores. He caught 45 passes for 574 yards and 5 scores in 2011, posted 26-422-2 in 2010, and 23-374-3 in 2009 after his transfer from Miami became official.
Pros: Really good pass catcher for a 6-3 240 lbs receiver. He can catch the ball like a widout, including balls away from his body, and he often calls for double teams coming off of the line, opening up the field in other areas. He is a tough tackle in the open field, and will fight hard for extra yardage after receptions. He does have a second gear that can pull away from many defenders, and can be effective in every area of your passing offense. Solid blocker who has a nasty streak.
Cons: He's a little bit stocky for the TE position, and had some games where he just disappeared from the landscape, finishing with 2 receptions or less five times in 2011, and only had three games with at least 3 receptions in 2010. He doesn't always seem tp put the work in that he should, and never developed into the guy who everyone thought that he would be. In my book, probably the most overrated TE in this group. He also translates more to H-Back than TE due to his stocky build. Not the best blocker in the world and will get lazy and sloppy.
Overview: One character potential issue was that he was brought up in the Miami Nevin Shapiro allegations. He's a solid receiver, but he's a guy that needs to have a coach on him at all times. He needs to be pushed, and does not always look like he is focused. He'll probably be decent, but will never be great on the next level. Just not that impressed with him like others are.

For the rest of this class, including small school prospects, please go to

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Prospectus-Wide Receivers

This is the 3rd installment of our NFL 2012 Draft Prospectus, which can be found in its entirety at today! We turn our focus now to our top ten receivers in the 2012 Draft.

Wide Receivers

If there are questions about the depth and value at QB and RB in 2012, there are no such issues with this receiver class. There is depth and talent abounding, and There should be enough talent to go through every round with every team in need finding someone that will work for them. As a matter of fact, we have isolated 82 receivers that could fill needs for any number of teams in this year's draft class. The top ten receivers in this class could be one of the best top tens in a decade as well.

The Top Prospects

#1 Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
When you look at Blackmon, you are looking at one of the most complete receivers to come out of college in a long while, Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald aside. Blackmon is an elite class receiver, and he is just as incredible without the football as he is with it. Blackmon finished with 253 receptions for 3564 yards and 40 TDs during his career in Stillwater, and averaged 14.1 yards per reception, while collecting 93.8 yards per game.
Pros: Blackmon is a game changing player on every single level. He is as athletic as you can ever ask a receiver to be, and if you get the ball close to him, he is going to go and get it. What makes him every more impressive is the fact that he plays so well without the football. He blocks down field, and he never gets frustrated running decoy routes, which he does very well considering that he demands double teams on every down. He will take the ball away from a DB covering him, and he's not afraid to take a hit. He is very hard to bring down. He is incredibly smart. He is a big target and will be any QBs best friend from day one. He had 12 games during his career where he caught 10 passes or more, including 4 games with a career high 13 receptions. He also finished a game with multiple TD receptions 12 times during his career. He is the best receiver in this class, and probably one of the best in a decade.
Cons: He has so very few on this level. Blackmon does not have elite speed, but is fast enough to do what he has to do. He played in a wide open offense that was more a college offense than a pro system. Some credit his success to the system that OSU ran. Anyone who does that is probably just being dismissive.
Overview: Blackmon is elite, and should develop into a number one receiver in very short time. He shows no fear, and is the kind of receiver that will take over a team and sew his personality into the fabric of any organization. That being said, if you get him, you had better get a top flight QB to get the football to him, because if you don't have that, you may just be wasting his time. He does, however, have the ability to make a mediocre QB look very good. GMs around the league will love this guy, and he should be gone somewhere in the first 3 to 5 picks of the draft.

#2 Kendall Wright, Baylor
This guy has flown up the charts in the last year. Wright was a primary recipient of Robert Griffin's amazing talents, as he finished his Baylor career with 302 receptions for 4004 yards and 30 TDs in 50 games. He finished the 2011 season with 108 receptions for 1663 yards and 14 scores, making him one of the most valuable receivers in the country, and was a first team Power Rated Sports All-Big 12 selection. Wright is a first rate talent, who also may very well be considered as an elite talent. His worst season at Baylor was as a freshman, where he caught 50 passes. Where Blackmon gets all of the attention, someone who passes on Blackmon but winds up with Wright will still get a first class receiver.
Pros: He was a major target in the Baylor passing scheme for 4 seasons, and he got better every season for the Bears. HIs speed is not a problem, and he plays much bigger than he is. He has the ability to ind a seem in zone coverages and sit in a soft spot. He also gets by DBs in a flash and gets down the field in a hurry. He is a definite big play threat, who is a danger to hit a home run on every pass route. He forces blanket coverage as bigger DBs may try to smash him at the line to intimidate him. He fights through tackles, and makes good yardage after the catch, and can bounce off of tacklers with ease. Moves fluidly, and knows how to get to the football.
Cons: He is rather small, and is maybe too small to be a number one receiver in an offense linging up wide. He is best in motion, and in the slot, which offsets his lack of size and allows him to use his quickness off of the snap. He played in a pass happy offense that allowed him to pile up, yet did not put up huge numbers every season. Could get eaten up by bigger DBs that are used to covering small athletic slot guys. Needs some coaching to get used to playing in a standard NFL offense. You have to be more accurate in getting balls to him due to his lack of size.
Overview: He is an electrifying talent who needs some work, but has some major skill and ability. He can become a game changer, but needs a little more work than Blackmon does. That being said, he is still a first round talent who should be scooped up early based on upside alone. He may also be a major addition to your return game.

#3 Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
Jeffery is a monster on the field, and is a big, physical talent who changes games with his on field presence. That being said, he was a total letdown in 2011, which dropped his stock a bit for this draft. He dropped from 88 receptions in 2010 to just 49 in 2011, but much of that was due to QB issues rather than a drop in talent. For his career at South Carolina, he finished with 183 receptions for 3042 yards and 23 TDs.
Pros: His size is a huge benefit down the field, where Jeffery can run and catch in stride and take balls away from smaller DBs. He has huge hands and is a physical receiver that will tussle with defenders in any area. Hard to bring down due to his LB size at WR. He is a perfect receiver for jump balls in the endzone. Despite his size, he shows solid quickness getting to the ball, and he can turn up the burners when he needs to do so. He is an NFL caliber talent and should be drafted in the late 1st round.
Cons: Jeffery's size is also his downfall. Some have blamed weight issues with his fall back in production last season, but I tend to blame it more on the QB issues that beset the program last fall. He does however, have weight flux issues that can bury any athlete in any sport. While he can get moving, he does not possess top flight speed. If he slipped statistically in college due to QB issues, what will happen when he ends up on an NFL team that may not have a stable QB situation? He may get jammed up at the line if he is not fluid enough, but try stopping him.
Overview: If Jeffery can get his weight under control, he could be a great value in the late 1st round. He may have slid due to issues of 2011, but he can still flat out play. He may need to have a fire lit under his ass to get him motivated, and that could be a problem. Out of the top receivers of this class, he probably has as much upside as down. He is either gooing to be a monster on the next level, or he will fall flat. There is a great deal of risk/reward going on here, and we won't know which plays out until training camp.

#4 Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
Floyd had some character issues at Notre Dame, but there is no denying his amazing talent. Keeping himself safe from himself has always been his biggest concern, and that will be something that scouts will have to take notice of. That being said, Floyd finished with consecutive 1000 yard plus seasons with the Irish, and his worst season was a 719 yard effort as a freshman. Floyd finished his Notre Dame career by catching 271 balls for 3686 yards and 37 TDs and finished as one of the Irish greats at receiver.
Pros: Floyd is athletic as hell. He makes some great plays with the football, and is an accomplished route runner who gets the job done. Floyd wrapped up his senior season with 100 receptions, taking him to elite territory. He has amazing size that you look for in a receiver, listing at 6-3 and 225 lbs. He is also a solid receiver off of the ball, and run blocks considerably well. Leave him in single coverage, and he'll kill you every time. Huge threat in the red zone due to his size. Is very physical, and will out-muscle DBs for the ball on jump ball routes. Hands of gold in the passing game.
Cons: He lacks top shelf speed, but his size covers that. You have to be concerned because his off-field issues were in regards to an alleged alcohol problem. Will he indulge deeper in bad habits when he has millions in his pocket? You have to worry about it. He lacks big time scoring ability, despite his size advantage, as he scored 37 times in 4 seasons, breaking double figures only one season in four. His yard per catch average dropped each of the last three seasons (from 18.1 to 11.5).
Overview: Floyd has some issues to work out, obviously. I think that he did a great job in getting himself together well enough to come back in 2011, and it was really in doubt. He has some areas in his game to work out in 2012, but he should receive solid coaching, and is worth taking an early stab at in the draft. Might go in the 1st round, but would be acceptable to take in the 2nd with some risk involved. He'll need to work under a disciplinarian who can keep him walking the straight path. Floyd has elite ability, but needs to get back to where he was a couple of seasons ago. If he does, look out.

#5 Reuben Randle, LSU
Randle may be ranked a bit high even by our standards, but we're lookng at potential here, and I do not believe that he has reached his yet. I believe that he was a guy that could have used another season in the program at LSU to really break out, but he left having really never had that huge moment at LSU. He never had a 1000 yard season, and left after his junior year to turn pro. He finished his career at LSU with 97 receptions for 1634 yards and 16 TDs, and did improve every season.
Pros: He is a big dude at 6-3 and 220 lbs, and he uses that size very nicely. He is extremely physical on short to medium routes, and uses his body well to shield the ball coming into him. If his QBs were better, he would have had much bigger numbers, and is capable of really blowing up. He averaged 17.3 yards per reception, and is a load to bring down after the catch, and his yards per catch average got better every season at LSU. Even though he is better in the mid range passing game, make no mistake, he can get down the field and make plays.
Cons: His size sometimes can get the better of him, and often makes it difficult to control his body while running routes, and he can get sloppy at times. Quick, physical DBs may give him a hard time on the next level. He drops the ball far too often, and may have concentration lapses in clutch situations. In his two biggest games of 2011 against Alabama, he caught 5 passes for just 31 yards and failed to score. He scored only 13 times in 3 seasons, making him a liability in the red zone. Needs to want the ball more, and on the next level, that could change. May be more of a possession guy than a go to guy. He'll probably be great on 3rd downs.
Overview: Randle really could have used an extra year at LSU, and could have used better QBs to get the ball to him. I don't think that we have seen his best football yet, but he has to really step up in training camp and proves he belongs. He has some very good value in the right place, but is very much a risk/reward receiver. You have to see the forest through the trees to get him at this point, but he could be about ready to explode in the right situation.

#6 Mohammed Sanu, Rutgers
Everyone loves Sanu, who probably did not receive enough exposure at Rutgers. He likely would have been more popular on the national stage had he played at Louisville or West Virginia, but he was highly productive despite being hidden in Rutgers purgatory. Sanu was expected to have a break through in 2011, and he did not disappoint, catching 115 passes for 1206 yards.
Pros: Sanu is another big, physical receiver that the NFL loves these days. He is a solid reciever who uses his body to ward off defenders, and has the hands to make all of the catches. He has strong after the catch numbers, and is physical enough to go and get the extra yards, as he is a tough tackle. He had a very nice career despite bad QB play at Rutgers that hindered his overall production during his first two seasons. Being that the Scarlet Knights were a balanced team, he showed great skill blocking down the field on run plays.
Cons: Sanu, like many big receivers, lacks solid speed down the field. Plays big as well, meaning that he often looks bulky and slow, and will not beat you deep. Lacks big scoring ability, as he scored only 12 times in 3 seasons. He may never be a primary receiver, as he lacks the deep ball skill. He is limited to short and mid-range passing, so he's got his limits. He may still very well not have become the receiver that he can be, and so should have stayed at Rutgers for one more season.
Overview: Sanu is a very good possession guy, but is not quite ripe just yet. He'll go earlier than many because of his size and hands, but will likely never be a number one. He has possession ability, but it's hard to take a guy early who is as one dimensional as he is. That being said, many teams need dependable possession receivers, so beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

#7 Chris Givens, Wake Forest
Givens is one of those developmental players who is about to blow up in the right situation. He was just starting to show major potential at Wake Forest, but he left after his redshirt junior season. Being that Wake's offense has been up and down (mostly down), he is probably smart to get out now and continue to hone his game on the next level. He finished the 2011 season with 1330 yards on 83 receptions.
Pros: Givens is seriously a top shelf talent who can get up and down the field, is solid in short and mid-range passes, and can run like a leopard. He's an emerging talent who has just begun to show what he can do, and played huge in an offense that is not necessarily prone to having big play talent. Has stand up speed, and can get down the field in a flash, and has the body control and route running speed to stretch the field and make plays against the best in the competition. He is a riser, and it would not surprise me to see someone grab him early based on so much potential. His yardage dropped slightly in 2010, but his yard per catch average rose every season at Wake Forest. He is about to pop.
Cons: He's not the biggest cat, and has a slighter build, meaning that he can be muscled at the line a bit. He is still learning and refining his game, so he still needs some schooling in the finer arts of being a top flight receiver, so he may not be ready to start right away and be an impact receiver immediately, but that'll change quick. He's still trying to figure out how to be a scorer, as he has only scored 21 TDs in 3 seasons. Despite his potential, the key is that he is still learning, and some teams may expect more of him than he is ready for if they are not careful.
Overview: Don't rush a baking cake. If he is handled and coached right, Givens can be a star on the next level. His potential is through the roof, and he has all of the ability to be a top flight elite receiver in the league. Slow and steady is the line with this guy. Let him develop properly, and someone will be very happy with this young man, namely his QB.

#8 Dwight Jones, North Carolina
Talk about potential, and Jones pops right up. He is just starting to ripen on the vine, and may be a darkhorse to watch in this draft. Jones was a bit shaky in his first two seasons at UNC and then he exploded onto the scene as a junior. He improved his yardage in 2011 from 946 to 1196 yards and scored 8 more times in 2011 than in 2010 (12 to 4). Jones is a guy who looks like he is coming into his own at the right time, and may be a steal.
Pros: He exploded onto the scene as a senior, and collected 2136 yards over the last two seasons with 16 scores. He has very solid size at 6-3 and 225 lbs, and can get physical in the open field. He certainly does not play as big as he is, and runs better than one would think. He is a tough tackle, and takes hits while shedding tackles. Will get the extra yards and make defenders pay. He has a second gear and knows how to turn the burners off and on. Very fluid for a big man at receiver.
Cons: Like Givens, he is still learning, and he is not as refined at this stage as Givens is. Does not always play with concentrations and fails to always make plays with his hands, and fails to trust in them at times, leading to drops in bad situations. Needs more coaching, especially in the finer art of route running. Does not always end up in the right spot, and depends more on pure athleticism than football smarts at times. He seems to lack discipline at times and will on occasion make you want to pull your hair out of your head with his dumb mistakes. One has to wonder as well why he suddenly woke up as a junior after two nowhere seasons.
Overview: The potential is there, and he has all of the right logistics, and with the right coaching, he can get over the brain issues. He needs to work very hard, but if he does, he may be someone we are talking about in a couple of seasons. There is far too much potential to pass, and in the right situation, we could have ourselves a pro bowl caliber talent. He just needs to get straight and trust in his ability with his hands more.

#9 Jarius Wright, Arkansas
Wright was quietly one of the best receivers in the country last season, and is a rising star at the right time in his life. He caught 168 passes for 2934 yards and 24 TDs while playing significant minutes in all four seasons at Arkansas.Wright improved each season, showing the right kind of development for the Razorbacks, and was a surprise leader of the Arkansas receiving corps.
Pros: Very fast game speed, and very shifty on the field. He can line up as a slot receiver, but despite not having great size, can hit the outside as well and make plays. Very nifty route runner who can shift with great suddenness, and changes directions in a flash. He just got better and better every season at Arkansas. Highly coachable player who is under the radar right now, but not for long. Had a 281 yard day against Texas A&M mid-season, and finished with 1117 yards as a senior.
Cons: Lacks great size. Is just 5-10, and weighs a listed 175, and may be lighter than that. He can get muscled, so using him in motion or as a quick hitch slot guy is best. I wouldn't line him up wide too often. Just started to learn how to score as a senior, and he may be too small to be a huge redzone threat. His yard per catch average dropped slightly in 2011, but that is a minor thing. Tended to get eaten up by LSU and Alabama in 2011, his two toughest games.
Overview: A solid and speedy slot guy, Wright is best used in a similar way to how the Patriots use Wes Welker. He is not a primary receiver, but is the kind of water bug receiver that can shimmy into small spaces in zone coverage to pick up yards that way. In the right situation, he can play some big minutes and become a star in his own right.

#10 Nick Toon, Wisconsin
The son of former Badger and Jet great Al Toon, Nick is a solid and consistent receiver who gives you a rock in the receiving corps. He lost 4 games to injury in 2010, but came back strong in 2011, catching 64 balls for 926 yards on the season with 10 TDs.
Pros: Good, solid build at 6-1 and 205. He does everything that you ask of him and is very coachable. He blocks away from the ball, and is very smart on the field. Has great hands, and uses his body well inn traffic to make the important plays. He can get loose in zone coverage, and makes the mid-range plays regularly. Clean route runner who looks mature beyond his years in the game.
Cons: Not a deep threat ever. Does not have great speed, and has foot problems that have hampered him on and off, and were the cause of his missed time as a junior. Never had more than 64 receptions in a season, and only had the double figure TD total in 2011. Has only scored 18 TDs in his 4 year career with the Badgers. Once he's hit, he goes down, and is not a fighter after the catch.
Overview: If you want a smart possession receiver, you get much value here. If you are looking for a highlight real, look elsewhere. What you see is what you get with Toon, and that is a smart, consistent possession receiver who won't let you down. Take him for what he is and you'll love the guy.

For the rest of the 2012 WR class, please visit where you can view our small school WR prospects as well.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Prospectus: Running Backs

As we continue to bring you our 2012 NF Draft Prospectus, we now post our RB section. As always, you can view the Prospectus in its entirety at, as we have profiled over 600 players who are eligible for this season's draft.

Running Backs

Much like the QB class, there is limited value with this group as a whole, but there are some gems, and some multi-faceted ones at that. The best value that could be found in this class will likely not be found early on, but in the middle rounds and especially late. You may also get lucky with some quality rookie free agents from this class that could provide depth, flexibility, and value on special teams. If you are looking for a franchise maker in this lot, you may not find what you seek.

Top Prospects

#1 Trent Richardson, Alabama
Richardson was a Heisman finalist and was one of the best backs in the country. He had huge numbers in 2011, but there are questions with him as there are to every single RB in this class. How far can this guy go? He is a hit/miss prospect with huge upside, but also has the ability to slide downward on the next level, where he won't be playing on a dominant team. Questions abound with Richardson.
Pros: Richardson can produce and got NFL caliber coaching from the staff at Alabama. He has intense drive and his productivity was extremely high. He rushed for 1679 yards and 21 TDs last season as a junior, and decided to forego his senior season. Rushed for over 3000 yards at Alabama, at least half of which came as a backup. Has a solid build at 224 lbs and can run between the tackles with the best of them. He is an every down back that can play in almost any set on any down without much worry. He is a capable home run threat on any given down and is always a threat to break tackles and make his own yardage due to his bowling ball build. He played against top shelf competition his entire career, and is patient. Waited two seasons to become the primary back for the Tide.
Cons: Does not look as big as he is listed. For his size, he seeks out too much contact and does not avoid big hits. Has some minor injury issues with a knee that required minor surgery. In his two biggest contests against LSU in 2011, he was nullified, leading to doubts about him being a big game talent. A lack of succesful backs in the NFL out of Alabama in the last 20 years has to concern a team. He started only one season, and was a reserve the other two seasons, so really has only one real season as being a full time primary back. Three of his five best performances in 2011 came against weak defenses, losing teams, or FCS opponents. Although he had a great season overall, still at times did not live fully up to expectations, which may have been elevated in the first place.
Overview: Here's the deal. Richardson is a very good back with tremendous upside, but like every back in this class, he comes with multiple questions. His experience is ok, but not great. His speed is ok, but not great. His size is ok, but not great. His production is solid, but not spectacular. You are not getting a star quality back on the next level without some coaching up involved, and he should not be considered as a starter from day one. His contact on contact running style will leave him vulnerable to injury, and he must be coached out of that mentality. The team drafting him must be selective in how they use him, and must draft him in a spot of value, or else risk over reaching.

#2 LaMichael James, Oregon
You get two things in abundance with a player like James...guts and speed. James came into prominence at Oregon after the suspension of LaGarett Blount in 2009, and he took off like a rocket, making Oregon essentially his team the last three seasons. James was a huge reason for the success of the Duck program the last three seasons, and even though he missed time with injury here and there, he was still the driving force on offense. He rushed for 5384 yards the last three seasons and scored 53 times on the ground alone (added 5 more combined receiving and returns). That being the case, he comes with issues all his own. Let's take a look.
Pros: As I said, the speed is insane with James. Forget about 40 times, as that's all track and field, straight line crap. Look at the way he runs in terms of game speed. When James hits a hole, he is gone. You don't catch him after the point of attack, and if you do, he's burned you for more than his fair share. The productivity is incredible, as he has been a national leader for two seasons, and has outplayed just about anyone in this class on the field with his overall numbers. He is a gamer, as he played with injuries to both elbows in 2011, including a dislocation that came against Cal, forcing him to wear a bulky elbow brace. He is able to take the ball outside, but despite great size, he is not afraid to pound the ball up the middle. Think Warrick Dunn with more skill, and a bit more size.
Cons: Well, we do have to address the size issue. He is only 5-9 and weighs under 200 lbs, and you know that those numbers are probably generous, as most media guides are. He has had some injury issues, and the elbow injury was enough to worry about. Most think that he is totally healed, but elbow dislocations are rarely ever healed totally without surgery, so there is something to think about. He is a fast track player, as he is used to playing on the very slick and fast turf at Autzen Stadium. He'd probably fare better in a dome city, or at very least a fast artificial turf stadium. He played in a very college specific offense, and may have trouble switching to a straight forward offense without all of the gimmickry that the Ducks use on offense. He is not an accomplished receiver, and most of his scores came on the ground. Has not had a ton of experience as a return man where his speed could be of value. Many scouts have stated that they see him mainly as a 3rd down specialist due to his lack of great size, and speed alone only gets you so far.
Overview: I love LaMichael James and his skill set, but will be the first to say that he is not for everyone. I love his ability, I love his productivity, and would take him in the 3rd round, but any earlier could be scary. The offense that Oregon uses does not translate to the NFL on many levels, so there could be a major learning curve with James. I want him to succeed, and I am pulling for him to succeed, but there is much work to be done here, and he may have to work harder than others in his class on the next level because of preconceived doubts.

#3 Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State
Hillman is a fascinating back with much upside, and was by far the best back to come out of SDSU since Marshall Faulk. He is also an interesting case because he comes into the NFL as having just finished his redshirt sophomore season. He did a ton of damage in a very short time for the Aztecs, as he rushed for 3243 yards in two years with 36 TDs on the ground. He collected 4 TDs in a game 3 times during his days with the Aztecs, and rushed for 150 or more yards 12 times. Again, like many backs in this draft, there are some major questions that one must ask of themselves when it comes to drafting Hillman.
Pros: For starters, he put the Aztecs on his shoulders and became a true team leader in what was a reclamation project when he got to San Diego State. The Aztecs were adrift as a program, and Hillman helped give this team an identity. While he was not a great receiver, or at least was not a huge part of the passing game in 2010, he worked hard to become a better receiver as SDSU lost all of their top receivers after 2010, and caught 24 passes in 2011, 15 more than in 2010. He was a hard core rush threat in what was primarily a passing offense, giving the passing game more room to open up and get the ball down the field due to his presence coming out of the backfield. He is a worker who learned very quickly, and could very well deliver long term potential as a star. He has a huge motor, and is not afraid to take charge in games. He carried the ball 49 more times in 2011 than in 2010, which means that he was counted on more to deliver, and he certainly did most days.
Cons: Hillman did not exactly play against top flight competition at San Diego State, having played against just three power conference opponents in two seasons. SDSU finished just 1-2 in those games. That being said, in those three games, Hillman rushed for a combined 553 yards and 6 TDs. His career at SDSU was not long, and considering that he bolted after just two seasons on the field, I have to wonder about his dedication to the greater team picture over himself. He was injured against Boise State in 2011, and finished that game with just 8 yards on 3 carries, and was a mess in the bowl game loss to UL-Lafayette to finish his career with just 55 yards on 20 carries, failing to score in that game. In two games against TCU, he failed to rush for more than 55 yards in either of those two games. Like James, he has some size issues, as he is just 5-10 and 190 lbs, and that's his listed size, probably not actual. He certainly looks small on film. Not a great receiver, so would be more of a situational back, taking some value down a peg, and is not a return man whatsoever, taking away special teams value.
Overview: Hillman has some obstacles to overcome, and I worry that his short career as an Aztec may actually work against him on the next level. You cannot ignore his productivity and his role in resurrecting what was a dead SDSU program, but he was not committed beyond two years on the field, and that just rubs me the wrong way. His biggest chances to have big games came with mixed results, and you have to look at what he did in those games, and looking at those numbers, he is all or nothing. He has huge upside, but is a big risk for a big investment. Buyer beware.

#4 Bobby Rainey, Western Kentucky
If you have never heard of Rainey, you have been hiding under a rock. Rainey is one of the most productive backs in the last two seasons nationally, and played well against everyone. A diminutive back at best, Rainey feared no defense in his WKU career, and was a star on a few bad football teams before this season, when WKU got a bit screwed out of a bowl game. Rainey is a little dude with huge talent who rushed for just under 3540 yards in what amounted to three full seasons. Rainey played his biggest games on stages against FBS competition, and rushed for 155 yards against Nebraska in Lincoln in 2010. He rushed for 35 TDs and was a full time starter for two seasons, with a third season as a major contributor to the offense.
Pros: Huge guts and huge spirit on this guy. He has the heart of a winner, and played through some hard times on some terrible football teams before Willie Taggert came in and helped to start turning the program around by putting the football in Rainey's hands. Rainey played huge against huge competition as well as Sun Belt cupcakes, and was a shining example of being a selfless player. He could probably have left after 2010, but stuck it out one more season to help continue the rebuilding project and get more exposure, showing strong commitment principles. In four games against BCS competition during the last two seasons, he rushed for over 100 yards in all four games, collecting a total of 559 yards and 5 TDs. He does not have great height (5-8), but is built like a wrecking ball (205 lbs) which give him leverage through holes and makes him a smaller target to hit. Absolutely no fear, and works like an animal to hone his game. Quality receiver out of the backfield as well, as he has caught 55 passes the last two seasons. Scored 4 TDs as a receiver in 2011.
Cons: Size is an issue as well as a credit. One has to wonder how his smaller size will add up on the next level, and will that make him vulnerable. Does he have the strength to pull off his high wire act on the next level? The jury is out. OK, let's bring up the competition level, as I know most of you will. True, he did have an opportunity to pick up big nimbers against crappy Sun Belt teams. I'll give you that. However, remember his work against higher level BCS teams as well. That being said, the higher level of competition that he will face in the NFL may take some getting used to. Will his size prevent him from being an every down back, or will he be better off as a specialist, like Kevin Faulk of the Patriots? He has extremely limited experience on special teams, taking a bit of value away there. Rarely ever got a chance to play on a winning team, and winning is a learned trait.
Overview: Rainey has been an underdog his entire career by default. He is not the biggest, the fastest, or the most recognizable back in the bunch, but you would be unwise not to consider what he can bring to the table. He is a workhorse back who is not afraid to get his hands dirty in any task that you give him, and he will beat the bigger, more agile teams that look him over. I really like this guy, and I believe him to be the darkhorse back in this class, who may shock a few folks when it all comes down to it. Easy to underestimate, but he'll kill you if you do.

#5 Bernard Pierce, Temple
It's very easy to fall in love with this guys skill set. Pierce, like Rainey, is a small program back with huge talent, and like Hillman, brought a team back from oblivion to the bigger stage. Pierce is a monster back, a punishing figure who puts the ball down your throat while he crushes your windpipe with his cleats. He's not afraid to run over or through you and keep on going. He rushed for over 35 TDs in three years, and came back from an injury plagued 2010 season to score 27 TDs in 2011, making the choice easy for him to leave. He helped take Temple to 2 bowls in 3 seasons, when they had not been to a bowl since 1979. Pierce was a star piece, and the one season that Temple failed to go bowling was the season that he was injured. Go figure.
Pros: He is the kind of power back that NFL coaches seem to love. He played in cold weather, making him perfectly suited to well over half of the teams in the league. He rushed for multiple TDs in a game 7 times in 2011, making him the primary meat and potato figure of Temple's offense. If Pierce was not the go to guy, Temple faltered. He never did rush the ball even close to 300 times in any one season, making him fresher for the next level, as he was never overworked. He rushed for 53 TDs in three seasons. He has solid size, and looks bigger than he is listed on film. He's a power back that has solid speed, and punishes tacklers with a hard and low rushing style. He was really beat up in 2010, but came back much stronger in 2011, missing only one game late in the season. As beat up as he was in 2010, he still only missed one game as he tried to work through his issues.
Cons: He probably should have been shelved more in 2010 than he was, and was largely ineffective that season as he tried to work his way through a myriad of physical problems. He came back strong last fall, but still has some injury history and concerns. Like Richardson, he runs at people and not around, which could contribute more to the injury issues. He only played against 5 power conference teams in 3 seasons, and the results were extremely mixed. Played through a coaching change in 2011, as Al Golden had left for Miami, and will be working in his third offense in as many years in the NFL in 2012, which could be a problem. He is lacking in the passing game as a receiver, and has a ton to learn about pass blocking, as Temple was a run first team. Good, but not burning speed.
Overview: Scouts will either love him or hate him. Like almost every back in this class, he is loaded with work to do before he can truly be a star on the next level. If he can stay healthy, Pierce can be a guy, that after some major work, can sneak up and become a starter with a solid work ethic and provide value, but he has some major learning to do as a blocker and a receiver, and he gives you no special teams value just now. A project with upside, but health is the key here.

#6 David Wilson, Virginia Tech
Wilson came out after his junior season to enter the draft after a season that saw solid production. With that said, I have some issues with what he brings to the table. He was a star for the Hokies this season as he rushed for 1709 yards and 9 scores in what was his only season as the full time primary back for the Hokies. He rushed for over 100 yards in every game but three in 2011 and finished 8th in the country after averaging 122.07 yards rushing per game.
Pros: Piled up a load of yardage for the Hokies and forced Frank Beamer into using a primary back instead of the committee that he has used for years. Adds solid value on special teams as he collected 415 yards on kick returns. He has good enough speed to hit the burner in the secondary, and is not afraid to hit the trenches running. Knows how to find the holes, but has shown some ability to make his own yardage when necessary. He can move a pile, and is great at picking up yardage after 1st hits.
Cons: His experience is limited despite was he was able to do in 2011. He left after his junior year when we were just starting to see the kind of back he could be, when he absolutely could have used another season to develop. He will not be a full time starter anytime soon, and is poor as a blocker. When the Hokies needed him most at the end of the season in 2011, he simply faded away, leading me to believe that he cannot keep the motor going over a 16 game season plus playoffs, and is not a clutch performer. Was held to just 32 yards in the ACC title game against Clemson, and his team was routed when they were probably the better of the two teams. He only had one season of overall solid production. Failed to score in double figures in 2011, which is not the sign of a truly great back.
Overview: Wilson has some talent and some speed, which is good, but lack of experience, and his fading down the stretch worries the hell out of me. Definitely not a first day draft talent, and is more suitable for mid rounds. Brings more value as a kick return man than as an every down type of back. Good as a pass receiver, but not great, but Tech was not a great passing team, so I give him a break there. Again...MID ROUND TALENT. Don't go crazy and draft him early because of desperation at RB.

#7 Terrence Gannaway, Baylor
Gannaway is another guy who had very nice production in 2011, but is lacking in overall experience and time as a primary back. He did, however, show up as a pleasant surprise on the landscape in 2011 as a nice balance piece to Robert Griffin in the Bears backfield. Gannaway looks like a nice player who may be just getting started, and if used in the right situations, could be a sleeper stock in the 2012 NFL draft.
Pros: He absolutely blew up in 2011, rushing for 1566 yards and 21 TDs after playing in the shadows the previous two seasons. He is huge at 240 lbs, but does not run like it and has surprising speed. Punishes, but is more likely to avoid hits than take them, making injuries of moot point. He is a patient player, who earns his time rather than demands it. He can hammer the ball up the middle, but has the speed to burn it to the outside. Rushed for the yardage that he totalled despite Griffin being the star in the passing game. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry, making him dangerous past the point of initial contact. Was part of a huge reclamation project at Baylor, and knows what it takes to go from losing to winning.
Cons: Despite playing in a passing offense, was rarely used as a receiver, and adds no value on kick returns. He is more of a graceful back than a power back, and you would expect more physicality out of a back of his size. He is hit and miss, as he has a huge game one week, and disappears the next, making consistency with him a huge issue. He needs some development in the passing game, as Baylor was a quick hitch passing team, keeping the back moving out rather than using him as pocket protection. Still has some work to do.
Overview: He's another back who should not be an early pick, but is sneaky good, and picked in the right place could bring some real value. There is no doubt that he has work to do, but again, he is patient and seems to have some solid work ethic. Gannaway could go either way at this point, but if he works hard, and gets solid coaching, he could be a guy to reckon with in a couple of seasons. The skill is there, but he needs some development time.

#8 Robert Turbin, Utah State
If you haven't heard of him, you are not flying solo. Turbin is not coming out of a football hotbed at Utah State, but is quietly becoming one of the fastest risers in this class at RB, and has some pretty nice skills to bring to the next level. The guy you never heard of is about to bust onto the scene, and you may be getting to know him a great deal very quickly. He rushed for 3374 yards in three full seasons at USU, and scored 40 TDs on the ground as well while playing for mostly very bad football teams, keeping his exposure low.
Pros: Came back strong from a torn ACL that cost him the 2011 season. Not the tallest kid in class at  5-9 listed, but weighs in at 220 lbs, and pushes the stack forward while the motor never gives in. He adds significant value out of the backfield as a solid pass receiver, as he has caught over 60 passes in his career in Logan. Finished with 144 all-purpose yards against Auburn in a near upset on the road to start the 2011 season, a game that the Aggies virtually gave away in the closing minutes. Has very little in the way of fear, and runs hard every week.
Cons: Even though he looked great in 2011, you still have to worry about that ACL injury. He does not have great speed, and may never be more than a committee back. He played against mostly bottom barrel opponents in the WAC, and has had very little exposure on a higher level. He may get swallowed up on a bigger stage, and may have been a big fish in a small pond at Utah State. Despite solid production, still managed to disappear some weeks, as his numbers were very up and down.
Overview: His productivity overall, and his versatility make him too much to not look at in the scheme of things. This being a weaker class than usual may play to his benefit, but again, don't get too crazy with where you pick him. He is a solid mid-round value, and must be used as a situational back to get maximum ability out of him. If pidgeon holed into a certain role, he may fall flat. He needs to be coached up, and in the right situation, could flourish on the next level. Be careful with this one.

#9 Lamar Miller, Miami
If you have only one season to base things on, Miller had a big 2011. He was a guy like Hillman who only spent two seasons on the field at Miami, and unlike Hillman, was the primary back for only one of those seasons. In his only season as a starter, Miller rushed for 1272 yards and 9 scores, which are solid numbers, but didn't have me jumping up and down. In his redshirt freshman season, he rushed for only 646 yards on just 108 carries. Some people are very high on him, but there is limited info to scout him on.
Pros: Miller has quality size for an every down back, as his listed weight is 215 lbs. He has solid speed out of the backfield and has a second gear once in the open. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry once he was a primary back for the Hurricances. Decent receiver who caught 17 passes out of the backfield, Adds some value on kick returns, and limited value as a punt return man.
Cons: Like Hillman, leaving after his redshirt sophomore season rubs me the wrong way. Commitment could be an issue. He started only one full season and it was a bit hit and miss. Is not a great scorer, rushing for only 15 TDs in two seasons. Runs a bit upright, and can be hit. Disappeared in several games where he became a non-issue. In 5 of his final 7 games, failed to hit 100 yards. Failed to score in 3 of his final 5 games. Is not the kind of back that often makes his own yardage. Takes basically what is given. Not overly creative. Never played on a winner, so may not know how to win. Will be on his 3rd coach in 3 seasons in 2012.
Overview: There is not much to go on with Miller, as he started only one season. He has a limited at best resume, and in my opinion, is a major project. He has speed, and some knack for making big runs, but lacks any of the consistency that you need if you are about to make a major investment in him. In a stronger class, he wouldn't be much of a factor, but since this is a very weak class overall, he gets more attention than he is probably due. I am not a big fan, and I urge strong caution if drafting this guy.

#10 Chris Polk, Washington
Polk was a three year starter at Washington, where he busted loose for 1000 yards or more in all three of those seasons. He rushed for over 4000 yards in those three seasons as a starter, but also comes with injury concerns, as he was dinged up quite a bit. He rushed for 1488 yards and 12 TDs in 2011, 1415 yards and 9 scores in 2010, and 1113 yards and 5 scores in 2009, which was his first season as a starter.
Pros: He can certainly run, and is a creative back who is disciplined. He follows his blocks and creates off of them, which is rare in today's college backs who want to create without following the rules of nature when running the football. He does not outrun his blocking, and is creative in the open field. Plays faster than he really is, and looks quicker on film than he probably really is. Great size, as he is listed at 225 lbs. Yardage productivity in his three seasons as a starter shows solid consistency. He's a guy who, with some really good coaching, could be a better pro than a collegian. Very nice receiver, having caught 78 passes in three years.
Cons: Disappears for large stretches of time. He had seven games in 2011 where he failed to reach 100 yards. Had 8 games where he failed to receive 20 carries, meaning that durability could be a huge concern on the next level. Failed to reach 20 carries 7 times in 2010 as well. Dislocated a shoulder as a freshman, causing him to miss most of that season. Running style leaves him vulnerable to big hits, raising injury concerns. Not a great scorer, as he rushed for multiple scores only once all year in 2011. Rushed for only 26 scores in 3 seasons, way behind the better backs in this class. We kept on waiting to get more from him during his career, and while solid, he was never as great as he was expected to be for the Huskies.
Overview: He'll never be a full time back in the NFL with his seeming inability to run the ball hard for 4 quarters, but he has quality if you want him for a second or third back. With a lot of work on the next level, he could turn into a very nice back for someone with patience, but he is going to need to get used to being able to run the ball more to be a big time threat at the next level. I am not sure that he has the ability to break it big in the NFL, and he needs a great deal of coaching up, but he has the mentality to compete. Draft him in the mid-rounds or late, and you may get some serious value for your buck. Again, use caution with this guy.

To view the rest of the 2012 RB class, including small school prospects, please visit

Sunday, April 1, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Prospectus: The Quarterbacks

Here is a look at our 2012 NFL Draft Prospectus by position. You can view the entirety of this report, our profiles on over 600 players, a today! Here is our look at the eligible 2012 Quarterbacks from FBS, FCS, and D2 football!

2012 certainly is not the best class of QBs you will ever see available, but there is certainly decent talent at the very top of this group in Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, who may very likely be taken 1 and 2 in this year’s draft. Depth after that is certainly in the eye of the beholder, and while there may be some keen late round steals, early and middle round talent does not seem to abound. That being said, much like in 2011, the dearth of great NFL QBs will likely tempt teams to reach in the 1st round for 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th round talent (see Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, etc.).Late round small school prospect could steal some show time, but expect some serious whiffs to come from this group, which will be evident in training camp.

The Top Prospects

#1 Andrew Luck, Stanford
Luck, son of West Virginia AD and former NFL QB Oliver Luck, is a lock for the best QB in the 2012 draft in our opinion. He may not have had the flashy numbers that others had in front of him on the stat sheet, but he certainly is the most pro ready QB in the draft, and even stayed a year longer in college to develop further, despite the departure of head coach Jim Harbaugh for the 49ers. Those expecting a Harbaugh/Luck NFL reunion can forget about it, as the Niners will never be able to climb high enough to pry the top pick out of the hands of the Colts. Besides, Luck certainly proved in 2012 that he was his own man.
Pros: It's been a long time since I have seen a QB in the college game operate the way that Luck does under center. He already possesses the innate skill at reading defenses and realigning his offense to suit what the defense is throwing at him. He almost operates as his own OC on the field, changing plays like the best of them. He reads defenses spectacularly well, and has an amazing football IQ. He is certainly a high IQ guy, on and off of the field.He has the right build for the position, and is built to take some punishment. He fits just about any offense in the NFL, as he has operated in a run first, grind it out offense in 2012, and in prior seasons had also shown the ability to toss the ball around. He started for three years, which means that he has an amazing amount of experience.Luck passed for 3517 yards and 37 TDs in 2012, and threw only 10 picks while completing 71.29% of his passes, all outstanding numbers. He passed for 3338 yards with 32 TDs and 8 picks, completing 70.7% of his passes in 2010, and passed for 2575 yards with 13TDs and 4 picks as a freshman. He progressed and got better every season at Stanford, and the team got better around him, including in 2011, when he had probably the worst receivers during his time at Stanford. Makes all of the throws, and is smart about where he puts the football on throws. Can also make plays with his feet, in and out of the pocket.
Cons: Can't really find many in his game. The only drawback that one can think of is that he may not be a great fit for a high powered pass happy team. He is best in a balanced system, where he can play off of a power run game in play action. Fits best with a team that uses the TE, but really, he can fit anyone's scheme at the end of the day. May struggle at first with a team that may not have the best line in front of him. As was said earlier, he is built to take a beating, but that doesn't mean that he should.
Overview: His percentage improved every season at Stanford, and he continues to grow every season. He is a motivator. He takes the reigns of his team and moves them on his shoulders. Do not blame the end of the Fiesta Bowl this season on him, as play calling from the sidelines was awful in OT. Luck is a consummate leader and pro, and whomever drafts him may get one of the best young QBs to enter the league in a long time. Put a good, solid power back behind him, give him top flight TEs, and watch him go to work. He will likely play on a dome team in Indy, but he could fit very nicely in any of the cold weather outdoor cities as well. Luck is the absolute best player available, and will be the face of a franchise.

#2 Robert Griffin III, Baylor
Griffin came to Baylor as an athlete, and left as a QB. That says everything that you need to know about the work ethic and smarts of Griffin, the 2011 Heisman winner and Big 12 player of the year. If Griffin was healthy, he was starting, and that happened from day one in Waco for him. He missed one season (sophomore) with a major knee injury, but bounced back better than ever, and his improvements at QB were tangible. That being said, there are major differences between what Griffin brings to the table, and what Luck brings as well.
Pros: Griffin is a very high IQ guy, and his character is beyond reproach. You can't find a guy with a bigger competitive motor on the football field. He was a game changer for the Bears in every way, as Baylor was in the toilet when he arrived. By the time he left, the Bears were competing for the Big 12 title, a fete that nobody really thought would ever be possible. He has improved his arm every season, and makes some very good throws, especially on deep balls down the middle of the field. He totaled 47 TDs last season, with 37 coming by pass. He is extremely accurate on timed passes. He completed 72.4% of his passes in 2011, and passed for 4293 yards on the season. His percentage rate increased by 5.4% from 2010 to 2011, meaning that he put in the work to be a more accurate passer. Even though he tried to reduce his workload in the run game, he still managed to rush for 699 yards and 10 scores, which was actually increased output from 2010 on the ground. He thinks pass first, not run, despite his athletic ability. He would be a huge pick for a team that plays on a fast track with quick slashing receivers, as that is the kind of system that he is used to.
Cons: He was primarily a shotgun QB at Baylor, and came from a very specific system built for his strengths. You cannot expect him to come into a standard pro set offense and excel right away. He is used to making quick reads on dump off and bubble typed passing routes, where he just delivers the goods to slashing receivers who do most of the work. He loses a little something on throws from side to side, and is strongest when hitting passes right over the middle. Can be neutralized by DBs that are jamming his targets. He had a major knee injury his sophomore season, and although it has not been an issue since, it's still something to consider long term. He has a tendency at times to try to make too many plays on his feet even still, and was sacked 27 times for his trouble. If you are a team that keeps your QB in the pocket, he'll make you want to scream. In all likelihood, anyone that drafts him will have to taylor their offensive scheme around what he can do, and limit him for a year or two until he fully integrates into the NFL way of doing things. He has nice size, but in my opinion, he does not have great size. He can afford to bulk up a bit, but not too much. If he tries to scramble too much in the NFL, he could find himself getting wrecked early on.
Overview: I like Griffin very much, but there are concerns with him. If he is handled the right way, you get a great player, but if he is thrown to the wolves with too many responsibilities early on, he may flame out. Let us not forget, he has the Heisman curse to live off of. That being said, he was a one man wrecking crew at Baylor, and took that program where they have not been before. He has the potential to be a super talent for the right team, but he has to go to the right team. Where Luck can thrive in any environment, Griffin cannot, and would be a terrible fit for a team like the Bears or Redskins. He is a dome QB to the letter on the next level, and if the right players are not around him, he may be a dangerous pick for some teams. He is a major risk/reward selection, and the jury will be out on him until he shows what he can do in training camp and beyond. All of that taken into consideration, he is still a top 3 selection, worst case.

#3 Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
There is one thing that Mike Gundy has mastered, and that's building QBs in Stillwater. When Zac Robinson graduated, most of us thought that OSU would step back a minute to rebuild, but Weeden proved everyone wrong, and became arguably the best QB to ever play for the Cowboys. That being said, he has his own list of detracting issues, as well as a list of items that make him a valuable commodity on the next level.
Pros: Weeden produces and wins. That is the first thing that you need to know about this guy. He has a strong understanding for the game, and the position. He has a cannon of an arm, and makes smart decisions with the football. He wrapped up his career by winning the Big 12 title, and the Fiesta Bowl over fellow draftee Andrew Luck and Stanford. He had an outstanding 37 TD passes to just 13 picks, a number that is highly acceptable when he scores and produces as much as he did in 2012. He completed 72.3% of his passes on the season, a 5.4% improvement from year to year over 2010. He also tossed 3 more TD passes in 2011. Was sacked only 20 times over 2 seasons, and passed for 9004 yards over the last two years, including a 500 yard increase in 2011. He had 11 multiple TD games in 2011, and has 22 multiple TD games over the last two seasons to just 9 multiple INT games in the same time span. He has thrown a total of 75 TDs in his two seasons as starter. Has compiled a 23-3 record in two seasons as the starter.
Cons: He's a system QB. He may not be for everyone, and has played mostly in shotgun offenses. Another issue is his age, as he will be 28 in 2012. He played minor league baseball before joining the Cowboys. He also had the best receiver in college football as a target in Justin Blackmon the last two seasons, and Blackmon could make anyone look good. He's a short yardage passer, averaging just 8.4 yards per attempt in 2011, and also averaged 8.4 yards per attempt in 2010. He's a dump off, dink and dunk QB that does not fit in with many offenses in the NFL, and teams are not as likely to change an offense to suit him as they would for Luck or Griffin. He is not a scrambler or a runner, and has mostly evaded sacks due to great line play. If he goes to a team without a great line, he could be in trouble. He'll break down a lot faster than most other QBs in this class strictly because of the age thing. Again, suits only fast track, dome teams that like to move the ball quickly. Does not fit in a grind it out scheme.
Overview: I am a Weeden fan, but he has many risks involved. That being said, he also has huge upside as he was extremely efficient and successful at Oklahoma State, driving them to a league title as QB in the Big 12 last fall. He has the ability to be very successful in the right situation, but taking him early would be a big picture mistake. If you can take him in the 3rd or 4th round, that is a great thing. If there is a run for him earlier than that, let someone else take the gamble and be happy that the pressure is not on you. Do not be too tempted by the upside to take too early a grab, or you could get stung.Weeden is all about value, and is a winner. It's tough out there for a 28 year old rookie.

#4 Nick Foles, Arizona
Perhaps there is no bigger enigma amongst the top QBs in this draft than Foles. Foles always seemed to be better than the team around him at Arizona, but Foles never seemed to be able to bring the rest of the team up to his ability. In 2011, Foles passed for 4334 yards, but the Wildcats finished dead last in the Pac 12 South. Of course, as always, there were many issues that assisted in the Arizona slide in 2012, but with a special QB like Foles, you always would have figured that he would have gotten them farther along in his career.
Pros: He can throw the ball, of that I have no doubt. Like was stated above, he passed for 4334 yards with 28 TDs in 2011, and completed 69.1% of his passes while averaging 361.2 yards passing per game. All of those numbers were huge upgrades from 2010, where he passed for 3191 yards and 20 TDs, while completing 67.1% of his passes. One also has to consider that Foles is also a gamer, having played through some significant injury during his time at Arizona, including knee and shoulder issues. He passed for 425 yards and 4 scores against USC last fall, and tossed 5 scores against FCS member Northern Arizona in the season opener. He completed 30 or more passes 9 times in 2011 alone, and performed that same fete 4 times in 2010. He was a three year starter at Arizona, and never completed less than 63% of his passes in any of those three seasons, with that being his lowest mark in his first season. His QB rating increased in each season as a starter, and was 25 points higher in 2011 than it was in his first season in 2009, showing a strong work ethic and an upward progress swing. His TD rate increased in every season as well. Every major statistical area of his game improved every year, with no setbacks in any area.
Cons: While Foles improved every season, the Wildcats didn't do the same around him. Of course, much of that had to do with coaching, as Mike Stoops had completely lost the team by early 2011. That being said, great players generally make the players around him better. Foles never seemed to be able to pull that off over a whole season, and made only one bowl appearance during his three years as starter, which has him lacking in post season experience to a great degree. That one post season appearance (2010 Alamo Bowl) was a team disaster, and was one of Foles' worst games, where he tossed 3 picks to just 1 TD, and Arizona lost to Oklahoma State 36-10. Foles also has the knack for throwing picks. His best season was in 2009, where he tossed only 9 INTs, but he tossed 10 in 2010, and 14 in 2011. That can be explained off as to how many passes he tosses in a game, but it's a red flag that he may try to do too much to compensate, and me be prone to force throws into traffic to make plays that even he can't make. He also has an injury history, and has missed full games and parts of others due to injury. He was sacked 53 times in 3 seasons, which could also be problematic. He is not a great play maker with his feet, and is not a threat to run the ball, or run it well.
Overview: He was a great QB on a bad to maybe average at best football team, and has never been a big winner. Someone will take a flyer on Foles, but realistically, there are enough red flags here to move him down to the 3rd round or lower. He is a gamer, and a stat producer, but his lack of winning, and his injury and INT history shows some issues that have to be worked out early in his NFL career, and it may take some time. If you draft him and throw him into action too early, he will be labeled as a likely bust. A few years as a backup would serve him very well, if he played under a decent QB with a stable coaching staff. Foles is good, but not yet great.

#5 Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
Tannehill is perhaps the biggest risk in this group in 2012. A WR for most of three years, he was recruited at wideout, not QB, which he played in high school. He finally emerged in 2010, beating out starter Jarrod Johnson mid-season after Johnson had some infamous struggles in high profile games for the Aggies, a move more likely made by Mike Sherman to save his own ass, which he eventually failed at. In short, Tannehill has the shortest career at QB amongst the QBs covered in this report, and has just as much upside as down, as he may not have developed fully at this time.
Pros: He has athleticism in bounds, as he has played both WR and QB, and has the ability to move fluidly. He can fit into almost any system, as he can gun sling, and also fit into a more established NFL ground control offense. He was coached by a former NFL offensive assistant and head coach in Mike Sherman, so you know that he has been coached up and knows what to expect at the next level. Seven of his 19 starts ended with Tannehill passing for 300 or more yards, and he recorded 12 multiple TD games. Due to his background as a receiver, he is more than able to run the ball well, and rushed for 326 yards in 2011. He can move easily in the pocket, and makes some nice throws on a line. Has power in his arm, and can spread it around. He completed 25.15 passes per game in 2011, and hit on a respectable 63.1% of his passes. He finished 2011 by passing for 3744 yards, which is a very nice number for a QB with very little overall experience coming into the season.
Cons: Due to his limited experience, he has received a short amount of coaching at the QB position on a higher level. He still has much to learn, and may be a project of sorts until he irons out the nuances of the pro passing game. Due to his short time as a QB in college, he would be a tremendous risk pick early in the draft, and I would not suggest taking him on the first day, even though there are rumors of teams wanting to take him in the 1st round, which would be a huge mistake.He tossed 15 picks in 2011, and his TD to INT ratio was not quite 2/1, which troubles me with any starting caliber QB on any level. He takes too many chances with the ball still, which is a sign of immaturity at the position.He did not show the ability to make the team around him better, and A&M stumbled in the second half of the 2011 season, losing 4 of 5 to close the regular season, before winning their bowl game. He played poorly in the three biggest games of the season against Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Texas, where he tossed more picks than TD passes in those games. He may flame out in pressure games. His bowl performances in two games were mixed. He was decent against Northwestern but was awful against LSU in the Cotton Bowl, where he also tossed more picks (3) than scores (2). In two post season games, he threw 3 TDs and 4 INTs.
Overview: I have mild interest in Tannehill, but only because of the unexplored potential that he has. He still has much work to accomplish before he is even remotely ready to run an NFL offense, He dangles a carrot in front of you, for certain, but whether he can deliver or not is completely an enigma. He does have some skills, but once more, he was a solid player on a not so solid football team, and Mike Sherman did not survive as coach after last season, so that's something to consider. Tannehill should be viewed as a three year project before he is ever ready to fully run the QB position for any NFL team.

#6 Kirk Cousins, Michigan State
A three year starter at Michigan State, Cousins probably goes down as one of the best to ever play QB for the Spartans, and was hugely successful during his career in the green and white. He finished 27-13 in 40 career starts for Michigan State, and by his junior year had established himself as a solid team leader. It also never hurts that he finished with a career 3-0 record over Michigan. It would probably be best to not speak of his 1-2 record against Notre Dame, including a 31-13 loss in 2011.All of that being said, Cousins brings a high degree of quality to anyone looking to build a QB on the next level over a period of time.
Pros: Passed for 3316 yards in a run oriented offense that instills balance on that side of the football. He had a 2.5 to 1 TD to INT ratio in his senior year, which shows solid decision making skills, and that ratio improved in each of his 3 years as the starting QB. Even with his losing record against rival Notre Dame, he never played poorly in those games,  and was actually more effective against the Irish than he was against the Wolverines, who he never lost to. He passed for 200 yards or more 26 times in his career, with a career high 353 yards coming against Western Michigan in 2010. He has a huge arm, and can rifle the ball to his receivers. He completed 19.07 passes per game in 2011, which is huge considering the balanced offense that MSU tends to run. He always seemed just as happy to hand the ball off to his deep and talented stable of running backs as he was to make the big play through the air. Comes off as a real team guy. Stable presence in the locker room.He has the ability to make plays with his feet, and was only sacked 15 times in 2011. He is at his best when he has time in the pocket to make the solid throw.He has the absolute right size to play in the league, at 6-2 and over 200 lbs. Totally looks the part.
Cons: He just takes too damned many chances, and sometimes believes in his arm just a bit too much, and more than he should, despite his abilities. He has 7 multiple pick games in his career, and tossed three picks in his career finale against Georgia. His career mark against Notre Dame was 4 TDs to 3 picks, and was only 3/2 against Michigan despite the 3-0 record against them. He seemed to learn more by his senior season, as he only had two of those multiple pick games in 2011, and the Spartans finished 1-1 in those games.His completion percentage was a bit low for a three year guy at 63.7%, especially for a team that relied so much on play action and a deep set at RB. He lost over 3% on his efficiency from his junior season to his senior season, which is not a likable trend, and his QB rating fell over 5 points. On that note, he did throw the ball more often in 2011, but those numbers are a bit of a red flag, as his numbers dropped as his coaches put more faith into him by calling his number more often. He has had several games where he just tends to fold and disappear, such as the unexpected loss to Nebraska in 2011, where he only passed for 86 yards on 11/27 passing. He can get a bit baffled by complex blitz packages, and may need some more learning when it comes to reading certain coverages in the NFL.
Overview: Cousins can be high reward at times, but can also be exceptionally frustrating, as he has that tendency to fold at times. His mistakes certainly became fewer as a senior, but he still has a bunch of work to do on the next level to become a successful NFL QB. He'll take some coaching, and will need a few years on the sidelines learning to read NFL defenses. He has potential, but may also never fully develop into a starting NFL QB. Too many inconsistencies that must be broken. Definite second day pick.

#7 Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
When you look at Wilson off of the field, you may never know that he was an elite NCAA QB. He certainly does not look the part. That being said, all he did was win as a senior at Wisconsin, after playing at NC State. Wilson also has a looming potential baseball career hanging over his head, as his rights have been owned by the Colorado Rockies as a pitcher. Which road he chooses eventually will dictate what he is able to do at the next level of his football career, if he so chooses to have one.
Pros: He wins. He was absolutely the piece that the Badgers needed as they brought him in for a one year experiment. His TD to INT ratio was simply amazing at just over 8/1 last season (33 TDs to just 4 picks), and he passed for 3175 yards, which is off the charts for any QB at Wisconsin. His 72.82% completion rate was simply stellar, as he seemed to make all of the plays throughout his season. He tossed 99 TD passes in 4 seasons between NC State and Wisconsin, and tossed 30 picks in 4 seasons, which is less than 8 per year. Between two seasons (senior and freshman) he threw just 5 picks. To say that he is highly efficient is just redundant, but I'll say it anyway. He won 31 games as a starter in 4 years, but many of the 22 losses that he suffered were at the hands of a terrible NC State defense. He had 12 games over 300 yards in his career, and passed for 200 or more 32 times in 4 years. He owns 36 multiple TD games in his career, with just 7 multiple pick games in 4 seasons.He is a play maker on the ground as well, rushing for 773 yards and 15 TDs over the last two seasons. With that in mind, he is a pass first QB who runs only when necessary.He has won 20 games over the last two seasons, and helped Wisconsin win the first ever Big 10 Championship game.
Cons: First of all, there are not many, but a glaring issue is his size. He is listed at 5-11, but that appears to be a bit liberal, and could scare off several teams. That being said, production sometimes has to be valued over physical commodity.Due to his lack of size, he is best when he can roll out of the pocket, giving him the option to pass out to the flat, hit a rolling receiver, or take off and run. He'll need an offense that is more tailored to his skill set, which means a conventional NFL offense may not work for him. He has the potential to be a Michael Vick type QB with a much more impressive and accurate arm. Wilson had slid a bit as a junior at NC State before experiencing a resurgence at Wisconsin, and may get stagnated over time. That could also be blamed on poor coaching at NC State, which I believe to be the case. Whatever the deal was, he seemed to have a sort of falling out with Tom O'Brien at NC State, which has never fully been explained.
Overview: Wilson has a major choice to make between baseball and football. He may not fit in entirely in the NFL due to his physical stature, but at the same time, he has been so amazingly productive that it hurts to not take a look at him and kick the tires. Wilson has never been a bad QB ever. If I were an NFL GM, I may be tempted to make a mid-round gamble on him just to see what happens. He is worth that chance.

#8 Kellen Moore, Boise State
Not only was Kellen Moore the best QB ever at Boise State, he was one of the best ever on the collegiate level. A four year starter for the Broncos, Moore improved every year, and became an icon that led the Broncos to heights that they had never realized before. While true that Boise State was on an upward swing when he took over, Moore took them though the stratosphere. That being said, there are still lingering doubts about his ability to replicate what he has done in Boise in the NFL.
Pros: What Moore did in 2011 was simply outstanding from a production point of view. He passed for 3800 yards and 43 TDs to just 9 picks, falling just short of a 5 to 1 TD to INT ratio. He completed 73.9% of his passes on the season, and made it look easy most of the time.He passed for 7685 yards over two seasons with 78 TDs to just 15 INTs. His completion percentage improved from junior to senior year by over 2 points, and his QB rating was over 175 both seasons. Moore tossed 10 picks in a season just once, and that was as a freshman (10) in 2008. Moore brings an insanely high football IQ to the table and is a consummate leader on and off of the field.All he does is win football games, as he has collected a record of 50-3 as a starter in 4 seasons. Moore simply does not know the meaning of a personal bad game. In 53 career starts, he has only recorded 4 multiple pick games, and never has he tossed more than 2 in a game. He has 46 career games of 200 yards or more passing, and has recorded 46 multiple TD games in 4 seasons.He is an instant NCAA Hall of Fame QB, and his name will be held in iconic status in the college game for years to come.
Cons: Some feel, rather incorrectly I feel, that it was lack of strong competition that made Moore into the QB that he became. Some feel that he beefed up and bad teams in WAC and Mountain West play during his career, but in reality, when you look at his numbers, Moore never lost to a BCS opponent.Some also feel that he lacks the size to hold up in the NFL, as he is liberally listed at 6-0 and 191 lbs to start the 2011 season. In truth, he looks the part in person and on the field.Some will tell you that the system that he played in also was to credit for making him who he was, as the system at Boise State allowed him to throw high percentage passes on short routes to smallish receivers. Again, I don't really agree with that assessment.
Overview: Moore is way too productive a QB to ignore, but NFL teams end up falling in love with physical packages rather than productivity, and if that is the case again with Moore, than he will fall like a rock, because he does not look like an NFL QB. If I am a GM, I take him no later than round three and take the risk. If teams let him slide to the bottom, he would be a rock star in the CFL, where his skills would be a perfect fit. I would rather see him do that than languish on a bench for his entire career. However, I see a guy who can make it on the next level, and I truly believe in him.

#9 Case Keenum, Houston
The most productive passer in NCAA history, Keenum is an enigma of sorts. He played in a pass happy offense that was nothing more than the Run and Shoot with lipstick, but damn can he toss the ball. He was also a major winner at Houston, and when he was not there, the team fell apart without him. If nothing more, he certainly is a game changer.
Pros: Productive as hell. Passed for 5631 yards in 2011 with 48 TDs to just 5 picks, over a 9 to 1 ratio on the season, and that was coming back from major knee surgery that cost him most of the 2011 season. He completed 71% of his passes, which was amazing considering that he attempted 603 passes on the season.He has a very good arm, and does not lock onto any one receiver. He shares the wealth with as many different receivers as his offense him to go to.He passed for 19217 yards for his career, and added 155 TD passes for his career at Houston.
Cons: Played in a college system that would never work in the NFL, as it never was used again after Wayne Fontes left Detroit. While a great college QB, probably one of the best ever, he may not translate well to the next level.He looks smaller than his listed size of 6-2 and 210. Has to be in a system that allows for shotgun only sets, as he has never played under center in his college career. Learning to play under center would likely neutralize his effectiveness.While he threw for over 150 TDs, he also tossed 46 INTs during his career, which is probably more a testament to how many times he was asked to throw the football, and that kind of thing will happen, but he does toss the ball into crowds at times to make a play, and is easy to read as he throws so many slants, and quick slants at that.
Overview: He put up far too many numbers to completely ignore, but the NFL learned all about system QBs with Andre Ware and David Klingler. I can see Keenum going in the 6th or 7th round, but he is far too much a gamble to take any earlier than that. He may just be too lost in translation to make it.

#10 Brock Osweiler, Arizona State
This guy is like bait to a rainbow trout. He certainly has some elements to his game that some NFL scouts are going to fall in love with, but that could be the trap. Osweiler, while certainly possessing some skills, may have just as many drawbacks to his game that could leave some teams feeling cheated at the end of the day.
Pros: He is certainly built for success, at 6-8 and 242 lbs, but that could also be a con. Look below for that info. He passed for 4036 yards on the season and 26 TDs, and completed a respectable if not great 63.2% of his passes. Consider that a plus as he did not have elite offensive talent to throw the football to.He averaged 310.5 yards per game in 2011.Possesses a cannon arm, and can make all of the downfield throws.
Cons: There are more than a few. He actually measured two inches shorter at the NFL combine. Still, he is incredibly lanky, and does not move well on his feet. Think Dan McGwire. His completion percentage was nowhere what it should have been, and he will have issues with short tosses to smaller receivers as he will have to throw the ball in a downward motion, never a good thing, and very difficult to do accurately. He was never consistent, and could be construed as a one year wonder. He played sparingly during his career, and Steven Threet was brought in as a transfer rather than let him be the man last season, and if Threet had not had to quit due to concussion syndrome, he still may not be the guy. Seemed to win the job in 2011 by default. His TD ratio was only 2 to 1 in 2011 (26 TDs, 13 picks) and tossed 5 picks in his final 3 games. Started only 16 games in 3 seasons at ASU.
Overview: Osweiler does not bring nearly enough upside to you for any value as a drafted player. Look not at the one season totals, which were good but not great, but look at the big picture which shows an erratic at best player that never really asserted himself in a conference where the QB is king. Do the right thing by your franchise, and let someone else make this mistake.

To view the rest of the QB Class of 2012, please read the report at: