Kamis, 16 Februari 2012

Sleepers in the NFL Draft

The top prospects in the NFL Draft will always be the most talked about as they are likely to become stars in the NFL. However, there have been many great players that were not picked in the first round like Brett Favre, Tom Brady, Andy Dalton, Matt Forte, Jordy Nelson, Marques Colston, Vincent Jackson, Nick Collins, and many others. So many stars have come out of the later rounds of the draft at all sorts of positions on offense and defense. These are the rounds where scouts make their money finding players that can be stars and avoiding those that could end up being cut in training camp. Here are a few players that have the potential to be very good NFL players.

Marshall DE Vinny Curry
Vinny Curry was one of the best defensive ends in college football last season and would have probably gained more attention if he was not playing in Conference USA. Curry has impressed me when I watched him play in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg as he dominated the Florida International offensive line. Vinny Curry has one of the best cuts inside to shed blockers that I have ever seen. Curry reminds me a lot of Colts DE Dwight Freeney as Curry has a very similar skill set to that of Freeney. Curry also has the speed to bust through holes in the offensive line and get to the quarterback. His speed has given Curry the versatility to be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense which could make him that much more dangerous. Vinny Curry will be a steal in the second round as he could move into the mid to late first round with a good combine. The Saints, Packers, and Patriots could all be potential landing spots for Curry as those three teams need to upgrade their pass rush. The Bills, Browns and Jaguars could also look to trade back into the first round to get Curry as his stock could rise even more. Curry will be a very good defensive end in the NFL that will probably make a few Pro Bowls.

Temple RB Bernard Pierce
Bernard Pierce has been an excellent running back and one of the best in college football over the last two seasons as he has had over 1,400 yards each of those last two seasons. Pierce has proven that he can take the workload of 30+ carries a game that an NFL starting running back needs to take. Pierce has the toughness to be the guy that can take the ball inside the five and then fight his way to the endzone for the touchdown. Pierce's acceleration and vision is underrated as he can find holes quickly and take advantage of then by getting that stellar to get through the hole before it closes. Like Curry, Pierce has not received national attention due to the fact that Temple plays in the Mid-American Conference(MAC). Pierce will be at least as good as free agent running back Ryan Grant. Pierce seems like he will be as good as Bills running back Fred Jackson as they both have similar skill sets, and tendencies as running backs. Pierce could move into the second round with a good combine as he will be a steal if he is picked as projected right now in the third round or if he moves up into the second round. The Giants could take him in the second round as the world champions running game was the worst in the NFL. The Colts and Browns could take him early in the third round as they both need to improve their running games. Pierce will definitely be a NFL starting running back for a decade or more and make a few visits to the Pro Bowl.

South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery
Alshon Jeffery has been one of the best wide receivers in all of college football over the last two seasons as people forget about him because of the lack of success at quarterback for the Gamecocks. Jeffery has the normal size for a number one receiver as he is 6 feet 4 inches tall and has the size to go up and get the ball over other defenders just like he did on the hail mary against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. Jeffery has a very clean character slate except for his ejection in the Capital One Bowl due to his mini fight with Nebraska and NFL Draft CB prospect Alfonzo Dennard. Jeffery seems like a star in the making as he knows how to play the ball and is the type of the receiver that all you have to do is throw the ball in his direction and he will be able to go get the ball and outjump the defender. Jeffery does not have the best speed but his size will allow him to be a big time playmaker at receiver for any team. Jeffery has the potential to be the next Terrell Owens on the field while he does not have any ego problems on or off the field. Jeffery is projected to go in the early to mid second round but he should move up as I think he is way better than the overrated Baylor WR Kendall Wright, a little better than Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd, and almost on the same level as Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon. The Browns, Steelers, and 49ers could all be potential destinations in the first round as his stock could rise if scouts realize Jeffery's talent. He could also end up with the Rams, Vikings, Redskins, and Jaguars in the second round or the Browns could wait till then as they have their first round pick from Atlanta or this pick to get Jeffery. Jeffery will be an impact player in the NFL and could be the best wide receiver that came out of the 2012 NFL Draft.

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