2012 NFL Draft – Top QB & RB


Quarterbacks

1. Andrew Luck, Stanford (6-4, 234): There’s not much to say about Luck that hasn’t been said. He’s the best quarterback prospect since the man he will be replacing in Indianapolis. Luck is intelligent, an extremely hard worker, and his surprisingly grounded despite his fame. He’s an incredibly good athlete or the position and can make all the throws needed to succeed. Luck has already received a degree in architectural design from Stanford, graduating with a 3.48 GPA.     Prediction: 1st Overall Pick

2. Robert Griffin III, Baylor (6-2, 223): In any other year, Griffin would likely be the top overall pick. Instead, he’ll have to settle for going #2 to the Redskins. Griffin showed that he was the complete package during his Heisman Trophy winning season, exhibiting exceptional arm strength, top-level athleticism, toughness and leadership. Extremely competitive, he will win over the fans in Washington right away. If there is an area of concern with RG3, it’s his lack of size. He has the ability to escape the pocket, but also leaves himself open to hits. Missed all but three games in 2009 because of an ACL tear.  These concerns will not affect his draft stock.     Prediction: 2nd Overall Pick

3. Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M (6-4, 221): Has rocketed up draft boards despite not being able to work out at the Combine because of a foot injury. With a number of teams thinking quarterback early in the draft, expect a team to reach. Tannehill will need time to develop into an NFL caliber quarterback. The physical tools are there, but he only played a season and a half after making the switch from wide receiver. His progress has been helped by coming from a pro-style offense and working under Mike Sherman (now the OC in Miami). Handles pressure well and is extremely athletic, but will force a couple passes a game. If some team falls in love with him (or is scared he’ll be gone earlier), Tannehill could be off the board very early in the first round.     Prediction: Top-10 Pick

4. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State (6-3, 221): After the three names above, there is little consensus on the next best QB prospect. Weeden joined OSU after playing four years in the Yankees minor league season. He will be 29 in October. He enters the draft process as a mature and polished player who can contribute right away. Weeden is extremely accurate and throws a tight spiral. His arm strength is just a notch below elite. Played in a spread offense and will need to work on getting snaps under center and making reads. Limited foot quickness, he will not be a threat to leave the pocket.     Prediction: 2nd or 3rd Round Pick

5. Brock Osweiler, Arizona State (6-7, 242): You can’t teach height (just ask Russell Wilson). Osweiler shows off impressive athleticism for his size and could add even more weight to his frame. Like Weeden, he comes from a spread offense and will need practice time under center. His mechanics are unrefined, but still throws a pretty clean ball. Has a good, compact release but needs to work with a QB coach on his trajectory. Will not be ready to step in and start right away.     Prediction: 2nd or 3rd Round Pick

Best of the rest: Kirk Cousins (Michigan State), Russell Wilson (Wisconsin), Nick Foles (Arizona),  Ryan Lindley (San Diego State), Kellen Moore (Boise State)

 

Running Backs

1. Trent Richardson, Alabama (5-9, 228): He has an excellent blend of height, weight and speed. Richardson is a load to bring down, thanks to his high knees and low center of gravity. He wears defenses down as the game goes on. Extremely patient runner who lets his blockers set up their blocks. Richardson would not be categorized as elusive, but he does hit his second and third gears faster than most backs his size. Very good pass catcher out of the backfield and will stick his man in pass protection.   Prediction: Top-10 Pick

2. David Wilson, Virginia Tech (5-10, 206): Gets a boost on a number of draft boards thanks to a great Combine performance. Ran the 40 in 4.40 seconds and led all running backs in the vertical and broad jumps. Beyond his physical numbers, Wilson was an extremely competitive runner for the Hokies this past season, and is a homerun threat every time he gets the ball. Has good vision and patience, and works well within the hole. Wilson will excel in a one-cut system because of his speed. Will need work in the passing game, mostly as a blocker.    Prediction: 2nd Round Pick

3. Doug Martin, Boise State (5-9, 223): Martin impressed at the Combine and Senior Bowl. Ran faster than expected in the 40, posting a 4.47. Martin is solid in every area. He’s a solid north-south runner who will not go down at first contact. He’s a competitive runner who keeps his legs churning and also shows good vision in the open field. One of the best receiving backs in this year’s draft.     Prediction: 2nd Round Pick

4. Lamar Miller, Miami (5-11, 212): An incredibly fast back, Miller ran a 4.38 at the Combine. His biggest strength is his speed and agility, but is not proficient as a pass catcher. There are questions whether he can be a three-down back. Miller can be taking down by arm tackles, but in open space, not many defenders can get an arm on him. Durability is a concern for Miller, who only carried the ball 335 times at Miami because of injuries. He’ll likely be a complimentary back at the next level.      Prediction: 3rd Round Pick

5. Lamichael James, Oregon (5-8, 194): James is smaller than the average NFL back and will need to add weight to his frame. Plays very fast and runs hard for his size. Has a natural feel for holes before they develop. His best attribute is his ability to accelerate through a hole. Shows incredibly quick feet and can freeze defenders. James seemed to constantly be nicked up throughout his career. Has not been a model citizen off the field. James was arrested and charged with assault after a domestic altercation in 2010. He spent 10 day s in jail and was sentenced to 24 months of probation.          Prediction: 3rd Round Pick

Best of the rest: Isaiah Pead (Cincinnati), Bernard Pierce (Temple), Chris Polk (Washington), Robert Turbin (Utah State), Edwin Baker (Michigan State)

Stephen Kelley is a contributor at The Sports Bank where he covers Fantasy Sports and Pro Drafts. You can follow him on Twitter @stephen_tsb.

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