A look at underclassmen who could join the 2012 NFL Draft, and weather or not they should forgo their eligibility to play in the NFL or return to school. The columns show what we think makes the most sense for each player. Comments and updates will be added has players make their decision in the coming weeks.
No real surprises here other than Landry Jones. Coming into this season he seemed like a guy that could carry a franchise. After some incredible inconsistencies with his game, it might be better if he stuck around another year to regain his form and increase his draft stock. Right now he is in danger of not even being selected in the first round. The one player everyone is waiting to hear from is Heisman hopeful Robert Griffin III who has become a one man wrecking crew.
|Andrew Luck(Stanford) Declared||Landry Jones(Okla.)Returning|
|Matt Barkley(USC) Returning||Brad Sorenson(So. Utah)|
|Robert Griffin III(Baylor) Declared||EJ Manuel(FSU)|
|Brock Osweiler(ASU) Declared|
Andrew Luck: No Brainer. Lock for the #1 overall pick in this years draft
Matt Barkley: Barkley turns down a shot to be a Top 5 in 2012, for a shot at being selected #1 in 2013
Lamar Miller, Montee Ball, Chris Polk, David Wilson all have had great seasons and should look to take advantage of a lack of a true #2 RB behind Trent Richardson. Christine Michael was soaring up draft boards untill a torn ACL ended his season. The real intrigue will be with LaMichael James and Bernard Pierce.
|Trent Richardson(Alabama)||Christine Michael(A&M)|
|Lamar Miller(Miami,FL) Declared||Andre Ellington(Clemson) Returning|
|Montee Ball(Wisconsin) Returning||Edwin Baker(Michigan St.) Declared|
|Chris Polk(Washington) Declared||Robert Turbin(Utah St.) Declared|
|David Wilson(Virginia Tech) Declared||Ray Graham(Pitt)|
|LaMichael James(Oregon) Declared|
|Bernard Pierce(Temple) Declared|
Lamar Miller: No surprise here for Miller. At worst is an early 2nd rd pick, but most likely will be the 2nd RB selected late in Rd 1.
LaMichael James: James wasn’t probably going to increase his draft stock any more. Due to his size he’s a 2nd/3rd Rd RB at best.
Would be a big shock if Blackmon or Jeffrey didn’t declare. I fully excpect Mohamed Sanu to leave early as well since he is a borderline 1st Rd pick as of now. Rueben Randle finished off the season strong so it will be interesting to see what he decides.
|Justin Blackmon(Okla. St)Declared||Rueben Randle(LSU)|
|Alshon Jeffrey(SCar) Declared||Tommy Streeter(Miami)Declared|
|Mohamed Sanu(Rutgers) Declared||Tavares King(Georgia)|
Tommy Streeter: Dont like the move of him declaring. Has potential, but as of now is nothing more than a Mid-Round selection.
Justin Blackmon: Would of been a bigger shock if he didn’t declare.
Mohamed Sanu: False reports were abound stating that Sanu would return, instead he is in fact entering the draft. Smart move
In a weak draft class look for guys like Dwane Allen and Tyler Eifert to take advantage. Georgia’s Orsen Charles is a 3rd/4th rd prospect so it will be interesting to see what he decides.
|Dwayne Allen(Clemson Declared||Orsen Charles(Georgia) Declared|
|Tyler Eifert(Notre Dame)Returning||Jake Stoneburner(Ohio St.)|
No surprises here, all the OT we have declaring are 1st Rd locks. Alabama G/T Barrett Jones is a borderline Day 1 selection and will be intereting to see what he does. His teammate OT DJ Fluker is very talented, but also young. Look for him to return and enter the 2012 season as the top OT prospect on the board.
|Matt Kalil-T(USC) Declared||DJ Fluker-T(‘Bama) Returning|
|Jonathan Martin-T(Stanford)Declared||Ricky Wagner-T(Wis.) Returning|
|Riley Rieff-T(Iowa) Declared||Bobby Massie-T(Ole Miss) Declared|
|David Decastro-G(Stanford) Declared||Alex Hurst-T(LSU)|
|Barrett Jones-T(‘Bama) Returning||Brandon Washington-G(Miami) Declared|
|Peter Konz-C(Wisconsin) Declared||Larry Warford-G(Kentucky)|
DJ Fluker: Was a borderline 1st Rd pick, now can enter the 2012 season as one of the top OT prospects.
Matt Kalil: Elite LT. Top 5 lock. So no real surprise here.
David DeCastro: No surprise, DeCastro is one of the highest rated Guard in recent memory
Ricky Wagner: Mid Round grade for 2012, so it was a smart decision on his part to stay for his Senior season.
Coming into the season Jerel Worthy looked like a Top 15 pick. He has struggled this season and been and inconsistent at times which has caused his draft stock to slip to the bottom of Rd 1, and maybe even to Rd. 2. Another person whos seen his draft stock plummet is Donte Paige-Moss. The UNC Junior DE was a hot prospect before the season started, but has really declined and even has been relegated to the bench in some instances. He must return in order to increase his value. Look for Whitney Mercilus, Nick Perry, and Dontari Poe take advantage of great 2011 seasons.
|Brandon Jenkins-DE(FSU)Returning||Donte Paige-Moss-DE(UNC)Declared|
|Whitney Mercilus-DE(Ill.)Declared||Devin Taylor-DE(SCar.) Returning|
|Nick Perry-DE(USC) Declared||Jonathan Massaquoi-DE(Troy)|
|Jerel Worthy-DT(MSU)Declared||Oliver Vernon-DE(Miami) Declared|
|Dontari Poe-DT(Memphis) Declared||Marcus Fortson-DT(Miami) Declared|
|Chandler Jones-DE(Syracuse) Declared||Baker Stienkuhler-DT(Neb.)|
|Fletcher Cox-DT(Miss St) Declared|
Marcus Fortson: At one time many thought Fortson was a 1st Rd pick. After an inconsisntent career and a season ending knee injury is nothing more than a 4th – 5th Rd pick in our view.
Nick Perry: In a draft class with not too many DE/OLB, Perry could slip into the bottom of Rd 1.
The top 3 ILB’s of Vontaze Burfict,Luke Kuechly, and Manti Te’o all should forgo their eligibility and enter the draft, but the intrigue lies with Alabama’s Donta Highower. While many think he will enter the draft, he could return for his senior season and be then top ILB prospect for the 2013 Draft. Look for Ronnell Lewis to declare after a great 2011 season, and the fact that the Sooners are losing alot of talent to the NFL.
|Vontaze Burfict-ILB(ASU)Declared||Donta Hightower-ILB(Bama)Declared|
|Luke Kuechly-ILB(BC) Declared||Nico Johnson-OLB(Bama)|
|Manti Te’o-ILB(ND) Returning||Zaviar Gooden-OLB(Mizz)|
Manti Te’o: Somewhat surprising since hes considered by most a 1st rd pick. Should be one of the top Senior prospects for the 2013 Draft
Morris Claiborne and Dre Kirkpatrick are locks for the first half of the draft, while Stephon Gilmore is closing in on 1st Rd status. Keep an eye on the trio of Jonathan Banks, Xavier Rhodes, and Desmond Trufant. All three should return since there is a logjam on Round 2/3 talent for CB’s. As far as Cliff Harris, I believe he has worn out his welcome at Oregon with numerous off-field problems. The Safety class this year is weak, so I expect Robert Lester to file his paperwork to enter the draft.
|Morris Claiborne-CB(LSU) Declared||Jonathan Banks-CB(Miss. St)Returning|
|Dre Kirkpatrick-CB(‘Bama) Declared||Xavier Rhodes-CB(FSU)|
|Stephon Gilmore-CB(SCar)Declared||Desmond Trufant-CB(Wash)|
|Jayron Hosley-CB(VT) Declared||Micah Hyde-CB(Iowa)|
|Ray Ray Armstrong-S(Miami) Returning|
|TJ McDonald-S(USC) Returning|
|Robert Lester-S(‘Bama) Returning|
TJ McDonald: In a weak Safety class, McDonald was a solid 2nd Rd selection. By returning, he has a solid chance at earning a 1st Rd grade for 2013