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It’s no surprise that the Indianapolis Colts will take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck as the top pick in the NFL draft on Thursday.
NEW YORK — Notable offensive players in the 2012 NFL draft, grouped by projected NFL positions.
—Andrew Luck, 6-4, 234, Stanford: A prototypical NFL QB with superior decision-making abilities, arm strength and mechanics. Father, Oliver, was also an NFL QB.
—Robert Griffin III, 6-2, junior, 223, Baylor: A fast runner and polished passer, Griffin could be a game-changer. Smart player with intangibles through the roof.
—Brandon Weeden, 6-4, 221, Oklahoma State: A 28-year-old who played minor league baseball before college football, Weeden brings maturity, accuracy and NFL-caliber arm strength and size. He has nice quick release and good touch. Struggles to retain accuracy and decision-making under pass rush.
—Ryan Tannehill, 6-4, 221, junior, Texas A&M: Good accuracy and a constant running threat, making him a raw project with promise. Converted from QB to WR and back to QB in college.
—Kirk Cousins, 6-3, 214, Michigan State: Three-year starter with more than three dozen starts in a prostyle system and demonstrated good decision-making ability. Arm strength, athleticism probably never going to be more than OK.
—Trent Richardson, 5-9, 228, junior, Alabama: Compact, strong and polished downhill runner with excellent vision and acceleration. Good enough skills as a pass catcher to start. Could be best RB to enter draft in years.
—Doug Martin, 5-9, 223, Boise State: Another polished, instinctual prospect, Martin does everything well, with the possible exception of holding onto the ball. More quick than fast, his speed is still a strong asset.
—David Wilson, 5-10, 206, junior, Virginia Tech: Dazzling, raw ability with higher risk and higher reward than a player such as Martin. Has speed and vision, though sometimes the cutback lanes he spies are too small.
—Justin Blackmon, 6-1, 207, junior, Oklahoma State: Jumping ability, open-field speed and possession-receiver toughness help cover for lack of elite wiggle and crisp route-running.
—Michael Floyd, 6-3, 220, Notre Dame: Big, physical player who is a threat for the deep ball and in red-zone situations. Blocking ability a plus. Had off-field issues at Notre Dame.
—Kendall Wright, 5-10, 196, Baylor: Savvy and athleticism help him play above his physical limitations. Can space out at times.
—Stephen Hill, 6-4, 215, Georgia Tech: Serious deep threat who lacks polish in the short and sideways passing games favored by the NFL. Rawness evident in number of drops. Good blocking skill, though.
—Coby Fleener, 6-6, 247, Stanford: One of the few pro-ready options in a draft that’s thin on tight ends, Fleener is a strong red zone target and athletic enough to get himself open often. Not much of a blocker.
—Matt Kalil, 6-6, 306, junior, Southern Cal: Two-year starting LT with size and strength to protect blind side in NFL. Good in the run game, but will be tested by the better edge rushers.
—Riley Reiff, 6-6, 313, junior, Iowa: Not as strong as Kalil, but nimbler and more technically sound.
—Jonathan Martin, 6-5, 312, junior, Stanford: Has everything you want in a top tackle prospect. Quick and savvy, though occasionally plays off-balance.
—Cordy Glenn, 6-5, 345, Georgia: Athletic and smooth blocker who can probably hold down a tackle or guard spot. Played all four years.
—Mike Adams, 6-7, 323, Ohio State: A notch or two below elite, but a definite contributor. Makes inconsistent use of physical gifts.
—David DeCastro 6-5, 316, junior, Stanford: Three-year starter who can get on linebackers quickly in the running game. Nimble and strong.
—Peter Konz, 6-5, 314, junior, Wisconsin: Heady and athletic, probably better as a run blocker, but seems to have ability to anchor a good NFL line. Big for a center, but makes it work.
—Kevin Zeitler, 6-4, 314, Wisconsin: A big ol’ road-grader in the run game, he could stand to get a bit faster and lighter.
—Melvin Ingram, 6-1, 264, South Carolina: A smart, athletic player who could be a hardworking contributor as OLB in some schemes.
—Quinton Coples, 6-6, 284, North Carolina: A big, powerful player who can disappear from time to time.
—Courtney Upshaw, 6-2, 272, Alabama: Cannonball of a player who can make plays in the backfield or sort through wash to find the ball carrier. Room to improve as rusher and in coverage.
—Andre Branch, 6-4, 259, Clemson: A supremely gifted pass rusher who shows promise against the run, too. Height and less than elite strength versus OLs may push him to LB.
—Chandler Jones, 6-5, 247, junior, Syracuse: A 4-3 DE whose toughness, big frame and motor show much upside.
—Whitney Mercilus, 6-3, 261, junior, Illinois: Fast and sudden in pass rush or against run, he can be a home-run swinger who sometimes strikes out. Long arms, relentless.
—Vinny Curry, 6-3, 266, Marshall: Athleticism and quickness makes him a pure pass-rushing player, something NFL teams generally seem fine with taking earlier in the draft every year.
—Fletcher Cox, 6-4, 298, junior, Mississippi State: Furiously aggressive player who is strong, but raw. Goes for the big play.
—Michael Brockers, 6-5, 322, junior, LSU: Has come this far on substantial physical and mental gifts, could reach potential anywhere along the line.
—Dontari Poe, 6-3, 346, junior, Memphis: Big, strong and athletic, but not quite fast or nimble enough to move outside. Definitely an interior space-filler, which is not a negative.
—Luke Kuechly, 6-3, 242, junior, Boston College: A ready-made pro at inside linebacker, where he can find ball carriers and cover tight ends.
—Dont’a Hightower, 6-2, 265, junior, Alabama: Can shed blockers well and get to running backs. More instinctual than athletic. Some durability concerns.
—Lavonte David, 6-1, 233, Nebraska: Fast and smart, which makes up for his lack of size, though stature will be more of a concern in NFL.
—Nick Perry, 6-3, 271, junior, Southern Cal: A defensive end in college whose instincts, athleticism and size probably play better at OLB.
—Zach Brown, 6-1, 244, North Carolina: Speed a major plus, makeup may give teams pause as his effort can be inconsistent. The right coaching staff can get great value here.
—Morris Claiborne, 5-11, 188, junior, LSU: A talented athlete with a receiver’s ball skills. Can velcro himself to WRs as long as he keeps his pads low enough.
—Stephon Gilmore, 6-0, 190, junior, South Carolina: Physical player who can disrupt WRs routes, but may struggle with advanced techniques
—Dre Kirkpatrick, 6-1, 186, junior, Alabama: Size may indicate a switch to safety, where his speed would play better, too. Sure tackler, but not great on balls in the air.
—Janoris Jenkins, 5-10, 193, North Alabama: A shutdown man-coverage player with athletic ability and awareness to excel. Was kicked off team at Florida after run-ins with police.
—Mark Barron, 6-1, 213, Alabama: Polished safety who can tackle and cover well. Excellent awareness highlights all his physical skills, which are strong across board.
—Harrison Smith, 6-2, 213, Notre Dame: Has physical and mental attributes to be instant starter in NFL. Good athletic ability, but zone coverage is stronger than man.MORE IN Sports WireNEW YORK — Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in using underinflated footballs during... Full StoryGAINESVILLE, Va. — Tiger Woods knows he’s played poorly over the past two years. Full StoryMEXICO CITY — Embattled Mexican national soccer team coach Miguel Herrera was fired Tuesday... Full Story
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