Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 2/27/12
 Football Nation Draft Board v1.0

Following the Combine, we rank the top 32 prospects for the 2012 NFL Draft.

1 QB Andrew Luck, Stanford – His name may be Luck, but it won’t be much of a gamble taking him at No. 1, as he has the elite tools and intangibles to develop into a franchise quarterback in the NFL. The Colts have reportedly decided that he will be their pick.    

2 OT Matt Kalil, USC – Kalil is a behemoth at 6-7, 306 pounds, and showed off good athletic ability for a big man by clocking in at 4.99 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine – and stud left tackles are always at a premium in the NFL Draft.

3 QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor – RG3 runs like a Ferrari and propels the pigskin like a rocket launcher, and it is no surprise that several quarterback-needy teams, like Washington, want to trade up to secure his services.     

4 CB Morris Claiborne, LSU – Claiborne is well-built (6-0, 185 pounds) with excellent speed, and emerged as a shutdown cornerback in the mighty SEC. Should make an instant impact for the team that adds him to their secondary.    

5 RB Trent Richardson, Alabama – Richardson has an exciting combo of size (5-9, 228 pounds) and speed, and could be the most complete player in the 2012 Draft Class. And while he didn’t participate in on-field drills at the Combine, his knee received a passing grade while coming off surgery. Richardson will be a coveted prospect for teams in need of a featured back.       

6 DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina – While his numbers at UNC fail to stand out with just 7.5 sacks in 2011 – make no mistake – this kid is going to be a tremendous pass rusher at the next level and Coples easily passes the eyeball test at 6-6, 285 pounds.   

7 DT Michael Brockers, LSU – Brockers may lack the experience of many of the other prized prospects in this year’s Draft Class, but will still get plucked from the board early, as he has jaw-dropping athleticism for a man of his size (6-6, 306 pounds), with unlimited potential to develop into a disruptive force on the inside.     

8 WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State – Was unable to show off his receiving skills at the Combine due to a hamstring ailment, and while he lacks top-end speed and needs work in the route-running department, Blackmon has tortured enough defensive backs in college to hold a top-10 ranking among this year’s prospects.    

9 DE/OLB Melvin Ingram, South Carolina – Ingram has a killer first step that makes opposing offensive linemen quiver, and he will provide the versatility to work at DE or OLB. He will ideally attract NFL clubs that employ a 3-4 scheme and are looking to raise the intensity level to their pass rush.    

10 DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama – Upshaw can not only bring the heat from the outside as a pass rusher, he is also tough against the run, and it says a lot that he led an outstanding Crimson Tide defense with a whopping 17 tackles for a loss in 2011.  

11 OG David DeCastro, Stanford – DeCastro is Charles Bronson tough, with great footwork and hands, and is expected to develop into a premier guard at the next level.    

12 ILB Luke Kuechly, Boston College – Was a prolific tackling machine over his career at Boston College, displayed better than anticipated speed (4.58 in the 40) and athleticism at the Combine; and Kuechly is like a ninja in pads and cleats due to outstanding instincts and radar for the pigskin.   

13 OT Riley Reiff, Iowa – While initially considered a top-5 caliber prospect, Reiff’s stock has now taken a slight hit due to concerns regarding his short arms, which is making some interested teams question whether or not he can handle working at tackle in the NFL. 

14 SS Mark Barron, Alabama – Barron drops the hammer like Thor as a run defender, but is also a ball-hawk in pass coverage. While safety is generally not a premium position when it comes to the first round of the NFL Draft, Barron still belongs in the top 15 among 2012 prospects.     

15 DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State – Cox turned heads in 2011 as he led the Bulldogs 14.5 tackles for a loss and five sacks, and is striking while the iron is hot rather than returning for his senior year. So while Cox could’ve benefited from another year of refinement in college, you can’t blame him for coming out early and we love his potential to develop into an intimidating defender in the pros.     

16 CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama – Kirkpatrick lacks top-end speed and there are concerns he could struggle against more physical receivers due to his lanky frame (6-3, 192 pounds), but he is still regarded as an excellent prospect among cornerbacks, and will bring plenty of turbulence to the airways for opposing passing attacks in the NFL.    

17 OG Cordy Glenn, Georgia – Hulking presence (6-6, 346 pounds) is flying up Draft Boards around the NFL, with anticipation that he will make an instant impact as a run blocker at the next level. Glenn will provide the versatility to fill in at tackle if needed as well, hence adding to his appeal.     

18 DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois – Mercilus should also be creeping up Draft Boards after clocking in at 4.63 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine – which should dispel some questions about his athletic ability. The Ted Hendricks Award winner led the nation with 16 sacks and nine forced fumbles in 2011.      

19 DT Dontari Poe, Memphis – Poe is King Kong strong with nimble feet, and is extremely difficult to beat off the line. He may not have as much “gridiron cred” as many of the other premier prospects as he played in the Conference USA at Memphis, but should ultimately develop into a disruptive force on the inside at the next level. And the 346-pounder blew us away when he ran a 4.98 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine!     

20 CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama – Small school star has exceptional quickness and body control and is an outstanding cover corner, but unfortunately his instincts on the field are not on the same level as those off of it, and character issues (three arrests, drug use, etc.) tarnish his Draft Stock – and could potentially push him out of the first round. On talent alone, we consider him a top-20 prospect.      

21 WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame – Floyd ran a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine, which should raise his Draft Stock – namely among teams that had concerns regarding his speed and acceleration. Now durability and character issues remain intact – but with that factored in with his exceptional pair of mitts and size (6-3, 224 pounds), Floyd easily ranks as a top-25 prospect for April.    

22 QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M – Tannehill may display merely adequate arm strength, but he more than compensates with a quick release and pinpoint accuracy on short to intermediate strikes, and his Draft Stock continues to rise. There have even been whispers that Tannehill can go inside the top 10 to either Washington or Miami, but we feel going that high would be a reach. 

23 DT Devon Still, Penn State – Still won’t wreak havoc on the quarterback, which is a key reason why he ranks this low in a pass-happy NFL, but could develop into a true force as a run defender at 6-5, 310 pounds, and will be an enticing prospect for teams that were a doormat against the run in 2011. 

24 OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford – Martin has excellent quickness, especially for his size (6-5, 312 pounds), and should develop into a strong all-around NFL tackle if he can improve his footwork, balance and overall toughness in the trenches.   
25 RB Lamar Miller, Miami – Miller solidified his Draft Stock by running the fastest 40-time (4.40 official/4.38 unofficial) among running backs at the Combine. He is well-built at 5-11, 218 pounds, and is harder to tackle than a greased hog.   

26 WR Kendall Wright, Baylor – Wright ran sharp routes at the Combine, but a disappointing clocked time of 4.61 in the 40-yard dash fires a spear into this Baylor Bear’s Draft Stock, and he may even slip out of the first round. His size (5-10, 190 pounds) does him no favors either.   

27 OT Mike Adams, Ohio State – Adams may look like a Godzilla on the Gridiron at 6-7, 323 pounds – but he managed a “wimpy” 19 reps on the 225-pound bench press at the Combine, and his Draft Stock looks to be trending downward, especially when you consider that he had bouts of inconsistency with Ohio State.

28 DE/OLB Nick Perry, USC – Perry registered unofficial times of 4.50 and 4.56 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine, which helps back up interested teams’ belief that he can develop into a explosive edge rusher in the NFL.   

29 LB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama – Runs like a Greyhound and is as ferocious as a rabid Rottweiler, and really stood out in a dominant Crimson Tide defense in 2011. Hightower can work inside or outside and will merit strong consideration from linebacker-needy teams selecting in the lower half of the opening round.   

30 OG Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin – Zeitler is not a great athlete, but does move his feet very well, to go along with tremendous strength to his lower body. He will make a solid pick for teams in need of interior offensive line help near the bottom half of the first round.  

31 C Peter Konz, Wisconsin – Konz knows how to take full advantage of his 315-pound frame to engulf defenders, and was an excellent leader in the trenches during his tour of duty at Wisconsin. He is the premier center of the 2012 Draft Class, and extends his value by his ability to slide to guard if needed.   

32 WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina – Red flags are going up on Jeffery after the believed-to-be healthy receiver opted not to participate in any on-field drills at the Combine, and he reportedly didn’t interview well with some teams either. The good news? Jeffery weighed-in at a svelte 216 pounds, and his stock could go back up if he performs well at South Carolina’s Pro Day on March 28.    

On The Cusp: OLB Zach Brown, DT Jerel Worthy, OLB/DE Chandler Jones, RB David Wilson, DE Andre Branch, TE Orson Charles, QB Brock Osweiler, DT Brandon Thompson, TE Coby Fleener 

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Rockies-Diamondbacks game included a broken-bat homer and the longest homer of 2017

Report: Texans wouldn’t take Jay Cutler’s calls

Albert Pujols mocks Rangers pitcher after beef

Top 10 takeaways from the 2017 NFL Draft

Mitchell Trubisky booed at Celtics-Bulls game, for some reason


Larry Bird's sudden exit adds to uncertainty surrounding Paul George, Pacers

Nationals Adam Eaton out for season with torn ACL

WATCH: Isaiah Thomas talks trash about Bulls on court during Game 6

Jets WR Devin Smith to miss all of 2017 with torn ACL

WATCH: Seahawks use scuba diver to announce 2017 NFL Draft pick

Marshawn Lynch takes out full-page ad in newspaper to thank Seahawks fans

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

Box Score 4/28: NFL Draft gets younger every year

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Marshawn Lynch gives an already-spurned city hometown appeal

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker