5 Bold Predictions for the 2012 NFL Draft(Sure to go wrong)
Written by Curt Popejoy on 04/26/2012
I’ve been doing this whole draft thing a long time. Looking at my own personal draft timeline, I’ve probably been scouting players on some level since middle school. Obviously there was no internet then, and you didn’t get the multitude of televised games we do now. But I have always watched games with an analytical sort of eye. In recent years the NFL draftnik and blogger community has grown a tremendous amount. The NFL draft in general has grown so much. But there’s a disturbing trend.
I don’t spend a lot of time reading other draft sites. This is no slight to them. I just think about it in terms of tainting my own product so to speak. I scan the big sites like www.espn.com and www.nfl.com but for the most part those analysts are so geared around entertainment, a lot of real analysis is lost. But I feel like it’s only right to give credit where it’s due and there are some sites(I’m sure I’ll leave some out) who I really respect their work. First I’ll tell you who and then I’ll tell you why. Sites like www.mockingthedraft.com @mockingthedraft, www.draftbreakdown.com @draftbreakdown, Matt Miller on www.blreacherreport.com @nfldraftscout, and www.nfldraftbible.com @nfldraftbible among others are great, I really respect their work, and I read on a regular basis. And the reason is simple.
They don’t mind taking a stand. There’s nothing that frustrates me more than someone who puts the time and effort(and trust me there’s a lot of both) into putting your opinions out on the interwebs for the world to see, but as you read through their work, they tend to be rather wishy washy. I have far more respect for someone who has a strong opinion, stands behind it and if they find out later are wrong will own it, than someone who attempts to tread water with very middle of the road opinions so as not to every appear completely right or wrong in the long run. What’s the fun in that? So going along with that, here are my 5 bold predictions for the 2012 NFL Draft that are sure to go wrong. It’s my pre-draft pep talk! Get yer mind right!
Prediction #1-In 3 years we will be taking about a half dozen of the safetys from this draft as excellent starters, but Mark Barron won’t top the list-I do not get the fascination with him at this point. He’s a good player, don’t get me wrong, but he’s not Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu. Hell, he’s probably not Eric Berry or Earl Thomas either. I understand the need for a safety and their expanded role in the NFL, but is Barron really 2 rounds better than LSU’s Brandon Taylor? I’d say know.
Prediction #2-We will not be talking about any of these rookie wide outs next season-Last year, guys like AJ Green and Julio Jones were on SportCenter on a very regular basis. Don’t hold your breath that Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd will do the same.
Prediction #3-At least 3 of the rookie running backs in this draft will lead their team’s in rushing-Trent Richardson is an easy one because wherever he lands will get plenty of touches. But this is a very deep running back class and there are lots of teams desperate for a spark in the running game so don’t be shocked to see 4 or 5 rookies approach 1,000 yards and be big contributors to their offenses right out of the gate.
Prediction #4-Quinton Coples is going make Vernon Gholston look like Bruce Smith-This past season he was such a disappointment, but looking back at the previous season I didn’t see Mario Williams play after play. I think this guy is going to crash and burn and end up wandering around rosters.
Prediction #5-Dont’a Hightower and Luke Kuechly are the next great NFL linebackers-With all this talk about the outside guys who are hybrid DE/OLB types, Hightower and Kuechly aren’t getting enough press. When I go back and watch them play, I see 2 guys who can and will become Ray Lewis/Brian Urlacher level of players. When no one remembers Bruce Irvin and Andre Branch anymore, these two guys will be racking up stats and making Pro Bowls.
What are your bold predictions? C’mon put on your big boy pants and let’s hear it! Come tell me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nfldraftboard or @nfldraftboard
Last Edited: 04/26/2012