Tag Archive for NFL Draft

2012 NFL Draft: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin and Evolution of the NFL Quarterback

The No.1 pick in the 2012 draft is still up for grabs, with multiple teams still in the hunt. Regardless of whoever owns the first pick, it can be said the team that ends up with the first choice will draft a quarterback, with the top two prospects at that position being Andrew Luck out of Stanford and Robert Griffin III out of Baylor. 

Luck has been heralded as the best, most NFL-ready prospect since John Elway. Everything about Andrew Luck says prototypical pocket passer, a role he plays extremely well. He is very intelligent and has shown that he can handle a pro playbook. Luck is also very accurate, and technique wise, is fundamentally sound.

I disagree with Phil Simms and others who think that Luck’s arm strength is a concern. Although he may not have the strongest arm out there, Luck can make all the throws and make them accurately. Arm strength is overrated—the percentage of plays in games that call for deep throws is relatively small—and I would rather have an accurate QB who can make the short and immediate throws consistently rather than the guy who can throw it deep.

Griffin, on the other hand, has great arm strength, is accurate in the pocket and on the run and is extremely mobile. Areas where he could improve include decision making, learning to read defenses and commanding the game at the line of scrimmage.  

RG3 is very polished for a player of his style, since usually running quarterbacks in college require some learning and adjustment time for the pro game. 

Luck’s 2011 stats: 70%, 3,170 YD, 35 TD, 9 INT, 167.5 QB rating, 12 games played

Career: 9,083 YD, 80 TD, 21 INT, 161.8 QB rating, 37 games played

Griffin’s 2011 stats: 72.4%, 3,998 YD, 36 TD, 6 INT, 192.3 QB rating, 12 games played

Career: 10,071 YD, 77 TD, 17 INT, 158.9 QB rating, 40 games played

Besides being the best quarterbacks available, these two young men also represent a changing standard in the NFL. The game is slowly starting to move away from the traditional pocket passer of the Manning and Brady era, to guys like Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers and yes, Tim Tebow, who can make plays both through the air and on the ground. 

Luck is one of the best prospects ever, and it will be a long time before we ever see a quarterback of his caliber come to the NFL again, but he represents the high watermark of the pocket passer.

Fans will continue to see more and more dual-threat quarterbacks come into the league, and Robert Griffin could end up being the face of a new era. With his electrifying speed and polished passing skills, there is a good chance that RG3 could have an even better rookie season than the historic one Cam Newton just had.

Between Luck and Griffin, I don’t think you could go wrong with either player. They are both ready to play immediately in the NFL, but while Griffin has more upside, Andrew Luck is the closest thing to a sure bet in the No.1 draft spot.

Holiday Bowl 2011: Sizzling NFL Prospects To Keep Your Eye on

If you’re not a fan of Texas or California, watching a game like the Holiday Bowl may not be too entertaining, but fear not.  NFL draft buffs would be wise to turn on this one because there are a handful of talented prospects that have the potential to be taken during the first two days of draft weekend. 

Here are four of the top pro prospects that will be featured in the Holiday Bowl.


4. Keenan Robinson (OLB, Texas) – Round 2, 2012

Robinson is a senior 4-3 outside linebacker prospect that could be taken as high as the second round. Because there are a growing numbers of teams switching to a 3-4 defensive front, though, there’s a chance that a backer like Robinson could fall to the third or even the fourth round because of the lack of need for the position around the league.

And that’s where Robinson would become a steal. The athletic backer has racked up a total of 183 tackles over the past two seasons.


3. Kheeston Randall (DE, Texas) – Round 2, 2012

The 6’5”, 295-pound Randall should be able to play in a 4-3 scheme at defensive tackle in the NFL, but he’s better suited to play as a 3-4 defensive end. His stats don’t blow you away, but he possesses the brute strength needed to move offensive lineman against their will and disrupt the running game.

2. Keenan Allen (WR, Cal) – Round 2, 2013

Keenan, Kheeston and Keenan. No, this isn’t a joke. Cal’s star wide receiver and primary offensive is a potential first-to-second round prospect when he becomes eligible. The 6’3”, 205-pound wide out hauled in 89 receptions this season for 1,261 yards and six touchdowns.

If Cal wants to pull off the upset over Texas, Allen will have to have a huge night.

1. Alex Okafor (DE, Texas) – Round 1, 2013

Okafor is eligible for the draft this year, but his stock will rise if he sticks around with the Longhorns for another season. The 6’4”, 260-pound defensive end would play in a 4-3 system at the next level. On the year, he’s recorded 46 tackles along with seven sacks. 


David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer. Follow him on Twitter.

2012 NFL Draft Projections: Landry Jones and Players That Will Slide in Draft

Regardless of talent level or position scarcity there always seems to be at least a couple players who slide in the draft unexpectedly. Perhaps the best example is quarterback Aaron Rodgers who was supposed to be a top-10 pick in 2005, but slid all the way down to the Green Bay Packers at pick 24.

Rodgers is now a Super Bowl Champion and the best quarterback in the league, so draft position doesn’t tell the entire story. There will inevitably be players that go in the latter part of the first round that outperform high picks over the course of their career.

Here are three top prospects that will go later than expected, although that means very little for their NFL futures.


Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State

Inside linebacker Vontaze Burfict was the cornerstone of the Arizona State Sun Devils’ defense this season. While Arizona State’s defense struggled at times Burfict was a tower of power as he compiled 69 tackles, five sacks and an interception on the season.

Burfict has the ability to be a Pro Bowl defender at the next level, but there is reason to believe he will slip down the draft board.

For one, inside linebackers tend to get little publicity when compared to their outside counterparts. Perhaps it is because inside linebackers have to do more of the dirty work, but unless you’re a generational talent like Patrick Willis, inside linebackers don’t go early.

On top of that Boston College inside linebacker Luke Kuechly is garnering most of the attention at the position. Those factors should allow Burfict to fall a bit, but somebody should have a steal on their hands.


Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina

Prior to the season South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was considered a top-10 and perhaps even a top-five prospect. While his immense talent level remains, his lack of production in his junior season has hurt him.

Jeffery followed up a 1,500-yard 2010 season with just 45 catches for 614 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011. Much of that can be attributed to the Gamecocks’ quarterback carousel, but Jeffery will ultimately be the one to pay the price.

Jeffery has clearly been surpassed by Oklahoma State wideout Justin Blackmon and Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd on draft boards, and there is a chance he could fall to the end of the first round or even further.

I think a team like the New England Patriots will ultimately take a chance on his great size and skill, though, and it may end up working in Jeffery’s favor in that he’ll land in a very advantageous situation.


Landry Jones, Oklahoma

While Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones hasn’t yet announced his plans with regards to whether he will enter the NFL draft, the current sentiment is that he probably will.

With USC quarterback Matt Barkley deciding to return to school, it makes Jones the de facto No. 3 quarterback in the draft behind the likes of Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III.

Some quarterbacks went surprisingly early in last year’s draft such as Jake Locker and Christian Ponder, but there are usually at least one or two quarterbacks that go later than expected. If quarterback-needy teams picking early can’t secure Luck or Griffin, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them pass on Jones.

Many consider Jones to be a product of Oklahoma’s spread offense, and I can’t say I disagree. Jones’ skill set is far inferior to Luck and Griffin, and I think that will prompt a precipitous fall in his draft stock.