NFL Draft Grapevine: It's prediction time

by Cory J. Bonini on April 20, 2012 @ 17:27:00 PDT

 


We have one week to go before the 2012 NFL Draft extravaganza kicks off! After months of watching tape, evaluating prospects and mocking our way through grueling hours of hard work, it is time to have a little fun by making some bold, if not outlandish, predictions and observations.

Number of quarterbacks chosen in the first round

  • Three is the conventional thought, but don't be terribly surprised to see a team trade back into the late first round to secure Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden.

Round 2 will be dominated by running backs and wide receivers

  • Expect at least five and probably six running backs to go in the second round, and the amount of wide receivers chosen could also number as high as six. 
Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
Bust of the draft?

Biggest surprises of the first round

  • Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox could go as high as No. 6 overall to the St. Louis Rams. Stanford tight end Colby Fleener should sneak his way into the round, especially if it is dominated by a host of trades. Athletic tight ends are becoming all the rage in the NFL, so Fleener could easily be the first one chosen and go a round earlier than most people expect.
  • I am not going to be surprised if Memphis nose tackle Dontari Poe falls entirely out of Round 1, but it seems like a stretch at this point. Watch the tape ... his game doesn't reflect his workout prowess. I will go as far as saying Poe may be the biggest bust of the draft.
  • Despite a world of upside, Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy will fall out of the round and could slide beyond the second round.

Other names that could creep into the first round

  • Boise State outside linebacker Shea McClellin has the motor and pass-rushing ability to impress 3-4 alignment teams.
  • Josh Robinson, a cornerback from Central Florida, could sneak into the opening round based on his insane speed despite lacking fundamentals expected from a first-rounder.
  • Midwestern State offensive lineman Amini Silatolu may even be a first-round lock already, but he certainly isn't a household name. He will probably have to play guard in the NFL, and with his powerful build he should be a mauler in a power-blocking system early on in his career.

Steals of the draft

  • Oklahoma tight end James Hanna won't come off the board until the third day, but his athletic skill set and ability to create yardage after the catch will endear him to a few teams. He is an NFL starter and possible star at the position in time.
  • If Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson was two inches taller, he would be a top-15 pick. Instead, teams will consider him no earlier than the very late second round, which isn't going to happen, and probably draft him in the fourth or fifth. He, in the right system, honestly has Drew Brees-like potential. It is easy to compare the two based on stature, but watching Wilson on film points to a stud in the pros.
  • Baylor center Philip Blake may not come off the board until the fourth round, but he is so close behind Wisconsin's Peter Konz in terms of their long-term potential that he could be a 10-year starter with the right coaching staff to groom him early on.

What are your predictions or expectations for the upcoming NFL Draft? Sound off below in the comments section and let us know what you would like to see happen! 

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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