This new section highlights which players have improved or worsened their 2012 NFL Draft stock as the draft approaches.
By Charlie Campbell.
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2012 NFL Draft Stock Up
Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss
The Rebels right tackle was said to have a phenomenal pro day. Massie is a powerful run blocker and at his pro day he reportedly showed off his pure strength with impressive movement skills. Massie did so well that some were saying that he could get consideration as a first-round pick.
Helping Massie's draft stock is the demand for offensive tackles. There are a number of teams picking late in the first round and early in the second that need right tackles. After his stellar pro day, Massie could be an option for the Giants at pick No. 32 along with the second-round picks for the Browns, Buccaneers and Dolphins. The 6-foot-6, 316-pound Massie has pushed his stock into the top 45 of the 2012 NFL Draft. The first round may be a stretch, but he looks like an early second-rounder right now.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Florida International
The speedy Hilton was said to have had a great pro day. He was held out of the Senior Bowl and the Combine because of quad and hamstring injuries. At his pro day, Hilton did his best to make up for it. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds while showing good route running and hands in the field drills. The 5-foot-10, 183-pounder also projects to contribute on special teams in the NFL.
In his senior season, Hilton had 72 receptions for 1,038 yards and seven touchdowns. Also, he returned 18 kicks for 548 yards this season with eight punts returned for 186 yards and a touchdown. Hilton looks like a good slot receiver candidate who can stretch defenses. He did his part to push his stock into consideration in the third round.
Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin
After a shaky Senior Bowl, Zeitler has done well to improve his draft stock. He had nice Combine and was said to be awesome at his pro day. Zeitler is a road-grading run blocker, and in Madison, he drew rave reviews for how he looked in his workout.
In Mobile, Zeitler had some struggles in the one-on-one pass rushing drills, but those drills give defensive linemen a natural advantage. In the team scrimmage session, he performed much better.
Zeitler is viewed by many to be the second-rated guard in the 2012 draft class. At 6-foot-3, 312-pounds, he should make a quick transition to the ground game. His pass protection will need some development, but Zeitler looks like a quick starter in the NFL. His strong pro day has his stock ascending towards an early pick on the second day of the draft.
Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall
After a poor Combine, where he ran the 40 in 4.85, Curry performed much better at his pro day. The 6-foot-3, 266-pounder was a speed rusher in college who consistently got to the quarterback, so his slow 40 was surprising. At his pro day, Curry was said to have improved that time by as much as two tenths of a second. Getting his time into the 4.6-4.7 range should definitely help alleviate concerns about his speed.
With a strong pro day, Curry should maintain consideration as a late first-round pick or early second-round pick. He has the size and speed to function as a 3-4 outside linebacker as well as a 4-3 defensive end.
Chris Rainey, RB/WR, Florida
Despite the size and durability concerns, Rainey's stock is said to be on the rise. He performed well at his pro day, showing his elite God-given speed. Rainey projects as a Dexter McCluster type who can contribute as a pass receiver and scat back. Teams that are looking for a change of pace with a deep threat are watching him closely.
Another aspect to Rainey's game that helps him is his special teams prowess. He blocked six kicks in his career at Florida. Rainey said his goal is to be the best special teams player in the NFL, and he could provide a big impact on fourth down. The key with Rainey is keeping the 5-foot-8, 180-pounder healthy and in the lineup. A large amount of touches could lead to him getting banged up and missing time.
That is what happened to Rainey for the Gators as a senior when he was supposed to be the featured tailback. With his stock climbing, he could have some teams looking at him as a mid-round pick 2012 NFL Draft
Brandon Brooks, G, Miami of Ohio
The NFL Scouting Combine didn't invite Brooks to work out in Indianapolis, but that hasn't stopped him from making an ascent up draft boards. The big, powerful guard had a superb week of practice at the East-West Shrine, and used his pro day to drive home the point that he is a good athlete to go along with size and strength. At 6-foot-5, 346-pounds Brooks ran a staggering 40-yard dash at 4.98 seconds. He had 32 reps on the bench press and performed well in the field drills.
Right now, it looks like Brooks will be the first player drafted who did not receive a Combine invite. He is a sleeper prospect who could go sooner than many expect on the second day of the draft.
2012 NFL Draft Stock Down
Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
At the Combine, Adams set off alarm bells about his work ethic when he produced only 19 reps on the bench press. That was only three more reps than Rainey who weighs 143 pounds less than Adams. At his pro day, Adams showed that his Combine bench press wasn't an anomaly when he lifted for just 21 reps.
Adams (6-7, 323) had multiple suspensions at Ohio State for off the field problems. On the field, he has all the potential to be a star left tackle, but he's shown the propensity to give up sacks to speed rushers. Curry and Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus both beat him for sacks.
Adams is fortunate that this is not a deep draft for talent at offensive tackle. It it was, he could go well into the second day. As it stands, Adams still has a good shot at the first round because there a number of teams needing tackles that are picking in the final 12 of the first round. They include Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and the New York Giants.
At the same time, if Adams had lights-out performances at the Senior Bowl, the Combine and his pro day, he could have been a mid-first-round pick. Adams hasn't done enough to make a team feel like he is a safe first-rounder. In fact, Adams looks like a boom-or-bust player at the next level.
Demarlo Belcher, WR, Indiana
Belcher entered his senior season after solid production the previous two years. In 2010, he had 78 receptions for 832 yards and four touchdowns. The previous season as a sophomore, Belcher had 61 receptions for 770 yards and five scores. He is a huge receiver (6-5, 214) who projected to be a red-zone weapon and work the short to intermediate part of the field.
Belcher looked like a mid-round pick entering the 2011 season. It all went wrong as he was kicked off the football team for unspecified reasons. In six games, Belcher caught 25 passes for 286 yards and a touchdown. At his pro day, he was said to be unimpressive and looks like he is likely to land in the undrafted ranks.
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