WalterFootball.com - Detailed NFL Mock Drafts, Player Prospect Rankings, and One of the Largest Mock Draft Databases on the Web

2012 NFL Draft Underclassmen


A list of officially declared underclassmen for the 2012 NFL Draft. I also offer my opinion on whether or not each prospect made a wise move by leaving school early. I will not factor financial considerations in my analysis because most players need the money.
This list has been updated on Jan. 18. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2012 NFL Draft - Jan. 18:

Jonathan Massaquoi, DE/OLB, Troy
Height: 6-2. Weight: 250.
Projected 40 Time: 4.70.
Projected Round (2012): 2-3.

Just cleaning up on someone I missed a few days ago. Jonathan Massaquoi is a Day 2 prospect. I don't love his decision to declare, but I don't know how much he could have improved his draft stock with another year at Troy.

The Verdict: Mixed feelings





Underclassmen Declaring for the 2012 NFL Draft - Jan. 15:

Darron Thomas, WR/QB, Oregon
Height: 6-3. Weight: 215.
Projected 40 Time: 4.55.
Projected Round (2012): 5-7.

The only way Darron Thomas' decision makes sense is if he was high while making it. He may have to play receiver in the NFL, and there's a chance he won't even be drafted.

The Verdict: Bad move







Underclassmen Declaring for the 2012 NFL Draft - Jan. 14:

Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
Height: 6-4. Weight: 207.
Projected 40 Time: 4.49.
Projected Round (2012): 1-2.

Reuben Randle could have solidified his first-round status by going back to school and having another great year. He's just a borderline first-rounder now. Still though, I can't blame him for declaring because everyone else on his team is.

The Verdict: Mixed feelings





Underclassmen Declaring for the 2012 NFL Draft - Jan. 13:

Michael Brockers, DE/DT, LSU
Height: 6-6. Weight: 306.
Projected 40 Time: 4.92.
Projected Round (2012): 1.

Michael Brockers has a ton of upside and can fit into any defense. He's a first-round pick, in all likelihood, though he probably could have been a top-10 prospect in 2013.

The Verdict: Mixed feelings

Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Height: 6-0. Weight: 188.
Projected 40 Time: 4.40.
Projected Round (2012): Top 5.

Morris Claiborne is close to a top-five lock, so there was no reason for him not to declare.

The Verdict: No-brainer

Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
Height: 6-4. Weight: 260.
Projected 40 Time: 4.85.
Projected Round (2011): 1.

Dont'a Hightower is coming off a great year, helping his team win a postseason exhibition game. Now is the time to leave.

The Verdict: Good move

Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Height: 6-3. Weight: 190.
Projected 40 Time: 4.46.
Projected Round (2012): Top 15 Pick.

Dre Kirkpatrick is a likely top-12 prospect, so this is another easy choice for an SEC cornerback.

The Verdict: No-brainer

Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss
Height: 6-6. Weight: 312.
Projected 40 Time: 5.09.
Projected Round (2012): 3-4.

Bobby Massie will probably be a third-round pick, but there's a coaching change at Ole Miss, so it's understandable why he would want to declare.

The Verdict: Good move

Eric Page, WR, Toledo
Height: 5-10. Weight: 192.
Projected 40 Time: 4.49.
Projected Round (2012): 4-5.

Eric Page received a fourth-round grade from the draft advisory board, so you have to wonder what the hell he's thinking.

The Verdict: Bad move

Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Height: 5-11. Weight: 220.
Projected 40 Time: 4.49.
Projected Round (2012): Top 15 Pick.

It would be surprising to see Trent Richardson fall past No. 11 in the 2012 NFL Draft. Why would he risk injury by going back to school?

The Verdict: No-brainer



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2012 NFL Draft - Jan. 12:

Orson Charles, TE, Georgia
Height: 6-3. Weight: 241.
Projected 40 Time: 4.66.
Projected Round (2012): 2-3.

Orson Charles is making a mistake. He's clearly behind Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener at this point in terms of tight end rankings, and he will be in danger of falling into the third round if he measures in at 6-2 at the Combine. He should have stayed another year.

The Verdict: Bad move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2012 NFL Draft - Jan. 11:

Robert Griffin, QB, Baylor
Height: 6-2. Weight: 220.
Projected 40 Time: 4.52.
Projected Round (2012): Top 4.

Robert Griffin would have been a fool not to declare. The latest he'll be drafted is No. 4, and he certainly has a good chance of being the second pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

The Verdict: No-brainer

Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
Height: 6-5. Weight: 315.
Projected 40 Time: 5.58.
Projected Round (2012): 1.

Peter Konz will be a first-round pick this April, so I like this decision. In the wake of this development, by the way, Montee Ball really should change his mind. There's no way he'll come close to duplicating his 2011 numbers next year with Konz and other linemen gone.

The Verdict: Good move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2012 NFL Draft - Jan. 9:

Josh Robinson, CB/KR, Central Florida
Height: 5-10. Weight: 192.
Projected 40 Time: 4.43.
Projected Round (2012): 1-2.

Coming off a great year, Josh Robinson has the potential to be a first-round pick. He could be a first-round lock with a strong senior campaign, but I understand why he's not taking the risk.

The Verdict: Mixed feelings



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2012 NFL Draft - Jan. 7:

Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
Height: 6-4. Weight: 255.
Projected 40 Time: 4.65.
Projected Round (2012): 1-2.

Dwayne Allen is the top tight end in this class and a possible first-round pick, so I'd say he's making the right decision.

The Verdict: Good move

Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
Height: 6-3. Weight: 237.
Projected 40 Time: 4.70.
Projected Round (2012): Top 20.

There's a good chance Luke Kuechly will be a top-15 pick. He can't really improve his stock by going back to school since there's a limit on how high inside linebackers can be drafted, so this is a no-brainer.

The Verdict: No-brainer

Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
Height: 6-7. Weight: 240.
Projected 40 Time: 4.90.
Projected Round (2012): 2-4.

Brock Osweiler isn't anywhere near ready to play in the NFL, but has immense upside, so some team could take him in Round 2. I normally wouldn't be a fan of a project like Oswiler declaring early, but there's a coaching change at Arizona State, so I understand why he's doing it.

The Verdict: Mixed feelings

David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
Height: 5-10. Weight: 205.
Projected 40 Time: 4.59.
Projected Round (2012): 2.

David Wilson is making the right decision. Expected to be a second-round pick, Wilson would have risked injury by returning to school for another year.

The Verdict: Good move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2012 NFL Draft - Jan. 6:

Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
Height: 6-1. Weight: 190.
Projected 40 Time: 4.48.
Projected Round (2012): 2-3.

Stephon Gimore is a second-day pick. I feel like he could have improved his draft stock by going back to South Carolina. On the other hand, he would be competing with a ton of talented corners next year, so I don't mind the move.

The Verdict: Mixed feelings

Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Height: 6-4. Weight: 206.
Projected 40 Time: 4.52.
Projected Round (2012): 3-4.

Stephen Hill is a pretty raw receiver, but has immense upside. Someone is going to take a chance on him in the middle rounds. He should have gone back to school though to give himself a chance to be a late first-round pick.

The Verdict: Bad move

Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
Height: 6-4. Weight: 233.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2012): Top 25 Pick.

Alshon Jeffery struggled in 2011, thanks in part to the quarterback situation at South Carolina, but he's still projected to go in the top 25.

The Verdict: Good move

Terrell Manning, OLB, N.C. State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 225.
Projected 40 Time: 4.60.
Projected Round (2012): 3-5.

I'm not sure what the thought process is behind this one. Terrell Manning has a small shot at being a Day 2 pick, so there was no reason to declare early.

The Verdict: Bad move

Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 305.
Projected 40 Time: 4.99.
Projected Round (2012): 1.

Jerel Worthy didn't have the dominant junior season everyone was looking for, but he's still a first-round prospect. He's making a solid decision, though he could have vaulted himself into top-12 consideration by going back to school and having a strong senior campaign.

The Verdict: Mixed feelings



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2012 NFL Draft - Jan. 5:

Ronnie Hillman, RB, San Diego State
Height: 5-10. Weight: 190.
Projected 40 Time: 4.45.
Projected Round (2012): 4-6.

I only have one question about Ronnie Hillman: Who the hell is Ronnie Hillman?

The Verdict: Bad move

Jayron Hosley, CB/PR, Virginia Tech
Height: 5-10. Weight: 172.
Projected 40 Time: 4.48.
Projected Round (2012): 2-3.

Jayron Hosley could have been a first-round prospect had he waited another year. He'll be a second-day selection in April.

The Verdict: Bad move

Donte Paige-Moss, DE, North Carolina
Height: 6-4. Weight: 260.
Projected 40 Time: 4.69.
Projected Round (2012): 4-6.

Donte Paige-Moss is a moron. First, he played poorly enough to get benched during the season. Then, he went on a Twitter rampage, saying stuff like "#unc. Fans r.the.worse.we.win its all.good. Have a bad game we suck thats.a.reason #imout #nosupport" and "Worst xmas eva cant wait till.this horrible bowl in this horrible city wit sum of da mos horrible coaches r ova." And if that wasn't bad enough, he then declared for the 2012 NFL Draft despite tearing an ACL in his postseason exhibition game against Missouri.

The Verdict: Idiot



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2012 NFL Draft - Jan. 4:

Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 250.
Projected 40 Time: 4.63.
Projected Round (2012): 1.

As Charlie wrote in the Dec. 12 entry of the NFL Draft Rumor Mill, Vontaze Burfict's best course of action would be returning to Arizona State. Burfict could have fixed his image, rebounded with a strong 2012 campaign and established himself as a top-12 candidate for the 2013 NFL Draft. Instead, he's a late first-round prospect who could potentially fall into Round 2 this April.

The Verdict: Bad move

Fletcher Cox, DE/DT, Mississippi State
Height: 6-4. Weight: 295.
Projected 40 Time: 4.93.
Projected Round (2012): 1-2.

Fletcher Cox is a borderline first-round prospect, so I can understand why he would declare. However, another year at school would have solidified his first-round status, so he's taking a bit of a risk here. It could pay off though.

The Verdict: Mixed feelings

Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Height: 6-6. Weight: 305.
Projected 40 Time: 5.18.
Projected Round (2012): Top 20 Pick.

Jonathan Martin was considered a top-five prospect prior to this season, but his stock has fallen a bit because of some struggles. He's still considered a top-20 candidate, however, and with Andrew Luck declaring, Martin didn't really have a choice.

The Verdict: No-brainer

Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois
Height: 6-4. Weight: 265.
Projected 40 Time: 4.65.
Projected Round (2012): 1.

Whitney Mercilus is coming off a breakout year, so he's declaring at the right time. Mercilus can fit any scheme as a dynamic pass-rusher, so it's hard to imagine him falling out of the first round.

The Verdict: Good move

Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Height: 6-6. Weight: 300.
Projected 40 Time: 4.98.
Projected Round (2012): Top 15 Pick.

Riley Reiff has a pretty good shot to be drafted in the top 10, so this was an easy decision.

The Verdict: No-brainer

Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
Height: 6-2. Weight: 215.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2012): 2.

Earlier reports indicated that Mohamed Sanu would be returning to Rutgers, but those came from shady sources. Sanu will probably be a second-round pick. I don't believe he could have improved his stock by going back to school for another year, so he's probably making the right decision.

The Verdict: Good move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2012 NFL Draft - Jan. 3:

Chris Polk, RB, Washington
Height: 5-11. Weight: 222.
Projected 40 Time: 4.46.
Projected Round (2012): 2-3.

I don't think Chris Polk could have improved his draft stock all that much by staying an extra year, so I feel like he's doing the right thing by declaring early. Running backs are prone to injury, so the risk of a torn ACL or something next year at Washington could have been disastrous for Polk.

The Verdict: Good move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2012 NFL Draft - Jan. 1:

Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest
Height: 6-0. Weight: 195.
Projected 40 Time: 4.45.
Projected Round (2012): 4-6.

It's always a head-scratcher when a mid-round prospect declares early. Chris Givens really needs a good Combine performance to turn some heads.

The Verdict: Bad move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2012 NFL Draft - Dec. 31:

Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
Height: 6-5. Weight: 265.
Projected 40 Time: 4.80.
Projected Round (2012): 3-4.

Chandler Jones is a mid-round prospect who has a chance to sneak into the end of Day 2. He played just seven games last season, so you'd have to believe that he could have improved his draft stock if he waited another year.

The Verdict: Bad move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2012 NFL Draft - Dec. 26 and Earlier:

Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Height: 6-1. Weight: 208.
Projected 40 Time: 4.48.
Projected Round (2012): Top 10 Pick.

Despite what the Sun Tan Man thinks, Justin Blackmon has a good chance of being picked in the top five. He'd be foolish to go back to school.

The Verdict: No-brainer

David DeCastro, G, Stanford
Height: 6-5. Weight: 312.
Projected 40 Time: 5.14.
Projected Round (2012): 1.

David DeCastro is currently listed at No. 13 in my 2012 NFL Mock Draft. With Andrew Luck bound to declare, DeCastro is making the right decision.

The Verdict: Good move

Marcus Forston, DT, Miami
Height: 6-3. Weight: 310.
Projected 40 Time: 4.97.
Projected Round (2012): 3-4.

The Miami program is falling apart, so I can't blame Marcus Forston for declaring early, even if he's just a borderline Day 2 prospect.

The Verdict: OK move

LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
Height: 5-9. Weight: 185.
Projected 40 Time: 4.38.
Projected Round (2012): 2-3.

LaMichael James is just a Day 2 prospect, but he's not going to improve his stock any further. Why not declare now and avoid injury?

The Verdict: Good move

Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Height: 6-7. Weight: 295.
Projected 40 Time: 5.01.
Projected Round (2012): Top 5 Pick.

I guess Matt Kalil and Matt Barkley aren't a packaged deal. Oh well. Kalil will probably be the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, while Barkley will be banging hot chicks at USC. Advantage: Even.

The Verdict: No-brainer

Ronnell Lewis, OLB/DE, Oklahoma
Height: 6-2. Weight: 244.
Projected 40 Time: 4.55.
Projected Round (2012): 1-2.

Ronnell Lewis has a chance to be a first-round pick, but he's making the right decision because he's academically ineligible at Oklahoma. What else is he going to do in 2012, play in Division 1-AA?

The Verdict: Good move

Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
Height: 5-11. Weight: 212.
Projected 40 Time: 4.46.
Projected Round (2012): 1-2.

Lamar Miller has a chance to be a first-round pick. He's making the right decision. He's avoiding injury and leaving a collapsing Miami program.

The Verdict: Good move

Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
Height: 6-3. Weight: 250.
Projected 40 Time: 4.57.
Projected Round (2012): 1-2.

I really think Nick Perry will be a first-round pick. I currently have him at No. 28 in my 2012 NFL Mock Draft. If he waited a year, however, he could have been a top-10 prospect.

The Verdict: Mixed feelings

Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
Height: 6-5. Weight: 350.
Projected 40 Time: 5.50.
Projected Round (2012): 1-2.

Dontari Poe has a good chance to be a first-round pick. I don't think he can improve his draft stock much, so he's making the right decision.

The Verdict: Good move

Tommy Streeter, WR, Miami
Height: 6-4. Weight: 215.
Projected 40 Time: 4.53.
Projected Round (2012): 2-3.

It's a good time to leave Miami, but I can't help but think that Tommy Streeter would have really benefited from another year in school.

The Verdict: Mixed feelings

Robert Turbin, RB, Utah State
Height: 5-9. Weight: 216.
Projected 40 Time: 4.62.
Projected Round (2012): 4-6.

A Day 3 prospect with an extensive injury history. Meh.

The Verdict: Bad move

Olivier Vernon, DE, Miami
Height: 6-4. Weight: 265.
Projected 40 Time: 4.71.
Projected Round (2012): 5-7.

Who is this person?

The Verdict: Irrelevant

Brandon Washington, G/OT, Miami
Height: 6-4. Weight: 320.
Projected 40 Time: 5.21.
Projected Round (2012): 4-5.

Brandon Washington clashed with Miami head coach Al Golden, so he almost had to make this move, even if he's just a borderline third-day prospect.

The Verdict: Good move





Major Prospects Going Back to School:

Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
Height: 5-11. Weight: 214.
Projected 40 Time: 4.53.
Projected Round (2012): 2-3.

Montee Ball apparently isn't a WalterFootball.com reader. Otherwise, he would have listened to Charlie's advice about Ball declaring early. He's risking injury and a down year with some talented offensive linemen leaving.

The Verdict: Bad move

Matt Barkley, USC
Height: 6-2. Weight: 230.
Projected 40 Time: 4.83.
Projected Round (2012): Top 10 Pick.

There was no way Matt Barkley was getting out of the top five, so he's taking a major risk by going back to school. On one hand, he could be the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. On the other hand, he could struggle without Matt Kalil and tumble down the draft boards, much like Matt Leinart back in 2006. As mentioned earlier though, Barkley will have the opportunity to bang hot chicks at USC for another year, so perhaps that trumps everything.

The Verdict: Mixed feelings

Brandon Jenkins, DE/OLB, Florida State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 265.
Projected 40 Time: 4.67.
Projected Round (2012): 1-2.

Brandon Jenkins was a possible first-round pick, but probably a second-round prospect in April's draft. He could make a stronger case for being a first-rounder with a strong senior campaign.

The Verdict: Good move

Barrett Jones, T/G/C, Alabama
Height: 6-5. Weight: 311.
Projected 40 Time: 5.19.
Projected Round (2012): 1.

Barrett Jones will be returning to Alabama next year, per Rivals.com. Jones had a chance to be a first-round pick, so the decision is a curious one. However, there was some speculation that he'd have to play guard in the NFL, and because Alabama may ask him to start at center next year, it could help with his positional versatility.

The Verdict: Mixed feelings

Landry "Lance" Jones, QB, Oklahoma
Height: 6-4. Weight: 216.
Projected 40 Time: 4.81.
Projected Round (2012): Top 20 Pick.

Landry Jones had a poor 2011 campaign, but was still a probable first-round prospect. Perhaps he can improve his draft stock with a strong 2012 season, but what if he struggles again? He'll be out of first-round discussions entirely.

The Verdict: Mixed feelings

T.J. McDonald, S, USC
Height: 6-2. Weight: 205.
Projected 40 Time: 4.49.
Projected Round (2012): 2.

T.J. McDonald could use another year in school, but he'll face fiercer competition in terms of fellow safety prospects next year. It's a tough call.

The Verdict: Mixed feelings

Russell Shepard, WR, LSU
Height: 6-0. Weight: 185.
Projected 40 Time: 4.43.
Projected Round (2012): 4-6.

Russell Shepard declared on Jan. 12, but changed his mind a couple of days later.

The Verdict: Good move

Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
Height: 6-2. Weight: 255.
Projected 40 Time: 4.60.
Projected Round (2012): 1.

Manti Te'o should have declared. He was slated to be a first-round prospect and the second linebacker off the board behind Luke Kuechly. Next year, he'll have to deal with Jarvis Jones, Jelani Jenkins and Tom Wort.

The Verdict: Bad move



NFL Picks - Oct. 23


2015 NFL Mock Draft - Oct. 22


Fantasy Football Rankings - Sept. 5


2016 NFL Mock Draft - July 24


2015 NBA Mock Draft - July 1


NFL Free Agents





© 1999-2014 Walter Cherepinsky : all rights reserved
Privacy Policy
2 5 9
Google
















WalterFootball.com Now on Twitter:

WalterFootball.com Twitter

Subscribe to the WalterFootball.com RSS Feed:

Walterfootball.com RSS Feed






















































Support Walt's Other Site:

Sales Tips and Sales Advice - Tons of sales tips, sales techniques and sales advice, including a Sales Mock Draft: The 32 Worst Things You Can Do in Sales.