So, let’s go inside the numbers. The following table shows the top tier DEs/OLBs in this year’s draft. The table denotes the player and his 2011 school along with delineating some of his 2012 NFL Combine measurables. The table also shows the prospect’s number of college starts and various starting positions along with college honors plus his number of sacks and tackles for loss. Finally, I included the prospect’s projected draft round selection, according to NFLDraftScout.com, and the prospect’s scouting grade, according to The NFL Football Post, which was assessed on or about the 2012 NFL Combine — bearing in mind that Jeff Ireland stated his draft board has not changed much in the last few months. You can click on this table to enlarge.
2012 NFL Draft — Top Tier DEs/OLBs
Quinton Coples (North Carolina) and Melvin Ingram (South Carolina) are far and away the elite men of the group. Both will likely be available for selection by the Dolphins at the 8th pick of the draft. Several other prospects could be available, if the Dolphins happen to trade down in the first round of the draft. If the Dolphins selected a prospect at another position in the first round (say a QB or offensive lineman), Andre Branch (Clemson) or Shea McClellan (Boise State) or Chandler Jones (Syracuse) may be available in the second round for the Dolphins to select with the 42nd pick of the draft.
Before I go any further, let me warn you that you may start to go crazy looking at all the numbers. In fact, after a while, all the prospects may begin to look the same. Let me suggest that you might want to focus on a few things. First, I like to focus on the time in the three cone drill — it presents an idea of the prospect’s quickness. Second, you may wish to focus on the number of starts in college — it presents an idea of the prospect’s consistency. And third, you can focus on the sacks and tackles for loss to get an idea of the prospect’s production in the particular area of need for the Dolphins.
If the Dolphins are unable to select one of these top tier prospects, there are plenty of good pickings in the second tier of prospects shown in the following table:
2012 NFL Draft — Second Tier DEs/OLBs
Of these second tier prospects, Vinny Curry (Marshall) should be available at the 42nd pick (second round). And, Billy Winn (Boise State) is an interesting option in the third round. Winn has been scouted to be someone who could play DT in a 4-3, DE in a 3-4, or possibly a DE in a 4-3 — this versatility combined with the recent cut of Philip Merling could make Winn an interesting prospect for the Dolphins. Cam Johnson (Virginia) would be a steal, if available in the fourth round — being a possible candidate for selection by the Dolphins, if Jeff Ireland decided to double up at this position. Please note that Jared Crick (Nebraska) did not play in the 2011 NCAA season due to injury.
What do you think the Dolphins will do in the 2012 NFL Draft regarding DEs/OLBs?
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