Thursday, April 19, 2012

NFL Draft: Second Rounders Who Could Have An Impact Like First Rounders

With the NFL Draft only a week away, it is crunch time for draft talk. In seven days, this article will be a little easier to write as I will know who is still available. However, until then, I will have to use someone else's rankings to estimate who will still be there following the first round. Second round picks can have just as big of an impact (if not greater) than first rounders, especially for those teams in the top 10 of the draft.

Taking a look at last year's second rounders you can see that quality can be found in this round as well. While that is nothing new, let's take a look at some of last year's second rounders. Andy Dalton went #35 overall (3rd pick in the 2nd round) to Cincinnati. Dalton had a great rookie year and was only out-shined by Cam Newton. Buffalo's pick in the 2nd round, Aaron Williams, looked to be a potential #1 corner before injuring his collarbone week 4 against New England. Williams later went on to return only to injury his right leg later in the season. He should be counted on by Buffalo to be their #2 corner this season. Jabaal Sheard (37th overall), Akeem Ayers (39th overall), Bruce Carter (40th overall), Kyle Rudolph (43rd overall), Titus Young (44th overall), Rahim Moore (45th overall), Greg Little (59th overall) and Randall Cobb (64th overall) all had good or great rookie seasons after being drafted in the second round last year.

But, enough about last year's draft, it is time to look forward to this year's draft. For this article, I will be using Cbssports' rankings (found here) and ESPN's rankings (found here). There may be better rankings out there, but these are two I will be using today. I am sure I could also make my own rankings but at the present time, I do not have the time to make my own rankings. Onto the 2nd rounders who could have a huge impact on their teams in 2012:

Peter Konz - Center - Wisconsin (36th on CBS/34th on ESPN):
In my mock draft I had Konz going to 32nd to the New York Giants. He's a big, physical center who is exceptional at run blocking and pass blocking. He will most likely be able to anchor the center position of whichever team he is on for a decade.

Dont'a Hightower - Inside Linebacker - Alabama (41st on CBS/13th on ESPN):
I am not sure why CBS has Hightower so low because he is easily the second best inside linebacker in the draft this year. Hightower is a hard hitter who should be going in the first round. If he somehow slips to the second round he will a very sought after player.

Vinny Curry - Defensive End - Marshall (40th on CBS/55th on ESPN):
Curry played for four years at Marshall, while compiling 27 total sacks and 49 tackles for loss. He should fit as a 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker. He is a little too big to be a 4-3 outside linebacker but someone could take him and try moving him around.

Alshon Jeffery - Wide Receiver - South Carolina (52nd on CBS/53rd on ESPN):
Originally considered the second best wide receiver in this year's draft, Jeffery's stock dropped after his work ethic and speed was questioned. Despite this, he impressed me with the Gamecocks in 2011. He is capable of going over the middle and has exceptional hands. Jeffery can make all of the catches just may not be able to stretch the field.

Isaiah Pead - Running Back - Cincinnati (62nd on CBS/67th on ESPN):
As a Pittsburgh fan, Pead will forever be a player that brought me pain. Pead ran a 4.47 at the combine. He has the speed to be a game changer and could be a steal for someone in the later portion of the second round.

Lamar Miller - Running Back - Miami (46th on CBS/52nd on ESPN):
Miller posted the best 40 time at the combine with a 4.40. He rushed for 1,272 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011. He is a smart running back who knows how to follow his blockers and can catch out of the backfield.

Josh Robinson - Corner Back - Central Florida (50th on CBS/54th on ESPN):
Robinson is a player who shot up the boards following the combine. Word is he impressed scouts there, not only with his measurements but in his interviews as well. I have heard that Buffalo interviewed him and was thoroughly impressed. So much so that he may be taken by the Bills in the second round.

Alfonzo Dennard - Corner Back - Nebraska (56th on CBS/73rd on ESPN):
CBS gives Dennard a second round ranking, but ESPN has him as a third rounder. If he falls to the third round he will be an absolute steal for whoever drafts him. He is a physical corner back who is comfortable playing in man. He has the speed to play in the zone as well. He is a sure tackler who will not miss on a lot of tackles.

I will be back next week with those who are not taken in the first round and who I think will have to be taken in the second round.

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