While it's now a bit pointless to contemplate what might have been, there are some players from the 2012 draft that I am still watching with a bit of curiosity. Some have gotten off to better starts than others. Some will never amount to anything. Either way, these are some of the guys who I will be paying attention to as they go into their second year. Rather than listing them in order of preference, I'll just lay this out in order of when they were actually selected. For the most part, this will just be a list of oddballs, rather than players who have starting roles already locked up.
Pick #30- A.J. Jenkins, WR, San Francisco 49ers. Many people seem to have written him off already, due to his failure to accomplish anything as a rookie. Others were questioning from the very start why he was taken in the 1st round. While I probably wouldn't have taken him quite this high, I do think there are reasons to remain optimistic about his future. For an average sized receiver (6' tall, 190#), his overall Athletic Score of 0.003 seems extremely average. This score, while acceptable, hides some interesting physical traits. His agility score was 0.816, which is exceptional. His 40-yard dash time of 4.39, and a vertical jump of 38.5", are also quite good. The reason these numbers fail to boost his overall score is simply due to a lack of mass. So, he might not be able to convert his explosiveness into power, but combined with his agility he could be quite productive as a "small" type receiver, where he bases his game off of eluding people, sharp route running, and speed. He also had a 2nd Gear Score of 0.17, suggesting his deep speed could be even better than his 40 time might lead you to believe. Where he really stood out was with his college Stat Score, where he had an above average 0.557 result. While he was only responsible for 14.45% of his team's offense as a junior (a somewhat average result), this number leapt to 27.59% as a senior (truly remarkable). Watching his games from Illinois, he also seemed to really extend for the ball, and have reliable hands. If he had been taken in the second or third round, I would have been more comfortable with this pick, but I still wouldn't write him off.
Pick #49- Kendall Reyes, DE/DT, San Diego Chargers. Reyes has already begun to emerge as a talent, but he could get even better. In his rookie year, he accumulated 5.5 sacks and 28 tackles, though he was only listed as the starter for 4 games. According to the computer, he really should have been selected in the first round. Physically, he might have been the most gifted defensive linemen in the draft (hmm, it's debatable). His Kangaroo Score of 0.999, combined with an Agility Score of 0.640, suggest he has the power and nimbleness to contend with pretty much anyone (though he is no J.J. Watt). While his sack numbers in college weren't shocking (only 4.5 in senior year, and 2.5 in his junior year) his average number of tackles for a loss, in his last two years, was a very respectable 11.75. I have a hard time imagining that he won't continue to improve. I'm really interested to see who turns out to be the best between him and Derek Wolfe (Broncos), who is somewhat less powerful (0.279 Kangaroo Score), but more nimble (1.145 Agility Score). I really don't have a strong preference for either one at this point.
Pick #66- Josh Robinson, CB, Minnesota Vikings. I've already mentioned him a little bit in the past, so I'll keep this short and sweet. Physically, he is the ideal model of what a cornerback should be, except for his slightly below average height. He is extremely fast (4.29 forty yard dash, with a 0.19 2nd Gear Score), explosive (38.5 vetical jump, 11'1" broad jump), and has elite agility (1.578 Agility Score). This doesn't mean that he will become the next Champ Bailey, but the likelihood of him failing to develop into a reliable/solid corner seems fairly slim. 10 interceptions and 36 PBUs, in his 3 years at UCF, are also encouraging. At the very worst this seems like a good risk vs. reward pick at the start of the 3rd round.
Pick #74- Donald Stephenson, OT, Kansas City Chiefs. I haven't been able to follow him as much as I would like, but starting 7 games in his rookie year isn't a bad start. A 1.815 Kangaroo Score, and a 0.372 Agility score, would put him amongst some of the more intriguing offensive line prospects from 2012. Still, his only moderately better than average Agility Score, may mean he should stick to the right side of the line. With the other recent additions that the Chiefs have made to their line, finding playing time might prove to be a challenge.
Pick #76- Brandon Brooks, OG/OT, Houston Texans. There is nothing I can say that I haven't said before. I'm very excited to see how things turn out for him.
Pick #88- Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles. Normally, I try to avoid speculating about QBs, since it is hard to break them down using numbers. As an off the cuff kind of opinion, I'll just say that I am a bit of a fan of Foles. I'm not saying that he will become Peyton Manning, merely that I think he is at the very least a decent QB who has some value. During the draft people seemed to be down on him for being immobile, but when I watched him play in college he actually seemed remarkably adept at rolling out and making accurate throws. Nobody will mistake his running for Michael Vick, but that isn't the point. He seemed to make quick and intelligent decisions, and not get overly disturbed by pressure. I'm really not sure why more people aren't rooting for him. The likelihood that he doesn't have enough flashiness to his play, and spends his career as a backup, seems disturbingly high, which I think could be a shame.
Pick #106- Robert Turbin, RB, Seattle Seahawks. Having him stuck behind Marshawn Lynch is going to be frustrating. I don't see any reason to believe that Turbin can't be as good or better than the 8 RBs who were selected ahead of him. Besides being a surprisingly smooth receiver, for a large running back, the main thing he brings to the table is his power with a 0.790 Kangaroo Score. Combined with his above average 4.42 forty yard dash, and you have an interesting physical specimen. There seems to be a growing lack of appreciation for power backs.
Pick #129- Miles Burris, OLB, Oakland Raiders. As awkward as this is to admit, Burris was the computer's favorite pass rushing prospect from the 2012 draft (excluding the larger DTs, and 3-4 DEs). His combination of physical skills and college production were fairly unique. His 17.5 sacks, and average of 19.5 TFLs, in his last two college years (San Diego State), puts him in rather elite company when it comes to college production. If you ever watch any of his college games, you'll probably see that he really attacks QBs like a murderous lunatic, but dropping back into coverage he was a bit more average. Athletically, his Kangaroo Score of 0.319 was decent, but his 1.246 Agility Score was where he really excelled. Considering his somewhat smaller frame (6'2" tall, 246#, small for a 3-4 OLB, but good for a 4-3 OLB), it makes some sense that his game would be built around this exceptional agility, since taking opponents head would be less likely to work. While smaller pass rushers are always a bit riskier, I am very excited to see what he turns into. Picking up a player like Burris, at the end of the 4th round seems to present good value for the Raiders.
Pick #193- Tom Compton, OT, Washington Redskins.
Pick #195- Nick Mondek, OT, Houston Texans
Pick #221- Nate Potter, OT, Arizona Cardinals I'm going to lump these three guys together since they are all variations of a similar theme. These three players all fit in the mold of being at least somewhat athletically gifted, to the point where throwing out a late round pick for them seems like a low risk/high reward type of deal. Tom Compton comes out with a 0.400 Kangaroo Score, and a 0.690 Agility Score, both of which are in the decent to good range. Of these three, he is probably the most athletically gifted. Nick Mondek had a very average 0.142 Kangaroo Score, and an exceptional Agility Score of 1.325. I would be curious to see him move to the guard position, though he might still do okay as a tackle. Nate Potter had an uninspiring -0.608 Kangaroo Score, and a 0.695 Agility Score. In Potter's case his numbers aren't terribly strong, but he also has somewhat longer than average arms, at 34 5/8". Again, I would suspect that he might do better at guard.
Pick #232- Greg Scruggs, DE, Seattle Seahawks With a 0.661 Kangaroo Score, a 1.410 Agility score, (when compared to the DT group, because of his 284# weight), his numbers are quite impressive. He never really lived up to his physical potential while playing at Louisville, but as a 7th round flier, he could be interesting. The Seahawks, probably more than any other team, recently seem to be able to get good performances out of players with rather mediocre measurable athletic ability. So, seeing what they can squeeze out of someone with the sort of traits that Scruggs brings to the table might be fun to watch.
None of this is meant to suggest that these players will become the "stars" of their particular draft class. These are just a few guys that perhaps haven't gotten a ton of attention from the ESPN-heads, and who I think will be interesting to watch for signs of improvement.