Tag:2012 underclassmen
Posted on: January 11, 2012 1:15 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 3:59 pm

Georgia TE Charles going pro

Georgia tight end Orson Charles  plans to enter the 2012 NFL Draft according to an ESPN report.

Charles, an All-SEC tight end as a junior, led Georgia in receiving with 572 yards on 44 catches with five touchdowns.

He's NFLDraftScout.com's third-ranked tight end, behind Dwayne Allen of Clemson and Stanford's Coby Fleener. All three have first-round potential, though at this point NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang and Dane Brugler only feature one tight end in their respective mock drafts.

Charles, listed by Georgia at 6-3 and 242 pounds, lacks the bulk most teams prefer at the position. He is very agile for his size, however, and is a much more physical blocker than his size would indicate. In fact, scouts give Charles a higher grade as a blocker than they do the 6-6, 245 pound Fleener. 

Charles said after the Outback Bowl that he was awaiting feedback from the NFL Draft Advisory Board. Rang listed Charles on his Top 32 Big Board for much of the 2011 season, though Charles has slipped down Rang's rankings slightly over the past month. At this point, Rang grades Charles as a solid second round value.

Quarterback Aaron Murray, who is a redshirt sophomore, also requested an evaluation from the board but isn't expected to leave.

Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:13 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 12:28 pm

Konz leaves Wisconsin for NFL

Wisconsin junior center Peter Konz will enter the 2012 NFL Draft as expected, the school announced Tuesday.

Konz is NFLDraftScout.com's top-ranked center in a class that could produce several interior offensive linemen within the first 50 picks. The Wisconsin junior, in fact, is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 24 ranked player, overall.

Konz learned last week that he had been "highly rated" by the NFL draft advisory board despite missing three games with a dislocated left ankle.

He returned and played well in the Rose Bowl loss to Oregon.

Konz and Stanford junior offensive guard David DeCastro are projected as likely first round picks by NFLDraftScout.com's analysts Rob Rang and Dane Brugler.

Konz started 31 games at Wisconsin and is one of three offensive linemen moving on, including coveted offensive guard prospect Kevin Zeitler.

The Badgers' offense could be hard hit by defections. Offensive coordinator Paul Chryst was named head coach at Pittsburgh, quarterback Russell Wilson's eligibility expired and wide receiver Nick Toon, another player with a grade warranting a top-50 selection, is also gone.

Wisconsin also lost run-game coordinator Joe Rudolph, and assistant coach targeted by head coach Bret Bielema as Chryst's successor.

Posted on: January 10, 2012 9:37 am
Edited on: January 10, 2012 12:24 pm

Griffin meets with Briles, draft decision looming

Robert Griffin III met with seven sports agencies and then again with Baylor coach Art Briles as he weighs the decision of whether to return to the Bears for his senior season or enter the 2012 NFL Draft.

The deadline for underclassmen to enter the draft is Sunday.

"He's really contemplating what he feels like is the thing that's going to give him peace," Briles said.
The 2011 Heisman Trophy winner and NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2-ranked quarterback prospect, Griffin met with prospective agents with Baylor compliance officers present to ensure he wasn't sacrificing his eligibility should he opt to return to college football. He first had his parents, both Army sargeants, interview agents and provide him feedback.

Griffin, 6-2, 220, earned his bachelor's degree a year ago after graduating high school a semester early to enroll in January 2008. He's on pace to earn his masters in communication in May and is engaged to be married.

There are no character-related questions with Griffin, who said he arrived at Baylor with the NFL as a Plan B.

"Plan B can overtake Plan A if they come knocking at your door," he said. "Who are you to turn down the NFL."
Indeed, a lot changed for Griffin in the span of one season. At this time last year, he said he received feedback from the NFL Draft Advisory Board that he was likely to be a second- or third-round pick. In a loaded quarterback class that included five quarterbacks in the top 35 selections, Griffin might have been overlooked.

If he decides to turn pro, that's unlikely this time around.

Stanford's Andrew Luck, the top-rated prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, and Griffin are expected to be the only sure first-round picks. As such, each is projected by NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang and Dane Brugler's as top five picks in their latest mock drafts. Some might include Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M, but his raw skills after just two years at the position make him more of a risk.

Risk should be a consideration for Griffin, who missed most of the 2009 season with a knee injury.

After throwing for more than 4,000 yards with 37 touchdowns and only six interceptions, Griffin has opened many eyes. He also had 699 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Former Colts head coach Tony Dungy is on the record that he might even draft Griffin, not Luck, with the first overall pick. He won't be the only one with that opinion, regardless of how flawless the Stanford redshirt junior has been and scouting reports will be in April.

Griffin isn't without some concerns with evaluators, who want to verify his height and weight before projecting him as a franchise quarterback. On appearances alone, there are scouts who are concerned Griffin doesn't have the sturdy build to withstand the rigors of taking pounding in and outside of the pocket in the NFL.

But like Newton in 2011, about whom there were concerns he could throw accurately in an NFL-style offense, it's also worth considering whether Griffin has a reasonable facsimile in the NFL.

Griffin said he patterns his game after Steve Young -- a mobile quarterback who thrives on efficiency -- but can't help but see the comparison many have drawn between 2011 No. 1 overall pick Newton and Griffin.

Griffin owns 46 Baylor records, and in 41 games completed 67 percent of his passes (800 of 1,192) for 10,366 yards with 78 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He had 33 rushing touchdowns and 2,254 yards.

Posted on: January 9, 2012 2:01 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 6:09 pm

DE Taylor returning to South Carolina for 2012

In senior Melvin Ingram, junior Devin Taylor and heralded true freshman Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina's defensive line featured more individual talent than any other unit on Steve Spurrier's team during the 2011 season.

The Gamecocks will certainly miss Ingram's versatility but with the announcement Monday that Taylor will be returning in 2012 for his senior campaign, South Carolina will again feature an extraordinary pass rush combination next season.

Scouts have long had high regard for Taylor, listed at 6-7, 260 pounds by the Gamecocks. With Ingram lining up inside at defensive tackle, Taylor started all 13 games opposite Clowney in 2011, recording 42 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. The numbers, while certainly respectable, were actually a bit of a disappointment, as Taylor earned First Team All-SEC honors in 2010 with 46 stops, including 13 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.

"I still have some things I'd like to accomplish at Carolina before I go on to the next level," said Taylor in a statement released by the university.

Taylor is currently ranked by NFLDraftScout.com as the No. 4 defensive end for the 2013 draft.  

Posted on: January 8, 2012 5:57 pm

UCF confirms CB Robinson leaving for NFL

Central Florida cornerback Josh Robinson will forgo his senior season and enter the 2012 NFL Draft.
Robinson, 5-feet-10 and 192 pounds, is the 14th-best cornerback prospect and No. 107 overall prospect eligible for this April's draft, according to ratings by NFLDraftScout.com.
"I've been in discussions with the Robinson family over the holidays, and after I met with them Saturday regarding the pros and cons of entering the draft as well as staying in school, the family decided that he wanted to declare for the draft," Knights coach George O'Leary said in release by the school. "I wish him well in his future endeavors in the NFL and I hope everything works out for Josh and his family."
Robinson had indicated earlier in the week through Facebook and Twitter that he intended to leave school, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Robinson was named First Team All-Conference USA for the second consecutive season in 2011 after intercepting two passes and breaking up 15, tied for second-most in school history. He leaves the Knights with 36 career pass breakups, two shy of the school record set by current Philadelphia Eagle Asante Samuel.
Robinson moved to the boundary corner position in early November following a season-ending knee injury by A.J. Bouye. Robinson also has some return skills, but lost the punt return job for UCF in September following three fumbles early in the season.
Robinson was named to the 2011 Jim Thorpe and Bronko Nagurski preseason watch lists after typically being assigned the opponents' top receiver as a sophomore. He had six interceptions as a freshman and two in each of the past two seasons.
Posted on: January 7, 2012 6:32 pm

B.C.'s Kuechly bolting for NFL

Luke Kuechly, the top-rated inside linebacker and No. 18 overall prospect for the 2012 draft by NFLDraftScout.com, will forgo his senior year of eligibility, Boston College confirmed.

The 2011 Butkus, Lombardi and Lott IMPACT Trophy award winner led the nation in tackles each of the past two seasons and leaves the Eagles as the school and ACC career leader with 532 tackles in just three seasons.

Not considered an elite athlete in terms of testing results, Kuechly is known as a tackling machine. He is an excellent fit as a middle linebacker in a 4-3 scheme and has been compared to the Rams' James Laurinaitis.  

Kuechly is an intelligent player who possesses great instincts for the game, and he is constantly around the ball between the tackles. While he lacks elite speed, Kuechly has shown he can make plays sideline to sideline as he takes avantage of angles to track down ballcarriers.

While coverage isn't his best asset, Kuechly does take good drops and puts himself in good position.

But his calling card is his secure tackling. He simply rips off blocks and has a nose to find the football.   
Posted on: January 7, 2012 2:10 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2012 2:18 pm

Report: Ole Miss loses RT Massie to NFL

A few weeks ago I noted that NFL teams in need of help at offensive tackle were hoping for a significant influx of talent from underclassmen to save a weak 2012 crop of seniors.

As expected, Southern Cal's Matt Kalil, Iowa's Riley Reiff and Stanford's Jonathan Martin all accepted the challenge. On Friday, another junior offensive tackle decided that he too would be making the jump and attempting to take advantage of the talent vacuum at the position this year.

According to a report from the Clarion-Ledger, Mississippi right tackle Bobby Massie is heading to the NFL.

The Clarion-Ledger report does not quote Massie nor any members of the Ole Miss program. Instead, they cite Massie's Facebook account, which reads, "2012 season I will be playing on Sundays. It was fun Ole Miss."

If Massie is indeed leaving school early for the draft, it isn't a surprise. It was well known that Massie was considering making the jump. He and fellow Rebel offensive lineman A.J. Hawkins each petitioned the NFL Advisory Committee for a grade.

The actual grades given by the committee are rarely leaked (which is why this story is interesting)

NFLDraftScout.com had projected the 6-6, 325 pound Massie as a possible 2nd round pick to begin the 2011 season. A disappointing year for the Rebels caused his stock to slip a bit as the year went on but a top 75 remains a possibility due to Massie's rare blend of size, strength and durability.

An extremely highly touted prep prospect who originally signed with Virginia Tech and was heavily recruited by Alabama and others, Massie played an extra year at the prep level for Hargrave Military Academy before seeing action with the Rebels. Once on the field for Ole Miss, however, Massie quickly established himself as a standout. The long-armed, surprisingly nimble Massie started the final 29 games of his career at right tackle for the Rebels.

Though he never earned post-season honors while at Ole Miss, the Rebels' struggles at quarterback played a role. Mississippi rotated three quarterbacks in 2011 and their differing styles contributed to a talented offensive line that had been counted on as a team strength struggling. The Rebels, in fact, gave up 34 sacks last year which was just one behind Kentucky for the worst in all of the SEC.

When scouts break down Massie on tape they will see a fundamentally flawed prospect but one with a great deal of natural talent. Considering the concerns scouts have about the senior class of tackles available in the 2012 draft, Massie could prove one of the more intriguing raw speciments at the position.

Massie currently ranks fifth among NFLDraftScout.com's 2013 tackle prospects.

Posted on: January 7, 2012 1:28 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2012 1:29 pm

Mackey Award winner Allen heading to NFL

Two days after a humbling loss to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl, the Clemson Tigers lost one of their most prolific offensive weapons to the NFL.

Junior tight end Dwayne Allen, the 2011 Mackey Award recipient as the nation's top tight end, made a formal announcement through the university that he is forgoing his senior season.

"I want to first thank all of my teammates, my teammates from the 2011 team and teammates from past years," said Allen. "Without them this would not be possible.

"I also want to thank my coaches, Coach Dabo Swinney, my position coach Danny Pearman and offensive coordinator Chad Morris. They have helped me grow as a player and as a person.

"Finally I want to thank everyone in Tiger Nation for their support over the years. I want to especially thank them for being patient with me.

"I am basically turning professional because I feel I am ready. This is the appropriate time. I have matured as a player and a person over the last four years at Clemson and this experience has prepared me for the next level. I have just 13 hours (of course work) left to graduate and I will be a proud Clemson graduate."

The 6-4, 255 pound Allen has ranked as NFLDraftScout.com's top tight end prospect for the the 2012 draft virtually all year long. Allen received consensus All-American honors following a 2011 season in which he caught 50 passes for 598 yards and eight touchdowns in helping Clemson capture their first ACC crown in 20 years. The catch, yardage and touchdown single-season totals broke school records and helped Allen tie John McMakin (1969-1971) with 93 receptions and 12 touchdowns for the most of each from a Clemson tight end in his career.

"Never have I been more proud of a player's development than Dwayne Allen," said Head Coach Dabo Swinney. "Clemson has made a huge impact in his life and he has helped Clemson achieve at a level not seen in 20-plus years. Dwayne has a great future, and I fully support his decision to enter the NFL. I look forward to watching him continue his journey. He will be a great ambassador for Clemson for years to come."

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com