Follow along right here and see where each draftee was ranked coming out of high school.
Draft Holds Intrigue After First Two Spots
Following months of analyzing, re-analyzing and micro-analyzing, the prime-time start of the NFL's 2012 college player draft Thursday will be an almost anti-climactic 1-2 punch that has been telegraphed for so long that the only knockout it can score is against intrigue.
After those first two picks are announced, the real drama finally begins.
The Indianapolis Colts have already said they will use the first pick to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, whose job will be to resurrect an offense led for so long by Peyton Manning, who is now trying to extend his career with the Denver Broncos.
The Washington Redskins went all in -- giving the St. Louis Rams a second-round pick this year and first-round picks the next two years -- to move up from the sixth spot to No. 2, where they will take Baylor Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Robert Griffin III.
it will fall to the Minnesota Vikings to begin the real drama of this draft in the No. 3 spot.
Once the predetermined cream of the crop is officially chosen, the Minnesota Vikings will start the real intrigue with its pick from the No. 3 spot.
And, in the first draft after a collective bargaining agreement that severely limits rookie contracts, a new perspective will be placed on how to value players and positions. It will be far less of a financial burden to have a top ten pick. So, beginning with the Vikings, who all but advertised a willingness to trade their No. 3 spot on Craig's List, it will be interesting to see how and why teams trade up or down.
This could re-value draft worthiness of an exceptional offensive lineman, running back, defensive back or wide receiver, whose allure may have been impacted in recent drafts by either the concept of supply and demand or, especially in the case of quarterbacks, sheer cost.
The Vikings are counting on teams willing to swap several draft picks to move up and get just such players, as there are conspicuous examples available for the taking at each of those positions.
According to final ratings by NFLDrafScout.com, the parade of talent after Luck and RG3 marches in this order -- No. 3, Southern Cal offensive tackle Matt Kalil; No. 4, Alabama running back Trent Richardson; No. 5, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne; No. 6, Oklahoma wide receiver Justin Blackmon.
Also, after Mississippi defensive tackle Fletcher Cox at No. 7, there is Texas A&M wide receiver-turned-quarterback Ryan Tannehill, easily the fastest rising and most controversial pick in the draft, sitting neatly in the No. 8 position where the quarterback-needy Miami Dolphins are picking. Or, at least that is where they were situated the day before the draft.
The Vikings certainly could use Kalil, but offensive linemen are traditionally found with lower picks and this is a team that has needs at more than one position.
Though running backs have been devalued in the pass-oriented NFL and there are six in this draft deemed good enough to be taken in the first two rounds, Richardson is special. Many teams believe he's the best running back to arrive since Adrian Peterson, who was taken seventh overall by the Vikings in 2007.
Cornerback and wide receiver are two of the strongest positions at the top of the 2012 draft. Eleven corners and a dozen receivers have the potential to be taken in the first two rounds. But athletes with big play ability are at a premium, and that's why Claiborne is especially prized as a corner and Blackmon as a receiver.
Almost every year, the third-ranked quarterback is the fastest rising player as the draft nears. Tannehill is that QB this year. The lure of a potential franchise quarterback, even if he needs time to fine tune his skills, could make a team trade up and pay to get Tannehill. He may even attract the attention of the Cleveland Browns, who are sitting at No. 4 and run by team president Mike Holmgren, himself an underappreciated quarterback when he graduated from USC.
Holmgren, known to be a sharp poker player himself, also knows there is value in either keeping or trading from the fourth spot. Perhaps the Vikings and Browns already have their players picked or their deals sealed.
With no offense meant to the Colts and Luck or the Redskins and RG3, the real personality of the 2012 draft will probably be determined by what happens once the Vikings, then Browns are on the clock
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