How about some of the eyebrow-raising picks all weekend at the 2012 NFL draft? WVU linebacker Bruce Irvin to Seattle at No. 15 in Rd.1? Are you kidding me? The kid is a one trick pony in the fact that he can sack the
quarterback, but he didn’t even start for the Mountaineers. OSU QB Brandon Weeden at No.22 was surprising, considering the Cleveland Browns have voiced over and over that former Texas Longhorns QB Colt McCoy is there guy- not anymore fellas. Considering Weeden is already in the neighborhood of 39 years old, he’s probably your new QB Browns fans. Then there was Illinois WR A.J. Jenkins being selected by the San Francisco 49ers at No.30 which was completely unexpected with guys like Stephen Hill, Brian Quick, Alshon Jeffrey, and company still on the board.
I’ll stop there because clearly I’m not Mel Kiper or Todd McShay or any sort of draft guru, so instead of analyzing the 2012 NFL draft, I will highlight five prolific college football stars who didn’t get drafted over the weekend, but have already found an NFL home.
Vontaze Burfict (Arizona State/Cincinnati Bengals)
Burfict told reporters. A couple of months ago,Burfict was perceived as being one of the scariest defensive players in the NFL draft and not because of his bad temper. His sheer size, tenacity, and presence are clear as day, but then the NFL combine happened. In a few words, Burfict sh*t the bed, watching his draft stock plummet after running the 40 in over 5 seconds. He even declined interviews with NFL teams, failed a drug test for pot, and had an immensely awful pro day. Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is rolling the dice on Burfict and he’ll need to teach the LB discipline and develop his talents. Said Burfict of his new team, “I know that I’m a first, second round pick and the Bengals got a steal in the draft because nobody drafted me.”
The outstanding Huskies RB didn’t get drafted because of medical concerns about his shoulder. He’s not a running back that shows bursts of speed, but he’s a physical runner. Polk has superior pass-catching ability as well, which is precisely why Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid is taking a gamble on Polk. Reid loves two back sets, so he can run play-action up the middle. Polk will backup LeSean McCoy and will provide the Eagles with a powerful interior runner who can be a threat on short yardage situations and catch screens out of the backfield. He also provides the Eagles with fantastic pass-blocking abilities, giving Michael Vick additional protection, which he desperately needs. Polk will have his moments to shine if McCoy goes down this season and history dictates that he will.
There’s no question Alabama’s leading WR Marquis Maze is an explosive and dynamic receiver. He’s got big play ability and solid kick/punt returner skills that could translate soundly into the NFL. The reason he went undrafted are concerns about his chracter, maturity, and most importantly his size or lack there of. There are large questions that loom about his durability, considering he’s only 5’8, 186lbs. The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to give Maze a shot because he can stretch the field on one side and be a big play threat. It’ll be up to Maze to prove his naysayers wrong and bulk up for training camp.
Tauren Poole (Tennessee, Carolina Panthers)
Most of you probably don’t know who he is, but if you do then you know he’s an
excellent athlete who simply struggled last season. Similar to Chris Polk, Poole has strong inside-running ability and he’s also got tremendous foot speed. The combination of those two traits, coupled with an uncanny ability to gain yardage after contact is why the Carolina Panthers signed him immediately after the draft. He’s definitely got NFL talent, but it will be up to the coaching staff to develop his raw skill set. With an injury riddle backfield of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, Poole will get his chance to prove himself. Oh and by the way, remember that guy Arian Foster of the Houston Texans? He went to Tennessee and went undrafted. Watch out for Poole.
How could the winningest quarterback in the history of Div. I college football go undrafted, right? Moore is a perfect example of an exceptionally gifted college QB who may not have what it takes to see the field at the NFL level, but the scouts could have him wrong too. His biggest drawback is lack of arm strength and he lacks any sort of athleticism. There’s no question he’s a winner and academically understands the game, perhaps as good as the Andrew Lucks and RG3s of the draft, but its no surprise an NFL team didn’t roll the dice on him. Moore was signed by the Detroit Lions and will compete for the third string job due to the Lions’ loss of Drew Stanton to the NY Jets.