The NFL draft is filled with unexpected selections that cause a ripple in the draft order leading to changes that were unexpected during the mock period.
The New York Jets are in need of a wide receiver opposite Santonio Holmes and they could look to address that position by moving up which could cause teams to alter the way they are selecting.
There are always a number of players that end up being selected earlier than they should and usually it is based on the need of the NFL team.
Here are four players that should go higher than projected.
1. Zebrie Sanders, OL, Florida State
Chances are you have seen Florida State offensive lineman Zebrie Sanders, but you might not just realize it.
Remember that viral YouTube video where the offensive lineman just sat there in his stance as the play continued? Yep, that was Sanders.
Now he is all grown up and is slated as a second round pick in the 2012 NFL draft, but the durable lineman could have his name called in the first round.
During his career at Florida State he has shown the ability to switch from the right side to the left without any problems and could easily make an NFL starter come 2012.
According to CBS Sports “Sanders has an ideal frame and physique for offensive tackle with good weight distribution and long arms. Sanders has good knee bend, can slide his feet, anchor, and athletically respond to double moves. Hands are strong, and when hips are sunk and hand placement is correct, excellent power is generated. Obviously, with his experience, performance, and top intangibles, Sanders is about the greatest swing OT prospect ever. Clearly too good not to be a starter, the question is which side.”
2. Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin
Wide receiver Nick Toon from the University of Wisconsin has the NFL in his genes. His father, Al Toon, played for the New York Jets from 1985 to 1992. In his eight years with the Jets, Toon compiled 517 receptions for 6,605 yards, 31 touchdowns and three Pro-Bowl selections.
Nick admits that having his father who’s also a Wisconsin grad is a tremendous luxury to have.
“Definitely having someone as accomplished as my father, someone who has gone through it and had some success at the next level is a resource most people dont have. I’m obviously very fortunate,” said Toon.
He was named second-team All-Big-10 by the coaches and won the team’s Wayne Souza Coaches Appreciation award in 2011 after his 10 touchdown receptions marked the second-most in Wisconsin school history.
He racked in 64 receptions, tied for third-most at Wisconsin, and 926 receiving yards. That included a career-high nine receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown against Oregon in the Rose Bowl.
In most mock drafts Toon won’t be selected until the late third round but look for teams to jump on Toon in the second.
3. Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska
Jared Crick, a senior defensive end for Nebraska suffered a torn pectoral muscle as the Huskers entered their bye week at 5-1 to end his 2011 season.
Crick is a 6’6, 285-pound senior defensive end who finished his collegiate career eighth in career sacks with 20.
Only playing in five games in 2011 hurt his chances of becoming a top 15 pick, but head coach Bo Pelini said he believes Crick has a bright future in pro football.
The National Football Post states, “Crick is a hard-working pass rusher who again struggles with his pad level off the ball. Exhibits some intriguing short area/lateral quickness for his size and uses his length well to keep himself clean. Doesn’t exhibit a real impressive pass rushing arsenal and fails to consistently win as a bull rusher. However, possesses a good first step off the snap and does a great job keeping opponents from getting their hands on him. Consistently is able to knock opponents’ punch away and has some savvy pulling the rug out from blockers and using his quickness to get up the field. Gets upright though when closing on the ball and will struggle to break down because of his pad level. Nevertheless, creates pressure because he can keep himself clean and works until the whistle. ”
4. Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
If there is one position that tends to go earlier than expected it is quarterback and if a team is looking for a quarterback with size and arm strength look no further than Brock Osweiler from Arizona State University.
At 6’8 he will tie Dan McGwire as the tallest quarterback in NFL history. The bad news, McGwire was a complete bust when the Seahawks took him in the first round of the 1991 draft.
2011 was his first year as a starter and set the record book doing so. He was the first QB in the history of the Sun Devils to throw for over 4,000 yards (4,036) and set new school records for completions (326) and attempts (516).
Playing only 15 games as a starter Osweiler will forgo his final year and enter the draft.
After watching what happened last year projecting where he may end up could be a bit of a crap shoot. Four quarterbacks went in the first 12 selections and six were taken by the first of the second round.
Osweiler will need to sit on the bench his first year to sharpen his ability to read defenses and needs to be more consistent when throwing the ball.