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2012 value board


Here's the oft-requested 2012 value board, presented three days before the 2012 NFL Draft with a caveat:

I often have been confused about the whole "value board" concept.

Of the value boards littering the Internet, I have seen some meant to be a ranking purely by grade, while some seem to project where the person compiling the board believes a player should be picked. Some I see without explanation and wonder, "Just what is this?"

I considered not doing a value board this year because I don't spend months watching tape. Not that that wouldn't be fun. It's just that if I did I wouldn't have time to bring you the witty, insightful commentary you've come to expect on Finally, the decision was made to do the board, because there seems a demand and well, we needed an idea for the Monday before the draft.

This value board ranks Top 32 players based on two things – 1, how a player grades out against other players in this year's draft based on what I've seen and heard; 2, how that ranking is impacted by position. In other words, a player such as running back Trent Richardson of Alabama might be the best prospect with the highest grade, but if he's only a bit better than quarterback Andrew Luck the fact that Luck plays the more important position would place him higher than Luck.

A player's off-field concerns and questions about how critical the position is to franchises in today's NFL are considered in the ranking. Team needs are not.

So, what does the list mean?

It means if every team was starting from scratch, with no players currently on its roster, this might be something close to how the draft would play out.

Rank. Player, Pos., School | Comment

1.Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford | Pick him apart all you want. He has to be No. 1

2.Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor | A strong push for the No. 1 spot

3.Matt Kalil, OT, Southern California | Playing left tackle gives him the edge over No. 4 and 5

4.Morris Claiborne, CB, Louisiana State | Playing corner puts him over Richardson

5.Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama | May be most talented player, but he's a running back

6.Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State | You can't have too many good defensive linemen

7.Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State | Is he a really good No. 2 or a so-so No. 1?

8.Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M | Demand for quarterback puts him here

9.Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina | Consensus No. 2 behind Claiborne at CB

10.Melvin Ingram, LB, South Carolina | Not being a pure pass rusher keeps him from being higher

11.David DeCastro, G, Stanford | If he's a left tackle, he's probably No. 3 on this list

12.Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College | Few flaws, but position not a high value

13.Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame | History of off-field issues a worrisome pattern

14.Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa | Best right tackle, but hard to take the position in Top 10

15.Michael Brockers, DT, Louisiana State | Redshirt sophomore should have high level of improvement

16.Mark Barron, S, Alabama | Only safety close to Top 20

17.Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis | Is he just a combine guy?

18.Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina | Questions over effort drop him way down

19.Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama | A boom-or-bust prospect with the risk here

20.Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois | Part of a deep defensive end class at end of first round

21.Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse | Solidly in bottom third of first round – at least

22.Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia | Versatile player who can play guard or tackle

23.Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor | Solid Pro Day has him back in first round 

24.Nick Perry, DE, Southern California | College tape doesn't match physical attributes

25.Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech | All the physical tools you want from a receiver

26.Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama | Teams needing 3-4 outside 'backer could get a bargain

27.Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford | Best tight end in this year's draft

28.Rueben Randle, WR , Louisiana State | Athletic receiver who had solid production last season

29.David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech | Solidly entrenched as draft's No. 2 back

30.Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama |Drawing a lot of interest in second half of first round

31.Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford | The longer pre-draft lasts the farther he falls

32.Andre Branch, DE, Clemson | Hard to know if he's 3-4 'backer or 4-3 end

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