Catching up on Friday's NFL Draft declarations and making round projections

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: Running back LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks reacts in the second half against the Wisconsin Badgers at the 98th Rose Bowl Game on January 2, 2012 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Apologies for the lack of site updates Friday evening. After Boston College's Luke Kuechly announced he was entering the 2012 NFL Draft, I decided to have a personal life. (Pro tip: If you ever come to Northeast Ohio, try some micro brews)

Kuechly goes pro after filling his mantle with awards and leading the nation in tackles for two consecutive seasons. As noted in our post, he should be a first-round pick. Just how high may depend

Oregon running back LaMichael James also made it official that he was going pro on Friday. This was all expected. This quote from James, the money quote of the day, should have also been expected:

"I don’t know how many more hits my body can take at this level," James said. "After the game I was really sore, and I don’t know how many carries I’ve had. I know it’s been a lot. That was difficult for me too. I don’t think I should waste any more at this level."

On a football fan level, the honesty from James is admirable. The phrasing of the opinion, though, could have used a little more tact. Also, if his body can't take many more hits at the college level, what is someone like Patrick Willis going to do to him in the open field? James was given a third-round grade by the NFL Draft advisory committee. That's a fair grade. The third round will be the ceiling for James, but don't be shocked if he gets picked later.

The big surprise entrant of the day was Ole Miss right tackle Bobby Massie. He is my 25th rated tackle eligible for the draft. Massie's frame is good at 6-foot-6, 325 pounds. But because I didn't expect any Rebels to go pro early, I only watched their game against Georgia. Needless to say, I'll have to dig around for something more. Best uneducated guess on Massie would be the fifth round.

The other unexpected entry Friday was Michigan State running back Edwin Baker. He's a power running back who split time this season. Given the glut of running backs, Baker may not go until the sixth or seventh round. It's a risk, but his stock probably wouldn't have improved much next season.

The same can be said for Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen, who was expected to enter the draft. The difference is that Allen should go about 150 picks before Baker. I consider Allen the best tight end in this year's class for two reasons. Firstly, Allen is a good athlete for the position, knows how to get open and catches the ball like a wide receiver. Secondly, the tight end class is light on top-end talent. Allen could go late in the first round. Unless he tears up the combine, the second round is more likely.

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