How did small school athlete’s make an impact in the draft? Who out of the guys that were selected will have the best chance to succeed? There were several small school athletes that were drafted in the 2012 NFL Draft. Out of the players drafted, several of them were transfers from other schools. Which players from small schools are actually small schoolers? You can find that out right here, and see what I think of the picks. This was a great year for the players from smaller divisions but what team was crazy enough to draft 5 players from small schools? Click below to find out, and please leave comments in the comment section.
33rd pick in the 2nd round - Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian State was selected by the Saint Louis Rams who really made a splash with small school players. Quick is a big, physical wide receiver that will go in to the Rams offense and be an immediate assistance to Sam Bradford. Quick’s long arms and great hands will allow Sam Bradford just to get the ball in the vicinity and Quick will be able to get his hands on it. Quick is in a pretty deep wide receiver groups with guys like Danario Alexander, Chris Givens, Steve Smith, Greg Salas, Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson, Austin Pettis and Dominque Curry, but look for Quick to become an immediate day one starter. Quick was always at Appalachian State, where he was a basketball player and only played one year of football in high school.
39th pick in the 2nd Round – Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama was the biggest steal in the draft for the Saint Louis Rams, in my opinion. I had the pleasure to watch Janoris this year, and he is a complete football player, he can cover in man, and he is a stud in zone. Watch Janoris to also contribute in punt and kick returns where he excelled at North Alabama. Jenkins had a few arrests while enrolled at University of Florida, but has been able to stay clean for the past two years. I believe that Jenkins has learned from his mistake and watch him to begin playing immediately for the Rams defense. He is competing for the #2 spot with another small schooler drafted Trumaine Johnson. Jenkins was a transfer from Florida University.
40th pick in the 2nd Round – Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern State University is a very big massive mauler on the line who was selected by the Carolina Panthers. He is a freakish athlete who was selected because of his skills as both a pass and run blocker. Amini was gaining interest from teams like 49ers, who just loved this kid’s aggressive play. He will probably be a day one starter, but will have to compete with Geoff Hangartner, and Mike Pollak. Amini played his entire career at Midwestern State, but was a great value pick in the second round for the Panthers who are pretty thin at the guard position.
65th pick in the 3rd Round – Trumaine Johnson, CB, University of Montana is a very big physical corner who was also selected by the Saint Louis Rams. He does not shy away from contact, and does a great job at moving his hips. Many people believe because of his height he could be a safety, but let me tell you this kid is going to be special. I think you could see Trumaine and Janoris on the field at the same time with Corteland Finnegan. The Rams made this secondary just as great as others in the league with just two small school picks. Johnson wasn’t a transfer and finished his school at Montana.
89th pick in the 3rd Round – Akiem Hicks, DT, Regina is a very big boy who was a transfer from LSU before heading North to Canada. Hick’s was selected by New Orleans Saints with their first pick, and it was a good pick for them. In Canada, Hick’s was a stud for Regina, and he will have a good chance at getting early playing time for the Saints. He will be competing with Sedrick Ellis and newly acquired Broderick Bunkley. Hick’s was a transfer from LSU where he played with Glenn Dorsey, Ricky Jean Francois and Tyson Jackson. I think we will see Hick’s early and often.
98th pick in the 4th Round – Gino Gradkowski, C/G, Delaware is a huge pick for the Ravens. With the best center in the league getting up there in age, they find a kid who is a feisty, nasty, and intelligent player. He played mostly guard in college, but they let him play center as well, and he loves directing the line. He is a leader, and is a very good kid. He has a ton of upside and will get to snap the ball to a fellow Blue Hen in Joe Flacco. Gradkowski, knows a thing or two about football as his brother is Bruce plays for the Cincinnati Bengals. Gino was a transfer from West Virginia. Gino will be the starter for years and years on the Ravens and this kid will end up being the best value pick in the entire draft.
130th pick in the 4th Round – Christian Thompson, S, South Carolina State is a very quick and physical player. Thompson was a transfer from Auburn and did an extremely good job at making plays for the SC State defense. Thompson had more tackles then most of the linebackers in the MEAC. Thompson could be a great replacement for Ed Reed. This kid is hungry, and I like this pick because he has the speed to cover and is not afraid to lay the wood. Watch Thompson in a few years from now. I like this pick, he is a very tough kid, and both Dominique Ellis and Christian were good for the SC State secondary.
133rd pick in the 4th Round – Jerron McMillian, S, Maine was a great pick for the Green Bay Packers. With Green Bay losing Nick Collins to an injury, I could see McMillian getting in and using his coverage skills to help the Packers. McMillian is a very solid player, and was the second player selected from the CAA behind Gradkowski. McMillian is a Jersey native so he is use to the cold, the Packers could have just helped their secondary out, by getting a very knowledge player. He has great instincts and hits hard.
135th pick in the 4th Round – Matt Johnson, S, Eastern Washington was selected by the Dallas Cowboys. Cowboys loved this kid because of skills at being around the ball. He was tied on the team with fumbles forced, and ended his career in fourth all time with 18 interceptions. Johnson is a very good player. Dallas will probably use this guy right away on special teams as he has a knack for finding the ball carrier. Johnson was a good value pick here.
143rd pick in the 5th Round – Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina was a huge pick for the Panthers. They need secondary help and to be honest Norman could become an immediate starter for the Panthers. He is not afraid to jump a route and is very confident in his play. He was not drafted until the 5th round when I had him rated as a top 100 prospect. I couldn’t believe some of the corners taken above him. He is a stud corner, who is good at sniffing out a run play. He wraps up well, and has a nose for the football. Josh played his entire career at Coastal Carolina.
148th pick in the 5th Round – Chris Greenwood, CB, Albion was a great pick for the Lions. The Lions have went the previous 4 drafts without acknowledging the cornerback position. Well they found a stud sleeper here. This kid is a very quick player, who has great hands. Greenwood jumps through the roof and has the ability to stay in a wide out’s face. He is the first player to be drafted from Albion in a really, really, long time. Look for the small schooler from Detroit shine out for his Lions.
162nd pick in the 5th Round – Corey White, S, Samford is a great pick by the Saints. He is another good cover safety. He is not the biggest kid, but he plays bigger than his size. He will be competing with guys like Darren Sharper, but let’s be honest, he will be a huge asset to the special teams in his first year. He could break the playing field if an injury occurs, but the Saints secondary is pretty good. I can see White being a good role player on the Saints defense.
169th pick in the 5th Round – Asa Jackson, CB, Cal Poly was the third small school product selected by the Ravens. This is another good selection by the Ravens. I think he could be used in the nickel early and often and on returns. Asa is a good player, but still has a lot to learn. He is green around the edges, but will eventually get it, especially working with the Ravens solid defense in Baltimore.
171st pick in the 6th Round – Greg Zuerlein, K, Missouri Western was the best kicker in this draft. The Rams went out and snatched him up, and can you say number 4? The Rams selected their 4th small school prospect with this pick, but even Mel Kiper Jr. had Zuerlein as his number one kicker. Greg has a very strong leg and is a very accurate kicker. He has good size and will be a huge asset to the Rams. It is safe to say Rams fans, you got yourself a new starting kicker.
172nd pick in the 6th Round – Jeremy Lane, CB, Northwestern (LA) was a huge steal for the Seahawks. I like this kid, he is very aggressive. He is an in your face type of corner, who really showed off his skills against LSU in his career. Lane is not afraid to get in someone’s face and play bump and run. He is a long armed kid who is lanky but can cover a lot of space. He will be a special teamer in his first year, but could be used to rush off the edge in his first year on blitz packages. Lane is a very good player who played his entire career in Louisiana for Northwestern.
177th pick in the 6th Round – Justin Bethel, S, Presbyterian College was a very solid pick for the Cardinals. Arizona’s secondary has been getting better, but they will need to continue to add pieces such as Bethel to get better. Bethel was a corner in college and played extremely well, but will need to work on his lateral movement if he wants to play corner in the NFL. I honestly believe he can be one of the best safeties in this draft though, because he has great instincts. He has good hands, and is elusive with the ball in his hands.
193rd pick in the 6th Round – Tom Compton, OT, South Dakota State was a great pick for the Redskins. He reminds me of a mean, aggressive HOG from the older days, with guys like Joe Jacoby coming to mind. I think Compton will be a good rotational guy who could be a swing tackle for the Skins. He will need to work on his footwork but he could be a very solid pick for them in a year. Compton played his entire career with SDSU.
199th pick in the 6th Round – Jason Slowey, OT/OG, Western Oregon was a true small school pick for the 49ers. They really liked Amini but didn’t want to take him that early as they believed they had other needs. They get a kid they believe can come in and compete right away. Slowey is a tough kid who played OT last year for Western Oregon, but is very athletic. He can be a great pulling guard, and could look pretty good on the already great looking San Francisco line.
222nd pick in the 7th Round – Caleb McSurdy, ILB, Montana was a solid inside backer for the Montana defense last year. McSurdy will be a great fit in the 3-4 schemes that Dallas uses. McSurdy can play both MLB spots, and is decent in dropping in coverage. The ILBers for the Cowboys are suspect and one that comes to mind is, Dan Morgan who remains injured all the time. So if that happens this year, Dallas has a nitty-gritty player who can come in and fill the void. He will see tons of plays on special teams in his first year as well.
228th pick in the 7th Round – Jeris Pendleton, DT, Ashland was a late round pick by the Jaguars, and to be honest I really didn’t know much about Pendleton before this draft. Pendleton is kind of like the Buffalo Bills pick last year where they selected Mike Jasper of Bethel College. Pendleton is a big boy who stands at 6’3 and weighs 322 pounds. He didn’t have really good stats, but was a 2 year starter at a JUCO school before transferring to Ashland. Pendelton had a good pro day and must have blown away at least one scout in the Jag’s front office. He will be a player who has a good chance to get in a rotation with the already solid DT’s on the Jags.
243rd pick in the 7th Round – B.J. Coleman, QB, Tenn- Chattanooga was a steal for the Packers. I don’t know who is going to be the back-up there for Rodgers, but this kid was impressive at Tennessee before transferring. Coleman is a big kid who has a very strong arm, and is a little stiff in the pocket, but can get the ball out on a rope. He will be a good fit for the Packers, and if there is anyone to sit and learn from,it would be Aaron Rodgers.
252nd pick in the 7th Round – Daryl Richardson, RB, Abilene Christian was a very solid back who has great explosiveness. Before I tell you who selected this stud, let me tell you who his brothers are? Any guesses? Well if you guessed Edmund "Clyde" Gates and Bernard Scott both in the NFL, then you are really good. I didn’t know that myself until I just starting this article. Well by now you probably guessed who finished out the draft with this small schooler? You are right, this was the fifth player selected by the Rams in the 2012 draft. They finished 5/5, five small school prospects and five big school prospects.