2012 NFL Draft Early Entries - The Winners
Georgia S Bacarri Rambo
Georgia S Bacarri Rambo
Posted Jan 16, 2012

What teams were the winners after the NFL Early Entry deadline?

2012 NFL Draft Early Entries   

The Winners

By Pete Fiutak
Follow Us ... #ColFootballNews

- 2012 Early-Entries - Good or Bad Move?
- 2012 Early-Entries - The Winners
- 2012 Early-Entries - The Losers
- 2012 Early-Entries - The Offensive Replacements
- 2012 Early-Entries - The Defensive Replacements  


It would've been nice if left tackle Matt Kalil chose to give it a go for one more year, but he left early and should be one of the top three players off the board. Pass rushing end Nick Perry leaves a line that could've used the burst from the outside, but he'll probably go in the first round. Losing good players is par for the course at USC, but it's getting the key piece of the puzzle back.

The Trojans would've been a preseason top ten team even if Matt Barkley left, but the quarterback returns and now they might be No. 1. While the return of huge hitting free safety T.J. McDonald might not seem as big or as splashy as the return of Barkley, getting him for one more year is a tremendous break. Also coming back to help Barkley is Khaled Holmes, who'd have been one of the top three centers in this year's draft.


Georgia and head coach Mark Richt gets the next-level talent, but there hasn't been a national title to show for it and too many stars have left early over the years. There's no excuse in 2012 with a loaded team returning thanks to several key players sticking around. This might not only be one of Richt's most talented teams; it should be among his most

Tight end Orson Charles – likely a second rounder - was destined to go to the big league from the moment he stepped on campus, and it was obvious he'd be gone the second he was able. However, third-year sophomore Aaron Murray didn't leave, even though a few top quarterback prospects are sticking around, and star free safety Bacarri Rambo pulled a shocker and chose to return as the leader of a great-looking secondary. Pass rushing terror Jarvis Jones should be on the preseason All-America short list, while receiver Tavarres King and corner Branden Smith also decided to give it one more year.


Overall, the Hogs are full of mid-level pro prospects who weren't good enough to leave early. They aren't losing too many key seniors from their Cotton Bowl-winning season, they're not losing any underclassmen, and they're getting back running back Knile Davis, who might have left early had he not injured his knee last summer.

Quarterback Tyler Wilson, unlike Ryan Mallett last year, is coming back for his senior season even though he probably would've been a top 50 pick. So is Cobi Hamilton, who should be one of the top five receiver prospects in next year's draft and would've gone in the first three rounds had he left early.


As always, the Sooners are losing a ton of talent with receiver Ryan Broyles, linebacker Travis Lewis, and end Frank Alexander all terrific college players, but mediocre NFL prospects. The team's best pro players are back.

Quarterback Landry Jones might not have had the best second half of the season, but he still would've been a sure first rounder and a possible top ten pick had he decided to come out. Blake "Belldozer" Bell might be the OU quarterback everyone is buzzing about – he's a rushing touchdown machine in the red zone – but Jones is a top Heisman candidate and the veteran leader of a team good enough to be in the national title chase. Linebacker Ronnell Lewis should be the No. 1 outside prospect next year and would've gone early this year. Now he'll be the star of the front seven. Center Ben Habert would've been a mid-round pick.

South Carolina

Receiver Alshon Jeffery would've been a top pick if he could've come out last year, and corner Stephon Gilmore is a likely top 50 prospect who's more than ready to go, but that's it. The Gamecocks lose a slew of talented seniors like end Melvin Ingram and safety Antonio Allen, but the bulk of the talent is back. The return of safety DeVonte Holloman is a huge boost for the secondary, and the stunning decision of end Devin Taylor should help a pass rush that's already going to be great with super-soph Jadeveon Clowney ready to blow up.


Dwayne Allen is the nation's best tight end prospect and a lock to go in the first round. Fortunately for the Tigers, he's the lone early departure to help ease the pain of losing several solid seniors.

The Tigers' best NFL prospect, receiver Sammy Watkins, is only a true sophomore and is around for at least another two years, and other key parts are returning from a team still licking its wounds from the Orange Bowl beatdown from West Virginia.

Speedy running back Andre Ellington could've taken off and gone in the third round, and defensive end Mallicah Goodman would've been an interesting prospect. Center Dalton Freeman would've been a mid-round selection, and Rashard Hall and Jonathan Meeks would've been valuable picks in a safety-weak draft. Quarterback Tajh Boyd might not be ready, and he might not be the prototype prospect size-wise, but he would've been drafted.

Florida State

There's a reason why the Seminoles were thought by many to be a sleeper national title contender in 2010 – the talent level is getting back to Florida State's normal standards. However, they're not losing anyone early to the NFL and the departing seniors are replaceable. In other words, the 2012 version is loaded.

Linebacker Brandon Jenkins is a first round talent whose stunning decision to return could be one of the keys to the 2012 season. Safety Nick Moody, corner Greg Reed, and defensive tackle Everett Dawkins also could've left and been drafted off a defense that should be among the best in America. Offensively, quarterback E.J. Manuel might not be ready, but on skill set alone he might have been a second round pick. Under the radar was the decision of Dustin Hopkins to stick around for another year when he would've been the No. 1 kicker on the board.

- 2012 Early-Entries - Good or Bad Move?
- 2012 Early-Entries - The Winners
- 2012 Early-Entries - The Losers
- 2012 Early-Entries - The Offensive Replacements
- 2012 Early-Entries - The Defensive Replacements