Boston College's Luke Kuechly is the top inside linebacker in the 2012 NFL Draft, but he'll be off the board long before the Giants get a shot at him at number 32. In his senior campaign, Kuechly led the nation with 191 tackles and averaged nearly 16 per game. Despite missing out on a bowl game, Kuechly came just one tackle short of the NCAA FBS record.
UNC linebacker Zach Brown is considered the best 4-3 outside linebacker prospect and had an outstanding combine like many expected after posting the second fastest time with a 4.5 40. What remains to be seen is if his blazing 40 time can make up for his stock dropping at the Senior Bowl. Brown finished the regular season with a team-best 91 tackles, including 11.5 TFL's, 5.5 sacks and two interceptions.
Inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower was a leader of Alabama's national championship defense but many believed that because of his size, it would be a difficult transition for him to switch from Bama's 3-4 defense to the Giants 4-3 scheme. His official time of 4.68, however, may have hurt his odds of being drafted in the first round, which means he may be available for the Giants with the 32nd pick.
Arizona State's Vontaze Burfict was considered a top-15 pick with great size at 6-3, 250 pounds and may be the hardest hitter in the Draft. may fall to the Giants after running a 5.09 40-yard dash, however, after what can only be decribed as one of the most horrific NFL combines in recent memory, I'm not sure he'll be touched by anyone until Day 3.
As one scout told me, he once cursed at one of the old men who always watch ASU practices. The guy just said, "Nice game, Vontaze." The response was something like "[Expletive] you, old man." He's now a third-round pick -- at best. Always was in my book. You have to love how he blamed the coaches for his poor play last season. "I just know that I'm the best linebacker in this draft," Burfict said. "I thought I played average last year, I should've played better. Coaches kinda messed me up. I didn't know if I was going to start a game, didn't know if I was going to be benched -- it hurt me." via CBS Sports.com
Tight ends Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum both tore ACLs in the Super Bowl and weren't elite players beforehand which means the Giants will give Stanford's Coby Fleener or Clemson's Dwayne Allen a look at the end of the first round. The 6-6, 244 pound Fleener is the highest-rated tight end in a weak class. Fleener caught 34 passes for 667 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. Allen is two inches shorter than Allen and outweighs Fleener is two years younger than Fleener and caught 50 passes for 598 yards.