The five most unpredictable first-round prospects of the NFL Draft

4/23/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Sep 17, 2011; Ruston, LA, USA; Houston Cougars defensive back D.J. Hayden (2) during the second half in the game against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Joe Aillet Stadium.  Houston won 35-34. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY SportsDJ Hayden (CB, Houston): If not for a freak injury late in his senior season, Hayden may have ended up as a popular pick for the top cornerback in this draft. Hayden tore his inferior vena cava - a vein in his heart - which threatened his life and was expected to end his football career. After receiving medical clearance and impressing in workouts, his stock is back on the rise. He's being talked about by a lot of people as a late first-round pick, but respected analysts Mike Mayock and Greg Cosell both have Hayden ranked as the best corner in this draft. I've heard an NFL evaluator say Hayden has the most natural cover skills and playmaking ability of any cornerback this year.

I like Hayden going 12th overall to the Dolphins. I also wouldn't be surprised if they passed on him. The Jets, who have the 9th and 13th overall picks, were apparently very impressed with Hayden's workout on Monday. ESPN's Mel Kiper has Hayden going 28th to the Broncos - I don't expect him to fall that far, but who knows? He could be a borderline first-round pick, or if a team ends up really liking him, he could be a heavy sleeper to be the first cornerback taken (I doubt it, but it's possible).

Cornellius "Tank" Carradine (DE/OLB, Florida State): Like Hayden, Carradine suffered a late season-ending injury in 2012 that forced scouts to look elsewhere for first-round prospects. Carradine's injury was of the ACL variety - the type of injury no NFL prospect wants anything to do with. Despite the devastating injury, Carradine was able to work out for scouts just a few days ago, and was very impressive. He got his 6'4'', 276 pound frame moving to the tune of a 4.75 forty-yard dash, forcing all scouts to take notice of this player who once instilled fear in his SEC foes.

Kiper doesn't even have Carradine in the first round, but I've heard that if the Dolphins can't trade out of their current position, they'll give Tank some serious consideration at 12th overall. The Saints (15th), Giants (19th), and Vikings (23rd and 25th) have also been linked to Carradine. He could end up going to any one of those teams, or could end up falling out of the first round completely.

It's always difficult to predict where a player will be selected, but these five are amongst the toughest to prophesy. There are plenty of others who are tough to predict in the first round as well, such as Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Tennessee), Eddie Lacy (RB, Alabama), Xavier Rhodes (CB, Florida State), Arthur Brown (LB, Kansas State), and as I said before, all of the quarterbacks.
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4/26/13   |   Kenne   |   16049 respect

Looks like you were right about Cooper going to the Cardinals, I just hope he pans out and is worthy of the hype. I still think they should've traded their pick down (maybe to the Rams) and gotten him a few picks later.