The Boston Globe examines the top defensive linemen available in the 2012 NFL draft. Players are listed with position, school, height, weight, and 40-yard dash time. * denotes underclassman:
Andrew Luck*, Stanford, Height: 6-4, Weight: 235, 40 time: 4.64,
The most polished quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning came out of Tennessee in 1998, and is expected to have same impact. Luck is a fourth-year junior. Terrific mind, anticipation, and suprising athletic ability. Doesn’t have the biggest arm but it’s certainly good enough. Great accuracy and touch on all passes. His father, Oliver, was an Oilers quarterback. Completed 71.3 percent of his passes last season with 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Robert Griffin III*, Baylor, Height: 6-2, Weight: 223, 40 time: 4.36
Like Luck, a fourth-year junior. Tore up the combine with his workout. Rare athletic ability and speed at the position, and he has the accuracy to go with it. Coming out of a spread offense, will have to learn to throw more of a full route tree. Will need to develop footwork but it’s not far off. Great leader. Completed 72.4 percent of his passes last season with 37 TDs and six INTs.
Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M, Height: 6-4, Weight: 222, 40 time: 4.61
Played his first 2 1/2 seasons at receiver before moving back to quarterback. Has started only 19 games, but did so under former Packers coach and Northboro native Mike Sherman. Good size and athletic ability. Still learning the position. He’s smart but doesn’t yet process the game like most top prospects. Will need time to develop. Completed 61.6 percent of his passes last season with 29 TDs and 15 INTs.
Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State, Height: 6-2, Weight: 214, 40 time: 4.84
Was a second-round draft choice as a pitcher and played five seasons of minor league ball. Will turn 29 on Oct. 14 so teams with QBs will not take him as a developmental backup, similar to former Panther Chris Weinke. Had a 23-3 record as a starter. The ball jumps out of Weeden’s big, strong arm. Has great maturity and plays at his best on the biggest downs. Will look off safeties. Doesn’t have great feet. Completed 72.3 percent of his passes as a senior with 37 TDs and 13 INTs.
Kirk Cousins, Michigan State, Height:6-2, Weight: 214, 40 time: 4.84
Took over for current Patriot Brian Hoyer and beat archrival Michigan three straight times. Solid prospect but doesn’t do anything exceptional. Smart and polished. Not a lot of wasted movement and is solid on short and medium passes. Tough and a good leader. Completed 63.7 percent of his passes last season with 25 TDs and 10 INTs.
Brock Osweiler*, Arizona State, Height: 6-7, Weight: 242, 40 time: 4.98
Quarterbacks with such height haven’t always translated well to the NFL. A third-year junior. Started 15 games in his career. Has a high ceiling but will need time to develop. Possesses better feet than most QBs his height but it’s still average. Was a top college basketball recruit. Completed 63.2 percent of his passes last season with 26 TDs and 13 INTs.
Nick Foles, Arizona, Height: 6-5, Weight: 244, 40 time: 5.14
An NFL-caliber arm and smarts. Biggest minus is that he’s slow of foot and is strictly a pocket passer. Very streaky. When he’s off, he’s really off. Needs a clean pocket to be effective. Will need to process the game quicker. Completed 69.1 percent of his passes last season with 28 TDs and 14 INTs.
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin, Height: 5-10, Weight: 205, 40 time: 4.54
Terrific athlete but is very short for the position. Likes to compare himself to Drew Brees of the Saints, but he has an inch on Wilson. Tremendous character and leadership skills. Started three years at North Carolina State before finishing with 33 TDs and four INTs (72.8 completion percentage) with the Badgers. Throws well on the run with good accuracy and velocity. His ceiling is being a career backup.
Kellen Moore, Boise State, Height: 6-0, Weight: 196, 40 time: 4.86
Left school as the winningest quarterback in NCAA history (50-3). Has a terrific feel for the game and understands it extremely well. You will never see him flustered. Outstanding accuracy. Lefthanded, he doesn’t have a plus arm, and his mobility is average. Will not threaten the deep parts of the field. Elite in everything but physical skills. Completed 74.3 percent of his passes as a senior, with 43 TDs and nine INTs.
Ryan Lindley, San Diego State, Height: 6-3, Weight: 227, 40 time: 4.88
Big and strong-armed but had a below average completion percentage of 55 percent for his career. Doesn’t react well to being hurried. Another streaky passer who hasn’t shown consistency. Completed 53 percent of his passes last season with 23 TDs and eight INTs.
BEST OF THE REST: B.J. Coleman, Tennessee-Chattanooga (6-3, 233, 4.95, 6-7); Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois (6-1, 219, 4.76, 6-7); Austin Davis, Southern Mississippi (6-1, 219, 4.72, 7); G.J. Kinne, Tulsa (6-1, 222, 4.65, 7); Dominique Davis, East Carolina (6-3, 212, 4.65, 7-FA); Case Keenum, Houston (6-1, 208, 4.72, 7-FA).