The best steals of the 2012 NFL Draft are those special football players who were selected by one of the 32 National Football League teams on the cheap. These former NCAA Football players all could have been selected much earlier in the NFL Draft but went under the radar to become bargains for their new teams. Though it will be years before anyone is really sure whether these draft picks will pan out, these are the hidden gems that have the most potential to become big additions to their teams with little risk.
It's easy to say that bigger name players selected in later rounds are easy steals but there's often one reason or another that made the draft stock of these NFL prospects fall. Sometimes, it's off-the-field issues that make a star player look unappealing to NFL teams, such as was the case with Alfonzo Dennard. The cornerback from Nebraska is very talented but an arrest for assaulting a police officer in the week leading up to the NFL Draft dropped him all the way to the seventh round where he was nabbed by the Patriots. If Dennard overcomes his personal issues and rises to the challenge of becoming a high-caliber NFL cornerback, this seventh-round selection might look like another genius move from the mind of Bill Belichick in a few years.
For other NFL draft steals, it's simply a matter of supply and demand that pushed these players down in the draft order. Take Melvin Ingram, the versatile defensive end and linebacker from South Carolina. Ingram was easily considered one of the top 10 prospects available in the draft overall but was overlooked as teams who selected prior to the 18th-overall San Diego Chargers had more pressing needs and addressed them with other picks.Regardless of whichever reason these players, like Mississippi State defensive lineman Fletcher Cox, Georgia tackle Cordy Glenn or Michigan State defensive tacke Jerel Worthy, were selected later than anticipated, it's essentially a win-win for both the new NFL rookies and their teams. The NFL teams get a discount on new players and the prospects get a chance to prove how much of a steal they really were. Of course not all of them will go from being the skinny sixth-round draft pick that wins three Super Bowls like quarterback Tom Brady, but with this opportunity, all of them have the chance to accomplish great things.