The 2017 NFL draft is right around the corner, and the NFL Combine has given us an opportunity to see a lot of great former college athletes do drills in shorts that somehow will translate to them performing well on the football field in pads. The bulk of what gets a draft prospect noticed is their career at the collegiate level. The combine can sometimes get teams carried away with how good a player really is, and this causes some people to have unrealistic expectations for incoming players. There are also some prospects that don’t get enough love when entering the draft.
Athletes have been overlooked and over hyped in the draft for years now. Think of guys like Tom Brady who were overlooked and didn’t get selected till late in the draft, and then think of players such Jamarcus Russell who was selected number one overall based off potential and failed miserably in the NFL. These kinds of mistakes happen every NFL draft. There is also always a player taken in later rounds that turn out to be a great NFL players for many years after being an afterthought.
Here are 8 future NFL draftees that are being overlooked and 7 that are being over hyped leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft:
15 Steal: James Conner
14 Bust: John Ross
Many thought John Ross would be a late first or second round pick prior to the NFL Combine, but then he became the talk of the event. Ross set the 40 yard dash record at the 2017 NFL Combine by running it in 4.22 seconds, breaking Chris Johnson’s prior record of 4.24 seconds. This is an impressive feat, but now there are some that think he will be selected in the mid to early first round based off a performance with no pads or football in hand. The combine is the ultimate overhype machine when it comes to NFL Draft prospects.
13 Steal: Kevin King
Kevin King is an unreal specimen, and has the size at the cornerback position of a created player in Madden. King stands 6-foot-3 which is unusual for a cornerback, and scouts have questioned whether he will have the speed to cover shifty wide receivers at the NFL level. That question was partially answered at the NFL combine when he ran a 4.43 second, 40 yard dash. This was one of the quicker times among his defensive back peers, and King is likely not going to be selected until day two of the draft.
12 Bust: Teez Tabor
Teez Tabor is one of the top defensive backs coming into the 2017 draft, but may be merely a product of the excellent system he played in at the college level. The University of Florida has been known for having a strong presence on defense year after year, and Tabor may have greatly benefited from this. His combine numbers did not blow anyone away, and he ran a disappointing 4.62 second, 40 yard dash. Perhaps Tabor can improve upon his 40 yard dash on his pro day at the University of Florida.
11 Steal: Cooper Kupp
Anyone who didn’t play at the FBS level such as Cooper Kupp is going to fly under the radar, and Kupp has the ability to be successful right away much like his FCS comrade Carson Wentz has done with the Philadelphia Eagles. Kupp set all-time records in total receptions with 428, receiving yards with 6,464, and receiving touchdowns with 73 while suiting up for the University of Eastern Washington. One of the most important characteristics of a great receiver is someone with amazing hands, and Kupp rarely dropped a ball during his collegiate career.
10 Bust: Christian McCaffrey
Christian McCaffrey had a stellar college career at Stanford University, and along the way was a Heisman finalist in 2015 and was named the AP college football player of the year that same year. Having success at the NFL and college levels are two different parallels. McCaffrey did have nearly 1,500 less all-purpose yards in 2016 compared to 2015, but his team did not enjoy as much success on the field in 2016 compared to 2015.
9 Steal: Alvin Kamara
Alvin Kamara was one of the top running backs coming out of high school, and chose to go on to the University of Alabama. After off the field issues and injuries he found himself playing football for a community college in 2014 before he was given another chance by the University of Tennessee. He did not screw up his second chance, and performed well, averaging over six yards a carry in 2016.
8 Bust: Reuben Foster
Reuben Foster is a potential top 10 selection in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft, but he made a boneheaded decision at a hospital that got him sent home from the combine. When getting his physical Foster got in a fight with a hospital worker which led to his dismissal. This could have some implications as to whether he gets drafted as highly as previously thought, as it demonstrates poor judgment skills from the young linebacker coming out of the University of Alabama.
7 Steal: Garett Bolles
6 Bust: Jabrill Peppers
5 Steal: Larry Ogunjobi
4 Bust: DeShone Kizer
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish had a very down year only winning four times, and this was due to a lot of different factors through the course of their season. One of those factors was the poor quarterback play of DeShone Kizer. Kizer is slated to be one of the first quarterbacks taken in this year’s draft, but his lack of success in college with a powerhouse football program raises some eyebrows. The second half of the 2016 college football season was particularly bad for Kizer as he was benched multiple times because of his poor play.
3 Steal: Haason Reddick
2 Bust: Mitch Trubisky
Mitch Trubisky was not even the starting quarterback for the North Carolina Tar Heels in 2015 as Marquise Williams kept his job, and Trubisky, after a standout high school career, was relegated to back up. The Tar Heels finally gave Trubisky his time to shine in 2016. The young quarterback did not disappoint throwing for over 30 touchdowns to only 6 interceptions, but 98 percent of his snaps came from the shotgun formation. Trubisky will have to learn to be able to take snaps from under center at the NFL level. North Carolina ran a spread offense, so the pro style offense will also be something that the top rated quarterback will need to adapt to.
1 Steal: Chris Godwin
In the Big Ten Championship Game Wisconsin held a huge lead against Penn State at halftime, and Penn State kept on throwing deep ball after deep ball and got back in the game. Chris Godwin was the Penn State receiver who Wisconsin could not control. Someone with blazing speed such as Godwin is often times thought of as a physically weak receiver, but at the combine he was able to do the bench press for 19 repetitions. He also ran a fast 4.42 second, 40 yard dash at the combine. Godwin may not be one of the first couple of receivers taken, but he is capable of becoming a great receiver in the NFL. It is rare to find a receiver with great speed and strength attributes.
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