There are so many mock drafts out there, I didn’t think another one was needed. I did think it would be both fun and challenging to sift through the hundreds of NFL hopefuls and build a team of players that are generally undervalued by most mock drafters. My goal is to fill out a starting roster of guys choosing the most undervalued and underrated prospects that I think deserve to be more highly thought of.
- Quarterback – Ryan Lindley, SDSU – Lindley has an NFL arm and experience in a pro-style offence. He needs to work on accuracy and dealing with pressure. He can make the throws but he has been inconsistent at times. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him much higher than the late round projections he mainly receives.
- Running Back – LaMichael James, Oregon – James was such an electric college player but his short stature really drags his stock down. He has burst, wiggle, and a low center of gravity. Although not a prototypical feature back, James may surprise many with his ability to make people miss and pick up extra yards. In an NFL weight program, he needs to add lower body mass and power to help break more tackles. With added power, think Ray Rice, without it, Darren Sproles. Either way, I’ll take it and work with it.
- Full Back – Terrance Ganaway, Baylor – Ganaway was considered a running back prospect at one time but I think he is a better fit at full back. At over 240 pounds and with 4.6 speed, he could turn into a valuable lead blocker and has the skill to catch the occasional pass or get carries in short yardage situations.
- Center – Ben Jones, Georgia – Jones is usually predicted in the middle rounds. I think that he is slightly undervalued, not majorly undervalued. That fits the bill though. Worthy of a second round pick, Jones is a good technician that plays smart and seems to have a good grasp on the game. He doesn’t jump off the screen but he knows how to play the position and has the size and strength to transition to the NFL. He very well may end up being a starter in the future.
- Left Guard – Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin – Zeitler should be a first round pick in my opinion. He consistently beat NFL level defensive tackles with his combination of size, strength, and smarts. He plays blocking angles well and already has NFL level power. If it wasn’t for the DeCastro love-fest, Zeitler would be talked about as a first round guard.
- Right Guard – Brandon Brooks, Miami of Ohio – Brooks was a combine snub. It’s a shame because his physical size is his most impressive asset at first glance. The 6-5, 345 pound Brooks is a mauler in the making. He has good feet for his size and I think he will settle in on a team that likes some beef in their lineup.
- Right Tackle – Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State – Osemele is so big that many think he must be a Guard at the next level. Not so. He compares in stature to players like Phil Loadholt, who struggles mightily with speed rushers. Osemele is much lighter on his feet, however, and has great length. I think he will start at right tackle for many, many years in the NFL.
- Left Tackle – Bobbie Massey, Ole Miss – Let me say, left tackles are usually overrated so finding an underrated one is quite difficult. Massey is my pick because I think he can stay at left tackle and probably deserves a first round grade. He simply beat defenders in the run game, and is a superb run blocker. He is surprisingly athletic and has the potential to stay on the left side. I don’t see him as a pro-bowl candidate but I do think he could settle in as a serviceable to good left tackle or a very good to pro-bowl caliber right tackle.
- Wide Receiver (1) – Tommie Streeter, Miami – Streeter has the size and speed you need from your top wideout. He needs some development but is mostly an afterthought in the draft. He has the things you can’t coach and needs the things that can be taught. I think he is worth a shot in the third round although I usually see him in round 5 and on.
- Wide Receiver (2) – Greg Childs, Arkansas – A bit of a gamble, Childs had injury issues that slowed production but appears to be getting healthier again. He has good measurables and when healthy he was highly productive. I don’t think he is going to be an elite NFL player but he could be a good number 2 wide out.
- Tight End – Orsen Charles, Georgia – He has character concerns, no question, but he has great potential. He is a very impressive tight end prospect that will make plays, not just block. He can really stress a defense and make plays. Hopefully he keeps his nose clean, works hard, and realizes his potential.
- Defensive Tackle/Nose tackle – Josh Chapman, Alabama – Chapman played hurt most of the year but strikes me as a blue-collar defensive tackle. he’s not going to make a lot of splash plays but I think he could be a consistent run stuffer that is capable of anchoring against double teams.
- Defensive Tackle /Under Tackle – Mike Martin, Michigan – Martin was constantly double teamed and still managed to make an impact on games. he had a great post season and has the potential to be a solid starter as an under tackle in a 4-3 defense. I don’t think he has the size to play on the nose in the NFL.
- Defensive End (Left) – Jake Bequette, Arkansas – Bequette is not a double digit sack guy in the NFL but he could play defensive end on a 4-3 or 3-4 team. He is a capable run stopper that has the strength and speed to get to the quarterback and force him to step up into the pocket. He is another solid player that isn’t as flashy but will make plays consistently with his motor, strength, and deceptive speed.
- Defensive End (Right) – Vinny Curry, Marshall – Curry is typically a second round pick but I think he is a late first round talent. He’s still underrated and could be one of the big draft surprises next year.
- Outside Linebacker (Strong/Rush) - Bruce Irvin, West Virginia – I’m sure this will raise some eyebrows but the kid knows how to rush the quarterback and is highly gifted athletically speaking. He is raw and slightly undersized but I think a year or two of development and he could be a pro-bowl caliber player, he’s that talented. He projects well to rush linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. I really think this kid is going to be a mid round steal if he keeps his head on straight.
- Middle Linebacker (Inside) – Mychal Kendricks, Cal – Kendricks has slowly moved up draft boards but this kid should challenge Luke Kuechely for the top middle backer in the draft. He was underrated going into the combine and turned heads wth his outstanding athleticism and speed. He is powerful, has great vision, good instincts, and I think he will be a starting middle line backer next season.
- Outside Linebacker (Weakside) – Lavonte David, Nebraska – First round talent all the way. The kid can play, he’s all over the field, reading defenses, tackling anything with a ball. I think he’s a perfect 4-3 WLB in the pass happy NFL. He has elite speed for a linebacker and is as multi-dimensional as it gets. He’s not undersized like some reports say. I feel very strongly that Lavonte David will be turning heads in the NFL next year.
- Corner (1) – Jayron Hosley, VaTech – Hosley was once considered a first round prospect but he has just sort of slid down draft boards with no real reasoning. He is a good athlete, he has the speed and instincts to be a solid corner at the next level. I think Hosley should be drafted in the top 45 picks although he will probably fall further than that.
- Corner (2) – Brandon Boykin, Georgia - Boykin is one of the best athletes in the entire draft. He would do well to add some size and strength but he is the same size as many NFL corners. Boykin is an explosive return man and with his exceptional athletic ability he has the potential to be a true number 1 corner in a few years.
- Strong Safety – Antonio Allen, South Carolina – Allen is a solid athlete who has teh versatility you need at teh safety position. He has real starting potential and belongs in the second round.
- Free Safety – Blake Gideon, Texas – Gideon has been a solid playmaker for Texas. He is an afterthought on many draft boards but he reminds me of the typical solid, but unspectacular prospect. He will play consistent, make occasional plays, tackle well, and be a solid addition to any team looking for quality depth with starting potential.