By Marc Sluis, Staff Writer
You never want to appear on a list even mentioning the word overrated so I’ll at least say these guys are 40,000 times the athlete I am, especially nowadays. I’ve highlighted plenty of my top picks, but in order to reap the benefits of possibly hitting the mark on those players you have to expose yourself to failure as well. These players could burn me by being great, but at this point I am willing to say they won’t.
Terrence Williams BAYLOR (WR)
Pros: Athletic, good speed (especially for his size), solid height, big-time production.
The Downside: A productive and athletic wide out whose game doesn’t translate well to the NFL. Yes he has nice speed considering his frame, but he won’t be able to consistently separate like he does currently (not a 4.4 type). His height is a plus, but he doesn’t play big and frankly lacks physicality, often shying away from the hit or losing the ball when defenders converge. His hands are also sub par. Watching his 2011 tape I say him drop a lot of balls, and often the ones he did catch required highlight reel effort because he failed to secure the catch cleanly. A good player, but if he goes in the first round someone isn’t maximizing value.
Jesse Williams ALABAMA (DT)
Pros: Excellent measurables and raw talent, program pedigree.
The Downside: Williams looks the part and should impress at the combine, but simply hasn’t shown the ability to turn that potential into production just yet. Sure he is super strong with big upside but is a bit in between the defensive end run-stopping and penetrating roles. He lacks the polish and quickness to get into the backfield consistently and doesn’t anchor well enough to control a defense in the elite way the best interior lineman do. I’m not saying he won’t develop down the road, but his upside is more limited than his reputation suggests.
Kenny Stills OKLAHOMA (WR)
Pros: Good production and experience (played well as a freshman).
The Downside: Stills is a decent slot receiving prospect, but again I think he will have a limited impact in the pros. For a relatively short receiver who will be forced to work almost exclusively from the slot he doesn’t have great and definitely not breakaway speed. There are much better slot receiving prospects out there with much better speed and upside.
Aaron Dobson MARSHALL (WR)
Pros: Great height and frame for a possession receiver along with solid hands and an epic highlight reel catch vs. ECU.
The Downside: Dobson is a rare talent and could easily become a legitimate NFL target, but I just feel there are better, safer options that are similarly talented. Dobson has been nowhere near the team’s best receiver in terms of production reaching the 100 yard mark just once and is third on the team in both receptions and yards, and fourth in TD. This is a precarious choice as he has totaled double digit receptions twice this year, but against ConferenceUSA defenders I expected more from a guy with Dobson’s talent level.
Dallas Thomas TENNESSEE (OG/OT)
Pros: Experience at multiple positions.
The Downside: While Thomas is a smooth athlete for someone his size, he seems a step slow or has trouble anticipating quick moves outside and will be susceptible to athletic defensive lineman at the next level. With the athletic freaks we have playing on the D-line these days even bigger defensive tackles have the talent to beat blockers with quick swim moves or fakes inside. I actually do like Thomas, but he is nowhere near the OG prospect Chance Warmack is and is not a first round talent like he is being touted as,
Mike Glennon NC STATE (QB)
Pros: Great arm strength and prototypical height.
The Downside: Glennon certainly has the tools; at 6’6 232 he has ideal size with a strong arm to boot. So why the overrated status when he isn’t even considered a top prospect? I’m a bit conflicted myself honestly. The main reason is precision, not necessarily accuracy but being precise. He seems to throw in the area of the receiver instead of hitting in between the numbers or over the defender in coverage.
He has completed a decent 58% of his passes this year and posted a quality 62% last year. I consider him overrated because I just find it hard to see him putting everything together and being the quality NFL starter his potential suggests. This is my most precarious selection and is almost entirely dependent on him currently being a thrower as opposed to a passer; if that changes he could have no place anywhere near this list, but that’s if.
Bennie Logan LSU (DT)
Pros: Regarded as a big DT prospect with good athleticism.
The Downside: Some have Logan ranked in the top 40 overall players, which based on the limited tape I’ve seen on him is vastly inaccurate. Logan seems to lose leverage early and does a lot standing instead of pursuing the ball. He may look the part but, at least from what I’ve seen, rarely plays like a future pro. I understand he wears the highly esteemed and competitive #18, but his production doesn’t match the ranking.
Aaron Murray GEORGIA (QB)
Pros: He has the arm strength and ability to make “window” throws.
The Downside: We’ve all heard before: “There are virtually no starting quarterbacks in the NFL under 6’2”. That’s not the only reason I don’t see Murray as a potential starter at the next level. Guys like Drew Brees have played at an elite level without being 6’6, but Brees is a great decision maker. Murray needs to have a spotless game, aside from his height, in order to be successful. Watching him play I sometimes vacillate back and forth on his stock, but at the end of the day he augments his lack of size with poor throws.
Bacarri Rambo GEORGIA (S)
Pros: A terrific ball-hawk and can cover ground quickly to make plays.
The Downside: Rambo has elite ball skills and the ability to play centerfield and anticipate where the ball will end up; those are skills I normally love in a safety. However, I question his effort and his motor rarely runs at 100% and hasn’t shown the consistent physicality necessary for a safety. On top of that he is a wild card off the field, being suspended for the first four games of this year.
Aaron Mellette ELON (WR)
Pros: Terrific height with good hands.
The Downside: Mellette is highly regarded as one of the top small school studs, but I fail to see the top level talent to justify the hype. He has the height at 6’4, which normally love, but is no means dynamic in terms of athleticism or speed. Add to that the major adjustment he’ll have to make going from FCS to NFL and I think his chance of succeeded at a significant level is small.
Stepfan Taylor STANFORD (RB)
Pros: Extremely productive, good vision and power.
The Downside: It’s understood that he lacks the straight line speed of most prospects as it kept him buried on RB rankings prior to the season. With his play this year he has worked himself into the top 5 discussion among running backs. However, he doing so he went from a great value to being slightly overrated. He is solid, but will never be a dynamic threat.
Tom Wort OKLAHOMA (ILB)
Pros: Good instincts, body control and a willingness to play physically.
The Downside: Wort is a tough player with some athleticism, but lacks the size and length to be effective at the next level. He seems to miss tackles and struggles to secure the ball-carrier with his short arms. Unfortunately he is also vastly undersized and lacks the sharp change of direction skills to compensate.
Cameron Marshall ARIZONA ST (RB)
Pros: Runs with power and has solid bulk.
The Downside: It’s not that he has no talent but his skill-set is outdated. The days when running backs were nearly as important to an offensive as quarterback, especially the strong and powerful variety capable of controlling the clock and beating down defenses have come and gone.Marshall has some surprising quickness, but nothing special. He runs with a high center of gravity and isn’t a fit in the up-tempo pace of the modern NFL. He has a niche role that simply isn’t valued beyond being a touchdown vulture inside the two yard line.
Marquise Goodwin TEXAS (WR)
Pros: Track star speed and high-jump stud.
The Downside: Goodwin isn’t grossly misplaced as a track athlete masquerading as a football player, but his elite speed rarely translates to big plays.
Brodrick Brown OK ST (CB)
Pros: Great speed, solid overall athlete.
The Downside: It’s not that 5’8 defensive backs can’t make it in the NFL, but you have to be pretty special. Brown has the speed, but isn’t the athlete necessary and lacks elite change of direction skills. Plus, nobody will call him the most physical defender either.
Alvin Bailey ARKANSAS (OG)
Pros: Prototypical size, especially bulk
The Downside: Bailey is the best offensive lineman on the Razorbacks, which isn’t saying much. He is reasonably powerful, but has shaking lateral agility and despite the 6’5 frame has short arms and has trouble truly locking down defenders in space.
Trevardo Williams UCONN
Pros: Good speed and pass rush ability off the edge.
The Downside: Williams is a one dimensional defender with the small frame and speed to get around the edge and also pushed around in the run game. Pass rush specialists are certainly valued but Williams is not the elite athlete who creates mismatches or simply overpowers with explosiveness. In fact he is average at best in terms of athleticism.