2012 NFL Draft: Top 5 Most Underrated Prospects
Last week I looked at prospects in the upcoming Draft were overrated, (see http://mrnfl.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/2012-nfl-draft-top-5-most-overrated-prospects/ ) now it’s time to do the opposite and look at which prospects are underrated.
Unlike overrated prospects who get far too much attention, underrated prospects struggle to get the attention that they truly deserve. Some players don’t get enough attention because they played at a smaller college or some even get underrated if they fail to put up flashy numbers at the Combine.
Take last year’s Draft for example. Many eyebrows were raised when the San Francisco 49ers Drafted Aldon Smith with the seventh overall pick but he went on to shock everyone with an amazing Rookie season and finished the year with 14 sacks.
Aldon Smith didn’t get the same attention as his Missouri teammate Blaine Gabbert did, but he did have a far better Rookie season. Smith is just one example of a great player who was underrated leading up to the Draft.
Which prospects are flying under the radar this year? Here are just a few prospects who may get overlooked in the Draft.
5. Brandon Weeden- Quarterback- Oklahoma State
Why he’s underrated: The reason why Weeden is underrated is simple: It’s because he’s 28 years old. There is no doubt that his age has hurt his draft stock but that doesn’t mean he can’t go on to become a successful player in the NFL.
It took me a while to realize it but once you ignore his age and put on his college film, Weeden is a really good quarterback. There aren’t many throws that he cannot make and he is certainly more NFL ready that his fellow quarterback prospect Ryan Tannehill.
If he can land with the right team and get a chance to play early on, I can see him surprising quite a few people in the NFL.
4. Nate Potter- Offensive Tackle- Boise State
Why he’s underrated: As I already highlighted in draft my targets for the San Diego Chargers, I’m a big fan of Nate Potter. He hasn’t received as much attention as other offensive tackles in this class and perhaps it’s because he played in the Mountain West Conference.
Potter isn’t ideally suited to play at left tackle in the NFL, but he could still be a solid right tackle for years to come. Once the top 5 tackles are of the board, expect to hear Potter’s name called soon after.
Potter will be a steal for any team if he falls all the way to the fourth round.
3. Jaye Howard- Defensive Tackle- Florida
Why he’s underrated: Yet another one of my draft targets for the San Diego Chargers makes it onto my list of underrated prospects. The main reason that Howard is underrated is because of the fact that he played on a disappointing Florida Gators team for the past two seasons.
Despite the fact that Howard had a solid career, nobody is really considering him to be among the best defensive tackles in this class. Howard isn’t the most athletic athlete to ever play at the defensive tackle position but that doesn’t mean that he can’t go on to have a bright future ahead of him.
Expect to see him succeed in the NFL if he’s given an opportunity to start due to his tremendous toughness and physical strength.
2. Kelechi Osemele- Guard- Iowa State
Why he’s underrated: Not many scouts can confidently say that they were aware of Osemele at the beginning of last season, but they’re certainly aware of him now. The 6 ft 6 inch 333 lbs monster from Iowa State has been climbing up draft boards recently and has a great chance of hearing his name called in the first round.
Osemele is a versatile offensive lineman who played at both guard and tackle during his time in college. Despite being projected more as a guard, he may be asked to play at tackle in the NFL depending on which team he is picked by.
Don’t be surprised to see a team take a chance on Osemele and pick him late in Round 1.
1. Mark Barron- Safety- Alabama
Why he’s underrated: I believe that Alabama safety Mark Barron is the most underrated player in this year’s Draft. Barron isn’t underrated because he went to a small college, he’s actually underrated for the complete opposite reason.
He played on an Alabama defense that could have a possible four first round picks in this year’s Draft. In my opinion, Barron is the best player from that defense and the hard hitting safety should hear his name called early in the first round.
Don’t be surprised if a team like the Dallas Cowboys takes a chance on him at number 14.
So those are my top 5 most underrated prospects.
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Thanks for reading.