The Way We Hear It: Overrated, underrated players
By Nolan Nawrocki, Pro Football Weekly Apr 17, 2:22 pm EDT
As PFW continues to monitor the pulse of the draft, we remain steadfast in our opinions on talent in this year’s draft, despite new medical, background and character information that continues to affect the draft stock of many players, not to mention some heated arguments ongoing in NFL war rooms regarding the true value of talent.
Following are five players we believe will be drafted too early and five who likely will provide value for where we expect they will be drafted, based on conversations with NFL executives.
OG Duke Robinson, Oklahoma
Robinson looks every bit the part with long arms and a massive frame, and he has proven that he could be effective as a drive blocker and even help outside in a pinch. Nonetheless, his personality really rubbed executives the wrong way in team interviews, his lazy streak consistently shows up in his play, and his lack of discipline could prevent him from living up to expectations, considering that he likely will be drafted in the first three rounds.
Photo Hakeem Nicks
(Gerry Broome/AP Photo)
WR Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina
Nicks has a chance to still warrant interest in the first round, but the level of complacency he showed after his pro-day workout – when he stopped working out and gained 14 pounds – was quite a scare to NFL clubs. They fear he might react the same way after he receives a big-time contract. He has since dropped the weight and continued his training regimen and potentially could be a good possession receiver, but he may never be more than a good No. 2 and could always be distracted.
DT Alex Magee, Purdue
In a weak DT class, Magee could warrant looks as early as the second round, but his lack of football character and toughness could keep him from ever reaching his potential, much the way it did at Purdue. He played out of position at defensive end as a senior and too often did not make his presence felt.
TE Jared Cook, South Carolina
Cook has elite speed, and some teams are even thinking about asking him to drop weight and move back to the WR position, where he played when he entered college. Will be drafted in the second round based on measurables but is still very raw as a route runner, does not play to his timed speed and will require his future team to be patient. For an exceptional athlete warranting early consideration, Cook is not ready for prime time.
FS William Moore, Missouri
Moore looks every bit the part and possesses the physical tools to start in the NFL a long time, but he could always be hindered by mental mistakes and a lack of discipline and be too easily manipulated by the eyes of experienced NFL quarterbacks. He needs to prove he can stay healthy after an injury-plagued senior season.
Photo Stephen McGee
(Brendan Maloney/US Presswire)
QB Stephen McGee, Texas A&M
Physically and mentally tough, McGee has the makeup desired to be groomed as a quarterback. And after former NFL head coach Mike Sherman spoke glowingly about his talents to NFL clubs in attendance at his pro day, they have awoken to the upside of the former option quarterback. A patient QB coach who can correct his footwork could develop McGee into an NFL starter.
WR Austin Collie, Brigham Young
Collie has been quietly flying under the radar, but he has the work habits, hands and route efficiency to become a factor. He could become a solid complementary receiver who contributes readily in the pros.
RB Glen Coffee, Alabama
Pound for pound, Coffee is a very strong, hard-charging runner who could fit very well in a one-cut, zone running scheme. He may not be drafted in the first two rounds, but in the right scheme, he could be very good.
OG T.J. Lang, Eastern Michigan
A versatile college left tackle who showed he could play anywhere on the line at the Texas vs. the Nation all-star game, Lang has a shot to be the highest-drafted non-Combine invite this year, appealing most to clubs as a guard in a weak O-line class. His strength in the run game is a big plus.
DE-OLB Clint Sintim, Virginia
Sintim will not fit for every team, and some evaluators think he may have to play defensive end in a 4-3 front. Questions have arisen about his football intelligence, and he would be best in a defense where he could be schemed to turn it loose and rush the passer. Doing just that, he led the nation in sacks from the LB position a year ago despite having dropped into coverage frequently. However, he could handle playing strong-side linebacker over the tight end in a 4-3 front, and having played the rush LB position in college, he gives evaluators whose teams play 3-4 fronts more comfort because they know exactly what they are getting.
If you would like to read more about the players who are about to enter the April 25-26 NFL draft, Pro Football Weekly has the publication that fits the bill – the 2009 Draft Preview book, available now at www.pfwstore.com
. The 180-page 2009 Draft Preview book contains detailed scouting reports on nearly 500 prospects. You’ll also get our rankings of more than 1,000 draft prospects.