Five prospects who aren’t worth the love
Some guys like blonds, some like brunettes. Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. Evaluating potential NFL prospects is no different. If you ask for an opinion on one player, you’re likely to get different answers from different people.
Here’s my list of top prospects that I’m not feeling compared to most and not afraid to admit it.
Colt McCoy, QB, Texas
First off, he’s limited physically and lacks the ideal size and overall arm strength needed for the position at the next level. But that’s not the main reason Colt McCoy is on this list. As we’ve seen in the past, plenty of undersized, average-armed quarterbacks have found success in the NFL. However, the bigger problem I have with McCoy is his inability to be decisive with the football and quickly go through his progressions in the pass game. Too often he gets caught staring down his primary target, waiting for him to uncover and struggles when his initial read is taken away in the pass game. Plus, McCoy has a tendency to get caught staring at pressure up the middle and fails to consistently keep his eyes down the field. Because of his accuracy, anticipation and athletic ability, I think he has the skill set needed to make a roster as a West Coast-style quarterback at the next level, but he looks more like a borderline starter in the Bruce Gradkowski mold.
Everson Griffen, DE, USC
Physically, this guy has the skill set to mature into a productive NFL pass rusher and will likely be drafted in the first round because of it. However, any time I watch tape of Griffen, I simply don’t see the type of production you’d expect from a guy with his athletic skill set. Now, he does have the first step needed to get on top of opposing tackles quickly as a pass rusher, but too often he allows his pad level to get upright when trying to flatten out around the edge and easily gets push past the pocket. He also doesn’t play the run nearly as well as his frame would suggest. He does have some natural power on contact but really struggles when asked to stack and shed at the point of attack and fails to use his hands well enough to disengage from blocks (see Stanford). Overall, I think Griffen does have pass rush ability because of his first step, power and suddenness on contact, but I think he’s only slightly above average in that area and just doesn’t do it for me enough in the run game to warrant a first-round selection. I would much rather take the safer and harder-working Tyson Alualu (DL, California) than Griffen at this stage.
Jimmy Graham, TE, Miami
I get it. Graham is a former college basketball player -- much like current NFL standout tight ends Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez -- and with a little development he should be able to use the natural athletic abilities he displayed on the hardwood and mature in one of the NFL’s best. My response: Doesn’t always happen that way. The thing is, I like Graham and think he could end up being one heck of a player. But the notion that his upside and potential make him worth a second-round pick? Come on. First off, this is one of the most talented draft classes to come along in years, with guys likely going in the second round who could easily be potential first-round-caliber prospects in past drafts. Second, this is also one of the better tight end classes in years, with as many as 20 prospects at the position having legitimate draftable grades. Do I think Graham has the ability to start at the next level? Absolutely. However, there are plenty of tight ends in this class with just as much talent and upside as Graham who can be had a lot later than where he’s is currently projected.
Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas
As I’ve stated in the past, I’m not a big fan of Kindle, and in no way would I touch this guy in the first round. Whenever I breakdown this guy’s game, it’s obvious he’s a strong, explosive athlete who has the ability to track the football and quickly close on the play. However, in what most consider being the strong suit to his game, his ability to get after the passer isn’t nearly as impressive as it should be to be considered a first-round prospect. The reason I say that is because on tape he’s simply too much of a linear athlete who struggles to be sudden or change directions cleanly as a pass rusher and is more of a one-trick pony at this stage. He does have a good first step when asked to stand up and possesses some natural power on contact. But the kind of fluidity, balance and body control needed to be an elite caliber pass rusher at the next level are just not there for me to feel comfortable taking him in the first round.
Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
There’s no denying that Golden Tate has the compact build and overall balance/burst to be effective with the football after the catch. The guy runs like a former running back –which he was in high school -- and loves to fight and scratch his way for additional yards. However, I simply don’t think he has the size, quickness off the line or overall fluidity as a route runner to beat press and separate on the outside as a legit starting threat. Tate isn’t shifty trying to avoid press, is stiff as a route runner when asked to change directions and overall isn’t a natural catcher. I think his skill set makes him ideally suited to play a slot guy at the next level, but in no way do I think he’s dynamic enough to warrant a first-round pick. Do I think there’s a place for him in the NFL? Yes, but I see him more as a Mark Clayton (Ravens) type than as Steve Smith (Panthers).
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