It’s almost draft time and the debates are heating up amongst all of the draft “experts” as to which college players project as better pro’s. I’ve been looking back on recent drafts and have been amazed by the number of top picks that turn out to be “busts” each and every year and how that can negatively effect a franchise for several years.
This year will be no different. For every Pro Bowl’er there will be five or more players that are “busts” so I’m going to call it like I see it, even if it hurts some feelings.
- Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska- Suh tore up Big 12 defenses all season and has room to grow. His versatility to play any defensive line position adds to his value for NFL teams.
- Eric Berry, S, Tennessee- NFL team’s are currently trying to weigh Berry’s draft position versus his talent. Berry is a sick football player, but his position hurts his draft stock. The team that isn’t scared will get a great player.
- Earl Thomas, S, Texas- Thomas has a knack for the ball and is always somewhere in the middle of the the play. Size has been an issue for Thomas, but he bulked up to 206 lbs before the Combine and still looked stellar.
- Sergio Kindle, LB, Texas- Sergio Kindle is a do it all type OLB and would instantly upgrade some teams 3-4 defense. Kindle can blitz and tackle, but like most LB’s in the draft he’ll have to improve his coverage.
- Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri- Weatherspoon has been a dominating force everywhere he’s gone this season, from the regular season, to the Senior Bowl, to the Combine. While LB’s tend to be drafted in the second half of the first round, Weatherspoon is a top 15 talent and can play OLB or ILB. He’s a vocal leader and everything a team looks for at his postion, minus an inch or two on his height.
- Maurkice Pouncey, G/C, Florida- Physically Pouncey is stacked! He fits the ideal mold for an interior lineman and should make an immediate impact for which ever team drafts him towards the end of the first round.
- Jared Odrick, DL, Penn State- At 6’5″ 306 lbs, Odrick has the size to play any defensive line position, but I think he projects as a great 3-4 DE. Odrick brings it every time he’s on the field and should be able to pressure the QB and stop the run. Odrick is a real gem that’s rising quickly up most team’s draft boards.
- Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State- Robinson was at one time the #2 CB in the draft behind Joe Haden, but his stock has sunk rapidly over the last three months. If Robinson slips that just makes him a better value for whichever team drafts him. One thing’s for sure, Florida State is known for producing top level CB’s in the NFL and I see Robinson as a solid starting corner in the league for years to come.
- Tyson Alualu, DT, California- Alualu has the heart of a lion and makes up for his lack of size and speed with determination and a hard working mentality. Alualu isn’t going to cost you a first round pick, but he’s definitely worth taking in the third round and I promise you won’t complain about him….ever.
- Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, CB, IUPUI- Hard name to say, but so is another elite corner that plays in Oakland. I’m not saying Owusu-Ansah will be Nnamdi Asomugha, but the physical skills are there. We’ve seen plenty of small school CB’s excel in the NFL and I think AOA will be another one.
- Jimmy Graham, TE, Miami- It might take a few years for Graham to develop in the NFL, but any team that drafts him should already expect this from a guy that switched from basketball to football before his senior season. Graham brings that basketball mentality to the red zone, where at 6’6″ he has the size and know how to get position.
- Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma- I just wouldn’t be able to draft a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback with so much history telling us that it won’t work out. Bradford’s coming off of shoulder surgery and while he’s put on the weight to be a starting QB in the NFL, I just don’t see it working out.
- C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson- I’ve heard the Chris Johnson comparisons, I just haven’t seen it myself. Spiller can definitely make a big play here and there in the NFL, but he’s not an every down back and those other Reggie Bush comparisons don’t stick either because Bush was an absolute monster at USC. Be prepared to be let down with CJ.
- Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa- Bulaga is very solid, don’t get me wrong, but I think he’s got a pretty low ceiling compared to most other tackles in the draft. Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz does a great job of maximizing his lineman in college, but he tends to get the most out of them while they’re in school. I can’t see Bulaga being able to stop the NFL’s stronger and faster DE’s.
- Taylor Mays, S, USC- Mays is an athletic freak, but he lacks the coverage skills needed in the NFL. I could see Mays becoming a much better OLB ina 3-4 than an NFL safety.
- Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers- The NBA drafts guys based off size and potential more than the NFL, but while Davis has the measurables, I’m not sure he’s got the skills or the drive.
- Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland- The Raiders will love Bruce. See above, same thing goes for BC.
- Jermain Gresham, TE, Oklahoma- Lets see. He missed last year after having knee surgery and now both knees have been repaired. He’s big, but doesn’t block well and ran a 4.8, yet he’s worth a first round pick in a very deep TE class? I don’t think so.
- Rob Gronkowski, TE, Arizona- Tight ends take a beating going over the middle to make receptions, so why take a guy that’s already had a serious back injury? He might be healthy now, but that injury will come back to bite him in a few years.
- Colt McCoy, QB, Texas- Colt ran the Longhorn’s offense to a “T”, but in the NFL Colt doesn’t have the arm strength to make it. I’ll root for the kid because I like his story, but he should get used to holding a clip board in the NFL.
- Tim Tebow, QB, Florida- I think Tebow can find a role in the NFL, possibly as a goal line/wildcat player, but definitely not as a QB. He might want it bad enough, but I just don’t think his talent and will translates to the next level.
- Jordan Shipley, WR, Texas- Don’t get me wrong, Shipley would be great in the Wes Welker type roll, but there aren’t that many teams that can utilize the slot receiver like the Patriots and the Colts. If a NFL team is looking for more than that from Shipley they will be very disappointed.