There will be some names on here that you’ve never heard of. There will be a name or two on here that you’re wondering why that player is listed. If a player is projected to go in the 20’s, he can still be underrated. I’ll state my case for each. Starting with the position that makes this sport go round.
I don’t think there is an underrated quarterback. There might be a quarterback later in the draft that turns into a spot starter years down the road and is able to finesse a contract much like Case Keenum. This is a 5 quarterback draft. I might be in the minority here but I don’t really believe in “developmental quarterbacks.” By that I mean taking one in the 3rd round and let him develop. There’s a difference between letting your 1st round pick sit a year and letting your late day 2-3 QB sit for three years. That just doesn’t happen. There are guys in this draft that I wanted to like more, Kyle Lauletta, Mike White, Kurt Benkert, but there were too many deficiencies to go to bat for them.
This will no doubt be the toughest choice. Every year there are running backs out of nowhere that produce and are taken late in the draft. Some not even drafted. Austin Ekeler, Aaron Jones, Matt Brieda, the list goes on and on. This year there is a plethora of good backs. All shapes & sizes. I’ll give you a name that I think has some ability to contribute as a rookie. Kyle Hicks out of TCU. I don’t even know if he’ll be drafted, but he should be. He’s an obvious athlete at the position. You can tell from how effortlessly he changes directions. He’s a true satellite back that has enough wiggle to make linebackers look silly. In pass protection, he knows exactly where to be. That’ll help him get on the field early. He has good hands out of the backfield and has no issue catching the ball away from his body. I think he can surprise as a receiving threat early in his career. Hicks will be another late round running back that outperforms his draft stock.
Every year I fall for a receiver. This year it was no different. He’s a little different type than what I usually go for, though. Korey Robertson of Southern Mississippi is 6’2, 210 pounds and comes off as a big, strong receiver. It’s obvious he isn’t as loose as most receivers and his lack of second gear will be the reason he falls to day 3. What you can’t help but appreciate is his ability to make contested catches. He’s also a lot better after the catch than you’d imagine. He can legit be a red zone threat. He also can create separation on underneath routes with solid footwork. I’m a fan and haven’t seen many better. Robertson is a guy I’d absolutely take a late round flier on if I’m a team that needs help at receiver.
Took awhile but finally found my fav WR in the class.— KP (@KP_Show) February 19, 2018
Korey Robertson of Southern Miss
I have him in my top 3 pic.twitter.com/NIorVyktSY
It’s tough to get excited when watching lineman. It’s easy to fall for the maulers. I made that mistake a couple years ago with T.J. Clemmings. Swing and a miss. I’ve learned a little since then. The lineman that I think is not only underrated but can possibly develop into a player is TCU’s Joseph Noteboom. Noteboom is 6’5, 310 pounds and looks like he can add even more mass to his frame. Noteboom has a little bit of everything. He’s one of the most athletic lineman in the draft. In his pass sets, he easily gets depth and gets to his spots. When you see defenders try and redirect, by that I mean hit him with a spin move or a hesitation one way or the other, he has no issue mirroring them. That’s encouraging to see. As a run blocker, he can pave the way on double team blocks. When he blocks down on defensive tackles is when you can see some of his raw strength. In space against the run he has no issue climbing to the second level or running lateral on stretch runs.
He’s not perfect by any means. When Noteboom goes to shoot his hands they tend to be outside. Rushers can bull-rush him because of it. A couple other technical issues that, to me, can be worked out. Noteboom was the easiest selection for me on this list.
He’ll likely fall due to injuries, but Florida State’s Josh Sweat is this drafts Danielle Hunter. He played a lot of snaps out of position for the Seminoles. He wasn’t really “let loose” as a pass rusher. There were multiple times during games when he would be lined up inside the tight end and have run responsibilities. It’s tough to showcase your skill at 250 pounds in there. When he kicked outside, that’s when you saw the athleticism that wowed at the combine.
Essentially every Josh Sweat play he made in the backfield in 2017.— KP (@KP_Show) March 19, 2018
Looking back on my notes, there’s a lot of Danielle Hunter to his game. High end athlete who showed he can dominant vs the run. Flashed pass rushing skill but played out of position.These are the guys you bet on pic.twitter.com/DgDSyTEKyT
Like Hunter, Sweat was a dominant run defender that had the upside to be a very good pass rusher. Sweat plays with great effort and is quite disruptive from that edge spot. He will be great value if he falls to the third round. If healthy, he has the chance to help a team early on in his career.
Hurst is a defensive tackle out of Michigan who has the draft community split. Some have him in their top 5, some in the 50 range. With Hurst, his health was a concern. What you love to hear is Hurst wasn’t asked back for a medical recheck for a heart condition. Other than that, his size? As if 3 of the top 5 defensive tackles in the NFL aren’t “undersized.” If we are talking about on the field, I struggle to see what Hurst doesn’t do that other tackles do better. See for yourself.
Someone asked me if there’s a DT I’d take in the 1st. This is the one.— KP (@KP_Show) April 16, 2018
Here’s 2 min of Maurice Hurst & essentially every play he made or impacted in the backfield last year. pic.twitter.com/MJf6v9J3IA
He is so damn explosive. He can more than hold his own against the run. He can single-handedly ruin a series as a pass rusher. Guys that quick and productive don’t just stop being quick and productive because they go to the NFL. It’s tough to say what he played at, but he weighed in at 292 pounds. If he is still has the same get-off, he should be a no-brainer if he passes the medical checks for any interested team. He’s not just a wild wrecking ball, either. Hurst is so good with his hands and can keep himself clean. Give me that guy in the first.
How a running back is patient and then bursts through the smallest of holes, Josey Jewell does the same, but as a linebacker. It’s easy to be turned off by him after he ran a 4.82 40 yard dash or was humiliated by Saquon Barkley. There were other games that he played in, believe it or not. Jewell did improve his 40 to a 4.68 at his pro day. He also looked very fluid during the drills. His 6.8 3-cone drill and 4.04 short shuttle are what we should really be focusing on. Those are great numbers. Pair that with his outstanding recognition skills and he’s set to outperform some of the faster linebackers that’ll go ahead of him. Because he can read blocks and understand what the offense is doing, he’ll get to the ball faster than a linebacker who might run a high 4.5 that relies on athleticism.
Oh yeah, and he can hit. For all the talk about him being limited in coverage, he broke up 11 passes as a senior. He lives around the ball and he did for four years. That won’t change in the NFL.
There has to be some sort of baseline at corner. Awhile ago I dug through some numbers to come up with a fake threshold. Here’s what I came away with.
I took the 20 best CBs from the last couple years between @NFLFilmStudy and myself and averaged their combines to come up with a baseline/threshold for athletic success at the position. pic.twitter.com/Ni31KgZYJV— KP (@KP_Show) March 15, 2018
Missing some numbers on a few guys, but it narrowed down the corner list to 6 guys. One of those guys is Nick Nelson out of Wisconsin. Nelson tore his meniscus during a private workout with the Lions that will likely cost him his rookie year. That’s unfortunate as Nelson had a chance to out perform many of the corners that would’ve been selected ahead of him. He’s 5’11, 200 pounds and looks the part. He also plays the part. He’s always in a position to make a play on the pass. In 2015 as a sophomore he had 15 passes defended. Last year after transferring to Wisconsin he had a ridiculous 21 passes defended. He’s a guy that doesn’t get beat deep. There are so many little things Nelson does right at the position that make it obvious he is going to continue to show out at the next level. I hope he can recover from his injury because Nelson has a chance to be a very good player in the NFL.
When I was watching Robertson #18 on the other side of the ball that just keep making play after play. So I watched to see if it was a fluke game. I watched a game. Then another, and another. Turns out, Tarvarius Moore is legit. I like him more than a good chunk of the safeties that are being talked about to go ahead of him. It took for him to show out at his pro day to get noticed, and that’s fine.At 6”, 199 pounds he ran a 4.32 40 yard dash, had a 38.5 inch vertical, and 11” broad jump, with a 6.89 3-cone. That is really freaking good. It’s no surprise that the first thing you notice is the ground he covers. Whether chasing down a running back to the sideline or getting out of his break to meet a receiver. He played in a tough scheme where he had had to guard slot receivers with minimal help and more than held his own. He broke up 10 passes and had 3 interceptions. Per PFF, he had a 63.2 passer rating when targeted. He’s just as good as a run defender. He’s not him, but if you remember how that Weddle guy sort of bob & weaved through traffic and somehow ended up at the ball-carrier, Moore has plenty plays like that. To me, he’s the 4th best safety in the class. He won’t go as high as others, but he should.