2012 NFL Draft: 5 Overrated Prospects the Philadelphia Eagles Should Avoid
The 2012 NFL Draft class is a truly loaded class. There is top-notch talent at nearly every single position and there is depth all across the board. Teams looking to load up on young talent or find a handful of immediate impact players can score big this April.
They can also miss on several players who have bust written all over them. Whether it's a linebacker who is undersized or undisciplined, a quarterback who had a down year or a wide receiver who is just not as fundamentally sounds as some experts would lead you to believe, this draft has several players that will disappoint in the next few seasons.
1. Vontaze Burfict
Vontaze Burfict is the most overrated prospect in the 2012 draft class. The junior middle linebacker out of Arizona State is a highlight machine. You watch his highlights and you might think you are witnessing the second coming of Ray Lewis, but I see more of an Ernie Sims type player that seems to have no regard for the ref’s whistle signaling the end of the play. No player commits more idiotic person foul and late hit penalties than Burfict.
Burfict has the physical ability to be a dominant linebacker, but he over pursues far too often and can’t be relied on in a 4-3 defense to be the center of the defense. He is probably better suited for a a 3-4 defense where he can be more of a blitzer as an edge rusher or can be protected by another inside linebacker. His complete lack of any discipline and consistency will drop him down in the draft in the next couple of months.
Right now, he is one injury, poor combine showing or pro day away from falling into the third round of the draft. For a player that is more hyped up than any other linebacker in the draft, he will be a major disappointment for so many fans who hold him in such high regard.
2. Zach Brown
The highest ranked 4-3 outside linebacker in the draft. Zach Brown, an outside linebacker out of North Carolina, is a very fast and very athletic player, but his lack of size and strength at 6’2, 230 pounds will hold him back at the next level. His speed allows him to make up for his inability to shed blocks in college, but he won’t be able to rely just on his freakish speed at the next level.
He also isn’t a great tackler and rarely drives the ball carrier backwards. Often times, he is the one being taken for a ride. He is also prone to over pursue and all too often is fooled on play action. He has some potential to be a good blitzer, but is far too easily blocked by tight ends and running backs to rack up a lot of sacks early in his career. The Eagles already have a very speedy weak side linebacker in Brian Rolle, who is actually a much more physical player and has a year of starting experience at the position already.
Brown has the speed that the Eagles like to employ on their defense, but adding another soft player who isn’t a consistently good tackler is the last thing Juan Castillo needs for his defense. This team needs to add a linebacker who is less a highlight-reel type player and more a quietly consistent player who just gets the job done week in and week out.
3. Mark Barron
The Eagles have drafted a strong safety in last two drafts, and some Eagles fans and bloggers alike are calling for another one this year. Mark Barron, a strong safety out of Alabama, is the top rated strong safety in the 2012 class. Even if this was a major need for the Eagles, they should avoid Barron. He is another one of those great highlight players.
He has the ability to knock receivers and ball carriers on their backs with vicious hits and can also read the quarterback and make plays on the ball. He also struggles greatly with his change of direction and will get torched early in his career in pass coverage. He can’t be relied on to cover anyone one on one, especially in the slot.
The Eagles already have a physical player at strong safety in last year’s second-round selection, Jaiquawn Jarrett. They also have a good all-around player at strong safety that started most of the 2011 season in Kurt Coleman. Coleman isn’t a big-time highlight player, but he is always around the ball and really improved as the season went along in pass coverage.
The Eagles should and most likely will avoid drafting any safeties early in the draft. They may spend a pick later in the draft to add depth at the position, but to spend a first-round pick on a strong safety would be mind boggling. The Eagles should and most likely will spend their first round pick on a solid middle linebacker or turn it into several mid-round picks later in the draft.
4. Nick Toon
Nick Toon is built like your typical physical wide, but he doesn’t always play the part like Michael Floyd and Justin Blackmon do. Toon, a wide receiver out of Wisconsin is a tough matchup one-on-one on the outside because of his size and strength.
The problem with Toon is that he commits the two cardinals sins that a big, physical receiver should never do. He doesn’t come back to the ball and doesn’t have great hands when a defender is around him.
He drops way too many passes over the middle when a defender is around him, but not necessarily making contact with him. He can improve on those areas over time, but he will be very inconsistent in his rookie season and won’t be the immediate impact player the Eagles or any team ready to contend should select in the first two or three rounds in the draft.
He also struggles with his run blocking as well. At times, he is an unwilling participant as a run blocker, and other times, he just doesn't keep his man away from the play enough.
If the Eagles are looking for a more physical receiver to help with some of their red-zone issues on offense, they either will have to spend their first-round pick on someone like Michael Floyd or sign a veteran receiver like Vincent Jackson. If DeSean Jackson is finally resigned to a long-term deal or at least given the franchise tag, then there is no chance that the Eagles draft any receiver in the first two rounds.
Either way, Nick Toon should be avoided altogether. Until he learns to be a more aggressive wide out when the ball is in the air and learn to complete the catch regardless of what the defense is doing, he will struggle at the next level where there is a plethora of talents wide outs.
5. Ryan Lindley
If the Eagles are going to trust Mike Kafka as their backup quarterback and draft a developmental project at quarterback in the draft, Ryan Lindley is the quarterback they should avoid. The San Diego State Aztec had a very disappointing 2011 season with just 3,153 passing yards and 23 touchdowns in 13 games to go along with a very low completion percentage of 53 percent.
His accuracy will be a major issue heading into the draft. We have seen several quarterbacks overcome lower completion percentages coming out of college such as Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick and Vince Young, but they all led their teams to the playoffs early in their pro careers because they had a good defense to rely on and very good mobility. Lindley doesn’t have the running ability to buy time and make plays with his feet.
Other than his above average arm strength, he doesn’t really do anything that great. He is just one of those players that does a lot of things OK, but doesn't really wow you in any single area.
Lindley is a bad Senior Bowl away from dropping to the final three rounds of the draft as opposed to the third round, where he is projected right now. He could be a player that continues to slide down draft boards all the way up to the draft like Pat Delvin did last year when he went from one of the top 10 rated quarterbacks early on to being undrafted altogether.