Calling a prospect in the NFL draft overrated months before the draft takes place can make one look silly in a year or two. However, evaluating what these players are doing right now and where their development is, it isn't hard to see players getting credit because of their name or the school they played at.
College teams always get overrated because of their name. Rarely, though, do we think about a player getting the same treatment simply by playing at the school.
In an early look at some of the top prospects in the 2013 NFL draft, here are the overrated prospects who have no business being in the first-round conversation.
USC QB Matt Barkley
Just think, four months ago Barkley was being talked about as the surefire No. 1 pick in this draft class after a strong finish to his junior season and leading USC back to prominence after being banned from bowl games and serving probation for sins of the Pete Carroll era.
Fast forward to today, with Barkley being wildly inconsistent throughout his senior season and you have to wonder if he will even sneak into the first round.
Since the NFL is so quarterback-driven, someone is going to take a chance on Barkley, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle. The biggest issue he has is throwing the ball down the field. His accuracy, which is usually very good, practically vanishes on throws longer than 20 yards.
There are still plenty of tools to work with, but at 22 years old, you would like to see Barkley further along the development curve than he is.
Georgia LB Alec Ogletree
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One of the drawbacks to watching so much film and the countless hours of evaluation that goes on is it can cause you to fall in love with the raw tools and gloss over certain things that should be obvious.
Ogletree certainly looks the part of a starting inside linebacker in the NFL. He has ideal size, elite speed and terrific wrap-up tackling skills, which is a lost art in today's world of huge hits.
Where Ogletree at times fails is in his focus and attention to detail. He can make a play that only the best linebackers in the NFL can make on one snap, only to look completely lost the next time around.
It is far from impossible to fix a player's attention, either to detail or just focus on the field, and I would trust Ogletree to perform at the next level more than Barkley, but you need to see more consistent results when investing such a high pick in a player who does have star potential.
Another ding against him has been missed time, as he broke his foot during the 2011 season and missed six games. Then he was suspended to start the 2012 season for a failed drug test.
West Virginia QB Geno Smith
It is easy to pick on the quarterbacks in this class, because none of them has star potential. But due to the intense pressure teams are under to upgrade the position, you have to draft one higher than you would normally be willing to.
Smith certainly has the numbers teams want to see from a starting quarterback—he threw for more than 4,000 yards in back-to-back seasons and his completion percentage has increased each year.
However, there are some glaring holes that need to be filled in before he can be successful in the NFL. He is a bit thin right now, though that is something that can be fixed with the right training regimen.
The other issue is that Smith played in a conference, at least this year, where defense was optional, in a style that hid virtually all of his weaknesses. He is not as accurate a passer as his completion percentage would suggest.
Smith doesn't have touch on his passes, which will lead to a lot of interceptions at the next level. Also, he has never had to make adjustments or read his third and fourth options on a play at college.
It is not impossible to think Smith will be the first quarterback taken, but he is far from a safe bet to play at the level required of a top-10 pick.