2013 NFL Draft: 7 Polarizing Prospects in the Draft

Scott Carasik@ScottCarasikContributor IIJanuary 2, 2013

2013 NFL Draft: 7 Polarizing Prospects in the Draft

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    There are seven truly polarizing prospects in the NFL draft that could go anywhere in the first few rounds. However, there is also question as to who would even take a few guys due to problems either medically, on the field or even off the field. 

    With the draft approaching quickly, it's hard to see the NFL agreeing on every player 100 percent. For every consensus top player like Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, there is a surprise like A.J. Jenkins or Bruce Irvin that aren't even expected to be picked in the first round.

QB Tyler Wilson

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    Despite his team going into the complete toilet in 2012, Tyler Wilson is still someone who could be considered a high draft pick at quarterback. His team falling to pieces doesn't mean that he isn't a good quarterback.

    The Razorbacks as a whole had multiple issues that go way beyond the quarterback or even offensive play. However, there are people who won't see it going down. They will crucify him for his 13 interceptions despite being forced to make throws while not having any other backup.

    His 21 touchdowns and 62.1 percent completion percentage show that he did not decline in any way. Wilson has shown that he can take an offense down the field in clutch situations, and he should still be the second quarterback selected despite detractors seeing decline due to poor team performance.

RB Montee Ball

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    Teams love a good running back. Someone will fall in love with Montee Ball's amazing production—3,753 rushing yards and 55 rushing touchdowns the past two seasons. They will also fall in love with his never-say-die rushing style and his ability to move the chains in short-yardage situations.

    The detractors will point to a ton of carries on his body; 924 carries is a ton for someone in college. The beating will cause him to fall in the NFL draft, as will the constant devaluation of the NFL running back. 

    Ball could go anywhere from the late-first round to the mid-fourth round. It all just depends on which team likes him and which one can understand how to limit his long-term carries.

WR Keenan Allen

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    Keenan Allen is one of the best all-around prospects in the NFL draft at wide receiver. There are very few people who have the same kind of skill set as the Cal wide receiver.

    A film study on his overall game from back in August shows his best attributes: size (6'3", 210 pounds), speed (4.45-4.55), route running, body control, yard-after-catch ability and ability to find soft spots in zone coverage.

    All of those talents help him out as one of the best receiver prospects. However, there are questions about his game that could be holding him back.

    The injury problems from this past season that caused him to miss three games are the start. In addition to that, there is question as to whether Zach Maynard was helping him post better numbers or if it was closer to a Calvin Johnson-Reggie Ball situation where Ball held Johnson back.

    The team workouts should solidify his place in the first round, but how high he goes all depends on which teams view him as a No. 1 and which see him as a No. 2.

DE Sam Montgomery

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    Sam Montgomery has a ton of natural talent. He's a good rotational pass-rusher and has been able to put up back-to-back years of 8.0 sacks or more. However, there are questions regarding his overall game.

    He's not a very good run-stuffer as he gets washed out in the run game. He also doesn't look like he has the bulk that his listed height and weight of 6'5" 260 pounds would suggest.

    The biggest question surrounding him is his work ethic though. The following photo circulated around the Internet after this sign was posted in the LSU locker room: click here for image.

    The sign essentially lists the selfish players with poor work ethics. And on it is one Sam Montgomery. Being a player known for having a poor work ethic could get him completely taken off certain teams boards all together.

LB Jarvis Jones

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    Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones is one of the more polarizing prospects. Not because his on-the-field ability shows questionable instincts. His 77 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, 19 QB hurries and seven fumbles forced show an excellent all around pass-rusher and run-stuffer.

    However, in pass coverage, there's a question as to what he could do in the NFL. His best role looks to be one where he can move around the formation and rush the passer from different angles. Very few teams run this type of scheme so the idea is that could drop him.

    The biggest question is his spinal stenosis condition (h/t ESPN). This same condition has even caused NFL player Marcus McNeill and WWE wrestler Adam Copeland (known as Edge) to retire. If a team feels that this is a non-issue, he should be at the top of their board. Otherwise, this could drop him from the top of the first to the end of it.

LB Manti Te'o

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    There may not be a more polarizing player than Manti Te'o. Everyone has their peace to say about how he will either fail or be great. While he will likely get taken somewhere in the first, there is question as to how high or how low.

    There is a huge coalition that believes his issues come from a lack of natural physical ability.They believe that he shouldn't be taken before the mid-second round, and that he won't amount to anything more than a run stuffing 3-4 SILB or 4-3 MLB as his 103 tackles and 5.5 of them for loss show a great run-stuffer.

    Then there is the second camp. The camp that believes he has the Ray Lewis-level potential. They believe that he is going to be a 10-year starter at middle linebacker with at least five or six Pro Bowls. His coverage ability—shown from seven interceptions and four pass breakups—and leadership is what they point to when they make their projections.

CB/ST Tyrann Mathieu

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    Tyrann Mathieu has one of the most unique stories out of all of them. On the field, he's an excellent fit for quite a few different schemes as a nickel corner and a true return specialist. Off the field is where the problems lie. He's the anti Manti Te'o.

    Mathieu had attempted to clean his act up after getting booted from Louisiana State back in the summer of 2012. However, his October arrest quashed any chance of him playing in the college ranks anymore. So, he entered the draft to circumvent any NCAA action.

    But off-the-field problems aside, Mathieu still had a ton of questions involving his fit into an NFL scheme as a talent. On that alone, he was looking like a second- or even third-round pick. Adding in his problems off the field, and it wouldn't shock to see him going undrafted.


    All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus's Premium StatsESPN.com, CFBStats.com or NFL.com. 

    Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL Draft Website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.