Draft season is on the horizon, and the draft class keeps growing. While we spend the next few months getting to know them all, there are some obvious gems and some players who might be overrated.
The following list of players will not necessarily be NFL busts—they all have positives—but they are likely to be overdrafted based on today's consensus.
Who will be fool's gold on draft day?
The luster has long worn off Matt Barkley's draft stock, but that does not mean he will fall very far.
The USC quarterback was once touted as a Top 5 pick, only to have a disastrous return to college football for his senior season.
Here is what NFL.com's Bucky Brooks had to say about Barkley during the college football season:
Although Barkley was listed at 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, scouts questioned whether he was tall enough to play the position at the next level, and worried that his lack of athleticism would make him a sitting duck in the pocket.
Scouts also worried about Barkley's lack of elite arm strength. Although he displayed the capacity to make short and intermediate throws with zip and velocity, he didn't blow evaluators away with his deep-ball range, accuracy or touch.
As much as he showed he is more likely to be Mark Sanchez than Andrew Luck, some quarterback-needy team will take him in the first two rounds on draft day.
Keenan Allen has long been viewed as this year's top receiving prospect, and that may well be the case. But his senior season was anything but promising.
True, the California receiver was saddled with poor quarterback play and injuries, but there were plenty of receivers who showed more than he did throughout his career.
More than just his production, Allen seems to lack the size and speed to be considered in the top 10 or 15 picks, but that is very well where he might go.
Any teams looking for A.J. Green or Julio Jones will come away a bit disappointed.
Geno Smith sizzled at the beginning of the season, vaulting him to the top of the Heisman heap before falling off a cliff.
The read-option is all the rage in the NFL these days, with Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson lighting up the NFL. Smith operated almost exclusively out of the shotgun in college, but that is no longer a negative bullet point in scouting analyses—it seems those quarterbacks can thrive in the NFL after all.
He had 42 touchdowns, but 24 of them came in the season's first five games, including nearly 20 percent coming against Baylor when he threw for an eye-popping eight touchdowns. He capped his second-half swoon with a mild performance in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Smith benefited from an offense that was great for his skill set, and he had some fantastic receivers to work with. He might be benefiting from his draft predecessors, however.
He may not have those luxuries at the next level.
Montee Ball is a fine running back prospect, one of the top in the land. But he comes with a big warning sticker:
Montee Ball has touched the ball 697 times over the past two years. Ewwww— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) January 10, 2013
Remember Kevin Smith of Detroit Lions fame? His record 450 rushing attempts in 2007 likely netted him a professional career full of injuries. Ball is not quite at that level, but he has toted the ball a few too many times in recent years.
Not to mention, Wisconsin running backs have not exactly made big splashes in the NFL.
Manti Te'o is a good football player. He will succeed in the NFL.
But has he been worth the Heisman and Top-5 hype?
The fact is Te'o was the leader of a good defense on a team that wound up playing for the national championship, and that is the biggest reason for the hype surrounding him as a player.
Te'o will be a good player, but he will not be the next Ray Lewis. (Lewis, incidentally, was taken 26th in the 1996 draft.)