The Most Overrated Players in the 2013 NFL Draft
One of the biggest misconceptions people have about the NFL draft is that they believe it's all about what a person has done. Fans see college stars and assume NFL stardom is in the card. If a player has won and been successful, that should continue, no?
No—at least, not necessarily.
Even when scouts and draft aficionados proclaim, "It's all about the tape," one has to realize that NFL teams don't watch tape to see what a guy has done; they see what he can do. They're not tabulating stats or even caring about how good of a game someone has. They're looking for traits, tendencies, ability and to see if those will extrapolate to the next level.
That's all the combine and pro day workouts are as well—part of the puzzle. It's all evidence in the grand trial of whether or not these college studs can help an NFL team win football games.
With that info in mind, here are the most overrated players in the 2013 NFL draft.
10. Alex Okafor (DE Texas)
Overrated does not mean bad.
If you're going to comment below (on this slide or another) and have any intention of going anywhere near the "caps lock" key, please repeat that phrase over and over, at least 20 times. Just because a guy isn't "as good" as the hype doesn't mean he isn't going to be awfully good for an NFL team.
Okafor is being mentioned as a first-round "lock" by many, and because the position is so important in the NFL, that might be true.
When the tape is broken down, however, Okafor projects as an average end who could be a top backup (think Lawrence Jackson) or a decent starter who could have a breakout season here and there in the NFL (best-case scenario: Ray Edwards).
If a team drafts Okafor to be an every-down pass-rusher and a cornerstone of their defense, they will be disappointed.
9. Matt Elam (S Florida)
I'm actually a huge Matt Elam fan.
More than most safeties in the college game, Elam is able to take great angles, fight through blockers and get the ball-carrier close enough to the line of scrimmage that it actually helps his team get stops. That's important in the NFL and a trait many safeties could learn from the Florida prospect.
Elam also has decent skills in zone coverage—enough that a team will probably try to convince themselves he will be able to hold up against the latest crop of tight ends.
The biggest problem for Elam is going to be his size (a hair short at 5'10") and his ability to turn and run with guys. He's raw in man coverage, and the NFL passing game is a world different than the SEC. He can be a Bernard Pollard type in the NFL (and play really well in the process), but that isn't worth a first-round or high second-round pick.
8. Robert Woods (WR Southern California)
Robert Woods is not the receiver you want to depend on to anchor your favorite team's receiver corps. He has all the skills and physical attributes of a true No. 1, but he doesn't take over games or rise to the level of elite competition.
I hate to distill the conversation down to this, but he doesn't have "it."
What is "it"? It's the innate skill that top receivers have. They aren't just athletes out there, they command a game. When they put their hand in the air, the ball better be coming their way. They create separation at will. They come down with the football.
Woods has everything you want out of a No. 1 receiver, so he's likely to go high in the second round. He will almost immediately disappoint. If teams are patient on him and draft him as a No. 2, he could be a great complementary piece to a championship puzzle.
7. Ezekiel Ansah (DE/OLB Brigham Young)
Ansah is a gamer.
At the Senior Bowl practices, the BYU product underwhelmed.
He was beaten consistently in one-on-one matchups and disappeared when it was time for team work. On college tape, he flashed awesome ability but would look lost at times. It was clear how raw he really is. Put Ansah in space (as any 3-4 team will want to do) and he looks like the football equivalent of a pre-teen fiddling with a bra strap—awkwardly out of his element.
Ansah is going to blow up the combine and show teams that he has potential to be one of the elite pass-rushing prospects in the draft. That's great, but he also has a high bust potential. Unless he also flashes up in the combine interviews, he's probably going to go a lot lower than fans and media believe.
6. Margus Hunt (DE/DT/LB Southern Methodist)
Speaking of guys who flash athletically but look lost for long stretches of time...
Margus Hunt did a number of great things on the football field while at SMU, but a lot of the dominance he showed (especially playing on the interior of the defensive line) has to be viewed in the light of "level of competition." Can he do those things at the NFL level? Probably not. At least, not right away.
The problem with Hunt is that he's a square peg in a league that is (more and more) full of round holes. There aren't many teams left that are willing to take a "tweener" and find a spot for him. It would take a team like the Baltimore Ravens deciding that's their biggest need for him to go as early as some are projecting him.
5. Ryan Nassib (QB Syracuse)
Ryan Nassib's stock has soared a little too close to the sun in recent weeks. With Doug Marrone's new job as head coach of the Buffalo Bills, some have asked if Nassib is a potential lock for the Bills' first-round pick.
If he is, get ready for a new regime in Buffalo sooner rather than later.
Nassib is a game manager. Syracuse ran the ball often and productively, and Nassib never played against anyone like Darrelle Revis or Reshad Jones. What he has in accuracy and moxie, he lacks in raw physical tools.
That's Ryan Fitzpatrick...no, really, that's the exact scouting report on Fitzpatrick when he came out of school. Why would Buffalo spend a high first-round pick on a guy they already have? It's insanity.
Can Nassib be really good for a team in a warm weather city or dome where his lack of elite arm strength won't be an issue? Absolutely, but he should go where guys like Andy Dalton or Colt McCoy went because he will not be an elite starter from day one in the NFL.
4. Landry Jones (QB Oklahoma)
Quarterbacks get overrated, that's one of the defining characteristics of the position—especially those who play multiple years at a big conference football factory. Landry Jones certainly fits that bill, plus he put up a ton of yardage in the Big 12, which is always a nice resume booster.
He's just not a very good quarterback.
Don't get me wrong; in the right system, with a ton of help around him, Jones could make some noise in the NFL. That puts his upside right around the Mark Sanchez area with the normal gigantic question mark that comes with being a draft pick.
That isn't worth a top-100 pick, and that isn't where game managers from big schools usually go. Jones should go in the fifth or sixth round as a top backup. Anything higher would be a massive reach.
3. Manti Te'o (LB Notre Dame)
We may need to find a rooftop to shout this from: Manti Te'o is not worth a top pick.
Honestly, how anyone thought he might have been at one point is befuddling. Te'o is a linebacker who fits best as a chase linebacker in a 4-3. He could, potentially, play middle linebacker in a 4-3 if he can learn to fight through blocks at the next level. Still, look at similar prospects in recent years.
Te'o is not Patrick Willis or Luke Kuechly. He might not be James Laurinaitis or Lavonte David either. I'm not even sure he's as good as Bobby Wagner. If he had gone to some "directional university," we'd be talking about him as a steal in the later rounds.
Now, with all the drama on top of that, he'll be lucky to crack the top 20.
2. Matt Barkley (QB Southern California)
Another big-school quarterback. Another prospect who is going to get drastically overdrafted. Another reason for fans to take to the comment section en masse.
Barkley is mildly athletic. He tends to make good decisions with the ball. He's a good leader, and he understands offenses.
The problem? He's on the shorter side. He doesn't have a great arm, and he isn't athletic enough to make up for that. He's also played against weaker Pac-12 competition with some of the best recruits in the nation around him.
Barkley, like the other quarterbacks on this list, can be fine in the right situation at the next level. If he goes top 15 like others are projecting, he will cause many fans to have the exact same reaction that they have had to USC quarterbacks like Matt Cassel and Mark Sanchez.
1. Barkevious Mingo (DE/OLB Louisiana State)
If we're drafting only on upside, Mingo can go in the top five or top 10. Honestly, I could easily see that happening, and I wouldn't bat an eyelash if he went to the right team. Remember, the draft is about potential, not about rewarding what someone has already done.
That said, Mingo is an unpolished prospect without a great motor. He's also undersized for a 4-3 and lacks any discernible skills to play in a 3-4.
This is not ideal.
The Seattle Seahawks struck gold with Bruce Irvin last year, and if teams try to follow suit, Mingo could go very high. He's a boom-and-bust prospect, however, and will need great coaching from a patient coach if he's going to have the same results.
Michael Schottey is the NFL national lead writer for Bleacher Report and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Find more of his stuff at The Go Route.