Notable NFL Draft Prospects in Danger of Going Undrafted

Jon DoveContributor IFebruary 14, 2013

Notable NFL Draft Prospects in Danger of Going Undrafted

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    Not all college football stars have the talent needed to make a difference in the NFL.

    This is one of the main reasons we see big-name players fail to get drafted.

    Other than overall skill set, players fail to get drafted because of injuries and character red flags. This article looks at the most recognized players facing the possibility of not being selected in the 2013 NFL draft.

Rex Burkhead, Running Back, Nebraska

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    Rex Burkhead had an amazing career at Nebraska, finishing with more than 3,000 total rushing yards. His best year came as a junior when he topped the 1,300-yard mark and rushed for 15 touchdowns. Unfortunately, stats don't always translate to success in the NFL.

    Burkhead lacks the speed and burst through the hole needed to excel at the next level. He'll have problems gaining the edge and out-pacing defensive angles. NFL teams are looking for explosive players who are capable of gaining big chunks of yardage.

    It also doesn't help that Burkhead dealt with a sprained knee throughout his senior season. This injury really limited his carries and opened the door for Ameer Abdullah to emerge as a difference-maker.

Michael Mauti, Linebacker, Penn State

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    When healthy, Michael Mauti provided Penn State with great leadership and playmaking ability. His excellent feel for the game and instincts helped him quickly get into proper position. He also possessed the speed and quickness to close on the ball-carrier.

    Mauti is a player who always gives 100 percent effort, which has a tendency to rub off on his teammates.

    The issue is that he has suffered three major knee injuries throughout his college career.

    In 2009, he suffered a torn ACL in his right knee.

    In 2011, he sustained a torn ACL in his left knee, and recently, he wasn't able to finish his senior year because of another knee problem.

    Penn State or Mauti didn't release the details of the most recent knee injury.

    It's highly unlikely a team will use a draft pick on someone with such an extensive injury history. However, there will be plenty of teams willing to give him a camp invite.

Marquess Wilson, Wide Receiver, Washington State

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    Marquess Wilson instantly became an impact player the second he walked onto Washington State's campus. He topped the 1,000-yard mark in both his freshman and sophomore seasons. Wilson used his length and solid route running to register those numbers.

    His best attribute is his ability to use his long arms to pluck the ball from the air. He isn't afraid to go up and attack the ball at its highest point and will routinely make spectacular catches.

    Wilson doesn't possess elite speed, but he makes up for it with his savvy and ability to quickly break off his routes.

    His NFL hopes were derailed when he unexpectedly quit the team and accused the coaching staff of misconduct.

    The Pac-12 investigated Wilson's claims but didn't find anything to suggest abuse took place. This article shows that some players felt that the coaches "pushed Wilson" harder than the other players.

    Coaches have a tendency to push players when they don't feel they're giving maximum effort. This entire situation doesn't speak well for Wilson's maturity or passion to succeed.

Tom Wort, Linebacker, Oklahoma

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    Tom Wort's decision to leave Oklahoma early for the NFL was a questionable choice.

    He has had a productive career, but he just doesn't have the type of athleticism needed to excel at the next level. Wort is facing a realistic possibility of going undrafted.

    His limited size and lack of explosiveness are the main issues he's facing. He lacks that burst needed to make plays in the NFL. His strong instincts aren't enough to make up for his physical limitations.

    NFL teams are looking for players who stand out and make impact plays. Wort just doesn't jump off the screen as a difference-maker.

Collin Klein, Quarterback, Kansas State

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    Collin Klein helped Bill Snyder put Kansas State back on the football map. His ability to make plays with both his feet and arm cause trouble for opposing defenses. This dual-threat attack also gave Klein some favorable looks in the passing game.

    However, he won't have the same type of opportunities at the next level. His limited arm strength, odd throwing motion and lack of anticipation will make it difficult for him to succeed in the NFL.

    We've seen similar quarterbacks like Tim Tebow, Dennis Dixon and Tyrod Taylor fail to make the transition.

    It's unlikely he'll even get much of a shot to make a roster.

Tyrann Mathieu, Defensive Back, LSU

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    LSU's Tyrann Mathieu has proven to be a playmaker. He boasts the ability to create turnovers, score defensive touchdowns and make big plays as a punt returner. However, his off-the-field issues have derailed his draft stock.

    Even before the drug problems, Mathieu faced an uphill battle to come off the board early in the draft. His limited size and some stiffness in coverage brought up questions about his coverage ability.

    However, someone would've given him a shot. He is a unique player who only needs a creative defensive mind to help him make an impact.

    Look for Mathieu to receive heavy consideration as a priority free agent. He could easily be this year's Vontaze Burfict.

Knile Davis, Running Back, Arkansas

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    Prior to his significant knee injury just before the start of the 2011 season, Arkansas' Knile Davis was getting some early-round considerations. His shifty running style and good burst are what made him such an attractive runner.

    Davis also showed the ability to make game-changing plays in the passing game.

    The issue is that Davis struggled recovering from his injury. This past season was a complete disaster for the entire Arkansas team, but Davis had a particularly tough time. He lost a significant number of carries to Dennis Johnson.

    When Davis did get touches, he failed to deliver explosive plays. His 3.4 yards per carry is a telling sign that Davis didn't play at a high level.

Craig Roh, Defensive End, Michigan

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    Michigan's Craig Roh has made plenty of impact plays during his college career. However, most of those plays came because of his high motor and football IQ. These are the type of attributes that can help a player succeed at the college level but aren't enough for the NFL.

    His lack of an elite skill set will make it tough for him to make a difference at the next level. He just doesn't have that explosiveness teams look for in an edge-rusher. Roh also lacks the bulk and natural strength to utilize a power move.

    This also comes into play in his ability to play the run. Overall, Roh just doesn't have the physical attributes needed to warrant a draft pick.

Jordan Rodgers, Quarterback, Vanderbilt

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    Most people are quick to bring up the fact that Vanderbilt's Jordan Rodgers is the younger brother of Aaron Rodgers. However, Jordan is a talented quarterback in his own right. He's a smart football player who had an excellent college career.

    Rodgers is technically sound. He remains balanced in the pocket and squares his shoulders to his target.

    His quick and smooth release helps him quickly get the ball to receivers. He also has enough anticipation to help overcome some of his shortcomings.

    The biggest concerns facing Rodgers are his lack of ideal size and limited arm strength. Before everyone brings up Russell Wilson, it's important to note that Rodgers isn't nearly the same type of athlete nor does he possess Wilson's arm strength.

    NFL teams typically use the later rounds to find quarterbacks to mold. Rodgers isn't that type of player, as his upside is very limited.

Kenny Tate, Linebacker, Maryland

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    Maryland's Kenny Tate has been on the NFL radar since his freshman season. He had a very interesting career that included position changes and major injuries. Those issues caused his draft stock to plummet to the point where he's unlikely to be drafted.

    The biggest concern for NFL teams is the fact he has only played in four games in the past two seasons. His back-to-back knee injuries are just too risky for anyone to use a draft pick to add him to the mix.

    This injury concern is coupled with the fact he doesn't have a defined position. He's too big to play safety and is undersized for a linebacker. Tate has potential as a linebacker, but there isn't enough tape to show how he might excel at the position.