Every year, teams evaluate and draft college players in hopes of finding the next Barry Sanders or Reggie White. And each year, teams suffer from buyer's regret, after finding that they purchased a lemon, rather than getting the finely tuned machine that they were hoping for.
Each year's draft class is littered with studs and duds, all throughout the draft board. So who will be this year's lemons? Let's take a look at this year's class to find the answers.
1. Aaron Maybin, DE
Maybin has catapulted up many teams' draft boards during the offseason, especially those teams in need of a pass rushing defensive end. He will almost certainly be drafted in the first round, and possibly the top 15.
However, there are too many red flags to warrant such a high selection. One issue is his frame. At 6'4" 245 lbs., Maybin does not have the size to handle the NFL's 300+ lbs. monsters playing at OT on a regular basis.
Another concern is Maybin's ineffectiveness against the run and his problems shedding blocks. He will need to bulk up in order to become a three-down player, rather than a pass-rush specialist.
Considering his size and skill set, Maybin may be best suited as an OLB in a 4-3 scheme on the NFL level, but the transition from the DL to LB isn't necessarily a simple one.
No matter where he ends up, he will have to make some serious adjustments in order to become an impact player at the next level.
2. Vontae Davis, CB
Ideal size and physique (6'0", 205 lbs.), elite speed (4.3ish 40-) and great athleticism will land Davis a spot in the first round of the draft.
Much has been made of his personality and locker room problems, and while that will not help endear him with staff and teammates, it is not the sole reason for his spot on this list.
Davis' attitude issues and lack of discipline carry over onto the field, where he often deviates from his assignments and freelances. That is especially problematic due to his not yet having grasped some of the fundamentals of the CB position and has shown inadequate decision making skills.
If Davis ever masters the mental aspects of his position, he will likely develop into a lockdown corner who will match up with the game's best receivers. Until then, he will invoke headaches and disappointment for the team searching for a diamond in the rough.
3. Michael Oher, OT
Like Vontae Davis, Oher has all the physical tools necessary to become a Pro Bowl caliber player. Also like Davis, he has yet to show a solid grasp of the fundamentals and will need to put in a lot of extra work to fulfill his potential. Scouts also question his heart and toughness, and his ability to play with a killer instinct.
Oher may be best served by moving to the inside in the NFL, where he will have help on both sides. The prototypical boom-or-bust prospect, he may follow in the footsteps of Leonard Davis and require years of experience and a position switch before he pays dividends.
4. Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR
Along with LB James Laurinaitis, Heyward-Bey is the most debated player in this year's draft class.
Possessing excellent size (6'2", 205 lbs.) and the fastest 40-yard dash of all the WRs, Heyward-Bey is probably the most physically gifted receiver other than Calvin Johnson to enter the draft in several years.
A poor offensive system held back his production in college; however, there are many holes in his game that will hold back his production once again in the pros.
Inconsistent hands and too many drops are a large concern, and Heyward-Bey must show improvement in that area. In addition, his poor route running and lack of creativity in open space will limit his opportunities. He will need to be drafted by a team with an experienced quarterback who can help mask his deficiencies to have a chance at becoming a true threat on the field.
The sky is the limit for DHB, but if history is any indication, it appears that Heyward-Bey may be a mere Combine Queen.
5. Mark Sanchez, QB
Should find himself landing in the mid-to-late first round, with many teams still in need of help at the QB position. Sanchez is a one-year starter who could not beat out John David Booty for the job.
He has a strong arm and a good deep ball, as well as being well groomed in a pro-style offense; Sanchez is reminiscent of Eli Manning in his early years.
Despite the positive attributes, Sanchez is too easily flustered by pressure. He is also coming out of a great offensive system that played a large role in his success; it remains to be seen what he can do with lesser talent surrounding him.
What is certain is that Sanchez would have greatly benefited from more seasoning in the college ranks, and will enter the NFL behind the curve. It will likely be several years, if ever, before Sanchez develops into a quality starter in the pros.