NFL Draft 2013: DeAndre Hopkins and Players Flying Under the Radar

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IMarch 6, 2013

CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 24:  DeAndre Hopkins #6 of the Clemson Tigers is tackled after a  catch by Mike Harris #1 of the Florida State Seminoles during their game at Memorial Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

DeAndre Hopkins is one of the best receivers in the 2013 NFL draft, but he's not getting the same kind of national recognition as guys like Cordarrelle Patterson and Tavon Austin.

The former Clemson Tigers star isn't as quick or fast as either of those two, but he'll be an absolute steal if he falls into Round 2. 

Hopkins isn't the only star in the making who has been quietly flying under the radar either. 

Fast 40 times and jaw-dropping vertical leaps make headlines, so it's easy to see why Hopkins and some other excellent players are getting overlooked.

These men may not be as athletically gifted as some of the players being featured by ESPN or NFL Network, but they're ready to make a statement in the NFL in 2013. 


DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver, Clemson

Hopkins ran a 40 time at the combine that was pretty underwhelming when compared with the speedier receivers in Indy. His 4.57-second effort ranked No. 28 of the 35 receivers who ran. 

Additionally, Hopkins didn't stand out in any of the jumps, ranking No. 10 in the vertical and No. 31 in the broad jump. 

These measurable stats clearly illustrate the fact that Hopkins isn't an athletic freak in the mold of Julio Jones, but they don't count him out as a future superstar in the NFL. 

Jerry Rice ran his 40 in 4.71 seconds. Chew on that for a second...

Hopkins is a savvy, polished receiver with excellent ball skills. He's the best pure route-runner in this year's draft class, and he's ready to make an immediate contribution to the team that drafts him. 

He'll likely fall into Round 2, and if he does, he'll be one of the draft's biggest steals. 


Stepfan Taylor, Running Back, Stanford

Taylor really underwhelmed at the combine, and he was already being considered a mid-round pick before his poor performance in Indy. 

His 40 time of 4.76 seconds and overall poor showing has caused his draft stock to plummet (in the minds of many of the "experts" on television), but running backs don't have to be explosive athletes to thrive. 

The former Stanford stud is an excellent downhill runner who always seems to fall forward. He keeps his legs churning forward, and it's rare to see him get brought down by any single defender with an arm tackle. 

Additionally, Taylor is an excellent receiver out of the backfield who is adept at setting up his blocks for maximum results. 

This young man is likely to end up as a late-round pick, but he'll be someone who could sneak up during training camp and the preseason—much like Alfred Morris a year ago—and steal a starting role. 


Bjoern Werner, Defensive End, Florida State

For a little while, Werner was being mocked by many as a top-five pick. 

Since the combine, he's seen his draft stock tumble, and most mocks have him going in the middle or late-first round. 

The tape doesn't lie, which is why Werner was being given such high consideration before the combine. He's a smart, instinctive pass-rusher who does all the little things right. He's also a powerful young man with a nice repertoire of moves who will only get better as he learns the game.

Sure, his 4.83-second 40 time was far slower than guys like Dion Jordan and Barkevious Mingo, but nobody ever expected Werner to run a blazing 40 time in the first place.

Werner will be a tremendous bargain if he slips down into the bottom third of the first round this April. He is a plug-and-play prospect with the intelligence and physique to be a starter for a long time in the league.


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