Little-known pass-rusher Jamie Collins out of Southern Miss won't get out of the first round when the 2013 NFL draft commences on April 25.
Collins isn't the only underrated young man who's being overlooked by most in the media, either.
It happens every year: Players nobody's heard of (minus those die-hard draftniks who spend all their time glued to a monitor, watching film) get selected in the first round to a chorus of boos as fans lament the fact that their team missed on a "sure thing."
These players didn't play for a big school, and they aren't being touted as the next big thing, but when the NFL kicks into high gear in preseason, suddenly they'll be on the tip of tongues everywhere.
Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Miss
Edge rushers in the NFL need to be explosive, and it's the word that defines Collins more than any other.
He showed up at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine in phenomenal shape, posting fantastic marks in all the events. But what really stood out about Collins is his ability to jump out of his shoes. He posted the top mark out of all linebackers with a vertical of 41.5 inches and a broad jump of 139 inches.
Collins isn't just a workout warrior, either. A former safety, he was converted into an outside linebacker in his sophomore year, where he blossomed into a dynamic pass-rusher and a disruptive force in the running game.
In his final season at Southern Miss, Collins racked up 10 sacks, 20 tackles for a loss and four forced fumbles. He's also adept at playing in space due to his days as a safety.
Predicted Landing Spots
- Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 17 overall): It might be a stretch to see Collins be drafted this early, but the Steelers need the help. With James Harrison's release, Pittsburgh is in desperate need of young pass-rushers to take his place.
- Indianapolis Colts (No. 24 overall): Dwight Freeney is gone, and the Colts need another pass-rusher to play opposite Robert Mathis.
- Green Bay Packers (No. 26 overall): Nick Perry didn't give Green Bay the type of production it expected, and the team is still searching for a player to put on the pressure opposite Clay Matthews.
Vance McDonald, TE, Rice
Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz get all the press, but don't fall asleep on McDonald as a dangerous weapon in the NFL as a pass-catching tight end.
McDonald was primarily used as a slot receiver at Rice, but he has the size NFL teams look for in tight ends. At 6'4" and 267 pounds, he's a bull to try and bring down in the open field.
Scouts wondered about his strength as an in-line blocker since he was hardly ever used in this capacity at Rice, but his 31 reps on the bench press at the combine dispelled that notion. McDonald will need to learn how to use his big body and ample strength, but the raw tools to succeed are clearly evident.
Though he's not as polished as Eifert or as skilled as a blocker as Ertz, McDonald has the ability to become as productive as Jimmy Graham if he is utilized properly.
Predicted Landing Spots
- St. Louis Rams (No. 46 overall): The Rams haven't featured a dynamic pass-catching tight end for Sam Bradford since he was drafted in 2010. Adding McDonald would really open up Bradford's options in the middle of the field.
- Miami Dolphins (No. 54 overall): Ryan Tannehill would greatly benefit from having a weapon like McDonald roaming the middle of the field.
- Atlanta Falcons (No. 60 overall): If the Falcons don't select Ertz or Eifert in Round 1, McDonald would be a nice consolation prize in Round 2.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut
There are a lot of talented cornerbacks in the 2013 NFL draft. After Dee Milliner, Xavier Rhodes and Desmond Trufant, however, the waters get a bit murky when it comes to nailing down which players are the next in line.
Wreh-Wilson is an intriguing prospect, and one who hasn't gotten much national publicity.
At 6'1" and 195 pounds, he possesses ideal size to cover the NFL's biggest receivers, and though he doesn't run as fast as Milliner or Trufant, he isn't a slowpoke, either.
In four years at Connecticut, Wreh-Wilson intercepted eight passes and broke up 35 more. He possesses good ball skills and is a fluid athlete, and won't get out of Round 2 in April.
Predicted Landing Spots
- Philadelphia Eagles (No. 35 overall): Philadelphia may use their No. 4 overall pick to select Dee Milliner, but if the team were to use the pick on Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher, Wreh-Wilson would be a good choice here.
- Detroit Lions (No. 36 overall): As with the Eagles, Detroit may select Milliner, but even if the Lions do take the talented corner out of Alabama, it wouldn't be a horrible idea to also draft Wreh-Wilson.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 43 overall): The Bucs are in terrible shape at the cornerback position. Adding this talented young man would go a long way toward fixing what ails the team's secondary.
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