NFL Draft Prospects Guaranteed to Be Overdrafted

Tyson Langland@TysonNFLNFC West Lead WriterApril 10, 2013

NFL Draft Prospects Guaranteed to Be Overdrafted

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    Every year, there is a long list of players who are overhyped and overvalued. In 2007, it was JaMarcus Russell. In 2008, it was Vernon Gholston. In 2009, it was Aaron Curry. In 2010, it was Rolando McClain. In 2011, it was Jake Locker, and in 2012, it was Justin Blackmon. 

    Those are just six examples from the last six drafts. Yet it seemingly happens to a multitude of prospects annually. Teams haven't found a way to consistently decipher the "safe" picks from the "unsafe" picks. So it's safe to say the same thing will happen in the 2013 NFL draft

    Let's examine 10 standout players who are guaranteed to be overdrafted on April 25.

Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU

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    Despite putting together an impressive nine-game stretch to finish out his senior season, Ezekiel Ansah is far from a polished NFL product. He only has three years of American football under his belt after moving to the United States from Ghana in 2008 and didn't enter into BYU's defensive starting lineup until the final year of his collegiate career. 

    Sure, he was often dominant because of his athleticism and size as a player, but those two things don't necessarily translate to success in the NFL—just ask former first-round pick Vernon Gholston. If Ansah wants to become a more consistent player, he needs to stop relying solely on his speed and natural power. 

    Learning how to effectively shed blocks with his hands will help the foreign-born athlete become a more complete player. Moreover, he needs to do a better job against the run. More often than not, opposing offensive linemen pushed Ansah off the line of scrimmage with ease. 

    His overall upside as a prospect makes him awfully desirable, yet there should be a buyer-beware tag attached to his draft stock. 

     

    Projected: Top 10  

    True Value: Late first round or early second round

E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State

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    E.J. Manuel passes the eyeball test. He has the size and prowess NFL general managers look for in a potential signal-caller. Unfortunately for Manuel, his decision-making and pocket presence don't line up with his physical tools. 

    He had incredible statistics during his senior season. The 6'5", 240-pound quarterback piled up 3,392 yards through the air, threw 23 touchdown passes and even added 310 yards rushing. Yet when the Seminoles needed him the most, he disappeared in Florida State's biggest game. 

    Against Florida's stout defense, he was picked off three times and posted a season-low quarterback rating of 92.7. Even though he bounced back nicely in the team's final game of the season, the damage to his draft stock was already done.

    Scouts will revert to his game against the Gators when evaluating his play against top-notch competition. Much like Ansah, Manuel will be drafted early because of his high ceiling, but there are numerous questions surrounding some key deficiencies. 

     

    Projected: Late first round or early second round 

    True Value: Third or fourth round

Kawann Short, DT, Purdue

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    In a deep defensive line class, Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short is trying to state his case as a potential first-round pick. The four-year starter and two-time first team All-Big Ten selection can be as good as he wants to be. 

    He has good feet, a quick get-off and the ability to take over a game at moment's notice. As an interior pass-rusher, he amassed eye-opening statistics. Short registered 13.5 sacks, 33 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles over the course of his final two seasons. 

    Impressive numbers for a player who was constantly double teamed by opposing offensive linemen. Yet Short will have to try and explain why he doesn't play with more of a mean streak. When watching his tape, one can see he often lacks the aggression required to play in the NFL. 

    Scouts will also want him to prove that he is more than a big-bodied player who occupies large areas of space. Rob Rang of CBS Sports compares Short to Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko. 

     

    Projected: Late first round or early second round 

    True Value: Late second round or early third round

Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State

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    Ever since his pro day on March 13, one may have a hard time finding a faster riser in this year's draft than Kansas State's Arthur Brown. Brown's 4.62-second 40-yard dash had NFL executives putting any straight-line speed questions to rest. 

    Aside from his speed, Brown possesses great instincts and overall athleticism as an undersized outside linebacker. In 2012, he was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year after registering 100 tackles, one sack, seven tackles for loss and two interceptions.

    As he heads into the pros, Brown has drawn comparisons to Daryl Washington and Curtis Lofton. However, he seemingly has a long way to go before he can be mentioned in the same breath as those two players. 

    Upon entering the NFL, he will have to add weight to his frame and become a better open-field tackler. The amount of forced missed tackles that running backs and wide receivers had on Brown during his collegiate career was astonishing. 

     

    Projected: Late first round or early second round 

    True Value: Third or fourth round

Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

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    In a year where the draft's quarterback class is considered weak, there is one player who has risen up and separated himself from the pack. West Virginia's Geno Smith has scouts convinced he is the only quarterback worthy of a first-round selection. 

    It's hard to argue with that notion because signal-callers are overvalued and overdrafted year in and year out. However, I have a hard time believing any team would select Smith inside the top five. I get that he can make all the throws and has a strong arm, but what I don't understand are his long stretches of sub-par play.

    To be considered a top-five pick, you have to make the players around you better. And with Smith, I just don't see that. The pass-heavy scheme at West Virginia and the talent around him helped him become ia top-notch prospect.

    On draft day, he better hope he goes to a team who has a few offensive pieces in place. If the Jaguars or the Raiders rush to the podium and make the second team All-Big 12 selection their pick, Smith may be doomed from the get-go.

     

    Projected: Top five

    True Value: Late first round

     

Margus Hunt, DE, Southern Methodist

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    The Estonian born super-athlete, Margus Hunt may just end up being the most overdrafted player this year. There is plenty to like when evaluating his game. He's strong, physical, fast and extremely athletic. Moreover, he's a workout warrior who possesses great weight-room habits. 

    Not to mention his numbers were nothing to scoff at. He showed the ability to harass quarterbacks non-stop by tallying 16.5 sacks and 28 tackles for loss. Yet talent evaluators question his production against lesser collegiate talent. 

    Many felt his numbers should have been better in Conference USA. Personally, I feel his statistics should have been higher as well, but there are specific reasons why they weren't. He is an extremely raw player considering he only has four years of American football experience. 

    He's also too inconsistent when it comes to shedding blockers after initial contact. This often leads to incomplete plays where he becomes a non-factor. If he were to develop more pass-rush moves, he may have an easier time getting around opposing offensive linemen. 

    If the right coaching staff gets their hands on him, he has the potential to become a legitimate force.

     

    Projected: Late first round or early second round

    True Value: Third or fourth round

Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State

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    Florida State offensive tackle Menelik Watson has one of this year's most intriguing stories. Like Hunt, he hadn't ever heard of American football until he crossed the pond in 2009 to play college basketball at Marist College in New York. 

    After a failed collegiate basketball career, Watson decided to give football a shot. He had the size and athleticism to make an impact, yet there were questions about his adaptation to the game. At Saddleback College in California, the 320-pound road grader quickly made a name for himself. 

    One promising season at right tackle had Division I scouts knocking down his door. In 2012, he decided he wanted to become a Seminole and protect one of the nation's most exciting quarterbacks. As a 12-game starter, he only surrendered one measly sack. 

    That season led him to believe he was ready for the pros. While I wholeheartedly agree, Watson needs to improve in some key areas. Offensive linemen in the NFL need to possess the ability to get to the second-level as run-blocker, and he simply hasn't shown the ability to do so yet. 

    He also whiffs too often when converging on an opposing defender. This error often leads to negative plays and blown assignments. Watson has all the tools, but it's questionable whether the right coaching staff can turn him into a top-tier offensive tackle. 

     

    Projected: First round or early second round

    True Value: Late third round

Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

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    Sharrif Floyd from the University of Florida is undoubtedly the top defensive tackle in this year's draft class. He has an excellent motor, he makes a ton of splash plays and is an excellent run-stuffer. It's also worth mentioning that he can play practically every spot along the defensive line in both the 4-3 and the 3-4.

    Yet some scouts wonder if his lack of collegiate production and high pad level will cause him problems in the NFL. Over the course of his three-year career at Florida, Floyd registered 4.5 sacks and 26 tackles for loss. The tackles for loss numbers are solid, but 4.5 sacks is low for a pass-rushing defensive tackle. 

    However, some feel playing multiple positions on the defensive line stunted his growth as a player. He has never had the opportunity to solely focus on one particular skill set. In turn, his numbers in the league may go through the roof if he is allowed to stay in one spot. 

    Talent evaluators compare Floyd to Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins. He definitely has some large shoes to fill if he plans on living up to that comparison. Without question, the 20-year-old underclassman will be overdrafted, but not by much.

     

    Projected: Top five 

    True Value: Between picks 15-32

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

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    When one turns on Cordarrelle Patterson's tape, they see a multi-faceted player who can score touchdowns from any part of the field. He has explosive speed, he's tough to tackle in space and has impressive run-after-the-catch ability. 

    Those traits are practically everything NFL scouts look for in a wide receiver, but playing one year of Division I football is sure to raise more than a few questions. Some question Patterson's intelligence after he failed to get good enough grades coming out of high school. 

    This downfall forced Patterson to attend Hutchinson Community College for the first two years of his collegiate football career. In addition to questioning his intelligence, talent evaluators also have concerns about his ability to read opposing defenses. 

    They often felt he relied too heavily on his athletic ability. He needs to show front office executives that he is more than an athletic freak, that he can run every route on the route tree and is able to excel at both outside receiver positions. 

    He was primarily a split end in Tennessee's offense. 

     

    Projected: Between picks 8-16

    True Value: Late first round or early second round

Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

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    This list wouldn't be complete without the Golden Domer himself, Manti Te'o. Te'o has skill; we have all seen it during his four-year career at Notre Dame. But do his statistical accomplishments match up with all the hype that has surrounded him since the beginning of his senior year?

    Some say yes, but most say no because of his lack of speed and inability to get off blocks. Additionally, it's obvious Te'o struggles when asked to drop into coverage against tight ends and running backs. If he struggles in coverage as a prospect, can one expect him to improve in the pros?

    It's doubtful. Players in the NFL are faster, savvier and better route runners. Despite these downfalls, plenty of NFL execs expect Te'o to be a first-round pick. Minnesota, Chicago and Baltimore are all believed to have interest in the Heisman Trophy finalist. 

    The whole fake girlfriend fiasco didn't seem to hurt his draft stock, so it would be a surprise if he lasted until Day 2.

     

    Projected: Late first round

    True Value: Late second round or early third round