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NFL Draft 2013: Why Collin Klein Is an Underrated Impact Player

Sean FryeFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2013

NFL Draft 2013: Why Collin Klein Is an Underrated Impact Player

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    With his size, character and overall ability, Collin Klein is one of the most underrated prospects in the NFL Draft. 

    Last season, Klein finished third in the final Heisman Trophy voting. He led the Kansas State Wildcats to an 11-2 record, a Big 12 title and a berth into the Fiesta Bowl. 

    Yet, scouts are seemingly not excited about Klein's draft stock. 

    The Wildcat product is committed to being a quarterback in the NFL, but scouts are divided on the issue. 

    Many see similar issues that Tim Tebow had when he was an NFL prospect. Klein has an unconventional throwing motion and many have questioned his overall throwing ability.

    However, scouts are simply too caught up in his throwing motion and are overlooking the value that Klein can bring to an NFL team. 

    Here is what Klein can bring to the table if a team takes a chance and drafts him: 

Physicality

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    What probably puts Klein ahead of most of the QB prospects more than anything is his size. At 6'5" and 226 pounds, Klein can be a huge presence under center.

    Currently, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Schaub, Tony Romo, Phillip Rivers, Joe Flacco, Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, Josh Freeman and Nick Foles are the only starting QBs from last season that are at least as tall as Klein. 

    That's less than a third of the NFL's starting QBs. And most of those guys have had a good deal of success in the league. 

    Klein knows how to use his size too. When he got into the open field on draw plays at Kansas State, he often was simply bigger than most linebackers and defensive backs in the Big 12. That made him extremely tough to bring down. 

    In the last two seasons at Kansas State, when Klein held the starting job, he never took a quarterback slide. So he is tough as nails too. 

    Klein also posted decent numbers in the speed categories at the combine. He ran a 4.78 40-yard dash (faster than LB Manti Te'o, who is a presumed first-to-second round pick). He also did the 20-yard shuttle in 4.40 seconds. 

    With an above-average height and weight compared to most starting NFL QBs, scouts should be raving at the opportunity to have such a physical presence on their roster. 

Character

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    Klein's character is almost unmatched by anybody on the planet. Not just QB prospects. 

    In his senior season, Klein owned his own home with his little brother, maintained a strong relationship with his wife, and was a candidate for the FBS Senior CLASS Award

    According to Klein's head coach at Kansas State, Bill Snyder, Klein is a special person who has tremendous character.   

    “Collin is a wonderful young person,” Snyder said prior to Klein's senior season. “He has made tremendous improvement during his time in the program. And it’s happened because of the quality of person that Collin is. Collin is one of those guys – he’s one of those young guys truly committed.”

    Snyder is a seasoned veteran in the coaching ranks. And he's very old-school in his approach to coaching. So if he says that Klein is a man of tremendous character, you have to believe it. 

    Strong character has become more of an issue in the NFL. A strong moral presence in the locker room is worth more than most people realize. A man like Klein could really make a difference in a team's locker room. 

Running Ability

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    If a team needs a quarterback to step into a running role, which is becoming more of the norm in today's game, then Klein could be your guy. 

    In the NFL, more and more teams are designing offenses that utilize "Wildcat" style sets. 

    How ironic that Klein, a Wildcat himself, is probably the best running threat of all the QB prospects. 

    In the past two seasons, Klein has a whopping 524 carries for 2,061 yards. That's just shy of four yards per carry. 

    In all of those carries, Klein never once took a QB slide. His size also makes him tough to bring down, allowing him to get that extra yard after contact. 

    Klein is also brilliant at reading blockers. Last season, he would seemingly wait until the very last moment to decide as to whether to hand the ball off or keep it himself on read-option plays. 

    In an era where running quarterbacks are becoming more and more popular, Klein could be a huge force for a team looking to adopt that concept. 

Underrated Throwing Ability

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    The harshest criticism of Klein is often hurled at his throwing ability. Scouts question his ability to throw the deep ball, and his throwing motion has been heavily scrutinized. 

    However, the numbers don't lie when it comes to defending Klein's passing ability. 

    In 2012, Klein had an efficiency rating of 149.3. That was the fourth-best in the Big 12 among quarterbacks that started every game for their team. 

    Klein also completed 64.8 percent of his passes. That was good fourth in the Big 12 among the same group of QBs. The only prospects he trailed in that category were Geno Smith, Landry Jones and Seth Doege. 

    Klein also threw to NFL talent that includes WRs Chris Harper and Tyler Lockett. Harper is a projected fifth-to-sixth round pick this draft. 

    Also, scouts may have underestimated Klein's ability to throw deep balls. In seven games last season, Klein's longest pass was over 40 yards. So he certainly showed an ability to get big chunks of yards through the air. 

    Klein may turn out to be an elite passer in the NFL, but he certainly is no scrub when it comes to passing either. 

    If Klein can get the right tutelage in the league, he certainly has the skills to develop into a quality passer. 

Overall

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    Like nearly every prospect in the draft, Klein does have flaws. 

    His throwing motion isn't as pretty as some of the other prospects. He doesn't throw the deep ball as well as others either. 

    But Klein is a tremendous football player, and an even better person. He is more than prepared to handle the pressures of the NFL, and will certainly be willing to listen to whatever coaches he ends up with. 

    At the end of the day, Klein is a winner. In the two years he started full-time for Kansas State, he beat the likes of Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Landry Jones, Geno Smith and Seth Doege (twice).

    All of those guys are either already starting quarterbacks in the NFL or are presumed draft picks in 2013. 

    Klein will undoubtedly make an impact in anyway he can in the NFL if a team takes a chance on him. 

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