NFL Draft 2013: Reviewing Most Polarizing Prospects in the Class
It can be good or bad to be a polarizing prospect in the NFL draft.
It just depends on how you look at it.
There are several polarizing prospects who have a shot at landing in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft. Then again, a few of them could fall to the second round based on some legitimate concerns.
We see this every year in the draft. Whether it be off-the-field behavior or the lack of on-the-field athleticism, there are always a few prospects who either rub people the wrong way or make them jump up and down.
Here's a breakdown of the most polarizing prospects in the 2013 NFL draft class, complete with an overview of where they stand on draft boards.
Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Geno Smith has widely been considered a top 10 pick throughout the draft process, but it's where he should land in the top 10 that has the nation buzzing.
The West Virginia product has been mocked anywhere from the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 1 overall (before they picked up veteran Alex Smith) to the Buffalo Bills at No. 8 overall.
There is no question that Smith has the arm strength and mobility to be a franchise quarterback. He also improved his accuracy immensely throughout his career at West Virginia, completing 71 percent of his throws and tossing 42 touchdowns to six interceptions in his final season with the Mountaineers.
But there are also questions about his footwork and tendency to stare down his first read.
Notorious quarterback-killer Merril Hoge of ESPN went as far as to call Smith the "kind of pick that sets your franchise back," via Evan Silva of Rotoworld.com.
Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Jarvis Jones' plummet down draft boards just goes to show how quickly things can change during the draft process.
He was diagnosed with spinal stenosis while at Georgia, but that's not even the thing that is primarily holding the former Bulldog back. Jones ran the 40-yard dash in a sluggish 4.92 seconds at Georgia's pro day (via Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph).
Then again, Jones racked up 14.5 sacks last season playing against some of the best competition in the country in the SEC. He's been described as "a football player" by more than a few analysts.
Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com noted Jones among the three most consistent prospects on tape.
Jones' lack of explosiveness will likely kick him down the ladder a bit, but he should be able grab a rung before he falls to the bottom of the first round.
Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
Is Manti Te'o a first-round prospect in your mind?
Still, he's also described as "a football player" by many scouts and experts. He's one of the best downhill tacklers in the draft class—if not the best—and he has the instincts to excel at the inside linebacker position.
Te'o's 40-yard dash time at the combine is a bit concerning, especially given his lackluster performance against Alabama in the BCS Championship Game, but his pro day appeared to alleviate the concerns of more than a few teams.
Russell Lande of the National Football Post wrote, "A source in attendance told us that his workout proved to him that Te’o has the hips, feet and overall athleticism to be productive in pass coverage in the NFL."
Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
The biggest concerns surrounding Alec Ogletree lie in his off-the-field incidents. But if teams can get past that, which they appear to be doing, Alec Ogletree is a very intriguing prospect.
Ogletree's speed and explosiveness jump out at you right away. He's also displayed the instincts and sideline-to-sideline ability to be an inside linebacker in the NFL, if he can work on his hand use.
Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote in late March, "At least 10 teams already have private workouts or visits set up with Ogletree, including the Falcons. Others: New England, Baltimore, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Buffalo."
Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Like Jones and Te'o, there are concerns about Bjoern Werner's lack of speed and explosiveness. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.83 seconds at the combine.
But the term "football player" has also been applied to Werner. The Berlin native has displayed the football IQ, pass-rushing repertoire and anticipation off the line to make him stand out in the 2013 draft class.
Lance Zierlein of The Sideline View noted that all 13 of Werner's sacks last season at Florida State came without the help of a blitz.
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