The NFL draft is nearly upon us. Shortly after 8 ET Thursday night, commissioner Roger Goodell will step to the podium and announce the first overall pick (which will be made by the Kansas City Chiefs).
While NFL analysts and fans tend to spend time breaking down the top NFL draft prospects, let’s step back and look at some under-the-radar players who could dominate for years.
Steve Beauharnais, ILB, Rutgers—6’1, 240 LBS
Beauharnais was overlooked by many draft scouts for two reasons: Not only is he undersized, but he is greatly overshadowed by teammate Khaseem Greene. But Beauharnais still had a solid season last year, tallying 77 tackles with five sacks and three interceptions.
While he may not be next Ray Lewis, Beauharnais has shown he possesses the tools to be a reliable inside linebacker— think Tedy Bruschi.
According to his draft analysis, Beauharnais is durable and has the ability to be effective against the run, but he can also drop back into coverage.
Robert Woods, WR, USC—6’1, 190 LBS
With all the attention on Tavon Austin at wide receiver, Robert Woods seems to be taking a backseat.
Woods just wrapped up a productive junior year at USC, hauling in 76 receptions for 846 yards and 11 touchdowns. Although it was a significant step back from the previous year—he logged 111 catches for 1,292 yards and 15 touchdowns—Woods demonstrated his ability to consistently establish himself as one of the top college wideouts.
According to NFL draft experts Woods is a solid route-runner with an athletic frame. He has good hands, can stretch the field and has shown an ability to create space between himself and defenders.
Bennie Logan DT, LSU—6’2, 309 LBS
According to his NFL.com draft profile, Logan was described as:
Not elite in his initial quickness, will be stoned more consistently by NFL linemen unless it improves and might be taken out in obvious passing situations.
While there are several better options at defensive tackle than Logan, he has demonstrated the ability to be a solid pass-rusher. In his last year at LSU, Logan made 45 tackles with two sacks—hardly numbers to brag about.
However, he is intelligent and has shown an ability to improve. While he will probably be taken in the third or fourth round, Logan can benefit from playing behind elite NFL defensive tackles and becoming a more legitimate threat as a pass-rusher.