NFL Draft 2014: Overrated Prospects Teams Should Pass On in First Round

Brandon HolsteinFeatured ColumnistOctober 7, 2013

NFL Draft 2014: Overrated Prospects Teams Should Pass On in First Round

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    Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

    Predicting which NFL draft prospects are overrated can be a somewhat risky proposition. For instance, most of it's based purely on speculation and your very own judgment.

    Either you don't like a player because they simply aren't living up to expectations, or you find one or two key areas that they seem to be lacking in. 

    The following five prospects all fall into one of these two categories, and while all are highly regarded, all of the following players also have issues that could very well hinder their future NFL success.

    Like I said before, it's an imperfect science that comes with its fair share of risks, but here are five noteworthy prospects teams should be leery about spending first-round selections on come next May. 

QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson

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    Toughness, mobility, efficiency; those are the words that perhaps best describe Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd. 

    On the young season, Boyd has been simply fantastic. He's thrown just two interceptions against 14 touchdowns and is a clear Heisman front-runner.

    What scouts love about Boyd is his leadership and the fact that he's a proven winner, but that does not mean his overall game does not come with some question marks.

    For instance, while Boyd's accuracy and completion percentage numbers are good, they still don't tell us everything we need to know.

    You see, in Dabo Swinney's offense, Boyd executes a high number of screens that are meant to get the ball out quickly and keep the defense guessing. But in turn, these throws ask little of him in terms of making progression-based reads. 

    This concern is further compounded by Boyd's lack of ideal height (6'1"), and although he does do a good job of changing up his release point, I'm still not completely sold on Boyd's ability to see the entire field. 

    Too many times, Boyd seems to have his mind made up pre-snap, and he has had difficulty when asked to move off his initial read and find the open receiver.

    Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how Boyd and Clemson progress, because despite his hot start, I still have issues that prevent me from fully buying into all the hype.

     

OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama

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    Do overs in football are completely nonexistent, but I'm guessing if there is one player that could use one, it would be Alabama's Cyrus Kouandjio. 

    Coming into the season, Kouandjio was considered a guaranteed first-round pick, ranking as high as the top-10 on some experts' big boards. However, that sentiment seems to have changed ever since the Crimson Tide kicked off their season against Virginia Tech on Aug. 31.

    In that game, Kouandjio played well, for the most part, but he did further expose some weaknesses that scouts had previously been concerned with—not the least of which involved an inability to redirect and close off the inside lane when asked to change directions.

    For a while now, scouts had known that Kouandjio had not been the most fleet of foot and somewhat struggled in space, but this season seems to have brought a whole new light to these chief concerns.

    For instance, in Bama's last game against Ole Miss, Kouandjio again struggled with balance and footwork throughout the game. Overall, he looked sloppy and inconsistent and brought clout to the phrase "heavy-legged waist-bender," made famous by NFL Network Analyst Mike Mayock.

    Because of these concerns, it's becoming more and more apparent that Kouandjio's future is probably no longer at left tackle but rather inside or at the right tackle position, where he is much better suited.

    Whatever the case may be, it goes without saying that Kouandjio's stocked has slipped, no matter what Nick Saban may think.

    He's clearly fallen behind players like Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan and Antonio Richardson in terms of draft prospects, and he may very well need to change positions in order to recover some of his falling draft stock.

     

OLB Adrian Hubbard, Alabama

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    Sticking in the SEC, and with Alabama in particular, now it is time to talk about the the talented, albeit frustrating, Adrian Hubbard

    So far on the season, Hubbard has accounted for exactly zero sacks and just 14 total tackles in five games—including just one tackle this past Saturday against lowly Georgia State.

    It's hard to imagine that much has changed between this season and last, but Hubbard's ineffectiveness and slow start is incredibly discouraging for a young player with so much promise and potential. 

    At this time last season, Hubbard's numbers weren't much better (14 tackles, 2.5 sacks), but the lanky pass-rusher did show off his potential and versatility to wreak havoc off the edge. 

    This season, however, Hubbard appears to be a shadow of his former self—disappearing for large stretches of games and not taking full advantage of the opportunities presented to himself. 

    Look, a lot can change between now and the end of the season, and stats aren't everything, but they do warrant some attention when it's also backed up by poor film.

    Hubbard has a lot of work to do over the second half of this season if he wants to re-enter the first-round discussion.

DT Anthony Johnson, LSU

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    LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson may have rumbled his way in for a touchdown against Georgia last week, but his overall play this year has been nothing short of disappointing.

    Coming into the season, Johnson was expected to take over as the leader of the Tigers defensive line, but he has instead been largely ineffective and frustrating to watch.

    Far too often, Johnson has allowed his pad level to rise off the snap, thus raising his center of gravity and allowing his opponent to steer him in whichever direction they so choose.

    It's just one of the reasons Johnson has been so easily blocked one-on-one and consistently finds himself being washed out of the play, despite possessing above-average strength and impressive movement skills overall.

    Now, certainly Johnson has time to correct his mistakes, but much like Hubbard before him, the clock is ticking.

    After all, teams don't typically like to wait or have patience for a player who is not getting the most out of his potential. 

     

     

     

CB Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida

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    On paper, it's easy to see why Florida cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy is garnering first-round hype. He's 6'0", 190 pounds, runs an estimated sub 4.4 in the 40-yard dash and has ideal length to press and disrupt passing lanes.

    On tape, however, that combination of size, speed and athleticism doesn't necessarily shine through quite like one would expect.

    For instance, it's well documented that Purifoy can turn and run with just about any receiver, as his agility and quickness are two of his greatest assets. However, despite that upside, there are still areas of his game that leave much to be desired.

    For instance, Purifoy plays hesitant at times and depends far too much on his natural athleticism rather than simply trusting what he sees and reacting to the play in front of him.

    Never is this more apparent than when he is playing in zone coverage, where Purifoy typically gives too great a cushion and is usually beaten across his face by underneath routes. 

    Now, obviously these are things that can be corrected, and eventually, one would think that Purifoy's natural ability and God-given talent should take over. However, until that time comes, there remain too many unknowns with the talented cover corner. 

    After all, between his off-field issues and lack of even one career interception, Purifoy is most certainly teetering on the edge of your classic "boom-or-bust" prospect.