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2014 NFL Draft: Most Overrated Prospect at Each Position

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst IMarch 9, 2014

2014 NFL Draft: Most Overrated Prospect at Each Position

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    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    With so much media hype surrounding the 2014 NFL draft at this stage in the process, there are a million names being thrown around.

    It seems as if the stock of a prospect rises and falls every hour. Some players have certainly grabbed their share of attention over the past couple of months.

    But the predraft spotlight does not have any correlation to future NFL success. These prospects are all being overhyped for one reason or another.

    This is a list that will certainly get its share of criticism, but we all have our opinions.

    Here are the most overrated prospects at each position for the 2014 NFL draft.

Quarterback: AJ McCarron, Alabama

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The NFL is a harsh place, and McCarron will have a serious adjustment, leaving Alabama and becoming a backup in a new city where college accolades mean little.

    College awards and victories have virtually no correlation to NFL success. No matter how many times that is said, McCarron's defenders will continue citing his award mantle and win totals.

    But scouts care most about talent and potential, and that's where McCarron falls short. He doesn't have elite footwork, size, athleticism, or arm strength, and that sets him behind at least six or seven quarterbacks in this class.

    He's got accuracy, and his experience in a pro-style offense will help his transition to the pro game. But McCarron is being overrated because of his success in one of the best programs in NCAA history.

     

Running Back: Tre Mason, Auburn

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    People loved Tre Mason after he tore up a really bad Missouri linebacker corps in the SEC Championship Game, but that led him to become vastly overrated as a prospect.

    Yes he's talented, but like McCarron, he benefited greatly from his system. Auburn had a great offensive line and Gus Malzahn could make any running back look great in his offense.

    When I look at Greg Peshek's RB Metrics at Rotoworld, I see Mason not gaining a lot of yards after contact and not being overly productive running inside or outside.

    He's not a burner who can change the pace of the game, or a physical bruiser either. He also had almost no experience blocking at Auburn, which is a major factor when it comes to playing immediately in the NFL.

    He has some talent, but to put him in a category with guys like Lache Seastrunk, Jeremy Hill, Carlos Hyde or Charles Sims? No way.

Wide Receiver: Odell Beckham, LSU

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    I'm gonna catch some grief for this, and it really is very relative because I love this receiver class and still think Beckham is a late first-round talent.

    But people are getting a little too caught up in his great combine numbers. If anyone thinks he's the second best receiver in this class, they need to go back and re-evaluate.

    While he's a special talent, there is no way Beckham should go over Marqise Lee or Mike Evans. In fact, I think he's a half-notch behind Jordan Matthews and Beckham's teammate Jarvis Landry.

    When you watch him play, it's clear that Beckham is a fast player who is a little too deep-ball reliant. He also benefits from Landry's work on shorter passes over the middle, which free up space over the top.

    His 2013 statistics are incredibly inconsistent and reveal some of these shortcomings that are being overlooked in the name of athleticism. That's fine, but drafting Beckham carries significant risk in the first round.

Tight End: Jace Amaro, Texas Tech

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    Brett Deering/Getty Images

    Amaro is a really tough player to figure out. He has the frame of Jimmy Graham, and was used by Texas Tech in a very similar manner to how New Orleans uses Graham. But he is nowhere near the athlete that Graham is.

    Peshek's TE Metrics come in handy again here, as he charted that an unbelievable 87.5 percent of Amaro's snaps came in the slot in 2013. That is a ridiculous amount for a college tight end.

    To put it bluntly, Amaro is not at all a well-rounded prospect. He has little experience blocking or running routes out of a three-point stance, and he isn't really a threat downfield.

    Peshek also points out that more than half of Amaro's catches came at five yards or less, which shows that he isn't as much of a game-breaker as one would expect. The jury is still out on how Amaro fits in the NFL, and that shouldn't be the case for a first-round tight end prospect.

Offensive Lineman: Cyril Richardson, Baylor

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Richardson was thought of as a first-round pick at one point during the season, but that has long faded into oblivion.

    The massive guard seemed to have lost a little weight in the predraft process, but still turned in a poor showing at the Senior Bowl and looked non-athletic at the combine.

    The NFL is becoming a faster league, and big guards with heavy feet are becoming outdated. Richardson was beaten consistently at the Senior Bowl by quicker, more technically sound defensive linemen.

    There still are teams that will like Richardson's upside, and his tape is pretty strong, although one has to wonder if Baylor's offense was masking some of his flaws. Regardless, he's a fringe third-rounder at this point.

Defensive Tackle: Will Sutton, Arizona State

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    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

    I have mentioned already that college accolades can lead to players being overrated, and Sutton is a prime example of that.

    The back-to-back Pac-12 defensive player of the year is really impressive on paper, but his stock seems to be a bit inflated because of those awards.

    He gained a ton of weight from 2012 to 2013, and although he's shedding it again, one has to wonder where his ideal weight is, and what position he's best suited to play.

    The predraft process hasn't been particularly kind to him, and his play hasn't been inspiring to say the least. A solid talent trapped in a mediocre body, Sutton should continue falling behind guys like Da'Quan Jones and Anthony Johnson.

Defensive End: Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Tuitt is an interesting player. He is considered the top 3-4 defensive end in the class, but there are multiple defensive tackles who may be able to play that spot in the NFL just as well, if not better than Tuitt.

    After 2012, Tuitt was considered a first-round lock. But he decided to return to Notre Dame along with Louis Nix, and now both of them may not be taken on Day 1.

    It's tough to figure out why Tuitt didn't dominate in 2013 like he did in 2012. He had hernia surgery in the offseason, but should have been fully recovered.

    His inconsistency is an issue, and questions about his motor will persist throughout the draft. He may not live up to the hype that he built a year ago, and may be over-drafted based on potential alone.

Outside Linebacker: Dee Ford, Auburn

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    I was skeptical of Ford after he became everyone's favorite defensive prospect from the Senior Bowl. He fell even further from my good graces when he mouthed off at the combine, telling Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller on Sirius XM that he was better than  Jadeveon Clowney.

    Talk means a whole lot of nothing. It's strange for any prospect to be boasting like that and comparing themselves to a once-in-a-decade talent like Clowney. Then Ford didn't even go through drills at the combine for medical reasons.

    On the field, I have my doubts about Ford as a prospect as well. He is athletic and effective getting to the quarterback, but he's a bit of a DE/OLB tweener, which raises some concerns.

    I don't think he's strong and explosive enough to be a 4-3 DE, but I'm also not sure if he's fluid and instinctive enough in coverage to be a 3-4 OLB. 

    He's an intriguing prospect with upside, but I don't consider him a lock first rounder like many others do.

Inside Linebacker: Max Bullough, Michigan State

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    Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

    Halfway through this past season, there was a chance that Bullough could have pushed to be the second-highest rated inside linebacker after C.J. Mosley.

    He led Michigan State's vaunted defense, but then was suspended suddenly before the Rose Bowl, which was Bullough's second suspension in his collegiate career.

    That raises some serious red flags. For Bullough to get suspended before the Rose Bowl, the last and biggest game of his career, and become a repeat offender as well, that's not good.

    I also don't think Bullough is athletic enough to be a three-down linebacker, which limits his stock as well. He looked a bit heavy and slow at the combine, and he went from a fringe second-rounder to a sixth-rounder on my board.

Cornerback: Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    It seemed like Florida's three highly regarded cornerbacks underperformed all season, and Purifoy was the biggest culprit.

    Everyone said he was an unbelievable athlete, an unpolished but skilled corner and kick returner who was even considered a prospect at wide receiver. That's the kind of guy NFL teams want.

    But he struggled mightily in coverage in 2013, and his lack of physicality and tackling ability won't cut it in the NFL. I figured, however, that he would light up the combine and elevate his stock because of how fast and explosive he was.

    So you could imagine my surprise (and everyone else's) when he ran a linebacker-esque 40 time of 4.61. He also had average broad- and vertical-jump numbers and put up a measly six reps on the bench (per NFL.com), worst among cornerbacks.

    That isn't the kind of athleticism everyone was talking about. In a deep cornerback class, Purifoy is only a fifth or sixth rounder at this point.

Safety: Ahmad Dixon, Baylor

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    This is going to get some people angry, so I will try to explain myself here because I do think Pryor is a really good prospect, possibly even worthy of a late first-round selection.

    But I don't feel that he's anywhere near as good as Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and I'm not entirely convinced he's the clear-cut second-best safety in the class either.

    Jimmie Ward a better cover man than Pryor, and Deone Bucannon is a better raw athlete. Pryor ran well at the combine, but I have concerns about his lateral quickness and footwork in coverage.

    Being a downhill player has its advantages, and Pryor could certainly flourish in the right defense in the NFL. But to consider him alongside Clinton-Dix, or as a top-20 talent, is a mistake. 

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