For every sure thing in the 2014 NFL draft, there are just as many steals.
For some of these players, a late injury has knocked their stock down in the months leading up to the draft. For others, they’ve simply been overshadowed by other players at their position.
All in all, these players are sure to make a splash in the NFL, regardless of where they are taken.
Zach Mettenberger, QB
If it wasn’t for a torn ACL, we would all be talking about the possibility of Mettenberger going in the first round.
During his first full season as a starter for LSU in 2012, the Watkinsville, Ga., native struggled. He threw for 2,609 yards, 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions on 58.8 percent passing for a passer rating of 128.3.
But last season, under the tutelage of former NFL offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, Mettenberger transformed into an efficient quarterback—64.9 CMP%, 3,082 YDS, 22 TD, 8 INT, 171.4 RAT.
Still, one year is too small of a sample. Teams will need much more than that to gamble early on Mettenberger.
But the team that does will find itself with quite the steal.
At 6’5” and 229 pounds, Mettenberger has the prototypical size that NFL teams want. He also possesses a cannon for an arm and can deliver the ball whether he’s dropping back in the pocket or on the move.
With a full year of experience under an offensive coordinator with NFL experience, Mettenberger is already ahead of a lot of the peers in his class.
Aaron Colvin, DB
Colvin had quite the senior season with Oklahoma in 2013.
Although he didn’t show up in the stat sheet all too often—only one sack and one interception—the Tulsa, Okla., native constantly made plays in the secondary. There was a reason he served as the Sooners’ defensive captain.
Unfortunately, Colvin suffered an ACL tear during Senior Bowl practices.
Prior to the injury, many analysts, such as NFL.com’s Gil Brandt, were high on him:
Thought Aaron Colvin had chance to go in 2nd round. Some team will take chance on him late, sit him for yr like #49ers did w Lattimore— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) January 22, 2014
It’s an unfortunate turn for Colvin. With his size and smarts on the field, Colvin was as good as any defensive back in this draft class.
That just makes him a late-round steal.
With great physicality and instincts, Colvin has all the characteristics for a long career in the NFL. He’s just looking for a team willing to take a chance on him right now.
Allen Robinson, WR
Sure, Robinson will most likely go in the late first round or early second round. But that doesn’t mean the guy isn’t a steal.
At 6’2” and 220 pounds, Robinson has the size and athleticism that is perfect for the position. Not only that, he has the hands and playmaking ability that made him a threat to score every time he touched the ball.
In the last two seasons with Penn State, the Southfield, Mich., native hauled in 174 passes for 2,450 yards and 17 touchdowns.
His play has caused people to compare him to several NFL receivers.
“People compare me to a lot of receivers,” Robinson said, per Pennlive.com’s Audrey Snyder. “I compare myself to a receiver like Reggie Wayne. We have a similar body type. He’s a pretty good route runner, as well.”
Wide receivers such as Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr. have dominated headlines. But it could be Robinson that surprises us the most during his rookie season.
Unless otherwise noted, all stats, rankings and other information is courtesy of ESPN.com.