2014 NFL Draft: Overhyped Prospects Who Will Fall on Draft Day

James Christensen@@nepatriotsdraftContributor IMay 2, 2014

2014 NFL Draft: Overhyped Prospects Who Will Fall on Draft Day

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    Is Teddy Bridgewater overrated?
    Is Teddy Bridgewater overrated?USA TODAY Sports

    Each year, the NFL draft features at least one overhyped prospect who defies expectations as they free-fall on draft day. Some exit the green room at the end of Day 1 like Aaron Rodgers. Others end up populating TV screens on Day 3 like Ryan Nassib.

    Injuries, issues away from football and concerns about physical traits all play a part in pushing talented prospects down the board. Occasionally it works out OK, like Seattle's 75th overall pick of Russell Wilson. Often, though, the teams that passed on a guy like Da'rick Rogers or Da'Quan Bowers are eventually proven right.

    Here are eight 2014 NFL draft prospects who I see falling further than many fans suspect.

C.J. Mosley (LB, Alabama)

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    Expectation: Top 15

    Reality: Late Round 1 or beyond

    C.J. Mosley has nearly every trait that you can ask for in an inside linebacker. He has the speed, athleticism, instincts, awareness, tackling ability and effort to be a top-five pick. That said, don't expect to hear his name called that early on Day 1.

    Durability is the first concern. Mosley has been slowed by a plethora of injuries during his time at Alabama, which will weigh on NFL teams despite coming out of the combine without any major red flags.

    Another issue is his position. Inside linebackers—like guards—just aren't drafted as high as other positions. According to DraftHistory.com, only eight have been selected in the first round since 2008. Fellow Alabama alum Rolando McClain was the highest pick at eighth overall in 2010.

    Regardless of where Mosley gets picked, an NFL team is going to get a talented football player for as long as he is healthy.

Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville)

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    Expectation: Top 10

    Reality: Early Day 2

    In my opinion, Teddy Bridgewater deserves all of the hype he gets and perhaps even more. A fantastic football player with impeccable character, Bridgewater has nonetheless seen his ability and persona dragged through the mud over the past couple of months. 

    Mike Mayock of NFL.com—who thinks Bridgewater is a Round 2 prospect—is the latest detractor.

    What I'm hearing is two things. Number one, when we saw him throw live we didn't see arm strength and didn't see accuracy. Number two, when you draft a quarterback in the first round you expect him to be the face of your franchise, you expect him to embrace the moment. I think people had some concerns about whether or not this young man is ready to step up and be the face of a franchise.

    On Mayock's first point, I didn't see any analysts questioning his arm prior to his pro day. Don't let one day of practice erase two years of game film. I won't deign his second point worthy of a response. 

    The tape doesn't lie. Bridgewater can play football. Any quarterback-needy team that passes on Bridgewater should be prepared to defend him.

Louis Nix III (DL, Notre Dame)

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    Expectation: Middle of Round 1

    Reality: Start of Round 2

    At first glance, you see Vince Wilfork. At second glance, you probably still see Vince Wilfork. After close inspection, however, Louis Nix III's appeal starts to wane.

    Nix doesn't beat single blockers as badly as he should and will occasionally get too high and get pushed off of his mark by combination blocks. His technique is only the first strike against him as a first-round pick.

    A torn meniscus and other leg problems derailed his final season at South Bend, and if he doesn't watch his weight and conditioning, he could be troubled long-term by injuries. Some NFL teams may also be concerned with his over-the-top act on Twitter and larger-than-life personality.

    If Nix can focus on getting his body and mind right for football, he could be a dominant performer inside in an odd front. Whether a team will take a chance on that in the first round remains to be seen.

Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida State)

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    Expectation: Middle of Round 1

    Reality: Middle of Day 2

    The 6'5", 240-pound Kelvin Benjamin cuts an imposing figure as a wide receiver. Unfortunately for the former Florida State Seminole, the focus hasn't always been on his physique—or even game tape—this spring.

    In the pre-draft process, Benjamin has struggled with his maturity and weight. It is tough to hand out a multi-million dollar contract to a player who struggles with his work ethic during the most important interview of his life. His work on the field isn't perfect, either.

    According to one NFL scout, per Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Benjamin doesn't look like a first-round pick. "He's stiff and lazy. Can't separate. Inconsistent catcher. I don't think he has off the field what it takes to be great on field. Other than that he'll be fine."

    If Benjamin decides that he wants to be great, teams will rue the day they passed on him in Round 1. That said, any team picking him on Day 1 better have a plan in place to help him out, both physically and mentally.

Jace Amaro (TE, Texas Tech)

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    Expectation: Late Round 1

    Reality: Middle of Day 2

    If you're looking for Rob Gronkowski, keep looking. Jace Amaro looks like an NFL tight end and occasionally moves like an NFL tight end, but he doesn't do many tight end things on the football field.

    He is a decent—but not overly strong—blocker, but he seems to prefer playing in the slot and acting like Jimmy Graham. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the basketball skills that Graham possesses and struggles when asked to catch the ball under duress in the middle of the field—a requisite skill for NFL tight ends.

    Finesse tight ends who struggle to get out of their breaks—his 7.40 three-cone drill confirmed his lack of elite agility—just don't get drafted in the first round. Amaro has some things going for him, but the questions surrounding whether he can adequately play the "Y" or the "Move" position will haunt teams on draft day.

Jordan Matthews (WR, Vanderbilt)

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    Expectation: Late Round 1

    Reality: Middle of Day 2

    In a draft full of Cadillac Escalades (Mike Evans) and Ferraris (Sammy Watkins), Jordan Matthews is the shiniest, most polished Honda Accord in the lot.

    He runs pretty routes, has good hands and has just enough athleticism to stay in the first-round conversations. Unfortunately, he struggled to gain separation down the field and isn't a dynamic player with the ball in his hands. In other words, he gets good gas mileage and won't leave you stranded on the side of the road. He also won't turn any heads when pulling up to the club.

    In a draft overflowing with talented wide receivers, you don't want to be the last team to the party. Drafting Matthews in the first round instead of waiting for a Cody Latimer or Davante Adams is a huge mistake.

Ha'sean Clinton-Dix (S, Alabama)

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    Expectation: Early Round 1

    Reality: Start of Round 2

    According to NFL.com contributor Daniel Jeremiah, it is likely that the St. Louis Rams could pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with the No. 13 pick in the 2014 NFL draft. The more I watch him, the less I believe it.

    I want top-15 picks to have something special about them. What does Clinton-Dix do extremely well? He isn't a ball hawk. He doesn't have elite athleticism. He doesn't make receivers listen for his footsteps. 

    Am I spending that high of a pick on an incredibly solid safety? He tackles well, has good—not phenomenal by any means—range, quality instincts and takes effective angles. That doesn't sound like Earl Thomas to me.

    In between pick No. 25 and No. 40, Clinton-Dix has a lot of value as a plug-and-play rookie who can still improve. Before that, I see a reach.

David Yankey (OL, Stanford)

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    Expectation: Late Round 1

    Reality: Day 3 

    David Yankey may have been a first-round pick 20 years ago. His sheer size allows him to overpower some defenders, and he plays with an old-school toughness. That said, his lack of ideal strength and athleticism is going to cause a tumble down draft boards this May.

    NFL.com contributor and former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah concurs (h/t Rotoworld.com).

    "I wasn't a big fan of Yankey when I studied him. Slow feet, struggles to redirect in space. I don't think he's a top tier prospect," Jeremiah tweeted. Yankey's disappointing outing at the combine did not help his draft stock any. Jeremiah also tweeted that he hasn't "talked to one scout/exec that would take David Yankey in the first 3 rounds."

    Unless a run on interior linemen starts early, don't be surprised to see Yankey available when the third day of the 2014 NFL draft begins.