Hidden Talent: Diamonds In The Rough For This Years NFL Draft

Alex PetersonContributor IIIMarch 13, 2010

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 5: Danario Alexander #81 of the University of Missouri Tigers hauls in a pass against the University of Illinois Fighting Illini during the State Farm Arch Rivalry on September 5, 2009 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Tigers beat the Fighting Illini 37-9.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

There are always players that come into the draft totally under the radar, and come out of the draft as stars. Like Tom Brady, who was not thought at the time to have the skills needed to be an NFL quarterback, falling into the sixth round. He turned out to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and one of the biggest draft steals in the history of the NFL.

Teams are always looking for a player like Brady, somebody with undiscovered talent who can perform at the next level.

Here are some players to remember in the draft in April, players that will go in later rounds, and haven't gotten much hype, but are good and have the talent and abilities to make an impact or possibly even be pro-bowlers at the next level.


QB Matt Nichols- Eastern Washington

Similar NFL player- Tony Romo

Projected Draft Status- 5-6 Round Pick

 Nichols has been flying under the radar so far this year, which can somewhat be due to the fact that he plays for such a small school, but that doesn't mean this kid can't play.

Nichols is athletic for a quarterback, can move around in the pocket and scramble as well as any QB in the draft this year. To go along with his mobility, Nichols has an underrated arm and a nice release that is perfect for the NFL.

He won the Big Sky offensive player of the year award last season, chucking it all over the field for a remarkable 3,744 yards, 34 touchdowns, and only 9 picks in 13 games.

This kid knows how to play and has a quick, NFL like, release on his throws. He is a proven leader and his maturity level is high and could make an immediate impact for a team that needs a starting quarterback.


RB Anthony Dixon Mississippi State-

Similar NFL Player- Brandon Jacobs

Projected Round- 3rd round

Dixon isn't necessarily a guy who is completely unknown. He was a fairly big name in the SEC, and was a solid college player throughout his career with Mississippi state, but I don't think that Dixon gets anywhere near the credit he deserves.

Dixon is an absolute beast at 6'1'', 250 pounds of pure muscle. He is the biggest and strongest runner in the draft, and creates yards after contact unlike any back in the draft.

He is a down hill runner and if Dixon gets a hole, there is no stopping this powerful back. When Dixon gets a full head of steam, it is impossible to slow him down, much like Brandon Jacobs last year.

This kid has all the abilities to be one of the best backs in the NFL, and I don't think people realize that, at least right now.


TE Tony Moeaki Iowa-

Similar NFL Player- Jeremy Shockey

Projected Round- 4-5 Round Pick

Moeaki is a big, yet athletic tight end. He is 6'3'' and weighs a solid 245 and had a solid 18 reps in the bench press. He is a strong young man that has the build to be an offensive lineman, and blocks almost as well as one too. However, where Moeaki has been really impressive is his receiving skills.

His numbers weren't great in 2009, catching only 30 balls for 384 yards and 4 touchdowns. However, these numbers are deceiving, considering Moeaki was injured for four games in the season and his starting quarterback, Ricky Stanzi, also missed time.

When these two were on the field together, Moeaki put up huge pass catching games and dominated defenses. He destroyed Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia Tech, and Northern Iowa, posting almost all of his season numbers in these four games when Stanzi was in with him.

Moeaki is extremely athletic, has an NFL body, and hidden talents that most people don't realize about him. If Moeaki gets into the right system, he could become an elite tight end in the NFL.


WR Danario Alexander Missouri-

Similar NFL Player- Plaxico Burress (Except Faster)

Projected Round- 5-6 Round Pick

Alexander is a beast athlete, coming in at 6'5'', 215 pounds of pure muscle, and a ridiculous vertical leap of around 45''. If Alexander can become a better route runner, there isn't a corner in the entire NFL that can shut this kid down because he is so tall so strong and so athletic.

To go along with that, Alexander has outstanding hands. He caught 113 balls in 2009 against some of the best defenses in the entire country in the Big 12. He goes up and catches passes that look to be almost impossible to handle, getting higher than defenders and pulling balls down, similar to Larry Fitzgerald in a sense.

Alexander is a remarkable player who put up monster numbers last year in college. 1781 yards, 14 touchdowns, and a lot of long plays of 50 yards or more. Some reason he's being completely ignored by scouts around the nation, projected to go late in the draft, or possibly not get drafted at all.

It boggles my mind that people think of this kid as a bust because Alexander is one of the most talented wide receivers in the country. If a team picks him in the 5th-6th round, it could be the biggest steal of the draft. If Alexander improves his route running skills and stays health, he will be a dominant force in the NFL for years to come.


These kinds of players are coveted by NFL teams across the country. Players with talent that could be found in later rounds of the draft. These are some guys that teams will be licking their chops to get their hands on during the NFL draft, and even though they haven’t gotten the publicity as some other players like Eric Berry or Sam Bradford, they have all the skills needed to contribute and be great players in the next level.