Earlier in the week, I presented a list of five guys making a late surge for first-round consideration (which you can read here).
Now, I’m flipping the script.
Simple physics says that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So naturally, for every player that does “sneak” into the top 32, there has to be one that falls out.
But there are other factors in play, and the draft is a fluid beast on its best day. If you name it—need, availability, whatever—there’s a team willing to use it as an excuse.
Last year, the man to the left was that fall guy.
Many projected Rey Maualuga to go as high as No. 15 or No. 16 overall; instead, the Texans took fellow USC linebacker Brian Cushing, the Chargers selected DE/LB hybrid Larry English, and Maualuga fell all the way to the Bengals at No. 38.
That seemed to work out well, as Maualuga recorded 63 tackles, one sack, and three forced fumbles as a rookie.
The 10 players in the pages ahead have had their names bandied about as potential first-rounders at some point.
Unfortunately, they’re also the likeliest of that bunch to become the next Rey Maualuga for any number of reasons.