The NFL Draft is all about maximizing value with each and every draft choice. Draft picks are so valuable because the best teams in the league build through the draft. A team is built not only on the foundation of first round picks, but the players scouts fall in love with in the later rounds. Here is a team full of mid-to-late round gems that have stood out to me on tape.
Andy Dalton could be one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Thought by many to be nothing more than a game manager, Dalton has displayed top-notch intangibles and all of the physical tools necessary to be successful in the NFL. He stands tough in the pocket, displays elite leadership and is capable of making all of the NFL throws.
The TCU standout will not “wow” anyone with his frame or his arm, but both are adequate for NFL success. In the new age of the NFL, a smart, accurate, poised quarterback can make up for his less-than-elite physical tools.
Andy Dalton should hear his name called somewhere between rounds two and three.
Pittsburgh had a disastrous season based on expectations, due to the play of its quarterback Tino Sunseri. Despite that, Dion Lewis was still able to compile 1,000 yards rushing. He is as quick as any back in the country and has a lot of Ray Rice in him.
Junior Jeff Fuller is still undecided on whether or not he will declare for the 2011 NFL Draft. If he declares he offers tremendous value as a day two or three selection. Fuller has a lethal combination of size and body control. In addition, he has phenomenal hands.
Fuller reminds me of Hakeem Nicks as he is an ideal red zone target.
Cecil Shorts III is a prime example of why teams should hold off on drafting wide receivers until the later rounds. This kid has amazing speed and soft hands along with outstanding playmaking skills. He is so talented after the catch that he could potentially play running back at the next level.
You find football players where you find football players, and this kid can play. Watch the clip, it speaks for itself.
A big, strong, athletic tight end prospect with a lot of upside, Anderson has flown under the radar a bit at UAB. If he finds the right team, he could have a solid career.
Darius Morris has the ability to play any position on the offensive line which will make him a hot commodity on draft day.
Currently projected to go in either round two or three, Morris could make a late surge up draft boards. He is a strong, competitive and athletic lineman who should excel at the next level.
Kyle Hix has only played right tackle in his career, which makes him less valuable on draft day. However, I expect him to blossom at the next level due to his consistency and work ethic.
Moffit is in the second tier of guard prospects but he has the skill set that will allow him to have a long career in the NFL. He is tough, physical and extremely strong. What else would you expect from a Badger?
Much like John Moffit, Will Rackley is everything you look for in a guard prospect. He is tough, strong and instinctive. He is not afraid to be a mauler on the offensive line, and will make some team very happy in the middle rounds.
After the top two center prospects, it is a toss up. I like Ryan Bartholomew of Syracuse. He is well-rounded physically and possesses top-of-the-line intelligence.
Pernell McPhee has seen his stock drop after a disappointing 2010 season production wise. However, he has the size, speed and versatility to have a solid career at the next level.
Jeremy Beal does everything well but nothing great. There is always a spot for players like him in the NFL.
Lawrence Guy makes this list on his physical tools alone. He is still a bit raw as a prospect, but the right coaching staff could turn this kid into a star.
Wilkerson is in the mold of former Temple Owl and current Jacksonville Jaguar Terrance Knighton. He has a massive frame and the ability to shed blocks and stuff the run. If he declares he will be a steal on day three of the draft.
When you turn on a Temple game, you get treated to quite a few NFL-ready prospects. One of the most noticeable prospects is Adrian Robinson. He projects as a rush linebacker at the next level, but he has all of the physical tools and the production to match. This kid seems to always be around the football.
Greg Jones is a solid prospect that gives front offices no reason to select him in the first round. Despite that, he still has a chance to be a solid pro.
We see linebackers slide into the second round every year because they are not difference makers. Greg Jones will be a tackling machine in the NFL if he can add some bulk to his frame.
Kelvin Sheppard just has a nose for the football and a high understanding of how the game is played.
I am higher on Kendric Burney than most people. I love his instincts and ball skills. We'll see how he checks out at the combine, but he has the mentality to play cornerback.
A deep cornerback class could push Jimmy Smith into the second round. The team that snags him won't complain.
Sean Richardson was a great leader for Vandy's defense and can really lay the lumber with his tackling.
Robert Sands was the leader on a very solid Mountaineer defense in 2010. Ask any West Virginia fan who they will miss more, Robert Sands or Noel Devine, and they will most certainly choose the former.