CFB: Could These 5 Players Be the Surprise of the NFL Draft
On every NFL draft day everyone already knows who the top 32 ranked players are because of ESPN and Rivals. They may even have an idea who the top rated 64 players are, but after that the level of interest falls off.
Why is that? Well, to be honest, most fans aren't interested in the second day of the draft. After watching all the hype from ESPN's Mel Kyper and Todd McShay on day 1, only the hardcore fans will be watching on day 2. This is the day that all of the bubble players get drafted. The ones that have to work harder and be smarter when they get to training camp.
Guys like Tom Brady and Gus Ferrote. Everyone knows what Brady has done since being drafted in the sixth round in 2000. Gus Ferrote was drafted in the seventh round. He played 14 years in the league, playing in the 1996 Pro Bowl and making it into the playoffs as a starting quarterback 3 times.
Let's take a look at five players whose stock seems to be wanting with the draft gurus. Could these five players be the diamonds in the rough that are found in each draft? Let's take a look and see.
TCU's Andy Dalton
Whoever drafts Andy Dalton, will be getting a person of character and tireless work ethic. Here's a guy that has done nothing but win during his time at Texas Christian.
Andy Dalton is not the prototype quarterback being searched for in the NFL, such as Big Ben Rothlisberger. At 6' 2" and 220 pounds he is perceived by some as too small. Also, his 40 time of 4.94 doesn't make him the fastest QB in the draft.
What he does have is pocket presence and arm strength. Dalton has excellent vision and can survey the field as well as any quarterback in the draft and can make every throw that is expected of an NFL quarterback. He is shifty in the pocket and when needed can run with the strength of a running back.
With his work ethic, Dalton will eventually be starting somewhere in the NFL. Why? Because he'll out work his competition and do the things necessary to be successful at the next level.
In the NFL, it is often said that the great quarterbacks are very ceberal at the position. They spend more time studying film, and learn the nuances of their opponets defenses better than their counterparts. Greg McElroy is probably the smartest guy in the draft.
Again, like many at his position, he's not the expected NFL prototype. But he's a proven winner with a record of 24-3 as the starting quarterback for the Crimson Tide. McElroy has a career quarterback rating of 106 and led the Tide to the BCS championship in 2010.
His size at 6' 2"/225 makes him undersized by NFL standards. He's definitely not the fastest guy on the field, but he's shifty enough in the pocket to have escapability when needed. He can make most throws required in the NFL, but the deep ball is the question here.
If a team is looking for a quality back-up that they can develop into their starter, then this is the guy. Similar to Tom Brady, who when given the chance to step in for an injured Drew Bledsoe, took the reins of the Patriots and never looked back.
Boise State's Other Top Receiver
Boise State Bronco Austin Pettis is projected to go in the 4th round of the NFL draft. Why his stock is not higher is hard to say? Here's an NFL prototype receiver if there ever was one.
At 6'3"/200 pounds, Pettis is just what the doctor ordered for a team needing a quality receiver. He's not the fastest guy with a 4.59 second forty time, but he has an excellent knack for getting open. Over the past 2 years, Pettis has accounted for 1801 yards, 24 touchdowns and averaged 13.5 yards per catch. I believe those numbers say he should transition well to the NFL.
Pettis is very good in running routes and getting separation from defenders. He catches the ball with his large hands rather than attempting to cradle the ball as many receivers do. He has no problem going across the middle and that makes him an excellent candidate for a slot receiver.
Any team who drafts him will find a tireless worker, if his teammates are to be believed, and someone who is a team player first.
Boise State's Beast
Here we have another Boise State Bronco that has proven to be a winner. A four year starter for the Broncos and a real beast at his position of defensive end. But here's a guy projected to go somewhere between the sixth and seventh round.
Winterswyk has improved every year since he started for the Broncos in 2007. He was selected as an Honorable Mention Freshman All American by Sporting News and named the team's most outstanding defensive lineman that year. He has improved on his performance every year since, and this can be seen by opposing team's focusing on him in their blocking schemes.
He's ranked as the 19th best at his position in the country, but from what we have seen with the NFL going to more hybrid defenses, Winterswyk should be an excellent fit for any team. At 6'4"/270 he is big enough to play a down position, but can also stand up in a 3-4 defense probably at the strong side line backer.
He's another guy with a great motor and a chip on his shoulder who just wants to play football. A character guy who wants to make a difference and help his team win.
Nevada's Dual Threat Quarterback
Colin Kaepernick has made the adjustments needed to grow from a raw freshman talent who could run like a gazelle into a quality quarterback that can make the transition to the next level. Projected to go in the fifth round, I think he may actually slip lower due to his playing in the WAC and the style of offense run by the Wolfpack.
Kaepernick is the perfect quarterback to run Chris Ault's "Pistol Offense". He has great size and speed to go with his vision and decision making process in running the Pistol. This was obvious in the 2007 69-67 overtime shootout loss to Boise State. What has become surprising is his growth as a passer.
At 6'6"/225 he's in that area considered an NFL prototype quarterback. He's only the second player in history to have back to back seasons with 2000 yards passing and 1000 yards rushing. College Hall of Fame coach Chris Ault has done an excellent job tutoring Kaepernick and making him a solid NFL selection.
Kaepernick can make the transition to the NFL, as he has proven to be a hard worker and is driven to win. He plays with the proverbial chip on his shoulder as well and with the right team will make an excellent addition to their squad.