NFL Draft 2011: The Top 10 Underrated Draft Prospects
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The draft class of 2011 has a lot of unknowns; there aren't too many players that fit the typical "draft lock" category.
There are many players that have the potential to be great NFL players that aren't getting as much hype as other players; these players were college standouts that have not received as much draft hype as they deserve.
A player like Julio Jones almost makes this list. He was a big-play threat during his entire career at Alabama. Coming into the draft, he still has a lot of hype—and is likely to be taken in the top 10.
However, the first round looks to be dominated by defensive lineman so a lot of the talk has been focused defensive players. The quarterback position is full of unknowns and a lot of media hype is focused on whether Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton is better. Jones has almost flown completely under the radar.
This list is the top 10 prospects that have flown under the radar.
Henry Hynoski: FB Pitt
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A fullback? I didn't think those existed anymore...
Henry Hynoski is a great player. He doesn't have any great statistics from last year rushing the ball, he didn't pull down a bunch of catches, he's not blazing fast, but I still think he could make an impact on an NFL team.
Hynoski reminds me of Chris Cooley. At 6'2" 260 lbs, Hynoski seems to have the build to make it.
He's a bit of a gamble, but he deserves more credit than he's getting.
Cameron Heyward: DE Ohio State
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In a defensive lineman heavy draft, Heyward is flying under the radar.
Heyward is a great player. He has the size and speed to make a significant impact on an NFL team.
He doesn't have the flashy numbers that players like Da'Quan Bowers have, but he had 48 total tackles and four sacks this year for Ohio State.
If this year wasn't so full of defensive lineman, Heyward would be much more hyped than he currently is.
Prince Amukamara: CB Nebraska
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Many are projecting Prince Amukamara to go very early in the draft. I personally think that he will be one of the first ten taken. So how can he be underrated?
The answer is simple; Patrick Peterson.
Peterson is arguably the best athlete in the draft. I wrote earlier that Peterson is the overall best pick in the draft.
I think that Peterson will be a better player in the near future, but over the course of their entire careers I think that Amukamara will be the better player.
Amukamara isn't as flashy as Peterson; he doesn't have as many interceptions or have the return capabilities that Peterson does. But he does have more tackles, sacks and pass deflection than Peterson.
Amukamara is currently in Peterson's shadow, but he's every bit as talented and deserves the same hype that Peterson has.
Sealver Siliga: DT Utah
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Sealver Siliga recorded 41 tackles and two sacks from the nose tackle position, a very respectable number.
Siliga is very big, 6'3" 299 lbs. (Nick Fairley of Auburn is 6'4" 291)
Given the right team and system, Siliga could become a very good defensive tackle.
Siliga is suffering from the same trouble that Cameron Heyward is; he's a good defensive lineman in a draft stacked with great defensive lineman.
Vincent Brown: WR San Diego State
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Vincent Brown might be the best receiver that you've never heard of.
He had always been solid for San Diego State, but last season he had a breakout season. Brown pulled down 69 receptions for 1,352 yards for the Aztecs. 10 of those catches were touchdowns. (Compare those numbers to Julio Jones' 78 catches, 1,133 yards and seven touchdowns)
The 6'1" receiver runs a 4.57. He has the speed to get past corners.
Because Brown played in the Mountain West Conference he isn't as well-known as some of the other receivers in the draft, but he has the potential to be every bit as good.
Adrian Clayborn: DE Iowa
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Yet another defensive lineman that pops up on this list.
Adrian Clayborn is a very talented defensive end. In 2009 Clayborn had 63 tackles and 11 sacks. Last year his numbers declined at little but he still managed 52 tackles and four sacks.
Again, a very good defensive lineman in a draft full of defensive lineman.
Colin Kaepernick: QB Nevada
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In a quarterback class that as a whole is weak, Kaepernick has a chance to be one of the best. He doesn't receive near as much hype as Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton, but he could very well become just as successful as either one of them.
Kaepernick has size and speed. He is 6'4" 220 lbs and runs a 4.53. In comparison, Newton is 6'6" 250 lbs and runs a 4.59.
Kaepernick passed for 3022 yards and ran for 1206 yards last season. He proved that he can do it all.
Nevada did play in the WAC so the competition that Kaepernick faced was weak and that likely is the main reason that he isn't receiving more hype. He's not a lock to be a star, but he's got the skills that it takes and is very underrated coming into the draft.
Mark Ingram: RB Alabama
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It's not every day that you see a Heisman Trophy winner show up on an underrated players list, but Mark Ingram is underrated.
His numbers took a giant hit last season from the year before. In 2009, Ingram rushed for 1,658 yards. In 2010, he rushed for just 875 as he battled a knee injury to start the year.
Ingram is a great running back, but he is hardly being talked about at all. It's hard to call him underrated, because everyone agrees that he's a great player. It might be safer to just call him under-hyped, but nonetheless he makes the list.
Ryan Mallett: QB Arkansas
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Ryan Mallett was a top draft prospect throughout the entire season, but as the draft creeps closer and close we hear less and less about him.
Mallett has everything that is needed to be a great NFL quarterback. He stands at 6'7" and 238 lbs. He threw for 3,869 yards and 32 touchdowns on the year. He completed 64.7% of his passes and finished with a QB rating of 163.65.
Mallett has what it takes to become a great quarterback. The great thing about Mallett is he has a lot of room to improve. He still has some fundamentals that he needs to work on that will help him improve his game. He could become a prolific passer in his career.
Andy Dalton: QB TCU
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Andy Dalton might be this year's biggest sleeper pick. For his career he threw for 10,314 yards and 71 touchdowns at TCU. Last season was his best, throwing for 2,857 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Dalton's most impressive stats are his 66.1% completion percentage and 166.48 QB rating.
Dalton was consistent his entire time at TCU.
He certainly is flying under the radar heading into the draft, but he could very well be the best quarterback of his class when all is said and done.
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There are a lot of players that aren't on this list that could be. As always, there are going to be people that think I'm crazy and dead wrong. If you feel I left someone off that needs to be on the list, leave a comment and tell me who deserves to be on the list and state their case.