2012 NFL Draft: 30 Most Overrated Prospects
When the draft finally rolls around each year, it is discovered that a number of players were dramatically overrated. It could finally be the realization of a player's lack of ability or a team simply making a bad selection with the pick.
There are many players NFL teams like, but draft fans don't, who end up struggling in the NFL. Likewise, many draft experts in the media overrate players who are valued much less in NFL circles.
A number of these players NFL teams and draft experts disagreed on, end up busting. But then again, there are some players who are overrated by both NFL teams and the media.
Through just three weeks, it is difficult to evaluate who is truly overrated, but here is a look at some of the early frontrunners.
Jeff Demps, RB, Florida
Demps is a player who isn't overrated as much by the media as he is by fans. The 5'7" 190-pounder is incredibly small and isn't a good enough receiver out of the backfield to be an ideal third-down back.
The Florida runner has incredible speed and burst but can't do much else. Demps can make some defenders miss, but he is primarily a track star at running back.
Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia
Minnifield is not at all a bad player, but he is not deserving of the high praise that many have heaped on him. A large part of Minnifield's publicity is due to family; his father Frank played in the NFL for nearly a decade.
The Virginia cornerback is big and excels in zone coverage but lacks the quickness and hips to be great in man coverage. Minnifield could easily wind up as a first-round pick, but he is extremely unlikely to go in the top half of the first round as many have predicted.
Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon
Harris is an explosive return man and makes plays in the secondary, but he simply lacks the size to be anything more than a nickel defensive back. At just 5'10" 170 pounds, Harris gets abused by big wide receivers.
The Oregon defensive back is extremely quick and can hang with the fastest of wideouts, but unless he gains a significant amount of weight, he will be limited to being a nickel player and return man.
Travis Lewis, LB, Oklahoma
Lewis is a fast but undersized linebacker. At one point, the Oklahoma star was considered a likely first-round draft pick, but Little's stock has dramatically dropped.
Lewis's lack of size and strength hurts him against the run, and he does not project as a starting-caliber linebacker.
Brandon Lindsey, LB, Pittsburgh
Lindsey is an athletic pass-rushing linebacker who is almost an undersized defensive end. The 6'3" 250-pound Pittsburgh defender had 10 sacks in 2010 and made numerous plays in the backfield.
Lindsey has potential as a situational pass-rusher, but he is not the very down player some think that he is.
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
Sanu is a talented player who simply hasn't put it all together. The 6'2" 215-pounder has excellent physical tools, but is extremely raw.
Sanu is not a very good route runner and lacks the physical skills to consistently get open. The Rutgers wideout simply is not good enough to be the first-round pick many think he is.
Mark Barron, S, Alabama
At 6'2" 218 pounds, Barron has great size but struggles in coverage. The Alabama safety is rather slow and has very limited range.
Barron also takes poor angles and allows big plays because of this. Barron isn't bad, but he is not physically talented enough to warrant a first-round selection.
Kenny Tate, LB, Maryland
The 6'4" 220-pound Tate had played safety prior to this season but moved to linebacker in 2011 due to his lack of athletic ability. The Maryland defender was too slow to play safety in the NFL but isn't strong enough to really play linebacker.
Tate has some quality physical ability but he doesn't seem to have a position in the NFL. It is extremely difficult to picture Tate as anything more than a backup in the NFL.
Andrew Datko, OT, Florida State
At 6'6" 320 pounds, Datko has great size and is a good athlete as well. However, the Florida State offensive lineman plays soft and gets physically abused.
Datko simply doesn't have enough power and intensity to handle bigger defensive linemen and he is occasionally dominated. In order for Datko to be the first-round pick that some think he is, he will have to change his complete approach to the game.
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Kirkpatrick is an excellent cornerback prospect but isn't a top-five player like some believe he is. Cornerbacks have been drafted higher than ever in recent years, but the Alabama corner is not elite.
The 6'3" 190-pounder has great physical tools but is still developing as a player. Kirkpatrick has the length and athletic ability to dominate in press coverage but can't do so yet. Despite this, Kirkpatrick is still a legitimate top-10 or top-15 pick.
T.J. McDonald, S, USC
At 6'3" 205 pounds, McDonald is an impressive athlete with a physical nature. The USC safety is a powerful hitter with the athletic ability to excel in coverage as well.
With this said, McDonald's instincts are lacking and he occasionally looks lost. McDonald has produced at a high level, but he is still raw and remains a big project.
Bruce Irvin, DE, West Virginia
At 6'3" 245 pounds, Irvin is little more than a situational pass-rusher. The West Virginia defensive end made very few plays in the run game during the 2010 season, but racked up sack numbers.
Irvin is an explosive player with a decent pass-rushing repertoire, but he isn't a good enough threat off the edge to compensate for his lack of ability against the run.
Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska
Many feel that Crick is an elite pass-rushing defensive tackle, but he isn't as explosive as most great interior pass-rushers. The Nebraska star is praised for his versatility, but he is likely limited to playing defensive tackle or 3-4 defensive end.
At defensive tackle, Crick struggles against the run and is driven off the ball, but he makes some plays in the backfield. However, there simply aren't enough big plays for the 6'6" 290-pounder to warrant a high draft pick in a 4-3 defense.
Michael Brewster, C, Ohio State
Brewster is a quality center prospect, but he isn't the dominant blocker that many believe he is. The Ohio State senior is slightly undersized but has good power to go with his excellent quickness.
Brewster is likely a quality second-round draft pick, but he isn't special enough to warrant the top-25 pick that many believe he deserves. If Brewster shows improved power, he could eventually be a first-round pick, but in the mean time, he is overrated.
Matt Reynolds, OT, BYU
Despite weighing in at just 6'6" 305 pounds, Reynolds is not overly quick in pass protection. This is an issue because the BYU lineman isn't powerful in the run game either.
Reynolds obviously works hard at his craft, but he simply doesn't have the physical talent to warrant a high draft pick. As it stands, many have Reynolds as a second-round pick, but this seems likely to change in the coming months.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State
Cousins has been projected as a possible third-round pick by some, but he is not nearly talented enough to be selected this early. The 6'3" 210-pound quarterback has decent physical skills but isn't very accurate and throws an unfortunately high number of interceptions.
The Michigan State quarterback could be a valuable pickup later in the draft, but he is nothing more than a backup in the NFL.
Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
Moore has been extremely successful at Boise State and is one of the most productive players in the country. However, Moore is extremely small at 5'11" 190 pounds, and isn't very physically talented.
The Boise State star has a noodle arm and gets virtually no zip on his passes. This, along with his tiny stature, make him likely to be undrafted. Draft experts agree on this, but many fans continue to overrate Moore due to his success in college.
LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
At 5'9" 190 pounds, James is a tiny running-back prospect. The Oregon star is incredibly fast but struggles to run between the tackles.
James is good at making defenders miss, but struggles to shred tackles and has virtually no power when running. James isn't a very good receiver either, and his hands are incredibly inconsistent. This really hurts James's value as a third-down back and he is definitely not an every down player.
Chris Galippo, LB, USC
Galippo is a big but slow linebacker with a limited skill-set. The 6'3" 250-pound defender struggles in coverage but has the size and strength to clog up the run.
Galippo is athletically limited and looks like he will be nothing more than a two-down player in the NFL, but his range is probably too limited even for that. The USC defender looks like a late-round pick due to his lack of versatility.
Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
Branch is a physically talented defensive end but he has never produced at a high level. The 6'5" 260-pounder is quick with good burst but doesn't know what to do in order to get by the offensive tackle when pass-rushing.
Not only does Branch need to improve as a pass-rusher, but he also struggles against the run. Branch's long frame is helpful in run support but he is too weak to shed blocks and beat offensive linemen. The Clemson defensive end's technique is seriously lacking and he doesn't look like anything more than a late-round draft pick.
Ray-Ray Armstrong, S, Miami (FL)
At 6'4" 215 pounds, Armstrong suffers from the same problem that many other tall safeties do. The Miami safety has stiff hips and struggles in coverage, especially if matched up with a wide receiver.
Armstrong has good speed and is a physical player in run support, but he is simply too long and stiff to excel in coverage. He could end up as a one dimensional first-round pick, but Armstrong is not a complete player and will always struggle against the pass.
Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
Worthy is a good defensive tackle prospect, but he is not the elite interior lineman that many believe he is. The Michigan State star is quick with good burst, but often takes himself out of a play against the run.
The 310-pounder has decent size but isn't overly strong at the point of attack and struggles against the run. Worthy is an upper level interior rusher but cannot be a high draft pick without first improving in run support. As it stands, Worthy is a late first-round pick, but not the top-10 pick many believe he is.
Donte Paige-Moss, DE, North Carolina
Paige-Moss is a talented pass-rusher who has struggled to produce thus far in his college career. The North Carolina defender has the ability to be a dominant pass-rusher in the NFL but is extremely raw.
Paige-Moss could play in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense with his quickness and burst. With a little refinement, the 6'4" 260-pounder could become one of the NFL's best pass-rushers, but at the moment, he is a huge risk in the top half of the first round.
Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma
Broyles is a quality player and a likely second-round pick, but he is not a No. 1 wide receiver. The 5'10" 190-pounder doesn't have great straight-line speed but is quick and makes plays with the ball in his hands.
The Oklahoma State star has good hands, but is limited by his lack of size and deep speed. Broyles' ideal fit in the NFL is as a slot receiver, and he is far from the primary target that many feel he is.
Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
Foles is a controversial player and draft experts either seem to love him or hate him as a prospect. The 6'5" 240-pounder rarely throws vertically and doesn't have the elite accuracy that many attribute to him.
The Arizona quarterback doesn't have a very strong arm and plays in a somewhat gimmicky offensive scheme. Foles' numbers are enhanced by this scheme, and though he does not seem like anything more than a mid-round pick, some still believe that Foles is a first-round draft selection.
Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
The 6'8" 310-pound Adams is a great but raw athlete. Adams is inconsistent but can occasionally shut down an elite pass-rushing defensive end.
However, it seems like the Ohio State left tackle is often manhandled by opposing defensive ends. This inconsistent play, along with Adams' off-the-field problems, make him extremely unlikely to be the second-round pick many believe he will be.
Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
At 6'4" 260 pounds, Hightower is a huge inside linebacker who excels in run support. As is expected for a man of his size, Hightower isn't very quick and may be limited to a 3-4 defense.
The Alabama defender has the pass-rushing ability to occasionally line up at defensive end, but he is primarily a run defender. Hightower could still end up as a first-round pick, but his lack of explosion will hurt his draft stock as April grows nearer.
Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
Glenn is a huge guard who is currently playing left tackle for the first time at Georgia. The 6'5" 350-pound guard is a dominating run-blocker with below average quickness.
Glenn's size is a huge asset for him in the college game, but when he gets to the NFL he won't be able to dominate nearly as much. Glenn has struggled in pass protection at left tackle and is little other than a big, strong offensive lineman.
Look for the Georgia lineman to struggle when playing against bigger defensive linemen.
Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
Jones is a very talented quarterback, but the Oklahoma offense makes him extremely difficult to evaluate. The 6'4" 230-pounder has good physical tools and accuracy, but he throws an extremely high number of short passes.
Jones rarely throws down field and evaluators have seen him make very few NFL-caliber throws. While this is concerning, the available information on Jones is all positive and he will likely be a top-10 pick in the draft. Jones is, however, far from an elite quarterback prospect and is extremely risky.
Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Many evaluators believe that Coples is a top-five draft pick, but he does not have the explosiveness of an elite pass-rushing defensive end. The 6'6" 275-pounder is a good all-around player, but he is far from an elite player.
In fact, many believe that the North Carolina defensive end's best fit is in a 3-4 defensive as a 5-tech. Coples is actually better against the run than the pass, and those type of players just aren't elite prospects. If a team spends that high of a pick on a defensive end, they expect him to be one of the NFL sack leaders year in, year out.
When watching Coples, it is quite evident that he simply does not have the step and pass-rush moves to be an elite threat off the edge.