In his assessment last year of the draft stock of former USC offensive tackle
Baker, it should be noted, won the Falcons' starting left tackle job out of camp. While back surgery limited him for much of the season, Baker is expected to start at left tackle for a long time. The Falcons got him at No. 21, after five other offensive tackles already had been selected.
So let me try to understand. A four-year starter for the most dominant team in college football was worse than five other guys at his position? Because he wasn't quite as quick as them in the three-cone drill? In shorts?
Obviously, some players get overlooked during the college recruiting process and develop into studs later. NFL personnel people have to beat the bushes lest they miss the next
Three years ago, NFL observers marveled at how Texans linebacker
This season, some general managers will kick themselves when they realize they shouldn't have passed over a college star with a solid on-field record for a workout wonder. Who will that player be? My guess is the first guy on this list of the most underrated and overrated prospects -- from the perspective of someone who cares more about what they did in pads than in shorts.
Yes, Smith flaked out at the combine. Dumb move. Yes, he missed the Sugar Bowl because of his dealings with an agent. Even dumber move. But guess what will happen when Smith gets on the field? He's going to maul people, because that's all he does. He won the starting left tackle job the moment he stepped on campus at Alabama. He's held his own against defensive ends such as
Nicks and Maryland's
Greene finished second in rushing in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 1,850 yards. He also scored 20 touchdowns. So, naturally, he's a potential first-rounder, right? No. Second-rounder? No. Third-rounder? Maybe. Green averaged 6.03 yards a carry, but after he ran a 4.62-second 40-yard dash at the combine, his stock dropped faster than General Motors. So for all those plays when Greene has to run 40 yards straight down the field, he's sunk. I'll take him for those plays when I need three yards on third down.
Marks ran a slower-than-expected 40 (5.0) and put up low bench press number (16 reps at 225 pounds) at the combine, so he probably won't get picked until the second round. Whoever selects him will get a quick interior lineman who can disrupt pass plays and stop the run. Marks, whose draft preparation diary is running in the
McGee is underrated, but that isn't the fault of NFL personnel people. It's the fault of a certain coach who had a side business
Stafford has the best physical tools of any quarterback in the draft, but he may not be the best choice for the Lions, who need a complete franchise reboot. At Georgia, Stafford made throws no one else could make, but a lot of those throws went to the other team.
He threw double-digit interceptions in each of his three seasons, including six in three years against Florida, the Bulldogs' biggest opponent every year. Stafford's undeniable skills make him an obvious high first-round pick, but he probably shouldn't be the No. 1 overall pick. The Lions need to build with a cornerstone left tackle, not a quarterback.
Maclin is an excellent player and a surefire first-rounder, but is he really 15-20 picks better than Florida's
With the exception of a 478-yard explosion that came on a day when Oklahoma raced to a 28-7 first-quarter lead, Freeman put up awful numbers against the Wildcats' best opponents. Freeman has all the physical tools, but he never made his team that much better. Compare that to a
It has been suggested that Oher might wind up as a right tackle. If that's the case, why not take a right tackle in a lower round and avoid paying the premium Oher will command in the middle of the first round? Or, if you're just building depth on the offensive line, grab Oregon center