College stars undervalued in draft
Knowing I cover college football and watch most of the nation's top players annually, people often ask me, "How do you think [Player X] will do in the NFL?"
My answer is: I don't have the foggiest idea.
The NFL draft is a maddening ritual for those of us with a greater affinity for the collegiate brand because the player rankings and evaluations, in many cases, bear little resemblance to said players' performance in college. For instance, while the top of every
There was a time when I would have railed on the NFL types for once again
Whatever the NFL is looking for, clearly I'm incapable of identifying it. So you will hear no righteous indignation from me over
The best I can do is offer my endorsement for a few undervalued college stars who I thoroughly enjoyed watching the past few years. I find it hard to believe these guys wouldn't make some team very happy if selected higher than they're currently projected.
Let's go with one at each position.
Most projections have the sport's all-time winningest quarterback and two-time Heisman finalist going in the second or third round. I can understand why scouts prefer the taller, more prototypically-sized Sam Bradford and
Mainly because he's a rare, white running back, it took until about halfway through last season for most people outside the Pac-10 to realize Gerhart was more than just a glorified fullback. On the contrary, he's a fast, durable, every-down tailback who ran for 1,871 yards and nearly won the Heisman. It's no surprise, therefore, that he began the draft process facing similar skepticism. But SI.com's
I don't know what more the guy could have done to show he's a lethal all-around playmaker in the mold of
There are a lot of very good tight ends in this draft -- Oklahoma's
He was all over the field, catching 49 passes (second to teammate
A man can admit his weaknesses, and I'll confess I'm not remotely qualified to evaluate offensive linemen. I thought
It's a down year for bookend pass-rushers in this draft, but there's a glut of disruptive defensive tackles, which may explain why Price, a two-time All-Pac-10 honoree, is getting lost in the shuffle. Price was one of the few reasons to watch a UCLA game the past couple of years. He posted a ridiculous 23.5 tackles for loss last season, and that doesn't count all the times you'd see him closing in on a quarterback just as he released. Once you concede that Ndamukong Suh and
It's not just his cool name -- the Hawkeyes star also has a motor on him. Remember Iowa's win at Penn State last September? Angerer was all over the field, notching 14 tackles, a 38-yard interception return to set up a touchdown and a forced fumble to snuff out a late Nittany Lions rally attempt. It was like that all season for the Nagurski Award finalist who finished sixth nationally with 145 tackles. Scouts will invariably claim he's undersized (6-foot-1, 235 pounds), but that's kind of an m.o. for Iowa linebackers, and former star
Jones is such a gifted athlete (he's a standout baseball player, too), I long assumed he'd be a future high draft pick. So you can imagine my surprise to see he's a projected third-rounder despite excelling as a junior. Jones had 74 tackles, three interceptions, a forced fumble, a blocked kick and a hard-earned 93-yard punt return last season, but two plays in particular stood out to me: This