Underrated:

1. David Bakhtiari, OT, Colorado

After Bakhtiari surprisingly declared for the draft after his junior season, he’s failed to garner the attention he truly deserved.  He has strong hands to latch onto defenders and sustains blocks as well as any other tackle prospect, often locking up defenders until the whistle.  He’s very light and frequent on his feet, doing tremendous work moving laterally as a run blocker.  His frame is still too lean, but one that can be built on.  Bakhtiari is ready for a starting role as a rookie, having started 34 career games at Colorado with time at both left and right tackle.  He’s a tremendous fit for offense’s that employ a zone blocking scheme.  He also has the proper skillset to make a transition inside to guard if need be.    I gauge his relative value to be considered a late fourth or early fifth round pick.  His versatility, technical consistency, and footwork warrant a second or third round pick in reality.

2. Chris Harper, WR, Kansas State

Chris Harper is one of the most underrated prospects due to a few things, including a stacked wide receiver group with impressive depth and putting up production that pales in comparison to most other receivers.  It’s important to consider the offense he was held back by, one that lacked a polished passing quarterback and was a run-heavy offense as a result.  Harper is as steady as they come.  One is hard pressed to find instances where he lets the ball into his body as a pass catcher and even harder pressed to find drops.  Harper is efficient after the catch and can pick up the tough yardage.  His route running is also exemplary, which enables him to separate out of his cuts.  He specializes in the short to intermediate passing game and is able to use a thick build to his advantage, often outmuscling defensive backs.  That’s not to say he’s a poor athlete, he ran a solid 40 time at the combine at 4.55 and showed off quick feet in agility drills.  Harper’s upside isn’t that of guys like Aaron Dobson or Marquise Goodwin, but it’s a safe bet that he’ll have a long career in the league.  Harper seems be garnering fourth round type grades, but would be surprised to see him not get picked on the draft’s second day.

3. Jordan Hill, DT, Penn State

Jordan Hill is not garnering the praise he deserves after a productive senior season in which he took over multiple games completely.  Hill is a dynamic mover from in the interior and can win as a pass rusher in multiple ways.  His moves are very polished with developed hand usage and overall technique.  He also possesses quick first step off the snap and flexibility as a pass rusher.  He makes up for being on the small side with a never-ending motor and a nose for the football.  It’s impossible to discount a defensive lineman who gets to the football as often as Hill does.  Against the run, he has a developed ability to control blockers with his hands before disengaging.  He also shoots gaps and causes mayhem in the backfield on occasion.  He’s not going to anchor a double team or knock a blocker backwards any time soon, but he keeps his pads down and is able to win the leverage battle at the point of attack.  Hill has the technical and athletic ability to be an immediate contributor and work his way into a starting role at a three technique position.  I see a lot of Geno Atkins type ability in Hill’s game, which may seem lofty, but remember that Atkins was a fourth round pick.  Similar concerns may hold Hill back on draft day, but I don’t believe they should.

4. DeVonte Holloman, OLB, South Carolina

DeVonte Holloman was overshadowed at South Carolina and it doesn’t take long to wonder why with the attention that guys like Jadeveon Clowney and D.J. Swearinger got all season.  Holloman made the shift to the Gamecocks’ Spur linebacker spot from his original safety spot as a senior, his only as a linebacker.  Holloman was a steady force for the defense and made an impact in a variety of ways.  He shows fluid hips and light feet to turn and run tight ends and at times receivers in coverage.  He’s a very instinctive player with ability to read and react quickly.  He shows developed hand usage when taking on blocks, often while walked up to the line as a strong side linebacker.  Holloman is very experienced, with 35 career starts in one of the SEC’s best defenses.  He’s an extremely versatile linebacker who actually transitioned to the position from safety better than the likes of Alec Ogletree and Zaviar Gooden did.  Holloman is viewed by most as a fourth or maybe even a fifth round type prospect.  Because of his versatility, instincts, and technique, he looks the part of a second rounder.

5. Sanders Commings, CB, Georgia

Sanders Commings has seemingly been lost in the shuffle of Georgia prospects in the lead-up to the draft.  That should not be the case.  At 6’0” and 216 lb. he matches the physical description of the league’s most sought after cornerbacks today.  He’s a thick corner with length and impressive athleticism.  A 4.41 40 yard dash and 35 inch vertical at the combine are plenty evidence of that.  Commings uses that size to body up receivers at the line as well as down the field.  He has fluid hips to turn and run in man coverage.  He shows impressive ball awareness with the ability to quickly turn his head and locate it at the last second.  Commings is every bit the part of a big cornerback in run support, a strong and reliable tackler.  He has all the top level experience you look for, with 35 career starts in the SEC.  He even has some schematic versatility, with skills that fit man and zone schemes, especially the cover 2.  His off the field issues are a serious concern and teams will have to get a feel for him in their interviews to ensure those things are behind him.  If that is the case, he’s certainly worth a pick in the draft’s second day, despite being pegged as a fourth or fifth round prospect by most.

Overrated

1. Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia

Alec Ogletree has become a fan favorite of sorts because of how incredible his highlight tapes are.  They simply don’t tell the whole story.  It’s true that Ogletree makes plays every so often that make you think he’s a top ten talent.  It’s also true that his game is littered with inconsistencies and deficiencies.  His biggest downfall is his ability to take on blocks between the tackles and maintain run fits while doing so.  He’s often slow to react to his reads before taking poor angles to the ball.  He isn’t a natural shedder of blocks with his hands, too often getting walled off completely.  His tackling technique also leaves something to be desired.  He doesn’t break down at all, consistently making tackles around the shoulders of ball carriers.  He’s also prone to missing against short and quick backs for that reason.  Ogletree does bring something against the pass that other linebackers don’t.  As a former safety, his ball skills are terrific and he reads the eyes of the quarterback well enough.  He also made impact plays as a blitzer.  At the end of the day though, Ogletree is too inconsistent against the run and doesn’t even possess the baseline ability needed of a Mike linebacker.  In a 4-3 scheme, he’s purely a Will linebacker at this point.  Off the field, his pattern of misconduct is more worrying than most other prospects, especially when getting a DUI just weeks before the combine.  Ogletree is projected by most to be a late first round pick.  I wouldn’t be comfortable taking him until later on in the second round.

2. Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State

Menelik Watson was thrust into the draft spotlight after declaring for the draft in January.  He’s an English-born player with experience in basketball, soccer, and boxing, with quite a unique path to where he is now.  He’s only been playing football for a short time and only has one season of starting experience in high level college football.  In many ways, it shows.  He struggles to handle blitzes and stunts, often due to a lack of all-around anticipation.  He struggles with angles and inside-out leverage at times as well.  Watson was hyped up to be a phenomenal athlete with light feet.  His combine numbers don’t support that and his on-field play frankly doesn’t either.  His range against the speed rush is merely average, often laboring a bit in his kickslide.  He also struggles with pad level and may be a bit too stiff.  In terms of technique, he’s well behind a good number of offensive tackle prospects, but some of that is to be expected because of a lack of experience.  Watson is still an intriguing prospect with such a strong lower half and a good demeanor.  He’s also widely reported to be a quick learner who is eager to pick up on anything that might help him down the road.  The value in Watson isn’t in immediate contribution, it’s in what he could bring if he develops in the way coaches will believe they can get him to.  The upside is most definitely there, which will likely means a team pulls the trigger on him in the first round.  I see him as a late second round type prospect at best.

3. Matt Elam, S, Florida

It’s not surprising that Matt Elam is an attractive player to a wide range of analysts and fans.  He’s a livewire on the field with a knack for big plays and big hits.  I worry he may be a flash in the pan instead of a safety whose skills will lead to long-term effectiveness.  Elam is a short safety at a shade under 5’10” and isn’t a special athlete in terms of open field speed or burst to close.  He doesn’t have the schematic versatility of many other safeties, likely only a strong safety at the next level.  He struggled to cover tight ends in man coverage in college and doesn’t project as that type of safety in the NFL.  His footwork and technique are sloppy, often bouncing on his feet with stiff hips in transition.  While he can make a huge impact when he arrives at the ball, his style of play has warranted many personal foul penalties and the enforcement of such play is even more strict in the league.  There’s no doubting the effect Elam can have in run support and special teams, but he’s an undisciplined safety who quality quarterbacks may be able to pick on by utilizing play-action or getting him in size mismatches.  Elam has been hyped as a late first or early second round type talent, but looks to me like a third rounder in a safety class that is very strong.

4. Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor

In a wide receiver class that has as many quality prospects who will get drafted on the second day, I don’t see why Terrance Williams should be one of them.  The feather in Williams’ cap is his production.  He hauled in 97 balls for over 1800 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior for Baylor.  That should almost be expected of a #1 target in Art Briles’ offense though.  When you dig in on Williams’ traits and how they project to the NFL, concerns arise.  He really benefits from the space that Baylor’s offense gives him, because he’s not a very physical receiver and will likely struggle against the press.  He’s also a bit of a one-trick pony.  He made his biggest impact by running past cornerbacks and getting behind the defense for deep passes.  Williams only ran 4.52 40 yard dash at the combine, which doesn’t exactly scream deep threat.  When running underneath or intermediate routes, he lacked precision and physicality and his route tree is severely undeveloped.  The biggest knock against Williams might just be his hands though.  He consistently catches balls with his forearms and chest, instead of high-pointing or plucking the ball out of the air.  Williams is much more of a specialist receiver than one who can affect the game in multiple ways.  For that reason, he should slide out of the second and into the third day.  There’s simply too many other wide receivers with better all-around skillsets.

5. Jon Bostic, ILB, Florida

Jon Bostic drew high praise after his combine performance.  He ran an impressive 4.61 40 yard dash and put up solid times in the 3 cone drill and short shuttle.  His athleticism is not the question.  He has sideline to sideline range and all the foot quickness needed for coverage.  The problem is that he doesn’t play as fast as he times because his read and react ability is too slow.  He doesn’t read keys, has undisciplined run fits as a result, and struggles to find the ball on top of that.  Even more concerning is his inability to get off blocks.  When playing from the middle, a linebacker has to meet the baseline ability of block shedding to make it in the NFL.  Bostic’s on-field performances tell me that he doesn’t meet that.  He doesn’t use his hands well enough, sometimes not using his hands at all, trying to simply run around blocks.  Bostic’s best use might be on special teams, where he can make use of his athleticism and aggressive style of play.  After the combine, he’s been talked about as a possible third round selection.  I’ve even seen him mocked in the second round by Mel Kiper.  His inability to shed blocks with his hands or maintain his run fits puts him the late round category for me.

Originally published at DetroitLionsDraft.com: The Most Overrated and Underrated Draftees

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