So since I've got finals pending and don't plan on posting a ton over the next week or so, I figured I'd create something ahead of time and post it over a period of days. My true inspiration for the next three posts is the relatively shitty coverage of the NFL draft so far. I haven't seen much I agree with at all (though I do like mock draft The Fanhouse put together). I'm putting out a three part post starting with today's fairly brief "over and under" rated players section. I should start by mentioning that I have no access to film and the only scouting I've done is watch a ton of football last fall as well read every available article I could find on players. I should also say that my major beef with the traditional draft expert analysis is that they fall into the same traps year in and year out. They create mock drafts in February and don't change them significantly even when the only news coming out of team camps about those players is negative. For instance, have you heard ANYTHING positive about Leon Hall in the last two weeks? He looked horrible in the only game that mattered his entire career--this year's Ohio State game. He played in the Big Ten, so it's not like he was facing top talent in any of the other games he played in? The Big Ten sucks. Leon Hall looks like a decent corner, but to come off the board in the top 15, you have to be--or have the potential to be--great. He is not great nor does he have the potential to be great. Leon Hall SCREAMS solid and decent. He's Otis Smith or Aaron Glenn. Whereas if you ask people about McCauley from Fresno St. or Eric Wright from UNLV, those guys have the skill set and size to be outstanding. If I'm picking a corner in this weak corner class, I'll take a size and speed guy like the Raiders did with Nnamdi Asomugha over a more prototypical guy from a great program like a Carlos Rogers any day (those guys didn't go in the same draft but Rogers was a top 10 pick while Asomugha was picked in the 30's. Asomugha went to the Pro Bowl this past year). That's probably more descrption than neccesary, but I think you get what I'm talking about. It makes sense to me anyway. Without any further adieu, here are my 7 (10 was too many) most over and under rated players in the 2007 draft:
1. Ted Ginn, Jr.
In the last 1 million years, has any smallish, speedy, injury-prone wide receiver EVER worked out? Santana Moss maybe, but after him you have to go back to Terry Glenn. Just ask Peter Warrick, Charles Rogers and Santonio Holmes. Plus, check out the Ohio St. Wide Receiving pedigree: Holmes, Michael Jenkins, Ginn, Jr., Glenn.... noticing a trend? (Fortunately, Gonzalez will change that).
2. Gaines Adams
This year's "Dewayne Robertson". Comes from a school that doesn't traditionally put out great players but played good competition. Decent size and is always cited as showing moments of greatness. Every now and again he can put together a dominant game. That was how people described Robertson, and he hasn't exactly produced. I remember last year, the D ends going early were big guys with flashes of brilliance and overlooked was the guy who led the NCAA in sacks because he was like 5'10. That sack leader was Elvis Dumervil and he was outstanding for the Broncos last year. Gaines is the top DE by default, not because he's that great.
3. Marshawn Lynch
Doesn't Cal always have some flashy back who ends up sucking the NFL? Marshawn Lynch is another "flashes of brilliance" guy who faded in the biggest games (USC, Tennessee, Oregon). He is also subject to a sexual assault investigation. The negatives outweigh the positives.
4. Leon Hall
I spoke about this already but in his biggest test against Ohio St., he got smoked. He is a solid player whose max potential compares favorably to that of Ronde Barber, which is high praise, but not high enough to be a top 10 pick. He's a first rounder, but isn't good enough to grab so early.
5. Joe Thomas
I may get burned badly by my Joe Thomas loathing, but his description mirrors Rob Gallery's. Great feet, outrageous athlete for his size but lacks the meanness and doesn't drive well enough on rushing plays. You want to know why Walter Jones and Willie Roaf are two of the best lineman in the last 20 years, EVERY rushing play is run to their side. Pass blocking is almost a given with them. In order to be a top 10 OT, you have to dominate. I don't think anyone has called Joe Thomas dominant. Plus, his ACL injury scares me a bit. I think he's the best Tackle available, but not the best lineman (my favorite lineman will show up in the underrated portion).
6. Paul Posluszny
His heightened draft ranking makes me so angry. I LOVED this guy two years ago. He looked like a freak. He took over games on a bad team and almost single-handedly kept a bad Penn St. team in games by pure intimidation. Then he tore his tore up his knee and looked slow and outmatched in 2006. He wants to be great and I would love to have him on my team, but not as a first rounder. He wasn't big enough to begin with (he's smaller than Sean Taylor) and his raw determination was what made him great. Now he's half a step slow. I'm not sure he'll ever regain it.
7. Brady Quinn
I've been over this before, but if Trent Edwards or Drew Stanton had gone to Notre Dame, they'd be ranked higher than Quinn. He does some things well but doesn't do ANYTHING really well. He's Ron Powlus & Rick Mirer.
1. LaRon Landry
The kid is Ed Reed. A ballhawk who is completely overaggressive and a total stud. If I were ranking players, he'd be the third best player in the draft behind CJ and Okoye.
2. Amobi Okoye
This kid (he is a teenager afterall) is FLYING up the draft board. I think the Skins thought they'd be able to sneak away with him at 6 but that may not work out any longer. The kid has freakish upside. 19 years-old, tremendous athlete and smarter than anyone who has ever coached him (or ever will coach him). I LOVE this kid.
3. Ryan Kalil
Kalil will likely fall out of the first round because people are stupid. There is an unspoken rule about not taking an interior lineman in the first 20 picks because you can always find one later. Well last year the best lineman taken in the first round was Nick Mangold. Kalil is better than Mangold. If Detroit has any idea what it is doing, they will take CJ, then Kalil. That is unless some team is smart enough to scoop him up in the first round (Pioli, I'm talking to you at 28).
4. Jarvis Moss
He is he most talented DE in the draft. I don't think you'd hear anyone argue with that. He played for a big time program and his only question marks are character and "rawness". He's not Julius Peppers, but he's not that far off. I'm dead serious. He is too risky to grab in the top ten, but he should be top 15.
5. Marcus McCauley / Eric Wright - I LOVE these two guys. If the Pats can package their first round picks for Atlanta's first rounder and get one of Hotlanta's second rounders, they should grab Landry and McCauley and not look back. These guys can match up with the big receivers and run with the speedy little fucks. They are being overlooked because of the name on their jerseys, but they are going to dominate.
6. Anthony Gonzalez
This guy is polished, fast, smart and willing to gut it out over the middle. His play reminds me of Deion Branch, except he's faster than Branch. Whoever steps up and grabs him will get an automatic stud.
7. Brian Leonard
I admit that I have a biased hard-on for Brian Leonard largely due to the fact that he played his high school ball near where I grew up and he plays like his hair is on fire. He can be a feature back but will likely play second-fiddle and be a change of pace for his first year until someone gets hurt. He can do everything. He could carry it twenty times, catch it out of the backfield and serve as a Chris Cooley-like H-Back if necessary. His versatility and toughness make him too valuable to slip out of the top 35 picks.
Here's a little Landry for you, in case you weren't convinced by my praise: