NFL Draft Prospect Scouting Reports...
...should be taken with a grain of salt. Or maybe several grains of salt.
Maybe a whole shaker of salt.
And if you lived in the Cincinnati area this winter, you’ve seen your share of salt on the roads. So take one of these salt grains whenever you read a scouting report. Don’t eat the grain of salt from the road – just pick it up and take it. And store it in your salt drawer.
It’s that time of the year when we analyze and over-analyze draft prospects. We nit-pick the silliest details, and question whether they have enough "sand in their pants", or can "operate well in a phone booth". We notice that their hands are 1/8" too short, or their body was "cut too high".
Interestingly, we don’t seem to care if a free agent signee is "tall enough" to be our cornerback, but we sure do care if we’re talking about a potential draftee!
When Geno Atkins was being named 1st team All-Pro, did anybody care that his "arms were too short", or that he was not an "ideal size" for the NFL?
In the analysis of NFL draft prospects, there always seems to be a dichotomy between the guys who are "great players" vs. the guys who aren’t great players but have "all the measurables". And usually the measured players trump the able players in the ratings.
When it comes down to the OT who is 335 lbs & 6’7", runs a great 40 time, and puts up 35 reps at the combine, but consistently gets beat on the field... he is almost always going to be rated higher than the OT who is only 307 lbs and 6’4", and looked quite mediocre at the combine, but pretty much played the part of a dominant lineman on every snap in college.
But which player do we really want? Do we want the guy like Taylor Mays or Matt Jones (fast and strong, but just can’t play the position)? Or do we want the kid like Geno Atkins, who falls in the draft because he doesn’t fit into an arbitrary size dimension that the ‘experts’ have set for his position?
With this in mind, which prospects are possibly overrated because of their size vs. ability?
QB Blake Bortles –
Like Blane Gabbert a few years earlier, Blake is being elevated for having all the size & arm "attributes" of an NFL QB. Yet it remains to be seen if he can actually play the position well enough to warrant a 1st round pick, let alone the top overall pick. He was a good, but not elite QB in college. But he is a big QB, and any draft analyst will tell you that bigger is better.
QB Logan Thomas –
Has the monster size & subpar ability that is reminiscent of Jamarcus Russell, just without Al Davis ridiculously making him the #1 overall pick. Some team is going to be intrigued by a 6’6" QB who is 250 lbs, and grab him before the end of the draft, even if he is unable to play the QB position well. When he is drafted, there may even be talk of moving him to TE or some such nonsense. But at the end of the day, he will be drafted for his size, not his ability.
WR Donte Moncrief –
He doesn’t have the best hands or good route running, but will get drafted like an elite receiver thanks to his great size and monster combine workout. Some team will forget that it takes more than being tall and athletic to be a quality wide receiver, and draft him well above his football abilities.
WR Cody Latimer –
A mediocre college WR whose upside is spending a couple years on somebody’s practice squad before vanishing into obscurity. But he will get drafted because of his size.
LT Seantrel Henderson –
Was the top prep prospect when he went picked USC, before immediately switching to Miami. With his 6’7", 331 lbs size it’s easy to see how a team would be excited about him, because if he was a great football player, with that size, he could be phenomenal. But of course, he’s not a great football player. He’s probably average, at best, with a poor work ethic. If he was 6’4" he would be undraftable. But the size is going to be too tempting to ignore. Some team will draft him, and park him on their 53 man roster for a year or two before releasing him.
DT Ra’Shede Hageman –
Was a solid player for the Gophers in his one and only year as a starter. He could be a decent pro, and worthy of a mid -round pickup. But his 6’6", 310 lbs frame will get him drafted well ahead of that, and possibly even in round 1.
DT Daniel McCullers –
When does a D Lineman with 1.5 career sacks get consideration for being drafted in the first half of the NFL draft? When he is 6’7" & 352 lbs. A woefully underproductive, mediocre player who will get over-drafted due to his gargantuan proportions.
OG Cyril Richardson –
Another behemoth of a lineman, if not for his flaws being exposed at the senior bowl, he could have been a late 1st rounder. Still, with his size, Cyril could be gone by the end of round 2.
CB Stanley John Baptist / Keith McGill –
If they were evaluated simply on their cornerback abilities, they would be round 5 prospects. Add 2" and instantly they are round 2~3 prospects.
QB Zach Mettenberger –
When one looks at him vs. McCarron & Murray, one asks what separated Zach from the other while in college (other than being kicked off Georgia’s team for sexual battery), and there isn’t much. They were productively similar on the field. But now that we’re in draft season, that all goes out the window. Zach is 6’5", 242 lbs, while the others are a few inches shorter and quite a bit lighter. So Zach gets promoted into round 2, while the others fall to round 3~4.
Some of these prospects are popular names on CJ, and undoubtedly somebody will get upset to see "their guy" labeled "overrated" (be it Mettenberg or McGill or whomever). That’s not the point. The point is to suggest that prospect evaluations tend to get a bit too skewed by size factors, which often don’t translate into on-field production. And these guys are leading candidates for prospects who have been over-inflated in their evaluations due to their size.