A few players in the upcoming 2013 NFL Draft have been labeled by many as “can-t-miss” prospects.
Offensive linemen like Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher will go at the top of the first round and are expected to make an immediate impact in the pros. Geno Smith seems to be the unanimous pick as the top quarterback in the draft, and some team will peg him as their signal caller of the future.
As in every year, a few stars will come out of the draft that were overlooked n in the first round.
Below are five of the most underrated prospects in this year’s draft class.
Matt Barkley QB, USC
A year ago, it looked like Barkley would be the top selection in the draft. His numbers regressed in his senior season, as the quarterback threw three fewer touchdowns and eight more interceptions.
Some experts have predicted that Barkley will fall into the second round, a long drop from where he was 12 months ago. He still has the potential to be the best signal caller in the draft, and a team would be lucky to have Barkley on the second day.
Matt Elam FS, Florida
Elam may be the best safety coming out of college, but there’s a chance he’ll still be around well into the second round. For a guy who ran a 4.46 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and tackle as well as he can, that seems too low.
Each year it becomes tougher for NFL teams to defend against the pass. Any team could benefit from having Elam in their secondary in 2013.
Eddie Lacy RB, Alabama
Lacy is the best player at his position in the draft. However, most clubs seem unwilling to spend a Day 1 pick on a running back.
The value placed on running backs will probably make Lacy still available in the second round. Whichever team grabs him could end up with a game changer for next season.
Tyrann Mathieu CB, LSU
“Honey Badger” likely won’t be selected until the last day of the draft, but he’s just as talented as many prospects who will be taken before him. The defensive back hurt his draft stock when he missed all of last season after being kicked off LSU’s football team for failing several drug tests.
He hasn’t competed on the field in quite some time, but it’d be hard to find better value than drafting a Heisman Trophy finalist in one of the later rounds.
Alex Okafor DE, Texas
Okafor has a lot of potential coming out of college. He’s shown a good ability to get to the quarterback, registering 12 sacks in 2012.
The defensive end may need to work on his technique, but going late in the second round, as many experts have projected, seems too low for such a talent.