Yesterday we ran down our top ten list of players that we absolutely are in love with in the upcoming 2010 draft and got some pretty good feedback on our rankings. Some folks were puzzled by McClain's lofty status but as was previously stated if Nick Saban puts his defense in the hands of McClain I fully trust the Alabama backers ability to run and NFL ship in the next season and a half.
Today, on this hump day, we'll shed some light on the elite prospects that In The Bleachers is less than enamored with. Everyone has their big board, top pick and sleepers list but there are always players that talent evaluators aren't firmly sold upon. Here's our list of guys that we wouldn't want our team to touch with a ten foot pole. Guys that we think should be avoided like the plague. Guys that are, in our book, untouchable picks with a high bust potential.
Does this mean they'll all be certified garbage in the NFL? No, of course not. What it means is I'm not willing to commit to these players for fear of investing a ton of money and getting little positive return.
Listed in no particular order here are the five guys that raise the biggest red flags of the projected first rounders in this upcoming draft.
I'm fully capable of admitting that I drank the Taylor Mays kool-aid. I fell head over heels for a guy that was bigger, faster, stronger than any safety that I'd ever seen. I thought he was the second best safety in the nation and had elite, top ten, draft potential because of the tremendous blend between size and speed. I fell for it hook, line and sinker folks. However, just like Johnny Nash, "I can see clearly now" and I'm no longer clouded by Mays' herculean body type.
The fact is the guy can't play the pass. For all the brutal hits he's laid on people truth is he's been a step slow on most of them. He doesn't read quarterbacks well, isn't fluid in and out of breaks, isn't as flexible at the hips and has zero ball skills. An Eric Berry, Earl Thomas type safety would be cutting those balls off not being preoccupied with decapitating people after they make a catch for 30 yards. Mays is going to play in the NFL, I wouldn't draft him to play safety because I actually want my safeties to be every down players, not a situational run enforcer.
Personally I'd move the kid to outside linebacker a la Thomas Davis of the Carolina Panthers, let him grow into the position and transform him from a stiff safety with poor ball skills into a speed burner outside backer with the ability to man up tight ends and running backs.
Another USC guy makes this list and I'm sure I'll be labeled the anti-Colin Cowherd for having two Trojans sitting atop the list. Problem is I truly feel like Charles Brown is another possible fraud living on his outstanding athleticism. A projected first round prospect at the tackle position means he's supposed to be a decade long fixture at the left tackle position. At 295 lbs Brown is not this fixture. He doesn't possess the brutish strength that guys like Bruce Campbell, Russell Okung or Brian Bulaga have in making up the other elite tackle talents in this draft.
True, Brown's an outstanding athlete, one of those converted tight ends who can dunk a basketball and has great footwork. My problem with him lies with his frame, a guy who doesn't appear to be capable of pushing into that 315 lbs weight class that teams expect out of the tackle position. Most linemen tipping the scale under 300 lbs are short, quick centers and Brown isn't making that position change. Unable to shift to the interior to play guard, it appears to me that Brown will spend the bulk of his career as a serviceable right tackle, not a position where teams often pay big first round money.
I'm a Julius Peppers fan so the effort issues do not bother me as much as they work other talent evaluators into a tizzy. The kid is an explosive pass rusher with a knack for getting to the quarterback and the added ability to disrupt throwing lanes with his long arms. However, I'm not sold on him being an every down player. He's not athletic enough to play the stand up edge rusher in a 3-4, he's not physical enough to play a 3-4 defensive end so he is only a fit for the teams running a 4-3 scheme. Even in that scheme his lack of physicality leads me to believe he's, at best, a situational pass rusher similar to Atlanta's John Abraham.
Dunlap is not physical against the run, to put it nicely he gets bullied off the ball when teams run straight at him. He struggled against hard nosed rushing attacks and is better at coming from an angle than shedding a block and making a play. Call me crazy but I'd like for my first round pick to be on the field more often than in 10 or 11 personnel and 3rd and long scenarios. 3rd and medium to short it seems Dunlap is a bit useless as blocking him with a tight end/tackle tandem with the tackle moving to the second level should open a hole for an average running back to pick up a first down.
One hit wonder. The scary part is that it wasn't all that wonderous in itself. 16.5 tackles for loss was still six less than his teammate George Selvie had as a sophomore. 6.5 sacks is good for 69th in the nation. I'm not sure what all the hype is about a guy who played at a JUCO and then played opposite Selvie, a known commodity, for one season. He does seem to have solid measureables however his lack of physicality is similar to Dunlap's which raises a red flag against the run.
Not too much to say about Pierre-Paul, like his career statline at USF I'll keep this analysis short.
If you read my breakdown of the Top Five Quarterbacks in the Draft you'll get my original sentiments on Sam Bradford as we enter the draft. On Monday's show I got a chance to ask Eric Galko about Sam Bradford and my worst fears were confirmed. There is no true difference between Nate Hybl, Josh Heupel, Jason White and Sam Bradford. Size and arm strength appear to be the selling points and the line of demarcation separating Bradford's three predecessors.
I will spell it out for you readers loud and clear, I liked Bradford in college. I thought he would beat Florida in the BCS Championship Game and give OU another title. However, I do not like Bradford into the NFL. He beat up on teams with guys like Malcolm Kelly, Joaquin Iglesias, Jermaine Gresham with two 1,000 yard backs supporting him and an elite NFL caliber offensive line protecting him. The guy's wide receivers were wide open, he had plenty of time to make his reads and he played mostly out of the shotgun.
I don't believe in his ability to read defenses coming from the Air Raid styled offense. Much like these Oklahoma receivers lack route running ability because of the systems simplicity I see Bradford as a guy used to making one read and then chucking the football. It will be a major gamble to fall in love with a guy who played on one of the nation's most talent laden teams in a system created to make marginally talented teams like Kentucky and later Houston and Texas Tech successful.