Every draft has more than a few surprise picks, players that nobody outside of those war rooms had on the radar. Sometimes, that works out just fine; sometimes it doesn't. The St. Louis Rams made a surprise pick last year, kind of, when they selected Brian Quick with the first pick in the second round of the draft. Could Les Snead and Co. have another surprise pick up their sleeve this year?
Matthew Fairburn from Mocking the Draft had a list of potential surprise picks drop Monday morning. The second name on that list was UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin, who is suddenly getting plenty of attention from draft pundits. Teams have probably had Franklin on their radar for some time; the media is just now catching up.
Here's what Fairburn said about Franklin, who visited Rams Park last week:
This running back class is a jumbled mess at the top. Rankings will vary quite a bit, and the position is deep this season. Most think this could be the first draft in history that doesn't see a running back come off the board in the first round. That's a possibility, but with UCLA's Jonathan Franklin generating some buzz lately, he may have a shot at getting drafted in the first round. He's arguably the most complete back in this class, with the only knock on him being his size. Franklin has a real shot to jump Eddie Lacy on draft week.
The Senior Bowl helped push his stock upward, and one of the things teams saw there was his pass blocking ability. But don't think that he's just a third down back. Because he doesn't fit the profile of an every down bruiser, it's easy to write him off as a scat back. He is not, though he may not be a guy ticketed for 25 carries per game.
Franklin is unlikely to be drafted in the first round, but he is someone to keep an eye on when they start calling out names on the second day of the draft.