Every year there are players that somehow go either unnoticed or ignored for far too long during the draft. Some are even noticed but they're said to be too short, or too slow, or not ideal, or whatever poor excuse they want to come up with for not giving certain players a better look earlier in this crazy process.
These players usually fall in the draft and at times fall completely out of the draft altogether. This years draft will be no different. Some of those players that are victimized by this crazy occurrence will prove the so called "experts" wrong. The obvious example would be Tom Brady, but there's plenty of other players who have shut people up as well. Players like Antonio Brown, Jared Allen, Robert Mathis, Donald Driver, etc.. have all gone on to have good to great careers.
Here's my top ten players to watch to prove themselves in this years draft...
10. Kevin Johnson: Johnson is a grossly underrated corner back that I think has top 20 talent. Johnson has good size at 6' 190 lbs, and he plays with a severe mean streak. He's a corner but he brings the pain each chance he gets. He's the physical press corner that every team wants. While at wake forest Johnson displayed loose hips and great burst to break on passes and close gaps with receivers. Johnson can break on the ball and/or receiver with the best of them. He's not a ball-hawk but he prevents and breaks up completions, which is ultimate the task at hand. Likely drafted rounds 1-2
9. Garrett Grayson: Grayson has caught a bit of a bad rap. The vast majority of people feel that his name is only mentioned as much as it has been because of how weak this QB class is. That is a valid point. However, Grayson had a really good senior season. His junior season wasn't too shabby either. One thing that's really is intriguing about Grayson is his familiarity with running a pro style offense. Grayson is also a terribly underrated athlete. He does not have elite arm talent, but neither does Andy Dalton, Tony Romo, or Drew Brees. Grayson's arm strength is of NFL caliber, just not Matthew Stafford. He also makes smart decisions, has good intermediate accuracy and has flashed the ability to make timing throws. According to WalterFootball, some scouts and even a GM, began to view him as a second to third round pick back in October, before this years QB class began to crystallize. He needs to polish up a bit, but he could develop into a nice starting QB in the NFL. Likely drafted rounds 2-3
8. Ramik Wilson: Wilson is the definition of a sideline to sideline defender. He's a tackling machine with good athleticism and field awareness. He excels in locating the ball and attacking it. He's a bit inconsistent in coverage but he has the tools to be special in that area as well. His most impressive trait is his ability to play all linebacker positions. He can play all three spots in a 4-3 and fits perfectly on the inside in a 3-4. Likely drafted rounds 3-5
7. Adrian Amos: Amos is a very good coverage safety. He's a former corner that still displays some of those corner movement skills, even at 6' 218 lbs. He's also a very good and willing run defender. He doesn't blow a lot of people up, so he's not a devastating hitter, be he's a pretty good tackler as he rarely misses. He has enough athleticism to play deep center and he can even come down and play over the slot. Amos could be a true steal in a weak safety class that shouldn't see many of it's players come off the board before round 4. Likely drafted rounds 3-5
6. Chris Conley: Conley blew up the combine with his elite athleticism. Before that, unless you were a pretty good Georgia fan, you probably never heard of him. Conley is just as explosive of a player on the field justifying everything you seen at the combine. Every bit of his athleticism shows up on tape. He averaged 16.6 yards per catch for his career. His most impressive skill is his ability to make insanely difficult catches. He's a circus catch machine. Put him on a decent team with a half way decent QB and he could surprise a lot of people. Likely drafted rounds 3-4
5. Jamil Douglas: Douglas is a pretty well polished guard with an ideal body type and athleticism for the position. The big knock on Douglas is he's not physical enough and plays more of a finesse style of game. While I agree to an extent, Douglas uses his athletic ability to his advantage. He's usually quicker than the opponent and uses that speed and burst to get on his man be for he can ever really get going. He also does a great job using his hands and sinking his butt on pass blocks. While his punch may not be the most violent, his technique and ability to anchor gets the job done. Likely drafted rounds 3-5
4. Rashad Greene: Rashad Greene has average speed and lacks bulk. That's pretty much the downfall to his entire stock. Outside of those two things, you really have to ask yourself if you're nitpicking. Greene is a superb route runner that abuses defenders with quick and precise cuts. He does a great job of racking up yards after the catch. He has some elusiveness and plays extremely tough, continuously showing a willingness to go over the middle, take the hit, and still make the catch. He also brings some return ability and versatility as he can line up in the slot or out wide. Greene will be a monstrous steal for a team. Likely drafted rounds 2-3
3. Mitch Morse: Mitch Morse is a highly underrated lineman in this years draft. While he played tackle for Missouri, he will likely kick inside in the NFL. As always, versatility goes a long way in this business. Morse is a guy that is truly good at everything but great at nothing. Which isn't bad thing. Players like him are usually called the safe pick. He's that guy that you know is going to get the job done. Likely drafted rounds 3-5
2. Tyler Lockett: If we're being 100% honest, I think if Lockett is 6'1" 210 lbs - instead of 5'10" 180 lbs - he'd probably be a lock to go in the top 25. Lockett is very explosive, quick, agile, tough and smart. He plays much bigger than his size and he's not your average short guy that's explosive and that's it. He's a legit receiver. He runs unbelievably good routes. Then again, it makes plenty of sense when you consider his father was a pretty good receiver. Lockett is an assassin with his route running, and can run the full tree. He's also very dangerous after the catch, and if he gets in the open field its pretty much over. He brings great value with special teams. He has good hands and makes a lot of catches outside of his frame. This guy is a big deal in a small package, in the mold of a T.Y. Hilton. Likely drafted rounds 2-4
1. Justin Hardy: Here is the guy that I have pegged as my steal of the draft. He has not received nearly enough talk. Hardy is a sure handed savvy route runner, that carves defenders up with quick twitch movement. He is quicker than fast, but he's not terribly slow either. He is a guy with very average speed (4.56), and he's about two inches shorter, and 15 pounds lighter (5'10" 192lbs) than what scouts want him to be. But again, he's very quick, and he has great burst and acceleration. He can leap up and go get the ball as well. Jump balls were his for the taking. In fact, he leaves college as one of the most productive receivers in the history of college football and owns the receptions record. He just seems to always be open, regardless of what the defense tries to do to stop him. Hardy will be good no matter where he ends up but if he can land on a Patriots team, or Packers, anything like that, he will be another guy that five years from now, we will all look back and say "wow, no way he should have been available at that pick". Likely drafted round 2-4
There you have it folks! If you're a GM, regardless of need, which two would you like to take a shot on and give a chance to prove everyone wrong? Place your vote and tell us why below.