Every year, there are players that are drafted that come out of nowhere. If history has shown us anything, we can't knock any one player for any reason other than inability. If the ability is there, he could be a draft steal if he's not at least a top-50 pick.
These are the ten most underrated players in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Skills Grading System:
Rating Overall Scale
|61-70||Needs to Devvelop 1-3 yrs|
|71-79||Instant Starter/Yr One Contributer|
|80-89||Rookie of the Year|
Potential Grading Scale
|A+||Hall of Fame|
|A-||Perrenial Pro Bowler|
|B+||Productive 10 Year Vet|
|C||Average at Best|
***ALL PLAYER COMPARISONS ARE BASED OFF OF SKILL SET AND BODY TYPES, NOT A PREDICTION OF CAREERS***
Miami WR Stacy Coley
Player Comparison: Marqise Lee
Positives: Great straight line speed. Above average open field vision. Quick and decisive when making cuts and in out of breaks. Solid intermediate route runner. Very explosive. Shows above average elusiveness. Solid returner.
Negatives: Needs to focus more on reception in crowded area. At times loses track of the ball. Does not always do a good job high pointing ball, though he has flashed the ability. Struggles to consistently find the holes in zone.
Overview: Realistically, Coley has second round appeal. But his inconsistencies could ultimately cause him to slip to the fourth or fifth round. However, his issues mostly stem from losing focus. He’s likely going to follow in the steps of another former MIami Hurricane (Allen Hurns) and and develop into the perfect number two receiver. He can play both inside and out, and will make for a solid contributor in his rookie season as the third option, with decent QB play.
USC WR Darreus Rogers
Player Comparison: Anquan Boldin
Positives: Ridiculously strong hands, catches everything thrown his way. Very hard to tackle post catch. Has the strength of a tightend, and running style of a power back. Really good blocker. High effort player. Smart player, and understands route concepts and coverage. Arguably the best hands in the draft. Fearless over the middle. Wins a lot of contested balls.
Negatives: one of the worst athletes at the receiver position this year. Lacks speed. Not very elusive. Lacks quick twitch movement ability. Not a vertical threat all. Has below average acceleration.
Overview: Rogers is a guy that after watching one play on, I immediately said he reminds me of Anquan Bolden. After watching five games, nothing has changed. He is still Bolden on tape. He wins contested balls with ease. The other side to that is he has to because he doesn't create a ton of separation due to his physical limitations. He is however a solid route runner and that will help him separate as he gets better. But his glue like hands, strength, toughness, and refusal to be tackled post catch makes him an interesting player. He's definitely a sleeper who four years from now we can look back on and ask how did you not go sooner.
Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly
Player Comparison: Brett Favre
Positives: one of the best arms in the draft. Underrated pocket presence. Has better than advertised mobility. Very tough. Can make every throw even from different angles. Experience running a pro scheme and making pro reads. Identifies the blitz well. Has experience calling his own audibles. Learned from a legend.
Negatives: extreme risk taker. Inconsistent in big games. Relies on arm strength too often. Throws off back foot a lot. Struggles with accuracy in the middle intermediate passing game.
Overview: if we're to be completely honest, Chad would likely be viewed as a forst round QB if not for injuries and off field issues. His character is a bigger question than his talent. Chad is just as talented as Deshone Kizer, and has actually delivered more big games than Kizer. He's a true gunslinger in every sense of the word. He can improvise with the best of them. It might not always be the best decision, but whatever the outcome, he's likely to have you on the edge of your seat more times than not in each game. Between his risk taking, damn near identical ht/wt, powerful arm, and improvisational game you'd think he learned from Brett Favre instead of Jim Kelly.
Ashland TE Adam Shaheen
Player Comparison: Martellus Bennett
Positives: a monster at 6'7" 277. Can really fly down field. Very physical. High motor. Surprisingly decent blocker. Catches the ball extremely well. Gets up field quickly. Is a major redzone threat. Shows smaller defensive backs no mercy. Faster than most linebackers. A bit of a tough guy. Has a bit of a nasty streak to him.
Negatives: very little experience playing the game. Limited game tape available. Only began playing three years ago. Has not yet grasped the concept of proper route running. Still learning defenses. Right now playing off of pure physical ability. Will require patience as he learns more about the game.
Overview: Shaheen is eerily similar to Martellus Bennett when he came out. However, he's actually bigger and faster. The thing you love about Shaheen most is his toughness. He's a bully out there, and its a beautiful thing. Shaheen has one of the highest floors and ceilings of all the tightends in draft. Under the right tutelage he could become the next big deal at the position. He certainly does not struggle with giving effort, and teams have to love that.
Wyoming RB Brian Hill
Player Comparison: Steven Jackson
Positives: very quick feet for his size. Has a Steven Jackson like jump cut and running style. Very smooth runner. Shows great patience to the hole and burst through when the crease develops. Runs with very good power, and exceptional vision. Rarely goes down upon first contact. Better than expected long speed. Just fast enough to get the edge. Can be both elusive and overpowering.
Negatives: not a lot of receiving from the backfield. Very limited third down ability. Will need to improve greatly to be legitimate three down back. Does not consistently make right read in blitz pick up. Poor technique on blocks. Needs to do a better job bringing his shoulder through on cuts.
Overview: Hill is a special runner. The run game comes natural. His ability to run with extreme patience is about as effortless as it can be. He makes smooth and quick cuts without losing speed. His vision and patience makes him a great fit for a zone scheme. However, his burst and decisive cuts will allow him to flourish in a power scheme. His versatility will serve him well as he tries to adapt to third in the NFL.
South Florida RB Marlon Mack
Player Comparison: LeSean McCoy
Positives: some of the quickest feet at the position this year. Very good receiver out of the backfield. Ridiculously elusive. Explosive in the open field. Sets up blocks regularly. Shows very good vision and patience. Burst through the hole like a bullet from a guns barrel. Runs with elite balance and control.
Negatives: needs to get stronger. Struggles to push the pile. Bigger linebackers can really slow him down. Struggles in pass pro. Way too high on block attempts. Delayed reaction to blitz. Fearless in pass pro, so he goes heads up too often. Not strong enough to last against NFL backers at that rate. Needs better technique.
Overview: one of the most explosive backs in the draft, Mack is already good enough to handle 200 NFL touches in a season. From his size, to speed, to elusiveness, he's like a poor mans Lesean McCoy. But far from dirt poor, Mack is a stud in his own right. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to the NFL's bigger and faster linebackers. Regardless, I fully expect Mack to have an impact sooner than later at the next level.
Texas RB D’Onta Foreman
Player Comparison: Ricky Williams
Positives: exceptional raw power. Surprisingly elite second and third gear. Great vision. Really impressive patience. Sets up blocks nicely. Makes cuts a back his size (6' 240) normally can't make. One of the faster backs in the draft. Never gets caught from behind. Though very powerful, does not rely solely on his strength. Runs smart. Workaholic and leader.
Negatives: zero experience receiving from the backfield. Major questions about his hands. Not very good in protection. Appears to be lost in pass pro responsibility. Though he changes directions smoothly, he's not very elusive. Lacks wiggle.
Overview: it's fitting that the best back to come from Texas since Jamaal Charles is most comparable to another former Longhorn in Ricky Williams. Like Williams, Foreman is a true down hill sprinter, who happens to be built like a bull. He runs with otherworldly leg drive and arm tackles or smaller DBs, simply will not cut it. He's a punishing runner, who can't be stopped when he catches stride on the second level. He might be the most underrated back in the entire draft.
Michigan WR Jehu Chesson
Player Comparison: Allen Hurns
Positives: explosive athlete. Very good size. Very quick for his size. Exciting return man. Height and speed makes him an ideal deep threat. Very dangerous in the open field. Has great vision and yac ability. Tough guy to tackle. Strong kid, with impressive will power to gain yards after contact. Solid hands. Can make some jaw dropping highlight reel catches.
Negatives: has a lot to learn with understanding coverage. Has experience running entire route tree, but routes are undisciplined. Plays off pure talent, and not enough understanding. Struggles to find holes in zone. Stutter steps, and early sales on routes makes it difficult to separate at times. Route tree needs to be fine tuned.
Overview: Chesson is a pure athlete, that has all the tools to — much like Allen Hurns — prove to be a top notch number two option in the NFL. A two should not be frowned upon as they can be 1000 yard 8 td receivers. Chesson has that ability. He is a redzone, deep, and quick pass threat all rolled into one, but probably not an intermediate chain mover.
Miami S Rayshawn Jenkins
Player Comparison: Reggie Nelson
Positives: very rangy. Versatile, can excel at either deep middle or in the box. Good ball skills. Good COD. Overall solid tackler. Above average athlete. Very good firld awareness. No issues locating and knocking the ball away, with occasional interception. Has bone rattling power on strikes. Impressive recovery speed. Very comfortable in zone. At his best when he can sit back and study the QBs eyes. Big time leader.
Negatives: struggles in man coverage. Though his COD comes relatively easy with short quick flips, his hips are not as fluid when asked to open his hips and run with receiver, it's why his recovery speed is so important. NFL receivers will exploit this with an extra move on route to throw off recovery speed for separation. Has great ball skills in locating the football, but doesn't make enough splash plays when its there. Scary injury history
Overview: Jenkins isn't like another Jenkins most Rams fans are all too aware of. He's far from a risk taker. He makes the safe play when the ball is in the air. He'll go for the occasional kill shot, and his hits are powerful, but he doesn't create as many turnovers as he can. Coaches are likely going to want him to cash in on more opportunities at the next level. Jenkins is a very good safety whether he's high or lower due to his impressive zone coverage — and speed and ball skills — and his ability to play with power and be a good run defender. He's discipline enough to help a defense early on if need be.
Colorado S Tedric Thompson
Player Comparison: Jairus Byrd
Positives: true ball hawk. Exceptional zone coverage skills. Locates the ball as good as anyone. Splash play machine. Solid tackler. Has quick feet and good COD skills. Not afraid to get physical. Reads the QBs eyes extremely well. Understands zone concepts and responsibilities. Has mastered the art of cushion in coverage. A true and natural center fielder. Doesn't allow much over the top. Plays very smart, high football IQ. Very good at stacking receivers on the seam.
Negatives: not a very good athlete. Recovery speed is lacking severely. Though he doesn't allow much over the top, if he does he wont recover. Not very good in man coverage. Hips are too stiff to allow receiver to get even. Has to always stay on top. Very little room for mistakes due to lack of speed and athleticism
Overview: Thompson is like a Jairus Byrd clone from when he came out of Oregon. Though Byrd went in the second round, and Thompson is more likely to go in the fifth or sixth. However, if you play a single high, or a 2-man he is ideal enough to be a plug and play, similar to how Byrd was as a rookie. Either of those schemes would allow him to flourish. When he's asked to do more, he'll likely struggle. He has to be allowed to roam deep and make plays, and touchdown saving tackles. Nothing more nothing less. But he's going to do that at a high level.
Alabama FS Eddie Jackson
— injuries and inconsistent positioning (where he lines up) has caused him to not be another Alabama safety to be considered for the first round. But make no mistake the talent is first round worthy. He's also an explosive return man. With ball hawk skills and decent man coverage skills, if Jackson can stay healthy he could be yet another really good Alabama safety taking care of business at the NFL level.
Coastal Carolina RB De'Angelo Henderson
— another highly productive back from a small school. He reminds me a lot of Ray Rice. Henderson is fun to watch and has true every down back potential. His biggest adjustment will be the speed of the NFL. He has everything else. He's a good blocker, receiver, runs with patience and extraordinary vision, has an NFL caliber second gear, balance, shiftiness, speed, he's got all the tools, packed into a body similar to that of Ray Rice. I'm a fan, and he's someone I'll be watching closely.
Cal QB Davis Webb
— the more I watch Webb, the more intrigued I've become. I honestly think he has one of the highest ceilings of his position group. The talent is there. Very strong arm, underrated movement and mobility skills, precision... but he comes from that damn system that doesn't prepare anyone for the pros. He needs to sit and learn, but he actually has a higher ceiling than his predecessor.
Northern Illinois WR Kenny Golladay
— I talk about Golladay a lot and its because everything in my gut tells me he'd be viewed as a guaranteed top 40 pick (borderline first round player) had he gone to Florida St or Clemson or Alabama etc.. with his size, ball skills, sub 4.5 speed, and production there's no way he'd be looked at as a third to fifth round prospect. Unfortunately, playing at the school he played at he'd need four years of his final two years type of production or 4.4 flat speed or better for top 40 hype.
Saint Francis FS Lorenzo Jerome
— he makes this list as an honorable mention as opposed to being on the list itself, only because he's starting to get a little more recognition. Though some hold over his head, more than others, that he ran a 4.7 at the combine — improved to a 4.58 and 4.6 at pro day — Jerome is still a true playmaker that you can allow to roam deep and go get the ball, or play around the line for the blitz or cover the slot. He's got the best ball skils in the draft, and will cause splash plays no matter what.
San Diego St. CB Damontae Kazee
— terribly underrated corner. Above average coverage in both zone and off man. And one of the best ball hawks in the draft, if not the absolute best. Can eliminate a slot receiver but also good enough to play comfortably outside. He is very similar to Asante Samuel.