NFL Draft Preview: Most Overrated Players
DeShone Kizer QB, University of Notre Dame
Some people think DeShone Kizer has the most potential of any quarterback in this year’s class – others would not touch him with a 10-foot pole.
The mercurial Notre Dame quarterback led his perennially competent team into the gutter this past season, posting a 4-8 record while being benched at one point. His own head coach, Brian Kelly, admitted that Kizer could use another year in college.
Kizer is big, fast and has a cannon for an arm, but he is awfully inaccurate and does not seem to have the “it” factor that the draft’s other quarterbacks possess. Kizer completed under 50 percent of his fourth quarter passes last season.
Though Kizer’s physical tools alone mirror Cam Newton, he is miles away from being polished enough to start in the NFL.
Jabrill Peppers S/LB, University of Michigan
Jabrill Peppers is a media darling and an explosive punt returner, but that’s about it.
Peppers played all over the field on defense for Michigan last year and some believe that his positional versatility will pay dividends in the NFL. However, he did not shine at any position besides punt returner. Bleacher Report's Chris Simms recently went as far as to say Peppers was the most overrated player in the entire draft.
Peppers was often a step slow in coverage against good competition, routinely getting beat by competent route runners. In the run game, Peppers was unable to shed blocks and would often be washed out of the play.
Though people often credit his playmaking ability, Peppers only had one interception in his three-year career and his impact on defense was wholly negative.
A positional tweener with unimpressive tape is not worthy of the first-round grade many have bestowed upon him.
Malik McDowell DT, Michigan State University
McDowell is another player whose potential does not quite match his impact.
A hulking beast in the interior, McDowell shows flashes of brilliance a few times per contest where he looks like the best player on the field. The problem is, those flashes are fleeting and sandwiched by long stretches of ineptitude.
McDowell is not a high-motor player and does not bring it on every down. In the NFL, if you put forth a lackadaisical effort, you are going to be blown off the ball and embarrassed every time.
If the right coaching staff gets a hold of McDowell’s physical talents and he starts to actually play hard, he could be a Pro-Bowl talent. However, that is a pretty huge “if.”
Marlon Humphrey CB, University of Alabama
Marlon Humphrey looks like a prototypical NFL cornerback, but his technique is nowhere near NFL caliber.
Humphrey’s 6-foot, 200-pound frame and 4.41 speed make him a perfect candidate to be overdrafted by a coaching staff that thinks they can chizzle this marble into a masterpiece. While that may be possible, for now there are too many flaws in his game to ignore.
Humphrey is terrible at tracking the long-ball, which allows him to get beat deep when he does not have safety help over the top. Likewise, he is poor in press coverage and frequently allows receivers to get a good release.
Humphrey has the height-weight-speed combination that coaches covet, but his actual coverage leaves much to be desired.
Obi Melifonwu S, university of Connecticut
Obi Melifonwu is one of the biggest pre-draft risers due to his outstanding combine performance.
The Connecticut safety has an unreal combination 4.40 speed on a 6’4” frame that has scouts salivating over his measurables. His speed on that frame looks enticing, until you realize that his read and react skills are poor at best.
On tape, Melifonwu is a step slow on nearly every play and shows poor defensive instincts.
Melifonwu could grow to become a Kam Chancellor-esque playmaker, but the more likely scenario is that he never learns how to overcome his deficiencies and becomes no more than an average player.