Let’s take a look at some underrated prospects with potential to make general managers think twice before skipping over them, and have talent-evaluators swallowing their stopwatches!
Kyle Long (OG/OT, Oregon): (+’s) He’s a great athlete, and exemplified such during the combine (Long once threw a fastball clocked at over 90mph in high school and was actually drafted by the Chicago White Sox.). He has a good initial burst, which allows him to explode into blocks, as well as pick up defenders. Kyle’s brother Chris is a standout pass-rusher for the St. Louis Rams. Both are sons of NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long. (-‘s) He’s got limited experience as a football player and will need a little time to blossom. In pass protection, Long needs to utilize more power when helping out on a double team. He also doesn’t consistently finish his blocks on the 2nd level, and this will need to improve for him to live up to his potential.
Stepfan Taylor (RB, Stanford): (+’s) He's a relentless runner, that doesn’t quit until he gets every yard possible (he’ll move the pile as well). He keeps his powerful legs churning up field and can go “beast mode” a la Marshawn Lynch. Taylor can break multiple tackles, as well as take it a long way. He can really be a bell cow back, closing games out by wearing down defenses with his physicality. He’s a complete running back, and can be your number one; he makes plays out of the backfield & you don't need to worry about him in blitz pick up. (-‘s) He has slow straight-line speed, and although he has what it takes to get to the outside, he lacks the ability to improvise on inside runs. Taylor stays with the run that was called, even if everything closes up inside & a gaping hole exists to the outside! He lacks that “last gear” to break away from pursuers; therefore, he uses angles towards the sidelines in order to finish a lot of his long runs (reminds me of Frank Gore).
Arthur Brown (ILB, Kansas State): (+’s) Brown is a solid tackler & pursues the run well (good patience). He has underrated strength, which he uses to avoid blocks. He reacts quickly after correctly diagnosing a run play, and moves smoothly off his back foot while coming back downhill. (-‘s) Brown struggles versus read-option. Both Oregon & Baylor torched him using read-option; now imagine him trying to defend a healthy RG3 or Colin Kaepernick? Brown can get confused at times when in zone coverage. He doesn't react as well (or as instinctively) as when he's in man coverage, so a pump fake from the QB can throw him off.
-Nolan Hack & Joseph Haas
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Nolan Hack’s NFL-DEA (Draft Eligible Analysis) is a segment of HaasStyleInterpretations.com focusing on talent entering the 2013 NFL Draft. Mr. Hack utilizes his hours of game film study to arrive at his conclusions on players. All player evaluation found in this article are those of Mr. Nolan Hack (@NolanHack).