The Most Underrated College Players

I’ve been reading some things on mock drafts, and there are several big names I’m not seeing, as well as some players that are good and no where to be seen. Here are some potential draft steals.

10. Isi Sofele. Huh? Almost no one has heard of the running back from Cal, but he went well over 1,000 yards rushing, and has good speed and vision. He is small, but Tiki Barber proved you can still suceed in the NFL as small guy if you avoid the big hits. However, Sofele is really small:5’7”.

9. Chase Thomas. Stanfords linebacker has impressed many with his smarts, strength, and speed, but he has recieved little national attention.

8. Denard Robinson. Okay, so Michigan’s Quarterback doesn’t throw the ball that well. Where have we seen that before? Alright, Tebow’s guts and cool head are a rare thing in 4th quarter repeatably, Robinson can fly, has a strong arm, and is raw enough to groom to have good mechanics down the road. Huge potential, Micheal Vick mold.

7. Doug Martin. Boise State’s running game takes a backseat to Kellen Moore and the pass-happy offense, but he breaks tackles well and has the speed to go for 6 on the second level.

6. Keenan Allen. I was actually really suprised that I didn’t see him on any of the lists. He is a polished receiver that has great hands. Zach Maynard’s inaccuracy certainly gave him a lot of chances to come down with spectacular catches. He is a big, tall, reciever who can drag defenders. He runs routes well and shakes defenders, but does not posses world-class speed. I’m not saying he’s slow, just not lightning.

5. Marcus Lattimore. He was considered a Heisman Trophy canidate at the begging of the season, but injuries derailed those hopes. Still, his great vision and other running back skills make him a great prospect.

4. LaMicheal James. Many people think his draft value will fall because of his elbow injury. Unless you are going to run the half-back pass, when will this affect his play? James’ speed is crazy, and I am certain he can be a sucessful NFL running back.

3. Keith Price. Washington stunk, even with Jake Locker. Hopes were low entering htis season, but Price beat out Nick Montana (Joe’s son) to win the starting quarterback job, and has had great sucess, propelling them to bowl bid against Baylor and RG3 with his touchdowns.

2. Colby Fleener. Not many tight ends are initially regarded as 1st or 2nd round picks, but Fleener is big body with soft hands. He got most of Andrew Luck’s targets, as Stanford’s wide receiving corps is actually really bad, and lived up to the task.

1. Kellen Moore. I have him as my #4 Pro-Ready Quarterback, but not many people seem to be agreeing with me. Concerns about his height (6′) and therefore lack of arm strength seemed to scare people away. What every scout wants to see, though, is good mechanics, and Moore has that. He is consistent and always gives his team a chance to win.

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Top Ten NFL-Ready College Quarterbacks

1. Andrew Luck. Well, that was a given. Although he didn’t win the Heisman Trophy, that was most likely because Stanford’s conservative offense didn’t allow him to put up monster numbers. His recieving corps was bad, but in the end, as Trent Dilfer said, “He has no flaws.” Luck has valuable leadership skills, knows how to run a pro offense thanks to the Stanford playbook, and has a cannon that fires pinpoint lasers and accurate deep bombs. He can also make or extend plays with his feet. He will be the No.1 overall pick, and for good reason.

2. Matt Barkley. Luck has no flaws, and the same can be said for Barkley. He can play well in times of adversity, with all the craziness going on at USC, and if he ends up on a bad team, he still plays like he has something to play for, as he still played great this year as his 10-2  team was ineliglible to be ranked and for a bowl game. Complete Prospect.

3. Robert Griffin the III. RG3 is a different type of player than Luck or Barkley. Yes, Luck won’t be hindered by a lack of speed, he he doesn’t have the Open-Field elusiveness of RG3. He can also throw it a little bit, as evidenced by the very fine trophy he brought home from New York last week. The flashy big plays are always enticing. There is no word yet on whether or not he is officially entering the draft. There are some concerns about whether or not his slim build and 6’2” frame can take the punishment dished out by the NFL’s best.

4. Kellen Moore. Moore has had 5 years as the Quarterback at Boise State, so he is the rare college QB that is experieinced. He plays well in crunch time and has an accurate arm. All the Intangibles are there, as well as some good accuracy and arm strength. He stands just 6′, which is tall for most people but short for an NFL QB.

5. Landry Jones. Andrew Luck has a strong arm, but it was limited with Stanford’s style of play. Jones had no such problem, as his incredible arm was on full display this season as he racked up amazing passing statistics, such as 505 yards in 1 game! His team was a huge disappointment,though. These huge amounts of passing yards came from many passing attempts per game, which makes him vulnerable to a lot of interceptions.

6. Aaron Murry. Not a lot of people know about him, but behind his school record for touchdown passes, Georigia has cruised to the 13 spot. When I said school record, keep in mind, Matthew Stafford, a former #1 overall pick, also went to Georgia. Good mechanics and a good football player. He’s not a big name but he has 1st Round Talent.

7.Brandon Weeden. I dropped him to Number 7 because he is a 28 year old seinor and that will drop his value in the draft.  He doesn’t have anything paticulary special, but led OSU, which has been a non-factor in recent memory, into the 3rd best team in the country and almost got into the championship game.

8. Case Keenum. He’s a big name, but the Cougars didn’t play anyone decent this year until their last game. Keenum can certainly get the ball into the end zone, but Houston’s soft schedule leaves question marks about his ability to beat good teams.

9.Russel Wilson. He has a terrific sidekick at Wisconsin in Montee Ball, a Heisman Trophy finalist, and has been a productive starter. Was considered a Dark Horse Heisman canidate, but was simply not good enough to be in their. He could sneak into the 1st round with a good combine, but he’s most likely an early second-round pick.

10. Darron Thomas. Oregon’s whole gameplan is built on speed, and the Autosave quit and then I got timed out, ending what I had written, and I don’t feel like typing it all over again.

The AFC West Isn’t Done Yet

Many of the divisions have been wrapped up by now, or have an obvious front-runner. However the 1 set of 4 teams that could still go anywhere is the AFC West. The Chargers, Raiders, and Broncos are still in the hunt with KC not far behind but struggling. The Raiders, hot for a while, have cooled off, Carson Palmer is back to his ways of old, throwing I-N-Ts. Darren McFadden, on of the best running backs in the league, is still hurt and Micheal Bush, though doing a decent job of filling in, just isn’t the same. The Chargers were down for a while because of Phillip River’s interceptions, but I think his turnaround started with that big game against the terrible Jaguars. We have all learned to never count the Broncos out of anything, no matter what, because just when you need it, Tebow Time is going to show up. Once the dregs of the division, they now lead it. The Chiefs are an obvious a significant step behind, but not impossibly far back. Kyle Orton will need to turn things around quick, but going with him is the right move, because even the horrid Patriots secondary managed to stop him. Some wild predictions: The Broncos ride Tebow Time to the Super Bowl and beyond, because if they can keep it close, the game is theirs. All these repeated comebacks have got to put a little fear in defenders in the final 2 minutes when they are up by less than 2 touchdowns.
Another crazy thought: Carson Palmer will never be the Carson Palmer of 2005-2007. The interceptions will just keep piling up and the Raiders will be sorry they spent so much on him. They’ll turn to Terrelle Pyror next year and he will be the second coming of Cam Newton.
For thirds: The Chiefs will continue to sink and wind up with a high pick in next year’s draft, and will spend it on one of the many great college football quarterbacks to serve as Cassel’s successor (most likely Matt Barkley). With the young and great receiving core of Jon Baldwin, Steve Breaston, and Dwayne Bowe,combined with getting Jamaal Charles back, the Chiefs will be division champions for many years, as Barkley’s upside outweighs Cassel’s and I see him ending his career the way he started it: As a reliable backup who would start on most teams. If you noticed I haven’t said anything about the Chargers in these comments, well that’s beacause I don’t think there’s anything special about them. They’re a 9-7 team with a great QB (Rivers will bounce back, I think) and not much else.

Reyes to the Marlins? I don’t think so.

All of my blog posts have been about football, but as the winter meetings get underway in Dallas, it’s time to talk a little pine tar. The biggest move so far has been Jose Reyes going to the now Miami (no longer florida) Marlins. I don’t like this deal at all. Hanley Ramirez had a bad year last year and also got hurt, but he’s still one of the top 5 shortstops in baseball. Reyes is probably another one. Why go out and spend millions on a marquee shortstop when you’ve already got one? The second part I don’t like of this deal is Hanley moving to third. It’s his team. He was Rookie of the Year with this team, made All-Star teams, and was and is their best player, their franchise player. Great teams have great shortstops, and he was their centerpiece, their bulilding piece, the one you are supposed to build talent around. Now he’s getting pushed over. In a way, I understand. Hanley’s power bat is more suited for third, and as much as I hate to see him pushed over, Jose Reyes should never, ever, play third base. It just would’nt be right. When A-Rod came to the Yankees in ’04, Jeter was their star. Their heart and soul. Their Captain. He still is, but they didn’t make him move, they made A-Rod move over 90 Feet. Hanley getting pushed away like he’s an unimportant contributer, as if Jose is better than him. Trade him! He’s still young and productive, get a good arm for the bullpen or another quality starter. But it was his team, and they made him move. If you’re going to spend 120 million dollars, spend on something useful, something you actually need.  I have never liked bratty sports stars who want to be traded because their team was bad. But if their was ever a time to ask for a trade, this would be it. Plus, with Hanley being annoyed over moving, he may not get back to his usual self, and with their star, upset, I see them falling apart at the seams. Funnily enough, teams in all 3 major sports, Basketball, Football, and Baseball have gone to town on the Free-Agent market. The Heat fell short in the end, the Eagles have been without question a bust, and that’s not a good trend for the marlins. Heath Bell, their other big move, made sense. An All-Star closer to fill a need. Not like the Reyes deal. I believe the Marlins made a 120 million dollar mistake, created controvesy, angered their star, will be fighting upstream in July; Or hooked on a net, hung out to dry.