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2018 NFL Draft: Overrated prospects who will be drafted too soon

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These guys could be good players, but their production won’t match their draft slot

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NCAA Football: CFP National Championship Game-Alabama vs Georgia
Calvin Ridley
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Overrated has a very negative connotation, but it doesn’t always mean bad. Overrated, to me, just means not as good as advertised. I think most of these following players in the 2018 NFL Draft class have a chance to be good NFL players, they are just not “my guys” and I’d be disappointed if they end up on the New York Giants. Having, however, been heavily involved in following or writing about the draft for the better part of a decade I should know by now the title of this post really could be “guys most likely to make me look like an idiot on their way to Pro Bowls.”

Mike Hughes, CB, UCF

Hughes was targeted 66 times in 2017, he allowed just 34 receptions for 301 yards and allowed a quarterback rating of 20.8 on deep vertical routes and a 43.8 passer rating overall which is all terrific. He is the essence of a lockdown college cornerback, but he’s a college lockdown cornerback. There’s a fine balance between guys being graded on game film and those who are workout wonders. Size and speed absolutely do matter. There are players who can transcend their physical limitations to be productive NFL players, but I don’t think Hughes is one of them. He’s not huge and he’s not blazing fast. He’s only 5-foot-10 and 189 pounds with 30 7/8-inch arms and 8 3/4-inch hands. His 40-yard dash time of 4.53 puts him in the 38th percentile among cornerbacks. Technique matters a lot, but size and speed matter as well and Hughes just doesn’t have enough of it.

Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

A massive lineman with a great pedigree, Brown is projected often as a first- or second-round pick. He’s a big, long OL and long massive players tend to get a lot of slack in the league, but if you think Ereck Flowers is bad, he is light years ahead of Brown in terms of his movement ability. Brown doesn’t bend very well and doesn’t move particularly well, either. His athletic numbers are simply un-draftable.

Connor Williams, OT, Texas

The offensive line class is really just poor, especially if you don’t play for Notre Dame. Williams is another guy I wouldn’t sniff in the first round, but I think some of these guys along the offensive line are going to go high because poor offensive line play is an epidemic in the league. The weird thing with Williams was his play disparity from 2016 to 2017, and I’m always very hesitant on guys who regress at any point in their college careers.

Mason Rudolph QB, Oklahoma State

Screams system quarterback to me. Rudolph gets talked about possibly going in the late-first or second round. I think he plays with some of the anticipation I’d like to see, I just don’t think his arm strength is enough to make the tight throws that’ll be needed in the NFL consistently. Didn’t see enough great throws, looks like a backup to me.

Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

The hope for Bryan is Aaron Donald or Geno Atkins, as sometimes these athletic undersized defensive tackles become game wreckers. Bryan has drawn some comparisons to J.J. Watt (after college) throughout the process. I don’t think any of that is Bryan. He gets by on plus athletic ability, but lacks the instincts and technical savvy of either Donald or Watt. Watt and Donald are master technicians and Bryan can improve in that aspect, but I don’t think he’s an instant starter/game changer, I feel like he’s more of a developmental player who can be a productive starter down the line. That’s a mid-Day 2 pick and not an early first-rounder to me.

All Round 1 wide receivers

Calvin Ridley has the best chance of them and he might be a good player, I don’t see top 10 ability personally, if he goes that high. Some point in Round 1 is fine. Courtland Sutton and Christian Kirk are other guys who should be good NFL pros, but I think they’ll get over-drafted. The league is basketball on grass and wide receivers are important. I just don’t think any of these guys are great.

Who are the guys you think are most overrated?