Welcome to the second installment of Rotoworld's four-part overrated/underrated series. On Monday, we presented the All-Overrated First Team. Next Monday, check back for the All-Underrated First Team. Two days later, the series will conclude with the All-Underrated Second Team.
All-Overrated Second Team
First Team: Connor Cook (Michigan State).
Second Team: Christian Hackenberg (Penn State). Once upon a time, way back in 2014, Josh Norris and I felt a little lone-voices-in-the-wilderness with regards to Hackenberg. While many were still touting the sophomore as a future No. 1 overall pick, Hackenberg looked lost. He never did find himself. Worse, like any lost soul, Hackenberg picked up a series of coping mechanisms. My personal favorite was Hack’s eccentricity of backpedaling away from pressure, as though trying to outrun defenders backwards. Other times, he’d just fire the ball wherever his arm was aiming to avoid getting sacked, like when you panic and hit any old button in Madden for the same reason. Hack would be a first-teamer on this list and the squad’s MVP were it not for the industry belatedly knocking him down a few pegs in 2015. There are quarterbacks who will go late on Day 3 or may not get drafted at all (Vernon Adams and Matt Johnson are two examples) who I'd take before him. Hack, who completed less than 85 percent of his bubble screens(!) last year, will probably go in Round 2 or early Round 3 (Jon Gruden believes he's a first-rounder).
Second Team: Alex Collins (Arkansas). Like Derrick Henry, Collins runs like an avalanche falls, is neutralized by getting hit low prior to the line of scrimmage and is a non-factor in the passing game. Collins accelerates quicker than Henry and has a few more backfield tap dancing tricks if the defense penetrates, but he lacks Henry’s size and power. Collins also fumbles too much and is a little stiff in the open field. He’s the type that can either juke or run at full speed; he can’t do both at the same time. Add it all up and you might have a Quadruple-A running back not cleanly suited for an NFL RB rotation. Because while Collins doesn’t have a big weakness, he also doesn’t possess an elite trait.
Keith Marshall (Georgia). In 2012, Marshall had a slightly higher rushing average than teammate Todd Gurley (on about 100 less carries). After that, Marshall’s body betrayed him worse than Sarah Marshall betrayed Jason Siegel. Marshall -- did your mind jump to How I Met Your Mother, too? -- is going to get drafted because of his five-star pedigree and his fastest-in-the-field 40 (4.31) at the Combine. That makes me happy for him as a human being, but I’d strongly caution any team from dreaming big here. Marshall hasn’t been an effective runner since 2012. He could barely get onto the field last year, even after Nick Chubb went down.
Least favorite properly rated prospect: Jordan Howard (Indiana).
First Team: Will Fuller (Notre Dame) and De’Runnya Wilson (Mississippi State).
Second Team: Laquon Treadwell (Mississippi). Treadwell’s destiny is to become one of the NFL’s best No. 2 receivers. He’s a pure possession receiver -- one of the better prospects of his ilk that we’ve seen in a while, sure, but not a game-breaking superstar. He’s too slow for that. Treadwell pulled out of the Combine 40-yard dash at the 11th hour and then proceeded to show why at his Pro Day, running a rough 4.63 seconds. Since everybody runs faster at Pro Day than at the Combine, you can toss out educated guesses as to what he would have run in Indy. That lack of burst is apparent on the field: Treadwell had 12 30-plus yard plays last year. Baylor's Corey Coleman and Notre Dame's Will Fuller had 41 and 36, respectively. Treadwell will likely go in the top half of the first. If he does, hopefully he goes to a team that already has a No. 1 (the Giants would be a nice fit, even if I disagree with the value at No. 10). I’d wait until the 20s, personally. Is that a ticky-tack definition of overrated? Sure. But Treadwell will likely be the first receiver taken and I prefer both Corey Coleman and Josh Doctson.
Jalin Marshall (Ohio State). He’ll go in the middle rounds, but Marshall is an unproven (two years collegiate experience) vertical receiver with a 4.60 forty and a sub 6-foot frame. Moving along.
Least favorite properly rated prospect: Braxton Miller (Ohio State).
First Team: Nick Vannett (Ohio State).
Second Team: Kyle Carter (Penn State). This tight end class is so thin that it became hard to select a second overrated tight end. I settled on Carter, who not long ago held great promise. But he was stuck on the same sinking ship as Hackenberg, catching 30 total passes over the past two years combined, six less than he had as a freshman. After a dud performance at the Shrine Game, Carter was snubbed from the Combine. He may still sneak into the late rounds over more deserving candidates.
Least favorite properly rated prospect: Austin Hooper (Stanford).
First Team: Le’Raven Clark (Texas Tech) and Willie Beavers (Western Michigan).
Second Team: Germain Ifedi (Texas A&M). Mel Kiper calls Ifedi a first-round pick and Tony Pauline reports that many in the NFL agree with him. Ifedi tests well in shorts but plays devoid of grace, popping out of his stance immediately like a man out of his bus seat. Next, he throws his vine-long arms at the defender and arrives late, getting slapped away. Last year, Ifedi scored a negative pass-blocking grade in PFF’s metrics. He struggles against both speed and power players. Even if you’re apt to buy into the dream of Ifedi’s supposed untapped potential, consider this: The new CBA grants free agency sooner, meaning teams can no longer write off the first few years of a developmental prospect’s career.
Jack Conklin (Michigan State). Conklin will be a good run-blocking right tackle in the NFL (though his power is sometimes questioned in that capacity). As such, he’s more of a second-round prospect. He gets beat too much in pass protection due to shoddy technique to play left tackle. Good player, fun to watch, but he’s going to get overdrafted. And that team will probably compound its mistake by deploying Conklin immediately at left tackle. The sooner he finds his calling as a right tackle, the better.
Least favorite properly rated prospect: Shon Coleman (Auburn).
Second Team: Connor McGovern (Missouri). Once drafted next week, McGovern will immediately become one of the NFL's strongest players. If he and Andrew Billings end up on the same team, they will have epic contests in the weight room. McGovern, who once tore a pec trying to bench 515 pounds, holds all sorts of Missouri weight room records. Perhaps because the NFL became overly smitten with his feats of strength, McGovern has surged onto the Day 2 line and now looks like a third-rounder. That's too early. The collegiate tackle must kick inside in the pros because speed rushers eat him up. In the UFC, Joe Rogan often chides overly-muscled fighters for being stiff and quick to tire (because muscles require so much oxygen). The same principle is in play here. McGovern's stiffness won't be as big of an issue inside, but it's confusing to me that you'd take him two rounds earlier than, say, Landon Turner.
Alex Redmond (UCLA). An undersized guard with sloppy technique. Redmond needs to add weight and learn how to block. That’s what college is for, yeah? Redmond declared early for reasons unknown.
Least favorite properly rated prospect: Sebastian Tretola (Arkansas).
First Team: Nick Martin (Notre Dame).
Second Team: Jack Allen (Michigan State). Talked about as messianic in Michigan State circles and a stud collegiate center over the past few years, Allen is undersized and not athletic enough to make up for it in the NFL. Allen struggles with big, athletic interior players, and in the NFL they don’t come any other way.
Least favorite properly rated prospect: Evan Boehm (Missouri).
Second Team: Dadi Nicolas (Virginia Tech). Dangerously undersized at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, Nicolas is a pass-rushing specialist who gets mauled into the bleachers on running downs. Oh, and he had 2.5 sacks last year. In 13 games. After squaring off against Rd. 1 OT Taylor Decker in the opener against Ohio State (the Braxton Miller 360-spin game), Nicolas faced the following teams: Furman, Purdue, ECU, eight ACC teams not named Florida State or Clemson (UNC was the only ACC opponent to reach nine wins) and Tulsa in the bowl game. You can forgive the size and one-dimensional games of some edge rushing prospects if they’re so exceptional at getting to the quarterback that you can justify burning a roster spot on them as a third-down specialist. Nicolas isn’t. He may not last long in the NFL.
Alex McCalister (Florida). Basically a taller (6-foot-6) Nicolas. The 239-pound McCalister will get bullied in the NFL until he adds weight. Should have returned to school.
Least favorite properly rated prospect: Shilique Calhoun (Michigan State).
First Team: A’Shawn Robinson (Alabama) and Adolphus Washington (Ohio State).
Second Team: Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss). When people in the Michigan State program talk about Jack Allen, they gush to reporters on the record. When folks around Ole Miss talk about Nkemdiche, it’s sometimes done off the record so they can speak their mind. Those whispers paint Nkemdiche as an odd duck, aloof and eccentric. For an artist, that’d be great, for a football prospect, that’s Strike 1. The NFL is also concerned about Nkemdiche’s decision-making off the field (recall his marijuana-related hotel window leaping escapade before the bowl game). Strike 2. And for all his natural ability—and it’s immense; he was the No. 1 overall recruit coming out of high school and flashes Ndamukong Suh-like talent when he wants to—Nkemdiche is a one-note penetrator, barging forward each play apparently oblivious to the possibility of a running call. That’s Strike 3 for me when it comes to spending a Rd. 1 pick. If Suh is Nkemdiche’s ceiling, his floor is as a rotational pass-rusher. Check that. His floor is washing out of the league in three years. You have to take the risk if he’s there in Rd. 2 and you need a defensive lineman. But the investment is too high in Rd. 1.
Kenny Clark (UCLA). Clark is a good player, a strong interior run stuffer. My issue isn’t with him. It’s with opportunity cost. This DT class is extremely deep, littered with strong prospects who will get pushed to Day 3 because of circumstance. Clark will go in Rd. 2 if he doesn’t get snapped up near the end of Rd. 1. Instead of going that route, you could wait two or three rounds and get a comparable prospect. We’ll talk about specific examples in this space next week.
Least favorite properly rated prospect: Jarran Reed (Alabama).
First Team: Antonio Morrison (Florida).
Second Team: Josh Forrest (Kentucky). Where Forrest will go -- likely late Day 2 or early Day 3 -- there will be better ILB prospects on the board. His stock soared at the Senior Bowl but leveled off a bit following a 4.91 forty at the Combine.
Least favorite properly rated prospect: Ben Brown (Mississippi State).
First Team: Leonard Floyd (Georgia) and De’Vondre Campbell (Minnesota).
Second Team: Darron Lee (Ohio State). The Scouts Inc. team at ESPN ranks Lee No. 10 overall and he’s likely to go in the middle of the first round. I get it: With 4.52 wheels, Lee looks like the perfect new-age outside linebacker, capable of both chasing runners sideline-to-sideline and sticking to tight ends or slot receivers when needed. When Lee gets picked, the announcers will gush that his new team just improved its pass coverage. But Lee wasn’t good in coverage at Ohio State. PFF ranked him No. 74 among LBs in this draft class in coverage last year. Lee also surrendered more yards per coverage snap than all but 11 LBs in the class. Since even his supporters agree that the 6-foot, 232-pound Lee struggles to both tackle and take on blockers, you can understand my skepticism.
Jordan Jenkins (Georgia). He’s not quick, he plays high and he never added up to the sum of his parts at Georgia. Jenkins doesn’t have any star-level attributes, but he doesn’t have any big flaw either. He won’t wash out of the NFL quickly, but the Rd. 2 or 3 price tag is rich.
Least favorite properly rated prospect: Deion Jones (LSU).
Second Team: Xavien Howard (Baylor). The NFL likes it corners tall, fast and talented. Howard is tall. His 4.58 Combine forty killed the upside vibe for me. I watched almost every Baylor game over the past two seasons and saw a corner who regularly got fooled by non-NFL players. Now, speed can be added to the list of concerns alongside questionable instincts. Howard had 10 career interceptions, which can be attributed to two things: His gambling tendency and the opposition throwing desperately while trailing Baylor by double digits.
Harlan Miller (Southeastern Louisiana). A favorite in scouting circles, Miller is small, slow and untested.
Least favorite properly rated prospect: Kendall Fuller (Virginia Tech).
Second Team: Jalen Mills (LSU). Mills has the size, speed and athleticism to be a stud corner, but his awful instincts forced a move to safety. His aggressive style would play back there, it was thought. Instead, he became a safety tweener, just as he’d been a cornerback tweener. This time, the issue was that while Mills was willing to fling himself all around the field, he wasn’t actually good at tackling. He was also thin and frail. At 191 pounds, there’s a good chance he’ll be the lightest safety drafted next week (and at 6-foot, he figures to be the shortest safety taken on Days 1-2). His questionable instincts followed him to safety. His off-field questions follow him into the NFL.
Deiondre Hall (Northern Iowa). Once a hot cornerback prospect because of his 6-foot-2 frame and long-time maltreatment of FCS receivers, Hall’s 4.6 forty time forced evaluators back to consensual reality with the rest of us. He played some safety in college and will likely head back there in the NFL. If you need a safety in that mid-Day 3 range, take somebody like Kevin Byard or Justin Simmons instead.
Least favorite properly rated prospect: Vonn Bell (Ohio State).