Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Show Some Love: Top Five Underrated Players in the 2009 NFL Draft

I'm back today with my top five underrated players of the upcoming draft. Just for some clarification on yesterday's post, I don't think Curry and Crabtree will be complete busts, ala Ryan Leaf, I just don't think they can compare to the top talent at their positions of previous drafts. But, I do see Robiskie being a bust, and Andre Smith has Ryan Leaf written all over him...well maybe two Ryan Leaf's---given his size.

Anywho, without further ado, my top five players who should be getting more love from the 'experts'.

5. Lawrence Sidbury Jr.
Rice's Lawrence Sidbury Jr. really impressed scouts at the combine. He turned in the best time for a defensive end with a 4.64 40 yard dash. He also put up a respectable 28 reps on the bench press. Sidbury may still need to slightly bulk up his 6'3" 265 pound frame, but even now, his measurables are comparable to other top DL prospects like Aaron Maybin (6'4" 253) and Brian Orakpo (6'3" 263). Sidbury is projected by most to be a late second or early third round draft choice. Rice's Sidbury Jr. would be a real steal that late in the draft.

4. Rhett Bomar

Remember Rhett Bomar? If not he was Oklahoma's quarterback in 2005. He was later kicked off the team and went to Sam Houston State. Bomar is the second FCS (I-AA) prospect to crack my list. Bomar showed promise in 05 with Oklahoma throwing for over 2,000 yards and a 10 touchdown to 10 interception ratio, as a redshirt freshman. Bomar only increased his stats at SHS throwing for 3,405 yards and a 27-13 touchdown to interception ratio. Being a IAA prospect, I'm not declaring Bomar the next Joe Flacco, but he could be a great pick-up in the later rounds.

3. Marcus Freeman

If you read my rankings yesterday, you know that I put some stock in combine numbers, but I don't like putting too much stock into them. Being said, Freeman was very impressive at the combine. He put up a linebacker-high 30 repetitions on the bench press, and his 4.74 40 yard dash was seventh amongst all linebackers. Freeman also has the collegiate career to back up his numbers, being named second team all-Big Ten in 2008. Freeman may be being slightly looked over due to playing his whole career in the shadows of James Laurinaitis at OSU. I see most mocks projecting Freeman as a third round pick. Scouts may me a little hesitant of his size, at only 6'0" and 239 lbs, but I believe Freeman will have a long pro career ahead of him.

2. Hakeem Nicks

Hakeem Nicks isn't exactly being overlooked---being a projected second round pick. But, I think his talent is even greater than that. Nicks, even at 6'1", can go up and get any pass. And, if you watched North Carolina's bowl win against West Virginia you know Nicks catches anything that is thrown to him. He finished the game with eight receptions for 217 yards and three touchdowns, including a string of highlight reel worthy circus catches. Nicks had a very productive 2008 grabbing 68 passes for 1,222 yards and 12 touchdowns. I think any team should feel lucky to snatch Nicks up in the second round.

1. Shonn Greene

Okay fine, call me a homer, but you had to see this one coming. Shonn Greene's 1,850 yards were good enough for second in the nation. FACT: Shonn Greene was college football's best running back in 2008 (See Doak Walker results). But, the same knocks keep coming up against Greene. The experts will reiterate that Greene only had one full season of college football, and will talk about his age as if he's getting AARP discounts. The only discount here is the team that gets Greene in the late second or third round, that he's projected to go. Greene will turn 24 when the NFL season opens. But that is not necessarily a bad thing, considering he has only 376 career carries (including an entire year off) while Donald Brown (a RB projected ahead of him) has almost twice as many, 698 carries. While Greene's legs might be slightly older than the other top prospects they haven't seen nearly as much work. Therefore, Greene's NFL longevity may be just as long as any RB in this class.

Although Greene didn't have the best combine, he dramatically improved his numbers during Iowa's Pro Day. He turned in a 4.55 40 during Pro Day, which is very respectable for a RB of Greene's size. Now, I can somewhat understand Beanie Wells (injuries and all) and Knowshon Moreno being projected above Greene----but LeSean McCoy (all 198 pounds), Donald Brown, Andre Brown, and others ahead of him? C'mon

Photos: Lawrence Sidbury Jr.: Richmond Athletics Public Relations, Rhett Bomar & Hakeem Nicks: Getty Images, Shonn Greene: Washington Post


  1. Love that you included Rhett Bomar. The guy has a lot of skill, and showed it an the underachieving FCS conference. Although Bomar has a lot of talent in a draft where talent is scarce, Bomar also has had some off-field issues that could make teams weary of taking him. Kind of like the case with Andre Smith, attitude is just as important as ability. Not saying Bomar will be a top pick, but wherever he is taken in the later rounds, it will most likely be a steal.

    One more note..although being in Iowa, we aren't subjected to much UNC football, but if you witnessed the NC/WVU Meineke Car Care bowl game, Hakeem Nicks was sick. Any other day I would have seen NC playing a football game and kept turning the channel, but that guy was having some out-of-body experience that game. Not that one game at the end of your college career makes or breaks you, but he caught everyone's attention that game.

    ..good post

  2. I really think Bomar could be a real surprise. Great value for a pick in the latter half of the draft.

    And yes, Nicks is ridiculous...'nuff said.