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2013 NFL Draft: Top Five Overrated Prospects

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NFL Draft: Top Five Overrated Prospects For 2013

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Evaluating college players for the NFL level is at times a crapshoot, as “can’t miss” prospects don’t turn out and those that are not as well-regarded turn into key contributors or even Pro Bowlers.

During the process leading up to the draft each April, players have multiple opportunities to impress talent evaluators. From the Senior Bowl to the NFL Combine to visits with specific teams, these prospects are poked, prodded and evaluated to an extreme degree.

It’s easy for everyone to get excited, and perhaps be swayed, by a fast 40-yard dash time or an impressive workout in what are essentially track-and-field events that have little to do with playing football. A strong performance in these settings typically leads to NFL teams looking back at a player’s game tape for a closer look, which may or may not do that player a favor.

Projecting a prospect’s ultimate impact in the NFL comes down to that game tape, and that can lead to teams putting any other concerns (outside of health and durability) on the back burner.

Every list of NFL Draft busts that has ever been created is littered with quarterbacks, as that is a position that teams tend to reach for in an effort to find a franchise player. Going to a team picking high in the first round that is not ready-made for success also sets those players up for failure. As the most important, and perhaps pressure-packed, position on the field the top quarterback prospects are among the most polarizing and heavily scrutinized each and every year.

But there are plenty of other draft busts at positions all over the field, and I have attempted to look away from quarterbacks in putting together my list of overvalued prospects for this year.

Hindsight will prove any enterprising draft evaluator right or wrong, but for now here are my five most overrated NFL Draft prospects with the 2013 event a little over two weeks away.

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5. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

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Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps no player in this year’s draft will have his career path so tied to what team drafts him in the way Smith will. Even among teams picking in the top-10, where he is expected to go off the board barring something unforeseen, there are distinct differences in the overall situation (supporting cast, coaching, etc.). Simply put, I think living up to the promise of being a franchise savior will be too much for Smith if he is thrust into that role immediately.

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4. Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M

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Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Moore had a very poor showing at the NFL Combine, highlighted by a 4.95 40-yard dash and just 12 bench press reps. A sore hamstring prevented him from working out fully at Texas A&M’s Pro Day, but did add 10 pounds between the two events to perhaps quell some concerns over his lack of bulk. Overall Moore has some upside and could develop into a star at the next level with the right team, but his overall issues during the pre-draft process have his stock falling.

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3. Margus Hunt, DE, SMU

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Hunt put himself on the radar of NFL scouts with a dominant performance in the Mustangs’ bowl game last season, and his performance at the NFL Combine (38 bench press reps, 4.60 40-yard dash time) kept their attention. But the native Estonian has only played football for four years since walking on at SMU, and he will turn 26 in July. Hunt could be the latest “workout warrior” defensive lineman to be drafted far higher than his overall body of work dictates.

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2. Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas

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John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Goodwin led all players at the NFL Combine with a 4.27 40-yard dash time, and was an accomplished track athlete at Texas as well. But that athleticism did not translate into on-field production, since he never had more than 33 catches, 421 yards or three touchdowns in any of his four season. Goodwin has looked very good overall during the pre-draft process, but he looks destined to disappoint any team that expects him to become an elite pass catcher.

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1. Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Rhodes is widely being projected to be drafted in the top half of the first round right now, but his interception production in college (eight interceptions in three seasons) does not back that up. He has the size (6’2”, 210 lbs.) and speed (4.43 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine) to turn into a top-level cornerback at the next level, but I think any team that is tantalized by Rhodes’ measurables will be left disappointed.