2014 NFL Draft: 5 Prospects Who Are Being Severely Overrated

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5 Vastly Overrated NFL Draft Prospects

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

At this time every year, the media builds up college football players to be better than they actually are.

It’s no different as we inch closer to the 2014 NFL Draft, which could have one of the most intriguing prospect pools in recent draft history.

We’ve seen a number of big names bursts onto the scene this season with big performances and productive games. We’ve also seen plenty of highly-touted prospects plummet in terms of stock after midseason meltdowns and poor showings against top-tier talent. The real problem right now, though, is that several high-profile prospects are being severely overrated.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a rare occurrence. Every year, players watch their stock soar after one big performance. Sometimes, “scouts” take statistics far too seriously when they should be watching film and looking at what happens on the field instead of in the box score. Sometimes just a player’s physical tools (size, speed) can lead to unrealistic expectations.

That, however, is what makes the NFL Draft so hard to predict. Just because a player looks great on the stat sheet – or even in a couple of games in front of a national audience – doesn’t make them a top NFL talent. It just means they had a good day. I had a few big games in high school, but that didn’t make me a Division 1 prospect.

With that in mind, here’s a look at five players potentially headed for the 2014 NFL Draft who are being overrated by the media as we near the college football bowl season.

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Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State

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Personally, I like Hyde as an NFL prospect. He’s a big, physical running back with the power and determination to be a dependable short-yardage runner at the next level. Hyde, however, is no first-round prospect, but people around the Interweb appear to think otherwise. The last time a power back went that high was when Toby Gerhart went in the second round, and look how that turned out. Hyde is too limited as an every-down back, but makes plenty of sense in the late-second or early-third round.

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Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

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While he might have a Heisman Trophy on his résumé and more athleticism than he knows what to do with, Manziel should not be a Top 10 pick. He’s still raw as a passer, and often depends on his receivers to make plays rather than making good throws. Over the last couple of weeks, he’s been exposed against top competition. Yet still, Manziel continues to go within the Top 10 of mock drafts. There isn’t as exciting of a quarterback eligible for the 2014 draft as Manziel, but he’s certainly no Jameis Winston.

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Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve been seeing Purifoy’s stock ranging anywhere from the first round to the fourth round. I’m going to have to agree with the latter of the two options. Despite possessing outstanding athleticism and a fearlessness out on the field, he is a liability in coverage more often than you’d like from an early-round prospect. Before he gets anywhere near the Top 50 players in 2014, he needs to prove that he can be a dependable cover man – he hasn’t yet.

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Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

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Don’t get me wrong – Barr is an exciting prospect overflowing with NFL potential. A Top 5 pick, though, might be a little much for the UCLA product. As impressive as his production has been over the last two seasons, Barr hasn’t been a flawless player. He routinely misses open-field tackles, has a so-so arsenal of pass rush moves and is lacking the strength needed to consistently win battles against NFL offensive lineman. Barr is a first-round talent, but the media is building him up higher than he deserves.

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Blake Bortles, QB, UCF

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Yes, the Golden Knights are headed to a BCS bowl and Bortles is a big part of that unexpected success. That, however, doesn’t mean that he’s a Top 10 talent. Following his late-season surge up draft boards, there has been talk that he could go as high as No. 5 overall in May. Bortles is a terrific talent, but this sudden first-round ranking is premature. He’s won close games against subpar competition while showing above average physical tools. Bortles is definitely an intriguing talent with tons of potential, but let’s calm down with the overreactions.