2014 NFL Draft: 5 Underrated Prospects With First-Round Talent
5 Players Who Don't Get the Credit They Deserve
Every year, there are several first-round NFL talents who don’t get the credit they deserve. This year is no different, as a few players available during the 2014 NFL Draft are being undersold despite their overwhelming talent.
Whether it’s due to a lack of prototypical size or these players simply being overlooked, these five prospects have seen their stock fly under the radar for much of the pre-draft process. Even after turning in huge seasons in 2013 and proving their dominance out on the football field, scouts and fans alike have failed to see their true potential.
The joke, however, is on the NFL teams, scouts and fans who don’t understand just how good these players are. Whether they haven’t watched film, put too much stock in statistics or measurements, or simply can’t see the potential, the huge upside in these players continues to elude them at every turn.
Don’t fret, though – someone will take notice eventually and realize the untapped potential these five prospects hold. Even if it takes until the second or third round, one team will eventually get the opportunity to uncover a rising star and watch them soar. It’s the same type of situation that brought about the emergence of Russell Wilson, who went from a third-rounder to one of the best up-and-coming quarterbacks in the league.
It’s the nature of the beast, and part of why we all love the NFL Draft.
Here’s a look at the five 2014 NFL Draft prospects who have first-round talent, but continue to be overlooked and underrated.
Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt
So Donald is somewhat small for a defensive tackle, measuring in at 6’1’’ and 285 pounds. He might not have the prototypical defensive tackle size, but he’s the type of hard-working, driven playmaker that simply doesn’t come around very often. Donald makes up for his lack of size with tenacity and aggressiveness, consistently putting offensive linemen on their heels. Soon enough, Donald will be proving to 31 NFL teams that they made a mistake in lower his stock due to his “lack of size.”
Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame
While Eric Ebron and Jace Amaro have enjoyed the majority of the attention surrounding the 2014 tight end class, Niklas continues to fly under the radar as the most NFL-ready prospect at the position. On top of being a sensational blocker with great size and strength, Niklas also possesses underrated abilities as a receiver. He has reliable hands, does a great job of battling for positioning, and runs clean routes. He might not be as explosive as the other two, but his well-rounded game makes him an exciting prospect.
Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Fuller might not be the best cornerback in this class, but his talents are definitely worthy of a first-round pick. Having battled numerous injuries throughout the 2013 campaign, the former Hokie has flown under the radar. When you put on the film, though, there’s little to dislike about his game. Fuller is an aggressive, physical cornerback who loves to hit receivers and make big plays against the run. He has the speed to stick with most receivers and tremendous ball skills. Don’t be surprised if Fuller slips into Day 1.
Charles Sims, RB, West Virginia
For some reason, Sims continues to fly under the radar. In reality, he’s arguably the best all-around running back of the 2014 class. On top of being a sensational runner with an unreal feel for the position – just watch him make cuts in the open field and find running lanes that seemingly didn’t exist – Sims is a lethal weapon out of the backfield. In today’s NFL that revolves around the passing game, there might not be a more valuable running back prospect this year than this West Virginia product.
Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
While Bryant might not be the dynamic weapon that his fellow Clemson alum Sammy Watkins is, the 6’4’’, 200-pound wide receiver certainly has the physical tools to be a difference-maker at the next level. With 4.4 speed, a big, long frame and amazing body control, Bryant spent the entire 2013 campaign playing in Watkins’ shadow. Once he gets an opportunity to be a key component of an NFL offense, fans everywhere will see just how effective of a weapon Bryant can be.