Dan over at Mocking the Draft told us a few weeks back who his guys were in the NFL Draft. What makes somebody your guy?
Which players do you just have a gut feeling about? The caveats are they can't be obvious high draft picks or players from your favorite school. That's cheating. And lazy.
When it comes to high pick, I draw the line at a first rounder. I watch a lot of college football so I have an opinion on a lot of players I feel are undervalued. As Dan notes, in a lot of cases our gut feelings make us look foolish. I'm sure a year from now I'll be mocked for saying good things about some of my guys if not all. Without further adieu, here are my guys in 2010 who are not considered first round picks:
Dexter McCluster, RB/WR, Ole Miss
I'll start with the guy I took in the SBN Draft. I really love this guy's game. Every time I watched Ole Miss, he stood out. He's only in the 165-170 pound range, but the league is becoming more specialized, particularly at the running back position. McCluster is very fast and very good at making guys miss in space. He is going to be an excellent speed back in the NFL. He has wide receiver skills in the passing game and could easily work the slot. He's also tough, smart, a good pass blocker, and reportedly a hard worker/coach's dream type of player. He also played Wildcat quarterback for the Rebels. An offensive coordinator with creativity who can figure out different ways to get him the ball in the open field is going to create headaches for opposing defenses. They'll always need to know where this guy is.
There are knocks on him. One is he ran a slow 40 at the Combine. That means nothing to me. How often will he be asked to run 40 yards in a straight line? Watch him on the field when he has to hit the corner or make a cut. He's very fast. When he took over as Ole Miss' feature back halfway through the years, he put up numbers comparable to Mark Ingram and Toby Gerhart.
McCluster is just a playmaker. The NFL is becoming a league for small but fast homerun threats. I remember two years ago, a lot of people said about one player the same thing they're saying about McCluster now. He's fast but is small and doesn't have a natural position. That guy was Chris Johnson. I'm not saying McCluster will be as good as Chris Johnson, but he doesn't have to be in order to have an excellent career.
More of my guys after the jump.
Jordan Shipley, WR, Texas
Now let's discuss GGN's folk hero. David has been singing his praises for months, and I couldn't agree more. Shipley is an ideal slot receiver. If he ends up on the right team, he is going to be an excellent weapon for years to come. He's as precise of a route runner as one can find and ran complicated routes in Texas' offense. He also has great hands. One thing that really impressed me was how he took over the National Championship Game. Alabama couldn't cover him in the second half. He almost single handedly put the Longhorns back into the game with a freshman quarterback.
The comparison I see everywhere is Wes Welker. When I was watching the game against Alabama, it popped into my head. I asked my brother what he thought, and he said he was thinking the same thing. Then Kirk Herbstreit made the comparison. Now I see it everywhere. Will Shipley ever put up the same numbers as Welker? It depends on whether he finds a scheme and a quarterback capable of taking advantage of his abilities to the degree the Patriots have. If he does, I think he could be just as productive.
The bad news is this is Shipley seems to me to have Patriots written all over him. He's the kind of tough, refined receiver who would be perfect for their offense. They could use a receiver, and Shipley would be an ideal fit. They also have four picks in the first two rounds.
Colt McCoy, QB, Texas
In a lot of ways I like McCoy as a pick better than Sam Bradford. Bradford is going to be selected early and demand a big contract. That will put a lot of pressure on his team to play him early, perhaps before he has fully adjusted from his spread offense to a pro system. McCoy is a different story. He will go later. He may end up on a team where he can sit like Aaron Rodgers. He may end up with a great run game and defense like Mark Sanchez. He may end up on a bad team yet, but he can come along at his own pace.
The spread offense in which he played gives me some pause, but I like everything else about his game. He is a vastly better pick than Tim Tebow to me. He is deadly accurate, and his mechanics are significantly better. He is just as much of a leader with all of the intangibles. He is also very smart. Shipley deserves a lot of the credit for Texas' comeback against Alabama, but one thing I noticed was how Garrett Gilbert's play improved when McCoy came back to the sideline after his injury. Before that happened, Gilbert looked like he was in over his head. After McCoy's return, Gilbert started lighting it up. McCoy was coaching him and explaining what the Crimson Tide was doing.
Quarterback is tough to evaluate, but McCoy is a franchise quarterback to me. I think he is going to be selected way too low.
Dan LeFevour, QB, Central Michigan
I'm not as sold on LeFevour as I am on McCoy. I think he is a guy who will definitely need to be developed. He played in a spread offense against weak competition. He also played exceptionally well against that competition. He makes good decisions and is very accurate. He is also mobile. There are a few knocks on him. One is he didn't take snaps under center. I saw him in the Senior Bowl, and he looked pretty comfortable doing it for the first time. The second is his arm strength. It's not great, but it looks good enough to have a solid career from what I've seen.
I wouldn't feel comfortable playing him as a rookie. While he looked comfortable in the Senior Bowl, he still probably needs some time to develop to learn the nuiances of the position. I won't even guarantee he'll have a great career. I just think he's the best bet among the mid to late round quarterbacks to emerge as a solid player after sitting a few years.
Chad Jones, S, LSU
Almost every time I saw LSU's defense make a big play, this guy was in the middle of it. He is good against the run and a ballhawk in the passing game. The knock on him is his speed, but I feel like he is faster on the field than he is timed. I still remember him chasing down Darren McFadden from behind a few years ago. This guy just has a nose for the ball and hits hard.
Aaron Hernandez, TE, Florida
The fact he played in a spread offense and didn't run many pro routes is a concern. He made a lot of his big plays as a shovel pass option. Still, Hernandez impressed me with his athleticism. He is a guy who is very good after the catch. Athletic h-back style tight ends are in vogue in the league. It is becoming more and more of a passing league. Run blocking isn't as important at the position. Think Dustin Keller. Hernandez has all of the tools to become a really good receiving threat.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Oregon
Part of this is I think no player in college football was treated more unfairly in 2009 than Blount. He punched a Boise State player who mouthed off to him after a bitter loss. He deserved some sort of punishment. That act didn't merit the national media turning him into the game's greatest villian. It didn't call for a season long suspension. Blount lost his cool and did something that would cause no permanent damage. The same media calling for his head had no problem with Urban Meyer suspending Brandon Spikes one game for intentionally trying to poke a guy's eye out, which could have caused serious permanent damage.
I learned as a kid, the true test of a man isn't whether he makes mistakes. We all do. It is how a man responds to his mistakes. Blount did all of the right things. He kept his mouth shut and kept working hard to earn back the respect of his coaches and teammates. He eventually regained his spot on the team and scored a key touchdown in the game that earned Oregon a spot in the Rose Bowl.
All of this would just be a nice story, but Blount's play on the field makes him look like a potential steal to me. He is 241 pounds of pure force, a hard charger between the tackles. He also has a surprising second gear albeit not an elite one. I think of him as a poor man's Shonn Greene. Part of the reason I'm not a fan of grabbing Toby Gerhart early is Blount will be there later on. A team like the Jets with a veteran mentor like LaDainian Tomlinson could end up with a coup.
Those are my guys. Tell me who yours are.