Players with upside who are not quite there yet Part 1 by Omar Gómez:
If you regularly follow the draft process, you are probably very aware of the concept “upside”; however, I often receive questions asking me whether or not a player has good upside or how can upside be measured (if it can even be measured). Upside is the maximum level that a player can reach if he develops correctly physically and is coached appropriately, but for one reason or another, high-upside players did not produce in college as their talent would indicate. Upside has a lot to do with measurables and athleticism, but it often leads to draft bust, so teams that target a high-upside player should figure out why this player did not produce as much in college despite of his great potential (it could be scheme issues, injuries, lack of effort among other reasons).
Taking a high-upside with a high pick in the draft is a big risk. You could either hit the jackpot (Pierre-Paul, Seymour, Freeman, Asomugha) or land a complete bust (Gholston, Roy Williams, JaMarcus Russell, Tye Hill). Some teams are comfortable taking that risk, while other teams prefer simply go for the safe pick.
Here is a list of players that have great upside, but are still raw. The players below could either develop into solid players in the NFL, or could drive their way out of the league extremely early. The talent is undoubtedly there though.
1. Ryan Tannehill QB Texas A&M: Tannehill is a strong armed quarterback with great athleticism who can make all the throws and moves really well inside the pocket. He is intelligent and has all the physical tools to turn into a great pro- quarterback. However, Tannehill never produced at great level at Texas A&M and he usually made dumb mistakes that made the Aggies to lose some important games. Tannehill is extremely talented, but he is also extremely raw. There are rumors that he could be taken as high as 4 overall; whichever team who takes this guy that high, should be ready to coach his talent with deep attention.
2. Dontari Poe: NT Memphis: Dontari Poe is a rising prospect due to his incredible physical ability and his unreal combine. He is extremely big (96 lbs), very strong (44 bench reps) and extremely… fast (4.87 40 yard dash). We do not see physical freaks like Poe very often; in fact, I believe he belongs to an elite group of athletes as prospects that do not come along every year (Pierre- Paul, Calvin Johnson). With all that in mind, you really have to question his production because even when he is such a physical freak, you should figure out why the hell he only had 3 sacks over the last two year. Another hit or miss prospect that will probably crack the top 10 in the 2012 NFL draft.
3. Michael Brockers: DT LSU: When Brockers declared for the 2012 NFL draft everyone instantly slotted him as the top defensive tackle in this class due to his measurable and athleticism… not so fast. Brockers stock has fell ever since a miserable combine, because even thought he did not had such a bad combine in terms of numbers, everyone was expecting him to break the combine with his athleticism, which he did not. He began impressing everyone with his insane weight in, howevever he did not carry his frame well on the drills, which makes me ask question whether or not his impressive athleticism is just a myth. Brockers also had very low production in college, so I really have to question his first round status.
4. Stephen Hill: WR Geogia Tech: As Dontari Poe, Stephen Hill broke the 2012 scouting combine by posting a blazing 4.30 unofficial time in the 40 yards dash at 6-4 215 lbs. He was the fastest wide receiver at the combine and got himself into first round consideration (could go as high as 19 overall). He has great leaping ability and his route running is getting better and better as he showed at his pro-day. Now, if he is such a physical freak with his great measurable and speed, why did not he produce better? Some are saying that Georgia Tech’s goofy offensive system decreased his chances to produce consistently and this might be true, but when you are going to draft a guy that high, you better make sure it is.
5. Chandler Jones: DE Syracuse: I was getting ready to put Chandler Jones in the first round of my 2012 NFL mock draft after what I thought was going to be one of the best combines in this year. Well, things did not go that good. As Michael Brockers, Chandler Jones did not post poor numbers at the combine, but he was expected to do much better. Chandler Jones is one of the most talented pass rusher in this class, but he did not produce that much in college. He has very good athleticism, but his measurable are really special, as much as Pierre- Paul’s were. He has incredibly long arms and he has a more than ideal frame for a pass rusher in today’s NFL; in fact, his brother (Jon Bones Jones) has the longest reach in the UFC. Chandler Jones’ most concerning aspect is that he is coming off a knee injury, which could really hurt his stock.
I will be posting the second part of this article as soon as possible with the appearance of prospects as Quinton Coples, Josh Robinson and BJ Coleman.