5 Underrated Players of the 2013 NFL Draft

By | April 19, 2013
Can Michigan's Denard Robinson translate his collegiate success to the NFL? (Photo from AnnArbor.com)

Can Michigan’s Denard Robinson translate his collegiate success to the NFL? (Photo from AnnArbor.com)

At this point in the offseason, it is tough to read any NFL news without being hit with mock draft predictions from the pundits. Set to begin on April 25, the 2013 NFL Draft is almost here.

The consensus is that offensive linemen like Eric Fisher (Central Michigan) and Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M) will be at the top of the draft board along with guys like defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (BYU), defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (Florida) and linebacker Dion Jordon (Oregon).

Readers likely know full well the top prospects of the draft already. As a change of pace, here are a few players that are flying dangerously low under the radar and could be a potential steal for whatever NFL roster they land on.

Le’Veon Bell (Michigan State)

For a Michigan State team that lacked offensive firepower — especially through the air — Bell carried the Spartans on his shoulders at tailback through a mediocre season. Some games, Bell took over 40 carries, cementing his status as a true workhorse.

In a sport where players are beat down come the end of the season, Bell would be a great asset. On top of his grind-it-out style of running game, Bell is surprisingly versatile for a bigger back. He is also capable of punching the ball in the end zone using his intimidating frame.

Denard Robinson (Michigan)

Ranking as one of college football’s most athletic players last year, many thought this quarterback would be a classic case of a collegiate star flopping in the NFL. While Robinson is transitioning to wide receiver — a position he has never played — it is tough to discount speed and raw athleticism.

Robinson did see some action last year at running back when an arm injury stopped him from going under center. He was relatively effective, framing the fact that he might still find success in the pros and perhaps be the next Devin Hester.

Tyrann Mathieu (LSU)

The big question surrounding “Honey Badger” is whether or not teams will be able to look past his behavior off the field. Mathieu didn’t play college ball last season after being booted off LSU’s roster. Now, he’s ranked as the No. 23 cornerback in the draft. A lot of this can be attributed to the fact that he is a loose cannon. His athleticism and ability on the field certainly would suggest he could be drafted earlier. There is no doubt, drafting Mathieu is a gamble, but it’s one that could be worth it.

Collin Klein (Kansas State)

When you’re talking major quarterback prospects, Geno Smith comes up well before Collin Klein. Many have likened Klein to Tim Tebow, which isn’t exactly a flattering comparison. Klein has an odd throwing motion, but outside of that, he could be a brilliant NFL quarterback. For starters, he has great size (6-5, 226 lbs.) but has also proven to be very mobile. Klein has the intangibles — great character and leadership qualities. This helped Klein and Kansas State amass a 11-2 record last year and a Big 12 title.

Zac Dysert (Miami of Ohio)

Speaking of underrated quarterbacks, the Mid-American Conference is home to a posterchild for the category — a few of them, actually. Dysert is a perfect example, with a really strong arm and long, slender build. It is always tough to see what these mid-major quarterbacks are truly capable of because the resources around them are limited. Dysert could be a strong pick for an NFL team.

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