By Dave Razzano, Playmaker Correspondent
I have said many times that the first round of the NFL Draft is extremely overrated. It doesn’t take much research to see just how many first round picks never pan out, not to mention top ten picks who bust. Too many people other than the scouts are involved early in the process, like club Presidents and GMs who don’t grade players themselves and wouldn’t know an early rounder from an undrafted free agent. The scouting staff has much more say after the first day and can help identify “hidden gems” later in the Draft. Below is a list of “value” picks by position, players likely to get picked from the 2nd round on and in some cases might not be drafted at all.
QB – Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
This dynamic playmaker could creep into the bottom of round one but is more likely to land in the 2nd round. Could well become the best QB of this Draft class. Outstanding intermediate and deep accuracy.
RB – Allen Bradford, USC
Rushed for over 200 yards in his only two starts of the season. Big back with “little man” run skill is a successful combination. This is an NFL starter who can be had in 4th or 5th round.
WO – Vincent Brown, San Diego State
This player will be one of the “steals” of this Draft. He can take over games with outstanding route running and hands but his 4.70 forty at the combine will scare teams off. Ironically, one of his true strengths is his “vertical” ability.
TE – Julius Thomas, Portland State
We all know the Antonio Gates story and this kid is cut from the same mold. Only played one season of football after starring on the basketball team for four years. Intriguing upside, especially at a position lacking depth in this Draft.
OT – Jarriel King, South Carolina
This player will fall due to “character” issues. If he gets his head screwed on right, could become this year’s version of the Saints Carl Nicks, a Pro Bowl graded talent who fell to the 5th round due to off field concerns.
OG – Julian Vandervelde, Iowa
Will fall due to size limits but watch him play and he is a scrappy competitor who battles to the whistle. Much like the Colts starting OG Kyle Devan, undersized but nasty on the field.
OC – Taylor Boggs, Humboldt State
Has three “key” ingredients to develop: size, smarts and toughness. Chance to go undrafted and become a starter in time, much like the Cardinals Lyle Sendlein, a four year starter after going undrafted.
DE – Sam Acho, Texas
Natural pass rush ability is evident when watching this kid on tape. Possible 3-4 OLB conversion. His height will drop him out of first round but should become a productive NFL pass rusher with double digit sack potential.
DT – Drake Nevis, LSU
Love the motor on this interior lineman. Can be disruptive as one gap penetrator. High effort at all times. These types who play hard and lack some height always seem to fall on Draft Day.
OLB – Malcolm Smith, USC
The active and smart linebacker was not invited to the combine this season. Watch the USC tape and he is in/out of the lineup due to roster depth but is easy to spot when he plays. Excellent speed and play demeanor. Prototype 4-3 “will” backer.
ILB – Lawrence Wilson, Connecticut
With added bulk, I see this player’s future being on the inside. One of the more physical linebackers in the Draft, he possesses very good short area explosion required between the tackles.
DC – Curtis Brown, Texas
Doesn’t get talked about with the upper tier DC’s on most Draft Reports but could very well be the best pure man to man shadow cover guy in the Draft. Outstanding feet/anticipation.
DS – Dejon Gomes – Nebraska
Very active run support player on a solid defense. Plays best in the “box” but does show enough range and cover instincts on passing downs. Solid tackler with an aggressive playing demeanor.
Dave Razzano is a former NFL scout and Playmaker Mobile correspondent with more than 22 years of professional scouting experience with the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals under NFL coaches including Bill Walsh, George Seifert, Chuck Knox and Dick Vermeil. He's been a part of five Super Bowls with three Super Bowl wins (49ers, 1989, 1990; Rams, 2000).