Each year when the NFL Draft rolls around, certain players garner the most headlines. These are often players from the biggest schools or those with the best tangible stats. Ones who measure off the charts, run the fastest, or were nationally televised the most dominate the news cycles. This often leaves equally talented players under the radar. Here are some of the top NFL draft picks who should be getting more attention heading into April’s draft.
Disrespected on Offense
D’Onta Foreman is not getting any respect. Of the top running backs in the draft, Foreman is never mentioned with the top three: Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, and Christian McCaffrey. Yet he was a behemoth in 2016 for Texas. Foreman topped 2,000 yards rushing and scored 15 times on the ground. Despite being force-fed 323 times, he averaged 6.3 yards per carry against stacked boxes on an up-and-down Longhorns offense.
As a sophomore, he received a small chance at carries, being stuck in a timeshare with Johnathan Gray, Chris Warren, and others. In 2015, five different ball carries received at least 70 carries for Texas. Despite that, Foreman made the most of his chances. He averaged more than seven yards per carry on nearly 100 attempts. Though he doesn’t possess the versatility of some of these other runners in the 2017 draft, his pure rushing game is on par with the rest of the top backs.
In front of the skilled runners, everyone is familiar with the elite offensive tackles this year. That group is comprised of Cam Robinson, Ryan Ramczyk, and Garett Bolles. Tackles always generate the most buzz heading into the draft. However, a quality guard can be just as important to an offense, and Forrest Lamp is probably the best guard prospect. He played tackle in college at Western Kentucky, but scouts project him playing in the interior at the next level. That fact has hurt his stock.
Defensive Hidden Gems
Playing football at Indiana doesn’t help build popularity or momentum for a player residing under the radar. Linebacker Haason Reddick could be the first-round pick that nobody knows about. He has versatility that would allow him to play all across the front seven, from inside linebacker to outside backer to rush end. Overlooking Reddick because of the school he played for would be a mistake.
Tim Williams comes from a higher-profile school, but he has other competition to deal with. He is becoming the forgotten member of the Crimson Tide defense that dominated college football. Teammates Marlon Humphrey, Reuben Foster, and Jonathan Allen are all projected to go ahead of Williams in the first round of the NFL Draft. And yet, Williams might possess a higher ceiling than any of them. He needs to add strength and work on rounding out his game, but the potential is there for him to become an elite pass rusher.
The Forgotten Arm
Sports betting sites likely have either Mitch Trubisky or DeShaun Watson as the first quarterback off the board this year which is kept on through virtual bookkeeping. DeShone Kizer is thought of as the universal number three. That leaves Texas Tech’s Pat Mahomes as the fourth quarterback. People assume he was a system guy, benefiting from the offense that was ran at Texas Tech. But Mahomes is much more than that.
He has a great arm and solid wheels. The arm strength could be the best in the draft, at least when he has time to set himself. But when he gets pressured, Mahomes has much more running ability than people think. He could turn into the whole package at the quarterback position.
The big names who get covered the most heading into the draft are normally the players taken with early picks. However, they are not necessarily the players who go on to have the best careers. Oftentimes, unheralded players offer teams the best value.