10 most overrated 2016 NFL draft prospects

Mike Renner identifies the which top prospects are being over-hyped ahead of the 2016 NFL draft.

| 6 months ago
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

10 most overrated 2016 NFL draft prospects


With the NFL draft only a little over a month away, buzz around some of the top prospects is ramping up and our analysts are getting deeper into player evaluations for the 2016 draft class.

Every year, there’s a number of prospects that command a certain hype — and perhaps don’t deserve it. Today, we’re going to take a look at the numbers and identify those players. Here are the top 10 most overrated NFL draft prospects for 2016:

[Editor’s note: Be sure to check out our 10 most underrated 2016 prospects as well.]

  1. Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State

If you’ve followed anything on PFF this draft season, this should come as no surprise. To be fair, I’m not sure anyone is necessarily high on Hackenberg anymore, yet even considering him a mid-round prospect at this point is generous. He was the lowest-graded quarterback in all of the FBS in 2014, and while he improved last year Hackenberg still graded very negatively. His 64.0 accuracy percentage was the second-worst in all of college football, while his accuracy on bubble screens was only 84.6 percent. Bubble screens! I’m not sure how an NFL team will ever be able to change that wild inaccuracy.

  1. Willie Beavers, OT, Western Michigan

I’ll let the grades do the talking on this one:

Category Grade FBS Rank (Out of 227)
Run Block -14.6 220
Pass Block -31.4 226
Overall -46 226

The chances of molding those numbers into an NFL-level player seems nearly impossible.

  1. A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

Robinson may very well be a fine player, and he graded out highly last season against the run, but you don’t need his combine numbers to know that Robinson doesn’t have the juice to be a top interior rusher. There’s little explosion off the ball and he graded out right around average last season, collecting a paltry 23 total pressures on 357 rushes . How much is a one-dimensional run-stuffing base end worth right now in the NFL? The Chiefs’ Jaye Howard is a comparable player from a production standpoint and he just got a two-year, $10 million deal. That doesn’t scream first-round player to me.

  1. Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

Almost every year it seems like a team falls in love with a linebacker’s athleticism and fails to check if it really translates to the football field. Ryan Shazier, Alec Ogletree, Bruce Carter, etc. the list goes on. That could very well be Lee this year. His athletic traits are off the charts, with a 4.47 40-yard dash at the combine and an 11-1 broad jump. The scary part about Lee is that he almost never played as a true linebacker and thus lacked instincts when forced to play in the box. 492 of his 879 snaps came in the slot out wide of the tackles. Even when he was asked to make plays in space, he frequently took bad angles and overran plays.

  1. Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson

Some of the Dodd hype is understandable due to the weak edge class. Teams don’t all of a sudden stop needing pass rushers. Calling him a top-15 guy though is something we can’t get on board with. Dodd is easy to like because there really aren’t many weaknesses in his game, but at the same time we saw few strengths. He finished the season as our 41st-ranked pass rusher on the edge with 42 percent of his +18.2 grade coming in one game against Oklahoma. When you consider he was going up against the weaker college right tackles, that’s not inspiring production.

  1. Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M

Outside of the Texas A&M pipeline and the right tackle’s pipes for arms there really isn’t much to get excited about with Ifedi. The smoothness and change of direction ability we saw last year from his teammate Cedrick Ogbuehi did not at all pass on to Ifedi. And while his arms are long, he routinely lost the first-punch battle. Ifedi actually posted a negative pass blocking grade for A&M, yielding five sacks, three hits, and 18 hurries on the season. In all likelihood he’s a guard at the next level, but I’m not sure that will magically alleviate his issues.

  1. Deion Jones, LB, LSU

People are going to drool over his pro day 40 time, but I’m not even convinced that he’s that great of an athlete. The 4.59 he ran at the combine looks good for a linebacker until you realize he’s only 222 pounds and smaller than a good number of the running backs he’ll have to tackle. Teams would overlook that if he was dynamic in coverage, but his -6.6 coverage grade was the third-lowest in the SEC. He allowed 381 yards on 42-57 targets, while only getting his hands on four passes all season long.

  1. Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State

Right now Miller is much more of an offensive weapon than wide receiver. And as we’ve seen with Tavon Austin, offensive weapon has a limited value. His route running at the moment is terribly raw. His releases off the line of scrimmage are among the slowest in college football. One 12 yard out route at the Senior Bowl took him over four seconds to get to his final break — an eternity in the NFL. A team may select Miller highly banking on his development because the other options at receiver in the class are sparse, but he’s a few years away at the moment and his upside appears to be in the slot.

  1. Le’Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech

Yet another offensive tackle and it’s a somewhat common theme at PFF. We’ve seen such a steep learning curve at the tackle position over our nine years of data, that we can’t endorse taking on projects at the position. Many tackles don’t put it all together until their fourth year and under the new CBA, maximizing value on the rookie deal is a must. Clark is extremely raw. At the Senior Bowl he lost on 56 percent of his one-on-one’s in pass protection — one of the lowest rates of the week.

  1. Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

The hierarchy of needs for a left tackle in the NFL is usually pass protection first and run blocking a distant second. That’s why Decker — the 79th most efficient pass protecting tackle in college football last year — seems a bit of a stretch in the first round. It’s also a tad concerning that he played in an offense at Ohio State that rarely asked him to take true pass sets and almost never took deep drops.

 

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • Chris

    I’d be curious to see the per game stats for Beavers… I watched his Michigan State and Ohio State games – both were quite good.

  • Gord

    “while his accuracy on bubble screens was only 84.6 percent accurate on bubble screens.”
    Stronk English.

    • micah

      That’s not what he wrote. Look at it again.

      • Leanne Harrington

        It’s been changed…

  • Gord

    “while his accuracy on bubble screens was only 84.6 percent accurate on bubble screens.”
    “The chances of molding those numbers into an NFL-level player seems nearly impossible.”
    Stronk English

    • Sean Gonyea

      Even stronker reading comprehension.

    • Jimmy Johnson

      There’s a grammer nazi born every minute. I left you an egg.

  • John Romano

    If you watched any PSU games last season you would completely understand that Hack had no offense…no protections…what a joke this analysis is without taking into consideration the facts…..

    • Brian D

      Inaccuracy aside, CH’s body language and attitude seemed awful.

    • T. Kothe

      That’s the thing, though- PFF’s grades for players do take those factors into account. And it’s important to note the difference between completion percentage and accuracy percentage. Completion percentage can be influenced significantly by drops, etc. Accuracy percentage is how often he throws catchable balls, though, and questionable protection isn’t much of a mitigating factor since NFL defenses will put him under at least as much pressure.

      • John Romano

        And everyone thought Matt McGloin was trash too…Pfft….undrafted free agent who just locked up a $4M+ contract as a raiders backup….Hack is far more talented then MM with more upside and abilities…Obrien should draft him for insurance in Texas…

        • T. Kothe

          I’m not sure how you think McGloin supports your argument in any way. The dude’s getting paid on the low end of veteran backup QBs to sit behind a young, durable guy on a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in 14 years. I’m not sure you can set that bar any lower and still stay in the league. If anything, having to resort to pointing at McGloin to find a QB that Hackenburg is an upgrade over confirms the author’s assertion that a mid-round grade is generous for him and he should probably be a late round pick.

          • Jimmy Johnson

            McGloin is good QB. I’m a Raiders fan and that guy can sling the rock down the field. He reminds me of a young Favre.

        • JPVan

          7th round is a stretch for Hackenberg. He has bust written all over him with his 10 sack cluelessness against Temple the worst D-1 QB performance I’ve ever seen – played like he was half-awake.

        • Cant FixStupid

          I agree. His 1st year under O’Brien he looked like a guy with a very high ceiling, and then things went to sh!t for him from there. If he can get back with O’Brien, and he gets back to focusing on his development, then I think in a couple years he could develop into a pretty solid QB. Get him mid draft, develop him for 2 years and if Osweiler isn’t getting it done, see what Hackenberg can do.

      • Kevin Renn

        I went to Penn State and watched every game. This analysis is spot on. Our line was bad but gradually did improve. He was awful regardless of the pressure and we even have decent wide receivers and running backs.

      • Leanne Harrington

        No line in the nfl is/will be as porous as PSU’s was. Think five Schofields…

    • James Rogers

      According to my eye test from watching PSU, Hack is totally overrated, as PFF states. He’ll be a flop in the NFL.

  • wva88

    The one trait that an NFL QB absolutely has to have is great accuracy. You can have Hall of Fame level talent in every other aspect of the position, but if you are not accurate, you can’t be an NFL QB. The obvious problem with Hackenberg is that even when he had no pressure he was tremendously INaccurate. That is something that cannot be improved with coaching. If his only problem was bad decisions, that is something that can be improved with coaching and might be helped with being in an NFL offense.

    But if you are not accurate even when not facing pressure, that is something that can’t be changed and you can’t be an NFL QB.

  • John

    Hackenberg is one of the least accurate quarterbacks to grace college football in recent years, yet so many people make excuses for that. At some point, he’s just not good.

  • Ronald O’Ronald

    So A’shawn Robinson to guard?

  • dave

    great job….personally like Robinson but numbers are numbers..rest is spot on

  • The Mysteries of Bob

    Bad list, don’t see 10 Hackenbergs.

    • B17

      would it be wrong to put Hackenberg 15 times in a top 10 overrated players?

      • The Mysteries of Bob

        Could put him 100 times I wouldn’t care.

    • Josh Stewart

      To be honest, I’m surprised he is even on the list. He isn’t overrated because everyone knows he sucks.

      Rams will take him in the 1st round.

      • Jimmy Johnson

        Well then, he would now be underrated because his suckiness is now so universally overstated.

  • sl schwieg

    If PFF has Beavers rated to undraftable why is he considered a mid tier pick by most web sites and official analysis. I understand true left tackles are a rare commodity even Right tackle are very valuable however to have such a discrepancy in grading systems, I ask the question; why?

    • Adam

      He’s high on most boards because of lack of good tackles so teams are going to reach for him

      • sl schwieg

        Overvalued and un-draftable are two different things. Overvalued means there is value, according to this: Beavers is worthless. That’s quite a big discrepancy, just wondering why the majority of talent evaluators see it so different. The article states there were 220 better tackles in pass and run blocking. I understand not all these players are in the draft this year however it would seem that Beavers graded as the WORST of the bunch. To have him is a mid-tier pick wouldn’t be overvalued it would be insane. So what gives; the grades or the consensus of NFL analysis?

  • Philtration

    I have felt the same way about A ‘Shawn Robinson for a while now.
    Don’t just watch the highlight videos on Youtube.
    Look at the videos that show the players over the course of a whole game. That is a much better way to see the real player and not just a “best of” reel.
    Too many times I see him being a nonfactor. Too many times I see a RB just make a little cut and blow past him. Too many times I see him make no push to collapse the pocket.

    Overrated and I hope the Bears do not take him.

    • Cant FixStupid

      Darron Lee to me is the same way. I’ve liked him for Green Bay since watching his highlight reel since before the combine, but I finally clicked on some actual games to see how he looks when he’s not making a splash play, and what I seem was a guy who isn’t near what his highlights are. I’m still not completely opposed to taking him, cause the potential is there and we aren’t in the top 20, but he’s gonna need some quality coaching and development. To me he doesn’t look like he likes being touched. Once a lineman goes to engage he’s going backwards, and when he is engaged, he struggles to come off the block. Seems to not be a very physical player at all. Like I said, I still like the potential, but if he doesn’t develop nicely, he’s going to quickly become a bust.

    • Cant FixStupid

      And I see you’re a Bears fan, I did a mock the other day, see you guys getting Sheldon Rankins, or potentially Shaq Lawson or Leonard Floyd.

  • shaunhan murray

    Uhh Ryan Shazier’s speed translates to the football speed, its just that in reality u dont need to be faster

    • shaunhan murray

      Than sammy watkins wen u r injured

  • Josh Stewart

    Shazier and Ogletree probably weren’t the best examples to use of bad athletic linebackers lol.

    • Alejandro Balmaceda

      i was thinking the same thing haha

    • ExPat_in_Krakow

      I was thinking of Aaron Curry.

      • Josh Stewart

        Yes. That dude was a bum lol.

  • Jeff63

    Nonsense on A’shawn Robinson. His combine is identical to Marcel Dareus and his stats at Alabama were arguably better. OK Dareus runs .3 better in the 40 but same in the shuttle so apparently Dareus has a higher top-end which is useless since neither will be running down people from behind.

    • Michael James

      Actually the analysis on Robinson is spot on. Go watch his tape, he is a fine run defender, but he creates zero pass rush (and with zero, I mean zero).

      • Jeff63

        We shall see snowflake. I’ll leave you with this though – when you are “analyzing” his tape remember he is playing assignment football. And, as to his assignment on any given play you have no clue.

        • Michael James

          That’s right, it’s very hard to get all the assignments. But you can see obvious situations, where he is supposed (and tries) to rush the passer – these are ugly plays. I don’t even dislike Robinson (he is a fine run defender, like I said), it’s just that I didn’t see any pass rush from him.

  • Tim Edell

    I would draft Hackenburg as a developmental QB in a heartbeat over Cardale Jones.

  • Leanne Harrington

    Keep on dissing Hack. He’ll be a steal for whoever drafts him. I expect PFF to print a big “apology/mea culpa” article on him when he proves them wrong.

    The kid is a great leader who was in a tough situation. Whoever wrote below thst PSUs OL improved during the year has a strange idea of improvement. Giving up sacks under three man pressure? He got pounded and kept taking the hits. Might as well have had those big traffic cones out there instead of OL. Look at his true freshman year in a pro system and project it forward if he had been able to stay in that. He’s not a spread QB. That’s one thing that’s disappointed me about Franklin…he inherited a top QB talent and tried to force fit him into the wrong system. Get your OC to adapt his scheme, for crise sake!

    I’m glad in one way that he’s fallen because it gives my team a shot at him.

  • Hard Row

    Watch Hack get sacked by Temple in less than 3 seconds with them only rushing 2 DL and dropping 9 in coverage, then say it’s excuses.

    PFT is way off on Hack. He had a strong freshman year when he had blocking and reliable targets like Allen Robinson and Jesse James.

    Due to sanctions, PSU was starting 2 converted defensive linemen and a JUCO transfer whose max bench was 180 lbs.

    Hack developed mechanical issues from being hit so often. That’s a common and easily fixable problem. His mechanics are much better from under center.

  • Matthew Hope

    “Almost every year it seems like a team falls in love with a linebacker’s athleticism and fails to check if it really translates to the football field. Ryan Shazier, Alec Ogletree, Bruce Carter, etc. the list goes on. That could very well be Lee this year.”

    Can I just say…what? When healthy, Shazier and Ogletree have been impact linebackers among the best in the NFL. They are potential perennial Pro Bowlers, yet PFF using them as a negative comparison for athletic linebackers? Is anyone else confused by that? Seems lazy at best.

    • Matthew Hope

      I checked their numbers, though, and PFF is about numbers – Shazier’s definitely underwhelm for his draft position, but he looks very good on tape to me.

  • NewGaySouth#Trashrap

    Your an idiot

  • NewGaySouth#Trashrap

    Renner your a Hack. Hackenburg will win more trophy’s than any other qb in this draft.

  • Mandax

    Think there are a lot of people here masturbating in their closets. Nobody knows JACK until they put on the pads.