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Buyer Beware: The Most Overrated Prospects In The 2016 NFL Draft

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It is overrated season in the draft process at this time of the year. Every year, we see a handful of players who are ranked in the Top-10 who fall out of the first round or further. This is largely due to box score scouting as evaluators place prospects high based on their measurables and statistics, rather than the translatable traits they show during the games. Furthermore, it is also due a lot to reputation. Just because a player is nominated for a good deal of post-season awards or they were a highly-touted recruit, it doesn’t mean they will be high draft picks.

This year is no different as there are a few players who are ranked highly, but their tape paints a different picture. With that in mind, let’s look at a few players who are overrated at this point in the process.

Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss

At this point in time, Ole Miss’ Robert Nkemdiche is the most overrated player in the 2016 draft class. In most mock drafts and big boards, you will see Nkemdiche ranked inside the Top-10; however, when you turn on the tape, you will see that the Ole Miss defensive tackle has way too many holes to go that high.

Nkemdiche is an extremely athletic and well-built defensive tackle with a knack for making plays behind the line of scrimmage when an offense runs away from him. Nevertheless, Nkemdiche has almost no idea how to use his hands at the point of attack. He struggles with his punch timing, hand placement and he doesn’t know how to use his physical traits to his advantage. Furthermore, Nkemdiche’s motor runs hot and cold way too often throughout games. Even when his motor is running hot, he struggles to make plays because of his technical deficiencies.

There has been a lot made of the Nkemdiche’s off-field concerns and how that could cause him to fall out of the first round, but he doesn’t even have the film of a first-round pick sans the off-field issues. Overall, there was a lot of hope that Nkemdiche would develop into the dominant defensive tackle that his athleticism and size would indicate, but that just hasn’t been the case. Any smart NFL team would let someone else take that risk inside the first round.

Jack Conklin, Michigan State

Michigan State’s Jack Conklin has been almost unanimously rated as a first-round offensive tackle by draft analysts and pundits; however, a closer look at his film indicates that won’t likely be the case once every gets a chance to really study him.

Conklin is a fierce competitor who plays through pain while displaying a lot of strength, toughness and grit. Nonetheless, Conklin doesn’t have the movement skills to survive at left tackle on an every week basis. He struggles mightily with speed on the edge because he doesn’t have the foot speed or fluidness to be consistent with his kick slide, which causes him to get beat inside because he tries to overcompensate for his lack of athleticism with a wide kick slide.

Ultimately, Conklin looks like a right tackle only in the NFL with a possibility to be kicked down into guard. Now, we have seen those types of players go in the first round (see Zack Martin and Brandon Scherff), they have to be otherworldly talents, which Conklin is not. Conklin is just a decent talent who could be a solid backup or a decent starter if he figures out how to be more consistent with his lower half.

Jayron Kearse, Clemson

If you put up a highlight of Clemson safety Jayron Kearse, it may be better than any other prospect in this draft. You will see him make Kam Chancellor-esque plays, like him reverse pancaking guards or blowing up wide receivers over the middle. Furthermore, his frame (6-foot-4 and 220 pounds) makes people draw the comparison to the Seahawks safety, but when you take a look at his film, you see something entirely different.

At times, it appears as if Kearse doesn’t seem interested in playing football. He lofts around on too many plays and he just doesn’t have the fiery intensity that signifies what a player like Chancellor is all about. On top of that, Kearse is awful in coverage because of his lack of flexibility. It inhibits his ability to turn and run with receivers or break on a ball in front of him.

Overall, Kearse is strictly a box safety who should never be trusted with anything more than a spot drop. He will make some big hits coming downhill, but he leaves too much to be desired in every other aspect of playing safety to be touched on the first two days.


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com