As we head in to the NFL draft, April 25th to 27th, mock drafts are becoming all the craze as we try to project how this draft will go.
Usually several players are underrated heading into the draft, because there are so many college games that not everyone can watch them in detail to evaluate prospects. This leads to “surprises” on draft day that catch the national pundits by surprise.
Below are three football players that I’ve seen, and caught my interest. Which made me review more of their tape to see what I think of their potential in the NFL; and the three most underrated players I’ve seen in the last couple of years that are eligible for the draft.
N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
Having a projected late first round (or early second round) pick, listed as under the radar is pretty insane; but it’s pretty clear to me that the talent N’Keal Harry has is vastly underrated.
Harry has shown throughout his college career that he’s an excellent down field blocker do to his size and athleticism. This is arguably his most underrated trait that the wideout showed. Now his impressive performance on the bench in the combine has caught some eyes.
Everyone is talking about DK Metcalf, but had a scout tell me that N'Keal Harry is the better route runner and has better hands.— Craig Hoffman (@CraigHoffman) March 1, 2019
He just matched Metcalf's 27 reps on the bench, too. He's gonna rise in the next few weeks.
His strength and size is what’s most impressive and will be beneficial for the NFL time that is adapting the spread concepts to get its running backs and quicker wideouts into space on the edges.
David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State
In his redshirt junior season, David Montgomery was absolutely dominating for the Cyclones. Montgomery averaged 4.7 yards per carry while scoring 13 touchdowns on 257 carries during the 2018 season.
The 5′ 11″ tail back is arguably the most complete running back in this draft class. He’s got good size, speed, and agility; which was downright devastating for opposing safeties that played up field to stop the run, just like in this .GIF below.
His allusiveness and production on the ground game are impressive, what sets Montgomery apart is his pass catching and blocking. Through the air, the redshirt junior pulled in 22 receptions last season while averaging 7.2 yards; he was a solid safety blanket for quarterback Brock Purdy. But what he was even better at was buying his quarterback time to make a play. During the Alamo Bowl, I noticed that Purdy did a great job of getting in the way of blitzing defenders when he was asked to stay back in pass protection, this allowed him to buy his quarterback enough time to make the play with his feet. After the game, I went and looked at some more of his highlight videos and noticed that he was usually in position to block Purdy’s blind side.
Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
In his junior season, safety Taylor Rapp recorded 33 solo tackles, five sacks, and two interceptions. The Washington defense seemed most comfortable using him as a weapon floating around the middle of the field to take advantage of his speed and size.
Rapp is explosive off of the snap, and quick to recognize the best way to take advantage of the offensive play. In the below .GIF, watch how quickly he gets off the snap before making a small adjustment to take advantage of a hole that had developed in Utah’s offensive line during the Pac-12 Championship game.
It’s the safety’s play recognition, combined with his speed, that makes him a player that’s running under the radar in the 2019 draft. I think that he could make a good to great moneybacker, similar to Arizona’s Deone Bucannon, for an NFL team that is willing to make the draft pick early enough and ballsy enough to play him in this position.
Proud alum of Washington State University, crazy sports nut, and drinker of beer.