Overrated/Underrated/Sleeper 2019 Prospects by Position (Offense)
Quarterback – Drew Lock (Overrated) Daniel Jones (Underrated) Brett Rypien (Sleeper)
Drew Lock is one of those quarterbacks not unlike Jay Cutler who has so much arm talent that he sometimes sacrifices his mechanics because he can get passes to his receivers without much effort. He got away with his mechanical issues in high school and college because he was a lot more talented than his competition but in the NFL it will not be as easy. I’ll admit that with the NFL evolving and the rules changing to be more offensively friendly, it is somewhat easier to transition than before but for Lock to become a viable starter, he needs to vastly improve his mechanics from the waist down and improve his pre and post snap recognition.
Daniel Jones may not have the arm talent and physical tools of a Lock but he is a cerebral quarterback that can beat you before the ball is even snapped due to his mental capacity pre-snap. He uses eye manipulation after the snap to set up defenders and pretty much knows where to attack defenses on each play. Jones’ issue however is when he gets fooled (will happen more in the NFL) his decision making is a question mark. He will take chances in double or triple coverage and throw the ball across his body as if he has the arm talent of Patrick Mahomes (he does not).
Brett Rypien is similar to Jones as his arm strength will not excite anyone but what Rypien does is win from the pocket. If things are clean and his offensive line wins their matchups then Rypien will pick you apart working through progressions and hitting his receivers in stride with accuracy for them to pile up yardage after the catch. Rypien is also one of the few quarterbacks in the class that has experience working from under center who can take a snap, turn his back to the defense with play-action, and locate his receivers down the field.
Running Back – Damien Harris (Overrated) Dexter Williams (Underrated) Ty Johnson (Sleeper)
I don’t want to come down too hard on Damien Harris because he is a quality running back, but the love for him as Top 3 in the class is getting out of hand. Harris is a physical north/south runner that gets the yardage that’s blocked up for him, however he doesn’t have the ideal elusiveness and hip fluidity to create yardage in the open field. He is solid but nothing special.
Dexter Williams’ draft stock is lower due to his off the field concerns but on the field, dude is a beast. He needs to garner more experience and develop his pass blocking and pass catching ability but he is one of the most natural runners in the class. Williams’ ability to change speeds effectively, use his patience and vision to cutback, and burst to take it the distance is enticing. One of the most important characteristics I look for in a running back is their feet and Williams has A+ feet that he uses in conjunction with his vision to diagnose and set up his blocks before bursting through the line of scrimmage.
I was late to the Ty Johnson party and really noticed his talent at the East-West Shrine game. Like Williams, Johnson’s feet stood out to me as he was making cuts in the open field look so effortless. As a running back you either have it or you don’t. Can you make defenders miss in confined spaces? I don’t believe Johnson will be put in the position to be the alpha running back in a backfield initially but he has the ability to be productive in a committee as an early down runner.
Wide Receiver – D.K. Metcalf/Hakeem Butler (Overrated) Deebo Samuel (Underrated) Keelan Doss (Sleeper)
I couldn’t decide which one of these potential first round wide receivers was the most overrated so I gave you a 2 for 1 special with D.K. Metcalf and Hakeem Butler. The 2019 wide receiver class is extremely deep but I’m not as high on the prospects most are gravitating towards. Metcalf and Butler are physically imposing wide receivers with top level athletic testing but they lack mastery of the small nuances which may take them some time to develop at the next level. Metcalf’s limited route tree at Mississippi makes him a raw prospect that will need to improve his route running getting in and out of breaks. I am not saying that he can’t develop and improve in this area but he’s not coming into the NFL as a polished route runner. His inconsistent hands coupled with his injury history should make a team think twice before selecting him in the 1st round; still it’s highly unlikely he makes it to day 2 of the NFL Draft due to his potential and ceiling.
Butler is highly favored due to his ability to make tough, acrobatic catches deep down the field as he showcases his large catch radius time after time. However, I can’t get past his subpar route running, inability to make sharp breaking moves, and how many easy passes he dropped continuously. A move to the big slot position will make Butler’s transition to the NFL easier as he can win there with greater regularity as opposed to outside the numbers.
I have Deebo Samuel higher than both the big body receivers above on my wide receiver draft rankings. Samuel might be smaller in stature at 6’0” but he plays the game with a different intensity that makes him more dynamic and explosive than most receivers. Bottom line is Samuel is a playmaker that needs an offensive coaching staff to be imaginative and put him in the best position to get the football in space so he can do what he does best, run after the catch. Samuel should not be pigeonholed as a slot receiver though as he can win easily on the outside also due to his route running and quick feet to get in and out of his breaks. Samuel does have injury concerns but if he stays healthy he could be a mismatch nightmare in the NFL.
I tried my best to get Keelan Doss in my top 5 wide receiver ranking but the depth at the position slid him down a bit. This is by no means an indictment on his game as he has the potential to be one of the 3 best wide receivers in the class. Doss gives me Michael Thomas vibes due to his ability to win from the slot immediately and can also line up outside and be just fine there. Doss’ instincts and precise route running allows him to win against zone or man easily. His strong hands through contact were showcased at the Senior Bowl where he also displayed his ability to produce against upper-echelon competition for the doubters who point out he dominated at lower level UC Davis.
Tight End – Dawson Knox (Overrated) Caleb Wilson (Underrated) Kahale Warring (Sleeper)
I’ll admit that I have something against Ole Miss skill position players going back to Evan Engram in the 2017 NFL Draft. It actually isn’t the players I have the issue with but the offensive scheme as receivers and tight ends are not asked to run certain routes which limits their route tree. There is very little in-breaking route concepts as Dawson Knox and the receiving core were asked to run go routes, comebacks, curls, and hitches time after time. It may have produced tons of yards in college but at the NFL level, Knox will be asked to do much more if he wants to develop into a solid starting tight end. On top of the learning curve as a receiving tight end, Knox’s inability to block with strength and awareness could be a problem.
I understand others trepidation with Caleb Wilson due to his inconsistency and questionable blocking, however go put on the 2017 tape against Texas A&M and he looks like TE1 of the class. He lacks lateral quickness but he reminds me of “good” Jared Cook due to his ability to catch the ball through contact and gain huge chunks of yardage in the middle of the field.
Kahale Warring is a seam busting tight end that has the speed to stretch the field vertically. He is sharp at the top of his routes and has above average ball skills to go up and over the top of defenders. Warring is still developing but his plus athleticism makes him a sleeper candidate.
Offensive Line – Greg Little/Kaleb McGary (Overrated) Max Scharping (Underrated) Michael Deiter (Sleeper)
If you read my work before you know exactly what I am going to say about the offensive line position. Technique over Talent, Polish over Potential. Greg Little and Kaleb McGary offer a huge amount of potential but at this point they’re not ready from a technical standpoint. I have McGary over Little but both players have some issues they need to clean up before being inserted as a starting offensive tackle at the next level. Little just doesn’t look comfortable in space as he lacks the bend to get into position to take on pass rushers or linebackers at the second level. Once he can improve his consistency, footwork and technique he still doesn’t give you the nastiness that you’re looking for from your offensive linemen.
McGary on the other hand gives you tremendous nastiness as he punishes interior defensive linemen when he down blocks clearing huge holes for his running back to burst through. McGary is a phone booth type of lineman that excels in small spaces but the more he plays in space, the more his technique comes into question. He is inconsistent as a pass blocker as he looks good at times but other times he is a step slow allowing speed rushers to bend the edge around him to the quarterback. Also power rushers easily disengage from his blocks due to his hand usage. I think a move to guard will benefit McGary but NFL teams always falls in love with potential tackles where he most likely will struggle at that position early in his career.
Max Scharping may not be the prettiest looking offensive tackle in the class but he plays like one due to his pass blocking technique. I call him the poor man’s Jonah Williams as teams may want to slide him inside to guard but he is a tackle all day. Scharping gets a great jump off the snap, gets in the optimal position, and protects his quarterback really well. He was the highest graded tackle in pass blocking efficiency per PFF. He can be a steal later in the draft.
Michael Dieter is a high IQ Wisconsin lineman that understands his assignments. He is strong at the point of attack and uses his hands really well keeping defends away from his chest. Deiter plays in the pass and run game equally impressively and offers versatility having played tackle, guard, and center for Wisconsin. He is very experienced also and I see him as an interior player at the next level.