Guys I Wouldn’t Draft

I’m no NFL general manager or scout, and I don’t have access to a tiny fraction of the data that they do. That doesn’t stop me from getting hunches about players in the draft, though. I can’t pretend to be always accurate, but I have my moments both good and bad – I had a strong sense that Robert Gallery wasn’t going to pan out, but I thought the same about Matt Ryan. My hunches are imprecise science, but then so is the draft. At the very least I have about the same track record this year as the Lions. Better, even – I wasn’t fooled by Joey Harrington. Here’s a look at four likely first rounders this year who I just can’t seem to warm up to:

Matthew Stafford
– Let’s start right at the top. I know Stafford has all the measurables, and that scouts have been drooling over him since before the season. I just can’t reconcile what everyone says with what I have seen when I have watched Georgia play. He can be extremely impressive at times, but he can also look rattled and out of his element. I think back most to the Georgia Tech game. The Bulldogs should have won very easily, but the Tech clearly got into Stafford’s head and rattled him. That was just one example of what I feel about Stafford – some guys can get more out of their team than they should be able to. Stafford never seemed able to get his team to live up to its massive potential.

Jason Smith – His story is particularly inspiring, but I am a little skeptical of any guy that comes from absolutely nowhere to the top in a hurry. A year ago Smith was almost totally irrelevant. He worked hard, got some attention, and rocketed up draft rankings. I’d feel easier about the plaudits people are throwing his way if he had been producing longer. He could obviously be good, but he could also disappear just as fast as he appeared on the national scene. He seems like too much of a risk to throw themillions at that a high pick will require.

Percy Harvin – I haven’t yet been proven right in my concerns about DeSean Jackson last year – that an undersized speedster isn’t a good gamble to hold up under the punishment of the NFL. They can burn bright for a while, but they can’t last, and that makes them a bad investment. I feel the same way aboutHarvin . He’s a bit bigger than Jackson, but he’s also been more fragile up to this point. He’ll put up some highlight reel performances for a while, but I don’t see it lasting, and most teams can’t afford to use a first round pick on a two year contributor.

Malcolm Jenkins
– Maybe it’s just because he is a Buckeye and I hate Buckeyes more than anything, but I don’t see how Jenkins is worthy of being picked in the top half of the draft. He’s probably the best corner on the board, but that’s not saying much this year. You don’t have to watch him much to see that he isn’t a lockdown type corner, and even lockdown types are far from a lock when they are drafted. If it were late in the second round I would jump at Jenkins, but even a team with a hole at corner would be better served to look elsewhere in the first round and pick up a corner later on.You’ll get a roughly equivalent player and he won’t cost you nearly as much.

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