The Underrated Prospects In The 2015 NFL Draft
Photo: USA Today

Today it's time to take a look at some of the most underrated prospects. There will be some explanation of why these guys are being overlooked and underrated and then a pro comparison with where a team should be considering taking him.

Andrus Peat, OL Stanford. At the worst, you’re probably getting Andre Smith here. He’s a massive body who uses his arms very well. And in the NFL, prospects like that can make the adjustment to the NFL quickly. And if he didn’t need to get hurt or beaten to get pissed off on the field, he’d be a top 10 pick. Some team is going to pick him up in the 17-25 range and think that they got the best OT in the draft.

Pro Comparison: Andrew Whitworth.

Take him anytime after: Top 10.

Quinten Rollins, DB Miami (OH). He’s going to fairly drop in the draft because he has only played one year of college football. In fact, he was a basketball PG throughout college until his final year at the other Miami. So you have to realize that you’re getting raw cookie dough here. However, he showed enough to the scouts to make him a day 2 pick potentially.

Pro Comparison: Chris Culliver.

Take him anytime after: Mid 2nd.

Shane Ray, Edge/DE Missouri. He’s dropped so much that he’s now underrated. Some pundits have him rated as a 3rd round pick, some even lower. It’s very hard to see why. Ray has natural pass rush skills and was unblockable at times in the SEC against the best that the SEC had at OT. Don’t be surprised if he still goes in the top 10.

Pro Comparison: Michael Bennett

Take him anytime after: Top 5.

Ereck Flowers, OL Miami. Like Ray, he’s dropped so much that he’s now underrated. Teams don’t like his lack of initial quickness at the snap combined with his lack of lateral quickness. A smart team is going to realize that he’s an athletic RG or a solid RT prospect in the mid to late 1st round.

Pro Comparison: Phil Loadholt

Take him anytime after: Top 10.

Sammie Coates, WR Auburn. Also in the “he’s dropped so far that he’s not underrated” camp. Coates was a potential first pick until he showed that the problems with his hands weren’t limited to the playing field. He still is among the fastest and quickest WR prospects in the draft and needs to go to the right situation. If you’re looking for a #1 WR at Split End, you’ll be disappointed. If you’re looking for a returner who can contribute on deep balls as a #3 WR, you’ll think that you got a steal.

Pro Comparison: Kenny Britt

Take him anytime after: Early 2nd.

Benardrick McKinney, LB Miss State. He can play almost any LB spot in any defensive alignment. He can cover a TE/RB decently in the passing game and attack the running game well. But his lack of clear pass rush skills are why he’s probably a second round pick.

Pro Comparison:David Hawthorne.

Take him anytime after: late 1st.

Hroniss Grasu, OL Oregon. He’s only not perceived as a top 50 pick (and he could very well one in the real draft) because he’s a Center. If he was an OG, he’d be a top 40 pick and might sneak into the end of the 1st round. Centers are just highly undervalued mostly because teams prefer vet centers over a young player.

Pro Comparison: Brian De La Puente.

Take him anytime after: 1st round

Grady Jarrett, DT Clemson. A lot of scouts and front office people all say the same thing: that the real star of the Clemson defense and the reason that Beasley was able to do what he could was because Jarrett was a force in the middle of that defense and drew away help blockers. Jarrett is a bit undersized but looks potentially like a Geno Atkins type steal.

Pro Comparison: Stephen Paea

Take him anytime after: Pick 40.

John Miller, OL Louisville. Teams watch the tape of him and get confused. Sometimes they see why he made 46 starts for the Cardinals. Sometimes they see a guy who looks like the game is too fast/quick for him to process. A smart team with a good line coach will get something out of him.

Pro comparison: Alvin Bailey.

Take him anytime after: 4th round.

Donovan Smith, OL Penn State. He might have to move to guard eventually, but his stiffness probably makes him a RT at best. If a coach can teach him to stop bending his waist when he blocks, he could be a long time starter.  

Pro comparison: Marcus Gilbert.

Take him anytime after: Late 1st.

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB Oregon. The only reason he’s not going to go in the top 20 of the draft is because of his knee injury. Yes, teams are going to ignore that with Todd Gurley but a CB whose skill set is totally about speed will get his draft position hurt more with a major ACL injury. Otherwise, he would be the first CB off the board.

Pro comparison: a higher talent Brent Grimes.

Take him anytime after: top 20.

Geneo Grissom, OLB Oklahoma. Grissom has amazing physical tools and when he can figure out the play or where the ball is going, can make big plays with his jaw dropping athletic ability. However, he’s far too aggressive on the field and teams figured out how to bait him into bad decisions. A lot of that might be that he kept changing positions in college (from TE to DE to OLB to DE).

Pro comparison: Larry English.

Take him anytime after: 3rd round.

Markus Golden, DE/OLB Missouri. His stock was lukewarm because teams thought he was a product of playing with Shane Ray, but Ray’s drop in stock has also hurt his stock. And he’s gone from a 15-20 pick to a 3rd-4th round pick in perception right now. He’s a perfectly decent prospect  but he lacks acceleration and explosion. Perhaps bulking up and playing 1 gap or 5 tech would help him.

Pro comparison: A poor man’s Chris Long.

Take him anytime after: Top 30.

Mario Alford, WR/RB West Virginia. His hands are far too inconsistent to trust as a starting WR, but with his sheer athletic ability he could be a great value pick as a returner and dedicated fly route runner. If you draft him in the 5th or 6th round, you could get a real steal.

Pro comparison: Jacoby Jones.

Take him anytime after: 4th round.

Shaq Riddick, OLB/DE West Virginia

Player A: 6-6 244 lbs, 4.59 40, 1.57 10 yard split, 10’4” broad jump, 4.28 short shuttle and 6.67 3 cone drill.

Player B: 6-5 234 lbs, 4.64 40, 1.56 10 yard split, 10’5” broad jump, 4.30 short shuttle and 6.73 3 cone drill.

Player A is Shaq Riddick. Player B is Randy Gregory. This isn’t to say that Riddick is anywhere as good as Gregory but he’s worth a flyer pick late.

Pro comparison: A poor man’s Jabaal Sheard.

Take him anytime after: 4th round.