The hype around the upcoming 2014 NFL draft is expected but as with every class there is always a selection of players that tends to get overlooked for various reasons. Here is a short list of such talents who deserve but don’t get the attention.
Ryan Shazier – OLB – Ohio State
There is no question 3-4 outside linebackers get a ton of time from coaches and general managers during the pre-draft process. Perhaps that’s why Ryan Shazier gets a little overlooked. He’s not known for his pass rush ability, which one might suppose works against him but that makes it so easy to dismiss his obvious talent. The tall, speedy linebacker is a tackling machine with sideline-to-sideline range who blitzes well and has a knack for forcing fumbles or playing coverage. His comparisons to NaVarro Bowman are not unwarranted.
Stephon Tuitt – DT – Notre Dame
The rise of Aaron Donald and Ra’Shede Hagemen during the Senior Bowl and Combine, along with the ongoing microscopic study of teammate Louis Nix has left Stephon Tuitt as sort of the spare tire, which is rather interesting considering he had 7.5 sacks in 2013. He did that at 320 lbs and stands 6’5″ with over 34 inch arms. The guy is a force up front and has the size to play defensive tackle but the speed and quickness to play end. That kind of versatility is rare and deserves more credit.
Trevor Reilly – DE – Utah
Obviously being 26-years old will kill his draft stock but that doesn’t make Trevor Reilly any less of a good player. The Utah defensive end had 8.5 sacks last season, showcasing his excellent blend of athleticism, length and power. At 245 lbs he profiles as a 3-4 outside linebacker but experts believe he has the ability to pack on more weight to become a defensive end. That makes him versatile and thus more valuable in the right hands.
Jordan Matthews – WR – Vanderbilt
As if breaking almost every SEC receiving record wasn’t enough to get more momentum going into the 2014 NFL draft. Jordan Matthews comes out of Vanderbilt big, polished and tested against the best players in the country. He’s got superb hands, excellent route running skills and the ability to move inside or outside. His 4.46 timed speed at the scouting combine also showed he is faster than people think. If he was a borderline first rounder before, he is a definite one now.