NEPD Editor: James Christensen
As I mentioned earlier this week during my five under-valued prospects, we’ll be starting an exclusive Play The Draft league for readers of our network of sites this Monday.
Here are five prospects that I’d recommend staying away from putting on your Play The Draft team this season.
With the exception of Jarvis Jones, in no way am I saying that I don’t like these prospects – only that I feel that they will be picked later than what the market is predicting right now.
Matt Elam (SAF, Florida)
Market: 39th Pick
I haven’t met anyone that doesn’t enjoy watching Elam play. He has passion, plays fast and hits like a truck. That said, despite his nice performance at the NFL Combine, he has limitations in coverage. There are also bound to be questions about his height – 5’10”.
Add those two concerns to the fact that is perhaps the most loaded safety class in nearly a decade, and you get a prospect that could possibly drop further down the board than most predict.
Despite many first round predictions – I wouldn’t be surprised to see him selected at the end of round two.
Market: 24th Pick
To me, there is little to no upside with this pick – I can’t envision Te’o going any higher than the 20th pick. However, there are distinct possibilities of Te’o falling to the end of the first round.
Te’o has the one blown out of proportion off-the-field concern, but that belies the fact that there are distinct concerns about his on-the-field play. His 4.80 forty time isn’t a big deal, but combined with his inability at times to get off blocks and you have to wonder where he fits exactly.
Give Te’o a big line to protect him – think Baltimore – and I think he can thrive.
Market: 10th Pick
It has been no secret that I’m not a big fan of Jones’ NFL potential. Despite a relatively clean bill of health at the NFL Combine, spinal stenosis is still a condition that will give some teams pause come draft day.
Jones also might project as an inside linebacker for some teams – think Pittsburgh – where he would become much more attractive in the second half of the first round. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jones ends up in the 20’s or 30’s come April.
Market: 8th Pick
Lotulelei’s health problems – like Jones’ – have been covered ad nauseum over the last few weeks. With Lotulelei, however, it remains to be seen just what sort of prognosis he will receive.
Dealing with a condition that could preclude him from playing a NFL snap is no laughing matter. I would certainly wait to add Lotulelei to your team until more is known about his heart condition. Given a good recommendation, Lotulelei should be a lock for the top-ten.
Market: 23rd Pick
I’m a huge fan of Tyler Eifert. His hands are amazing and despite a few ho-hum figures at the combine, he is a dynamic athlete on the football field.
However, there are myriad options at the tight end position that aren’t far behind what Eifert offers. Zach Ertz, Gavin Escobar, Travis Kelce and Vance McDonald all off a similar level of upside for NFL teams, which could lead to all of their values diminishing somewhat.
Even if Eifert is the best tight end in this crowded class – which I would argue that he was – I don’t see him being selected before the 20th pick, limiting upside and exposing yourself to at least a small drop come draft day.