We like to think these NFL personnel guys have it all figured out, poring over game tape and statistics and numbers, and finding gems in the annual NFL draft.
Then we're reminded of JaMarcus Russell. Or Vernon Gholston. Or Charles Rogers. Or, yes, Ryan Leaf.
Look for former Tennessee running back Montario Hardesty to outperform expectations.
Three years ago, when everyone was gaga over Russell and his freakish physical nature, I tried to point out that one factor superseded all others: Russell was 7-4 as a starter in games against ranked teams, with 13 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions in those games.
You and I aren't breaking down tape, but we can certainly watch players and see that Gholston has one move and doesn't go hard every play. Or that Russell has a tendency to make bad decisions. Or that a guy with the off-field problems Rogers had at Michigan State eventually would have off-field problems as an NFL player.
The NFL Combine begins later this month, and in the spirit of the most overvalued event in all of sports, here's my annual overrated/underrated list of draft prospects.
Overrated: Jonathan Crompton, Tennessee. He was lost in all of 2008 and the first month of 2009, yet now is the No. 2 quarterback on Sporting News' War Room list. Crompton had as many touchdowns as interceptions (nine) prior to this season, and he has never completed better than 58 percent of his passes.
Underrated: Colt McCoy, Texas. The negatives: spent his career in shotgun offense. The positives: can make all the throws, is ridiculously accurate and is a winner.
Overrated: Jahvid Best. California. I get it -- the NFL loves speed. But while Best was a terrific college tailback, he's 5-9 and weighs less than 200 pounds. He'll get pinballed weekly in the NFL.
Underrated: Montario Hardesty, Tennessee. He's a big, bruising back who has developed nice cutback ability....
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