The BetBasics All-Underappreciated NFL Prospects Guide
In one week the fortunes of NFL franchises and hundreds of college football players will change forever. We have provided you with our mock drafts and will have one more before the April 27th NFL Draft gets underway.
Here is our list of players we believe are underappreciated. This doesn’t mean several of these players won’t be taken in the first round. Nor does it mean they should be drafted earlier than they are.
We recognize that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and team needs often dictate who gets picked and when. These guys are players.
QB – Clayton Tune, Houston, Sr., 6-4, 220 – The marketing/P.R. prospects are infinite: “Cowboys Singing a Happy Tune!” “Patriots in Tune With Rookie QB!” “Tune In for Packer’s Highlights!” But seriously, Tune is a big, athletic pocket passer who threw for 104 touchdowns and 41 picks at Houston. Does he try to cash some passes his account can’t cover? Yes. But we like our QBs to have flirt with that confident/cocky line. Could be a terrific Day 3 pick.
RB – Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama, Jr., 5-9, 199 – One of these days the anti-RB pendulum is going to start swinging back and Gibbs could be the Pied Piper. Gibbs is a three-down back who blocks and runs with bad intentions. He might be a first-round pick, but someone is getting a beast in Round 2.
WR – Zay Flowers, Boston College, Sr., 5-9, 172 – Ten years ago the term “slot receiver,” was akin to labeling a batter a contact hitter. Moneyball changed that. Flowers should send Jacksonville GM Trent Baalke and WR Christian Kirk “Thank You” cards. Flowers cuts like a neighborhood butcher and processes like an AI bot. Round 1. No doubt.
OL – Steve Avila, TCU, Sr., 6-3, 334 – QB Max Duggan and WR Quentin Johnson got most of the spotlight for the Horned Frogs thrilling ride to the championship game. But Avila is arguably the best pro prospect. Because he plays guard, not tackle, he once again is being overlooked. But he’s perfectly built to have a long, productive career. Team leader as a bonus. Day 2.
TE – Sam LaPorta, Iowa, Sr. 6-3, 245 – Did you see Iowa’s offense last season? Neither did anyone else. The Hawkeyes, even by Big Ten standards, were so limited the defense didn’t even bother to take off their helmets so LaPorta’s stats are lacking (one TD). But he’s a better and average athlete and has some Mark Bavaro in him. Moving into 2nd-round territory.
DL – Siaki Ika, Baylor, Sr., 6-3, 335 – NFL teams are always on the lookout for DTs who can get some pressure so it’s understandably Ika has gotten a lot of love – he doesn’t put much heat on the QB. But for a team looking for a run-stuffing, blocker-eating space invader, Ika is a load. He attacks the run game. Round 3 at worst.
LB – Henry To’oTo’o – Alabama, Sr, 6-1, 227 – There are some guys, regardless of height and weight, who when they hit, the sound, you look up. That’s To’oTo’o. To’oTo’o may never be a star. As hard as he hits, To’oTo’o doesn’t have the bulk to bend back a power runner and he may not be great in coverage. But, man, hit like that and there’s place in the NFL. Round 3.
DB – Ja’Ayir Brown, Penn State, Sr, 5-11, 203 – Last season Jaquan Brisker was a 2nd-round pick by the Bears out of Penn State and made GM Ryan Poles look really good. Brown made Brisker’s departure seamless. The Trenton, N.J. prospect plays with an infectious enthusiasm. His zeal occasionally can get him caught out of position but that can be harnessed. Round 3-4.
K – Jake Moody, Michigan, Sr. 6-1, 210 – Moody never missed an extra point in college and has proven he has a big leg (59-yard FG) and clutch. His 35-yarder with nine seconds left beat Illinois, 19-17 and sent the Wolverines to the CFP. The Lions have been searching for a kicker. Hmmm. Round 5-6.
P – Adam Korsak, Rutgers, Sr. 6-2, 185 – Talk about durable. Playing in one of the nation’s worst offenses, Korsak racked up 349 punts. Last season he averaged 44 yards on 75 punts. The latest punting wonder from down under, Korsak won the Ray Guy Award and set the NCAA record for punting yardage. He dropped 32 punts inside the 20. Round 7/UFA.
Wildcard Pick – Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State, Sr., 5-6, 176 – At 5-6, some don’t think Vaughn passes the eye test. But watch him play. The quickness, elusiveness, competitiveness, toughness and change of direction shout “Player,” louder than any bullhorn. His father, Chris, is the assistant director of college scouting for the ‘Boys. Round 5.