As the 2017 NFL Draft approaches, let's recalibrate our view on some of the prospects whose images don't quite match up with reality. Below are three overvalued and three undervalued players.
I love Mahomes' upside and think he's worth a second-round pick as a developmental quarterback. But as it stands right now, I believe he's more likely to go in the top 15 (keep an eye on the Arizona Cardinals) than he is to fall out of the first round entirely. The one thing in his favor is that he has immense physical tools, and it's clear when you talk to him that he has a very impressive football mind. But it's going to be a process, and it's going to take some time before he's ready to step onto an NFL field.
I think McDowell is the biggest boom-or-bust player in this draft. I wouldn't be surprised if, five years from now, he's either the best defensive player from this class or out of the league altogether. His motor runs very hot and cold. You'll watch a game, such as the one he had against Notre Dame in September, where he completely dominates. But then you'll throw on the tape for five other games, and he's nowhere to be found. I think there's a chance he could go in the first round, and that's way too big of a risk for me. I see him as more of a mid-to-late second-round player.
Brantley's recent charge on suspicion of misdemeanor battery has pushed his stock way down, but I felt it was artificially inflated before that news surfaced. There had been talk of him being a top-40 pick, but I just didn't ever see the production or the impact from his tape to put him in that range. Simply put, he just doesn't make that many plays when you study him. People have fallen in love with his quickness and explosiveness, and they've forgiven the lack of results. Florida's defense had a lot of NFL players on it, and I don't think he stood out from the bunch.
When I look back through my notes for any negatives I might've marked down for Davis, nothing comes up. He has size, speed, instincts and physicality. He can cover running backs and tight ends, and he plays with an edge. I think most people have talked about him as a mid-to-late first-round pick, but I wouldn't have a problem with a team taking him in the top 10 -- he's one of the safest players in the whole draft. I think he would fit beautifully in Tennessee, given the type of culture they're trying to build there. Last year, Jack Conklin wasn't the sexy pick, but the eighth overall selection had the major traits the Titans wanted in a football player: physicality, character and toughness. I think Davis is this year's Conklin.
This is the best group of corners and safeties I've seen in a long time, and I feel like Griffin is flying completely under the radar. He has ideal height-weight-speed (ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at 6-foot, 194 pounds) and all the physical tools you look for. And I just can't say enough about how much I love his aggressiveness on the field. Watch his tape against East Carolina from October -- he picks off a pass and carries around the receiver like a backpack for 10 yards. I think he's worth a second-round pick, but in this loaded draft, he might not go until the third or fourth round. The Philadelphia Eagles are a team in desperate need of corners, and Griffin would supply them with an immediate upgrade at the position.
I think he's the most underrated pass rusher in the draft. He brings ideal height-weight-speed (ran a 4.65 40 at 6-4, 266 pounds) and was very productive at Florida Atlantic. What really caught my eye was how he dominated during East-West Shrine Game practices. He plays with a great motor, has great hands and possesses tremendous power. I think he's probably going to go in the third or fourth round -- he could be this year's Yannick Ngakoue. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be looking for another edge rusher, and they wouldn't have to leave the state to find him. Hendrickson would plug right in along that stout front seven.