Before I start off this week’s column, I’d like to extend my deepest condolences to everyone affected by the bombing at the Boston Marathon.
It pains me to hear that there are people in this world who could commit this atrocity, but it also brings me happiness to learn about the heroic acts of courage that have been displayed. It has kept my faith in the inherent goodness of people.
As we mourn for those who are lost, we should also celebrate those who prevented further injury or loss of life.
As we Americans have repeatedly done in the past, we shall come together and persevere through this tough time.
But now, let’s discuss the upcoming NFL draft. One characteristic of the NFL draft that’s not seen in the drafts of other leagues is the potential for players drafted in all rounds to play a significant role in their new team’s success.
Furthermore, there are players that get drafted late and are overlooked by many and yet go on to become impact players and even superstars. Examples of this can go on for the entire article, but two current examples of superstars are Tom Brady and Arian Foster.
Foster was undrafted, and Brady was taken in the sixth round. The purpose of this article is to determine which players have the potential to provide a big impact for their team.
It’s not a measure of how high I’m projecting them to go – in fact, these players are ones that I believe will perform much better in the future than their draft slots would suggest:
Baccari Rambo, Safety, University of Georgia
Currently, Baccari Rambo is slated as a mid-round pick, with a ceiling of a replacement-level starter in the NFL. I could not disagree more.
He has a solid build, filing in at 6-0, 215 pounds, which makes him big enough to match up with many tight ends throughout the league.
Furthermore, after watching many videos, it became apparent to me that Rambo is an instinctive play maker who has a knack for the ball, as well as the ability to make any tackle. So what’s not to like?
Rambo has unfortunately had a long series of off-the-field incidents, and he has not been able to control his behavior and put an end to these issues that could potentially end his NFL career before it even started.
His job over the next few days is to prove to NFL scouts and front office heads that he’s a changed young man who is willing, ready and able to learn and grow from his past mistakes.
If he can earn a shot to compete, I guarantee that he’ll be able to stay on the field and produce like a star.
Stedman Bailey, Wide Receiver, West Virginia University
I get that he’s a small dude (5-10, 195). I get that he was in a system offense that allowed him to take advantage of being in space. I get that he does not project to have a career as a special-teams returner. But what I love about Stedman Bailey is his under the radar production.
He led West Virginia in receiving with 114 receptions for 1,622 yards and 25 touchdowns, a surprising feat considering his teammate Tavon Austin is receiving all the headlines and is projected as a first-round pick.
Bailey is also lightning quick and has proven to be a very disciplined route runner, a skill that will certainly translate at the next level. The biggest knock against him is that he’s too small, but I think that’s just an excuse. If teams are worried about smaller wide receivers that predominately play the slot, then I guess Wes Welker just does more harm than good.
I believe that Bailey has the potential to be the next Wes Welker, and on a good team with a good quarterback, he can provide impact immediately.
Stepfan Taylor, Running Back, Stanford University
Stepfan Taylor is an interesting case because his biggest flaw is a product of him being too productive in college. He has three years of starting experience at Stanford, and the mileage put on scares teams away. However, when analyzing his potential, I ignore his prior touches. Instead, I look at what he has been able to do with them, and those numbers are impressive.
Each year that he’s started, Taylor has rushed for over 1,000 yards. Two of these seasons were with Andrew Luck, meaning that the offense was pass-heavy. His last season was without many graduated starters on the offensive line, where he was even more productive being the featured member of the offense. I predict that Taylor will be able to fit in with a pro-style offense and will be able to be a feature back.
He is not the fastest or flashiest, but he can find holes, he’s patient and he protects the ball. I absolutely believe that he, given the opportunity, has the potential for multiple 1,000 yard rushing seasons in the NFL.
These three guys are all going to be drafted, probably before the 5th round. But I believe their talent is undervalued, and whoever drafts them will have a superstar in the making. The countdown for the draft (as of this publication) is six days. Get the popcorn ready; it’s going to be a very interesting draft weekend.
As for this weekend, I hope everybody stays safe and enjoys themselves before the onslaught of finals time.
– Jayson Patel
The Emory Wheel was founded in 1919 and is currently the only independent, student-run newspaper of Emory University. The Wheel publishes weekly on Wednesdays during the academic year, except during University holidays and scheduled publication intermissions.
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