Every year as the NFL Draft approaches, people have heard plenty about the top picks in the draft, and I for one think the Fields vs Wilson, “who is QB2” argument has gotten a bit stale. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the lesser known players in the draft that aren’t getting the same attention as the first rounders, but may just have the same NFL impact.
Cameron McGrone, ILB 6’1 220 lbs
This class is rich with excellent downhill linebackers, and McGrone is a choice selection. In 2019 he was forced into the starting MLB role due to injuries on Michigan’s roster and never looked back. He’s a forceful, explosive athlete that knows how to read his run keys and is quick to diagnose the play.
His limited sample size may handicap his draft stock (specifically in coverage reps that UM’s defense didn’t really expose him to), but that shouldn’t matter considering the excellent value of his draft projections. Currently he’s being projected somewhere in the 3rd round, which is tremendous value for what he brings to the table. Look for his ability on the blitz to also be a factor wherever he goes.
Jaelon Darden, WR 5’9 175 lbs
People need to learn the name Jaelon Darden, because they’ll be hearing it a lot on Sundays. Coming out of North Texas, it’s clear why he hasn’t gotten the same attention of some other receivers the class. He’s smaller in stature, he hasn’t played against SEC competition, and he doesn’t have name recognition. That much is true.
But my god can this kid move. He is without doubt one of the shiftiest, most explosive players in a class that includes the likes of Elijah and Rondale Moore, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle. His value is not only on offense, but as a dynamic special teams contributor. He once said that making people miss is like is like brushing his teeth in the morning: he has to do it every day. ‘Nuff said.
Keith Taylor, CB 6’2 191 lbs
Keith Taylor is the latest in a long line of DBs to leave Washington for the NFL, and he’s got the aggressiveness to fit the bill. He plays fast, he plays physical, and he doesn’t take reps off. He still needs to develop some of his downfield abilities, specifically in tracking the football, but that can be coached and worked on.
The biggest thing here is the buy low value. Keith Taylor could easily end up being one of the three best CBs to have his name called this year. Despite this potential, he’s still not being projected higher than the 4th round. Should a team miss out on some of the higher round corners, Keith Taylor could definitely be the answer.
Brady Christensen, OT 6’6 300 lbs
Christensen may not be the complete package that rashawn slater is, and he may not have the same upside as Penei Sewell, but if your team wants to run outside zone, he’s your guy. His range skills are elite and he consistently finds his landmark. With a bit of coaching in his pass sets, he could definitely be a difference maker at the NFL level. Look for teams that prioritize reach blocking to target him well above his projections of the 4th or 5th round.
Tamorrion Terry, WR 6’4 215 lbs
Ok, this one’s cheating a bit, but you can’t talk about underrated prospects in this draft without talking about Scary Terry. Many of you have probably heard from other people how underrated Tamorrion Terry is, but it really is true. Despite all of the people like me screaming from the rooftops for him, analysts just refuse to bring him up their boards, and that’s just fine. If a team like my Giants can grab him later and take advantage, you won’t hear me complaining.
Terry’s unique blend of size, speed, and quickness makes him a truly dynamic weapon. Any team in need of a physical presence on the outside should definitely be giving him a look. The ONLY thing stopping Terry from being a first-round pick is his unfortunate decision to play for Florida State.
Those that are committed to watching FSU play, I commend you because it is a difficult thing to endure. Terrible quarterback and offensive line play have tanked Terry’s value, and some lucky NFL team will take advantage.