Three-stars in the NFL Draft
Scherff was ranked as the No. 4 overall recruit to come out of Iowa and the No. 44 offensive tackle nationally in the Class of 2010. Oddly, Scherff actually played quarterback during a portion of his high school career, but quickly found his true home on the offensive line. The Hawkeyes traditionally produce top-level offensive linemen and Scherff definitely fits that mold. He plays with a nasty streak that should make Redskins fans very happy for years to come.
Farrell's Take: Iowa produces offensive linemen, or at least they used to on a more frequent basis. Scherff was a nasty mauler, but didn't really get to show that until much later in his high school career as he was a quarterback before that. There was no way to see anything beyond a three-star here based on his late development, but betting against linemen at places like Iowa, Wisconsin, Boston College and other programs not considered mainstream by recruits is never a good idea.
Scranton (Pa.) Lackawanna C.C., 2013, West Virginia
Coming from the junior college ranks, White was the No. 56 overall JUCO recruit and the No. 9 wide receiver nationally in the Class of 2013. After being lightly recruited out of high school, White developed quickly at Lackawanna and then at West Virginia. Losing Brandon Marshall in the off-season, the Bears needed a replacement receiver to play opposite Alshon Jeffery and they likely found him with White. He'll definitely have the opportunity to have a big season as a rookie.
Farrell's Take: White fell through the cracks a bit as an underrecruited high school prospect and then a JUCO kid that really didn't see much national interest as well. However, his measurables were excellent, he got into the right offense and he took off from there. It was hard to predict stardom for him at the high school or JUCO level, so kudos to the West Virginia staff for making him a star.
Adairsville, Ga., 2010, Clemson
As an athlete, Beasley was ranked No. 37 nationally at the position and also No. 37 coming out of Georgia in the Class of 2010. Coming out of high school, Beasley always had a great deal of potential, but nobody really knew what position he would end up playing. After finally finding a home at linebacker, Beasley flourished and should prosper in new Falcons head coach Dan Quinn's defense.
Farrell's Take: Beasley was a running back/wide receiver more than anything else as far as talent projection in my book, so he was a tough one to rank. He settled in nicely as a pass-rushing linebacker and developed into a top 10 NFL pick, so that athleticism we saw in high school was certainly utilized very well by the Clemson staff. He was three spots away from being a four-star athlete in the Rivals rankings, so we liked him, but we didn't know he'd develop into the monster in college he became.
Louisville (Kent.) Ballard, 2011, Louisville
Parker was ranked as the No. 77 wide receiver nationally and the No. 6 recruit in Kentucky in the Class of 2011. The Dolphins were looking for a top-level wide receiver in this draft after both Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline departed during the off-season. After dealing with an injury during his senior season at Louisville, Parker is now healthy and the opportunity will be there for him to make an immediate impact.
Farrell's Take: A very productive wideout in high school, Parker was still very lightly recruited overall other than a big in-state battle. Parker had good speed and size and despite playing against average competition overall, he was clearly one who slipped through the cracks.
Oakland (Calif.) McClymonds, 2011, Washington
Peters was ranked as the No. 30 cornerback nationally and the No. 43 recruit in California in the Class of 2011. This was another case of teams having to weigh a player's on-field talent with his off-field decisions. Because of some of these decisions, Peters' selection at No. 18 surprised some experts, however he did prove himself as a first-round talent during his time with the Huskies. If Peters can find the right path in Kansas City, this could be looked back at as a great pick a few years from now.
Farrell's Take: Peters was a cornerback with good size and instincts and had some nice offers but none from FBS powerhouses. Peters was five spots away from being a four-star, so we liked him quite a bit and even had him as one of the top performers at the Gridiron Kings national All-Star 7-on-7 heading into his senior year, but we didn't pull the trigger on elevating him to the four-star category because he was good at everything but great at nothing. That certainly changed in college.
Moultrie (Ga.) Colquitt County, 2010, Florida State
Erving was ranked as the No. 74 recruit in Georgia, but was not ranked nationally or at his position in the Class of 2010. Erving is an example of a player who needed some time to find a comfort level at a specific position. After starting off on the defensive line and then moving over to offensive tackle, he finally hit his stride at center. Look for Erving to actually start at guard for the Browns, but in the long run he is likely their center of the future.
Farrell's Take: A defensive tackle out of high school, and a solid but not great one at that, there was no way to predict Erving would move to the offensive line, play tackle and then move inside to center his senior year and become a first-rounder. Clemson was the only other big-time school to show interest in Erving, so hats off to Florida State assistant coach Odell Haggins for seeing something in this kid no one else did.
Irwinton (Ga.) Wilkinson County, 2011, Kentucky
Dupree was classified as a tight end in the Class of 2011. He was ranked as the No. 59 recruit in Georgia, but he was not ranked at his position or nationally. Dupree was another recruit who didn't really have a position to call home coming out of high school. Credit has to be given to the Kentucky staff for realizing that he had the athleticism to excel at linebacker, which is exactly what he has done. The ceiling is still very high for Dupree, so this is another pick that might be considered a home run a few years from now. Plus, we all know the Steelers develop defensive players.
Farrell's Take: If Beasley was a hard player evaluate, Dupree was extremely difficult. Projected as a tight end out of high school because of his height and length, we had him as a mid-level three star and top-60 player in Georgia. The Kentucky coaches did an amazing job turning him into a defensive star and stealing him away from Georgia Tech. Auburn also offered but Georgia didn't sniff at him. Honestly, there was nothing to really show anyone he'd be a first-round linebacker after college.
Shawnee (Kan.) Bishop Miege, 2011, Missouri
Ray was the No. 3 recruit coming out of Kansas and the No. 17 weakside defensive end nationally in the Class of 2011. That Ray was arrested for a marijuana charge four days before the NFL Draft and still had Denver trade up to pick him in the first round says everything you need to know about what NFL scouts think about his potential. Going to a veteran team like the Broncos should also help Ray ease into the league, instead of being thrust into the limelight like most first-round picks are.
Farrell's Take: Like underrating offensive linemen at Iowa, Wisconsin, Boston College and others, underrating defensive lineman at Missouri has become a big mistake, as well. Despite his troubles right before the draft, the Broncos still loved his upside enough to take a chance. Mizzou could very well be Defensive Line U or at least in the discussion based on recent drafts and on-field success. Ray was six spots from being a four-star, but based on that disappointing group ahead of him at weakside defensive end in 2011, that was a miss, even though he was ranked as a high three-star.
Chicago (Ill.) Lane, 2010, Duke
Tomlinson was the No. 29 offensive guard nationally and the No. 12 recruit in Illinois in the Class of 2010. He was considered the top pure guard available (depending on where you think Scherff will play) and with his high intellect, should pick up the Lions' offensive blocking schemes easily. There aren't many "sure things" in an NFL Draft, but it would be very surprising if Tomlinson wasn't a top-level offensive guard in the league for years to come.
Farrell's Take: Here's where maybe intelligence at offensive line isn't weighed as heavily as it should be. Tomlinson headed off to Duke to study medicine. He was a hard worker with a great motor and was bound for success either on or off the field. His commitment to Duke was a surprise, his development as a first-rounder was a surprise, but there comes a time where you have to stop being surprised. Even as a high three-star, he was very far from being a four-star prospect, so perhaps there's a lesson to be learned here?
Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas, 2011, Miami
Dorsett was the No. 38 wide receiver nationally and the No. 57 recruit in Florida. This was considered one of the more odd selections of the first round and it is not because of Dorsett's abilities. The Colts were thought to be looking at ways to help protect their golden boy, Andrew Luck, and instead they gave him another offensive weapon. While this will also benefit Luck, it raised some eyebrows. Dorsett should be productive immediately in the Colts offense as long as Luck is upright and healthy.
Farrell's Take: Ugh, our bad. Dorsett was a four-star at one point but dropped to a three-star because he lacked size and wasn't taking full advantage of his amazing speed, at least in our opinion, despite leading his team to an undefeated senior season. Then he went and added 10 pounds of muscle immediately, dropped his 100 meter time to 10.4 from 10.7, and turned out to be a blazer who was so coveted that the Colts took him even though he's just like T.Y. Hilton. Sure, he was highly-rated overall as a top-40 national receiver and top-60 player in talent-laden Florida, but he developed quickly after our final ranking.
Mesa (Ariz.) Mesa J.C., 2013, Arizona State
As a junior college recruit in the Class of 2013, Randall was not ranked nationally. Randall actually played baseball for a season at Butler J.C. before transferring to play football at Mesa. He impressed during his two seasons at Arizona State, finishing his senior campaign with a team-leading 106 tackles. Randall may actually slide over to cornerback for the Packers, which is definitely a position of need in Green Bay.
Farrell's Take: JUCO prospects are tough ones to evaluate and Randall went from the state of Florida all the way out to Arizona to make his college dreams come true. Once focused on baseball, he's an amazing athlete who just became a JUCO standout when landing at Mesa J.C. Looking back and based on his final year of junior college, he should have been in our JUCO Top 100 based on his 100+ tackles and 10 or so picks.
Massillon (Ohio) Washington, 2011, Ohio State
Smith was ranked as the No. 58 wide receiver nationally and the No. 21 recruit in Ohio in the class of 2011. After excelling in football, basketball and track in high school, Smith became a big-play threat for the Buckeyes. Now the Jets hope that he can continue to be that for them in the NFL. With the addition of Brandon Marshall in the off-season, the Jets definitely addressed their depth at the position, but now with the addition of Smith, they also added a deep ball threat that they were still lacking.
Farrell's Take: Smith was a high three-star but still 22 spots away from being a four-star. He had all the offers as well, with Ohio State beating out Michigan, Notre Dame, Nebraska and others for his services, but he never stood out during in-person evaluations and kind of got lost in the shuffle among other standout wide receivers in his class. He was an exceptional track athlete with a sub-10.6 100 meter time, so we didn't regard his speed enough, apparently.
Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson, 2011, Mississippi State
Smith was not ranked at his position nationally or in Georgia in the Class of 2011. However, Rivals.com was the only service to rank him as high as a three-star. In Washington, it is likely that Smith will be moved from the defensive end position to more of a pass-rushing linebacker in the hopes of replacing Brian Orakpo. Don't expect huge production from Smith immediately, but as he develops into his new position he should make an impact for the Redskins.
Farrell's Take: The biggest sleeper on our list by far, Mississippi State saw something in him that many others didn't. He also had offers from FBS schools Kentucky, West Virginia, UCF and Syracuse but he wasn't heavily recruited. We saw him in person and on film as well and while we gave him his only three-star grade in the industry, we weren't sold on his desire, run defense or toughness. He has proven a lot of people wrong so far.
Farmington Hill (Mich.) Harrison, 2012, Michigan
Funchess was classified as a tight end coming out of high school. He was ranked No. 14 nationally at his position and No. 9 in Michigan in the Class of 2012. Funchess did not make the move to wide receiver in Ann Arbor until the 2014 season. His production last season was also not consistent, but that could be attributed to the lackluster play at quarterback the Wolverines had all season. Funchess gives the Panthers another physically large receiving threat for quarterback Cam Newton, but it will be interesting to see if he is able to continue his improvement at his new position.
Farrell's Take: Speed was always the knock against Funchess, as he was a big kid who we certainly projected to be a tight end at the next level despite playing wide receiver for the most part in high school. This pick appears to be a reach by the Panthers, one of the strangest in the second round, but time will tell. Although he was a high three-star and a few spots from that fourth star, he wasn't really in the discussion that much as we saw him numerous times and felt he fell just short.
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