Potential NFL Draft Steals
by Trevor Whenham - 04/16/2008
We've seen it time and time again when it comes to the NFL Draft - everyone concentrates on the first round, but it's the guys no one is talking about in later rounds that turn into stars. My point is made with just one name - Tom Brady. That means that part of the fun of following the draft every year is picking a few guys that you think could be steals and see how it turns out. Here are five guys that will go late on the first day or into the second day who could be huge picks for their new teams:
Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville - I know that Brohm doesn't entirely fit my criteria, but I have to put him on this list because he has the real potential to be one of the biggest steals is recent years. I honestly and truly don't understand why this guy has dropped as much as he has. He had a real shot at being a top five pick last year, and even could have been No. 1, but he decided to go back to school. That's supposed to be the noble choice, but he is being punished for it. His team was lousy this year, but that certainly wasn't his fault. Bobby Petrino bolted to the NFL (briefly), Michael Bush went pro, and Brohm was left with a young and unproven team, and a new coaching staff that clearly wasn't ready for the jump in class that the tough Big East brought. Through it all, Brohm was brilliant - he passed for nearly 1,000 more yards than last year, almost doubled his touchdown total, and was more accurate. He may land in the bottom of the first round but could very well end up in the second round. I will be the furthest thing from surprised if his career ends up better than Matt Ryan's.
Tashard Choice, RB, Georgia Tech - This is a ridiculously deep draft for running backs, so there are inevitably going to be bargains at that position. One guy who is going to last longer than I think he should is Tashard Choice. What's not to like about this guy? He is coming off of back-to-back huge years, and he stayed healthy through them despite being the only real offensive choice for the team. I was fully convinced on this guy when he came through with a very good game against the tough Georgia team despite the fact that the Bulldogs knew he would be getting the ball early and often. He won't be the next Barry Sanders, but he has what it takes to be a long-term workhorse for a team.
Matt Forte, RB, Tulane - This guy is a freak. He ran for 2,138 yards (5.9 per carry) and 21 touchdowns. He ran for more yards than anyone did against LSU this year. He did all that behind an offensive line that would generously be called undersized. He isn't flashy or evasive. He just uses his size and speed, and an incredible amount of heart, to do what has to be done. He'll fit in very nicely into any rotation in the league.
Dennis Dixon, QB, Oregon - I was begrudgingly impressed when I saw Dixon make my beloved Michigan Wolverines look absolutely ridiculous. It wasn't until I saw him play in person at Stanford, though, that I realized how special he was. Stanford was ahead by 10 at the half, but then Dixon almost single-handedly decided to win, and he put on a football clinic in the second half. He is ridiculously fast and evasive, and he would be going much higher than he will if he hadn't been hurt last season. That injury is a concern, but I am willing to look past that given where he will be picked because of how much he improved going into his senior year. He wasn't an assured starter heading into the year, but he was determined to take the reins and did he ever. A team will be able to pick him and give him the time to develop and find his place. He could be ridiculous value for the price he will command.
Kenneth Moore, WR, Wake Forest - I have been impressed with this guy for a couple of years. He stands out in an offense that doesn't exactly captivate. What is most impressive, though, is what he is willing to do for his team. The Deacons needed a running back for the last five games of the 2006 season, so Moore moved over. He didn't just fill space, either - he averaged more than 100 yards per game. This year he switched back to receiver and was just two catches short of 100. He isn't fast or flashy, but he is obviously versatile, and his attitude is impressive. He'll be a steal in a later round for a team because he can fit well into so many roles.