This weekend’s NFL Draft will see a flurry of former five-stars, four-stars and 20-offer plus type prospects fulfilling their dreams – and our expectations – as they make the official transition to the highest level of football.
Lane Johnson has gone from unrecruited QB to JUCO TE to first tround OT.
There will also be a handful of prospects that will be surpassing everyone’s expectations this weekend, players that were barely considered prospects at all coming out of high school, if even football players.
Among the top 50 draft eligible prospects according to CBSSports.com, four were rated as two-star prospects according to the recruiting industry generated 247Composite which considers all major recruiting sites. Three more were unrated completely.
We’ll take a look at how these seven prospects slipped through the cracks.
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Class of 2009 247Compoiste rating: 2-star
CBSSports.com highest mock draft selection: No. 1 overall
Why we missed: Throughout most of his high school career, Fisher lined up at punter and outside linebacker. As a senior, in an effort to seize any opportunity to play on the next level, Fisher moved over to offensive line. He chose Central Michigan over an offer from Eastern Michigan. With limited opportunity to evaluate him and only a year of film under his belt, Fisher’s rise from a skinny 6-7 high schooler to first round NFL draft pick was unlikely at best.
Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Class of 2009 247Composite rating: Unranked
CBSSports.com highest mock draft selection: No. 4 overall
Why we missed: While it’s not out of the usual for tight ends to become NFL offensive tackles, Johnson’s path was one step more circuitous. The 6-6, 300-pounder was a high school quarterback who went the junior college route where he had a statistically unproductive year at Kilgore Junior College. His athleticism earned him an opportunity at Oklahoma where Johnson redshirted his first year only to have a limited impact at tight end and defensive end in 2010. By 2011, he had made the move to offensive tackle and over the next two seasons, evolved into one of the most athletic linemen in the country. A Lane Johnson first round projection out of junior college or high school would have required an imaginative and incredibly optimistic outlook.
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Class of 2008 247composite rating: Unranked
CBSSports.com highest mock draft selection: No. 7 overall
Why we missed: In a first round full of interesting journeys, Ansah’s takes the cake. A non-scholarship student at BYU hailing from Ghana, Ansah tried out unsuccessfully for the basketball team in both 2008 and 2009. He also had a stint in 2009 on the track squad but ultimately found his way to the football offices, walking on to the team in 2010. Two years later, he had learned the rules of the game and how to strap on his equipment. At a bulked up 6-5, 275 pounds, he has become the most unique story in the 2013 draft. So how did we miss on Ansah? No one knew Ansah would ever see a football field and whoever scouted Ghana in 2008 totally overlooked him.
Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
Class of 2009 247Composite rating: 2-star
CBSSports.com highest mock draft selection: No. 21 overall
Why we missed: A lot of people missed on Cyprien but the recruiting industry certainly isn’t exempt from that. Coming out of North Miami Beach High School in Miami, Cyprien chose FIU over his only other offer of Western Michigan, a school that consistently scouts south Florida well. Cyprien wasn’t a late bloomer physically either. He was an impact performer at FIU from day one as a freshman and continued that consistent play for four years. The recruiting industry and college coaches alike are kicking themselves for missing on this unique talent.
Margus Hunt, DL, SMU
Class of 2009 247Composite rating: unranked
CBSSports.com highest mock draft selection: No. 29 overall
Why we missed: Another example of our international scouting department failing us, Hunt hails from Estonia and made his name as a world-class track and field athlete in the throwing department. When SMU’s track and field program folded, Hunt immediately looked for his athletic outlet on the football field and his freakish size and athleticism quickly became the stuff of legends. From a rankings perspective, Hunt is another one that would have been impossible to predict as he was never recruited to football out of high school and only found the game on a twist of fate.
Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse
Class of 2009 247Composite rating: unranked
CBSSports.com highest mock draft selection: No. 38 overall
Why we missed: Though Pugh never played a down for Greg Robinson, it was his staff and his evaluation that benefited the Syracuse program in landing Pugh. There isn’t any reason why he should have been a lightly recruited two-star. Playing big-school football in Pennsylvania outside of Philadelphia, Pugh was an all-conference two-way lineman who was his team’s MVP on the defensive side of the ball. After signing with Syracuse over limited options, Pugh redshirted his freshman year and became a starter throughout the rest of his career.
Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
Class of 2008 247Composite rating: 2-star
CBSSports.com highest mock draft selection: No. 8 overall
Why we missed: Nassib was another hit for Greg Robinson and another state of Pennsylvania miss for the recruiting industry. Hailing from Malvern Prep outside of Philadelphia, Nassib’s limited recruiting profile could be partially excused due to limited passing opportunities in his run-heavy high school offense. However the 6-2, 210-pound athletic prospect still competed at passing camps like the Elite 11 and was still a decorated all-conference signal-caller. Following a junior year in which Nassib passed for only 1400 yards, the domino effect offer list that quarterbacks so often see never started for Nassib and he committed early on to Syracuse and saw few options emerge following his pledge.