The NFL Draft is More of a Crapshoot Than an Exact Science 1
Nov 12, 2016; Iowa City, IA, USA; Michigan Wolverines tight end Jake Butt (88) catches a pass for a first down in front of Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Manny Rugamba (5) at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa beat Michigan 14 to 13. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Looking for some steals in this week’s NFL Draft? Look no further. We have five names for you that you haven’t been hearing much about the past few weeks. 

The best prospects in the NFL Draft are sometimes glossed over by the “experts” as they try to outdo each other. I subscribe to the KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid) method and look for guys who can actually play this game. Here are five players that I like in this draft that will slip through the cracks.

DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State (6-foot-4, 280):

This kid was named the the Defensive Player of the Year in 2016 and a first team All-American. In his college career, Walker has won a National Championship and played in three other bowl games.

Is he a perfect prospect? No, but in the right system he could be an effective pass rusher.

His sack totals at FSU the past two seasons (25) are impressive thanks to a quick first move. This is why I like Walker: He’s durable, dedicated and was one of the few recruits that Nick Saban wanted and could not reel in the past few years. If Walker isn’t putting his hands on the quarterback, he’s being disruptive, blocking passes, etc. He has the frame to get bigger and move to the interior of the line.

If he’s still around past Round Three, you have to grab him. I doubt he’ll last that long, though.

Jake Butt, TE, Michigan (6-foot-6, 250)

While everyone is falling in love with the seam breaking TEs in the draft this year, Jake Butt is going to slip down into the third or fourth round. That is where some team will adroitly steal the 2016 Mackey Award winner.

He is a two-time first team All-American who can block and catch the ball in clutch situation. How novel. Isn’t that what you want from your tight end?

Why I like this kid:

Butt is going to end up in some place like New England, Indianapolis, Denver, Oakland or Tampa Bay and just stick it to the NFL for the next decade. He’s just going be one of those guys who kills it at the next level.

Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State (5-foot-8, 176) –

Pumphery is probably off most teams’ radar because of his size, but some team is going to get lucky late in the draft with him. Pumphery was a first team All-American in 2016 and also won the Jim Brown Award as the NCAA’s top back. If you count his bowl game performances, Pumphery rushed for more yards (6,290) than any player in the history of college football.

I like Pumphery because:

He’s a complete back that can do it all and many teams will back off of him due to his size. I guess they think Devonta Freeman is a giant. I see Pumphery as a steal late in the draft. That is, if he lasts that long.

Rasul Douglas, DB, West Virginia (6-foot-2, 210)

Actually started his college career here in New York at Nassau Community College. His numbers weren’t impressive until he reached his senior season at WVU, when he logged in 70 tackles and was tied for the most INTs in the nation with eight.

Why I like Douglas:

He’s getting better every year and is an open book. He will probably get moved off the outside by a smart DC, either into a package/zone corner or even to safety. Either way, if he’s still sticking around in rounds four or five, teams will be all over him if not sooner.

Austin Carr, WR, Northwestern (6-foot-1, 194)

Carr has chance to go undrafted, even though he was highly productive at Northwestern as was named the Big Ten Receiver of the Year in 2016 with 90 catches for 1,247 yards and 12 TDs. Many question if he can take his game to the next level, but keep in mind this is one determined young man. He was a walk-on at NU who went on to become and Academic All-American as well as an established player.

Why I would take a flier on him:

He could be the next Adam Theilen or Chris Hogan. Just one of those clutch players that comes out of nowhere.

John Fennelly has been covering the New York sports scene on the Internet since 1997. He has advised and been published on dozens of prominent websites and in major periodicals and can been heard on sports talk radio stations all over the dial. Before embarking on his career as an accredited journalist, John held several management positions in a successful 25-year career in the financial industry. He holds a degree in New Media/Journalism from Queens College.