National Signing Day Meets the NFL Draft
By Zac Snyder
Thousands of high school football players across the country will sign their name on a national letter of intent today and officially pledge their services to the college or university of their choice. You will hear a lot about what schools have the top recruiting classes, star ratings and position rankings.
Meanwhile, a new crop of professional football hopefuls are preparing themselves for the NFL draft. National signing day is a “been there, done that” for these guys and now their goal is to hear their name called by commissioner Goodell as first round draft picks.
What makes a top recruit and what makes a top draft choice? Do the two groups of players have anything in common?
There is no shortage of mock draft on the internet so there are a number of names floating around that project to be first round picks in the NFL draft next April. Mel Kiper Jr. is the most well known draft guru so I took his first round mock and went back into each player’s profile on scout.com to see how highly these guys were regarded going into college. The results were somewhat interesting. Kiper’s first round mock draft has eight players that were five star recruits, nine players that were four star recruits, 12 players that were three star recruits and three players that were two star recruits. Check out the full list below, including each player’s position ranking:
|1||Nick Fairley||2007||3 Star||#27 OG|
|2||Patrick Peterson||2007||5 Star||#1 CB|
|3||Marcell Dareus||2008||4 Star||#5 DT|
|4||Da’Quan Bowers||2008||5 Star||#1 DE|
|5||Blaine Gabbert||2008||4 Star||#7 QB|
|6||A.J. Green||2008||5 Star||#2 WR|
|7||Robert Quinn||2008||4 Star||#19 DE|
|8||Von Miller||2007||4 Star||#6 MLB|
|9||Prince Amukamara||2007||3 Star||#47 RB|
|10||Cam Newton||2007||4 Star||#14 QB|
|11||Aldon Smith||2008||3 Star||#54 DE|
|12||Nate Solder||2006||2 Star||NR OL|
|13||Akeem Ayers||2007||4 Star||#12 DE|
|14||Julio Jones||2007||5 Star||#1 WR|
|15||Mark Ingram||2008||3 Star||#58 RB|
|16||Adrian Clayborn||2006||4 Star||#18 DE|
|17||J.J. Watt||2007||2 Star||NR DE|
|18||Cameron Jordan||2007||3 Star||#55 DE|
|19||Mike Pouncey||2007||4 Star||#7 OG|
|20||Ryan Kerrigan||2007||3 Star||#88 DE|
|21||Stephen Paea||2007||3 Star||JC DT|
|22||Anthony Castonzo||2007||2 Star||NR OT|
|23||Gabe Carimi||2006||3 Star||NR OL|
|24||Justin Houston||2007||3 Star||#42 DE|
|25||Ryan Mallett||2007||5 Star||#2 QB|
|26||Brandon Harris||2008||5 Star||#5 CB|
|27||Torrey Smith||2007||3 Star||NR WR|
|28||Mikel Leshoure||2008||3 Star||#52 RB|
|29||Christian Ballard||2007||4 Star||#10 DE|
|30||Muhammad Wilkerson||2008||3 Star||NR DE|
|31||Aaron Williams||2008||5 Star||#2 CB|
|32||Tyron Smith||2008||5 Star||#1 OT|
It doesn’t take long to see the first big surprise; Nick Fairley was profiled as an offensive guard coming out of high school but could end up going number one overall in the NFL draft as a defensive tackle. Prince Amukamara is another potential top ten pick that was recruited at a different position. While a three star rating and 47th best running back in the country coming out of high school is nothing to sneeze at, it doesn’t hold a candle to being regarded as a blue chip NFL prospect and #2 rated cornerback in this year’s draft.
Everyone can point to a big time NFL draft bust and the list shows that a five star rating coming out of high school isn’t a guarantee of future success either. The Patriots found a draft day gem in Tom Brady and there will be many college teams that find their own gems this recruiting season.
Just because the recruiting rankings set up a pecking order of talent now doesn’t mean it will look the same three or four years from now.
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