Underrated Prospects Most Likely To Make Evaluators Feel Dumb 3 Years Later

This article’s headline could be fashioned any number of ways, such as: (i) “prospects currently being underrated by media pundits”; (ii) “future pro bowlers most likely to fall in the draft” or (iii) “The Potential Dak Prescott’s Of The 2017 NFL Draft.” All this pokes at the simple fact that the draft scouting (and complimentary media analyst) industry is highly susceptible to group think. Evaluating prospects is an “art” (with plenty of room for input from objective data (i.e. “science”)) premised on subjective assessments of traits and projections of potential. In other words, the scouting process requires collective individuals to rely on their knowledge, training, experience and intuition to competently and confidently forecast the respective value and risk of each available prospect.

This process is inherently unknowable and inexact. Even the best evaluators employing the best methods are liable to “miss” on certain prospects. Rightly or wrongly, misses in an evaluator’s portfolio are excusable (or inexcusable) to varying degrees–depending on industry and media consensus at the time and hindsight. Accordingly, in any such industry, the natural desire to avoid “unacceptable” misses invites inclinations to manage one’s own reputation, succumb to recency bias, and adhere to group-think/affirmation regarding prospects that (for various reasons) present the most unconventional and/or debatable profiles. Such inclinations are liable to become insidious influences that can pervert (otherwise sound) judgements of respective value and risk and spur unreasonable inflations or depressions in comparable draft stocks.

In my opinion, the following offensive and defensive prospects are being underrated by media analysts, generally. In many cases, these players have pro bowl potential but are not regarded as such because of some overriding weakness they think they’ve identified.

OFFENSE:
1. DeShone Kizer
2. Juju Smith-Schuster
3. Cole Hikutini
4. Curtis Samuel
5. Marlon Mack
6. Adam Shaheen
7. Chad Hansen
8. Ethan Pocic
9. Chris Godwin
10. Zach Banner

DEFENSE:
1. Jabrill Peppers
2. Zach Cunningham
3. Jarron Jones
4. Damontae Kazee
5. Marcus Williams
6. Ahkello Witherspoon
7. Cam Sutton
8. Desmond King
9. Nazair Jones
10. Deatrich Wise Jr.

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