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Inside the War Room: All-Underrated Offensive Team

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Now that Inside the War Room has broken down the top senior prospects at every offensive position, it is time to name our All-Underrated Team. This team is made up of players who carry a third-round draft grade or lower going into the season. These prospects are also players who should see their stock rise significantly throughout the season. Along with naming this preseason All-Underrated team, Inside the War Room also takes a look at some of the top centers in the draft, discusses why Najee Harris is overrated and much more.

ALL-UNDERRATED OFFENSIVE TEAM

QB: Peyton Ramsey, Northwestern
A quarterback who moved teams this offseason was former Indiana quarterback Peyton Ramsey who transferred to Northwestern. Ramsey made the switch as he was seeing freshman Michael Penix Jr. cut into his playing time. Despite having to battle for his job last season Ramsey still put up strong numbers last year completing 68% of his passes and throwing 13 touchdowns. Ramsey should be the full-time starter for the Wildcats next year and will look to get the Northwestern offense back on track, as they finished last in the Big Ten in passing last year.

RB: Ronnie Rivers, Fresno State
One of the more versatile running backs in this year’s class is Fresno State’s Ronnie Rivers. In 2019, Rivers rushed for 899 yards and also racked up 348 receiving yards. He also led the Mountain West with 16 touchdowns. While Rivers lacks ideal size coming in at 5-8 183 pounds, his ability to contribute in the passing game, elusiveness, and overall quickness should allow him to find a spot in the NFL.

FB: Mason Stokke, Wisconsin
One of the few teams that still play old school power football is the Wisconsin Badgers. A player who helped the team establish their physical style of play last year was fullback Mason Stooke. Stooke proved to be a strong lead blocker and was one of the reasons running back Jonathan Taylor rushed for over 2,000 yards on the season. Stokke proved he is more than just a lead blocker last year as well. He was an effective short yard runner and also contributed six receptions in the passing game. He has also proven to be a key special teams player, which he will have to do in the NFL in order to make a team.

WR: Elijah Cooks, Nevada
The most underrated player on this team is Nevada wide receiver, Elijah Cooks. What makes Cooks stand out so much is his size, athletic ability, and overall production. Coming in at 6-4 and 215 pounds Cooks has ideal size for the NFL. He has impressive athletic ability for someone this size as well. He routinely adjusts his body to make the tough catches and shows nice overall flexibility. His production is sure to catch scouts’ eyes as well, especially over the last two games of the season when he 26 balls for 348 yards. Look for Cooks to be just the second player from Nevada to be drafted in the last seven years.

WR: Taysir Mack, Pittsburgh
A player with a high upside is Pittsburgh’s, Taysir Mack. What first stands out with Mack is his quickness. He has the speed to be both a vertical threat and the explosiveness to be a threat in the open field. He has the size scouts look for coming in at 6-2. While he does have the measurables scouts desire his questionable hands will likely be the reason he falls down teams draft boards.

TE: John Bates, Boise State
Boise State’s John Bates is one of the more complete tight ends in this year’s senior class. His top asset is his blocking ability. He is a fundamentally sound blocker and does a great job of using his hands in this area. As a receiver, Bates displays consistent hands and does a good job of finding open space in zone coverage. While he lacks the speed to be much of a deep threat, he should be a reliable target in the short to the intermediate passing game in the NFL. Bates could see his stock increase significantly this year as Boise State is expecting him to be a bigger part of their offense in 2020.

OT: Alex Palczewski, Illinois
Surprisingly, one of the best offensive lines in the Big Ten is Illinois’s, which was recently ranked as the 11th best line in the nation by Pro Football Focus. The leader of this unit is Alex Palczewski who will be entering his fourth year as a starter. Palczewski has intriguing pro potential as he displays great mobility. He would be an ideal fit in a system that prefers mobile lineman over a lineman that wins with pure power.

OG: Zion Johnson, Boston College
The highest-rated prospect on this list is Boston College offensive guard Zion Johnson. While Johnson has only played one year of FBS football after transferring from Davidson, he has already established himself as one of the top interior offensive linemen in college football. The first trait that stands out with him is how fluid of an athlete he is. He does a great job of getting downfield and was one of the reasons Boston College was able to break several long runs at the end of the season. He shows impressive grip strength and can destroy his defender once he gets his hands on him. The biggest issue with Johnson is he is still raw in pass protection. This is due to him playing in an option offense at Davidson, and that he now plays in a run-first offense at Boston College.

C: Michal Menet, Penn State
The Big Ten is well represented on this list as Penn State center Michal Menet is the fourth player from the conference to make the team. Menet is one of the better run blockers in college football and was the highest-graded underclassman center when it came to run blocking according to Pro Football Focus. As a run blocker he shows the strength to handle nose tackles one-on-one, and also has the mobility to easily get to the second level. In pass protection, he displays excellent feet and also the smarts to handle anything a defense throws at him. Overall, Menet has the potential to develop into a starting center in the NFL, which would make him one of the more underrated players going into the season.

OG: Nolan Laufenberg, Air Force
One of the highest-graded guards in Pro Football Focus history is Nolan Laufenbergh. When evaluating Laufernberg the first thing that stands out is his quickness. He does a great job of getting off the ball and also has the athletic ability to cut block. While his primary job was to run block in Air Force’s triple-option offense, he proved to be effective in pass protection as well. It should be interesting to see how scouts project Laufenberg to the NFL, and how they see him fitting into an NFL system.

OT: Dillon Radunz, North Dakota State
The top FCS senior offensive player and the only FCS prospect to make this list is North Dakota State offensive tackle, Dillon Radunz. The skill that makes Radunz standout at this level is his run blocking ability. He does a great job of controlling his man once he gets his hands on his defender. He also excels at finishing blocks and is routinely found blocking his man downfield. His strong run blocking skills could be one of the reasons why he switches from left tackle to right tackle in the NFL.

 STOCK MARKET

STOCK UP

Brandon Kennedy, C, Tennessee
Brandon Kennedy’s career was off to a slow start as he served as a backup for the first couple of years at Alabama. He then decided to transfer to Tennessee in 2018, where he proceeded to tear his ACL in the first game of the year. He finally broke through though in 2019, when he started every game for the Vols. He then received positive news this offseason as he was granted a sixth year of eligibility due to the knee injury he had in 2018. When evaluating him one of the first things that stick out is his intelligence. He does a great job of getting the Vols into the right blocking scheme, and also has excelled in the classroom being named a CoSIDA Academic All-American.

Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
One player who has been making the most out his time away due to Covid-19 is Purdue’s, Rondal Moore. During the epidemic, Moore had been working at Aspirations Fitness Institution according to Gold and Black. He worked out twice a day, six days a week with a morning session focusing on weight training and the afternoon taking to the field. In the weight room, he has posted some impressive numbers including bench pressing 405 pounds. In the afternoon he worked on the finer aspects of route running and caught 1,000 balls a day. This work ethic should pay off this fall when Moore returns to the football field after missing most of last season with a hamstring injury.

Derek Kerstetter, C, Texas
One of the best pass blockers in college football was Texas right tackle Derek Kerstetter, who was given the highest pass-blocking grade of any returning Power-Five offensive lineman by Pro Football Focus. The fact he is such a proficient pass blocker will definitely attract scouts focus, as will his versatility. Kerstetter so far has played both guard and tackle during his career with the Longhorns and will shift to a center for his senior season.

STOCK DOWN

Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama
A player who is currently being overvalued is Alabama center, Landon Dickerson. While teams will like the versatility he has shown, they might be scared off by his lack of quickness. He is routinely beat off the ball by quicker defensive tackles and also lacks the agility to get to the second level. These limitations could limit the type of scheme he plays in at the next level, to a team that uses more of a gap blocking scheme. Another concern with him is his injury history. He saw both his 2016 and 2017 seasons cut short and missed all but one game in 2018 due to leg injuries.

Brian Robinson, RB, Alabama
An interesting position battle to watch for this upcoming season is who will be the backup running back at Alabama. Last year, Brian Robinson served in this role and rushed for 441 yards. However, Robinson is being pushed for this job by the top running back recruit in the 2019 class, Trey Sanders. Sanders missed all of last season with a foot injury but looked very impressive in fall camp. If Robinson loses this job to Sanders it will likely mean a significant drop in production for him.

Baveon Johnson, C, Florida State
One of the biggest weaknesses for Florida State center Baveon Johnson is consistently snapping the ball accurately. This issue could cost Johnson his starting job. Even if Johnson is able to retain his spot in the starting lineup, look for scouts to look at him as more of an offensive guard prospect. The move would make sense for Johnson as it would get rid of his biggest weakness, and because he has the skillset to play guard in the NFL. The top reason he would be a quality guard in the NFL is his strength, which allows him to be a strong run blocker.

SCOUTING NOTES

— One of the more interesting transfers of the past few weeks is former Bowling Green quarterback Grant Loy transferring to Auburn. This is an interesting move as Loy has little chance of winning the starting quarterback job over Bo Nix. Which begs the question of how will the Tigers use the athletic quarterback, especially after he stated he is open to seeing playing time at other spots this year. The position that would make sense for him to be used at is tight end. This would be a natural fit for him, as he has the physical skills to play tight end, and because he is a below-average passer. Loy could also see significant playing time at TE with new offensive coordinator Chad Morris trying to involve this position more in Auburn’s offense next year.

— The most powerful running back in this class is Alabama’s, Najee Harris. Harris uses his 6-2 230 pound frame and aggressive running style to deliver punishment to defenders down after down. He is an excellent receiver coming out of the backfield as he caught 27 of 28 catchable balls last year. With that being said I am not as high on Harris as some people are for a couple of reasons. With the first one being he lacks the burst you see from a back like Travis Etienne or Trey Sermon. I also worry about his upright running style which will lead to him taking some big hits and cause durability issues for him. The last concern I have with him is a lack of lateral agility. I would have a hard time taking Harris any higher than the 3rd round due to these concerns.

— One of the most productive multi-purpose backs in this class is Elijah Dotson of Sacramento State. Last season for the Hornets, Dotson rushed for 742 yards and also recorded 702 receiving yards on 70 receptions. This production should garner NFL interest as will his physical traits. His top traits are his speed and his ability to be a receiving threat. Scouts will also like the potential he shows as a kick returner as he averaged 21 yards per kickoff return in 2017. The biggest concern with him will be his lack of size 6-0 185. This lack of size could limit his ability to run inside at the next level. Look for Dotson to go undrafted next year, but for a team to give him a serious look on special teams and as a backup running back.

 

 SENIOR OVERALL CENTER RANKINGS

Preseason First-Round: Grade: None
Top Small School Prospect: Paul Grattan
Most Underrated: Brandon Kennedy
Most Overrated: Landon Dickerson
Underclassmen to Watch: Creed Humphrey and Josh Myers

 

OVERALL RANKINGS

1. Michal Menet, Penn State
2. Jimmy Morrissey, Pittsburgh
3. Derek Kerstetter, Texas
4. Drake Jackson, Kentucky
5. Jack Wohlabaugh, Duke
6. Matt Allen, Michigan State
7. Brandon Kennedy, Tennessee
8. Landon Dickerson, Alabama
9. Eli Johnson, Ole Miss
10. Baveon Johnson, Florida State
11. Conner Olson, Minnesota
12. Kody Russey, Louisiana Tech
13. Blake Jeresaty, Illinois
14. Orlando Umana, Utah
15. Ryan McCollum, Texas A&M
16. Paul Grattan, Villanova
17. Noah Hannon, Appalachian State
18. Danny Godlevske, Miami of Ohio
19. Colby Thomas, Sam Houston State

NEWS AND NOTES

Former Central Arkansas DE Chris Terrell has transferred to West Alabama. Terrell was an FCS All-American in 2018. … One of the weirder facts on this year’s draft prospects is Minnesota C Connor Olson is a certified ghost hunter. …. Former Sacramento State quarterback Kevin Thomson has transferred to Washington. Thomson is currently rated as the 20th best senior quarterback on Inside the War Room’s draft board. … Angelo State WR Keke Chism has entered the transfer portal. … Former Stanford defensive tackle Michael Williams has transferred to SMU. Williams started all 12 games for the Cardinals last year. … UNI offensive tackle Spencer Brown recently bench pressed 500 pounds. Brown is currently ranked as the 15th best senior offensive tackle on ITWR’s draft board.

Check out previous week’s Inside the War Room’s

Wide Receivers, Tight Ends, Offensive Tackles, Offensive Guards

 

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