Gamble on Greatness

Are they worth the gamble?

Every year, there are players who have ideal physical skills who for whatever reason did not play up to their ability in college. Some step up and become great players. Others fall by the waste side and become disappointments. What differentiates Brian Dawkins and Trevor Pryce from Aundray Bruce and Mike Mamula? It's tough to say. It could be coaching. It could be opportunity. It could be simply the matter of a kid growing up.

These are the guys that can make or break your draft if you pick them too high. They can also be a simple gamble on greatness prospect if you pick them low.

There are five players that fit that description in this draft. I generally don't like these players, but under the right circumstances … these players can be good or even phenomenal players

George Foster, OT, Georgia … At almost 6'6" 330 pounds, George Foster looks like a Walter Jones clone. He's a supremely athletic tackle with great body control and quickness. He has great feet and a strong hand punch. In terms of physical talent, you could argue that he is the physical prototype. That said, he was arguably the biggest underachiever in college last year. He doesn't work hard and his technique looks like he hadn't been coached at all, which is hard to believe when you watch Jon Stinchcomb play. He's one of those players that could be an All Pro or could simply fall by the side. I'm not sure what he is going to be.

Julian Battle, S, Tennessee … I'm on record as saying that I'm not a fan of Battle's. I've seen the guy pick up too many stupid penalties at inopportune times that I wonder about his overall football intelligence (see Maryland bowl game when he single handedly set the tempo for that blow out with 3 moronic penalties). That said, he is another physical prototype. He is a big, fast, physical S with good coverage skills. He can bump and cover and might even be a decent third CB. He's going to need to work a lot harder and play a lot smarter. He'd be a steal as a 4th round pick, a risk as a 3rd round pick, and a flat out reach as a 2nd round pick.

Ty Warren, DT, Texas A&M… Everybody wants that big, physical DT and Ty Warren definitely fits that role. His uncle was Curtis Dickey, the former Colts RB who was a supreme underachiever. It must run in the family. When Ty Warren is playing hard, there is nothing this man can't do on the football field. He throws good OL to the side like they were yesterday's trash. His functional playing strength is very good and he can play with leverage and technique. Problem, Ty Warren doesn't always play hard. Some people compare him to Shaun Rogers (Detroit Lions) and I think that comparison is pretty valid though he reminds me more of Norman Hand. In the 2nd round, he could provide tremendous value for the Chargers.

William Joseph, DT, Miami (Fl) … Not only do people want the big, run stuffing DT; the big DT who can penetrate and consistently rush the passer is as good as gold. William Joseph has games where you think he's going to be great. He is quick off the ball and has the ability to shed blockers. When he plays hard, he can dominate. Problem … he takes games off. It's one thing to not play well for a play or two, even the greatest players do that every once in a while. This kid, unfortunately, doesn't get how talented he actually is. He could be drafted with Jimmy Kennedy if talent was the only consideration. Instead, he ranks below three DT's that aren't quite as talented (DeWayne Robertson, Kevin Williams, and Johnathan Sullivan).

Mike Pinkard, TE, Arizona State … This kid had big expectations attached to him when he replaced Todd Heap. At 6'5" 260 pounds with sub 4.6 speed, you see a lot of ability. He looks the part and he can run/block. So what went wrong? The guy is inconsistent at everything he does. I wonder if he'd drink a coke the same way twice. If he puts in the effort, he'll match the production of the top two TE's in this draft (Jason Witten and Dallas Clark) … but I'm not holding my breath.

So there you have it, five gamble on greatness types. Since my history of observation with these kids are they disappoint more than they live up to their ability … I certainly hope the Chargers don't select one of these kids in the round they are expected to go in. I'd use a 2nd round pick for Foster, Warren, or Joseph. I'd consider Battle in the third round, but he is still a risk there and wouldn't like the pick unless the Chargers trade down. Mike Pinkard is a late round possibility. All these kids have physical talent, but they are teases. We'll see what happens, but Butler has a tendency to stay away from these kids.

Rob Curtis writes exclusively at Chargers Update covering the NFL Draft and can be reached at the following link: Rob Curtis or at rcurtis3355@yahoo.com

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