Mock drafts that are released the week after the NFL Draft are really just guesses. The draft order isn't set, team needs are unknown and the development of college players is often incomplete.
But a lot of players have resumes, production and measurables that should grab the attention of NFL scouts and analysts, yet they still don't appear high up on these mock drafts.
Which players are being undervalued early on in the 2019 NFL Draft process? Let's take a look.
Trace McSorley, QB, Penn State: Missouri's Drew Lock, Oregon's Justin Herbert, Auburn's Jarrett Stidham, South Carolina's Jake Bentley, West Virginia's Will Grier and even Michigan's Shea Patterson seem to be prevalent in first round mock drafts of many outlets this week. Why on Earth is Trace McSorley not included? As evidenced by Baker Mayfield (No. 1, Cleveland Browns) and Lamar Jackson (No. 32, Baltimore Ravens) both landing in the first round this year, teams are waking up to the fact that dual-threat quarterbacks can still throw, and don't put themselves at as much of an injury risk as many assume. McSorley threw for 32 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last year, and actually had a higher completion percentage against ranked opponents (66 percent) than he did against unranked opponents (65.6). He's clutch, too. If you don't believe me, you might want to check out his perfect 12-for-12 mark on third down against a good Washington defense in the Fiesta Bowl. Draft analysts sometimes forget that it's OK to simply go with the "best football player," regardless of his measurables. McSorley fits in that category.
Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State: While Jeffrey Simmons might get the majority of the draft buzz off the Bulldogs defense, edge threat Sweat might be the player with the most to gain. He's been referenced in the back end of the first round of some mock drafts, but don't be surprised if he jumps into a projected top-15 pick by season's end. Why? Simmons is going to demand much of the attention up front, Sweat already has established himself as a star after tying for the SEC lead in tackles for loss (15.5) in 2017, and his mix of a 6-foot-6 frame, quickness and speed makes him valuable in a pro defense that treats versatility as a luxury. Mississippi State's defense is going to a force in 2018, and Sweat is its biggest star.
Jake Browning, QB, Washington: Where is the love for Browning? Are we forgetting that he threw 43 touchdowns and led the Huskies to the College Football Playoff in 2016 -- despite suffering a shoulder injury that November which resulted in surgery after the season? Are we forgetting that he was more efficient than Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold as a junior in 2017 coming off of that surgery? Are we forgetting that his frame -- 6-foot-2, 212 pounds -- isn't as slight as some make it out to be? Entering his fourth season as the starting quarterback for the Huskies, Browning has the experience as a leader, success on the field and measurables off it that should stand out. I guess it will take one more successful season in Seattle to open up some more eyes.
Damien Harris, RB, Alabama: What more does the Crimson Tide running back need to do to earn a little respect around here? All the rising senior has done is topped the 1,000-yard mark in each of the last two seasons for a team that has played in the College Football Playoff National Championship in each of those years, and even won it last year. He averaged 7.88 yards per carry against Power Five teams a year ago, 7.48 in 2016 while scouts became infatuated with Bo Scarbrough instead and is one of the most approachable and charismatic stars on a roster full of them. What's more, the NFL has crawled out of its running back draft crater and is more willing to take some of the best ball carriers in college football.
Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn: One look at Brown will confirm: he's a terrifying human. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound tackle has played in every game during his first two years on The Plains. He finished fourth on the team with 56 tackles for the reigning SEC West champs, and has the quickness to bounce outside if needed. That versatility will play well whenever he decides to come out. So why isn't he included on mock drafts right now? Well, it's pretty simple. With Clemson's entire defensive line, Ohio State's Nick Bosa, Alabama's Raekwon Davis, Houston's Ed Oliver and a defensive line class that's as full as I get going to a good barbecue restaurant, Brown is being overlooked. Another solid campaign in 2018 might change that.
D'Cota Dixon, DB, Wisconsin: Injury concerns might have kept Dixon from leaving after his junior season, and those concerns might have been compounded shortly after the year when he underwent shoulder surgery. But when he's on the field, he's one of the leaders of a Badgers team that should be in the mix for the Big Ten title again in 2018. Dixon tallied 60 tackles in 2016 and 55 in 2017, and is the lone returning starter in the secondary for the defending Big Ten East champs. The 5-foot-10, 200-pounder has a nose for the football, proven leadership and should be one of the centerpieces of a new-look Badgers defense.
Justice Hill, RB, Oklahoma State: It seems like Cowboys coach Mike Gundy has a skill position cloning machine hidden somewhere in Stillwater, and Hill is the next big star to come out of the program. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound running back has topped the 1,100-yard mark in each of his two seasons in the backfield -- including 1,467 yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2017. Another big year in an offense that will be without quarterback Mason Rudolph as well as wide receivers James Washington and Marcell Ateman will certainly draw the attention of NFL scouts and analysts.
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State: While Haskins' role as the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes is still in doubt, the redshirt sophomore will be eligible for the draft after the 2019 season. During the spring game last month, Haskins looked like the most NFL-ready of the quarterbacks vying for the spot. Nothing against redshirt junior Joe Burrow or redshirt freshman Tate Martell, but Haskins is ready to be a star. No, he hasn't done much to warrant NFL hype, so his absence from mock drafts is understandable. But the world got a glimpse of what he's capable of when he led the comeback win over Michigan last year after J.T. Barrett's injury. If he wins the job and has a big year, the 6-foot-3, 218-pounder could make the jump.
Jacques Patrick, RB, Florida State: I know, I know. Cam Akers is a stud, the next big thing and a sure-fire NFL prospect for the Seminoles. All of that is probably true, and is exactly why Patrick could be overlooked. He rushed for 735 yards and seven touchdowns a year ago in a disjointed offense that was inconsistent after quarterback Deondre Francois was injured in the opener. Patrick's 5.57 yards per carry was actually higher than Akers (5.28). Plus, the 6-foot-3, 234-pounder has measurables that will "wow" scouts, and he'll have a little bit more tread on his tires than normal senior running backs do thanks to Akers' presence on the roster. Throw in the high-octane, spread, power-rushing attack under new coach Willie Taggart, and Patrick will make himself very desirable.