I've gotten a little more into college recruiting the last few years keeping up with Texas and just like the NFL draft, you don't have to be great coming out of high school to make an impact in college or in the NFL.
The obvious example is the 05 Texas class. A lot of fans were very upset, myself included, when stud QB Ryan Perrilloux changed his commitment from UT just before signing day to head to LSU. That left us with the fear of losing Vince Young after the season and having no one to replace him with beyond a 3-star nobody named Colt McCoy. Need I go on?
Take a look at some of the top prospect lists back in 02, 03 and 04 and you'll find a lot of familiar names that are starring in college or now playing in the NFL. However, you'll also find a bunch of people you've never heard of.
That's how I try to relate it to the draft. We're all guilty of seeing a game or highlight video, falling in love with a player and deciding that not drafting him would be a mistake, just like the idiots that thought Richard Seymour would make a better pro then studs like David Terrell and Kenyatta Walker.
I try though to always trust in the scouts and coaching staff and not focus so much on pre-draft rankings.
Just like in recruiting, it's easy to focus so much on all the 5-star blue chips that the "lesser" guys don't get your attention. That's why there is always someone pissed on draft day at the stupid decisions the team has made. That guy was rated higher! Some mocks had him as a 2nd round pick!
To try to put things in perspective, here's a list of some players that are expected to be 1st round picks and how they were rated going into college:
DT Amobi Okoye - 2-star at OL
DE Gaines Adams - 3-star at TE
LB Paul Posluszny - 3-star
LB Patrick Willis - 3-star and ranked #60 among ILBs
DE Adam Carriker - 3-star and #46 among stronside DEs
RB Brian Leonard - 3-star at LB (possible 1st rounder)
DB Brandon Merriweather - 3-star and ranked #16 at S
DE Anthony Spencer - 3-star
and my favorite.....
DE Jamaal Anderson - 2-star at WR
Just keep these players in mind if the Pats don't make the sexy pick, whatever round that might be in. Also keep it in mind when your favorite college team doesn't land the top WR or DT in the country.