If size didn’t matter, some of these players would be first-round NFL prospects.

Every year there are players with impressive college production, sexy tape and no off-field issues – but they all have the same “but”: size. Size will always matter in the NFL Draft process because it’s simply easier to succeed in the NFL if you’re big. That being said, there’s no reason why little guys can’t be playmakers in the big league.

Here are some of this year’s underrated (literally) playmakers:

RB Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State

I have to start with the smallest of them all. Pumphrey measured in at 5-8 and 176 pounds at the Scouting Combine, which definitely isn’t the size NFL teams are looking for. However, those numbers are the only small numbers in Pumphrey’s career. The San Diego State running back ran in Marshall Faulk’s footsteps – and beat every one of his school records. In his last college game, Pumphrey also became the all-time leading rusher in NCAA history. 6.405 rushing yards. 1,039 receiving yards. 67 touchdowns.

If you still haven’t looked at any of Donnel Pumphrey’s game tape at San Diego State, you need to check out PFS writer Benjamin Solak’s Twitter-evaluation thread of the Aztec RB. If you haven’t looked at Pumphrey, you might think he’s a “scatback” or an “outside runner only” who “can’t take a hit”. You couldn’t be more wrong. Donnel told me prior to his senior season that he enjoys running between the tackles, and his tape backs him up.

Pumphrey possesses all the qualities you want from an NFL running back. He got elite vision and anticipation, insane burst and explosiveness, and the grit to make it all work on the football field. And even though he’s small, he doesn’t fumble and he doesn’t get injured. Donnel played 54 college games without missing a snap.

Projected draft round: 3rd/4th
Add 2 inches and 20 pounds: Top-20 draft pick

WR Ryan Switzer, North Carolina

His quarterback might be the first signal caller off the board, but Switzer will most likely have to wait until Day 2 or 3 before he hears his name called from the stage in Philadelphia. The 5-8, 181-pound wide receiver played four seasons with the Tar Heels, but didn’t take off before his senior year. In 2016, he finally got a QB that believed in him, and his targets increased. He caught 96 footballs for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns.

It’s hard not to fall in love with his game. You won’t find better route runner anywhere in the draft. He’s sure-handed, he’s fast, he’s quick and he could get open in a phone booth. He’s deadly on screens but can make big plays in the middle of the field as well. His footwork and shiftiness reminds me of Andrew Hawkins.

Projected draft round: 2nd/3rd
Add 2 inches and 20 pounds: WR2, 1st round

CB Damontae Kazee, San Diego State

Kazee has two things going against him: His size, and the fact that the 2017 cornerback class is insane. Mackensie Alexander (5-10, 194 pounds) was drafted in the 2nd round last year, without having any interceptions in college. Damontae Kazee (5-10, 184 pounds) had 17 interceptions for the Aztecs, but probably won’t come into consideration before Day 3. Kazee was one of the biggest reasons for why San Diego State was a top-25 school last season. He’s not your regular cornerback. Kazee plays with a receiver mentality: when the ball is in the air, it’s his.

Scouts got to see Kazee first hand at the Senior Bowl, and he impressed. There was a question about his recovery speed, but a 4.54 in the 40-yard dash should put those concerns to sleep. Like the other guys in this article, his only knock is his size. His ball skills, quickness, and range are special.

Projected draft round: 3rd/4th
Add 2 inches and 20 pounds: CB2, top-10 draft pick

OLB Duke Riley, LSU

Duke Riley was the big surprise for LSU this year. The 6-0, 232-pound linebacker filled the gap after Deion Jones, started all 12 games as a senior, and finished the year with 93 tackles (9 for loss) and 1.5 sacks. He went from likely being undrafted to attracting Day 2 consideration. He made up for his lack of size and strength with passion and grit.

Riley was probably the most consistent player on the LSU defense last year, and that’s a defense with Jamal Adams on it. His vision is disciplined, and he has the speed to close big gaps quickly. His Combine numbers will also help him, as he ran a 4.58 40-yard dash, and 6.89 3-cone.

Projected draft round: 3rd
Add 2 inches and 20 pounds: 1st

ILB Connor Harris, Lindenwood

Connor Harris is a football player. He’s only 5-11, but he definitely doesn’t look small on the field. Somehow, Harris only played division II football in college, but he can still be a viable option in the draft. His motor is something else, and he doesn’t seem to get tired. He just wants to be out there, and give 100 percent all the time. Harris has posted 633 career tackles. Read that number again. Six hundred thirty-three. That’s the NCAA all-division record.

Harris has good quickness and ability to switch directions on a dime. He can cover everything the offense throws at him. He’s a finisher, and he can play all downs.

Projected draft round: 4th/5th
Add 2 inches and 20 pounds: Early 2nd

WR Isaiah McKenzie, Georgia

The Georgia receiver is only 5-7, 173 pounds, but he made some big plays in college. He averaged 13.7 yards per reception, 8.9 yards per rushing attempt and declared for the NFL Draft after his junior year. He probably should’ve stayed at school for his final year, as his tape give scouts a very small sample size. McKenzie only caught 60 balls at Georgia.

However, the wideout scored a touchdown every seventh time he touched the ball. That’s some stat to bring into the NFL. His problem will be that teams don’t quite know what they’re getting, but there’s no doubt he’s talented. McKenzie should at least make a good kick returner, as he’s one of the most elusive receivers in this class.

Projected draft round: 4th/5th
Add 2 inches and 20 pounds: 2nd/3rd

CB Aarion Penton, Missouri

Aarion Penton made some crazy interceptions in college. Photo Credit: Getty Images

“Big cornerbacks” is the new trend in the NFL, and the 5-9, 177-pound Aarion Penton definitely doesn’t go under that category. However, Penton plays with a big heart. He played four seasons at Missouri, but it was his senior year that sky-rocketed him into draft consideration. He had five interceptions and 12 passes defended in 12 games, returning one of the picks for a touchdown.

Penton rarely loses his man and knows when to play the ball. He might have some long speed trouble, but he works his ass off on every snap. He’s a willing tackler as well (153 total tackles in college). His limitation is obviously competing against big, physical receivers, but his technique is good enough to handle most. He reminds me of Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Senquez Golson, who I really liked in college.

Projected draft round: 5th/6th
Add 2 inches and 20 pounds: 3rd

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