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    Assistant Coach coldrolled's Avatar
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    Draft Sleepers

    Here are a few good names to take notes on.

    Earlier this week, I mentioned several high-profile players who boosted their draft stock with strong pro-day workouts. Those prospects had either opted against performing at February's NFL Scouting Combine or needed to make up for a disappointing performance in Indianapolis.

    But hundreds of lesser-known prospects weren't invited to the combine in the first place, leaving them to rely on school visits from NFL scouts to put their names on the draft radar.

    Kendall Wright improved his draft stock at his pro day. And he wasn't alone. Chad Reuter provides pro-day winners. More ...


    One such player who cashed in on his pro day was Miami (Ohio) guard Brandon Brooks. The massive (6-foot-5, 346 pounds, 32 5/8-inch arms) three-time second-team All-MAC pick clocked at 5.0 and 4.98 seconds in his two 40-yard dashes. He also lifted 225 pounds 36 times in the bench press and showed excellent agility in shuttle drills. In combination with a strong week at the East-West Shrine Game, it might land him in the late-second or early-third round.

    The prospects listed below (in alphabetical order) won't hear their names called Friday night of draft weekend like Brooks, but might've earned a Saturday slot by showing exceptional athleticism during campus workouts.

    Jordan Bernstine, CB/FS, Iowa (5-10, 211): Bernstine made an impression with big hits in the secondary his first year as a starter last fall, and he turned heads with an excellent pro day: 4.45-4.48 40-yard dashes, 41-inch vertical jump, 10-foot-7 broad jump, 4.31 short shuttle, 6.98 three-cone drill and 18 bench-press reps.

    Michael Calvin, WR, California (6-3, 210): Though he caught just 42 passes in four years, Calvin's overall workout would've made headlines had he done it on television at the combine: 4.34 40, 40 1/2-inch vertical, 11-1 broad jump, 4.09 short shuttle, 6.70 three-cone.

    D.J. Campbell, S, California (6-0, 201): Calvin's teammate didn't become a starter until 2011, but teams will watch every play after he posted a 4.51 40-yard dash, 38-inch vertical jump, 10-7 broad jump, 4.22 short shuttle, 7.08 three-cone drill and 22 bench reps. A weak safety class makes him even more coveted.

    Derek Carrier, WR/TE, Beloit College (6-4, 238): Tiny Beloit College doesn't produce a ton of NFL talent, but scouts walked away from the University of Wisconsin pro day talking about Carrier as a receiving tight end in the Joel Dreessen/Jacob Tamme mold due to his impressive 4.50 40s, 38-inch vertical, 10-2 broad jump, 4.09 short shuttle and 6.70 three-cone drill.

    Toney Clemons, WR, Colorado (6-2, 210): The Buffaloes' passing attack did not scare opponents the past couple of seasons, but Clemons did exceed 100 yards receiving in three of his last four games in 2011. The Michigan transfer's strong frame and 4.40-4.45 40 times make him an intriguing late-round prospect.

    Marcus Dowtin, ILB, North Alabama (6-2, 230): It was thought Dowtin would fill in for Akeem Dent in the middle of Georgia's defense in 2011, but he decided to transfer to North Alabama, where he led the Lions in tackles. His sub-4.6 40, 38-inch vertical and excellent shuttle times confirmed his SEC-level athleticism and might have locked up a slot in a draft lacking a lot of true 4-3 middle linebackers.


    Tim Fugger, DE/OLB, Vanderbilt (6-3, 248): An honorable-mention All-SEC pick by league media, Fugger posted times of 4.60 and 4.65 in the 40-yard dash, and recorded other results that would have matched up favorably with combine participants (34-inch vertical, 9-7 broad jump, 4.20 20-yard shuttle, 7.00 three-cone drill, 29 bench reps). Teams primarily using a 3-4 front are showing real interest in his talents.

    Chris Greenwood, CB, Albion (6-1, 193): The success of Division III prospects Pierre Garcon (Mount Union), Cecil Shorts III (Mount Union) and Andy Studebaker (Wheaton) bolsters the cases for teams looking to use a third-day pick on Greenwood's NFL size and excellent athletic ability (4.41 40, 43-inch vertical, 11-2 broad -- both jumps would have led all defensive backs at the combine).

    Alex Hoffman-Ellis, OLB, Washington State (6-1, 232): The 2011 second-team All-Pac-12 pick did not get much national exposure on a 4-8 Cougars squad. The team's lacking tackler in 2011 backed up his production, though, with a 4.54 40, 36 1/2-inch vertical and 36 bench reps at his pro day.

    Nick Mondek, OG, Purdue (6-6, 304): Mondek switched from defensive tackle to offensive line just two years ago and is still learning how to use his hands and play with leverage up front. However, his low 4.8's in the 40, 30 bench reps and exceptional shuttle times could entice NFL offensive line coaches to feel he's a project worth taking on.


    Louis Nzegwu, DE, Wisconsin (6-4, 252): Wisconsin's leading sacker last fall (albeit with just 4.5) flashed the explosiveness to switch from a 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 rush linebacker in the NFL. His impressive pro-day showing included a 4.60 40-yard dash, as well as a 41 1/2-inch vertical and 10-8 broad jump -- both of which would have led all defensive ends and linebackers at the combine.

    DeShawn Shead, CB/FS, Portland State (6-1, 220): Shead started at cornerback and safety for the Vikings, and teams might consider him at least a solid reserve at either spot and potential special teams contributor after viewing his strong tape and fantastic campus workout (4.53 40, 38-inch vertical jump, 10-1 broad, 24 bench reps and 6.76 three-cone).

    Michael Smith, RB, Utah State (5-9, 207): Already an ascending player due to the flashes of brilliance he showed when given a chance to spell Robert Turbin (278 yards on 30 carries in the team's final two games of 2011), his 4.33 pro-day 40 and 40 1/2-inch vertical jump may have locked up a spot in the first half of Saturday's proceedings.

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Great stuff coldrolled, think I just found my next article for the homepage. You'll get full credit of course.

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    i love marcus dowtin

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    Great post! I have seen Clemons mentioned on other mocks as well.


    Toney Clemons, WR, Colorado (6-2, 210): The Buffaloes' passing attack did not scare opponents the past couple of seasons, but Clemons did exceed 100 yards receiving in three of his last four games in 2011. The Michigan transfer's strong frame and 4.40-4.45 40 times make him an intriguing late-round prospect.

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    Assistant Coach coldrolled's Avatar
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    With Brown and sanders playing, if cotch leaves. A clemons would be a good addition for size. a few more inches and he would really be a pick.

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    Assistant Coach coldrolled's Avatar
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    Cosell Talks: Diamonds in the Rough

    by Greg Cosell


    Every year, I watch and evaluate more than 250 college players on film. The objective is straightforward: Project and transition them to the NFL. While the goal is clear-cut, the devil is in the details. I like to think (many might see me as delusional) I have a fairly well-honed sense of evaluation and projection based on my extensive film study of the NFL game during each season. Unfortunately, it’s never that simple and uncomplicated.

    Each year, there are players I really like on film that I believe will transition well from Saturday to Sunday’s game. And others I find intriguing even though they have limitations that are readily apparent. I am not speaking about the players likely to go in the first round. I am more interested in those players who will be seen as lower-round selections. It’s the process that makes it fascinating. It’s always easy to be an expert when you have access to the result. In three years, we’ll all know about these players. That’s no fun. There’s no debate, or differences of opinion at that point.

    A couple of other quick points that make the process so absorbing. One, you’re evaluating 20- and 21-year-old athletes, playing against other boys. You have to get a sense of how you feel they will play against men, and how much you feel they can develop physically once they get into an NFL weight room. Secondly, you need to have a sense when you watch a player what can be coached, and what can’t. A college player is not a finished product.



    Here’s a short list:


    Shea McClellin (AP)

    * Shea McClellin: He played both with his hand on the ground at DE, and standing up at LB in Boise State’s defense. What I liked immediately was his lateral agility and quickness. He showed the ability to get low and bend the edge as a pass rusher. He also had an instinctive feel as an inside rusher for getting skinny and getting through small cracks. He shed blocks and made plays in the run game. He was a smooth change-of-direction athlete with excellent balance and body control. My sense is he will get better in the NFL with a chance to be a dynamic edge pass rusher. He’s not as purely explosive as Clay Matthews, but I see some similarities as McClellin matures and develops.

    * Ben Jones: A four-year starter at center for Georgia, Jones was a very efficient player snap after snap. He played with excellent assignment discipline and execution. I loved his playing personality: He finished blocks, was competitive to the whistle, and had a bit of a nasty streak. He’s well-schooled in slide pass protection concepts, which transitions to the NFL. His limitation is his relative lack of athleticism, but that can be camouflaged based on a number of variables, including team, scheme and quarterback.


    Isaiah Pead (AP)

    * Isaiah Pead: He ran almost exclusively out of one-back shotgun sets in Cincinnati’s version of the spread. He was a decisive downhill runner with outstanding short-area burst. He went from zero to 60 in a heartbeat. Pead showed dynamic open-field instincts; he was naturally shifty and elusive with explosive change of direction. While not a big back (197 pounds), he was a tough and physical runner, just not strong and powerful. Pead was a natural catcher; he will provide alignment versatility in the passing game. I see some similarities to Jamaal Charles when he came out of the University of Texas. Charles was a third-round pick in 2008.

    * Miles Burris: The San Diego State linebacker was one of my favorite players to watch on tape. I loved his intense, urgent playing style. He primarily aligned outside on the right, almost always in a two-point stance, but was at times utilized as a movable chess piece all over the defense. Burris was not a quick-twitch, sudden athlete, but he played with balance, body control and play speed. He was more of a speed/power rusher than a bend-the-edge/quickness rusher. I’m struggling to transition him to a specific position in the NFL. Can he be a rush linebacker? He might be too small, and lack flexibility and burst off the edge. Is he a strong-side linebacker in a 4-3 base defense? A middle linebacker? I don’t know yet, but Burris will play in the NFL.


    Ryan Lindley (AP)

    * Ryan Lindley: The San Diego State quarterback was a compelling study. He ran a pro offense, with the focus on five- and seven-step drops, and play action. No quarterback I evaluated attempted, and made, more big-time intermediate to deeper NFL-type throws. He was very decisive as a pocket passer. The ball came out without hesitation. If you spliced together his 25 best throws from the 2011 season — and did the same for all the passers in this draft — Lindley would have the biggest “wow” factor, without question. There were issues, however. The primary red flag was erratic accuracy, both imprecise ball location and wildly scattershot throws. He also was uncomfortable in the eye of the storm; when the pocket got muddied, his efficiency and accuracy were negatively impacted. I will be fascinated to see where Lindley gets drafted. I have spoken to some coaches who see a lot to work with.

    None of the five aforementioned players who caught my attention on film will be selected in the first round. Where they get drafted was not my point. It was the process of evaluation that piqued my interest. Let the debate and discussion begin.

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