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  • Small-School Sleepers..

    Small-school sleepers in NFL draft

    Tony Pauline, Special to,
    The draft is less than two weeks away and football conversations center around the top prospects from the nation's biggest college football programs. Yet history has shown not all productive players in the draft come from major IA schools.

    Lane College's Jacoby Jones, with the Houston Texans, and Illinois State's Laurent Robinson, with the Atlanta Falcons, are just two small-school players who made impacts last year. So who are the top small-school sleepers in this year's draft? Here are a dozen names to remember.

    Brad Roach, QB, Catawba: Roach is a 6-foot-6, 250-pound gunslinger who tossed 32 touchdown passes last season. He possesses the physical dimensions for a franchise to develop. The projected late-round selection has privately worked out for the New York Giants and Houston Texans.

    Tim Hightower, RB, Richmond: Scouts were surprised Hightower was not invited to the combine in February, especially after he scored 20 touchdowns last season. The 220-pound back later impressed by running 4.51 in the 40 at his pro day. Projected as a solid middle-round pick, Hightower has visited nearly a dozen franchises, including the Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders, both of whom are interested in his services.

    Arman Shields, WR, Richmond: Shields is another Spider being hotly pursued by NFL clubs. His story is all the more interesting given that he was sidelined after three games last season with knee injury. He came back to run a 4.45 at the combine. Shields, an outstanding receiver and return specialist, is being pursued by more than a half-dozen franchises and has visited the Tampa Bay Bucs and New York Jets.

    Brandon Keith, OL, Northern Iowa: Keith, who started his college career at Oklahoma, has watched his draft stock soar the past nine months. He capped off a solid combine performance with an even better pro day, running under five seconds in the 40 after weighing 340 pounds. Keith has visited a number of teams, including a pair of NFC East franchises, the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.

    Thaddeus Coleman, T, Mississippi Valley State: Coleman could well be the best-kept secret at the offensive tackle position. He stands a shade under 6-8 yet has the athleticism and footwork necessary to protect the blind side. Coleman is fresh off meeting with the Minnesota Vikings and has a host of other squads who want to speak with him.

    Shawn McMackin, G, Hofstra: McMackin is one of the most athletically gifted offensive linemen in the draft. His ability to be used at tackle or guard is added value. McMackin's physical skills have caught the attention of a number of zone blocking teams, including the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts.

    Brian Johnston, DE, Garden Webb: Johnston could well have been the biggest combine snub of 2008. He is a complete defender who totaled 145 tackles and 38 tackles for loss the past two years. Johnston measured 6-5 and 280 pounds at his pro day last month and ran the 40 under 4.7 seconds. Two dozen teams, including the Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks, have expressed strong interest in Johnston.

    Andy Studebaker, OLB, Wheaton (Ill.): Studebaker was poised for a big senior season until a foot injury ended his season after five games. He led the NCAA in sacks as a junior with 17.5, also recording 24.5 tackles for loss that year. He will be running for NFL scouts April 18 and has already visited with five teams, the Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills amongst them.

    Vince Redd, OLB, Liberty: Redd is an imposing defender who looks like a man amongst boys on the field. Twenty NFL teams have worked out Redd, a prospect who can play outside linebacker or defensive end. Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage made a special trip to scout Redd at his first pro-day workout.

    Joe Mays, OLB, North Dakota State: The All-America linebacker is a fiery one-gap defender effective in run defense and pass coverage. Mays, a consistent three year starter, is being pursued by the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles.

    Cary Williams, CB, Washburn: Williams, an opportunistic cornerback and game-changing return specialist, picked off seven passes last season while returning two kicks for touchdowns. He has good size (6-2, 190) and possesses 4.4 speed. The Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers have both shown intense interest in him.

    Brandon Carr, CB, Grand Valley State: Carr has terrific size (6-0, 205), speed (4.5) and production (28 pass breakups and eight INTs the past two seasons). He has the ability to be used in a variety of defensive systems and is presently getting close looks from five teams, which includes a visit to the Jacksonville Jaguars and a workout by the Cleveland Browns.

    Notes: One of the best human interest stories in April's draft is the life of Nevada linebacker Ezra Butler. The two-time all-WAC defender was born in South Africa and spent his childhood fatherless and living day-to-day before being sent to America by his mother. Butler came to the United States at age 13 and was raised by his uncle, Grammy-nominated jazz musician Jonathan Butler. He entered Nevada as a 285-pound defensive tackle, but lost 40 pounds after undergoing shoulder surgery early in his career and made the switch to linebacker. In a recent interview Butler stated he derives his motivation from the debt he owes his mother and sister, who still live in South Africa.

    __________________________________________________ _______

    who else would you add to this list?

    Originally Posted by scottyboy
    my lord...I cannot imagine such a world where I can mention Raymell Rice's thighs around a girl and not be the only one sexually aroused
    But for everyone reading this in Buffalo and Cleveland and everywhere else, take solace in the following: As crazy as it sounds, you're lucky. Your Mount Everest experience is still ahead of you. It's waiting, and it's glorious.- Bill Simmons

  • #2
    It's always cool when a small time school player shines big in the NFL.

    "Every light must fade, every heart return to darkness!"
    -San Francisco 49ers: Five Time Super Bowl Champions-
    Originally posted by Borat
    Oh, my bad. Didn't realize SWDC was the pinnacle of class and grace.


    • #3
      Lots of guys to look into for the later rounds. I always like finding out more info on the later round guys.
      Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir is a goddess

      Rest in Peace, themaninblack


      • #4
        Supposedly tight end Matt Sherry of Villanova looked good at his Pro Day in bad conditions. Against FCS competition he was pretty solid, probably the best overall offensive weapon for 'Nova. Pretty good hands, not sure his blocking is up to NFL levels yet. But with his size (6'4, 255) and speed (4.67 with the wind, 4.77 against so pretty solid for a TE) along with solid production (37 catches with inconsistant QB play due to lots of injuries, 5 TD's including a 5 catch 67 yard game against Maryland with the actual starting QB) he should definitely get some looks as a UDFA. Don't think he gets late round consideration due to his position and the level he played at but he's a guy to watch out for as a developmental prospect.


        • #5
 had a Pro Hopefuls sections.

          Daniel Polk
          Midwestern State
          6-1 (6007)
          202 lbs
          4.58/4.62 40

          Overview and Analysis

          Daniel Polk is the lone quarterback in college football (NCAA FBS, NCAA FCS, NCAA Divisions II and III, NAIA) to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 more in 2007. Polk is a 3-time All-Lone Star selection over his career and his school's all-time leading rusher as well as the all-time leader in total offense (8,276 yards). He has adequate size and good speed that makes him a dual threat. At 6-1, 202 he still needs to gain weight but has the frame to do it so that will be no problem. He needs to refine his passing skills and become a more complete passer as you can't run the ball as much as he does in the NFL, however, he has the upside teams look for in a late round or free agent pickup. Polk has a shot to go in the 7th round but is more likely to be a priority free agent signing after the draft.

          Danny Woodhead
          Chadron State
          5-8 (5074)
          194 lbs
          4.37/4.44 40.

          Overview and Analysis

          Woodhead, college football’s new all-time leading rusher with 7,441 yards, has done everything you could imagine. He has won the Harlon Hill Trophy and earned All-America honors each of the last three years. As D2’s version of Reggie Bush he has shown excellent vision, a great burst, and the ability to change direction at any time. Most of his yards come off the inside zone play. He has shown the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as well. His speed (4.43) enables him to break the long scoring runs, but his cutting ability that allows him “to turn nothing into something” is often just as impressive. He won the 55-meter dash at the RMAC Indoor Meet in 2006. Sixteen of his rushing touchdowns have been on runs of more than 60 yards. He also has a 33.5-inch vertical jump. Because of his outstanding accomplishments in high school, he became the first CSC football player to receive “a full-ride” scholarship. Many scouts worry he will be able to physically play in the NFL with his height and they worry that his speed won’t be as dominating as it is in D2. He level of competition is also a concern. Expect Woodhead to be a late round selection and get a shot as a 3rd down back and a reserve. If he was 3 inches taller he would be a first day selection. His story is one to follow, no matter what level he plays at.

          Jamar Brittingham
          6-1 (6004)
          208 lbs
          4.53/4.68 40.

          Overview and Analysis

          Brittingham has the ideal size/power combo for the next level. His physical running style and the use of his deadly stiff arm have made him difficult to stop during his career. His work ethic was shown with his significant speed and strength improvement heading into last season. He leads by example and shows a very high football IQ. Injuries slowed him down last year, causing him to miss all or parts of several games. If he can stay healthy and show an improvement from last year he should be a late round pick. Heading into the season some have him as a late 7th rounder but most would agree he is a priority free agent.

          Xavier Omon
          Northwest Missouri State
          5-11 (5111)
          219 lbs
          4.50/4.64 40.

          Overview and Analysis

          If you are looking for a downhill runner type with the size and strength to use power when needed with deceptive speed, you have found your man. Omon's size/power/strength combo makes him one of the most productive backs in the D2 ranks. Even though some scouts feel he will never start they see him as a great backup who can be a solid situational type back. After a drop off in production from '05 Omon will need to work on his technique and speed but has a shot to be a 5th-7th round pick in 2008.

          Edward Williams
          Lane College
          6-4 (6034)
          205 lbs
          4.52/4.65 40.

          Overview and Analysis

          Williams is one of the top sleeper prospects for this year's draft. His numbers would not indicate that he could be a mid or late round pick but if you watch him on tape you will see why. He is a very good route runner who is disciplined and physical. Going across the middle is something that many receivers don't like to do; however, Williams will do it. He had shoulder surgery in March '07 for an injury suffered to his shoulder in the 2006 season. His biggest weaknesses are consistency and adjusting for the deep ball. At times he will drop a ball he should catch. Heading into the season he is a 6th-7th round type but has a shot to go in the 3rd-5th round range with a good senior season.

          Jermaine Moye
          California PA
          6-2 (6014)
          202 lbs
          4.65/4.74 40.

          Overview and Analysis

          Moye enters 2007 as a two-year starter and two-time All-PSAC West all-star. He transferred from West Virginia prior to the 2005 campaign and has been one of the best safeties in Division 2 since. He is fast, physical, and loves to hit. His athletic ability makes him a threat to pick off a pass or return kicks for touchdowns. Due to this ability the coaches have decided to try him out on offense. He will play WR full-time this year. Many don't know but Moye pitched on the baseball team one year. His 40 time should be much improved at his senior pro day as some around him feel he could run in the sub 4.5 range. He has 106 tackles and 5 interceptions over his career. He enters the season with a priority free agent grade.

          Kolo Kapanui
          West Texas A&M
          6-3 (6032)
          271 lbs
          4.64/4.78 40.

          Overview and Analysis

          Kapanui is has only played in eight games since transferring from Southern Cal after the ?05 season but has made an immediate impact in that short stint. He is finally healthy after an injury-plagued junior campaign and should contend for All-American honors while getting looks from NFL scouts as a possible late round draft choice. His combo of size/athleticism makes him a player worth keeping an eye on this year. Right now he should be a late 7th-PFA grade, but, with a dominant senior season he could vault his way into the mid rounds.

          Mike Peterson
          Northwest Missouri State
          6-2 (6020)
          246 lbs
          4.54/4.67 40.

          Overview and Analysis

          His lack of ideal size might scare some off at first glance but those who break his tape and workout numbers down will see that he could be one of the better h-backs or fullbacks to come out this season. He has very good speed (4.5) and is a solid athlete. He has been all-conference each of the last two years and shows the hands, blocking, and maturity you look for. He will probably be graded very similar to Missouri Western?s Gijon Robinson from last year but has the height to actually get some looks as a tight end by some. He is a physical freak who should impress at the combine and pro day. Heading into his senior campaign he is a 6th-7th round projection.

          Ben Hochstein
          6-3 (6033)
          289 lbs
          5.18/5.43 40.

          Overview and Analysis

          Hochstein has been one of the most consistent linemen in the nation over the last 4 years. He is a four-year starter who has earned 1st team All-NCC honors each of the last three years, was named the most valuable lineman in the NCC for two straight years, and earned All-America mention the last two years. His coaches rave about his consistency. Technique, size, and level of competition are his biggest weaknesses. Many project a move down to guard at the next level. Russ Hochstein, Ben?s cousin, has played for the New England Patriots. At the end of the season he grades as a priority free agent by most scouts.

          Mackenzy Bernadeau
          6-4 (6036)
          305 lbs
          5.20/5.35 40.

          Overview and Analysis

          Bernadeau has started every game since coming to Bentley and has been one of the best in all of D2. He was named a preseason All-American by and returns for his 2nd year as a team captain. He played tackle when he first came to Bentley, splitting time last year at tackle and guard, but will man the guard position this year. Scouts are looking at him as a guard due to his athletic ability as a pulling guard. The big knock on him is that he tends to take plays off against lesser competition. He ran a 5.3 at his junior pro day but should run in the 5.0-5.1 range after training. Right now he is a 7th-PFA type on most boards but a rise to the mid rounds is not out of the question.

          Alex Hall
          Saint Augustine College
          6-5 (6051)
          238 lbs
          4.65/4.79 40.

          Overview and Analysis

          If you are looking for the next Greg Peterson you didn't have to wait long. Hall and Peterson are very similar in terms of size and athletic ability. He is already the team's career leader in sacks (18.5), sacks in a season (13.5), and one game (4.5). Hall's is a highly athletic player who weighed in at 230 pounds during the spring but should weigh around 250 for the season. His size/speed combo is one of the most impressive of any defensive end coming out this year, which should make him a fast rising prospect after postseason testing. Some around the program feel he could be a 3rd-4th round type prospect when all is said and done. After talks with NFL sources he appears to be a late round projection (6th-7th round) heading into the '07 campaign.

          Curtis Johnson
          Clark Atlanta
          6-3 (6031)
          240 lbs
          4.58/4.64 40

          Overview and Analysis

          Johnson is perhaps one of the biggest sleepers in this year’s draft. He was not considered a prospect after last season but has burst out of the gate with 18 TFL and 9.5 sacks. When watching him you notice his high motor and how it never stops. He is an effort player who loves to play the game. He has shown tremendous pursuit, field awareness, and a knack for creating turnovers. His athletic ability will get him to the NFL but his speed, motor, and ability on special teams will be what helps him make it. His lack of ideal height for a DE will hurt him but his speed could help him move to OLB. Right now most have him as a priority free agent but don’t be surprised if he lands in the 6th or 7th round. If he runs in the mid or low 4.5 range he could even go as high as the 5th round.

          Kurt Hout
          Ferris State
          6-1 (6011)
          285 lbs
          4.77/4.96 40.

          Overview and Analysis

          Hout was one of the best defensive tackles in the I-AA ranks before transferring down from Northern Colorado to Ferris State for the ?06 campaign. He has the size and athletic ability that NFL teams are looking for. His aggressive and physical style of play stands out on tape. His quickness off the ball draws constant double teams from opponents. Right now most have him as a late round or priority free agent grade. He would more than likely be a 7th round pick on most boards heading into the season.

          Christian Serena
          Western New Mexico
          6-0 (6001)
          235 lbs
          4.65/4.78 40

          Overview and Analysis

          Serena is a highly productive two-year starter who transferred from Scottsdale CC before the 2006 season. He has been a sure tackler who has shown the speed to earn at least a free agent shot in the NFL. His lack of size (6’0) will hurt his chances but he makes up for it with speed (4.6). Serena would make a very good nickel LB due to his ability to play in space. His big weakness is at the point of attack. He struggles getting of blocks. His ability to play in space and a good open tackler will give him a chance to make a roster. One aspect many don’t know is that he can long snap. He is an excellent special teams performer. He carries a priority free agent mid-season grade.

          Shane Simmons
          Western Washington
          6-1 (6011)
          226 lbs
          4.56/4.68 40.

          Overview and Analysis

          Simmons left Idaho after 2004 after a close friend was shot and killed. It was tough for him to move on but he did. In his first season at Western Washington he was named 1st-Team All-GNAC with 66 tackles on the year. He then started off the '06 year leading the nation in tackles (56) before an injury sidelined him for the rest of the season. It looked as if he might go overlooked until he ran a 4.5 40 at his pro day and since then has attracted the attention of several NFL teams. Simmons is a high character kid with the work ethic and passion scouts look for in a player. He can play both inside and outside linebacker and adds value by being able to play all special teams. Right now most would say he is a priority free agent; however, teams have him high enough on the radar that he could be labeled a late round pick by mid-season, if he stays healthy.

          Steve Allen
          West Texas A&M
          6-1 (6007)
          231 lbs
          4.62/4.74 40.

          Overview and Analysis

          West Texas A&M has become a normal stop for any NFL team and Allen is one of several players they will be looking at this season. He is an impressive, physical player who could be one of the better sleepers for the '08 draft. The former Fresno City JC transfer emerged as one of the top players in the Lone Star Conference with 76 tackles, 7.5 TFL, and 3 sacks on his way to 1st team All-Lone Star honors. He enters the season as a priority free agent grade but could move onto the draft board if he is able to run in the 4.5 range and improve on his production from '06.

          Brandon Carr
          Grand Valley
          6-0 (6000)
          205 lbs
          4.41/4.48 40.

          Overview and Analysis

          Carr has the size/speed combo scouts are looking for. His production (5 INT, 14 PBU) doesn?t hurt either. He shows the athletic ability, quickness, speed, and cover skills the NFL is looking for in a D2 prospect. Right now he is the top cornerback prospect in the D2 ranks and only ranks behind Tennessee State?s Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as the best in the entire small school ranks. Heading into the season he has a late 6th-PFA grade with most having him as a 7th-PFA grade.

          Brian Witherspoon
          5-10 (5101)
          163 lbs
          4.19/4.32 40.

          Overview and Analysis

          Witherspoon is a raw but talented corner with 4.2 speed. He can return kicks, punts, and has the speed to make up for many flaws in technique. He was the SIAC 2006 Track & Field 100 and 200 meter dash champion. He has been tabbed as the fastest man in the SIAC. He finished 4th in the NCAA D-II Outdoor Track & Field Championships and was named a D-II Track All-American. He is a project who someone should take a chance on after the draft. He will need a chance to shine in a post-season all-star game to have a shot at getting drafted.
          Last edited by devinhester=R.O.Y 2006; 04-14-2008, 02:00 PM.

          Thanks to Bone Krusher for the sig


          • #6
            Trevor Scott, DE from Buffalo. Converted from TE a couple years ago. He's 6'5", 256 pounds.. He ran the 40 in 4.54, 33.5" Vertical, 32 Bench reps.. All kinds of good numbers from his workout. He could be looked at as a 3-4 OLB.


            • #7
              Ricky Santos!!!! Undersized with an average arm... But is one of the Top 5 Leaders in this draft.



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