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Old 04-18-2014, 04:19 PM  
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lesser-known pro-day risers

by Gil Brandt

Brock Coyle, LB, Montana
Coyle (6-foot 3/4, 235 pounds) is a great example of a player who continued to work hard after the season in the hopes of getting noticed at his pro day. He lives in Montana but went to train with a workout guru in Florida, and it paid off. He had much better athletic ability and speed than people expected, including a 40-yard dash in 4.60 seconds. He'll probably be a third-day pick and could be a fourth-rounder.

Garrett Gilbert, QB, SMU
Gilbert (6-foot-3 7/8, 221 pounds) threw 88 passes on his pro day and showed off his accuracy by completing 87 of them. He's got good arm strength and probably moved himself up to be an early third-day pick, maybe even as high as late in the third round.

Rashaun Allen, TE, Southern
Allen (6-foot-4 3/4, 250 pounds) is a big target who looked very good at his pro day, especially catching the ball. He also showed good speed, running the 40 in 4.68 seconds. He has a chance to be a third-day pick.

Darrin Reaves, RB, UAB
Reaves (5-foot-6 7/8 209 pounds) is a small back with a lot of explosion, and he had good production in college. He posted a 40 time of 4.54 seconds at his pro day and will probably be a free agent.

David Hurd, OT, Arkansas
Hurd (6-foot-5 7/8, 308 pounds) reminds me a lot of LaAdrian Waddle, an undrafted free agent from Texas Tech last year who ended up starting for the Detroit Lions. He's got good size and very long arms, which is imperative for an offensive tackle.

Demetri Goodson, DB, Baylor
Goodson (5-foot-11, 197 pounds) has good height for a corner and looked very strong in man-coverage drills at his pro day. He ran the 40 in 4.53 seconds, and I think he's a possible third-day pick.

Geraldo Boldewijn and Aaron Burks, WRs, Boise State

Burks (6-foot-2 7/8 203 pounds) is probably the better of these two Boise State receivers. They're both big, tall targets (Boldewijn is 6-foot-3, 215 pounds) who weren't used a lot last year because Boise State didn't pass very much. Both have pretty good speed: Boldewijn ran the 40 in 4.56, and Burks ran it in 4.48. In a really deep wide receiver class, I expect both to be free agents.

Zurlon Tipton, RB, Central Michigan
Tipton (5-foot-11 3/4, 223 pounds) was very productive at Central Michigan. His 40 was timed at 4.70, but he has outstanding quickness, which is the most important trait in a running back. He's likely to be a free agent but could move up into the seventh round.

Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Boyd (6-foot 3/4, 221 pounds) is the lone player on this list who was at the combine. He had an excellent pro day, and there's a lot of excitement over him right now. Even those who've seen him throughout his career would probably say it was one of the best days he's had. I'm not sure he's put himself in the second day, but definitely in the third day, and he could go as high as the fourth round.

Andru Pulu, DL, Eastern Washington

Pulu (6-foot-1 3/8, 322 pounds) was unable to work out at his school's pro day, but worked out recently in the greater Seattle area. He's a little short for a defensive tackle but is very explosive. He ran the 40 in 5.15 seconds and should be a free agent.

Tavita Woodward, DL, Hawaii
Woodward (6-foot-3 3/8, 250 pounds) is a defensive lineman, but his best chance to make it in the NFL is as a 3-4 linebacker. He worked out at Hawaii's pro day in Carson, Calif., and ran the 40 in 4.70 seconds.

Stephen Houston, RB, Indiana
Houston (5-foot-10 3/4, 225 pounds) has a good combination of size and speed. He ran a 4.52 in the 40 at Indiana's pro day and looked really smooth and athletic in his drills. He also caught the ball really well.

Pierre Warren, DB, Jacksonville State
Warren (6-foot 1/4, 194 pounds) was moved to safety after starting out as a cornerback. He's got good speed (4.59-second 40) and good instincts for the position.

Walt Aikens, DB, Liberty
There were 20-plus teams at Liberty's pro day, and they were all there to get a better look at Aikens (6-foot 5/8, 203 pounds). He's got the size everyone is looking for at corner and has pretty good speed, running the 40 in 4.49 seconds. I think he's got a good chance to be drafted in the third day.
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Old 04-28-2014, 09:03 AM   #16
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Diamonds in Rough

(Player, school, height, weight, 40 time)
David Fales, San Jose State, 6-2, 212, 4.99: Fales lacks the size and velocity to excite scouts but he stands out in three areas that I value at the quarterback position -- awareness, accuracy and competitiveness. These traits make him a gamer who steps up when the lights shine brightest. Fales demonstrated this ability in a high-profile showdown with Fresno State and potential first-round quarterback Derek Carr, during the all-important Wednesday practice at the Senior Bowl and in a sterling pro day workout. He won't come off the board until Day 3, but if correctly drafted into a timing-based, short to intermediate attack, he'll prove at least a capable backup, in the mold of Jon Kitna and Shaun Hill, and quite possibly much more.

Five more QBs to consider:
1: Garrett Gilbert, SMU, 6-3, 223, 4.73
2: Casey Pachall, TCU, 6-4, 216, 4.98*
3: Connor Shaw, South Carolina, 6-0, 206, n/a
4: Brett Smith, Wyoming, 6-2, 206, 4.83*
5: Dustin Vaughan, West Texas A&M, 6-5, 235, 4.95

Running backs
Isaiah Crowell, Alabama State, 5-11, 224, 4.57: Characterizing Crowell as a "Diamond" is deceiving because the former five-star recruit won the SEC Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2011 with the Georgia Bulldogs. Repeated off-field mistakes caused Mark Richt to yank his scholarship. Rather than sit out a season, he transferred to FCS Alabama State. While Crowell's maturity certainly is a question mark, his talent is not. He shows impressive first-step acceleration to throw off pursuit angles of would-be tacklers and flashes power to go along with his well-built frame. Teams were willing to look past off-field indiscretions of gifted backs like Christine Michael (Seahawks), Bryce Brown (Eagles) and LeGarrette Blount (Titans) in recent years and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see some club get rewarded by gambling on Crowell late, as well.

Five more RBs to consider:
1: Alfred Blue, LSU, 6-2, 223, 4.63
2: Storm Johnson, Central Florida, 6-0, 209, 4.60
3: Henry Josey, Missouri, 5-8, 194, 4.43
4: Rajion Neal, Tennessee, 5-11, 220, 4.58*
5: Jerome Smith, Syracuse, 5-11, 220, 4.84

Tight ends
Crockett Gillmore, Colorado State, 6-6, 260, 4.89: Underclassmen have dominated the buzz surrounding this tight end class, but Gillmore is one of a handful of intriguing senior prospects who could surprise after a Day 3 selection. Gillmore's blend of size and physicality earned him starts on both sides of the ball for the Rams, splitting his career between tight end and defensive end. Despite the limited time on offense, Gillmore is a surprisingly reliable pass-catcher due to his big, soft mitts (10 3/8"), good hand-eye coordination and leaping ability. He is not a nifty athlete who is going to take the top off the defense down the seam but his high school days as a wrestler and basketball player are evident in his willingness to mix it up and box out to gain position in congestion.

Five more TEs to consider:
1: Alex Bayer, Bowling Green, 6-4, 257, 4.78*
2: Marcel Jensen, Fresno State, 6-6, 259, 4.85
3: A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State, 6-2, 252, 4.50
4: Jacob Pederson, Wisconsin, 6-4, 238, 4.89
5: Larry Webster, Bloomsburg, 6-6, 252, 4.58

Wide receivers
Austin Franklin, New Mexico State, 5-11, 189, 4.56: In a draft class as deep and talented at receiver as this one, wideouts who don't test exceptionally well are overlooked. I expect that to be the case with Franklin -- though he shows the first-step acceleration on the field to counter his relatively pedestrian 40-yard dash time. The Aggies knew what they had with Frankin, featuring him at receiver, kick and punt returner and even as an option quarterback in an abbreviated 2013 season (lost four games because of academic suspension). Franklin lacks the bulk to play outside but displays the toughness, vision and agility to handle slot duties. He's a natural playmaker who could surprise, just as Hilton has with the Colts.

Five more WRs to consider:
1: John Brown, Pittsburgh State, 5-10, 179, 4.34
2: Isaiah Burse, Fresno State, 5-10, 188, 4.58
3: Jeff Janis, Saginaw Valley State, 6-3, 219, 4.42
4: Chandler Jones, San Jose State, 5-09, 183, 4.36*
5: Kevin Smith, Washington, 6-0, 208, 4.54*

Offensive line
Billy Turner, North Dakota State, 6-5, 315, 5.16: Dominating at the blind-side tackle position for the three-time defending FCS national champion Bison, Turner is used to winning. He took that confidence to the Senior Bowl and proved that he wasn't just a product of weak competition, turning heads while splitting duty at tackle and guard. Boasting an intriguing combination of length (including 34-inch arms), athleticism and aggression, Turner is a future NFL starter whose upside is likely to earn him a spot within the first 100 picks.

Five more OL to consider:
1: Dakota Dozier, Furman, 6-4, 313, 5.42
2: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, McGill (Canada), 6-5, 298, 4.98*
3: John Fullington, Washington State, 6-5, 300, 5.44*
4: Charles Leno, Boise State, 6-4, 303, 5.28
5: Matt Patchan, Boston College, 6-6, 302, 4.97

Defenseive line

Khyri Thornton, Southern Mississippi, 6-3, 304, 5.03: Perhaps the most underrated element of the 2014 draft class is defensive-tackle depth. It is easy for scouts to get excited about unique athletes like RaShede Hageman, Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt, but too often their motors are stuck on idle. Thornton, on the other hand, is powerful at the point of attack and just as passionate in pursuit. He doesn't possess great quickness or technique, but his strength and effort stood out at the East-West Shrine Game practices, catching the attention of scouts from 3-4 and 4-3 teams.

Five more DL to consider:
1: Kasim Edebali, Boston College, 6-2, 253, 4.79
2: Justin Ellis, Louisiana Tech, 6-2, 334, 5.27
3: Ben Gardner, Stanford, 6-4, 262, 5.05*
4: Zack Kerr, Delaware, 6-1, 326, 5.08
5: Caraun Reid, Princeton, 6-2, 302, 4.91

Brock Coyle, Montana, 6-1, 235, 4.62*: The hard-hitting Coyle personifies the nationally underrated prospects among this year's "Diamonds" in the Rough. Despite leading the Grizzlies in tackles the past two seasons and earning Defensive MVP honors in 2013, Coyle was not recognized as a First Team All-Big Sky player -- though teammates and linebackers Jordan Tripp and John Kanongata'a were. Impressive performances at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and during his pro day workout, however, have the well-built middle linebacker's stock on the rise. While the Grizzlies aren't nationally recognized as a consistent producer of pro talent, when Coyle and Tripp (and potentially offensive lineman Danny Kistler, Jr.) are selected, it will mark the third time since 2010 in which multiple players from Montana were drafted into the NFL.

Five more LBs to consider:
1: Khairi Fortt, Cal, 6-2, 242, 4.70
2: Anthony Hitchens, Iowa, 6-0, 240, 4.74
3: Howard Jones, Shepherd, 6-3, 245, 4.60
4: Tyler Starr, South Dakota, 6-4, 250, 4.95
5: Jordan Tripp, Montana, 6-3, 234, 4.67

Nevin Lawson, Utah State, 5-10, 190, 4.48: While tall corners are all the rage in the NFL right now, coverage ability never goes out of style. That fact has the athletic and extremely competitive Lawson as a dark horse candidate to break into the first 125 picks. The Florida native earned a starting role job as a freshman and never looked back, finishing his career with 39 consecutive starts and playing well at the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl. He's willing in run support and experienced playing on the perimeter and at nickel, giving him an advantage over many collegiate corners unaccustomed to playing near blockers.

Five more CBs to consider:
1: Walt Aikens, Liberty, 6-1, 203, 4.50*
2: Pierre Desir, Lindenwood, 6-1, 198, 4.59
3: Kendall James, Maine, 5-11, 180, 4.44*
4: B.J. Lowery, Iowa, 5-10, 193, 4.58*
5:Robert Nelson, Arizona State, 5-10, 175, 4.46*

Nat Berhe, San Diego State, 5-10, 193, 4.71: Like many of the hidden gems on this list, Berhe (pronounced Burr-HEY) lacks the measureables preferred for the NFL. He's certainly smaller and slower than scouts would like for playing safety in today's NFL. Tape review, however, shows Berhe to play bigger and faster on the field than he looks because of his impressive recognition, aggression and burst to close. He wasn't asked to play much special teams with the Aztecs because of his value to the defense, but he plays with the temperament necessary to carve out a niche in the NFL initially this role and could surprise if given a shot in the deep patrol.

Five more safeties to consider:
1: Jonathan Dowling, Western Kentucky, 6-3, 190, 4.52
2: Marqueston Huff, Wyoming, 5-11, 196, 4.49
3: Brian Jackson, Oregon, 5-10, 199, 4.62*
4: Dezmen Southward, 6-0, 211, 4.40
5: Brock Vereen, Minnesota, 6-0, 199, 4.47
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Old 04-30-2014, 05:38 PM   #17
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Seven sleepers who will go higher than projected
Justin Jones, TE, East Carolina

Jones hasn't played a college football game since 2012 after becoming academically ineligible before last season.At 6-foot-8, 275 pounds, and with a 37-inch vertical leap he showed off for scouts at the regional combine in Detroit two weeks ago

Jordan Love, CB, Towson

When he produced a 37-inch vertical leap, everyone standing in that modest weight room took notice, and there were some audible oohs and ahs.

Josh Walker, G, Middle Tennessee State

All Walker did was start every game for all four years, never getting hurt, and perform at a very high level. He looks the part, at 6-5, 320 pounds.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, T, McGill

Caraun Reid, DL, Princeton

Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming

Cornelius Lucas, T, Kansas State
Lucas is a mountain of a man -- 6-8, 330 pounds -- and the kind of arm reach scouts drool over.
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