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Old 03-10-2014, 12:06 AM  
Saccopoo Saccopoo is offline
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Dark Horses - Saddle Up!

Inspired by the "Forgotten Man" draft thread, list your top three Dark Horse prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft.

Mine:

1. Andrew Jackson, MLB; Western Kentucky: 6'1", 254 lbs.
- While the run stuffing thumper seems to be out of vogue this year as teams go more and more to spread/option offensive systems and de-emphizing the work horse RB, I think that there are still places in the NFL left for guys who fill up the holes and bring the lumber.

Jackson is one of those guys. Hits like a metric shit ton of bricks, does the dirty work of getting into the backfield on the ball carrier and plugs the gaps.

Averaged over 100 tackles per season and 14 tackles for loss. His production dropped a bit his senior year and that will drop him a round or two, but he's been a man amongst boys in the Sun Belt conference for his entire career.

Jackson playing against an offensive line comprised of high round NFL talent:


2. Cody Hoffman, WR; BYU: 6'4", 223 lb.
- Hoffman holds the BYU Career Triple Crown of Receiving Records: Touchdowns, Yards and Receptions. You throw the ball in his direction and he's coming down with it. He's also very long (33 1/4" arms and 9 3/4" hands) and extremely well built. Runs terrific routes as well and is elusive with the ball in his hands. He's got the natural inclination to immediately head downfield as soon as the ball is in his hands. He had a really good week of Senior Bowl practices as well. So, how is this guy a dark horse? Well, he ran a 4.65 40 and had a miserable 27.5" vertical, that's how. It's going to drop him on draft day to no higher than the fifth round and most likely sixth or even seventh round.

However, in the right system (such as a West Coast type of system *cough*), he's got all the tools to be a pretty solid possession type receiver.



3. Storm Johnson, RB; UCF: 6'0", 209 lb.
- A former U Miami highly regarded prep recruit, Johnson is a very talented running back with a lot of natural skills. People who paid attention to Blake Bortles this past season probably walked away thinking that he was the second best player on the offensive side of the ball for the Golden Knights. Johnson has a unique ability to quickly change pace mid-stride and can really hit holes quickly between the tackles. Has nice hands as well. He's going to be one of those guys who people will look back and say "How in the hell did this guy last to the sixth/seventh round?!" While watching him run, the name "Arian Foster" just keeps popping into my head.

(I apologize for the god awful music some schlep put with the highlights.)

Last edited by Saccopoo; 03-10-2014 at 01:29 AM..
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Old 03-10-2014, 06:23 AM   #2
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Robert Godhigh, RB, Georgia Tech

He's 5'7" and weighs 190 lbs. but he is fast as lightning and can catch the football. He is second all time in the ACC averaging 8.3 yards per carry. He is a smaller version of Jamaal Charles and would be perfect for KC. I know we worked out Rainey last year. He's similar to Rainey but I think he's going to be better. He's a good kid.

Isaiah Crowell, RB, Alabama State

He's this year's version of Da'rick Rogers or Janoris Jenkins. He was the #1 ranked college recruit at any position when Georgia signed him a couple of years ago. He was really good when he played there. However, he didn't like to play hurt and got on the fans bad side. He also got into trouble with the law and kicked off the team. The talent is there if he can get his head out of his ass. He has the talent to be a Terrell Davis / Arian Foster type of player who just kind of comes out of nowhere and takes the league by storm.

Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina

Shaw is a field general and natural born leader. He is accurate and has played in some big time games. He's a playmaker and his game is a lot like Alex Smith's. He uses his legs more than people think. He's the kind of player that I could see making it in the NFL as a ten year back up QB. He's very smart and is better than people think.
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:34 AM   #3
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Excellent topic, and really good suggestions from everybody -- Mugsy is turning out to be a high quality n00b.

My three picks:

QB Brett Smith, Wyoming

Smith has received almost zero attention on most draft sites, and on first glance this Draft season, I shit all over him, calling him a poor man's Alex Smith. The truth of the matter though, is that I rewatched a ton of his tape, and he just has no help at Wyoming. He had people draped all over him every play, and his receivers were always blanketed -- with the exception of Robert Herron. His placement on his passes were gorgeous, into airtight windows, and his athleticism is ridiculous. I honestly think Brett Smith is the 5th or 6th best QB prospect in this draft, and some team should try to develop him in the 4th or 5th round to see what he can become on a competent football team.

C Marcus Martin, USC

Martin looks like a quality starting center in the NFL. He's got really good size for the position (6'3", 310 lbs), but even though his size suggests he'd be a great power-blocking center, his play for the Trojans makes him look more like an athletic zone-blocker. The Trojans didn't pull and put him out into space frequently, but they do have a pro-style offense that asked Martin to go to the second level, something which his quickness is suited well for. As if this wasn't enough, Martin played Louis Nix to a draw when USC faced Notre Dame. He did get dominated several times, but he also pancaked Nix (!!!) on a critical goal-line conversion. I think Martin has really good potential, and could go as soon as the 2nd. There are only a few teams in the market for a starting center, and there's not a lot of center talent in this draft. Teams needing a ten year starter should be interested.

DE/DT Brent Urban, Virginia Tech

A midrounder DE that would fit extremely well at 3-4 DE. Urban, however, may have the best size/athleticism combo out of all of them in this Draft. At 6'6", 296 lbs, he is an imposingly powerful presence that looks a lot like JJ Watt. When he's on, he drives OL back into the backfield with his ridiculous wingspan and swallows up runners. Urban missed 4 games this year, but still swatted down 9 passes (first in his league), and blew up 12.5 TFL. That's a very JJ Watt like output. Two problems, both of them serious, but potentially correctable: (1.) Urban can get push in the pocket, but he's not racking up a ton of sacks himself (only had 1 this year), and (2.) his technique does need some work, as he ends up on the ground a few times against superior linemen. Nonetheless, he's got some really interesting measurables, and could serve as a potential starter in both 1- and 2-gap systems if he responds well to coaching. He seems like a third day pick to me, but the more coaching you think he'll require, the lower the round you'll obviously be willing to spend.
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Old 03-10-2014, 11:30 AM   #4
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RB George Atkinson III, Notre Dame

As a ND fan....I'm pissed that this kid wasn't used more effectively. You've seen his measurables. He's big....6'1" 218lbs and quick....4.4 speed. He can return kicks and can catch out of the backfield. You put this kid into an NFL training program....and I bet he becomes a starter in the next couple of years. And I haven't seen him go anywhere higher than the 5-6th round.
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:29 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Pestilence View Post
RB George Atkinson III, Notre Dame

As a ND fan....I'm pissed that this kid wasn't used more effectively. You've seen his measurables. He's big....6'1" 218lbs and quick....4.4 speed. He can return kicks and can catch out of the backfield. You put this kid into an NFL training program....and I bet he becomes a starter in the next couple of years. And I haven't seen him go anywhere higher than the 5-6th round.
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Old 03-10-2014, 04:04 PM   #6
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugsy View Post
Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina

Shaw is a field general and natural born leader. He is accurate and has played in some big time games. He's a playmaker and his game is a lot like Alex Smith's. He uses his legs more than people think. He's the kind of player that I could see making it in the NFL as a ten year back up QB. He's very smart and is better than people think.
I haven't done any homework on Shaw? What's his big red flags? Arm Strength? Old Ball Coach Rubbed off on him?

I watched a couple games, and even though he played for Spurrier, he looked good. And looked absolutely clutch.

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Originally Posted by Pestilence View Post
RB George Atkinson III, Notre Dame

As a ND fan....I'm pissed that this kid wasn't used more effectively. You've seen his measurables. He's big....6'1" 218lbs and quick....4.4 speed. He can return kicks and can catch out of the backfield. You put this kid into an NFL training program....and I bet he becomes a starter in the next couple of years. And I haven't seen him go anywhere higher than the 5-6th round.
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:49 PM   #8
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I haven't done any homework on Shaw? What's his big red flags? Arm Strength? Old Ball Coach Rubbed off on him?

I watched a couple games, and even though he played for Spurrier, he looked good. And looked absolutely clutch.
Very clutch, IMO. But otherwise doesn't have prototypical anything really. Small. Mediocre arm. Good scrambler though.
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:57 PM   #9
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Very clutch, IMO. But otherwise doesn't have prototypical anything really. Small. Mediocre arm. Good scrambler though.
Interesting. I wouldn't mind a flyer on him. He looked good when I watched him.
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Old 03-11-2014, 06:40 AM   #10
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He's had some injury problems. He's not very big but otherwise, he's not all that different from Alex Smith.
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:41 PM   #11
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I'll stick with some smaller school guys...

1. OC Zac Kerin - Toledo - 6'5" 308
Very quick player with good movement in space and a non-stop motor. He needs to develop strength and probably move to guard, but he could end up being a steal for a team that gives him a chance to develop.

2. CB Travis Carrie - Ohio - 6'0" 206
Good size/speed ratio and sticks well in man coverage, good hips. Solid tackler and special teams player. Dedicated to the game and a team leader. Lost his Junior year to injury. Hell of a good punt returner in college at his level.

3. OLB Derrell Johnson - East Carolina - 6'1" 248
Gets good leverage and has solid burst off the snap. Needs to learn better technique, but was productive against higher competition none-the-less. Looks to be a solid rush linebacker in time.
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:58 PM   #12
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I am really curious about guys who WERENT at the combine.

Travis Kelce and Nico Johnson were combine invites, but couldnt work out. They had great prodays.

Eric Kush and Mike Catapano were not combine invites. Those non-combine invite guys are the true 'dark horses.'
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:03 PM   #13
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Not really sure where to put this but:

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Tyler Starr, OLB, South Dakota: Starr (6-4 1/4, 249 pounds) was at the combine and played very well in the East-West Shrine Game. At his pro day he ran 4.58 and 4.59 in the 40. He had a 31 1/2-inch vertical jump and a 9-9 broad jump. He ran the short shuttle in 4.37 and has 33 1/2-inch arms. He has a chance to be a priority free agent.
That's a pretty significant improvement on his combine 40 time. Ran a 4.95 there. Looks around 4.6-4.7 in game speed.
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:15 PM   #14
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I wonder what weight he was at his proday. He could have lost 20lbs to adjust his speed for all we know.
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:30 PM   #15
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I wonder what weight he was at his proday. He could have lost 20lbs to adjust his speed for all we know.
It says 249 pounds. 1 less than at the combine. He said he was uncomfortable with the new technique he was using at the combine and it messed him up. Said it was nerves.
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