Posted by Mark Branstad Football Talent Advisors, Ltd.
A few days ago I posted a few underclassmen players that are “flying under-the-radar” types and I believe might surprise with their performances at the combine. Here’s a few more players categorized by position that I think might make some noise and put up some solid combine numbers. This obviously doesn’t mean that they’ll take the NFL by storm (based on a 40 yard dash) but maybe there’s some future Pro-Bowl type talent that will be uncovered.
See what Todd McShay is saying over at ESPN.com, while my approach is totally different he’s highlighted some guys that I believe will do well also. http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/draft09/insider/columns/story?id=3904934&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fnfl%2fdraft09%2finsider%2fcolumns%2fstory%3fid%3d3904934
Quarterback: Stephen McGee / Texas A&M – He was a good hurdler, discus thrower, and 4X100 relay (43.53) regional meet qualifier in high school. He had a tough time in the latter portions of his collegiate career but he has the mobility to be a potential back-up in the NFL . If he runs at the combine I’d believe he might run a fast 40 for a quarterback.
Tight End: Bear Pascoe / Fresno State – I really like this guy…great name! He was a (158-10) discus thrower and (54-08) shot putter in high school…indicates natural power. He is a very good blocking tight end and serviceable receiver.
Davon Drew / East Carolina – A real darkhorse here, but East Carolina has made a point to recruit high school track athletes and bring up some very athletic players through the program. Davon threw discus during high school…finished third in the state (151-07) in North Carolina.
Offensive Tackle: Troy Kropog / Tulane – Here’s another darkhorse but he’s a 6’06” 300 guy that threw the shot put in high school, Louisiana, and finished fourth in the state (51-00) in 2004.
Lydon Murtha & Matt Slauson / Nebraska – Neither one of these guys lived up to expectations in college but both had injuries throughout…what I like is the fact both were state champion shot putters, each throwing over (59-00). Historically Nebraska O-lineman, with track backgrounds, tend to make it in the NFL. Why not these two? Slauson apparently is seen as a better fit at guard but can play tackle too.
Joel Bell / Furman – Who??? Yup this might be the biggest darkhorse. But he’s 6’07” 300 and received a combine invite…somebody knows something. I know that he was a high school discus thrower, qualified for state in South Carolina and threw over (150-00). This guy fits the profile of a player that sticks in the NFL.
Fenuki Tuopu / Oregon – He is known to NFL brass and out on the west coast. I know him because he is 6’05” 330 and during high school threw the shot put (52-10) and discus over (135-00). Don’t think he’ll light the 40 on fire…but I think he’ll put on a show in other areas.
Offensive Guard: Kraig Urbik / Wisconsin – Guy from high profile program but I really like his background…threw shot put in high school and finished 5th in state (55-00), Wisconsin.
Cornelius Lewis / Tennessee State – He might be a tackle in the NFL but we’ll pretend he’s a guard. Anyway this guy was once a Florida State Seminole and got into some trouble. He’s got some talent…and he’s got a background in high school throws, the shot put, was ninth in the state of Florida and threw over (49-00).
Center: Johnathan Luigs / Arkansas – He’s taken a hit since the “bowl circuit” and apparently dropped down draft boards…but he was a state champion shot putter in high school, Arkansas, threw (50-00). NFL centers often have throwing and wrestling backgrounds and I like to see this in a prospect, regardless of what the “experts” say.
Charles “Brett” Helms / Louisiana State – Yes he played for a high profile college program and won a national title, but he’s a tad under 6’02 and about 280 (small for NFL standards). But his high school profile is similar to Luigs in that Helms threw discus in high school, Arkansas, and made the state meet.
Fullback: Brannan Southerland / Georgia – Another guy from a high profile program but slotted for a position that almost doesn’t exist in the NFL anymore. Besides that, he was a state champion discus thrower (176-06) in the state of Georgia. He’s tremendously powerful and if he can lead block then he’ll probably get an NFL job.
Running back: Okay this is probably the easiest position to predict a solid combine performance etc…but here’s a couple perhaps lesser-knowns.
Javarris Williams / Tennessee State – Another TSU guy, but he’s power packed 5’09” 220 and was a solid high school track athlete…long jumping (21-10) and participating in 4×100 relay.
Cedric Peerman / Virginia – Really came on at end of senior collegiate season…had some injuries and fumbling issues at Senior Bowl. Great high school track sprinter, was state champion in 100 meter dash (10.67) and 200 meter dash (22.03) and state qualifier in long jump (22-07) in Virginia.
Jeremiah Johnson / Oregon – A bit small for NFL full-time back 5’08” 198 and has probably been written off by some as a result. However I expect him to run one of the fastest 40’s at the combine. He was a member of Dorsey High’s state champion 4×100 relay (40.92) and 4×400 relay (3:12.12) in California. He has tremendous straight-line speed. He played well at the Senior Bowl too.
Wide Receiver: Quinten Lawrence / McNeese State – Yup another major darkhorse…6’04 180…he’s tall but must put on weight. He was a solid collegiate track athlete ran 10.5 – 100 meters and was member of 4×100 meter (41.23) state champion relay in Louisiana and also high jumped over 6’08 in high school.
Mike Thomas / Arizona – Very productive in college, most receptions in school history but a bit small only 5’08” and 188. Great high school track sprinter however…finished fifth in state 100 meter dash (10.61) and 3rd place 4×100 relay (41.20) in Texas.
Jaison Williams / Oregon – Huge is the only way to describe at 6’04” 240. He might be a tight end in the NFL..but if he’s maintained his high school sprinting skills, ran 11.13 – 100 meters / 21.96 – 200 meters / and (42.20) 4×100 relay in California. Lots of injuries in college…might not be healthy.
Tiquan Underwood / Rutgers – Todd McShay of ESPN is all over this guy and other draft gurus have him rated very low, but I know this…he was a high school state champion long jumper (23-10), triple jumper (47-06), and 400 hurdler (53.87) and was runner-up in the high hurdles (14.46). That’s an athlete…I think he could show well at the combine.
Jarrett Dillard / Rice – He is hardly an unknown but I think he’s a better athlete than given credit. Jarrett was a (43-00) triple jumper, (21-00) long jumper, (39.7) intermediate hurdler and (42.9) 4×100 relay in high school…he’s a very capable athlete but is short at 5’10” 185.
Gotta throw Sammie Stroughter / Oregon State in here…he’s only 5’10” but was very productive in college and good kick returner. And yes he was a (24-00) long jumper in high school qualifying twice for the state meet in California and qualified once in the 4×100 relay (41.86), not easy to do.
Defensive Players tomorrow…there’s a few darkhorses there too.
I should have done this a while back.
Got any college football players or high school football players with great track and field backgrounds? Let me know about it…hit me up on the Contact Page.