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2016 B2B Directional State: Undervalued & Overlooked NFL prospects

It’s that time of year: the release of my annual draft sleepers and smaller school prospects who deserve more attention in the NFL draft.

For more than a decade now, I have made the analysis of lesser-known, small school, and undervalued NFL draft prospects my sometimes (well, more than sometimes) obsessive avocation.  Over the years, I’ve written about, championed, interviewed, chosen in mock draft, defended in arguments, and generally shouted into the wilderness about “my” guys. Over the years, I’ve missed on a few (Hello, Gantrell Johnson!) but hit on a few very unexpected home runs, too.

Here’s a few past B2Bers, more or less the B2B Hall Of Fame:

Jared Veldheer,  Richard Sherman, Carlos Dunlap, Emmanuel Sanders, Jimmy Graham,  Josh Norman, Alterraun Verner, Junior Galette, Jordan Cameron, Julius Thomas, Buster Skrine, Doug Martin, Bruce Irvin, Robert Turbin, J.R.Sweezy, Jamie Collins, Brandon Williams, Paul Worrilow, and Jarvis Landry.
In general, I tend to favor potential in players who seem to have the football personality to make the jump to actualization of that talent. Give me a guy with heart, football smarts, and athletic ability and shame on you if you can’t figure out how to make him a player.
For some background on how I got started with this and a list of last year’s B2Bers, click here: 2015 B2B Directional State Team
Without Further ado, the best of the B2Bers:
B2B Directional Player of the year:

CB Kalan Reed, Southern Miss

I’m not sure what Kalan Reed did to deserve almost utter lack of attention in this draft class. I can’t find anything wrong with his game. I honestly believe this is all about being a lightly regarded prospect coming out of high school, and then playing at Southern Miss instead of Oklahoma. He has decent size (5111 192),  great anticipation and ball skills, he sacrifices his body to support on run plays and balls caught underneath him, and he jumps off the tape. In one game I watched he basically made a great play on 4 or 5 plays in a row to begin the game. The announcers, “annnnd, there’s Kalan Reed again!” It’s not as if he’s unathletic; Reed ran a 4.38 and jumped a 41.5 inch vertical at his pro day… I MEAN, COME ON. I think he might be a top 5 CB in this draft, when all is said and done.
Underrated Power 5 player of the year:  
Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia

Although this column is renown for extolling the virtues of small school and non-power 5 prospects, I reserve the right to include a guy who I think is a top 15 talent in the draft– at least– and who is still being talked about as available in Rd 3 by multiple, mainstream outlets. One look at the film and you see the best safety prospect since 2010– one who is laughably underrated compared to the safeties taken in Rd 1 since then. He is a huge hitter who knocks ballcarriers backwards, his play recognition and reaction is elite, he covered the best route-running WR in the draft man-on-man in the slot (Sterling Shepherd) and shut him off, and he covers the deep half all the way to the sideline (see top 5 youtube clips section below). That describes Earl Thomas or Troy Polamalu, and only a now-nearly-complete ACL injury possibly holds him down lower than that. Best player I watched on tape this year.
Underappreciated Non Power 5 FBS POY:

QB Matt Johnson… Bowling Green

He’s a little bigger than Russell Wilson and basically the same size as Drew Brees. Sometimes he gets a little sidearm-y. He had a broken hip in 2014. His offense was a little gimmicky. There, that’s about it for bad news. The good? He threw for almost 5,000 yards (more than Jared Goff), 46 TDs and only 8 INTs, with 67.3 % completions– while throwing 20 TDs of over 30 yards in the air. I don’t care what size you are, if you complete 67+% of your passes when you throw downfield as much as this guy, you are a legit NFL prospect. And, they’re not just complete– he drops it in a bucket downfield, even under pressure and with his feet not set. Not every team values the incredible deep ball accuracy Johnson has, but someone like Arizona or Pittsburgh could at minimum develop him as a career backup, capable of entering a game and making plays.
FCS Players Of The Year: Javon Hargrave & Tyrone Holmes

Javon Hargrave plays in a football conference more famous for its marching bands and dance crews. He would have had scholarship to Clemson or a handful of SEC schools, except he missed qualifying with the NCAA clearinghouse by less than a percentage point on his last high school exam. Instead of hanging his head, he just went down the road to South Carolina State and became a MEAC legend. Not only was he dominant, he even raised his game in big moments, including coming in to the game where he was too injured to start vs. #14 ranked division rival Bethune-Cookman, and almost single handedly leading his team from behind to victory with 11 tackles, including 6 sacks.

Speaking of sacks, Tyrone Holmes had more of them this year than anyone: 18. It’s hard not to like a kid replacing a 17 sack guy, then going out and bettering his sack production. Looks and feels like an NFL diamond in the rough.

D2/D3 Player Of The Year:
Justin Zimmer, Ferris State

After a dominant season as a 245 DE in D2, one of his coaches convinced him that his NFL future was as a DT, so Zimmer put on 50 solid lbs since then. Even with the extra weight, he still tested like an elite, freak edge rusher: a 1.69 10yd split and 7.09 3 cone at 6’2″ 295 is rarified air. His explosion numbers were at the highest level but basically only former Olympian Lawrence Okoye and some guy named J.J. Watt had more agility with the same or similar power… and Watt tested at 15lbs lighter. Basically, he’s Aaron Donald-ish, if Aaron Donald was more of an athletic freak. On top of that, Zimmer did what you’d expect at D2: he dominated. Whether he can translate that to an NFL opportunity remains to be seen but he ought to be able to win at least a STs job with his athletic skills.
B2B Hustle + Talent award: 
EDGE Roy Robertson-Harris, UTEP

I guess the word on the street is that Robertson-Harris only really came on in his senior season. But, c’mon! If he were only viewed as a big guy who hustles, you could justify a day 3 pick on him– the cutups all feature plays where the 266lb lineman chased ballcarriers 30-60 yards downfield and caught them. But, then, he tested like a freak athlete on top of that. The reason for his overlooked status is obvious when you watch tape: he was the team’s top DL, so they used him much more on the interior than he would ever be used in the NFL. He’s a beautiful edge defender– stout holding the point, even vs double teams, quick laterally to find gaps, bend and agility to turn the edge. I love this player and, in a draft with few outlier edge prospects worth drafting at their expected draft slots, he’s the best value.
B2B Adversity Award:
CB Cheatham Norrils, Toledo

Lost an entire season with a mystery illness that nearly cost him his life but rebounded to help lead Toledo to one of its best seasons in history. His first game back, he played the game of his life in the Rockets’ upset win over Houston– that alone should have catapulted him into the draft spotlight. He has size, tested well– yet there’s buzz about turning him into a SS. Go figure.

B2B “Hearts & Smarts” Award:

Off-Ball LB Jatavis Brown, Akron

Brown is near the top of every meaningful defensive statistic: tackles, sacks, TFL, forced fumbles… he’s fast, athletic, team captain. Why is there no love for this college football star? Sure, there is some doubt about what his NFL position is but the guy can pretty much do it all. You could invent a position for him and he’d be sensational.  Give me 11 football players like this guy and I’d win an awful lot of football games.

For those of you, like me, who dig through hours of video to evaluate potential talent, know that there’s nothing like a clip that sticks in your mind. Every year, I have my favorite moments on tape; here are my 5 favorites from the 2016 draft season:
DE Roy Robertson-Harris runs down NMState RB

S Karl Joseph covers 2/3 field to hit OK WR

CB Kalan Reed one-handed, flying INT vs Charlotte

WR Casey Martin, Southern Mississippi turns 1on1s into twister, makes effortless, stupid-great 1 handed catch:

TE Rico Gathers, Baylor throws 35 yard pass to himself
THE MAIN EVENT If you’re looking for last-minute, below market draft prospects— here’s your menu, the underrated and overlooked 2016 B2B Directional State Battling Basilisks:
QB Matt Johnson… Bowling Green (see above)
QB Jacob Houseman, Chattanooga has a nice combination of mobility and accuracy. He also has a classic QB demeanor and leadership skills.
QB Jacob Russell, Campbellsville was mentioned by noted QB guru George Whitfield as a name worthy of mentioning in terms of sleeper QB prospects with size and arm talent. Russell started as a walk-on at Kentucky, then moved to Eastern Kentucky, finally went to Campbellsville to get a chance to play and further his NFL dream. He looks the part and can make every throw. The step up in competition is a big barrier but I’d give him an opportunity.
RB Darius Jackson, Eastern Michigan reminds me of former Seahawks RB Robert Turbin. He is solidly built, has quick feet when picking a hole, and has breakaway speed when he gets into the secondary.
RB Tyler Ervin, San Jose State plays bigger than his measured 5’10” 192lbs. He has the quicks and the ability to find daylight of a scat back but offers more as a pass blocker and receiver.
RB Jhurell Pressley, New Mexico
RB Rahman Lee, Glenville State (D2)

Lee has shake and bake for days. A little undersized but has the necessary evasiveness. Ran for 412 yards… IN ONE GAME.
FB/RB: Devon Johnson, Marshall  is a big, fast, non-nonsense runner, who overpowers at the LOS and runs away in the secondary. Has a nose for the EZ– just becomes single-minded in that pursuit.
OL Tyler Johnstone, Oregon is probably destined to be an NFL OT or OG on a team that runs ZBS. Moves well for his size and is good at walling off defenders. If not for injuries, would be more touted.
OL Rees Odihambo Boise State An injury also derailed Odihambo’s career trajectory. If healthy, he’s versatile and could be a very good guard.
OL Stephane Nembot, Colorado is all arms and legs but he is a big guy who can move. The kind of clay for a great OL coach to turn into gold.
OL Anthony Fabiano, Harvard
OL Dominique Robertson, West Georgia is mammoth and a dancing bear type. If he can hold up as a RT vs the increasingly popular speed rushers on that side, he has plus skills.
OL Brandon Shell, South Carolina
OL Arturo Uzdavinis, Tulane has enormous size and quick feet. Very raw but, even so, difficult for defenders to get by the gatekeeper.
TE (3): Rico Gathers, Baylor (see above)
TE Temarrick Hemingway, South Carolina State has one trick- a return route that gets him open, time and time again. Teams must have known it was coming… they still had no answer.
TE/OL George Fant, Western Ky is, like Gathers, a basketball convert with great size and speed for a big man. He’s almost 300lbs, so a switch to LT might be a possibility.
WR Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia is a former defensive back who approaches playing WR with that mindset. I can’t watch him and not think of Hines Ward when he was at Georgia.

WR/RS Deandre Reaves, Marshall

He led the nation in return TDs with 4 and he made some big contributions as a slot WR. Not the biggest, but he mostly suffers from the changes to the NFL game which decrease the value of return specialists. Still, it’s head-scratching that he’s not at least in the draftable conversation, especially in a weak WR class.
WR/RS Casey Martin, Southern Mississippi

Okay, once you’ve seen Wes Welker and Julian Edelman and the like be nearly uncoverable on routes from the slot, the temptation is to think that any undersized, quick guy with incredible hands is “The Next Wes Welker”. Well, this guy make a pretty convincing argument in 2015. 80 catches for 925 yards and 7 TDs. For a 5’9″ 180lb slot guy with solid NFL prospect Michael Thomas grabbing 71 for 1391 and 14TDs on the other side
Mike Thomas, Southern Mississippi plays with consistent effort and will not be outworked. He looks too big and too fast for most defenders. A TD machine.
WR Ricardo Louis, Auburn suffered through some terrible QB play… and, yet, all he did was put up big plays.
WR Mitch Matthews, BYU

They keep saying it’s a weak WR class but I think they’re ignoring the middle and late part of the group. Speaking of those guys, what has Mitch Matthews done wrong? He’s slightly older than a redshirt senior but he was the go-to guy who made a ton of plays for his offense (always a good sign for projecting WRs), he is amongst the fastest big WRs in the entire class (an impressive 4.49 @ 6′ 5.625″), and he has great hands and leaping ability.

WR Reece Horn, Indianapolis worked as an intern for the Indianapolis Colts, never told them he was a star in D2. Dominated small school competition but has some skills and size.

WR Jamaal James, Montana

WR Moritz Boehringer, German Football League may have played against one step above high school talent but he obviously has the raw tools, size, and speed to merit a shot. Will he pick up the finer points? Worth a try.
WR Andy Jones, Jacksonville
WR Keyaris Garrett, Tulsa
DL Javon Hargrave, South Carolina State
DL Greg Milhouse, Campbell
DL David Onyemata, Manitoba A planet theory guy: no one that big and agile and explosive should be left without an NFL opportunity… even if he’s raw and Canadian.
DL Joel Heath… Michigan State
DL Justin Zimmer… Ferris State (see above)
DL Ronald Blair, Appalaichan State
EDGE Charles Tapper, Oklahoma

Tapper played out of position as an interior player in 2015 but, prior to that, got opportunities as an edge player and looked extremely dynamic in that role. All that interior play has honed his run stopping skills– he holds the point against double teams as well as any edge rusher in this draft class– and that alone will give him an opportunity to play right away. Seen as a late Day 2 draftee, he would be outstanding value.
EDGE Bronson Kaufusi, BYU can play 3-4DE, 4-3DE, and 3-4OLB, giving him unparalleled position/scheme flexibility. He bends the edge extremely well for a bigger edge player and knows how to close the deal when the QB gets in his vicinity.
EDGE Roy Robertson-Harris UTEP (see above)
EDGE David Perkins, Illinois State  is a former Ohio State player who tested like an elite outlier at the most outlier of positions. Was tasked to do more spy/contain and Off-Ball type role but showed great bend and explosion off the edge. Has the classic hunter pursuit drive that not every great athlete has.
EDGE Jonathan Woodard, Central Arkansas
EDGE Tyrone Holmes, Montana
EDGE Mike Rose, North Carolina State might have had the best single game of any power 5 edge rusher vs Wake Forest. Just watch:
EDGE Royce LaFrance, Tulane
EDGE Matt Judon, Grand Valley State
Off-Ball LB Elandon Roberts, Houston The heart and soul of one of the best defenses in the FBS. There was zero doubt that he was THE MAN on that team, despite NFL talent at multiple DB and DL. He plays the position the way you’d want your inside LB to play on any team.
Off-Ball LB Mike Stojkovic, Robert Morris is a transfer from North Texas who switched from an active OLB to MLB and was a terror for the Colonials’ opponents.
Off-Ball LB Jatavis Brown, Akron (see above)
Off-Ball LB Larry Butler III, Southern Nazarene was a top recruit out of high school, who took the long road to NFL prospect. Has the size and speed worthy of a late selection or invite as a UDFA.
Off-Ball LB Antwione Williams, Georgia Southern Big, bad, and in the middle of everything. Had a huge game vs top competition (Georgia).
CB Kalan Reed, Southern Mississippi (see above)
CB Cheatham Norris, Toledo (see above)
CB Rashard Robinson, LSU had some maturity issues that cost him his spot on the LSU football team. He seems to have grown a little– enough that his former coaches welcomed him back for the team’s pro day. On the field, Robinson had some great battles with SEC stalwarts Sammie Coates and Mike Evans, holding his own against those difficult matches.
CB Mike Jordan, Missouri Western A real nose for the football, with over 60 pass breakups in his career.
CB Deandre Elliott, Colorado State smooth and agile cover skills, with good length and tools.
CB Ryan Smith, North Carolina Central a dynamic, fast athlete who is raw but check off all the boxes of build and tools.
CB Deandre Elliott, Colorado State Nobody really pays attention to the poor kids who play in the Rocky Mountain time zone, especially at an off-brand school. Elliott has it all: size, length, 1 on 1 coverage ability for days, speed.
CB Cre’Von Leblanc, Florida Atlantic
S Karl Joseph, WVU (see above)
S Deon Bush… Miami (FL)
S Kevin Byard, Middle Tennessee played well vs best competition. For a bigger (215lbs) safety, has great range to go with his LB style play near the LOS.

S Trae Elston… Mississippi
S Will Parks, Arizona Versatile S/LB hybrid who has gotten lost in the draft shuffle. Some team will immediately benefit from his ST contributions and, if they find ways to use him, he can thrive.
ATH: Tre Roberson, Illinois State The Indiana transfer- Randel-El 2.0 is not especially QB sized for the NFL; he’s built like a slot receiver. But, truthfully, when he wasn’t playing with a broken thumb, he was a very accurate and gutsy winner with a good arm and wheels to make plays. Perhaps his future is as a slot WR and return specialist but he has the talent and personality to make noise anywhere he gets a chance.
P Will Monday, Duke basically had half his punts downed inside the 20 this season… and once led ACC in gross punting average as well.
K Zach Matics, Appalachian State big leg– was nailing 60+ yards at his pro day–  and enough accuracy to give him a shot at a notoriously difficult position to project from college to NFL.
EDGE Royce LaFrance, Tulane; Quentin Gause, Rutgers; Joe Sommers, Wisconsin-Oshkosh; Victor Ochi, Stony Brook; Aaron Wallace, UCLA; Ugonna Awuruonye, Campbell; Freddie Frazier, Bethany
DE Jake Payne, Shenandoah
S Kavon Frazier, Central Mich
DT Quentin Jefferson, Maryland
WR Cody Core, Ole Miss
DT/DE Vincent Valentine, Nebraska

2015 B2B Directional State: Undervalued & Small School NFL Prospects

B2BDirectionalStateLogoFor more than a decade now, I have made the analysis of lesser-known, small school, and undervalued NFL draft prospects my sometimes (well, more than sometimes) obsessive avocation.  Over the years, I’ve written about, championed, interviewed, chosen in mock draft, defended in arguments, and generally shouted into the wilderness about “my” guys.

How did this get started? Well, I got involved in a nearly legendary 7 round mock draft started on a now more or less defunct Steelers message board and continued each year since on, where 32 posters each become GM of a team and make trades, picks– we execute a real 256 pick NFL draft.

The level of knowledge of prospects and quality of this draft was mind-boggling to me. I had played and followed football for 40 years– I was far from a casual fan– yet the competition was fierce. One of the most exciting parts of that draft were the later rounds, where GMs presented obscure picks with glee– they had the satisfaction of drafting 7 rounds of guys that became “their” guys. On the message boards, twitter, and weekly on our podcast, we got credit or ridicule for prospects we’d championed or criticized years earlier. A badge of honor or shame, as it were.

I decided that I’d have a hard time learning the top prospects as well as others who watch way too much college football and were familiar with prospects out of high school and that my best chance was to unearth a few from the discount rack. As in life, I’m a value buy kind of guy. The great part is, much like Day 3 strategy for a team like New England, if you can hit on 1 of 3 lesser known picks as three 6th round selections, you’re a success.

My first class had Gartrell Johnson, Brice McCain, Sammie Lee Hill, and David Bruton… modest overachievers who nonetheless made NFL teams.  Then came my first serious year of becoming an amateur draftnik, and with it the year that gave me some cachet: 2010. That year I screamed to the heavens the names Jared Veldheer, Emmanuel Sanders,  Jimmy Graham,  Alterraun Verner, Clay Harbor,  Nolan Carroll,  Arthur Moats, Ramon Harewood, Joe Webb, Jamar Chaney, and Junior Galette.  I think their subsequent success surprised even me, although I desperately wanted the Steelers to draft Jimmy Graham and Emmanuel Sanders that year.

The next year, feeling pressure to keep the high standard, I included 2011’s James Carpenter, Rob Housler, Jordan Cameron, Kris Durham, Julius Thomas, Buster Skrine, Richard Sherman, Colin Jones, Justin Rogers, and Ricardo Lockette. 2012 brought  Brandon Brooks, Casey Heyward, Doug Martin, Bruce Irvin, Lamar Holmes, Robert Turbin, Miles Burris, Josh Norman, Justin Bethel, J.R.Sweezy, Rishard Matthews,  Junior Hemmingway, Markus Kuhn  In 2013, Jamie Collins, Logan Ryan, Brandon Williams, Benny Cunningham, Shamarko Thomas, Earl Wolff, Steve Means, Paul Worrilow, Ryan Schraeder, Eric Rogers, and Terren Jones joined the fraternity, and in 2014 Jarvis Landry, Billy Turner, Jay Bromley, Terrence Brooks, Jerick McKinnon, Justin Ellis, Marqueston Huff, Kevin Norwood, Dontae Johnson, Walt Aikens, Keith Lewis, Nevin Lawson, Ryan Carrethers, Wesley Johnson, Zach Mettenberger, Robert Herron, Jordan Zumwalt, Brandon Dixon, Zach Moore, Garrett Gilbert, T.J. Carrie, Terrence Fede, Tyler Starr, Cornelius Lucas, Zach Kerr, Brock Coyle, Eric Thomas, & Justin Britt got there.

Those who have followed my efforts have nicknamed my players members of the fictional B2B Directional State football team. A couple of years ago, they even were anointed with a mascot, the Battling Basilisks. I figure someday I’ll make T Shirts and send one to each of the selectees.

Anyway, the fraternity of B2Bers play every Sunday in the NFL– in fact, people tweet/text/email me every time one of them makes a play, good or bad.  Generally, though, I secretly track their whereabouts and know of their moments before anyone lets me know… as I said, they’re my guys.

Listen to the latest SteelerFury podcast, Steeler draft edition here:

Without further ado, the B2B Directional State Class of 2015:

Delaire-Towson2-Playoffs-2014-USATODAY-SportsB2B Directional State Player of the Year: Ryan Delaire, Towson (6041, 256)
Ex-Edge rusher Ryan Riddle said this week that the #1 attribute for edge rushers is closing speed. Others talk about bend and ankle flexion. Delaire’s last two steps to the prey are reminiscent of a jaguar taking down an antelope and his ability to bend the corner is second to none in this class. No other edge prospect in this draft has his combination of classic edge rusher traits: play speed, ability to finish, ability to bend the edge, ferocious tackler, ball skills in coverage , backside pursuit, desire/motor, elite athleticism. A fun highlight reel player who showed well vs. bigger competition including WVU, & Michigan. UPDATE: Delaire showed well in TB but ultimately got cut and signed with the Redskins’ practice squad. A work in progress.

Shaquille Riddick, West Virginia (6057, 244)
Proved he can be a dominating pass rusher at the FBS level Gardner-Webb, then transferred to WVU for a show me year vs Power 5 competition.  Was rarely utilized on the edge, but when he was, was disruptive as a pass rusher and showed ability to disengage blockers in the run game.
UPDATE: A nagging hamstring injury kept him from practicing for long stretches but he is now 100% and made the Cardinals as a 5th Rd Draft pick.
Deiontrez Mount, Louisville
UPDATE: A 6th Rd pick with TEN, he made the roster and is Orakpo’s backup.
James Vaughters, Stanford
UPDATE: A UDFA in GB, he nearly made the 53 , signed to practice squad.
Will Schwarz, Saginaw Valley State
UPDATE: A tryout with Miami but didn’t sign.

2c506231e6ec8e026b0f6a7067009232DL Derrick Lott, Chattanooga (6040, 314)
What can you say about a 300lb+ guy who was the first guy down the field on every kick return in the East-West Shrine Game? Great length, athleticism, hands, effort.
UPDATE: Cut by Titans.

DE Tory Slater, West Georgia (6040 275)
Country strong, aggressive and agile.  Huge and raw, but with size and motor you can’t teach. UPDATE: Had a hamstring injury from minicamp and went from PUP to cut for now.

NT Terry Williams, East Carolina (5117, 329)

Speaking of country strong, Williams is an old school NT in a new school world. I suppose the trend in the NFL is taller NTs or more versatile DTs but Williams is oddly overlooked in this class, despite having some VInce Wilfork/Casey Hampton like moments on tape. Had a couple issues off the field a few years ago… add it all up and he’s an afterthought, despite a lot of talent at a position most don’t appreciate. UPDATE: Was fabulous in Bears preseason week 4, nearly week 1 starter because of injury… practice squad.

DE David Irving, Iowa State (6073, 273)
A couple of incidents off the field trashed his career at Iowa State just as it was getting started… but what a start it was. Irving was just too fast and too long for most OL he faced. If he had stayed out of trouble, he would be not just more experienced but more coached– probably a high draft pick in this class. UPDATE: Practice squad for Chiefs– showed well but stacked roster.

DE Caushaud Lyons, Tusculum (6044, 284)
He looks a little like a guy who grabs the whole team and then throws each one out until he finds the one with the ball.  Not much competition at that level for a freakish athlete like him but his desire and size/speed is evident.
UPDATE: On the Steelers’ 53.
DL Henry Anderson, Stanford (6062, 294)
Not exactly a no name player but I have to include him, since the talk of him being a late 3rd or 4th round pick is absurd. He’s a 1st round talent as the very difficult to find 5 technique for a 3-4 team who likes to show even fronts on passing downs. Aaron Smith is the model for that position and Anderson is basically his clone. UPDATE: 3rd Rd pick for Colts, likely to start opposite B2BDS alum Zack Kerr on the IND opening day DL.
Bonus: I don’t know much about him but Nick Seither of NAIA Georgetown College (6026, 273) had 9 sacks this year and posted a pro day workout wherein he was bigger, faster, and more explosive than any edge player in this draft this side of Bud Dupree. UPDATE: Tryout with Cardinals
DT Rodney Gunter, Delaware State UPDATE: 4th round pick, dream camp/preseason, starting for the Cardinals Week 1
DE Martin Ifedi, Memphis
UPDATE: Cut by Rams
11796286-largeSS Jaquiski Tartt, Samford  (6013, 221)
Maybe it’s his jersey number but watching him immediately made me think of Steve Atwater.  He runs sideline to sideline and hits guys into the team bench. He can also cover and take away the football. Can a Steve Atwater type safety work in today’s NFL? I think so.
UPDATE: 2nd round pick looking good for the 49ers.
FS Cedric Thompson, Minnesota (5114, 211)
A real NFL style DB… can play deep high, in the box, cover the slot vs WRs and TEs. Creates turnovers with quick hands and anticipation. UPDATE: 5th round pick for Miami, practice squad.
S Clayton Geathers, Central Florida  (6015, 218)
Cleans up behind the D… does whatever his team needs him to do to stop the play. In the box, deep half, one on one off the line… he can do it all. UPDATE: 4th Rd pick, excelling on STs, made Indy’s 53.
FS Dean Marlowe, James Madison  (6014, 203)
Big hitter who is always around the football. My thought watching him was: I would love to have a guy like this on my team UPDATE: UDFA made Miami’s 53.
SS Cam Thomas, Western Kentucky  (6002, 200)

Hitter and run supporter with coverage skills who would thrive in a safety role. UPDATE: PUP list of Buffalo.
SS James Sample, Louisville UPDATE: 4th Round pick made Jags roster, despite breaking his arm in OTAs.
FS Brian Suite, Utah State UPDATE: UDFA made it to last cut with detroit.

FS Jacob Hagen, Liberty UPDATE: Showed well, practice squad for AZ.
17577274-standardCB Steven Nelson, Oregon State  (5101, 197)
The best CB no one talks about. Not the biggest, nor the smallest… he wins with a terrific and advanced understanding of technique. Watch his game vs Jaelen Strong, where he continually directed Strong to the sideline and left him no room to catch the football. It’s like a Jedi mind trick.  Nelson can step in to a team that plays off-man coverage and contribute immediately while he continues to learn the game. UPDATE: Made KC’s 53.
CB Tray Walker, Texas Southern  (6021, 191)
His “stick a foot in the ground” and attack throws/the catch is as good as anyone in this draft. Going to face much better competition at the next level, but he’s long, with good speed. UPDATE: At least BAL drafted a CB in Rd 4 who made it onto their 53.
CB Senquez Golson, Mississippi  (5085, 176)
Underappreciated because of his size but he covered everyone in the SEC. Can really high point the football and has great ball skills. UPDATE: 2nd Rd pick for Steelers, IR with shoulder injury.
CB/WR Tony Lippett, Michigan State  (6024, 192)
Consider me on the Lippett as football player train. I’m one who thinks his ideal fit is as a CB… although he could contribute on offense as well. UPDATE: 5th Rd pick made the Dolphins as a CB.
FS/CB Bobby McCain, Memphis  (5094, 195)
He hits everything that moves and despite his somewhat less than ideal size, he shows no fear and delivers blows. He adds ball skills and the ability to change directions with anyone. His style, size, and measurables remind me of Devin McCourty, thus the thought that he could work at FS in the NFL. UPDATE: 5th Rd pick made the Dolphins as a CB.
CB Darryl Roberts, Marshall UPDATE: IR with Patriots.
CB SaQwan Edwards, New Mexico UPDATE: OAK practice squad.
CB Craig Mager, West Texas State UPDATE: 3rd Rd pick made the Chargers’ 53.
CB Garry Peters, Clemson UPDATE: Waived/injured from CAR after great minicamp.
CB Jimmy Jean, Alabama-Birmingham UPDATE: Waived by NE.
trevorQB Trevor Siemian, Northwestern(6027, 220)
Sometimes guys get hurt early in senior season and become an afterthought by the time the draft rolls around. Trevor Siemian was money before injury in 2014, including a gutsy 43-40 OT win vs Notre Dame. UPDATE: 7th Rd pick was stellar in preseason, made 53, challenging to be Manning’s top backup.
QB Phillip Sims, Winston-Salem State UPDATE: Beat out Logan Thomas for Cards #3 job but AZ kept only 2 QBs.

6_3159033OT Laurence Gibson, Virginia Tech  (6056, 305)

As good at defeating edge rush and at using inside arm bar to take away counter move as any LT I scouted this year. Awarded leadership award from his coaches and teammates as the team’s hard work and practice leader. His coach called him “one of my all-time favorites.” Nearly the best athleticism of any OL in the draft. How is he considered to be a Day 3 pick? I wonder what Eli Harold thinks? UPDATE: Cut by Dallas, KC practice squad.
OT Jermaine Barton, Illinois State  (6065, 332)
36″ arms and movement skills to get to the second level or win to the edge. A big part of a terrific passing offense and dominant rushing game. UPDATE: Cut by Buffalo.
OG Ali Marpet, Hobart  & William Smith  (6037, 307)
Not exactly an original discovery, but I am a big fan of Marpet’s technique– compared to more highly touted OL prospects, he showed off more advanced 1 on 1 skill at the Senior Bowl, inside and on the edge. Oh, and he was the 2nd best athletic testing OL in the draft. UPDATE: 2nd Rd pick is starting at LG for TB.
OC Antoine Everett, McNeese State  (6030, 323)
Played LT in college despite classic IOL stubby build. Garnered some attention in McNeese’s near upset of Nebraska, where he completely dominated the Nebraska edge guys he faced. If you had a computer put together an ideal NFL Center, he would look and play like Everett.  UPDATE: Cut by TB.
C Nick Easton, Harvard  (6026, 303)
If you like your centers brainy and athletic enough to play ZBS or pull to the edge, Easton is your man. No offense intended to the Ivy League, but the level of competition is closer to D3 than the SEC… but Easton was like a pancake machine. Everything he hits goes down. Top SPARQ OL in the draft. UPDATE: Traded from Ravens to 49ers, made 53.
C/OG Shaquille Olajuwon Mason, Georgia Tech UPDATE: Star of Patriots’ camp, pushing to start at OG.
OG/OC Chad Hamilton, Coastal Carolina  
UPDATE: Retired from football during Bears camp because of nagging injuries.
WRF (featured types)
d78f2aecb4d3114ab92526fa82862138WR Cameron Meredith, Illinois State  (6033, 207)
He has size/speed combination that says NFL starter. Quickness in and out of breaks and adjustment to football in the air.  Good hands and can win in both tough, inside game and over the top. Tested in the 88.8th percentile for NFL WRs athletically and he can play.  UPDATE: UDFA made Bears’ 53. Great preseason.
WR Andre Davis, South Florida  (6007, 211)
A slightly smallerTerrell Owens-style player– with the accompanying flair–  who can win in the small ball, catch and run game, and also win down the field. I can’t for the life of me figure out why his career wasn’t more successful. There is some inconsistency to his game at the catch point– sometimes spectacular and sometimes timid– and he was up and down through out his 4 years, but those are really the only bad things I can say about him. A lot of what college CBs did to defend him will be illegal at the next level, and allowed to run free, he’s as good as almost any WR in this draft class. UPDATE: Led the Bills is receiving yardage, TDs in preseason… still cut.

WR (possession types)

Devante Davis, UNLV  (6027, 220) Uses his body to shield defenders in the middle and can win down the field. Great hands. Not the most dynamic but he can succeed at the next level on size/speed. If he works at his craft, has the skill to be a solid starter.  UPDATE: Cut by Philly after he failed to stand out in practices/OTAs.

Darius Davis, Henderson State  (5110, 219)
Another fun guy to watch on tape. He’s not what you’d call NFL fast but he has an unbelievable knack for turning a 5 yard gain into 20 or 40 or however far it is to the end zone. Has sort of a Hines Ward knack for being faster than timed when it counts and doing whatever it takes to get home.  As Gil Brandt said, Davis needs to play closer to 211, where his already special elusiveness would have the added benefit of speed… could be a special returner and catch and run WR. UPDATE: Davis went through OTAs with 49ers but something caused him to miss the mandatory minicamp in June and he was unceremoniously waived.
WR Jordan Taylor, Rice  (6043, 209)
Let’s face it: Rice gets no love. Taylor is also a lanky guy who doesn’t really look the part and who tests as an only okay athlete for the NFL. He does, however, have a knack for coming down with the football in contested situations– that’s his one dominant skill that gives him a good chance to succeed as an NFL role player, at minimum. Made play after play for the Owls. UPDATE: Denver UDFA made practice squad.
WR R.J. Harris, New Hampshire  (5117, 191)
Not spectacular but does everything well and had tremendous success at his LOC. 100 catches, 1551 yds, 15 TDs. He also was nearly unstoppable vs Toledo, with 9 catches for 141 and a TD. High floor/hard worker, which is a good combination for an FCS player. UPDATE: Practice squad for New Orleans.
WR Dezmin Lewis, Central Arkansas UPDATE: Practice squad for Buffalo.
WR (slot)
WR Deandre Carter, Sacramento State  (5084,  185)
Super quick WR and KR type… stole the show at NFLPA Game practices… was all anyone there wanted to talk about. 1.45 10 yd split, 3.80 shuttle, 6.64 3 cone… I’ve been at this for a while and I can’t remember anyone whose combined times for those three metrics was better. Closest I can think of is former Harvard RB Trevor Scales (out of football and working at ESPN) who put up 1.44. 4.06, 6.71 in 2013… and he was a ridiculous outlier. On top of the quicks, Carter can actually run routes and catch the football– had a game for the ages vs Southern Utah, with 16 catches for 273 yards and 4 TDs. UPDATE: Was having a sensational camp for Ravens, called “a young Randall Cobb by Steve Smith, had three fumbles on returns, got cut.
WR Damarr Altmann, Maine UPDATE: last cuts by Miami.
WR/KR Kaelin Clay, Utah UPDATE: TB practice squad.
WR Rannell Hall, Central Florida UPDATE: TB practice squad.
8068853HBack/TE Will Tye, Stony Brook  
(6026, 256)
Ok, so this is in my top 5 or 6 most enjoyable prospect tape ever. Not only is he a talented receiver and good blocker from the HBack position, he is a 256lb punt returner. Has to be seen to be believed.  He runs 4.49 at 6’3, 256 and catches everything. UPDATE: Giants practice squad.
TE James O’Shaughnessy, Illinois State  (6042, 248)
Illinois State was loaded last year, and it showed in their postseason run where they came within seconds of knocking of perennial champion NDSU. O’Shaughnessy made some terrific plays in that game, including a STs tackle that featured his full speed 45 yard run and head-first collision with the Kickoff returner.  Let’s just say he’s not a prima donna glorified WR. UPDATE: Stud. 5th Rd pick made KC 53 as #2 TE behind Kelce.
TE Busta Anderson, South Carolina  (6045, 244)
A terrific blocker who also does everything move TEs do… good speed up the field and can go up an get it. UPDATE: Mysterious IR hours after he caught the winning TD in preseason game.

TE/WR Neal Sterling, Monmouth  (6033, 238) A giant WR who played in a running offense.  Dedicated blocker already and the team’s go-to receiver. UPDATE: Jags practice squad.

dt.common.streams.StreamServerTE Jean Sifrin, Massachusetts  (6052, 245)
Amazing story: in and out of football to make ends meet and support his family. Basically got one final chance with UMass, had to pay his own way through summer classes, wasn’t cleared by the NCAA until the day before the Minutemen played their second game of the season– never even practiced with the team before that– and then caught 4 balls for 40 yards, and 2 TDs, one of which was possibly the college football play of the year– a leaping, one-handed grab between two defenders that announced his arrival on the NFL radar. His age (27) will hurt his stock but his floor is basically early-career Larry Donnell and his upside current Larry Donnell. UPDATE: UDFA waived by Colts in minicamp. Sad story.
H-Back MyCole Pruitt, Southern Illinois UPDATE: 5th Rd pick made Minnesota 53.
TE/WR Darren Waller, Georgia Tech UPDATE: 6th Rd pick made Ravens’ 53.
TE Brian Parker, Albany UPDATE: UDFA made KC 53.
TE Gerald Christian, Louisville  UPDATE: Season long IR with Cards.


AR-140839967RB David Johnson, Northern Iowa  (6005, 224)
Le’veon Bell clone. He shares Bell’s versatility, lanky build, and skill at sifting through traffic.  He can split out wide and run WR routes, or make a short yardage power run. He may not have Bell’s ceiling as an All-Pro but he fits the NFL game to a T. UPDATE: Stud. Preseason debut was awesome. Made Cards 53, may start.
RB Zach Zenner, South Dakota State  (5114, 223)

FCS RB this year was crazy stacked. At least 4 will likely be drafted and at least two juniors were draftable prospects worth getting excited about. Zenner is a white guy skill player, which I think is why he got tagged with the dreaded FB label. He is nothing of the sort, as his performances vs. Nebraska & Missouri demonstrated. In both those games, defenders routinely misjudged Zenner’s speed and took bad angles. That tells me he has more game speed than you’d think by looking at him on paper or even sizing him up on the field. UPDATE: Stud. UDFA made Detroit roster as RB/KR.

RB Dominique Brown, Louisville  (6017, 234)
Don’t presume to know exactly what went on between him and his coaches on college but he contributed heavily when Louisville had a great QB, then was slowly phased out last year after landing in the coaches’ doghouse. All I know is, the player on tape in 2013 and the one who played like his hair was on fire in the East-West Shrine Game is an NFL back who can run WR routes and pass protect, so he’s going to have a role on 3rd downs at a minimum. UPDATE: Cut by TB and PIT.
RB Dreamius Smith, West Virginia  (5015, 223)
Underutilized as part of a rotation, he has size to win in short yardage and open-field speed (4.48 40yd), and change of direction agility (4.05 SS, 6.90 3c) to be far more than a big plodder. He also can contribute on third downs– good pass protector with blitz pickup recognition skills and the agility to get to DBs/LB on the opposite side of the field. UPDATE: Good camp for SD, practice squad.
RB Terrell Watson, Azusa  UPDATE: UDFA made Cincy Practice Squad.
RB John Crockett, North Dakota State 
UPDATE: Green Bay practice squad.
RB Brandon Wegher, Morningside UPDATE: UDFA made Miami’s 53.
B2B Directional State… serving up the underserved but deserving since 2005.
about the author:
B2B is the alter ego of Wil Masisak, host of the SteelerFury podcast. You can contact him at