This particular post will be about football players who were not highly recruited out of high school and attended a smaller college as a result. These players are usually undersized and hit a growth spurt in college or simply go unrecognized by scouts from the bigger colleges. They often dominate their competition at the lower level, which is a good indicator they will succeed at the next level. The most recent player that really stood out was Khalil Mack who played at the University of Buffalo. When UB played Ohio State he was undoubtedly the best player on both teams. Ohio State went on to have one of the most talented teams in recent years with many of those players also succeeding in the NFL. In this, I will try to pinpoint who the next great player from a small school could be.
Haason Reddick – Temple
Reddick played mostly defensive end in college, but due to his small size, NFL teams want him to play linebacker. At the Senior Bowl in Alabama, he played linebacker and made some big plays at that position. He also has the versatility to get to the quarterback as he showed in college when he amassed nearly 10 sacks last season. He also had 3 takeaways, that is a solid amount for any defensive lineman. Reddick is only 6’1″ 237 lbs. so his best position is at linebacker, but he could also play defensive end on passing downs if he continues to add size and strength. He has a knack for making plays in the backfield.
Gerald Everett – South Alabama
Another slightly undersized player from a small school, you can see the trend. Everett plays tight end but is more a pass catcher than a blocker. This particular draft class is known to be loaded at his position. Over the past two years at South Alabama, he amassed 12 touchdowns, 90 catches, and well over 1,000 yards. Those are some serious stats for a tight end in the Sun Belt conference. He did not back down from the competition when playing SEC teams and even caught a touchdown against Mississippi State.
Forrest Lamp – Western Kentucky
Forrest Lamp is a great offensive lineman who could play either tackle or guard. He is a very polished blocker and would be an asset to any NFL team. You simply cannot have enough lineman or cornerbacks in the NFL these days. There are 5 offensive line starters, that is more than any other position. Forrest Lamp is a mauler and he proved he could do just that against higher level competition at the Senior Bowl. He should certainly be a first round pick in a draft that is weak on the offensive line.
The Scouting Combine took place last week in Indianapolis. Here players are tested on their athleticism, football IQ, and mental state. This allows the NFL teams to get an in-depth look at the men they are investing draft picks on. Most championship caliber teams are built through the draft rather than free agency. It is imperative for teams to land solid draft choices when it comes to team building. Here are some of the players that really helped their draft stock at last week’s NFL Scouting Combine.
The wide receiver from the University of Washington was the star of the Combine by setting the new record for the 40-yard dash. He ran a 4.22 40 yard dash that is the fastest ever recorded on lasers at the Combine. The record previously set by Chris Johnson stood for nearly a decade before Ross came along. His blazing speed will be a problem for cornerbacks. Don’t think he is only speed, Ross is a polished route runner with good hands. He only ran the 40 yard dash and managed to boost his draft stock.
The safety from UConn showed his freakish athleticism in his jumps. His vertical jump was 44″ high and he posted a broad jump of 11′ 9″. Obi’s jump numbers almost defy gravity and were the best at this year’s Scouting Combine. Not to mention he ran a 4.4 40 yard dash at 6’4″ and 224 pounds. His size, speed, and power could allow him to be a big physical hitter in the NFL.
He scored on offense, defense, and special teams while at Southern Cal. He is expected to play defensive back and special teams returner in the NFL. Jackson is a smooth athlete that I could easily see playing wide receiver as well at a high level in the NFL. He ran a 4.42 40 yard dash and broad jumped 122″. What impressed evaluators the most was his movement ability. He has a good backpedal and quick twitch ability to change directions with ease. Adoree’ Jackson has the rare ability to score a touchdown from wherever he is on the field.
We couldn’t be talking about the stars without including the consensus best player in the draft Myles Garrett from Texas A&M. The defensive end ran a 4.64 40 yard dash while weighing 272 pounds. His 33 reps on the bench press were among the best of any player at the Scouting Combine. He jumped 41″ for the vertical jump and 128″ for the broad jump. These numbers would be impressive for a running back or linebacker, but they are jaw dropping for a defensive lineman.
The NFL Scouting Combine officially kicked off this week from February 28th through March 6th. Indianapolis is the home of the Scouting Combine. This is where over 300 of the best college prospects show off their athleticism and speed in front on all the NFL teams. These are the drills that they will be tested on this week at the NFL Scouting Combine: 40-yard dash, 225-pound max bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, 3 cone drill, and shuttle run. The 40-yard dash is the most anticipated and hyped up drill of all the tests.
Players can significantly help or hurt their draft stock depending on how they test in the drills at the Combine. This week football players will make or break their dreams of getting drafted into the National Football League. Not only are players tested on the field, but in the classroom as well. The best prospects are drilled by NFL coaching staffs on their football IQ, psychological wellbeing, and overall knowledge. Teams invest a lot of time, money, and assets into these players. The teams want to make sure that their top draft selections don’t flame out of the league after one or two seasons. This can very really set a franchise in the wrong direction. Most all general managers in the NFL will agree that it is imperative to build through the draft. Building through the draft is more economical and will create depth at multiple positions on the field.
There are few mysteries that we have learned since the Combine kicked off on Tuesday. Every player at the combine is measured and weighed in. Sometimes players will exaggerate their measurables on the team’s website. The Scouting Combine certainly clears up any questions about a player’s measurables. Mitch Trubisky the quarterback from UNC was thought to be shorter than listed, but he came in at 6’2″. This was good news for teams because he is regarded as one of the top QBs in the draft. Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine had the best bench press among running backs with 30 reps. His size and strength will be a problem for defenses at the next level. To nobody’s surprise, the 49ers admitted to having a need at quarterback and were impressed by Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer. He was inconsistent at Notre Dame, but nobody is denying his arm strength. Christian McCaffrey feels disrespected that he has been left out of the conversation as one of the top running backs. Look for him to be extra competitive this week at the Combine.