15

April

Bridesmaids of the NFL Draft: Late Round or UDFA Prospects to Keep an Eye On

NFL Draft Logo ImageFrom the end of the NFL season and through the draft we see the big name prospects dominating coverage.  Getting those top picks right or wrong impact teams for years.

Everyone wants the next Clay Matthews or the next Aaron Rodgers. Fans want to see that kind of player fall into place.

To be honest, by the time the draft comes around I have had enough of   those players.

You can only guess so many times where those top 20 or so players are going to go and it just gets boring.  So I am going to peek at the bottom of the draft instead.

When you review the rosters top to bottom in the NFL, starters, backups, practice squads there are hundreds of undrafted players. Last year 61 new undrafted players made NFL rosters.

Every year teams sign ten to fifteen UDFA’s in feeding frenzy that takes place the minute the draft ends to try get the best of the rest.

The Packers at this time have twenty seven UDFA’s on their roster, with eight of them starting games last year.

I admit I’m a big fan of the late round pick and UDFA’s.  If you are lucky enough to get to a practice, Packer family night or a pre season game it might be the only time you get to see some these players.

Some you see are not going to make it at all. Others you see how bad they want it. And some you wonder why that player was not drafted.

You don’t know who that next Donald Driver or Tramon Williams is going to be. Ted Thompson has four picks in the 7th round this year. That gives him a leg up on signing the best of the late rounder’s and UDFA’s.

For all the draft prospects I look for there are a few simple rules that I go by.  I like seniors more then prospects coming out early. I like prospects with a minimum of 2 years starting experience and stats that show continued improvement in production. And last do they have the god given physical talents to compete at the NFL level.

Taking into account the defensive performance this last year…

I’ll start with a few prospects for the defensive side of the ball:

We will start with a OLB prospect from San Diego State, Miles Burris is 6-2 and 246lbs. ran a 4.67 40, 37.5” vertical,  10’ 1” long jump and 31 reps @225lbs. but what impressive was a 6.80 range 3 cone drill. That is DB agility.   Was not asked to drop into coverage much at all, that is what he is lacking right now. Burris has the speed and agility to be able to he just does not have the experience. He does play well against the run and has pass rush skills.  He could also be used as 3-4 ILB.

Here is some video of him from 2010.

 

Next we look at 3-4 DE Markus Kuhn. Kuhn played atNorth CarolinaState. He is 6-5 299lbs. He posted a 4.89 40 time, 28 reps @ 225lbs., 9’ 4” long jump, 34.5” vertical and 4.41 short shuttle and 7.43 3 cone drill at the NFL combine.

Markus is from Germany, started into football later then most of his peers. But he has good feet, strength and quickness. A late round prospect that can develop with NFL coaching.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-combine/09000d5d827cba66/2012-Combine-workout-Markus-Kuhn

 

Desmon Marrow CB Toledo.  A big corner at 6-2 210lbs..  IMO his best position is Free Safety in the NFL. Ran a 4.49 40 time, 35.5” vertical, 10’4” long jump, 19 reps @225lbs., 4.44 short shuttle and 7.02 3 cone drill.

The way Dom Capers uses his Safeties I like prospects that played CB in college.  One of the big advantages of the zone blitz defense is being able to disguise the safeties. If both can cover and play the run not knowing which safety is going to do what confuses any pre snap reads for the QB.

Toledo highlights, you can see some nice plays from lbs.3 Murrow.

 

From the majority of fan opinions the Packers should not draft an offensive player in this draft; I hate to say it but, yes…

they are going to draft and sign some players on offense.

This first prospect was injured at the combine tearing a pectoral muscle during the bench press. So he would be a practice squad or an I.R. stash for this season.

Markus Zusevics OT Iowa, 6-5 303lbs. as with all Iowa Offensive linemen he is well coached.  Can play RT or Guard, hard nosed, hard working. Honorable mention all Big Ten linemen. Started all 26 games is Jr. and Sr. Season at RT.

 

Case Keenum QB, Houston. 6-1 208lbs..  A touch small for a NFL QB. But he can throw the football and is a very good athlete. Keenum has an above average arm, throws well on the move.  He is a winner more than anything and holds the NCAA records for total offense, passing yards, touch downs and completions.

 

Last for this piece but not least. This prospect is my kind of Small school prospect, a Div III WR. A Wisconsin native that played his football for Beloit College in Wisconsin.

Carrier was lucky enough to get a chance to work out at the Wisconsin Pro day. He is 6-4 238lbs. he ran a 4.50 40, posted a 38” vertical, 10’ 2” long jump but what is really impressive is a 4.09 short shuttle and a 6.70 3 cone drill. That kind of agility in 6-4 238lbs. WR is a threat to any DB and would make most linebackers seem slow of foot.

I don’t know if you put more weight on him and make him more of a classic TE or put him all over the field and let him run routes.  His agility numbers are amazing. It just makes me wonder what NFL-Level coaching could do with a prospect like Carrier.

So, when you put on that first round pick jersey look at the player next to him. It just might be that never heard of NFL Draft Brides maid.

Note: A big thank you for this article to our friend Yoop, who hangs out at TalkinPackers, one of the best Packers forums out there.

 

26 Responses to “Bridesmaids of the NFL Draft: Late Round or UDFA Prospects to Keep an Eye On”

  1. Ron LC says:

    Hey Don, thanks for digging deep and giving us some looks at players we haven’t seen or heard alot about. I think all seniors for the Triple Crown III National Champs, Wisconsin Whitewater, deserve some scout time.

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  2. My pleasure to enlighten the masses lol.
    I follow the draft year around.
    I think it is shame that so much of the coverage for the draft and in the NFL is on the stars and higher ranked players.
    Some of these players end up a star, but take a different path to get there.
    I will always pull for a Wes Welker over a Randy Moss.

    Since we are nearing the draft, I will have some more info, Maybe a list of players to check out at the different positions.

    Any suggestions?

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    • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

      i like keenum as a late round guy as well. the knock on him is arm strength, but TT has done really well with accurate, smart QBs and then improving their arm strength. i think he would be a great fit as a late round project.

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  3. PackersRS says:

    Knowing about the first round prospects is dificult as it is, scounting the “bottom” guys is an yeoman’s work. Thanks for the insight Don.

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  4. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    Great article. I am sure some of these guys (especially Burris) may move up a few rounds, but it would be awesome if GB could score them.

    In Carrier’s case I hope he would go to a team that had an actual plan on how to use him. He can make a roster with athleticism on special teams, but he seems like someone who would have a higher ceiling if given a real chance.

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    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      Burris is not a secret anymore. Was talking to someone at NFL Scouting and Burris was a name given to me as someone to look out for…

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      • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

        i agree. i asked you about him a month or so ago al. at first he was rated as a 6th or 7th round guy. but i am thinking he will be a late 3rd or early 4th round guy. his athleticism was in question but he answered those questions at his pro day. his agility numbers match what you see on the tape.

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        • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

          also, i know that video of burris is a highlight video. but it is the most impressive highlight video of any defensive prospect i have seen this year by far.

          finally al, bruce irvin lasted until the 5th round in the latest drafttek mock, what is up with that? you had to have him ranked above some of those other guys right?

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          • Don "Yoop" Christensen Yoop says:

            I have been seeing that with Irvin, he is a one trick pony, he can rush that passer and it will take time to develop him into a OLB.
            The other thing is he was arrested a few weeks.

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            • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

              one trick that is really good. I agree that he is not complete. he lacks awareness in the run game and he has some weaknesses. but no one has a first step that is close to irvin’s or the speed that is in irvin’s class in this group of OLBs. i still think he is a second round pick.

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          • Don "Yoop" Christensen Yoop says:

            I say draft him as early as one of the comp 4th’s.
            For sure anyone of the 7th’s.

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  5. pat M says:

    Wonderful article. With the extra picks in 7th round, if these guys are available they might be right for Practice Squad and development. A DE, CB, RT and WR with speed and size might feed the Pack for several years.

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  6. Oppy says:

    Adrian Hamilton, Prairie View A&M
    6’3″, 250lbs

    Sacks, 20.5
    TFL, 26.5
    FF, 6

    …. and, yeah, that’s just for the 2011 season.

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    • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

      he is VERY stiff. he has a bit of a nasty streak to him, but he looks like he has had every vertebrae in his back fused. if he saw a quarter on the sidewalk it looks like he would have to drop to one knee to pick it up. stats are impressive, but it was at prairie view a&m. he is a UDFA i think.

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      • Oppy says:

        I’m guessing Packers take him in the 6th round.

        fits TT’s style- small school, big production, make people say “Who the hell is that?”

        He’s definitely a project, but that just makes him fit TT’s late round style even more.

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      • Oppy says:

        I agree he plays too upright too often. However, he does show the ability to drop his shoulder and bend the corner, and he has excellent feet- It may not show up in his cone drill, but on the field he makes plays a lot of guys his size wouldn’t with his feet.

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  7. BubbaOne says:

    Thanks Don, I appreciate you informing us about the bottom 150 since there’s alot of info re the top 100. I had all of these guys on my radar except for Zusevics.

    Do you have any info on Broderick Binns from Iowa? I don’t think he was even at their pro day?
    Did you consider G.J. Kinne from Tulsa when choosing Keenum?

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    • Yoop says:

      Hey Look out with that nic name I have some rights to part of that one. My youngest sister could not say Brother and it came out Bubber. I ended up with quite a few variations of Bub after that.

      There is just so much information out there it is easy to find. But I do like digging.

      From what I can find about Binns he was not at the combine but did work out at Iowa’s Pro day.
      Another Prospect like Hamilton, would have to move to a standing up ILB in the 3-4.
      He is 6.0 258# I don’ think he has the quicks and agility to play OLB in the NFL.
      He ran a 4.81 40 time, 1.67 ten yard, 4.50 shirt shuttle and 7.06 3 cone drill.
      That 3 cone number is good.
      With how some teams look into players personal life a DUI is bad thing from 2010.

      G.J. Kinne I like him, another one of those finds under player of the years honors.
      Interesting size at 6-1 238#, He is a pretty good athlete to go with it. With that size if does not make it as a QB you can turn him into a FB.
      He has a good completion %, 28 td’s to 12 int’s.
      A pretty good yards per completion at 7.9.
      And can move pretty well. Good arm, not great.
      Nice quick release of the ball.

      I think someone will have him into camp.

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      • BubbaOne says:

        One draft site thinks Binns can play OLB, which is why I was interested in him as a late round/UDFA find. He seems to be a playmaker. May also be a good ST’er.

        Kinne is also a coach’s son and at 6011 he’s an inch taller than Drew Brees. W/ all the attributes you mentioned he’s a good candidate for MM to coach up. I couldn’t find his hand size. Packers like their QB’s to have size 10 or better. Which is why I don’t like Keenum…9 1/8 hands.

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  8. Yoop says:

    Production is where it’s at. Believe it or not I have read about Adrian Hamilton. He has good Linebacker size at 6’2.5″@ 250#
    I found him in looking for prospects that were Defensive Players of the Year in different conferences.
    He has the things you look for, he worked his way up the latter to play. Did what he had too.
    You can see some quickness, with average change of direction. He is stiff in his movements.
    He reads plays well. And does not give up on a play, has a good motor.
    On the move to the NFL I think would have to move inside and play ILB in the 3-4.
    When you look at his testing numbers he is very much like Bishop at 6-2 239# coming out.
    4.80 40 for Hamilton, 1.67 ten yard time.
    Bishop 4.81 40, 1.59 ten yard time.
    4.50 short shuttle for Hamilton with a 7.06 3 cone drill.
    4.65 short shuttle for Bishop and 7.14 3 cone drill.

    It took Bishop a few years to get on the field, Hamilton has the things you need to get your chance.

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  9. BubbaOne says:

    Hamilton’s #’s are comparable to Frank Zombo’s 4.75 40 and 7.07 3 cone drill. Z did have a better short shuttle, 4.34.

    I also wonder how much better Hamilton, Broderick Binns et al could get when focusing on playing in a 2 point stance.

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  10. lmills says:

    Wow does Burris have amazing closing speed. Wouldn’t mind a late round pick to try to get him instead of the UDFA circus.

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  11. Pete Kliman says:

    Thanks Don,very interesting prospects!

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  12. Oppy says:

    Bubba/Yoop,

    The thing with Hamilton is, he’s just got a nose for the QB and making the play. His tenacity is top notch, and he’s a guy who just seems to play better than he measures. At the hike of the ball, it’s like a feeding frenzy.

    Again, he is a project, but I think the Packers swoop in on him during the 6th round.

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  13. Yoop says:

    That’s the bottom line for these players and how they are ranked by NFL teams.
    College performance is a good start, but the next part is how will they stack up against NFL players.
    College OLB’s that don’t match the size, speed, agility numbers needed end up playing ILB in the 3-4.
    Just like the college DE’s that end up 3-4 OLB’s.
    Most of those have the agility to play OLB but lack what is needed to play with there hand down in the NFL.
    Or have what they need to play DE but don’t have the agility to play 3-4 OLB.
    Same with quite a few college level offensive tackles that end up guards.

    If a team thinks a late rounder fits there system they will get a shot. But for most of those they really have to be able to play special teams. Another big adjustment for most.

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  14. [...] last week’s Bridesmaids piece we went over how the cream of the draft is talked about way too much and we peeked just a bit into [...]

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