Thursday, April 28, 2016
Irish dreads are smiling
6 of the 17 hopefuls on hand for Notre Dame's pro day on Mar. 31 have dreads; and of the six there are three who definitely will be drafted and another two with an outside chance of hearing their names called before the draft wraps up on Saturday.
For a while - actually for most of the 2015 season - it seemed likely that two of them would be no doubt 1st round picks. But now it's very possible that one and maybe both of them will have to wait until Day 2 of the draft on Friday night.
Just like that his spot in the draft turned into a giant question mark. True that the St. Louis Rams were rewarded when they took injured RB Todd Gurley in the 1st round of the draft last year. But they knew he was going to recover in time to play most of the season. That's not the case with Smith. What team is going to use their top pick on someone who's not going to play until 2017 at the earliest? Well, the writer of an article for the Chiefs blog Arrowhead Pride (first link below) thinks the Chiefs should be that team (I would love that). The article shows how talented he was before he got hurt and the great player he'll be once he gets healthy again. But then comes the sobering news from the other two articles (second and third links below) - from NFL.com and USA Today - that the nerve damage in his knee is what is slowing his recovery, and it's uncertain when the nerve will get back to normal. The NFL.com piece includes a video that shows how he got injured. The USA Today article goes into more detail of where he's at currently in the recovery process.
Any team picking Smith in round 1 would be in effect trading their 1st round pick this year for a top of the 1st round pick next year. It's a trade most teams aren't willing to make. They want to improve their teams now. Maybe there's a team that can afford to be patient that will come to Jaylon's rescue. But I have a feeling this injury is going to cause him to drop to the 2nd round and end up costing him millions of dollars.
In order to play for his hometown team Fuller would have to be drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. But I hear they have other plans. Hopefully Will will get picked late in round 1, making one of the better teams in the league even better.
I'm going to include Day in the "certain to be drafted" category of players I'm predicting to be selected in the first three rounds. Hopefully not but he might have to wait until first thing on Saturday.
4 of the 6 lists I checked have Brown not even being drafted; but one of them says he could get drafted as early as the 4th round. Let's just hope that the article (above) is right and that Chris truly is an ascending player. Because whether or not he's drafted, he's going to have to play better on Sundays than he did on Saturdays if he intends to play football for a living.
Last year there was a bumper crop of players with dreads in the draft - a record 9 picked in the 1st round and a record 38 picked in all. This year? Well, I'll be happy if 25 get picked. That's the sad truth. And that's not all. About a half dozen of the players with dreads I expect to get drafted just started growing their dreads in the last year or two; so they're going to have to stick around for quite a while before we'll be able to see their dreads when they're on the field.
CERTAIN TO BE DRAFTED
These players with dreads should know by Friday night which teams they'll be playing for after they're picked in the first 3 rounds of the draft.
WR Will Fuller - Notre Dame
RB Derrick Henry - Alabama
DE Shilique Calhoun - Michigan State
DT Sheldon Day - Notre Dame
DT Robert Nkemdiche - Mississippi
LB Jaylon Smith - Notre Dame
CB Vernon Hargreaves (photo on right) - Florida
There were more than twice as many players in this category last year than this; and 14 of the 16 were picked in the first 3 rounds. I was wrong on T.J. Clemmings (4th round) and Jay Ajayi (5th round).
Despite not having his college career go the way he had hoped, it didn't take long for him to reappear loud and clear on the radar of NFL teams - 4.31 seconds, to be exact. That's how long it took him to run the 40-yard dash at the Combine on Feb. 26. That time, since it turned out to be faster than anyone else at the Combine this year, earned him a check for a cool $50,000, courtesy of adidas. And it may have earned him even bigger paydays in the future, because displaying that kind of speed indicates he's back to full health and ready to again be the same outstanding player he was when he was a freshman. If you like, here are links to two articles on Marshall - one from Fox Sports South and the second from Bulldawg Illustrated.
Last year it was another Georgia player with dreads, Chris Conley, that saw his draft stock soar after a better-than-expected performance at the Combine. Let's see if the same happens with Marshall. Being a finance major, he won't even need an agent to negotiate his contact.
SMALL SCHOOL STUD
Last year's small school stud turned out to be a dud. Tory Slater wasn't drafted and didn't make anybody's team (not even the practice squad). But I'm going to take the experts' word for it that Judon really is a stud and will be on the field on Sundays this year.
Robert Alford has shown you can make it to the NFL from Southeastern Louisiana. Hopefully Miller will follow in his footsteps. Heck, I wouldn't mind it at all if he ended up as Alford's teammate in the Falcons' secondary.
There aren't many times you see brothers facing off against each other in the NFL. Wouldn't it be something if there was a game this season where Avery's assignment was to block Willie? Or better yet, I like Draftsite.com's prediction of Avery being drafted by the Bears in round 4. That way the two would be teammates instead.
LIKELY TO BE DRAFTED
I'm hoping and expecting all of these players with dreads to hear their names called this weekend and be spared the disappointment of not being drafted.
OT Fahn Cooper - Mississippi
OT Avery Young - Auburn
G Sebastian Tretola - Arkansas
WR Kolby Listenbee - TCU
WR De'Runnya Wilson - Mississippi State
RB Alex Collins - Arkansas
RB Keith Marshall - Georgia
RB Paul Perkins - UCLA
DE Matt Judon - Grand Valley State
DT Willie Henry - Michigan
LB De'Vondre Campbell - Minnesota
LB Josh Forrest - Kentucky
LB Terrance Smith (photo on right) - Florida State
CB Maurice Canady - Virginia
CB Harlan Miller - Southeastern Louisiana
Of the 16 players I had in this category last year two cut off their dreads before the start of the season (Steven Nelson, Rakeem Nunez-Roches); and 3 of the remaining 14 went undrafted, although the three - Terrence Magee, Xavier Williams, and Anthony Harris - all played during the regular season.
BIG BROTHER MOUHON
I'm going to go out on a limb and say there has never been anybody with the first name of Silverberry drafted by any NFL team. And it's 50-50 as to whether there will be one this year. Mouhon is squarely on the bubble. If just one team thinks what he does well can help their defense, he'll get drafted. If not, no doubt he'll get several offers to sign as a free agent and be able to pick which team he'll play for.
Obviously Jacobi's confidence grew as he started having more and more success, and he became an outstanding player. Heck, if the coaches had made the change a little earlier, he might have contended for the Walter Payton award. Although I'm thrilled about it, no way did I see this coming. You could have won a lot of money from me if a year ago you had bet me that today we'd be talking about him as a possible NFL draft choice. I'd give him only about a 25% chance of actually being selected, but that might be a good thing. Because if he's a free agent, he'll be able to sign where he thinks he has the best chance of making the team. I couldn't find any photos of Richmond's pro day (the photo above is of the TD Green scored in the NFL Collegiate Bowl all-star game on Jan. 23); but you can see of a couple of shots of him in the 3-minute video featuring all of the prospects at UR pro day. That's on the second link below, just under an article on Green from the N.Y. Giants' Big Blue View blog. The third link is to the same video included in the article if you want to see the video in full screen mode.
You get the feeling that Green really does not want to ever cut his dreads off. No matter how many times they got grabbed, he just came back for more. But I don't see how dreads that long are going to survive on Sundays on a RB as small as he is. Hopefully we're going to find out though. Even if he keeps them reduced, which he started doing more often last year - these still are dreads I'd really, really love to be watching in the NFL this fall.
MAYBE THEY'LL BE DRAFTED
Maybe these players with dreads will or maybe they won't hear their names called before the draft comes to an end.
The players that I believe have a legitimate chance of being drafted will be listed at the edge of the page, like this.
The players I believe have very little or no chance of being selected will be indented 10 spaces from
the edge, like this.
Whether they're drafted or not, all figure to be in somebody's rookie minicamp the next weekend after the draft. (FYI: I didn't spend a lot of time compiling this list. So I might have excluded some players that deserve to be mentioned. I apologize for any such omissions.)
OT Adrian Bellard - Texas State
OT Taylor Fallin - Memphis
OT Jordan Gray - UTSA
OT Mike McQueen - Ohio
G Donovan Clark - Michigan State
G Justin Malone - Mississippi State
G Marquis Lucas - West Virginia
G/C Justin Bell (top photo on right) - Mississippi
TE Temarrick Hemingway - South Carolina State
TE Hakeem Valles - Monmouth
WR Chris Brown - Notre Dame
WR Gary Chambers - Arizona State
WR Christian Collis - MTSU
WR Pig Howard - Tennessee
WR Macgarrett Kings - Michigan State
WR Marcus Johnson - Texas
WR Darius Joseph - SMU
WR J.D. McKissic (bottom photo on right) - Arkansas State
WR Chris Moore - Cincinnati
WR Von Pearson - Tennessee
WR DeAndre Reaves - Marshall
RB Willie Davis - Tennessee Tech
RB Trayion Durham - Kent State
RB Jacobi Green - Richmond
RB Travis Greene - Bowling Green
RB Russell Hansbrough - Missouri
RB Daryl Virgies - Virginia (Lynchburg)
DE Fadol Brown - Mississippi
DE Quinton Bradley - Idaho
DE Vontarrius Dora - Louisiana Tech
DE Lenny Jones - Nevada
DE Silverberry Mouhon - Cincinnati
DE Ishaq Williams - Notre Dame
DT Brandin Bryant - FAU
DT Cory Johnson - Kentucky
DT Darren Lake - Alabama
DT Johnny Maxey - Mars Hill
DT Darryl Render - Pittsburgh
LB Quentin Gause - Rutgers
LB Emmanuel Graves - Colorado Mines
LB Clarence Green - Missouri
LB Cory Littleton - Washington
LB Lamar Louis - LSU
LB Curt Maggitt - Tennessee
LB Tyriq McCord - Miami (Florida)
LB Gervell Morgan - Central State
CB Jordan Champion - North Dakota State
CB Ahmad Christian - Utah
CB De'Vante Harris - Texas A&M
CB Deneco Hathorn - Concordia (AL)
CB Lewis Hill - New Mexico State
CB Deangelo James - Wagner
CB Cre'von LeBlanc - FAU
CB Danzel McDaniel - Kansas State
CB Demetrious Nicholson - West Virginia
CB Leviticus Payne - Cincinnati
CB Lafayette Pitts - Pittsburgh
CB Margo Reed - South Alabama
S D.J. Cameron - Southern Illinois
S Terrick Colston - Delaware State
S Dallas Crawford - Miami (Florida)
S Paul Dodson - Lincoln (MO)
S Trae Elston - Mississippi
S Matthias Farley - Notre Dame
S Taj Letman - Marshall
S Brian Randolph - Tennessee
S Sam Smiley - North Carolina
S Trevon Stewart - Houston
S Jarrod Wilson - Michigan
One of the 50 players I had in this category last year cut off his dreads. 9 were drafted, with Terry Poole (for some reason) being picked the earliest, in round 4. 5 others that were not drafted were on NFL rosters last season.
There are a few players that could be drafted that may be starting to grow dreads. I' haven't welcomed them to the house yet, but I might after I get a closer look. They are CB Anthony Brown (Purdue), CB Kendall Fuller (Virginia Tech), and DT Vincent Valentine (Nebraska). I'll also be keeping an eye on CB Zack Sanchez (Oklahoma), who cut his dreads off for last season but has been letting his hair grow back long ever since.
I'd prefer to post my draft preview a few days before the draft to give you some time to digest it a bit. I'm sorry to throw it at you at the last minute like this. I really rushed to get this done, so I hope there aren't too many errors. Next up are my final 2 NFL reports for 2015, which are a very long way from being finished at this time.