Yea, alright...we've heard it all already. If you've been following the draft faithfully, you are up to your ears by now with information. Most of the discussion on the talk shows, draft specials and online chats is about the same ole same ole: Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett, Mike Pouncey, Marcell Dareus, Patrick Peterson and so on.
Sure, all those players, among others, have earned the attention and they will be among the top draft picks. But, it would be nice to hear more about the guys who are not in the spotlight.The NFL is full of players who were barely spoken of before entering the draft.
Haven't you ever watched an NFL game on TV and heard the announcer call out the name of a player, and you asked yourself, "Who is that?" Look over the current rosters and I guarantee you will find players you never knew existed.
This year, as always, there will be players drafted very late or signed off the streets who will go on to make NFL rosters. They may start out on the practice squad or on special teams, but they will be there waiting for their chance.
Here is a brief list of ten players who are not well known by the general public but who might just make it in the league if given the opportunity.
1. Chris Prosinski - FS - Wyoming (6'0", 201 lbs, 4.42)
Prosinski is a rising draft prospect who showed excellent athleticism at the Wyoming pro day. He has good straight-line speed and the range to get to the sideline. He is an intelligent and productive player who had 373 career tackles, fourth all-time at Wyoming.
Once a high school quarterback, Prosinski is a secure tackler, but not a big hitter. Look for Prosinski to be drafted in the late rounds. He will likely start out on a practice squad or special teams but has the skill set to see playing time on the field.
2. Kris Adams - WR - UTEP (6'4", 194 lbs, 4.44)
Adams hasn't been mentioned among the elite receiver prospects. However, he has very good potential as a deep threat and red zone target. He is a tall, lanky receiver who has impressive speed and leaping ability.
He had career stats of 143 receptions with 30 touchdowns. In 2010, he had an average of 22.8 yards per catch. Adams should add some weight room strength in order to defeat press coverage and also refine his route-running technique. He could be a late-round steal for a vertical passing team.
3. Chase Reynolds - HB - Montana (5'11", 195 lbs, 4.55)
Reynolds is not a big back, but plays bigger than his size. He is a blue-collar runner who is not afraid to lower his shoulder and hit the line of scrimmage. He is not shifty, but has a one-cut slashing style and a good stiff arm. He also has a nose for the end zone, setting a Montana record with 59 career touchdowns.
Reynolds is the second-leading rusher in Grizzlies history. He is also an excellent receiver out of the backfield and had a very good pro day workout in lousy weather. Reynolds is married to the current Mrs. Montana, Kila Reynolds, and they are raising two children together. He could fill a role similar to Danny Woodhead of the Patriots.
4. Jabara Williams - OLB - Stephen F. Austin (6'2", 220 lbs, 4.68)
Williams was the 2010 Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He totaled 402 career tackles in his career. He is an excellent athlete who played running back and linebacker as a freshman.
He excelled at his pro day and is a tough player with good speed and tackling ability. He is a bit small and will likely start out as a special teams prospect. With additional weight and strength, he could earn playing time as a 4-3 weakside linebacker.
5. Colin Cochart - South Dakota State (6'4", 255 lbs, 4.71)
Cochart is a prospect who is gaining ground on some draft boards. He has a good combination of size, strength and speed. Though he is not a real deep threat, he is fast enough to run routes over the top of linebackers in the seam.
He was an All-Missouri Conference selection in 2010, and he tested very well at the NFL combine. He catches the ball well in traffic, has fine route-running technique and has shown some leverage as a blocker. Not to mention, he has improved every year in college. Cochart is a late-round prospect with some upside.
6. Zack Eskridge - QB - Midwestern State (6'3", 226 lbs, 4.83)
Eskridge transferred from TCU after Andy Dalton was named the starting quarterback. In 2009 he was a Harlan Hill Trophy finalist, an award given to the best player in Division II football. He has all the tools to play pro football—arm strength, size, smarts and scrambling ability— but his skills need to be refined and tested against better competition.
His father was actually the first ever equipment manager for the Dallas Cowboys, under former coach Tom Landry. Eskridge will likely start out on a practice squad while he develops.
7.Soeren Wendland - OT - Liberty (6'7", 320 lbs, 5.42)
Wendland is a German-born player who formerly played for the Hamburg Blue Devils in the German Football League, before coming to the United States. He is a big, strong right tackle prospect who plays with a mean streak. He was named to the 2010 All-Big South team, and is a hardworking player who was voted a team captain.
He is strong at the point of attack and can ride the defender wide. He shows good lateral movement, but is a bit heavy-footed and may struggle somewhat with outside speed. He played well in the Senior Scout Bowl, which is an all-star game for FCS players. Wendland has prototypical right tackle size and should get a shot in training camp.
8. Matt Freed - SS - East Stroudsburg (5'11", 212 lbs, 4.73)
Freed was an outside linebacker in college, but will need to switch to safety because of his size. He was a three-time AP Division II All-American, and in 2010, he was the only defensive player nominated for the Harlan Hill Trophy.
He posted 120 tackles, 14 tackles-for-losses and 7.5 sacks as a senior. He ranks third in school history with 399 career tackles. Unfortunately, his mother passed away due to breast cancer in December. Freed is a mature player who works hard to maximize his potential. He is a candidate to make a roster, initially as a special teams player.
9. Matt Wenger - ILB - North Central (5'10", 233 lbs, 4.58)
Wenger is a small-school prospect who is getting some attention from pro scouts. He was named the Division III Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 by D3football.com. He was also named first-team Division III by the American Football Coaches Association.
He finished second in CCIW conference history with 418 career tackles. He is an intelligent player with good instincts on the field, and as a triple major in his studies, he has proven he can handle large workloads. Wenger is short for a linebacker prospect, but has a thick, muscular frame and should get a chance as a special teams player.
10. J.C. Sherritt - OLB - Eastern Washington (5'10", 220 lbs, 4.71)
Sherritt was a dominant player at the FCS level. He was named the 2010 Buck Buchanan Award winner, as the nation's best FCS defensive player. He is a tackling machine, setting a school record, and is second in Big Sky history with 432 career tackles.
He is undersized as a pro linebacker, but he is very instinctive, hits with authority and has a solid frame. He always seems to be around the ball. Sherritt recently signed a contract to play for the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL. However, don't be surprised to see him try out in an NFL training camp in a few years as a special teams ace or a weakside linebacker.
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