By Justis Mosqueda
Bruce Feldman used to have his annual “freak list” of athletic collegiate football players on CBSSports.com before his recent move to FOXSports.com. For 2014, he has an entire “freak week” in store for fans. While prospects can’t simply be scouted on measurements alone, it doesn’t hurt for them to test well at the Combine. Recently, players such as Bruce Irvin and Jamie Collins boasted their draft stock after performing well at the Combine, for example.
To attempt to digest the list, we broke down our thoughts on the 11 seniors in his Monday installment as NFL prospects.
Akeem Daniels, RB, Northern Illinois
An undersized running back at 5’7”, Daniels is still largely unproven. After missing what would have been his redshirt senior season with a foot injury, he’s back with the Huskies for a final shot at improving his prospects. Before ending the 2012 MAC season with two stellar games totaling 240 yards and five touchdowns, his time on the field was relatively quiet. At this point, he’s not on the draftable spectrum of the radar, but if he can produce at the level he did in the tail end of 2012 for an entire season, he’ll have a shot.
Jonathan Truman, LB, Kansas State
Truman was a first time starter in 2013 for the Wildcats, and seemingly transitioned well to the role. Unfortunately for him, he’s built more like an NFL safety than an NFL linebacker at this point in his career. Kansas State’s website lists him at 5’11” and 219 pound, which is around the same weight Telvin Smith was listed as coming out of the Combine, but four inches shorter. Smith had questions about moving to safety from linebacker during the 2014 draft process, too.
Maurice Falls, LB, East Carolina
Falls is an interesting addition to Feldman’s list, because like Daniels, he’s relatively unproven. With Derrell Johnson graduating out, he seems to be the shoe in to take over at weak-side linebacker for the Pirates. Numbers can only mean so much, and if you don’t see the field collegiality, it’s hard for a team to even think about drafting you. Falls needs a big final season for ECU if he’s hoping to continue to play football at the next level.
Jamil Douglas, OT/OG, Arizona State
Douglas is no new name to Pac-12 defensive linemen. Coming into 2014, he’ll be on a 27 start streak, but he’ll be playing a new position. After spending high school at tight end, he moved to guard at ASU, and will end his career at left tackle. As far as a prospect, he’s still looked at by many as a guard, including Rotoworld’s Josh Norris.
DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
Parker was a popular name in 2013, and some were surprised that he didn’t declare for the 2014 NFL Draft. At this point, it would seem that he’s the consensus top senior receiver in the 2015 class. This is what Optimum Scouting’s own Eric Galko had to say about Parker in this ACC Top 10:
“With a clear focus and premium put on his route development along with consistently finishing as a hands catcher, Parker plays with a consistent, composed style across the field, including in the middle of the field. ”
Chucky Hunter, DT, TCU
Starting the last 21 games, Hunter is heading into his senior season with large sample of work already. Leading up to the LSU game last year, here were our own Eric Galko’s thoughts on Chucky Hunter, “Although Hunter measures in at 6’1, he’s an agile and powerful 300+ pounder that wrecks havoc on the interior. Hunter flashes the ability to bull rush opponents or implement arm-over swim moves to disengage, but hand placement and leverage need to improve for him to be a consistent factor.”
Raheem Mostert, RB, Purdue
While Mostert plays running back and at one point was a receiver for Purdue, his shot in the NFL will be as a returner. Rarely are pure returners taken in the draft, unless you’re Devin Hester, but Mostert has put up sufficient numbers to be in the conversation if he produces at that level for another season.
Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
At this point in the draft process, Petty is the consensus top senior in the class. Some last year even thought that he might have been a first round pick had he declare, despite it being his first year as a starter at Baylor. Our Alex Brown had some thought on Bryce Petty during the 2013 season (s a prospect to keep an eye on as the season progresses.”
Alvin “Bud” Dupree, DE, Kentucky
Dupree didn’t need to stay another year in college, but returns as one of the best senior pass-rushers in the class. He’s a little light to play defensive end at the next level, but his athleticism is hard to miss. During the 2013 process, our Eric Galko had some thought about him at the next level: “Bud Dupree is a prime candidate to play the ‘LEO’ hybrid rush linebacker position at the NFL level, thanks to his plus speed, body control and lateral range off the edge. After playing outside linebacker a year ago and showcasing impressive athleticism in coverage, Dupree will have his hand in the dirt on most snaps. ”
Mike Orakpo, LB, Texas State
Brother of freak athlete, first round pick, and Pro Bowler Brian Orakpo, Mike Orakpo is trying to make a name for himself with scouts in his final season. After transferring from Colorado State, Orakpo became the captain of the Texas State team. While not a national name, he’s one to watch to see if he’ll drafted.
Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
Scherff is in everyone’s top ten seniors for the 2015 class. It’s no surprise that he’s getting looked at as an athletic freak. Our Ian Wharton makes a case for him when asked to cover the Big Ten: “The definition of a Big Ten offensive tackle, Scherff is a powerful, nasty road grader. His relentless power drives defenders far downfield and rarely misses the opportunity to seal edge blocks.”
Our Eric Galko is also a fan of the Iowa senior: “He plays with a mean streak, frequently finishing to the ground as a run blocker and using his strong, well-positioned hands to drive upfield. He does have a tendency to play a bit high in his kick slide, and can be beaten by lower, quicker edge players. His lack of great length and struggles on the edge will limit him, but he can provide instant run blocking strength to a team in need, and can be sufficient (if not more with additional time) as a quick passing offense pass blocker. ”