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2013 NFL Draft: Players Who Will Have a Better NFL Career Than Many Drafted Higher Than Them (Part I, Offense)

charts below: this color scheme means result in about top third of draft class at position based on players in 900 Football Links' database

Quarterbacks:  

E.J. MANUEL, FLORIDA STATE, CAREER STATS
SEASON CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT
2012 263 387 3392 68.0 8.77 77 23 10 26 156.0
2011 203 311 2666 65.3 8.57 68 18 8 33 151.2
2010 65 93 861 69.9 9.26 53 4 4 4 153.3
2009 69 106 817 65.1 7.71 43 2 6 5 124.7

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MANUEL, E J

FLORIDA STATE

QB09

6'4.5"

237

35

10 3/8

  ---

1.63

2.60

4.62

4.21

  ---

7.08

34"

9'10"

This has been the toughest year I've had determining the potential NFL success for quarterbacks.  Unlike most years, where players jump out during the process, this has been a year where quarterbacks keep falling short during the process.  Manuel has been the exception, hence his spot on this list; and his place as my second-rated quarterback in the draft.  Manuel played very well during the Senior Bowl,  threw the ball well at the Combine, was a top performer across the board in terms of workout numbers, has the big hands many like for the quarterback position, was said to have had an impressive Pro Day, and has the college production to back-up all the positives I have witnessed throughout the process.  Even though he is my second-rated quarterback in the draft, Manuel is the player I would target at quarterback in the draft because the risk/reward and probability of success will be a better value proposition where he is selected in the draft as opposed to my top ranked quarterback, Geno Smith. 

  

MATT SCOTT, ARIZONA, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT
2012 301 499 3620 60.3 7.26 63 27 14 14 133.5
2010 66 93 776 71.0 8.34 41 4 2 8 150.9
2009 41 73 441 56.2 6.04 25 1 3 2 103.2
2008 7 11 84 63.6 7.64 26 1 0 1 157.8

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SCOTT, MATT

ARIZONA

QB12

6'2.1"

213

30 1/4

9

  ---

1.59

2.59

4.66

3.99

  ---

6.69

31"

9'10"

Scott got his chance to be the full time starter in 2012 and made the most of it.  He is a bit raw, but has the skill set desired in the new quarterbacks-who-can-pass-or-run offenses starting to catch on in the NFL these days.  Scott was invited to the East West Shrine Game, didn't play as much as many of the other quarterbacks, but made a favorable impression during his time in the game.  I have Scott ranked higher than most; but that is due in part because I feel more confident in his eventual success than many of the others.  I believe Scott's downside is less than many other quarterbacks in the draft and he has as much of a chance to succeed as any after my top three.

  

ZAC DYSERT, MIAMI-OH, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT
2012 302 480 3483 62.9 7.26 68 25 12 36 136.1
2011 295 448 3513 65.8 7.84 71 23 11 46 143.8
2010 222 343 2406 64.7 7.02 82 13 12 26 129.2
2009 247 401 2614 61.6 6.52 50 12 16 51 118.3

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DYSERT, ZAC

MIAMI-OH

QB04

6'3"

231

32 5/8

9 1/8

  ---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

There are a number of quarterbacks in this draft who are ranked differently depending upon the draft analyst.  Nassib, Glennon, Wilson, Jones and Bray (heretofore called "the wild bunch") are seen ranked in different combinations.  I have no idea why Dysert is not included in that group.  He is a good athlete, has the requisite size, was productive in college and looked as good as anyone not named Manuel at the Senior Bowl.  This is a  very "Lola"-like, "mixed up muddled up shook up" quarterback class and it would not surprise me one bit if Dysert grows into a better NFL quarterback than the majority of the "wild bunch."

  

ALEX CARDER, WESTERN MICHIGAN, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT
2012 145 248 1652 58.5 6.66 43 13 10 10 123.7
2011 330 502 3873 65.7 7.72 64 31 14 22 145.3
2010 289 458 3334 63.1 7.28 74 30 12 30 140.6
2009 5 7 27 71.4 3.86 6 0 0 0 103.8

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CARDER, ALEX WESTERN MICHIGAN

no invite

6'1.6" 220

---

---

---

1.77

2.82

4.92

4.32

---

7.18

33"

9'5"

If you want a late round sleeper, look at Alex Carder.  Yes, he is a bit shorter than you would like.  Yes, he didn't show his best stuff in an injury marred senior year (had a broken finger on his throwing hand).  Yes, like a number of quarterback prospects this year, he doesn't have a big arm.  However, I liked what I saw of him at the East West Shrine Game.   I also think his accuracy in the short and intermediate game, and his ability to read defenses make him an interesting prospect who could be a solid backup, and maybe more in the right system.

Running Backs:  

GIOVANI BERNARD, NORTH CAROLINA, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 184 1228 6.7 68 12 47 490 10.4 78 5
2011 239 1253 5.2 60 13 45 362 8.0 23 1
2010 MEDICAL REDSHIRT

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BERNARD, GIOVANI NORTH CAROLINA RB05 5'8.3" 202 28 9 3/4 19 1.53 2.55 4.50 4.12 11.41 6.91 33.5" 10'2"
While Eddie Lacy is the top running back on most draft analysts' boards, there is a difference of opinion regarding who is the second-rated running  back.  On my board, Bernard has risen to number one.  Bernard falls into that category of short, but not small backs.  He is strong for his size, is a terrific receiver, has good speed, but great quickness.  He sees the holes and is quick to and through the hole.  While some may peg Bernard as a part time back; I believe he can be feature back.

 

COMING IN JUNE, 2013

900 Football Links’

2013 PRO FOOTBALL DRAFT RECAP and FANTASY FOOTBALL and SEASON PREVIEW GUIDE

A football magazine in book form.

includes Jay Goldberg's in-depth team by team draft report cards

 

CHRISTINE MICHAEL, TEXAS A&M, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 88 417 4.7 40 12 8 48 6.0 16 0
2011 149 899 6.0 48 8 8 35 4.4 11 1
2010 126 631 5.0 67 4 13 174 13.4 60 0
2009 166 844 5.1 97 10 15 66 4.4 13 0

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MICHAEL, CHRISTINE TEXAS A&M RB25 5'10" 220 31 1/2 9 3/8 27 1.49 2.51 4.41 4.02 11.56 6.69 43" 10'5"
Based solely on physical ability and natural talent, Michael would be the top running back in this class.  Michael has it all; good size, strength, speed, quickness and athleticism.  And he certainly showed those traits in the East west Shrine Game where he ran with toughness, showed good cutting ability and looked good catching the one ball thrown his way. His stats for the game weren't that impressive, but he looked much better than the box score indicated.  So what's holding Michael back from being rated the top back in the draft?  A history in college of injuries and attitude problems.  My take: he'll overcome both in the NFL and be a steal for someone in the draft.

 

KENJON BARNER, OREGON, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 278 1767 6.4 80 21 20 256 12.8 48 2
2011 152 939 6.2 84 11 17 184 10.8 54 3
2010 91 551 6.1 41 6 13 121 9.3 60 2
2009 61 366 6.0 48 3 4 30 7.5 13 0

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BARNER, KENJON OREGON RB03 5'9.2" 196 29 5/8 9 1/8 20 1.58 2.55 4.39 4.17 11.33 6.87 35.5" 10'2"
Early in the process Barner seemed to be a running back that draft analysts were nitpicking on.  Not me.  I sat back and watched him quietly check off box after box in a positive manner throughout the draft process.  He is undersized, but he is strong.  He was thought to be more of a speed back than a quick-cutting back, but his short shuttle and three-cone times say otherwise.  He is fast and quick.  He appeared to be a good receiver despite minimal college production in that area, and then he showcased his excellent receiving ability during the Senior Bowl game.  Some scouting reports questioned his pass blocking ability, then he popped in pass blocking drills at the Senior Bowl.  So while other backs are getting pub in the pre-draft process, I just sit back and watch as Barner gets overlooked.  Needless to say, I love this kid potential. 

 

KNILE DAVIS, ARKANSAS, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 112 377 3.4 28 2 11 157 14.3 64 1
2010 204 1322 6.5 71 13 19 136 7.2 30 1
2009 33 163 4.9 36 4 2 4 2.0 5 0

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DAVIS, KNILE ARKANSAS RB09 5'11.3" 227 29 3/4 8 5/8 31 1.49  2.49 4.30 4.38 ---  6.96 33.5" 10'1"
Lattimore is not the only running back whose injury history makes it difficult matching draft position with long term potential.  Davis had a stellar 2010 and was projecting towards being a top prospect.  Then he missed the 2011 season with a broken ankle and came back with a disappointing 2012.  However, his workout shows he may finally be back.  And if he is, he has a mix of speed and strength that brings back memories of Jamal Lewis.  So, will he revert to the back he was in 2010, or was his 2012 representative of where he now is post-injury?  I believe he will recapture his 2010 form which is why he is on my list.

 

CIERRE WOOD, NOTRE DAME, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 114 742 6.5 68 4 5 25 5.0 9 0
2011 217 1102 5.1 55 9 27 189 7.0 31 0
2010 119 603 5.1 39 3 20 170 8.5 23 2

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WOOD, CIERRE NOTRE DAME RB38 5'11.2" 213 30 7/8 8 5/8 18 1.53 2.52 4.50  4.25 --- 6.81 37.5" 10'4"
 In most draft classes I find a running back or two who I believe can have a better NFL career than a college career.  wood is just such a back.  Wood has the speed, athleticism and skill set to succeed in the NFL.  He has good vision and is more powerful than given credit for.  If he takes his craft seriously, and has a desire to be the best he can be, I can easily see Wood developing into a very productive NFL running back.

 

KERWYNN WILLIAMS, UTAH STATE, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 218 1512 6.9 86 15 45 697 15.5 86 5
2011 81 542 6.7 43 3 7 63 9.0 30 0
2010 81 451 5.6 40 4 12 110 9.2 27 0

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WILLIAMS, KERWYNN UTAH ST RB35 5'8.1" 195 29 3/4 9 1/8 17 1.52 2.50 4.40 4.15 12.04 7.15 35" 9'10"
There are a number of undersized, change-of-pace running backs in this draft.  One who I like a lot, who is not getting the attention he deserves, is Kerwynn Williams.  Williams is fast, quick, has good vision and is an excellent receiver.  He also has value in the return game.  Often the top ballyhooed fast/quick undersized running backs have to be grabbed a round or two earlier than desired for a part time player.  Personally, I would hold off pulling the trigger and grab Williams who a team may be able to get a round later than where I have him graded (graded as a fourth round value by me).

 

D.J. HARPER, BOISE STATE, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 228 1137 5.0 80 15 23 163 7.1 21 1
2011 115 557 4.8 36 9 19 140 7.4 21 1
2010 18 160 8.9 71 2 4 36 9.0 18 0
2009 44 284 6.5 60 3 1 7 7.0 7 0
2008 55 265 4.8 29 4 4 37 9.3 20 0
2007 87 376 4.3 49 6 3 13 4.3 10 0

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HARPER, D J BOISE ST RB15 5'9.1" 211 31 10 1/4 23 1.54 2.55 4.48 4.19 11.85 6.87 33.5" 10'1"
Harper will be three years removed from his torn ACL entering the draft.  He is another of those short, but not small backs.  He is strong for his size, has good speed, quickness and cutting ability.  He is also a reliable receiver.  So Harper is an intriguing prospect, who worst case, will be a solid backup.  However, I wouldn't be overly surprised if his best football is in front of him.  

Fullback:

ZACH LINE, SMU, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 277 1278 4.6 33 13 33 229 6.9 29 0
2011 208 1224 5.9 46 17 15 139 9.3 23 0
2010 244 1494 6.1 45 10 17 163 9.6 19 0
2009 49 189 3.9 23 7 10 68 6.8 18 0

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LINE, ZACH SMU RB22 6'0.4" 232 30 3/4 8 3/4 26 1.63 2.67 4.62 4.40  --- 7.12 33" 9'9"
After the success of Alfred Morris last year who was a powerful back with less than ideal measureables; it would be negligent of me not to include Line, who caught my attention a bit at the East west Shrine Game, on my list.  For me, Line is the logical, power-back to target for that role late in the draft.  Personally, I do not think he will break out as a top tier starter; however he has a chance.  And if (when?) he doesn't, he is my top rated fullback with the skill set to be an excellent short=yardage and goal-line back.  

Wide Receivers:  

MARKUS WHEATON, OREGON STATE, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON REC YDS AVG LNG TD ATT YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 91 1244 13.7 51 11 20 142 7.1 35 2
2011 73 986 13.5 69 1 25 190 7.6 56 0
2010 55 675 12.3 48 4 27 220 8.1 31 2
2009 8 89 11.1 25 0 11 79 7.2 18 1

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WHEATON, MARKUS

OREGON ST

WO36

5'11"

189

32 3/4

9 1/8

20

1.52

2.50

4.34

4.02

11.16

6.80

37"

10'0"

I have Wheaton ranked higher than most; as a definite first round value.  I will now make a bolder statement.  It would not surprise me if Wheaton ends up the best NFL receiver from this draft class.  Wheaton has all the attributes of a top-tier: (1) outside deep threat, (2) disciplined route runner; (3) inside slot receiver and (4) clutch go-to receiver.  In other words, he is very fast; he is very quick; he has a high football IQ; and he has excellent hands.  The only negative is that he doe not have great height or bulk.  However, as his 20 reps in the bench press show; he is strong enough to compete at his size.  whoever drafts this kid will be getting a player much better than hoped for, even if a team start to see him like I do and pulls the trigger on him in the first round.

STEDMAN BAILEY, WEST VIRGINIA, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON REC YDS AVG LNG TD ATT YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 114 1622 14.2 87 25 2 13 6.5 13 0
2011 72 1279 17.8 84 12 0 0 0.0 0 0
2010 24 317 13.2 32 4 0 0 0.0 0 0

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BAILEY, STEDMAN

WEST VIRGINIA

WO03

5'10.2"

193

32 3/4

9 7/8

11

1.58

2.51

4.50

4.09

 ---

6.81

34.5"

9'9"

While all the buzz, and rightfully so, is on Bailey's teammate Tavon Austin, it would be a mistake to overlook this talented receiver.  Not that I think you should put too much emphasis on this; but Bailey was the only receiver I gave two "A" grades in the gauntlet drills at the Combine.  Bailey caught everything naturally (in the gauntlet and throughout the day), ran the gauntlet drills at full speed, and hugged the line rather than drifting during the drills.  And while this didn't define his spot on my list or in my rankings,  it did underscore that he has excellent hands.  With good speed and quickness; Bailey will make the team that drafts him very happy.

 

MARQUISE GOODWIN, TEXAS, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON REC YDS AVG LNG TD ATT YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 26 340 13.1 55 3 13 140 10.8 69 3
2011 33 421 12.8 80 2 22 220 10.0 37 0
2010 31 324 10.5 32 1 9 37 4.1 19 0
2009 30 279 9.3 39 1 2 8 4.0 7 0

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GOODWIN, MARQUISE

TEXAS

WO11

5'8.7"

183

31 1/2

8 5/8

13

1.43

2.41

4.25

4.09

 ---

6.66

 42"

11'5"

Players who run in the 4.2's, have 42" verticals, 11'5" broad jumps and run 4.09 short shuttles and 6.66 three cone drills are extremely rare.  Now onto the question marks.  Goodwin is a small receiver, however he is slightly bigger than Tavon Austin and did lift the bar 13 tines which is more than two of the bigger second to third round receivers; Terrance Williams and Da'Rick Rogers.  Next, Goodwin wasn't overly productive at Texas, but he looked good catching the ball at at Senior Bowl practices and led all wide receivers with five catches in the game.  Goodwin will never be a star receiver, but as a slot receiver with game-breaking ability as a receiver and running the ball (35 carries for 360 yards his last two years); Goodwin will be one of those players who will have a bigger impact on the field than many players drafted higher than him.

 

TAVARRES KING, GEORGIA, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON REC YDS AVG LNG TD ATT YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 42 950 22.6 75 9 1 0 0.0 0 0
2011 47 705 15.0 80 8 2 5 2.5 3 0
2010 27 504 18.7 63 3 0 0 0.0 0 0
2009 18 377 20.9 50 1 0 0 0.0 0 0
2008 2 66 33.0 41 0 0 0 0.0 0 0

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KING, TAVARRES

GEORGIA

WO19

6'0.2"

189

33"

9 1/2

11

1.58

2.53

4.43

4.33

 ---

6.91

36.5"

10'3"

With a draft as deep as this one at the wide receiver position, it's easy to overlook a player like King.  After all, he isn't amongst the fastest, the biggest, the quickest or the most athletic receivers in this draft class. All he is, however, is a very reliable receiver who quarterbacks will be confident throwing to because he has excellent hands, and enough of that "other stuff" mentioned previously to get the job done.  King is underrated in the draft, and is the type of player who will get the job done but be underrated by fans ((not teammates) when he hits the NFL.

 

MARK HARRISON, RUTGERS, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON REC YDS AVG LNG TD ATT YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 44 583 13.3 71 6 0 0 0.0 0 0
2011 14 274 19.6 45 2 0 0 0.0 0 0
2010 44 829 18.8 66 9 0 0 0.0 0 0
2009 5 83 16.6 32 1 0 0 0.0 0 0

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HARRISON, MARK

RUTGERS

WO14

6'2.7"

231

35

9 5/8

17

1.58

2.58

4.38

4.33

11.72

6.99

38.5"

10'9"

After Justin Hunter, who I expect to be a very good NFL player; there is a group of 6'2" and taller receivers jockeying to be the next off the board.  All have positives, and all come with risks.  That group includes Terrance Williams, Aaron Dobson, and Da'Rick Rogers. Rather than roll the dice early with one of those three; I would be tempted to wait a round or two and draft Mark Harrison.  Harrison has an excellent size/speed/athleticism ratio.  He also looked very natural catching the ball at the Combine.  Harrison is a nice sleeper in the draft; a player I have more highly rated (based on potential) than most.

 

KENNY STILLS, OKLAHOMA, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON REC YDS AVG LNG TD ATT YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 82 959 11.7 68 11 2 22 11.0 13 0
2011 61 849 13.9 58 8 1 1 1.0 1 0
2010 61 786 12.9 59 5 0 0 0.0 0 0

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STILLS, KENNY

OKLAHOMA

WO32

6'0.4"

194

30 1/2

9

16

1.53

2.49

4.28

4.13

 ---

 7.13

33.5"

10'4"

What I found interesting during this process are how the comments contained in some of the scouting reports I read on Stills lined up with his physical skills.  One report I read said "he was not a track athlete."  Hmmm his 4.28 forty indicates otherwise.  Another report I read said, "finesse receiver who doesn't exhibit exceptional speed."  Hmmm, again.  Both scouting reports listed numerous other deficiencies for Stills.  If you didn't know better, the reports read like a late round prospect.  However, one report had a third to fourth round grade on him, while the other had a fourth to fifth round grade on him.  I wonder what they would have graded him if they know is was one of the fastest receivers in the draft class?  In addition to a productive college career, and speed to burn, Stills flashed his receiving skills by making some excellent catches at the Combine.  Based on my eyes, his production, and his physical skills, I think when it comes to Stills, those scouting reports have missed the mark.  Stills has the skill set to be a number two or a number three receiver who can make some big plays.

 

T. J. MOE, MISSOURI, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON REC YDS AVG LNG TD ATT YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 40 399 10.0 27 1 7 26 3.7 7 0
2011 54 649 12.0 40 4 11 61 5.5 20 0
2010 92 1045 11.4 68 6 12 81 6.8 21 1
2009 2 8 4.0 4 0 0 0 0.0 0 0

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MOE, T J

MISSOURI

WO22

5'11.4"

204

30 1/8

9 7/8

26

1.56

2.61

4.60

3.96

10.87

6.53

36"

10'0"

Every year a receiver or two make my list who catch everything, are smallish but tough, who are relatively speed deficient, but are quick and can make sharp cuts.  Initially in this process I thought Conner Vernon of Duke would be such a player.  However, as the process played out, I grew more and more enamored with Moe, who bypassed Vernon in my rankings.  Moe fits the bill as a tough slot receiver with great hands, terrific quickness and can change directions on a dime.  Moe had the fastest short shuttle and the fastest three cone drill of all the wide receivers at the Combine.  He also had the most bench presses amongst the receivers at the Combine.  Moe will probably go later in the draft than where I have him graded; but he has the skill set to be a very NFL player.

 

RYAN SPADOLA, LEHIGH, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON REC YDS AVG TD ATT YDS AVG TD
2012 57 851 14.9 4 10 52 5.2 0
2011 96 1614 16.8 11 11 89 8.1 0
2010 78 1130 14.5 9 10 75 7.5 0
2009 1 16 16.0 0 0 0 - 0

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SPADOLA, RYAN

LEHIGH

WO31

6'1.2"

204

30 3/4

9 3/4

15

1.55

2.55

4.41

4.07

11.35

6.72

37"

9'11"

I would be lying if I said I was an expert on Lehigh football.  However, I got a look at Spadola at the Combine where I made a note that he appeared to have natural hands.  He looked very good catching the ball in the drills.  The fact that he also posted good numbers across the board in workouts, intrigued me as well.  Finally, the reports I read from both the Combine and his Pro Day were all very positive.  All in all, this is a kid I would target on day three of the draft.  He has the skill set to be a contributor to an NFL team.

 

CHARLES JOHNSON, GRAND VALLEY STATE, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON

REC

YDS

AVG

LONG

TD

2012

72

1199

16.7

60

16

2011

56

1030

18.4

71

15

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JOHNSON, CHARLES GRAND VALLEY ST no invite 6'2" 215 --- --- 14 1.53 2.51 4.38 4.31 --- 7.04 39.5" 11'1"
If you were told there was a receiver who had size (6'2"), speed (4.38 in the forty) and explosive athleticism (11'1" broad jump); and then were told the receiver caught 72 balls for 1199 yards in 2012; would your interest be peaked?  Well, mine was and is.  After his workout Johnson went from afterthought to possible 5th round pick according to Gil Brandt.  Usually a good workout goes from nowhere to 7th round; or on rare occasion 6th round.  So this means Johnson was very impressive.  Since the NFL tends to be conservative, I've given Johnson a late fourth round grade based on my research and I'm very curious where, and in what round, he lands.

 

CHAD BUMPHIS, MISSISSIPPI STATE, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON

REC

YDS

AVG

LNG

TD

ATT

YDS

AVG

LNG

TD

2012

58

922

15.9

72

12

3

0

0.0

3

0

2011

25

339

13.6

78

3

9

28

3.1

17

0

2010

44

634

14.4

57

5

19

131

6.9

24

0

2009

32

375

11.7

69

4

6

73

12.2

49

1

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BUMPHIS, CHAD MISSISSIPPI STATE no invite 5'10.1" 196 --- --- 17 1.59 2.64 4.52 4.26 --- 6.87 35" 9'10"
Bumphis is, plain and simple, a very good football player.  At the East West Shrine Game, after his first catch I could tell that he was a player who I would like. It wasn't a big play, but he ran a nice route, caught the ball effortlessly, and showed excellent YAC ability. He went on to have a nice day catching 4 balls for 92 yards and a touchdown, but he would have been on this list even if he didn't have such an impressive stat line.  Bumphis is a player that will enter an NFL camp as a late round pick, or priority free agent, who will at first make it tough to cut him; and later make it tough not to put him on the field.  Bumphis offers excellent value late in the draft.

 

COMING IN JUNE, 2013

900 Football Links’

2013 PRO FOOTBALL DRAFT RECAP and FANTASY FOOTBALL and SEASON PREVIEW GUIDE

A football magazine in book form.

includes Jay Goldberg's in-depth team by team draft report cards

Tight Ends:  

GAVIN ESCOBAR, SAN DIEGO STATE, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON REC YDS AVG LNG TD ATT YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 42 543 12.9 52 6 2 7 3.5 9 0
2011 51 780 15.3 55 7 0 0 0.0 0 0
2010 29 323 11.1 45 4 0 0 0.0 0 0

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ESCOBAR, GAVIN SAN DIEGO ST TE04 6'5.7" 254 33 5/8 9 3/4 12 1.66 2.76 4.70 4.31 11.86 7.07 32" 9'6"
Having Escobar on my list highlights my approach to the mix of factors that goes into determining the probability of success.  Talking heads say game film, not workout numbers (oh, and then they downgrade a player like Jarvis Jones anyway).  From some of the player on my  list, it may look like I value workout numbers too much.  Not true.  I just like when the numbers verify the scouting report based on college performance; or exceed expectations.  Escobar is a case where many of his workout numbers were not great; but they were close enough to what I expected that his value did not change with me.  Sure he isn't the fastest tight end, but he is fast enough. Sure his isn't the most athletic, jumping out of the building, but his combination of height and athletic ability are just fine.  Sure you shale your head with only 12 bench presses; but he wasn't a blocker in college and strength can be added at the next level.  Basically, Escobar has the height and hands to be a high volume pass catcher in the NFL, and has quick enough feet to get some YAC.  While his value has declined for many draft analysts, he sits right where I thought he would be on my board.  Escobar, who engulfs the ball, is going to be an excellent tight end in the NFL.

   

CHRIS GRAGG, ARKANSAS, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON REC YDS AVG LNG TD ATT YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 22 289 13.1 42 3 0 0 0.0 0 0
2011 41 518 12.6 41 2 0 0 0.0 0 0
2010 8 171 21.4 57 2 0 0 0.0 0 0
2008 1 25 25.0 25 0 0 0 0.0 0 0

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GRAGG, CHRIS ARKANSAS TE07 6.2.6" 244 33 5/8 9 18 1.53 2.55 4.44 4.35  --- 7.08 37.5" 10'5"
Graggs' stats for 2012 are misleading because he only played 5 games due to injury.  If projected to seven games he would have had 53 receptions for 694 yards and 7 touchdowns.  That would have shown a nice progression.  Gragg's role will never be the traditional tight end.  However, he is the best h-back, move, Aaron-Hernandez-like tight end in the draft; a little bit higher on my list than Jordan Reed.  Gragg is also rated a round, maybe two lower than Reed on most draft analysts' boards, so Gragg could be excellent value in the draft.  Oh, and as confirmed at the Combine, he is more than a workout warrior; he can flat out catch the ball.

   

MATT FURSTENBURG, MARYLAND, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON REC YDS AVG LNG TD ATT YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 16 206 12.9 29 2 0 0 0.0 0 0
2011 31 348 11.2 40 2 0 0 0.0 0 0
2010 12 206 17.2 53 1 0 0 0.0 0 0
2009 1 9 9.0 9 0 0 0 0.0 0 0

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FURSTENBURG, MATT MARYLAND TE06 6'3.5" 242 31 3/4 8 5/8 18 1.59 2.64 4.50 4.35 11.76 7.09 35.5" 9'7"
How did Furstenberg get on my list with his meager college production.  Well, he looked very good at the Texas vs. the Nation All Star game.  Then he popped during the receiving drills at the Combine.  Lastly, he had some of the best workout numbers for tight ends at the Combine.  Therefore, I concluded he was underutilized at Maryland.  This kid has the speed and quickness to get open, and the hands to catch what's thrown to him.  In the right system (the new tight end system with a move tight end that lines up all over the field), Furstenburg will prove to be a better pro than college player.

 

LUKE WILSON, RICE, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON REC YDS AVG LNG TD ATT YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 9 126 14.0 42 2 0 0 0.0 0 0
2011 29 313 10.8 40 3 0 0 0.0 0 0
2010 33 425 12.9 55 3 0 0 0.0 0 0
2009 7 122 17.4 52 1 0 0 0.0 0 0

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WILSON, LUKE RICE no invite 6'5.3" 251 --- --- 23 1.53 2.57 4.46 4.28  --- 7.04 38" 10'2"
Wilson, who had an ankle injury in 2012 which negatively impacted his production, was Vance McDonald's backup at Rice.  He is an all around athlete, having played in Spring Training with the Blue Jays.  Unlike many of the other speedy tight ends; Wilson has the size and ability to be either an inline or receiving/move tight end.  Wilson looked good in the NFLPA  Collegiate Bowl game, catching three balls for 46 yards and may just have the best mix of speed, quickness, and athletic ability of any tight end in the draft.

 

JACK DOYLE, WESTERN KENTUCKY, COLLEGE STATS

SEASON REC YDS AVG LNG TD ATT YDS AVG LNG TD
2012 53 566 10.7 28 5 1 0 0.0 0 0
2011 52 614 11.8 39 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
2010 20 224 11.2 25 2 0 0 0.0 0 0
2009 37 365 9.9 35 1 0 0 0.0 0 0

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DOYLE, JACK WESTERN KENTUCKY no invite 6'5" 254 4.91 4.34 12.10 6.99 31" 9'2"
Doyle is a throw-back.  A nice-, not over-, sized tight end, with below average speed, excellent quickness, football smarts and superb hands. Doyle may never be a star, but as a backup and part time player he will be a valuable member of a team's roster.  Doyle will be a good get in the later rounds of the draft.

Centers:  

BRIAN SCHWENKE, CALIFORNIA

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SCHWENKE, BRIAN CALIFORNIA OL45 6'3" 314 32 10 1/4 31 1.68 2.85 4.97 4.74 ---  7.31 26.5" 9'0"
Schwenke had a great week of practice at the Senior Bowl and played very in the game.  Schwenke looked very good in the one-on-one drills, a drill that favors defensive lineman.  Schwenke can play a power game and a speed/zone blocking game.  In my opinion he is the best center in the draft.

 

DALTON FREEMAN, CLEMSON

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FREEMAN, DALTON CLEMSON no invite 6'4.6" 291  --- --- 34 1.83 2.91 4.88 4.65 --- 7.85 32" 9'6"
Freeman being one of the more athletic centers in the draft was not surprising.  However, how athletic he was; likely the most athletic in this draft class amongst centers, was impressive.  On top of that, he had the most bench presses amongst the centers in 900 Football Links' database for 2013 center prospects.  So suddenly, this four year starter and team later is becoming a prospect to make note of.  Certainly, I did.  If I didn't get one of the top centers in the draft, Freeman is a player I would target.  He has the potential to be a long time plus starter in the league.

   

KUSH. ERIC, CALIFORNIA (PA)

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KUSH, ERIC CALIFORNIA (PA) no invite 6'3.7" 304   ---  --- 25 1.73 2.97 5.04 4.35   --- 7.40 30" 9'0"
Looking for a small school prospect who could flourish in the NFL?  Try Kush.  He has all the physical attributes that one wants in an NFL center, and was one of the top players in his league.  Kush being on my list is due to research, not observation, but I feel very comfortable having on my list based on what I read, the accolades he received for his play, and his workout numbers.

Guards:

LARRY WARFORD, KENTUCKY

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WARFORD, LARRY KENTUCKY OL51 6'3" 332 33 3/8 9 1/2 28 1.92 3.14 5.53 5.10  --- 7.78 22.5" 8'0"
Warford isn't the most athletic, the quickest , or the splashiest guard in the draft.  However, on the field, there are few guards in this draft that I would rather draft.  As if to put a punctuation on his skills, not that it was needed, Warford looked great in the one-on-one drills during Senior Bowl practices, and followed that up with an excellent game.

   

DAVID QUESSENBERRY, SAN JOSE STATE

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QUESSENBERRY, DAVID SAN JOSE ST OL44 6'4.7" 302 34 3/8 10 5/8 25 1.72 2.92 5.06 4.45  --- 7.49 29.5" 9'4"
Quessenberry is one of my favorite players in the draft.  While watching the one-on-ones, and seeing the expected players like Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson look dominate, I keep seeing #76 pop.  By the time the week was done the name Quessenberry was engraved in my brain.  After the numbers he put up at the Combine, he was a player I, personally, would target in the draft.  While I have Quessenberry listed with my guards, I have no doubt he could be a top right tackle as well, and even fill in admirably at left tackle (or maybe even grow into a solid starter at that position).

 

JEFF BACA, UCLA

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BACA, JEFF UCLA OL04 6'3.3" 302 34 1/2 9 3/4 28 1.68 2.85 5.03 4.44  --- 7.26 26.5"  ---
Baca is a player who got it done on the football field, but then some draft analysts starting calling out his "warts."  One statement heard was , "lacks weight room strength."  His 28 reps, to me, show that is not a major concern.  Another statement heard was "has heavy feet."  Well, heavy feet or not, his 4.44 short shuttle (top in my guard draft class database as of this writing) and 7.26 three-cone (second best in my guard draft class database as of this writing), show that he moves just fine, thank you.  Baca is a case of starting off as "he plays well because he is an effort player" and after working out becoming, "he plays well because he is an effort player and has good strength and excellent quickness.  Baca is an underrated player in this draft.

 

SAM BRENNER, UTAH

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BRENNER, SAM UTAH no invite 6'2.3" 307  --- --- 29 1.74 2.90 5.03 4.76  --- 7.56 29" 8'8"
If team is looking for a versatile offensive lineman, who can fill in competently anywhere along, then Brenner would be a wise draft pick.  He workout proved he was more athletic than initially thought, and he should be available in the later rounds of the draft.  Brenner will prove to be a valuable backup and roster-saver because of his versatility. 

 

COMING IN JUNE, 2013

900 Football Links’

2013 PRO FOOTBALL DRAFT RECAP and FANTASY FOOTBALL and SEASON PREVIEW GUIDE

A football magazine in book form.

includes Jay Goldberg's in-depth team by team draft report cards

 

ALEX MATLOCK,  BETHEL

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MATLOCK, ALEX BETHEL no invite 6'3.2" 299  --- --- 34 1.75 2.81 4.88 4.48  --- 7.71 32" 9'4"
Warning ("This is a public service announcement, this is only a test"), here is a small school, workout warrior alert.  I do not know this player.  I have not watch game film of Bethel's football games.  However, these numbers are very intriguing; top strength, speed, quickness, and athleticism.  Matlock will make it to an NFL camp, most likely as a free agent; but, hey I'm not a real GM, my job isn't on the line; I say roll the dice and grab him in round seven to ensure you get the first look.

Tackles:

LANE JOHNSON, OKLAHOMA

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JOHNSON, LANE OKLAHOMA OL29 6'6" 303 35 10 1/8 28 1.61 2.73 4.72 4.52  --- 7.31 34" 9'10"
No, this not not meant to be breaking news regarding Lane Johnson.  I just know on draft day, when Johnson is selected higher than most think, that a tv talking head is going to something like, "this is a bit of a reach; Johnson has the physical skills but he's not there yet; this is based on projection, not production."  Blah-blah-blah.  (Hey 80's new wave fans I just put a band's name - Talking Heads and an Iggy Pop song in this write-up.)  I just want to be on record saying it will not be a reach; the pick will be warranted; and Johnson is going to be a top NFL player for long time if he stays healthy.

 

TERRON ARMSTEAD, ARKANSAS-PINEBLUFF

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ARMSTEAD, TERRON ARKANSAS-PINEBLUFF OL03 6'4.6" 306 34 9 1/2 31 1.64 2.70 4.65 4.72  --- 7.62 34.5" 9'4"
Armstead was a standout at the East West Shrine Game, earning a late invite to the Senior Bowl where he more than held his own.  A very athletic tackle, Armstead has the best chance outside of the big three (Joeckel, Fisher, Johnson) to be a Pro Bowl caliber left tackle down the line.

 

JUSTIN PUGH, SYRACUSE

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PUGH, JUSTIN SYRACUSE OL43 6'4.4" 307 32 10 1/4 22 1.67 2.87 5.10 4.63  --- 7.45 28.5" 8'7"
Pugh doesn't have long arms one prefers at tackle, but his performance at Syracuse, his work in the one-on-one's at Senior Bowl practices and his play in the Senior Bowl game point to him being able to overcome his short arms and be a very effective tackle in the NFL.  Worst case, he will settle in as a difference-making guard.

 

XAVIER NIXON, FLORIDA

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NIXON, XAVIER FLORIDA OL41 6'6" 321 33 1/2 10 1/8  19  ---  ---  ---  ---  --- --- ---  ---
Nixon is getting overlooked a little too much in this draft process.  He more than held his own in the one-on-one's at Senior Bowl practices and moves fluidly and naturally for a tackle.  Nixon does need work in the weight room, to improve his functional strength, but that should come when he enters the weight training program with the team that drafts him.  So Nixon may need a year, but I expect him to develop into a solid NFL starter.

 

REID FRAGEL, OHIO STATE

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FRAGEL, REID OHIO ST OL19 6'7.5" 303 33 10 5/8 33 1.76 2.93 5.09 4.68  --- 7.62 30" 9'5"
A former tight end, Fragel has the athleticism that is desired for a tackle in the NFL.  He does need refinement in his footwork and technique, but has the skill set to intrigue teams to pull the trigger and develop him.  Keep in mind, his on the field performance as it was, was good enough to get an invite to the Senior Bowl (sat out with an injury).

 

NICK BECTON, VIRGINIA TECH

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BECTON, NICK VIRGINIA TECH OL08 6'5.2" 323 35 1/2 9 19 1.76 2.96 5.12 4.57  --- 7.77 29.5" 9'1"
A one year starter, with the potential to improve as he gains more experience; Becton could be a good get for a team as a swing tackle with the potential to be at minimum, a valuable sub.  He also is a plus in the run game so he could also kick inside to guard.  Becton could be  a good get early on day three.  

 

VINCE PAINTER, VIRGINIA TECH

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PAINTER, VINCE VIRGINIA TECH OL42 6'4.2" 306 34 9 7/8 32 1.69 2.78 4.87 4.56  --- 7.71 30.5" 8'1"
A former defensive end; Painter is an ideal developmental prospect.  With plus strength, quickness and athleticism, Painter has the potential to grow into a starting role.  However, it, most likely, will not be right away.  So while many day three players will be drafted with depth in mind,; the team that drafts Painter could have future starter in  mind.

 

WADE JACOBSON, WASHINGTON STATE

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JACOBSON, WADE WASHINGTON STATE no invite 6'5.6" 303 --- --- 22 1.75 2.95 5.08 4.30 --- 7.60 38" 9'6"
Every now and then, the powers that be at the Combine make a mistake in not inviting a player.  That is what happened to Jacobson, who, in my opinion, should have been given an invite.  A two-year starter, Jacobson is a hard-working kid, who showed he is a much better athlete than many thought.  His quickness and athleticism for a tackle are very impressive.  A 4.30 short shuttle is better than receivers like Hopkins and Woods.  His 38" vertical would have placed him in the top third for all receivers and running backs in this draft.  This is special.  As far as the Combine goes; Jacobson should have the last laugh, because he will have a better NFL career than many of the offensive lineman who were invited to the Combine.