-Michael Schottey: Senior Writer/Lions, Packers, Chargers correspondent
Happy Friday Tekkies! Welcome to the first installment of a new feature called Schottey’s sleepers. Each update will provide names you should be looking out for in the middle to late rounds of the draft. As always I love feedback and if you feel I have left a great prospect off a list, you let me know and I will do the research on him.
The list is divided up by position and I list them as Names You Know–These are guys that are a given, if you don’t know these people you may be on the wrong site…TMZ is that way. Names You Should Get To Know–These are prospects that will go in the early to middle rounds but probably don’t have the exposure they should. Spotlight–I will spotlight a prospect every article. Normally, it will be a middle to late rounder. Occasionally, it will be a higher round guy who isn’t getting pub. On to the QBs…
Names You Know: Matt Stafford (UGA), Mark Sanchez (USC), Josh Freeman (KSU)
Names You Should Get To Know: Hunter Cantwell (Louisville), Brian Hoyer (Mich St), Curtis Painter (Purdue)
Spotlight: Stephen McGee (Texas A&M)
One of the fastest risers on draft boards is also one of the quietest. Nothing could be more fitting for an athlete like McGee whose excellence off of the field exceeds anything he could do on it. His character may be his best attribute but it isn’t his only good quality. McGee spent most of his college career in a spread attack which let him run at will. When Mike Sherman came to A&M, McGee excelled in a pro-style attack before tearing a labrum and sitting out the rest of the season. McGee has all the tools and after some time spent learning an NFL playbook should be a fine NFL starter one day
Projection: 5th-6th round
Names You Know: Chris “Beanie” Wells (OSU), Knowshon Moreno (UGA), LeSean McCoy (Pitt)
Names You Should Get To Know: Shonn Green (Iowa), Rashad Jennings (Liberty), James Davis (Clemson)
Spotlight: Marlon Lucky (Nebraska)
Recently, Nebraska has been a black hole for top recruits. Lucky, a Parade All-American put together a decent college career and has little to no hype to show for it. Lucky will find a spot on a football field right away because he is an above average athlete and a hard worker whom special teams coaches are going to covet. However, a team will find a jewel in the rough when they draft Lucky because he is-quite possibly-the most natural and talented receiver of any RB in this draft class.
Projection: 6th-7th round
Names You Know: Michael Crabtree (TTU), Jeremy Maclin (Mizzou), Percy Harvin (UF)
Names You Should Get To Know: Mohammad Massaquoi (UGA), Brandon Gibson (Wazzu), Brandon State (UNC)
Spotlight: Ramses Barden (Cal-Poly)
This is a name you should already have tucked away somewhere especially if you’ve been following DraftTek. This small school prospect vaulted up draft boards with six receptions for 83 yards and a 25 yard TD against Wisconsin. At the combine his 6’6″ frame and extraordinarily large hands wowed scouts. Oakland is widely rumored to be a landing spot perhaps as early as the second round. It would be a reach for the raw WR but the upside is tremendous after running a 4.48 at the San Jose State pro day.
Prediction: 2nd-3rd round
Names You Know:Brandon Pettigrew (Oklahoma State), Jared Cook (S Car.), Shawn Nelson (S. Miss)
Names You Should Get To Know: Cornelius Ingram (UF), James Casey (Rice), Travis Beckum (Wisconsin)
Spotlight: Davon Drew (E. Carolina)
Bluntly, Drew isn’t blocking anyone when he gets to the NFL. Thankfully for him, some teams don’t mind a one-dimentional TE prospect. Drew will be a fine receiver for a team looking for a 2nd TE and his size (6’4″/260) makes him valuble in the redzone. Surprisingly, some scouts think that Drew, a former highschool and college QB may have the most Wildcat potential of anyone in the draft (not named Pat White).
Prediction: 6th round
Names You Know: Jason Smith (Baylor), Eugene Monroe (UVA), Michael Oher (Ole Miss)
Names You Should Get To Know: Eben Britton (‘Zona), William Beatty (UConn), Phil Loadholt (Oklahoma)
Spotlight: Sebastian Vollmer (Houston)
At 6’8″, 312lbs someone is going to take a chance on this tower of a man. In fact, it might not be a huge move for Vollmer who could end up in a Texans’ uniform later this month. Vollmer, who has added over 20lbs since the end of the season is a riser this spring because his added bulk and physicality are impressing just about every scout. Some are even of the opinion that 30 extra lbs would not be out of the question for a lineman who is among the fastest and most athletic posting a 5.08 dash, a 36.5 inch vertical and 32 bench reps. (Compare that to Jason Smith–5.09/24 inches/33 reps)
Prediction: 3rd-4th round
Names You Know: BJ Raji (Boston College), Peria Jerry (Ole Miss), Evander “Ziggy” Hood (Mizzou)
Names You Should Get To Know: Jarron Gilbert (San Jose State), Vance Walker (Ga Tech), Sammie Lee Hill (Stillman College)
Spotlight: Alex Magee (Purdue)
One of the more versitile defensive linemen in the draft, Magee could play every line position save 3-4 NT. If Magee had stayed at DT all four years at Purdue we could be talking about a 1st round lock but Magee put team first this past season and moved to DE. With a great Senior Bowl and an even better pro day, whispers have started about a possible first day pick but talent at other positions will probably keep him on Sunday. Magee will be best suited for a 3-4 team at end or a 4-3 team as their under tackle.
Projection: 3rd Round
(True) Defensive End
Names You Know: Robert Ayers (UT), Tyson Jackson (LSU)
Names You Should Get To Know: Paul Kruger (Utah), Mitch King (Iowa)
Spotlight: Lawrence Sidbury Jr. (Richmond)
The I-AA prospect has been one of the most popular features on the travel circuit and his itinerary is only getting hotter. Sidbury was once viewed as a maximum impact guy for the late rounds but the more scouts watched him the more he became a player teams might be willing to reach for around rounds 2-3. Although some feel he could end up as an OLB, it seems remote because if anything, he is only getting bigger. His best fit is as a 4-3 DE but will need to come off the field on running downs early in his career.
Projection: 3rd Round
Names You Know: Brian Orakpo (Texas), Everette Brown (FSU), Aaron Maybin (PSU), Michael Johnson (GTech)
Names You Should Get To Know: Larry English (N. Illinois), Michael Bennett (Texas A&M)
Spotlight:Phillip Hunt (Houston)
Hunt spent his college career at DE/OLB/ILB/DT…other than that he can’t really do much (blatant sarcasm alert). The 2008 CUSA player of the year and two time 1st team all-CUSA dlineman will have a spot at the next level. Hunt has great value in the lower rounds projecting as a special teams ace with ability to back up multiple positions. Hunt could easily find a situational role early on as a rush DE on the right team.
Projection: 6th Round
Names You Know: Aaron Curry (Wake), Rey Maualuga (USC), Brian Cushing (USC)
Names You Should Get To Know: Darry Beckwith (LSU), Gerald McRath (S. Miss), Connor Barwin (Cinci)
Spotlight: Jason Williams (Western Illinois)
Learn this name, learn it fast. Williams is 6’1″ 241lbs and runs under a 4.5 as well as being able to play all three LB positions. Since said pro day, Williams has made 13 individual team visits flying over 13K miles to strut his stuff for various team brass. Once thought to be a great UFA prospect, Jason Williams will probably find a new home and an end to his extensive travels in the middle rounds of the draft. Physically, he may the most intimidating LB in the draft.
Projection: 4th Round
Names You Know: Malcolm Jenkins (OSU), Vontae Davis (Ill), Darius Butler (UConn)
Names You Should Get To Know: Coye Francis (San Jose St), Captain Munnerlyn (S. Car), Vic Harris (Va Tech)
Spotlight: Don Carey (Norfolk State)
Carey was a blip on the media radar following a great showing at the East-West Shrine game. Now? Other sexier picks are taking up their time. He’s a bit of a tweener and could end up as a safety on some teams and may be a perfect fit for a Cover-2 team. However, Carey has great cover skills and tenacity shouldn’t force him into “system player” status. The biggest knock on him is he’s “too aggressive” he’ll find a team and that team will find a gem.
Projection: 6th-7th Round
Names You Know: Louis Delmas (W. Michigan), William Moore (Mizzou)
Names You Should Know: Rashad Johnson (Alabama), Derek Pegues (Mississippi State)
Spotlight: Otis Wiley (Michigan State)
First a dislaimer, I’m a Wolverine fan so there is no bias in this write up. As a Wolverine fan I can tell you that I personally have loved Wiley’s play over the past couple of years, especially when Michigan RBs were juking him out of his socks. Spotty play and knee surgery could drop Wiley a few rounds and even out of the draft but physically he is very gifted and is an immediate upgrade to many teams on special teams as a coverage guy (and punt returner). Wiley is a perfect example of the guy teams want in the mid rounds, tons of God-given talent but needs a great coach.
Projection: 6th Round