Time for another Kolonich/Kanicki Exchange. This weekend, we thought it’d be interesting to explore the world of sleeper draft prospects. For these purposes, we’re defining ‘sleeper’ as someone projected to be taken in rounds 5/6/7.
I couldn’t just take one. (Sorry Dave.) I’m going to rank my sleepers and they shake out like this:
- Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas;
- Kenny Tate, SS, Maryland;
- Ricky Wagner, OT/OG, Wisconsin.
with several honorable mentions.
My method and pool.
For a pool,
I’m consulting Sobo’s Top 300 listing* and going with his names after 150 as my pool. Bad idea, Sobo’s too good; precious few ‘sleepers’ residing sub-150 on his board. Instead, I pulled Drafttek’s Top 400 and loaded them in a google spreadsheet here.
Let’s get one thing out of the way up front: I’m the ultimate ‘casual draft wonk’ if that makes sense. I’m not the guy looking at tape of a 100 players; but that won’t stop me from having a strong opinion on guys I have seen and like. (For example, I was a major advocate for Justin Boren a couple years ago. A rare miss.) I know that doesn’t make sense on the surface, but with so many misses by the experts … anyone can be an expert.
Here’s who I liked in going through the back-end of that linked spreadsheet.
The prospect reviews.
Let’s work through these guys.
Knile Davis. Dude weighs 227 and ran 4.37. Injuries? Broken ankle in 2011. Well.. yeah, that’s why he’s 155 on your board. But says here he picked up 1300 yards in 2010; tops in the SEC as a freshman. I swear: three hundredths of a second slower than Tavon Austin and 50 pound heavier. And 31 bench reps. Austin projecting in top 15; Davis fifth round (by this board). Scouts cite fumbling and he plays, ‘soft and timid.’ After reviewing all the guys on this post, Davis is my top ‘sleeper.’ Good review of Davis here.
Denard Robinson. This is a simple, ‘What do your eyes tell you?’ We’ve see him for four years in the Big 10. He’s been nothing but baller. Teams MUST game plan for him We’ve established that there is no ‘playmaker’ position that you can draft. But if there were, Denard Robinson would rate high in that positional ranking. However, he would NOT rate highly if we were ranking baseball pitchers.
Jake Stoneburner. Always reliable, good hands, blocks… very Ohio State-ish tight end. Who saw a 4.65 40 coming out of him? If Stoneburner can run seam routes on top of everything else, that makes him Heath Miller which is terrific in the sixth round.
(I like Jack Doyle from WKU a lot too, but he wasn’t in drafttek’s top 400. I checked with drafttek; they informed it was not an oversight. Sorry, Jack.)
Ricky Wagner. Two years ago Wagner so impressed with his dominating Rose Bowl against TCU, I screen capped the hole that John Clay got to run through. He was playing guard on that team (Carimi, Konz, Zeitler were on that line too. Mother of God, can you imagine??). Anyway, I don’t know why Wagner is not beloved since that year, I really don’t. This is another trusting of my eyes and I think Wagner will be starting in the NFL for a long time. Maybe at guard?
Lawrence Okoye. 6’6″/
280 308 and nothing but athlete. I’m big on the pure athlete and I’m not the only one. Last year’s recipient of Draft Highlight Video of the Year*** was taken in the sixth round by Bill Belichick. Okoye’s got a track and field background and in an unpublished Margus Hunt paean, I checked into other track and field guy, here’s what I found:
- Billy Winn, state runner-up (NV) in discus; state finals in shot-put;
- Cameron Jordan (eight sacks last year for Saints), state champ (AZ) in discus;
- Sam Acho (starting ROLB for Horton’s Cardinals), state champ (TX) in discus and shot put;
- Jabaal Sheard, 4th in state (FL) in shot put, also threw discus;
- JJ Watt, state champ (WI) shot-put.
Just saying, it’s a positive. Speaking of positives, check his stats: 4.8 40, 35″ vert, 30x 225 bench reps on THIRTY-FIVE INCH ARMS. Added bonus: his age can be confirmed to be 21. From Gil Brandt: “Okoye looked like he could be drafted. He was unbelievably active and incredibly explosive in drills. It was a real, first-class show.”
Should also point out that the reigning top 5-tech DE (Watt) is a converted Tight End; this year’s top 5-tech DE prospect (Ansah) has been playing football for three years; this year’s third highest 5-tech prospect (Margus) has been playing football three year. Why not this guy? Especially if it just costs you a sixth rounder.
Point of personal privilege, a late addition:
Quanterus Smith. I overlooked the WKU DE in the first perusal of the sleeper spreadsheet. But I was most definitely a fan of all things WKU in general and Smith in particular. Note that Smith was leading the country in sacks with 12.5 through ten games before blowing his ACL. Sun Belt stat inflation? Maybe. Or maybe another Sun Belt product like Osi Umenyiora or Demarcus Ware (both from Troy). He’s had private workouts with the Giants and Eagles. I’m no expert but, to me, he seems to have a decent repertoire of ‘pass rush moves.’ Here’s one highlight reel and also a quick clip of his Bama game (three sacks and a FF). Seems worth a look-see if 5-tech DEs are on the menu.
Ray Ray Armstrong. I’ve got him on my list because I’ve liked the idea of him for more than a year. But having seen some video, I’ve grown meh on Armstrong. He doesn’t play tough. Doesn’t explode into tackles, kinda lets them run into him and hugs them down.
But Armstrong reminded me that I like and want big d-backfield guys. Like.. didn’t I bludgeon this in KKE #2? That three of Seattle’s beast d-back were found after pick 150. Is there anyone like that this year?
Oh…. there just might be.
Kenny Tate, Maryland
In pursuit of this year’s Browner/Chancellor/Sherman, I sorted that spreadsheet for d-back 6’1″ and taller. It returned this.
I admit I didn’t roll tape on all the guys. That’s because when I came to this set of clips, I saw no need. Kenny Tate likes to hit.
That’s the good news. The bad? Guy had a cartilage transplant a couple years ago. Didn’t play in 2012; only played four games in 2011. All ACC in 2010. Hey. Mixed bag when you’re sniffing around in the 300+ area of the big board. So let’s see if we can measure how that knee is looking. Here’s the pro-day on Tate:
40 Yrd Dash: 4.66
20 Yrd Dash: 2.75
10 Yrd Dash: 1.65
|225 Lb. Bench Reps: 15
Vertical Jump: 33
20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.34
3-Cone Drill: 7.20
That 3-Cone drill looks suspect doesn’t it? Ditto the shuttle. How do they compare to the top guys?
3-cone: Ryan**, 6.69; Webb, 6.82; Mathieu, 6.87; Slay, 6.90; Milliner, 6.95; Banks, 6.97; Hester, 7.26. — Tate = 7.20.
20 yd shuttle: Webb, 3.84; Trufant, 3.85; Ryan, 4.06**; Slay, 4.21; Banks, 4.27; Milliner, 4.32; Hester, 4.33. — Tate = 4.34.
(When Aaron Hester is drafted in the third/fourth round, you’ll know the premium placed on large d-backs is real.)
Those numbers bode ill… but again, if he were perfect he wouldn’t be there in the seventh round. Some are project Tate as an OLB,, he’s big enough and hits enough were that could work.
And besides, there was another safety who didn’t look great in these drills:
|Combine Invite: Yes
40 Yrd Dash: 4.62
20 Yrd Dash: 2.63
10 Yrd Dash: 1.60
|225 Lb. Bench Reps: 22
Vertical Jump: 32
Broad Jump: 09’08”
20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.41
3-Cone Drill: 7.36
40 Time Range: 4.62-4.76
Guesses on who put up sorry ‘agility’ numbers above?
Who you got, Kolonich?
* It’s behind a pay wall so… take out a free trial or cough up to see it. Can’t cut/paste it here, wouldn’t do it to em.
** Logan Ryan is fast and he’s visited Berea.
*** Here’s the Ebner youtube.