Non FBS Players who competed in the Senior Bowl

Posted: January 28, 2013 in 2013 Senior Bowl

The best part of the Senior Bowl is really two fold. The first thing is seeing some of the big headliners and draft question marks answered for the players that we see every week on TV, i.e. Mike Glennon, Kenjon Barner, and Denard Robinson. The other great intricacy of the Senior Bowl is seeing the smaller school guys get to finally compete on a national stage with other elite competiton. If you are a casual fan, you don’t get to see the Harvard Crimson play every week. The people who tune into College Gameday will not see much coverage on the Elon Phoenix or the Chadron State Eagles. The Senior Bowl does an outstanding job of finding the talented players from lower divisions and putting them in a position to make a living in the NFL. This past week, 11 players were on either the North or South rosters that played at the FCS level or lower. It is not a large number of players, but the ones who came and competed all had a chance to put their face to the name they made for themselves throughout their careers. Scouts got to see first hand what they could or couldn’t do against talented players every day. Below is a list of players who competed in the Senior Bowl from Non- FBS schools broken down by where I project that they will be drafted.

2nd to 3rd Round

Robert Alford of Southeastern La.

Robert Alford of Southeastern La.

CB, Robert Alford (5’10” 186 lbs.) Southeastern La.- Alford is a player who really used the whole week, including the game, to rise in many scout’s eyes. He showed great coverage skills and play making ability throughout the week. One added bonus with Alford, he is an excellent return man. He showed that by taking the opening kickoff 88 yards to set up a score. His combine and pro days will be huge and if he runs in the 4.4’s I feel he gets into 1st round conversations. Right now, he is a solid round 2 pick.

CB, B.W. Webb (5’10” 183 lbs.) William and Mary- Another example of a guy who capitalized on his invite, Webb flashed signs of an elite prospect all week. He was consistent and steady during practice. He did make a lot of great plays, while still giving up a few, but for the most part he showed that he belongs in the conversation to get picked in the top 100 draft choices. I think with a great combine effort to solidify his game and all star film, he will jump into the late 2nd/ early 3rd round.

DL, Brandon Williams (6’2″ 341 lbs.) Missouri Southern- By far the most dominent of this class of non FBS players. Williams is a load at 341 lbs. and is exceptionally quick for this size. He makes a ton of tackles for loss and is constantly in the back field. He is big enough to play the nose in a 3-4 but I think he could play the shade Nose in a 4-3 and possibly a 3 technique if needed. He is a Dontari Poe (1st rounder, KC Chiefs 2012)  type player. As with the two names above, if he runs well and shows great strength in the combines, he is a solid round 2 pick. This is a need position for so many NFL teams, and he adds value to the group. First Division II player off the board, mark it down.

4th to 5th Round

OL, Terron Armstead (6’5″ 305 lbs.) Arkansas- Pine Bluff- Late add to the Senior Bowl game, Armstead used a great East West Shrine game performance and carried that momentum to this game. He came in on Wednesday so I didn’t get a great look at him, but he flashed some skills in one on ones and had a real nasty disposition about him in team and drills. I like his ability and his upside. He is a raw talent and needs the fundamental work that an NFL coach will bring. Has the versatility and strength to play the guard spots but could also kick out to the RT spot.

Tenn. Martin's Montori Hughes

Tenn. Martin’s Montori Hughes

DL, Montori Hughes (6’5″ 328 lbs.) Tennessee-Martin- Here is our first example of a player who left an FBS school and went down a level for whatever reason. Hughes was kicked off the Tennessee Volunteer football team by Coach Derek Dooley. He landed at UT Martin and has had  a very productive and “drama free” career there. Hughes had a very successful start to his college career before the dismissal, though, and has shown production at the SEC level. He will no doubt have to answer character questions from every team he meets with. But there is no coaching his size and strength combo. I don’t think he had the best week but he was a very strong presence in the game itself and looks to be able to make an impact fairly early for a team next season.

WR, Aaron Mellette (6’2″ 216 lbs.) Elon- The first Southern Conference player off the board will be Mellette who used some great end of the week practices to spark that interest from NFL personnel people. He is a big body receiver who does a great job with his body control and making the deep ball catches. He has a long stride and separates late in routes. He needs work, but his upside is enormous if given the right opportunity.

6th to 7th Round

Safety, B.J. Scott (5’11” 205 lbs.) South Alabama- Scott is an interesting story. He is a former 5 star recruit who signed with Alabama out of high school and played early on for the Crimson Tide. Scott decided to leave Alabama when it was obvious his playing time might be diminishing, no red flag per say, but teams will definitely dive into this with him in interviews. I did not get a great look at him, as he was added on Wednesday and only had one practice. He does show great skill in the return game and good vision on the field.

Harvard FB Kyle Juszczyk

Harvard FB Kyle Juszczyk

FB, Kyle Juszczyk (6’1″ 248 lbs.) Harvard- The first, and possibly only, Ivy leaguer to come off the boards will be Harvards Juszcyk. He is a “do it all” type player and some team will find the best way to utilize him. Juszcyk isn’t the Vontae Leach-type Iso lead blocker, but he is very serviceable in that department. He adds great value as a pass catcher out of the back field and good smarts (obviously) in the protection game. His will play on every special teams and NFL teams out there love guys like this.

Safety, J.J. Wilcox (5’11” 214 lbs.) Georgia Southern- Only been a safety for one season, as he played running back for the Eagles for his first three years. Wilcox is an interesting prospect and it was good to see him move around against great competition. He is a little stiff in my opinion and could use some help on the fundamentals, but he has only played the spot for one year. He is competitive and will give all he has got to a team. Someone will take a shot at him in the later rounds and if he runs well (4.45 to 4.5) he will solidify his draft stock.

Priority Free Agents

OLB, Ty Powell (6’2″ 245 lbs.) Harding- Another D2 prospect who was very productive throughout his career. Powell flashed some great pass rush skills at times during the week but really struggled in coverage. I think he has the tools to make a squad if someone used him right, but as of now I don’t see many teams putting a pick on him. He could show a little more during combine and pro day workouts, but right now he doesn’t show enough in all areas of playing linebacker to garner a pick.

OL, Garrett Gilkey (6’6″ 314 lbs.) Chadron State- Gilkey has size and strength (reported 32 reps in bench press) to hold up at the NFL level. I just have to question his skill set as a pass blocker as of right now. He was overwhelmed at times in one on ones and he had some troubles in the game with some of the premier defensive lineman. He could slip into the 6th or 7th rounds with a good combine and workout, but I see a free agent status for him right now.

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