March , 2009

Late Round Sleepers part 1

Posted by Administrator On March - 28 - 2009

by Pete Dymeck

With the NFL Draft looming closer and closer, more speculation is disturbing the real talk around scouting circuits. While people are putting too much stake in Norfolk State’s pro day or Maine’s pro day, it is time for everyone to reconvene and shed some light on real topics ahead like second day sleepers.

The second day of the NFL Draft consists of rounds three through seven. Check out the following 15 sleepers and don’t hesitate to leave comments on why you agree or disagree with our perspective.

QB Stephen McGee (Texas A&M) 6-2, 225
Projected Round: 5th
The 2009 crop of quarterback prospects leaves a lot to be desired. After Matt Stafford, Mark Sanchez, and Josh Freeman, a lot of questions remain unanswered. Stephen McGee will be a direct beneficiary of such a weak QB class.

After several inconsistent seasons at Texas A&M where McGee both struggled and prospered, he boosted his stock at the NFL Combine and in private workouts. Injuries also dampened McGee’s effect on the football field. Still, he has risen through the humdrum QB ranks of 2009 to pose a threat to any legitimate backup QB in the NFL.

His arm strength and accuracy is adequate but what makes him intriguing is the fact that he moves well within the pocket and after a play breaks down, he has the knowing mentality of how to not make a mistake. Aside from his inconsistency, McGee, a film-room kid, should have no problem learning an offense. Unlike QBs Cullen Harper, Graham Harrell, Hunter Cantwell, and Mike Teel, McGee does have legitimate upside in the NFL.

RB Chris Ogbonnaya (Texas) 5-11, 220
Projected Round: 7th

After high school, the Texas Longhorns believed that they were getting one of the top wide receiver prospects in the nation with the commitment of Chris Ogbonnaya. After writing an op-ed on Ogbonnaya for Bleacher Report, his stock slowly shriveled but he still did not fail to impress me.

Ogbonnaya redshirted his freshman season and then was moved from wide receiver to tailback. The downside to this is that he had to sit and wait to play behind future NFL RBs Selvin Young & Jamaal Charles. Once he was given an opportunity albeit his senior season, Ogbonnaya turned the jets on and proved to everyone he wasn’t a true WR or a FB, but a natural running back with an uncanny ability to reel in passes.

He tallied more receiving yards than rushing yards in 2008 but an impressive 100+ yard outing versus Oklahoma finally put the limelight on Ogbonnaya. His skill set is undoubtedly worthy of a second day selection. Despite the lack of focus on this former Longhorn from ESPN and the NFL Network, one anonymous NFL scout said that Ogbonnaya reminds him of a more dutiful Ahman Green.

RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (Pittsburgh) 5-7, 185
Projected Round: 6th
Stephens-Howling played in the shadows of RB LeSean McCoy his entire time at Pittsburgh but the fact remains that in limited touches, Stephens-Howling did not have ball-security issues plus looked like he could handle the rock for more carries.

If NFL teams are looking for the next Willie Parker, they may have one here. It was even brought to my attention before doing this piece that an NFLN analyst compared Stephens-Howling to Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew. Let’s just hope it wasn’t because of the hyphen.

People seem to forget that McCoy redshirted in 2006, and only led Pitt in rushing in 2007 & 2008. In 2006, LaRod Stephens-Howling was the lead-carrier for the Panthers. In one outing at Syracuse, Stephens-Howling rushed for 221 yards and 1 touchdown. When McCoy finally became the starter for Pitt, Stephens-Howling’s role diminished but that can be factored as a positive since he doesn’t have too many miles on his tires.

WR Brennan Marion (Tulsa) 5-11, 187
Projected Round: 7th
Although he was utilized only once as a running back (for a net of -6 yards), Marion has the kind of explosiveness we see attributed to WR Percy Harvin. Most pundits will be quick to refer his production to the offense he played in, which could be a fair statement, but as we see on film, Marion is a different breed at wide receiver.

This former JUCO transfer has seen time at WR, H-Back, and TE. He is an excellent field-stretcher that poses a stable threat on underneath routes, similar to Wes Welker. In two seasons at Tulsa, Marion piled up 2,356 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Nicknamed the “Milkman,” Marion sure can deliver. His route running is graded above average plus his football I.Q. is on par with the likes of Derrick Williams and Brian Robiskie. The downside for Marion is that he struggled when jammed, as we seen on film when he faced the Oklahoma Sooners.

WR Derek Kinder (Pittsburgh) 6-1, 210
Projected Round: 7th
If it weren’t for a torn ACL in the first week of practices in 2007, we may be talking about Kinder landing in the second round of the NFL Draft. He was coming off of a 2006 campaign where he tallied more than 800 receiving yards despite playing in a sub par offense.

Kinder was never the fastest guy on the gridiron but tearing his ACL slowed him down a step. Also, he returned after missing all of 2007 to see a new role in a LeSean McCoy-led offense. Add in the fact that WR Oderick Turner watched his role in the offense increase.

Still, Kinder has a natural feel for the game. He did drop a couple crucial passes but the QB situation in Pittsburgh was dire. He led the team in receiving in 2008 but his numbers were half of what they were in 2006. Regardless, NFL teams see Kinder as a safe pick late in the draft.

Stay tuned as we continue this series on Late Round Sleepers.

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1 Response

  1. dimentia Says:

    I doubt if Kinder even gets drafted.

    He dropped more than a couple passes last year.

    Posted on March 28th, 2009 at 1:09 pm

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