Round 5th-6th prospects from small schools:
Now let’s see some small school prospects, since the Jaguars love to select players from here. At least three prospects from every Gene Smith draft have come from DIV II or lower. I think we will see at least 1-2 players this year added to the Jaguars roster from the FCS (or lower) schools. Here are my 4 leading candidates:
- Julius Thomas, TE – Portland State
Thomas is a converted basketball player, who is climbing the draft charts, and the Jaguars have reportedly been watching him for a while. The NFL has a history of former basketball player who turned out to be TE stars – think Antonio Gates or Tony Gonzalez. Thomas played only one season of football (he was a standout as a basketball player, by the way) and earned all-conference selections. He caught 29 passes for 453 yards, 2 TD’s and was a star at the East-West Shrine games (and we all know the Jaguars love to find their guys in these smaller all-star college games). In fact, Jaguars TE coach Rob Boras met and watched Thomas multiple times in the last few months. Despite the solid effort of Zach Potter and the frequent injuries by Zach Miller the Jaguars aren’t exactly set at tight end, I sensing that this guy could be selected in Round 5 easily by the Jaguars.
Here is another the player Jags have shown interest in. David Mims is HUGE. I mean really huge. He is a 6’8 tall, 331 pound prospect, who will most likely end up as a backup OT somewhere. He is raw, so he needs some time to develop, but athletically and physically he is an NFL prospect. He is a good run blocker and will be very hard to move if he is bullrushed. Once he contacts the opposing pass rusher, he is very hard to get through. He could develop into a starter at RT with proper coaching. Since the Jaguars had lots of trouble trying to replace the injured Eben Britton at RT and they released backup RT Jordan Black, I think they will be looking for a replacement and Mims could be that guy. Unfortunately, some other teams (Ravens, Lions) have also discovered him, so he is not an unknown name anymore. But I bet if the Jaguars sold on him, they will be not afraid to pick him in the 5th or the 6th round.
- Anthony Gaithor, CB – Florida International
Here is another small school prospect with great speed and four years of playing experience. Gaithor is a multiple All-Sun Belt Conference First Team selection. He is very fast, recording 4,46 on his Pro Day. He finished with 11 interceptions in 4 years, 2 of them returned for touchdowns. He has one big (or little, rather) disadvantage – size. He is under 5’10” and weights only 178 pounds. These are measurements more indicative of a nickel corner (think William Middleton). But in his 4 years, Gaithor was solid even against bigger receivers, so his physical limitations may not be much of a hindrance. He is a 6th (or lower) round prospect.
- Christian Anthony, DE – Grambling State
Do you remember my “campaign for drafting Austen Lane” before the ’10 draft? I’m glad Austin ended up as a Jaguar and I found another small school prospect this year that I would like to see sporting the teal. Anthony has every tool to become a successful pass rusher in the NFL. He proved he can play well – he is a multiple all-first team SWAC selection, including SWAC defensive player of the year in ’09 and many draft experts though he was the top small school DE prospect of this years draft. However, Christian suffered an medical emergency (reportedly a heart attack), which forced him to skip the entire ’10 season. He played in the “Texas vs the Nation” college all-star game where he showed no signs of rust. He was quick and looked to be in great shape and very strong. If his heart is 100% OK, I say the Jaguars give him a chance and gamble in the 6th round (or if they can get a 7th round pick, then there).
So these are the eight players with the Zoltan stamp of approval for the last four picks (although who knows how many Gene will end up with?) between Round 4 and 6. If any of these players end up on the Jaguars’ roster, I’ll be more than happy. My dream scenario for the last day of the draft would be:
- Round 4: Culliver and Brown,
- Round 5: Herzlich
- Round 6: Julius Thomas or Mims
- Round 7: Anthony (if Gene can pull off a trade down and garner a 7th rd pick)
Let’s hope to hear these guys called out as the Jaguars’ picks next weekend!