Tom Brady. Marques Colston. Jay Ratliff. Marc Bulger. Terrell Davis. Stevie Johnson. Zach Thomas. Matt Birk. I could go on and on…
Sep 11, 2011; Kansas City, MO, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson (13) celebrates with wide receiver David Nelson (86) after catching a touchdown pass against Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers (24) in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE
What do all of these players have in common? They were all late round picks. Day 3 gets no love, and while players picked in the 6th and 7th rounds have a lesser chance of sticking to a team than their earlier round counterparts, a good scout can find an undiscovered talent. Now I’m not saying that you’ll find the next Tom Brady, but it is possible to find players to add depth and insurance to their respected position. So without further ado, I give you four prospects to keep an eye on in the final rounds of the NFL Draft.
Terrance Ganaway, RB, Baylor:
Nov 26, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Baylor Bears running back Terrance Ganaway (24) rushes in the first half against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Cowboys Stadium. Baylor defeated Texas Tech 66-42. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
Remember the Alamo! In the Alamo Bowl against Washington, Ganaway rushed for 200 yds. and five, yes, five touchdowns including a 43-yard scamper to seal the win. He set the single season rushing record at Baylor with 1,547 yards and 21 touchdowns. He averaged 119 yds. rushing per game and had three games in which he rushed for 200 yards. MJD is still an amazing running back, but do you really trust a banged up Rashad Jennings and Deji Karim if, heaven forbid, MOJO goes down? Ganaway is projected to go late, but could go higher. That’s just my personal opinion. The days of the workhorse back are over. If he’s there in the 6th, or even the 5th, we need to snag him!
Kelcie McCray, SS, Arkansas St.:
Sep 03, 2011; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini running back Jason Ford (middle) dives for a touchdown as Arkansas State Red Wolves defensive back Kelcie McCray (right) and defensive back Darren Edwards (1) try to stop him during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reid Compton-US PRESSWIRE
McCray has great size and height for the position. These days it can be very difficult to find a player who can play both the run AND the pass. McCray can do both. Not only does he have the ability to stay with receivers while in coverage, but he is also a very physical and willing tackler. He had ten interceptions in college and has good ball skills after the pick. He ran a 4.54 40 at the combine which was fourth among safeties, and he has no kind of injury history or off the field concerns. I for one wouldn’t mind seeing the Jaguars take McCray in the 6th. Some would say that’s a bit early, but I think he’d be worth it.
Charles Burton, OT, Montana: When I first started this series of mid-to-late round prospects, I received an email from the good editor here at blackandteal.com, Luke N. Sims. I am giving Mr. Sims all the credit here for several reasons. The main one being, HE is the one that turned me on to this versatile, complete, offensive lineman. If he ends up exploding onto the NFL scene, I want Mr. Sims to get the credit…because I had no idea who Burton was until now. So I did what anyone would do…I started reading about this kid. Burton started as a special teams player in 2008 before he switched to guard in 2009. In 2010, he switched to right tackle. Hmm…what does that tell you? He was going in the RIGHT direction on the O-line. If he started at tackle, then to guard, then demoted to special teams, then that would just mean he can’t hack it. What this tells me is that he has a willingness to adapt, he’s coachable, and he knows the game. You’re right, Luke. We could definitely take a 7th round flyer on this one. I can picture him being a swing tackle on game day, and maybe even kick inside to guard if need be.
DaJohn Harris, DT, USC:
October 29, 2011; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck (12) runs the ball against the defense of Southern California Trojans defensive tackle DaJohn Harris (98) during the overtime period half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
One of the most underrated plays in football today is the pass break-up. Maybe it’s the cool “thud” sound the ball makes when it hits the hand of a mammoth defensive lineman that intrigues me so much, but either way a pass deflection makes that play null and void. Harris had six pass deflections last year. If you pair that with his seven tackles for losses, then it’s obvious he can be disruptive in the backfield. In 2010 he became a starter for the Trojans. He started on the defensive line all season and had 35 tackles, 5.5 for losses, 3.5 were sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and one deflection.
Harris could be a fantastic addition to the Jags’ defensive line rotation.
So there you have it folks. Four more prospects to keep an eye on come next weekend. Notice I said next WEEKEND and not next THURSDAY.
For the past three weeks, I’ve broken down four prospects every Tuesday who are expected to go on days 2 and 3. If you’ve been keeping up, you should know of 12 more college players than you usually would…because let’s face it without me you wouldn’t know who anyone is past round 2. So go out and impress your friends with your newly found awesome yoda-like football knowledge!
Next week…7 Round Mock…you read right.
-David R. Johns