Inside the War Room Week Nine
In this week’s Inside the War Room I talk about some prospects who are being overlooked despite posting impressive statistics, name our player of the week, talk about ten players who stood out last week, and much more.
Every year there are pro prospects who are overlooked despite putting up impressive statistics who have a shot at making an NFL camp as a free agent. Below you will find ten such prospects who fit this bill.
Nick Dzunbnar MLB Cal Poly
Dzunbnar is the most impressive player I came across while making this list. So far this season he has recorded 102 tackles on the season, and shows the skills required to play in the NFL. I could see some team taking him in the seventh round area, and worst case scenario look for him to be brought in as a priority free agent.
Tank Jakes OLB Memphis
Jakes is one of the highest regarded prospects to make this list. This season he has recorded 12 tackles for loss which tied for the third most in FBS football, and has recorded six sacks as well. The biggest concern I have with Jakes is his lack of size coming in at 5-11 227 pounds, which will likely force him to make an NFL team as a free agent.
Michael Nebrich QB Fordham
Nebrich is one of my favorite small school quarterbacks, and is a player with a legitimate chance of making an NFL roster. This season he has already thrown for 2,304 yards and 21 touchdowns while completing 65% of his passes.
Ethan Kennon MLB Maranatha Baptist
Kennon is one of the few Division III players who actually might have the skill set to play in the NFL. He is a hard hitter, who shows good mobility on film. He has already recorded 70 tackles this season, which averages out to 17.2 tackles per game and lead Division III. The fact he plays at a very low level of football, and lacks NFL size will mean his only chance of making an NFL team will be as a free agent.
Terrell Watson RB Azusa Pacific
Watson is one of my favorite Division II players in this year’s draft class. He is a powerful runner who is averaging 183 rushing yards per game, and already has 1,279 yards on the season. He is a player that could sneak into the late portion of the NFL Draft.
Jeff Luc MLB Cincinnati
Luc is a transfer from Florida State who has been putting up impressive stats this season at Cincinnati. In only six games this season he has already recorded 76 tackles, five tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks.
Brandon Wegher RB Morningside
Wegher is a former Big Ten standout at Iowa, before getting in trouble and leaving the Iowa football program. He has been a man among boys so far this season rushing for 1,146 yards on only 122 carries which averages out to 9.4 yards per game.
Justin Arias QB Idaho State
Arias is a quarterback who has been putting up outstanding stats the last couple of weeks. Against Southern Utah last week he threw for 465 yards and four touchdowns, and since his interception in the third quarter against Eastern Washington on October 4th he has completed 67% of his passes for 1,006 yards with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions.
Rasheed Bailey WR Delaware Valley
Bailey is a good sized receiver who is averaging 176 yards receiving per game. The fact he plays at the Division III level, and lacks the burst you would like to see from a receiver will cause him to go the free agent route.
Tyler Slavin WR N.M. Highlands
Slavin has established himself as one of the top receivers in Division II this season, recording 92 receptions for 1,098 yards in only seven games. He has also scored an impressive 15 touchdowns.
The Diabolical Defender
One of the most overlooked defenders in this year’s draft class has to be this week’s prospect of the week in Kansas MLB Ben Henney. So far this season Heeney has recorded 84 tackles which ranks fifth in FBS football. He has been a playmaker behind the line of scrimmage as well this season, recording ten tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks this year. His best game of the season came last week vs. Texas Tech when he recorded 21 tackles, and an interception. He was also named to my top ten NFL Draft prospect performances in week six this year when he recorded ten tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, and had a fumble recovery vs. Texas.
One of the top traits he has is his outstanding motor. He goes hard on every play, and truly plays sideline to sideline, which allows him to record his impressive tackle totals. You also have to love the impressive stats he has put up the last couple of seasons. As a junior, he recorded 84 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and three interceptions despite missing two games due to a knee injury. He is having another outstanding this season as well already recording 84 tackles, ten tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and an interception in only seven games. Another trait that stands out to me is his instincts which allows him to be an outstanding run defender, and also hold up in pass coverage.
Unfortunately, Heeney lacks the great measurables which will hurt his overall draft stock. He is listed at 6-0 230 pounds, which is on the small side for an NFL MLB. He lacks the great physical skills as well, which will be evident at the NFL Combine. He lacks the great speed, and explosiveness that a player with his size needs to start in the NFL. I also have some concerns about him being a stiff player who lacks the fluidity to start at the next level.
Overall, I consider Heeney a fifth round draft prospect at this time. He is a little lower on my board than what his production would indicate due to his lack of great physical skills. However, I do love his production, and overall mentality which should be enough to earn him a spot in the NFL as a special teams player, and backup MLB.
Top 10 Performances from Week Eight
1. Brandon Wegher RB Morningside
Wegher plays on one of the top offenses in college football at Morningside, and is one of the reasons this offense is averaging 68 points per game. Last week in one of the few games he actually played four quarters, he rushed for 327 yards and four touchdowns. While I doubt he gets drafted, he has a strong chance to make a team as a free agent pickup.
2. Tyler Varga RB Yale
Varga is a big strong running back who had a great game against Colgate last week, He carried the ball 25 times for 184 yards, and four touchdowns. He also caught one pass for a touchdown, which gave him five touchdowns on the season.
3. Shaquille Riddick DE West Virginia
Riddick is a transfer from Gardner-Webb who had his coming out party last week against Baylor recording three sacks, and four tackles for loss. I currently predict Riddick as a mid-round draft pick.
4.Marcus Murphy RB Missouri
Murphy is the first pro prospect to make this list primarily due to his special team’s performance. Against Florida he returned four punts for 101 yards, and one kick return for 96 yards. He was also able to score three touchdowns, one on a punt return, one on a kick return, and one rushing touchdown.
5. Ben Heeney MLB Kansas
Heeney was named this week’s prospect of the week, primarily due to his 21 tackle performance against Texas Tech. He also managed to pick off one pass in this game.
6. David Cobb RB Minnesota
Cobb is having one of the most impressive seasons of any running back this season already rushing for 1,013 yards this season. He had another stellar performance last week rushing for 194 yards against Purdue, and continues to impress his draft stock.
7.Cedric Thompson S Minnesota
Thompson had two critical interceptions last week vs. Purdue including one in the fourth quarter, which sealed the win for the Gophers.
8.Kyle Emanuel DE North Dakota State
Emanuel is quietly having one of the best seasons of any pass rusher this season already recording 14 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks on the season. One of his best games this season came against Indiana State last Saturday when he recorded 3.5 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks.
9. Terrell Watson RB Azusa Pacific
Watson was one of the players I mentioned earlier in this article due to his outstanding season. He made this list as well due to the fact he rushed for 198 yards, and five touchdowns last weekend.
10.Kevin White WR West Virginia
White has made this list several times already this season, and he had another great game against Baylor last week. In the team’s big win over Baylor he recorded 8 receptions for 132 yards, and two touchdowns.
Darius Davis WR Henderson State
Amari Cooper WR Alabama
Justin Arias QB Idaho State
Kenny Cook WR Gardner Webb
Tre McBride WR William & Mary
Hau’oli Kikaha DE Washington
Anthony Abenoja QB Pitt State
Jameis Winston QB Florida State
Senquez Golson CB Ole Miss
Ameer Abdullah RB Nebraska
T.J. Yeldon RB Alabama
Jeremy Langford RB Michigan State
Nick Hill RB Michigan State
Marcus Mariota QB Oregon
Michael Dyer RB Louisville
DeVante Parker WR Louisville
Terrence Magee RB LSU
Stefon Diggs WR Maryland
Jake Waters QB Kansas State
Antwan Goodley WR Baylor
Ten Football Thoughts
1. Some interesting stats on underclassmen that the NFLPA put out last week. Every year since 2012 the percent of underclassmen that were drafted has gone down significantly. In 2012 82% of underclassmen were drafted in 2013 it dropped to 70%, and in 2014 the rate plummeted to 62%. They also pointed out that only 51% of the underclassmen that were in the 2014 NFL Draft made an NFL team, and the rate was only 28% for prospects who were drafted after the third round. This just goes to show that if you are not projected as a first round draft prospect that it is best to stay in school, and earn your degree. Also, if you are an underclassmen who is being told to enter the draft because draft status doesn’t matter, only your second contract does, look at the facts and how many underclassmen actually get that second contract.
2. One of the biggest disappointments in the NFL the last couple of seasons has to be Percy Harvin. He has had numerous troubles getting along with teammates in both Seattle, and Minnesota which has led to altercations. Harvin has lacked on the field production as well. He has only 22 receptions this season, after missing all but one game last season due to injury. His kickoff return average has dropped as well to 23.6 yards per kickoff return which is the lowest in his career.
3. One played that I think is being misused this season is UNI RB David Johnson. The Panthers seem to lack a commitment to the running game despite having one of the best running backs in college football. In last week’s game against South Dakota State he only carried the ball nine times despite averaging 8.6 yards per carry, and rushing for two touchdowns. It also baffles my mind that they don’t run the ball more since they have a good defense who can control the game, and a very weak passing game.
4. One player that looked good in his first game this season is Louisville WR DeVante Parker, who hauled in nine passes for 132 yards. Parker was my number one senior receiver going into the season, but fell on my board due to the foot injury he suffered last August. If he can continue to produce like he did yesterday, and checks out ok at the NFL Combine look for him to earn a late first round draft grade.
5. It looks like the Florida Gators will be looking for a new football coach next season. I think a sleeper candidate for the job is Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, who athletic director Jeremy Foley has always had a strong interest in ever since he was the defensive coordinator at Florida. I could see Stoops making this move since he has taken some heat for not being in the National Championship picture this season, and he very easily could feel underappreciated at Oklahoma.
6. It looks like Jameis Winston will now enter the draft, due to the problems he is facing at Florida State. While he has gotten high draft grades from several people in the scouting community, I would not touch him in the first round. I would rather take my chance with a quarterback that is a little less talented, but can keep himself out of trouble in the NFL. I also don’t think he is a sure fire franchise quarterback, which is yet another reason I would not take him in the first round
7. This week I saw one of the better football documentaries in Unbeaten: Berringer on Big Ten Network. This show was about former Nebraska QB Brook Berringer, who tragically died in a plane accident, after his career at Nebraska. What stuck out to me about him is the outstanding character he showed, and how he is basically the exact opposite of some of the higher profile quarterbacks we see in college football now in Jameis Winston, and Johnny Manziel
8. One team that will be taking a strong look at offensive lineman in this year’s draft will be the Minnesota Vikings who have allowed 12 sacks in the last two games. One prospect who would make a lot of sense for the Vikings in the first round is Iowa LT Brandon Scherff.
9. One player I would like to see carry the ball more this season is Alabama FB Jalston Fowler. He has yet to carry the ball this season, after averaging 4.6 yards on 19 carries last season. I still have him ranked as my number one senior fullback though due to his lead blocking skills, and the fact he has been a threat carrying the ball, and catching the ball out of the backfield in the past.
10.There will be no Inside the War Room next week, and possibly the week after that. This is due to the fact the team I coach on will be in the middle of our playoff run, and all my time will be spent on coaching and teaching during these weeks.Make sure you keep checking out NFL Draft Diamonds for the latest football information, and you can also follow me on Twitter at nfldraftitwr.
Southern Illinois RB Malcolm Agnew suffered an ankle injury last week. …. Baylor OT Troy Baker will miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury. …. West Virginia QB Clint Trickett has thrown for at least 300 yards in the last eight games he has played in. … Marshall QB Rakeem Cato broke an FBS record for throwing a touchdown in 39 straight games. … Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly will most likely start this week vs. Washington. … Virginia Tech DT Luther Maddy will miss the remainder of this season, and will seek a medical redshirt. … South Carolina TE Rory Anderson suffered a strained left triceps against Furman, and will miss this week’s game against Auburn. …