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2019 NFL Draft Hidden Gems – Offensive Skill Positions – Volume 3

Devlin Hodges of Samford is a dog, this kid maybe the best FCS quarterback in 2019 and Matt Anzio of Draft Diamonds breaks down why he should be taken in April’s draft.

NFL Draft Diamonds

2019 NFL Draft Hidden Gems by Matt Anzio

Offensive Skill Position Vol. 3

WR/ /Flanker/ Slot  / KR – Jylill Reeder

  • School – East Stroudsburg   
  • Height: 5’9     
  • Weight: 190 lbs
  • Projected Forty – 4.49
  • Best Games: vs Edinboro 176 yds & 2 TD’s 10/20/18 & 136 yds & a TD vs ODU 10/27/18       
  • Hometown: Philadelphia P.A.   

Flies out the gate gets deep locates the ball catches it & puts it into high gear.

He can go from start to full stride instantaneously very little fancy moves needed as he depends on his insane acceleration to get open. Can leap extend his arms entire body willingness to dive for a completion.  Super sleeper not on many’s radar yet possesses special burst ability to track the ball make some astonishing catches, and catches in tight situations find a way to get separation or bring it in. Good concentration with some nice juke moves & spins in the open field. Gets out ahead of defenders more often than not was lucky emough the ESU QB had the arm to show off Reeder’s impressive long speed.  Has good upper body mass much like a running back can take a hit get an extra yard or two or break a tackle. Mostly played out the X or Y positions because of his homerun speed. Think he will fit very well into a slot WR & KR role. Not the type of guy going down on a hand tackle will leave defenders empty handed as he scampers for a big play. Athletic tough has good bend flexibility change direction like a RB. Seen tons of out route with Reeder  winning with sheer explosive speed. 54 catches 992 yds, 6 TD’s 18.4 YPC on the season. Think he will test through the roof at his pro day. Excel not only at the forty Vertical but also on the bench well rounded dangerous offensive prospect. His tape is worth a look expect to see him on Sundays this coming Fall.

RB – Xavier Turner

  • School : Tarleton  State
  • Height : 5’10    
  • Weight : 225 LBs
  • Projected Forty – 4.58     
  • Projected Reps 225 – 24     
  • Best Games vs Commerce 10/18    & vs Lincoln 11/18
  • Hometown: Stephenville, Texas

School touchdown record holder 2 X All Conference  Xavier Turner is not your average Back.

That is what a man who appeared to spend much of his life in a gym commented when i posted Turners Highlight’s on twitter. Then another comment referring to Turners special apparent underlying strength the young back possesses. Having only briefly looked at Turners highlight tape i became intrigued why so many people are a fan of this young man’s ability but also how humble down to earth he is doing it.  Low center of gravity power short area explosive burst is what you are getting with the back out of TSU.

Throwback running back frame sturdy muscular compact quick with surprising flexibility for a power back. Low mass body index despite being 225. From the start has a good vision the ability to hide behind blockers let the play develop turn on the jets for chunk yardage. Can see several steps ahead access the situation before engaging 100%.  Downhill thumper with the aptitude to break tackles. Usually, one cut & go great in short yardage & goal line situations. Up the middle or slightly off tackle will make a living can be a redzone menace. Soft hands in the pass game obvious a big YAC type player. Once he is in the open field has that second gear good luck catching him. Finishes with authority shakes defenders off easily. Type of back that can be used every down or part of a committee. This physical quick footed patient intelligent battering ram of a RB is a prospect  that is worth noting in your scouts notebook.

QB – Devlin Hodges

  • School: Samford
  • Height: 6’1
  • Weight: 205 lbs
  • Projected Forty – 4. 57        
  • Bowls  All Star – Tropical & Gridiron Showcase 2019     
  • Stats 2018 – 26 Pass TD best in the FCS , 384.5 ypg best in the FCS & 71.3% passer rating
  • Hometown – Kimberly, Alabama

Dual threat sleeper  gunslinger QB Hodges has a cannon for a right arm & rapidly  active feet.

Devlin Hodges holds all kinds of Samford records, Has won all sorts of awards. Had 3,076 yds with 26 TD’s & 14 INT’s  adding 222 rushing & 4 rush TD’s this past season. His average yard per game improved every yr at Samford.  A Walter Payton Man Of the Year Finalist in 2017. Yet he is still slept on no Senior Bowl or Combine invite for him although some scouts would say he is better than several guys that did get invites not to name, names.  It’s a matter of opinion but Hodges level of competition against teams like Georgia, Auburn & host of other top CFB teams despite the final score. Watches his play & his play alone taking into account an OL that had its issues protecting him & some wideout drops he showed a ton of promise.

Gets set swiftly surveys the field releases the ball with urgency.  Reads the Defense well presnap finds his open wide out almost immediately.  Bazooka right arm launching the ball 30 yds high dropping it perfectly behind the entire secondary. Throws some frozen ropes  on short intermediate passes in a pinch. Generally good judgment in his progressions ciphers thru the coverage fast & sufficiently. Locates second even third option on his progression much quicker than your average QB. Can roll out make throws on the move but needs to make sure to plant his feet on the move. When he doesn’t plant his feet the ball can get away from him at times hence the 14 INT’s. Great escapability movement skills can come in handy on a team with a young offensive line. Completes over 60% of his passes on third down that is evidence he can strive under pressure in tight game situations. Instincts awareness seems to feel defenders closing in possesses an internal clock. Really like Hodges as a developmental QB. He is exciting has instincts good awareness feel of defenders closing in or the pocket breaking down. Almost every physical & mental attribute a coach looks for Hodges has. Think he will get a look from  several teams & leagues.

FB/ H- Back/ – Konnor O’ Keefe

  • Monmouth (Illinois)
  • Height: 6’0
  • Weight: 230 lbs
  • Projected Forty – 4.59
  • Projected Reps at 225 – 24   
  • Awards – 1st Team All-Conference TE, 2X Varsity Captain, 4 time Midwest South Champion
  • Bowl Invites: Dream Bowl, D 3   Classic BSN Combine participant
  • Best Games: vs St Norbert 11/11/17 & vs Wartburg 9/8/18    
  • Hometown: Tremont, Illinois

Utility tough Fullback/ H blocking back O’ Connor is a hard nose no nonsense get the job done type of player.  Watched him at the HBCU weekend & i was impressed with his size & ability to move at that size. He immediately stood out to me for people who remember the days of real deal big physical lead blocking or combo blocking fullbacks from back before many of these players where born.  Maybe it’s nostalgia or the fact I just like big intense physical athletes but I am a big fan of O’Connors tape. Smash Mouth road grader as a blocker gets to the second level looks for work & lays the hammer down to spring RB’s & level LB’s DB’s alike. When he runs sub 4.60 range while still being able to be a star in the blocking game what’s not to like?   Have seen him even lined up wide or could be a functional slot option both for blocking & receiving.

Long upper half powerful muscular yet still lean carries his weight well.  Must have very little fat on his six foot frame long arms tall but can stay low especially on blocking assignments. Surprisingly fluid hips moves like a big running back but blocks like a tight end or H -back .  Competence needed to in the run block or pass block game. Skillful blocker can move guys off the ball to the second even third level steamrolling anyone in his path. Clearing large holes for backs to run through or getting those tough couple yards late in a game. Can take a hit like a champ ball security good technique with a heavy punch & heavier lean. Insightful aware of his surrounding his assignments picking up blitzing linebackers. Was used in a marriott of ways at Monmouth showed good athletic ability for a big fullback.  Not too many FB or H – back prospects but i think O’ Keefe is one of the most athletic versatile of the bunch. Recommend checking the young man out has Ryan Nall type qualities. Another very high character prospect.

WR –  Carnell Harley

  • School: Slippery Rock
  • Height: 6’ 6        
  • Weight: 205 lbs
  • Projected Forty – 4.56  
  • Projected Vert: 42”     
  • Projected Broad: 10’ 2”   
  • Bowl invites: Dream Bowl  & D2 Senior Bowl
  • Best game: 137 yards vs Shippensburg  2018
  • Hometown: Philadelphia P.A.

Not many 6 ft 6 wide outs are as agile, flexible & elusive as Harley.

Slippery Rock & Philly’s own Carnell Harley is not on everyone’s radar at the moment. Things change quite rapidly this time of year. A good Pro Day & all that can change for a player like Harley who has many of the gifts or tools teams look to develop.  A player i featured in my 2019 Dream Bowl Report on draft diamonds. For obvious reasons i was intrigued by the size & body movement skills of Harley from that point forward.

X & Y or outside wide out at Slippery Rock uses his size well can extend his long arms  over around or in between of defenders to make some spectacular grabs. Can pluck the ball right off the heads of defenders or just out jump the competition. Not the quickest out the stance but builds propulsion as he gets moving he is hard to stop. Knows how to not only use his size in the pass game but his hands as well. Strong hand fighter can win with his hands creating separation to get to the spot. Keeps working to keep the play alive at top of routes does not give up. Does not shy from contact although he he has the perfect frame to add more muscle. Tracks the ball very well good concentration on receptions.   Sideline awareness knows where he is on the field understands his route concept can use the sideline to his advantage with his amazing catch radius. Still raw late bloomer but a very high ceiling for Harley some team is bound to take notice. His big play capability coupled with his size/reach etc make him a prime candidate as a developmental wide out for a pro outfit. His 19.4 yards per catch average this past season is proof of his YAC ability. Also adds to his value not only a redzone weapon but a big play threat. If i’m a NFL scout or GM those things would peak my interest.

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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