Hoosiers in the Draft

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.—With the NFL Draft just days away and a veritable swarm of buzz on countless players from across the country, there are a few Hoosiers looking to hear their name and prove their worth in the league. IU's all-time leading receiver Courtney Roby and fellow seniors Aaron Halterman, Matt LoVecchio, Jodie Clemons, Travis Haney, Chris Jahnke, and Herana Daze-Jones are all hoping to be on an NFL roster come September.

According to most scouts, Roby is the only player on this list with 1st day potential and probably the only Hoosier who will be drafted at all. Most scouts have him as a 3rd round pick, but he could go higher or lower based on team needs. According to Falcon Insider, a member of the scout.com network, Atlanta likes the prospect of drafting Roby if he's still around on the second day. Roby ran a scorching 4.33 in the 40 yard dash at the Combine, and many scouts have him in the top fifteen or so at the wide-out position. Roby is a vertical threat, and he consistently makes the over-the-shoulder grab. He is also great at creating separation and made strides this year in handling contact over the middle, but many still consider him a bit small at 6'0", 189. Roby has below average strength, and many scouts don't think he's a very good blocker as a result. There are also questions about how well he'll be able to get off the line of scrimmage when faced the level of press coverage seen in the NFL. The other knock on Roby is his tendency to catch the ball in his chest or cradle it instead of grabbing it with his hands. Still, Roby will likely be a 3rd or 4th round pick and may get a look this season as a slot receiver in the right system.

The rest of the players will probably have to prove themselves as rookie free agents, as only Halterman, Jones, and Haney have much if any draft potential. Clemons was very productive at IU, but there is exceptional depth at the defensive line positions in the draft and he doesn't appear to have either the frame to bulk up and have success at DT nor the quickness to slide out to defensive end. Haney is draft-worthy merely because of his potential; that is the same potential that brought him to IU where he was a vast underachiever. At 6'4", Haney has the size that most NFL teams are looking for in a receiver, but with a 4.75 forty yard dash time and significant strides left to make as a receiver he would definitely be a project. Jones has a good knack for being around the ball and his athleticism means he could be a late draft pick; however, it is more likely that he will be a free agent looking to earn a roster spot as a special teams player.

Halterman is currently ranked by scout.com as the 19th best tight end in the draft. In a draft that doesn't feature a ton of talented tight ends, chances are Halterman will not be taken. Being hurt during his senior season may have stopped Halterman from raising his stock. He should be picked up somewhere as a free agent, and will probably be taken on as a project for that team.

LoVecchio hasn't gotten much buzz, but he did have a fairly productive season. Considering the credentials of former IU quarterback Gibran Hamdan, a 7th round pick in 2003 who didn't even start until midway through his senior year yet who was picked over the likes of Miami's Ken Dorsey, LoVecchio could be a very late pick by a team like Green Bay looking to groom a backup to a solid starting QB.

Courtney Roby is sure to join the ranks of former Hoosiers in the NFL, while many others are hopeful. Indiana may not have a large quantity of players playing the pros right now; however the ones that are playing have done very well for themselves. Former Hoosiers who have become stars include former quarterbacks Antwaan Randle El and Trent Green. Chris Liwienski has become an excellent offensive lineman for the Vikings, and should be an All-Pro very soon.

Adewale Ogunleye was a former Hoosier defensive end who became All-Pro with the Dolphins before being traded to the Bears. Courtney Roby hopes to join this list of Hoosiers and party with them in Hawaii. It will all be played out on Saturday and Sunday as the 2005 NFL Draft takes place in New York. ESPN and ESPN2 will have continuous coverage and analysis of the draft.

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