Every year there are players who enter the NFL Draft and surprise folks in where they hear their name called. They fly under the radar through the draft process, then get picked in the third round.
2017 will be no different. There are plenty of examples, from smaller school guys to bigger school guys, who just aren’t getting noticed. Great teams and scouts often find these guys and end up getting steals out of them. So, let's jump into some of the under-the-radar guys in this year's draft class.
Julie'n Davenport, Offensive Tackle, Bucknell
Davenport is one of the top small school guys in this year's draft. He is big, long and loaded with talent and potential. Now, there will always be questions about the level of competition for smaller school guys, but Davenport was dominant.
Davenport isn’t going to get drafted to be a starter on day one, but he is a developmental guy. At Bucknell, he played left tackle, and has potential to play there in the NFL.
He has answers to every kind of pass rush move, and keeps his base set. He doesn’t lunge often, and plays low, which at 6-foot-7 is great to see.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1746034-broncos-roster-holes-pote... There is work that needs to be done with him, especially in the run game. Instead of finishing and moving to make another block, he just wins and keeps his guy locked down.
He also misses blocks when attacking the second level. Davenport has a frame to add more weight, and will be asked to add at least 10 pound to it.
This is a guy who is getting love in draft circles, especially with a few of my scout sources. One of whom said the following.
"If he played for Alabama, he would be getting picked in the top five.”
Another scout told me this.
“He is a small school guy, but he could realistically be drafted in the second round.”
In the national media, he is flying under the radar, so his selection will likely come as a surprise to many fans of whichever team selects him. A third round pick on him from Denver should make Broncos fans excited.
Chase Roullier, Offensive Guard, Wyoming
This is a guy I am developing a draft crush on. I love the grit Roullier plays with.
His attitude and the way he plays just screams mean and nasty. The Broncos are missing that on their offensive line. Roullier is a mid-round prospect, currently holding a mid-fourth round grade from me, but could rise into round three.
His understanding of leverage is some of the best in the draft. He uses it every single play and wins 98 percent of the time. The few times I have seen him get beaten badly, he was trying to do too much.
One instance saw Roullier attempting to block three defenders, which ended with him on the ground. His movement is really good and he doesn’t waste movement when pulling.
Roullier doesn’t over-attack when pulling or hitting the second level. He does have issues with quicker pass rush moves, especially spin moves. He'll also will need work on his mechanics and hand usage.
There is little buzz about Roullier in national media and in scouting circles. I was able to get one nugget on him from a scout.
“Roullier is the offensive lineman coaches dream with his attitude, but he needs a coach who is excellent at developing linemen to help him fix his mechanics.”
The Broncos hired Jeff Davidson to coach the O-line under new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. Whether it's current guys, or new draft picks, the onus will be on Davidson to develop talent.
Ejuan Price, Linebacker, Pittsburgh
This guy is going to be a steal if he isn’t gone by the end of the second round. Price is considered undersized, and has issues in the run game with being over-aggressive.
However, all teams have to do is just line him up and let him attack the quarterback. He is as disruptive as they come.
At one point this season he had 27 pressures, including seven sacks, on only 156 pass rush snaps. That is a pressure once every 5.8 snaps, which is close to the one pressure for every 4.6 pass rush snaps Von Miller had this year.
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Price was dominant when it came to getting after the quarterback, and if he ever gets recognition, watch for Elvis Dumervil comparisons. He can bend the corner pretty well, but is best at turning speed to power on contact.
He blows offensive linemen off their base when he makes contact. Price is quick and agile, but has surprising power.
His big area of weakness comes in the run game. Price gets over-aggressive and over-pursues plays. This often gives the ball carrier space to make a big play with his loss of contain.
Scouting circles are drooling over this kid. He is limited to a scheme where he can attack out of a two-point stance.
You don’t want his hand on the ground. It slows Price down more than teams will want.
So, either a 3-4 scheme, or a 4-3 with a standing DE (which looks nearly identical to a 3-4) is perfect for Price. With DeMarcus Ware's status up in the air, the Broncos could look to add another pass rusher and they should be looking hard at Price.
Jordan Roos, Offensive Guard, Purdue
Roos is another mean and nasty offensive lineman. Roos is a finisher and will look to put you on the ground. I hadn’t even heard of Jordan Roos until Mile High Huddle colleague Luc Polglaze and I were doing a scouting video of Iowa defensive lineman Jaleel Johnson.
Roos stood out and he looked good. At one point, he was on his knees and still blocking someone, who was on their feet.
He has a never give up attitude, and his motor was always running. Roos keeps his head on a swivel, looking for people to hit.
He moves well, though you want him attacking straight on, more than moving and taking on a defender. This is a guy really flying under the radar.
That wraps it up for now, but there are many other prospects flying under the radar to be covered in future reports. Stay tuned.
Erick Trickel is a Draft Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ErickTrickel.
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