'06 NFL Draft Watch: Colorado

A year ago, Colorado was in the midst of a tumultuous off-season the program seemed in jeopardy. Rebounding for a win in the Houston Bowl, coach Gary Barnett has a chance to return to the Big 12 title game this December. As is the case almost every year, the Buffs offer several middle round prospects for the April draft. 

Scouting the Big 12: Colorado

Senior tight end Joe Klopfenstein is an outstanding pass catcher and natural receiver.  Displaying soft hands, Klopfenstein makes the reception in stride and consistently works to get separation from defenders.  Marginally strong, he is neither an effective blocker nor a deep threat that consistently makes plays into the secondary.  Presently Klopfenstein sits as a mid round selection though good strength workouts and fast forty-times at the combine could push him into the late part of April's first day.  Teammate Quinn Sypniewski returns for a sixth season in what has been an injury-riddled career.  Unlike his teammate, Sypniewski is an outstanding blocker who is plays likes a sixth offensive lineman.  Rarely used in the passing offense, he has an opportunity at the next level as a second tight end brought onto the field during short yardage situations if he remains healthy.  Weak-side tackle Clint O'Neal is an explosive lineman who gets movement from run blocks or anchors in pass protection.  Working hard and playing with solid fundamentals, he is a limited athlete best in confined quarters.  Junior guard Brian Daniels is also a rough-n-tumble blocker that dominates in a small area and offers both size as well as growth potential.  Fullback Lawrence Vickers is a solid short yardage runner who does an admirable job as a lead blocker.  Also a solid receiver, Vickers is a late round choice and potentially a triple threat fullback at the next level.  Quarterback Joel Klatt beats opponents with his legs or arm.  A solid short yardage passer who displays timing and accuracy in the middle of the field, Klatt lacks the size and arm strength to be a starter at the next level.  

Defensively the team has a pair of lineman who bear watching.  Vaka Manupuna is an explosive lineman built low to the ground.  Beating opponents off the snap with a great first step, Manupuna plays with leverage, balance and is rarely off his feet.  Manupuna also immediately alters his angle of attack, making plays up and down the line of scrimmage.  Needing to improve his upper body strength, he is easily controlled by opposing blockers and poor size\speed numbers will drag down his draft grade next year.  James Garee moves to tackle after spending last season at defensive end.  A nice sized lineman with growth potential, Garee is a terrific athlete who needs to step up his play and production on the field to move up draft boards.  Outside linebacker Brian Iwuh is a hard-hitting defender who likes to mix it up.  Possessing outstanding size\speed numbers, Iwuh presently sits as National Scouting's number one rated strong safety, a major reach in our eyes.  Finally John Torp is a strong-legged punter with the ability to flip the field.  Not wilting under pressure, he is also a solid directional punter with a definite chance of being selected next April.

Colorado Prospect List

Name Pos # Yr
Brian Daniels G 93 3Jr
James Garee DT 82 5Sr
Brian Iwuh S 27 4Jr
Joel Klatt QB 14 4Sr
Joe Klopfenstein TE 89 4Sr
Vaka Manupuna DT 93 5Sr
Clint O'Neal T 73 5Sr
Quinn Sypniewski TE 45 6Sr
John Torp P 29 5Sr
Lawrence Vickers FB 17 4Sr


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