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  2015 NFL Draft Thin on Top End D2 Talent

2015 NFL Draft Thin on Top End D2 Talent

 

 

This year only two players from Division II were invited to the NFL Scouting Combine and there are two projected to get drafted, with just four or five others who are being given serious consideration to be one of the 256 draft choices this year.  Typically, D2 players are the third tier for incoming high school recruits so there will not be copious amounts of talent year in and year out.  This year, it just so happens that there were not many transfers nor many recruits who have panned out to have high grades from NFL teams.

 

The projected first player drafted from D2 is a very close race between Newberry linebacker Edmond Robinson and Tusculum defensive lineman Caushaud Lyons.  Both players are projected to get drafted due to this scheme versatility, athleticism, size, and upside. 

 

The second tier group of players is very close in value and could easily be flipped over those top two.  That tier is led by Azusa Pacific running back Terrell Watson, NFLPA Bowl MVP, CSU-Pueblo tweener Darius Allen, Harding receiver Tello Luckett, and Texas A&M Commerce receiver duo of Vernon Johnson and Ricky Collins.

 

If Watson, Allen, Luckett, Johnson, and Collins are not picked in the 6th or 7th round, they will all be highly sought after priority free agents.

 

Following them on the list is a pair of defensive backs in West Chester*s Al-Hajj Shabazz and Findlay’s Harold Jones-Quartey.

 

Here is a quick look at each of the 14 players I have chosen as an official "Pro Hopeful."

 

 

OLB EDMOND ROBINSON, NEWBERRY

This was an interesting find from last spring when I was able to get a look at this test freak who I had high hopes for.  Robinson was a big underachiever at Newberry as he possesses top 100 talent but did not play anywhere near that level.  Some people believe he should not and will not get drafted while others have a 4th or 5th round grade on him.  My take is that he will get drafted in the late rounds only because of the upside but he is more of a priority free agent value because he needs time on a practice squad and has yet to show he can do more than flash for a couple plays.  Robinson is 6’2 5/8, 242 pounds with 4.5 speed and great length (34 arm, 82 5/8 arm).  He will need to get stronger and be coached up a bit before he is ready to play.  There is an outside shot he goes in the 4th or 5th round but that would be a huge reach as his value is more of a 200-256 pick range.

 

DL CAUSHAUD LYONS, TUSCULUM

It’s almost a waste to specify which spot on the line Lyons will play because depending on the team you talk to he could fit as an end or tackle in their scheme.  His scheme versatility, size (6’4 ½, 284), speed (4.8), and length (34 arm, 84 wing) make him someone to keep an eye on in the late rounds.  Lyons did not contribute much as a junior but improved weekly as a senior and is a player with a high upside, just like Robinson.  It would be a surprise if he is not drafted, and he could go as high as the 5th round.

 

RB TERRELL WATSON, AZUSA PACIFIC

Watson had to answer questions at his pro day about his speed and he sure answered them well by running 4.5s on all the clocks there.  At 6’0 5/8, 236 pounds many thought he would run 4.7s but he did not.  While his speed on tape is not blazing he is a tough runner who can pick up yards between the tackles and wear down on defenders.  He gets better as the game goes on and is a player whose production warrants late round consideration.  As a senior he ran for 2,351 yards and 29 touchdowns, averaging a whopping 6.7 yards per carry.  Watson is a player who could go as high as the 6th round with a floor of priority free agent.

 

DE/OLB DARIUS ALLEN, CSU-PUEBLO

It would surprise me if Allen is drafted solely because he last weighed 229 pounds for NFL scouts but his production, talent, and consistency are deserving of a draft pick.  Allen has been named the Gene Upshaw Award winner twice, which goes to the top defensive player in Division II.  At 6’1 5/8, 229 pounds he ran a 4.7 40, 32 inch vertical, 19 reps, and has pretty good length (33 ¼ arm, 82 wing).  This three-time All-RMAC pick has played both end and linebacker for Pueblo and was their best player on the 2014 National Championship team.  His ceiling is probably the late 6th or early 7th round but he appears most likely to be picked between 230-256 or a top tier priority free agent.

 

WR DONATELLA LUCKETT, HARDING

Luckett burst onto the radar of NFL teams in the spring when his blocking as a junior had myself and other scouts take notice.  His play as a senior where he had 602 yards, 26.2 yards per catch, and improved as a blocker attracted the attention of all 32 NFL teams.  He was invited to the NFL Combine, one of just two picked for it, and struggled a bit.  He improved his 40 with a sub 4.4 at his pro day at 6’0, 206 pounds.  There is a chance he is taken late but with concerns about how easily he will pick up a playbook and the fact that he seems to struggle when the lights are bright are why I have him as more of a priority free agent with a ceiling of the 7th round.

 

WR VERNON JOHNSON, TEXAS A&M COMMERCE

Commerce had two great receivers in 2014 and Johnson was one of them.  His big play speed, consistency, and ability to stretch the field and take the top off a defense had scouts buzzing.  It was a total shock he was not invited to the NFL Combine and then he only ran in the 4.5s at his pro day, despite the fact scouts were hoping for a 4.4 from him.  At 6’0, 196 pounds he has average size but is pretty strong (18 reps.  The two-time Lonestar Wide Receiver of the Year finished with 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior.  His ceiling is the 6th round but is a projected priority free agent pickup.

 

WR RICKY COLLINS, TEXAS A&M COMMERCE

The other in that fantastic Commerce duo is Ricky Collins who doesn’t quite play as fast as Johnson but he has great hands, gets open, and is a smooth runner.  He created some buzz midseason and went from a player who I did not have on my list as a junior to a top 10 D2 prospect by November.  If he can pick up the system quick he should be a real steal whether taken in the late rounds or as an undrafted free agent.  Collins ran a 4.5 40, 36 inch vertical, 9’11 broad jump, and had a 4.39 short shuttle at his pro day. 

 

CB AL-HAJJ SHABAZZ, WEST CHESTER

There are concerns about how quickly Shabazz will pick up a system but he has great size (6’0 7/8, 200), length (32 7/8 arm, 78 ¼ wing) and has the natural skills that coaches want to develop.  He was very impressive at times in the NFLPA Bowl showing he has natural ability to flip his hips and is a great kid  that can be counted on to do the right thing.  Shabazz is a two-time first-team All-PSAC East selection who had nine interceptions and 19 pass breakups over the last two years.  It would be a shock if he is drafted but worst case he will be a highly sought after priority free agent. 

 

SS HAROLD JONES-QUARTEY, FINDLAY (OH)

HJQ is a very productive safety with good explosion (11’1 BJ, 40 VJ) and is very active as a tackler making plays in the box and sideline to sideline.  He lacks quick twitch and great speed (4.7 40) but is a great candidate for special teams so he should be a good priority free agent pickup that could make a practice squad.  He had 105 tackles as a senior and earned All-GLIAC honors for the second straight year.  He was one of the better defensive backs at the College Gridiron Showcase. He’s a former receiver who hasn’t played safety full-time very long but has some upside and should warrant heavy interest as a priority free agent. 

 

WR DARIUS DAVIS, HENDERSON STATE

During the 2013 season I was highly impressed with the ability of Davis to take a screen for a big play and score.  He can stretch the field, has good hands, and is a smooth runner.  He doesn’t move like he flies but was never caught from behind in the tapes I viewed.  At just 5’11, 219 pounds he is built like a running back and runs like one, too.  During his senior year he hauled in 56 passes for 1,261 yards and 18 touchdowns.  It’s hard to believe he was snubbed by all-star games but his 4.5 speed at his pro day along with a 37 ½ inch vertical, 10’5 broad jump, and 17 bench reps put the stamp on a very good resume.  He could go in the 7th round pick or be a good priority free agent pickup following the NFL Draft.

 

DE MATT LONGACRE, NORTHWEST MISSOURI STATE

Last spring he ran very bad and his tape was more reflective of that as he lacks the skills to stand up and play linebacker and isn’t extremely explosive.  Despite that he is a football player or what I like to call a lunch pail guy.  Longacre isn’t flashy but he is smart, makes plays, and plays hard.  As a senior he had just 38 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks but had an impressive 17 quarterback hurries.  During his pro day he improved his stock with a 4.7 40 at 6’3 ¼, 260 pounds with a 33 inch vertical, 4.26 short shuttle, and 6.74 3-cone.  His stock improved from a free agent to a priority free agent projection.  He would be a very good practice squad player.

 

WR TYRELL WILLIAMS, WESTERN OREGON

Back in 2013 it baffled me why more NFL teams did not have interest in Williams.  He lacks great hands but is smooth, big (6’3 ½, 204), runs very well (4.4 40), and can pick up big yards after the catch.  Williams somehow went overlooked by all-star games but the three-time first-team All-GNAC and four-time All-GNAC honoree has the tape and workout numbers to make him worth of being developed on a practice squad.  As a junior he caught 49 passes for 849 yards and then improved with 56 catches for 950 yards as a senior.  He ran a 4.42-4.44 40, 39 ½ inch vertical, 10’7 broad jump, and 4.16 short shuttle at his pro day.  Expect him to be a priority free agent pickup following the NFL Draft.

 

OG COLE MANHART, NEBRASKA-KEARNEY

Manhart is a tough grade simply because he has enough length to play tackle but lacks the ideal height and isn’t quite massive enough to be a guard right away.  The ideal situation for him is to sign him after the draft and develop him on the practice squad as a potential backup guard and tackle.  At 6’4 3/8, 298 pounds there is room for him to add weight and develop his body.  He has big hands (10 5/8) and adequate strength (28 reps) so keep an eye on him as he could be a potential practice squad signing.

 

ILB JULIAN HOWSARE, CLARION

In a normal year I would say Howsare is the most decorated defensive player in D2 but Darius Allen took that honor.  However, Howsare is a close second earning PSAC West Defensive Player of the Year honors two straight years and first-team All-PSAC West for three years.  He’s been productive his entire career and is sneaky athletic.  Clarion used him in a lot of different ways and could potentially be a great special teamer and role backup because he could rush the passer as an end, play outside or inside linebacker, and be a star on special teams because of his instincts.  At 6’2 ¼, 248 pounds he ran a 4.7 40 at his pro day.  Expect him to be a priority free agent pickup following the NFL draft who could stick on a roster.

 

Below is a complete list of the top 200 D2 prospects.

 

Rank
Pos
First
Last
School
Projection
1
OB
Edmond
Robinson
Newberry
6th-7th
2
DE
Caushaud
Lyons
Tusculum
6th-7th
3
OH
Terrell
Watson
Azusa Pacific
7th-PFA
4
OB
Darius
Allen
CSU-Pueblo
PFA
5
WO
Donatel		
Luckett
Harding
PFA
6
WO
Vernon
Johnson
Texas A&M-Commerce
PFA
7
WO
Ricky
Collins		
Texas A&M-Commerce
PFA
8
DC
Al-Hajj
Shabazz
West Chester
PFA
9
SS
Harold
Jones-Quartey
Findlay	
PFA
10
WO
Darius
Davis
Henderson State
PFA
11
DE
Matt
Longacre
Northwest Missouri
PFA
12
WO
Tyrell
Williams
Western Oregon
PFA
13
OG
Cole
Manhart
Nebraska-Kearney
PFA
14
IB
Julian
Howsare
Clarion
PFA
15
PK
Tom
Obarski
Concordia-St.Paul
PFA/FA
16
OG
Doniel
Gambrell  Jr.
Notre Dame
PFA/FA
17
FS
Keeston
Terry
Pittsburg State
PFA/FA
18
TE
Khari
Lee
BowieState
PFA/FA
19
OB
Marke
Powell
Winston Salem
FA
20
OT
Denzell
Goode
MarsHill
FA
21
WO
Austin
Willis
EmporiaState
FA
22
OB
Markus
Pierce-Brewster
West Texas
FA
23
DE
Alfy
Hill
WinstonSalem
FA
24
DC
Cariel
Brooks
Adams State
FA
25
WO
Trevor
Harman
Shippensburg
FA
26
OG
Christopher
Reed
MinnesotaState
FA
27
OT
Cody
Clay
AzusaPacific
FA
28
FB
Justin
Shirk
Bloomsburg
FA
29
DC
Earnest
Roberts
CSU-Pueblo
FA
30
OH
Joseph
Bergeron
Texas A&M-Commerce
FA
31
QB
Chris
Bonner
CSU-Pueblo
FA
32
OG
Marcus
Reed
FayettevilleState
FA
33
TE
Lucas
Hefty
UpperIowa
FA
34
WO
Marquez
Clark
CentralOklahoma
FA
35
NT
Charles
Tuaau
Texas A&M-Commerce
FA
36
WO
Lemar
Durant
SimonFraser
FA
37
DC
Qumain
Black
EastCentral
FA
38
TE
Brock
DeCicco		
IUP			
FA
39
SS
Lyndell
Johnson
EmporiaState
FA
40
PK
Taylor
Pontius
NorthAlabama
FA
41
WO
Anthony
Johnson
WestTexas
FA
42
NT
Marcus
Cribbs
FerrisState
Tryout
43
WO
Jeret
Smith
McMurry			
Tryout
44
WO
Gavin
Lutman
PittsburgState
Tryout
45
DT
Tory
Slater
WestGeorgia
Tryout
46
DC
Travis
Manning
NorthwestMissouri
Tryout
47
QB
Kevin
Rodgers
HendersonState
Tryout
48
DC
De*Vante
Bausby
PittsburgState
Tryout
49
QB
Jacob
Medlock
ValdostaState
Tryout
50
DC
Will
Brown
MissouriS&T
Tryout
51
QB
Phillip
Sims
WinstonSalem
Tryout
52
DT
Davon
Walls
Lincoln(MO)
Tryout
53
OT
Vincent
Brown
PittsburgState
Tryout
54
OC
Jack
Abercrombie
California	
Tryout
55
WO
Paul
Browning
CSU-Pueblo
Tryout
56
OG
Jesse
Somsel
SaginawValley
Tryout
57
DT
Isiah
Dunning
GrandValley
Tryout
58
WO
Marcus
Beaurem
Tiffin
Tryout
59
OG
Pete
Trausch
Nebraska-Kearney
Tryout
60
OC
Shadow
Stokes
MidwesternState
Tryout
61
WO
Venric
Mark
WestTexas
Tryout
62
DT
Ashton
Dorsey
Texas A&M-Commerce
Tryout
63
OB
Brock
Lutes
BemidjiState
Tryout
64
WO
Andrew
Carswell
IUP			
Tryout
65
DT
Nigel
Crawford-Kinny
SaintAugustine*s
Tryout
66
DE
Will
Schwarz
SaginawValley
Tryout
67
WO
Jeffrey
Hill
Bentley
Tryout
68
OH
Desmond
Martin
WayneState(MI)
Tryout
69
OB
Leron
Furr
FortValley
Tryout
70
OB
Isaiah
Fleming
Cheyney
Tryout
71
IB
Ronell
Williams
WestChester
Tryout
72
DE
Joshua
Bredl
CSU-Pueblo
Tryout
73
QB
John
Rivers
AlbanyState
Tryout
74
OT
Forrestal
Hickman
MissouriS&T
Tryout
75
WO
Xavier
Milton
FloridaTech
Tryout
76
DE
Nick
Napolitano
Wingate
Tryout
77
QB
Lance
Orender
NewMexicoHighlands
Tryout
78
DC
Deontre*
Hurst
GrandValley
Tryout
79
FB
Andrew
Dillon
SaginawValley
Tryout
80
WO
Tyler
Slavin
New Mexico Highlands
Tryout
81
SS
Michael
Johnson
Fayetteville State
Tryout
82
FS
Ronald
Fields
Texas A&M-Commerce
Tryout
83
DE
Alex
Markarian
HumboldtState
Tryout
84
OB
Jason
Taylor
Catawba
Tryout
85
OB
Tyrell
Adams
WestGeorgia
Tryout
86
DT
Conor
O*Neal
WinstonSalem
Tryout
87
QB
Cole
Jaeschke
UpperIowa
Tryout
88
DC
Michael
Lee
FortValley
Tryout
89
QB
Sean
McCartney
West Chester
Tryout
90
TE
Steven
Jones
EastStroudsburg
Tryout
91
RS
Etauj
Allen
OuachitaBaptist
Tryout
92
OT
Casey
Beck
UpperIowa
Tryout
93
PT
Patrick
Carney
NewMexicoHighlands
Tryout
94
OB
Donald
Gnader
NorthwestMissouri
Tryout
95
DC
Brendon
Felder
WinstonSalem
Tryout
96
DE
Zachary
Williams
Southern Connecticut
Tryout
97
SS
Andre
Rawls
VirginiaState
Tryout
98
OC
Matthew
Reese
Tuskegee
Tryout
99
DC
Izauea
Lanier
WestAlabama
Tryout
100
FB
Michael
Sellars
WinstonSalem
Tryout
101
FS
Colin
Kimball
Mercyhurst
Tryout
102
DT
Casey
Davenport
WinstonSalem
Tryout
103
QB
Verlon
Reed
Findlay
Tryout
104
WO
Chad
Toocheck
WestAlabama
Tryout
105
FS
Tyler
Thornton
AzusaPacific
Tryout
106
PT
Andrew
Cerett
California
Tryout
107
WO
Cole
McDaniel
WayneState(NE)
Tryout
108
OC
Isaiah
Shelton
Shepherd
Tryout
109
OB
Deshawn
Dinwiddie
EmporiaState
Tryout
110
OG
Arthur
RayJr.
FortLewis
Tryout
111
TE
Cullen
Rosine
CentralMissouri
Tryout
112
OC
Michael
Boyefio
Texas A&M-Commerce
Tryout
113
OH
Eddie
Mateo
Bloomsburg
Tryout
114
QB
Kiehl
Frazier
OuachitaBaptist
Tryout
115
WO
Dimitri
Holmes
MarsHill
Tryout
116
DE
Anthony
Gonzales
TarletonState
Tryout
117
DC
Jeremy
Crayton
SouthernArkansas
Tryout
118
DC
Ed
Brown
FortHays
Tryout
119
QB
Andrew
Jackson
SetonHill
Tryout
120
WO
Dorian
Buford
MinnesotaState
Tryout
121
DC
Jamaris
Brown
Walsh
Tryout
122
NT
Frank
Boenzi
GrandValley
Tryout
123
OH
Romorious
Westbrook
Harding
Tryout
124
OB
Christopher
Harvey
Ashland
Tryout
125
OB
Jared
Koster
NewMexicoHighlands
Tryout
126
OG
Damein
Willis
Lane
Tryout
127
OT
Jacob
Vanderklok
FerrisState
Tryout
128
IB
Tyler
Zimmer
SetonHill
Tryout
129
IB
Matthew
Mosley
GrandValley
Tryout
130
DT
Bernard
Little
FortValley
Tryout
131
SS
Darious
Lane
Harding
Tryout
132
QB
Trevius
Folston
Shaw
Tryout
133
OH
LaVance
Taylor
CentralMissouri
Tryout
134
IB
Michael
Gruber
Brevard
Tryout
135
TE
Tyler
Hamilton
Catawba
Tryout
136
QB
Keahn
Wallace
JohnsonC.Smith
Tryout
137
QB
Rudolph
Johnson
WinstonSalem
Tryout
138
DC
Domonique
Johnson
PanhandleState
Tryout
139
WO
Erick
Brundidge
WestChester
Tryout
140
FB
Devin
Benton
SouthwesternOklahoma
Tryout
141
OC
Anthony
Landry
AngeloState
Tryout
142
TE
Wesley
Powell
Tusculum
Tryout
143
DC
Sharon
Irwin
Newberry
Tryout
144
DE
Nelson
Wienke
MichiganTech
Tryout
145
OH
Anthony
Taylor
Ashland
Tryout
146
FB
Michael
Wilson
CentralState
Tryout
147
DT
Kraig
Akins
WesternOregon
Tryout
148
TE
La*Velle
Spivey
Urbana
Tryout
149
QB
Tyrik
Rollison
Texas A&M-Commerce
Tryout
150
WO
Anthony
Eboreime
BlackHillsState
Tryout
151
OC
Derek
Schatz
WestChester
Tryout
152
OC
Xavier
Ruben
TarletonState
Tryout
153
DC
Prater-Oakley
Oakley
WestTexas
Tryout
154
IB
Rush
Seaver
AngeloState
Tryout
155
OG
Robby
Ignagni
Carson-Newman
Tryout
156
OB
Nores
Fradi
WayneState(MI)
Tryout
157
OB
Spencer
Lynn
California
Tryout
158
IB
Chass
Glaspie
CentralOklahoma
Tryout
159
RS
Stephan
Dickens
CSU-Pueblo
Tryout
160
IB
Seth
Bailey
EasternNewMexico
Tryout
161
OG
Lucus
Love
TarletonState
Tryout
162
TE
Ray J.
Brown
NotreDame
Tryout
163
DT
Chris
Brown
TarletonState
Tryout
164
SS
Zackary
Richardson
HendersonState
Tryout
165
DT
Bryan
Thomson
EastStroudsburg
Tryout
166
FS
Nathan
Hancock
MinnesotaState
Tryout
167
WO
Byron
Dickerson
Newberry
Tryout
168
FS
Jarrod
Lacy
CSU-Pueblo
Tryout
169
OC
Aaron
Sprinkle
OuachitaBaptist
Tryout
170
SS
DeMarco
Donaldson
Malone
Tryout
171
DT
Carlif
Taylor
SouthernConnecticut
Tryout
172
SS
Lance
Richardson
Newberry
Tryout
173
IB
Bre*nard
Williams
ClarkAtlanta
Tryout
174
WO
DaJuan
Beard
Washburn
Tryout
175
WO
Akeem
Jordan
Lincoln
Tryout
176
DT
Justin
Waltzer
SaintAnselm
Tryout
177
IB
Justin
Avery
Charleston
Tryout
178
SS
Jeremiah
Maluia
HumboldtState
Tryout
179
OG
Vance
Ross
WinonaState
Tryout
180
RS
Nate
Robitaille
Stonehill
Tryout
181
RS
L.J.
Stroman
UNCPembroke
Tryout
182
OB
Eric
Reimer
NorthwestMissouri
Tryout
183
WO
Seth
Smith
Texas A&M-Commerce
Tryout
184
QB
Anthony
Abenoja
PittsburgState
Tryout
185
WO
Clifton
RhodesIII
TarletonState
Tryout
186
RS
Mike
Early
Arkansas-Monticello
Tryout
187
WO
Jeremy
Watson
WestTexas
Tryout
188
IB
Javontay
Williams
JohnsonC.Smith
Tryout
189
DC
Gerren
DuHart
WayneState(MI)
Tryout
190
SS
Shai
Kobayashi
ArkansasTech
Tryout
191
OB
Derrick
Mann
Assumption
Tryout
192
DC
Travis
Lee
Miles
Tryout
193
OT
Zach
Jones
American International
Tryout
194
WO
Justin
Bernard
SaintAnselm
Tryout
195
OB
Tanner
Wells
LakeErie
Tryout
196
FB
Marcus
Wright
NorthwestMissouri
Tryout
197
WO
Lloyd
Henry
Findlay
Tryout
198
FB
Jacquise
Lockett
Kentucky State
Tryout
199
DE
Daniel
Holland
East Central
Tryout
200
OT
Logan
Hauserman
Saginaw Valley
Tryout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
         
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