Lesser-known players that are rising on draft boards
Posted: Monday April 23, 2007 11:00AM; Updated: Monday April 23, 2007 11:02AM
Even though all you hear about these days are Calvin Johnsons, JaMarcus Russells and Adrian Petersons of the world, NFL teams are also focusing on lesser-knowns players. Here are 10 prospects who are generating a lot of buzz as the draft nears:
Usama Young/CB/Kent State: An all-Conference pick at Kent State last season, Young was snubbed by the major postseason games and did not receive an invite to the combine. Yet almost two dozen teams showed up at his pro day to watch the 196-pound Young run 4.4 seconds in the 40. Since then Young has visited 11 franchises and will work out for four other teams next week. Given a free-agent grade at the start of the year, Young could slide into the draft's first day.
Jacoby Jones/WR/Lane College: The small-school receiver also has the added value of being a game breaking return specialist. After a solid combine workout, Jones performed well at his pro day on March 5. Nine teams have brought Jones in for private interviews. He is likely to be a first-day pick as well.
Quincy Black/OLB/New Mexico (FILM ROOM): A tremendous athlete, Black continued the momentum of a terrific senior campaign by turning in good postseason showings. A speedy 240-pound linebacker who ran the 40 in 4.5 seconds at the combine, Black has already had official visits with seven teams. He could be drafted as early as the second round.
Jacob Bender/OT/Nicholls State: One of the best kept secrets in the nation, the 6-foot-6-inch Bender moves like a basketball player on the football field. And though he's athletic, Bender has the ability to displace opponents on the field. Possessing a lot of upside, he has visited eight teams. Don't be surprised if he comes off the board in the early part of the draft's second day.
Courtney Brown/CB/Cal-Poly: Brown has garnered a lot of interest since his pro day. Measuring just over 6-1 and 196-pounds, Brown twice broke 4.4 when he ran for scouts. Visiting and working out for nearly a half dozen teams, Brown could go in the fourth round.
David Jones/CB/Wingate: Playing only two seasons of high school football, Jones has recently attracted a lot of attention from the NFL. His playing skills are only surpassed by his character, as scouts rave about his work ethic and dedication. Four teams brought Jones in for a visit. He is likely to be drafted in the middle rounds.
Chris Jackson/P-PK/LSU: Some punter or kicker comes out of nowhere to be selected almost every draft. Jackson could be that player this year. He averaged more than 40 yards per punt in college and had a career long field goal of 53 yards. He's already worked out for three teams.
Robert Turner/G/New Mexico: Three wrist surgeries the past two years have caused Turner to fly under the radar, but the wide-bodied blocker who dominates as both a pass protector and run blocker is beginning to get notice again. Nearly a half-dozen teams will be on hand on Wednesday as Turner finally works out for league scouts.
Greg Peterson/DL/North Carolina Central: The 6-5 All America lineman comes off an impressive year and is moving up draft boards. Weighing 275 pounds at his pro-day, Peterson ran in the mid 4.8s and looked impressive during position drills. He's likely to slide into the late rounds.