With the Draft only a couple of months away teams are in full scout mode going to college pro days as well as holding personal workouts with players they feel could make an impact on their team. What very few people ever catch are the gems that fall right through the cracks on draft day with little notice. Then there are the small school offensive players that have come to the table with a lot to offer right off the bat, players like Jerry Rice, Joe Flacco, and Vincent Jackson. Who are those players this year? Who is going to go from small time to the prime time this season?
Jeff Janis WR, Saginaw Valley State
(photo credit to www.iosconews.com)
Janis is a two-time first-team AP Little All-American. After posting 1,572 receiving yards and 14 catches for scores Janis was invited to the 2014 Senior Bowl. After not getting to many reps he finished with two catches and seven yards. At the NFL Combine Janis came in at 6’3 219 pounds. Running a 4.42 forty yard dash and throwing the weight up twenty times Janis didn’t fail to catch the eyes of some team scouts at the combine. The problem with Janis is with all the size and speed he has, he fails to use it. He cradles passes and if you watch his film he uses his body instead of using his length and height. Overall grade for Janis is a 65 of 100 he has a 37.5 vertical which makes him a redone threat as long as he can learn to use his frame and step up from D II talent to the NFL’s elite cover corners.
Billy Turner OT, North Dakota State
(photo credit to collegefootball.ap.org)
Turner is coming off of three strait national championship seasons. Starting fifty six of the fifty seven games that Turner has played he shows that he has the ability to stay healthy and be consistent. A 6’5 315 pound offensive tackle at NDSDU Turner is a nasty player, loves to add the extra hit after the whistle and has a tremendous first punch after the snap. With his foot work though it would better suit Turner to be moved to the inside where his tempered attitude and aggressiveness would best suit an NFL team. Overall grade for Turner is a 70 of 100 he needs a lot of work with his feet and he is still a very raw player with the intangibles to be molded into a premiere blocker.
Jimmy Garoppolo QB, Eastern Illinois
(photo credit to chicagotribune.com)
As soon as someone talks about small school players I immidiatly think Garopplo. Just off winning the Walter Peyton award(FCS Heisman) and throwing for over 5,000 yards in his senior campaign Garoppolo is climbing up draft boards. I currently have him as my number five QB behind Derrek Carr which is saying a lot because this years class of QBs is not shy on talent. Garoppolo is a 6’2 226 pound QB which makes him a little undersized not to mention having small hands and short arms. Garoppolo needs time to develop he seems to make his receivers work for catches and leaves the ball hanging in the air on deep passes. Used to being in the shot gun he will have to quickly have to start working on his feet as well as being able to feel pressure in the pocket. One positive that he posses is his delivery, no wind up quick wrist snap barrel of a gun throw. He has good ball speed and is an urgent decision maker, in other words "Hes Smart With the Ball". Overall grade for Garoppolo is a 78 of 100, with the talent this year he could be a forgotten prospect on draft day, hes one of those just one team has to love him guys. He brings leadership and good work ethic to whichever team picks him up and look for him to bust his tail from the start.
There are other small school offensive players out there but these three have been able to make the most out of the situation that they were given and have seemed to flourish. Just remember to keep your eyes on these guys coming off the board on one of the three days of the Draft.
Others to Watch
Jeff Mathews QB, Cornell
Isaiah Crowell RB, Alabama State
Tim Flanders RB, Sam Houston State
John Brown WR, Pitt State (KS)
And "That’s a Rapp"