NFL Draft should become busier for Kansas in 2015


The most shocking aspect of Thursday night’s coverage of the first round of the NFL draft involved the amount of shock expressed over Notre Dame middle linebacker Manti Te’o not getting drafted. Why did anyone consider him a first-round talent? He’s slow and stiff, not nearly agile enough to project as a front-line NFL player.

Te’o couldn’t tackle Alabama running back Eddie Lacey in the BCS title game. The surprise should have been over Lacey not getting drafted. Anybody who had Te’o ranked higher than Lacey must not have seen that game.

During the second round must we endure more speculative talk of teams trading up to get Te’o, when it’s clear he’s not talented enough to motivate a team to go to all that trouble to get him?

Might as well speculate that teams are trading up to get Tanner Hawkinson and Bradley McDougald, the two top prospects from Kansas in this year’s draft. Prediction: Hawkinson will be selected in the seventh round Saturday, McDougald either the same round or not at all. For Hawkinson, a lack of strength by NFL lineman standards will be what keeps him from getting drafted Friday, when the second and third rounds take place. For McDougald, unsure tackling will keep him from being considered earlier than late Saturday.

A year from now, James Sims will be a draft prospect and in 2015 several Kansas players could hear their names called.

Andrew Bolton, a defensive end who was bound for LSU out of junior college until he suffered a knee injury, has more of an NFL look than anybody on KU’s roster. He is expected to report this summer and if his knee has recovered sufficiently projects as a 2015 draft pick.

Defensive tackle Marquel Combs and safety Isaiah Johnson, junior college transfers on course to join the team in the summer, also have a lot of potential. So do defensive linemen Chris Martin and Keon Stowers, both spring standouts. Does Ben Heeney have a big enough frame to add enough weight? Wide receiver/running back/return man Tony Pierson has speed that will capture the attention of NFL scouts. Wide receiver Justin McCay has everything but blinding speed that scouts like in a receiver.

“McCay reminds me of Keyshawn (Johnson) when I first got to the Jets,” Weis said. “Routes were always a little short, not the fastest guy in the world, big, strong, tough, will catch everything you throw to him, will block everyone with physicality. Keyshawn was the first pick in the entire draft, so if he reminds me of Keyshawn ... They even wear the same number (19).”

McCay’s favorite receiver: “Keyshawn Johnson.”

Jake Heaps is on the small side for a pocket passer, but that won't stop him from getting drafted if he throws with a great deal of accuracy during his two years running the Jayhawks' offense.

KU connections in Thursday's first round were indirect ones. Tight end Tyler Eifert, recruited to Notre Dame by Weis, went to the Cincinnati Bengals with the 21st pick. Wide receiver/return man Cordarrelle Patterson was chosen by the Miami Dolphins with the 29th selection. Stowers and he are cousins.


Max Ledom 9 years, 5 months ago

James Sims a future first rounder for sure. Well not for sure, but KU is do for a big time NFL offensive player. James is it.

Joe Ross 9 years, 5 months ago

Charlie Weis is sitting on a lot of talent at Kansas. He knows it too. Must be hard to know that and not be anxious to get on the field, while enduring the low expectations of the pundits. I bet he's itching to show them.

rockchalk_dpu 9 years, 5 months ago

Considering the number of draft picks on the offensive side for Alabama, it is safe to judge him off of one game. Not only was he exposed as a poor tackler of physical backs (a common theme now that a lot of NFL teams use a thunder/lightning combo), but the other problem that the Alabama game exposed was how vital it is for Te'o to have a strong push by the defensive line for him to work. If the O-linemen get to the second level on him, he's totally neutralized from the play and has no move to escape their block. In the NFL, you are going to have to take linemen one-on-one quite a bit, so that did not bode well for his draft stock.

He may be a great kid, but he needs the perfect situation to thrive, and NFL teams know that. Because of this, they have no reason to reach for him if they know he'll be available later on, or feel they won't miss him if he somehow is taken before they predicted.

Clarence Haynes 9 years, 5 months ago

I have no problem with the weaknesses that you point out, and I am not saying that he should be a high pick. I just do not think that you can judge someone on one game. That's superficial to me. Also, to play devil's advocate, his "girlfriend" problem could have affected his play that day.

rockchalk_dpu 9 years, 5 months ago

Totally understand what you are saying about one game being too small of a sample to judge a player good or bad. I think the media has played up that game to a certain extent because it was his last impression as a college player in live action (not the underwear olympics of combines and pro days), and because the ND schedule was pretty weak last year in terms of top offensive players he went against on a weekly basis. They have to lean a little harder on small samples because watching game film of him dominate some guy from Navy doesn't mean much when he's going to face skill players closer to the talent of the USC, OU, and Alabama offenses on a weekly basis and didn't really shine in those games.

Mark Lindrud 9 years, 5 months ago

Here is the NFL thought when it comes to the Bama game. Flukes, Jones, warmack were on that line and that is what he will face 16 games a year now. Hopefully he has learned, and with coaching and film study since this is now his job he can be prepared and successful.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 9 years, 5 months ago

I think we're being a little quick to determine that any of these guys will get drafted.

Sorry to say, but 1-11 plays into that. Take the case of Sims. I am not an NFL scout, and I have no ability one way or another. But I believe that Sims will not get drafted because he plays for KU. If he played for any other school in the Big XII, he would.

The other problem with Sims, Pierson, and Cox is that....and you'll hate me for saying this....but the jury is still out on them.

Why would I say this? Two reasons. First, we were a purely running team by the end of the season. Not by choice, but by necessity. When you carry the ball 40 times a game compared to 15, your law of averages....will be higher. Any moderately talented back would be able to move the ball if given enough chances. Also, we had a veteran offensive line that was fantastic at run blocking. A luxury we will not have next year.

Secondly, keep in mind that we were getting pummelled often last year. Sims and Pierson's numbers were great, but consider that teams were letting their foot off the pedal in the second half....and that means defensively too.

I could absolutely be wrong. But admit there's a bit of logic to what I'm saying here. Their abilities may have been inflated due to the situation the team was in last year.

Hope I'm dead wrong.

KGphoto 9 years, 5 months ago

You’re dead wrong. :-)

1 - Kansas had a good offensive line for Kansas. Even then it was only on the left side. Our right side was not good. Our best offensive lineman might not even get drafted, so I think it’s unfair to say our running game is a product of a great OL.

2 - Running out of necessity means the defense knows you are going to run, and they stack the box. Yes the RBs had a lot of chances. A lot of chances to get crushed by a defense that knows they are coming.

3 - If Joseph Randle is gonna get drafted, Sims is gonna get drafted. What he lacks in elite speed he makes up for with between-the-tackles power and toughness.

4 - Reggie Mitchell has a record of producing NFL RBs. He is a great coach and a great recruiter. I think as long as he is here we will have NFL potential at the RB position.

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