Bryce Brown- RB Formerly Tennesse University and Kansas State University:
Every Year in the preseason there seems to be a few guys throughout the league that seemingly came out of no where. The best examples of this phenomena would be Victor Cruz, Arian Foster and even the Steelers own Isaac Redman. Less than a month away from the draft some prospects are also impressing scouts with their ability and relative mystery. The following are the back stories behind some of the prospects that have really impressed the scouts according to accounts of their Pro Days.
At his Pro Day-
Brown impressed scouts with his athleticism the 6', 223lbs running back ran the forty and was clock with a low time of a 4.37s and a high time of 4.45s. He had a vertical jump of 34" and put up 22 repetitions in the bench press at 225lbs. According to the accounts he showed scouts why he was once heralded as one of the best highschool running backs ever and definite secured an invite to camp. However the numerous character concerns will keep him from being drafted.
Ironically I began this post about unheard of prospects with a prospect that was at one time hyped to be the second coming of Barry Sanders and coming out of high school was considered to be the best RB since Adrian Petersen. At the time he was rated higher than even Trent Richardson but now he will probably not be considered draft worthy. Brown was considered a good student and an amazing athlete. Unfortunately he had an ego and fell in with a recruiter that did not have his best interest in mind. After the huge publicity surrounding his signing, he decided to go to Tennessee. As a true freshman in the SEC he rushed for 460 yards on 101 carries and had three touchdowns. The spring of his freshman year in the wake of Lane Kiffin leaving the program Brown wanted to transfer to Kansas State to play with his brother among other reasons. He was told he would not be let go of his scholarship and therefore could not get a scholarship at Kansas State. He had to then miss a year because of the transfer and pay his way through college. Still listening to Butler the recruiter who many in college football despised, Brown missed voluntary workouts to do "his own thing". He left the football program after having only three carries. The head coach said he was going through a hard time in the wake of NCAA investigations and the change of scenery. Brown declared early for the draft.
Here are highlights from Brown's freshman year at Tennessee.
Chris Greenwood, CB Albion:
At His Pro Day-
The 6' 1 1/2" 193lbs CB prospect from Albion impressed scouts at his Pro Day with his amazing athleticism. He ran his forty yard dash timed at 4.34s. He continued his athletic display by posting an 11'2" broad jump and an amazing 43" vertical jump. He impressed every scout there but reported really drew the eyes of the Steelers scouts that were present.
You may be thinking how is a tall prospect, who moves extremely well and has this elite athleticism not better known? Coming out of high school he was given only a couple of scholarship opportunities. He decided to go to Northwood because they recruited him to play his desired position of corner. After a year though he left Northwood because "he did not like the atmosphere at the college." He transferred to Eastern Michigan University but due to credit transfer issues he never saw the field in the year he was there. He then transferred to a school where he could play immediately, Albion. The school that currently has less students then my high school did at 1,513. He was so dominant at Albion that teams rarely threw his way. During his career his two year career there he had 4 INT returns for TDs. In his senior year he finished with 24 tackles and 2 Ints. Greenwood shut down his side of the field so effectively that the rest of the team prospered. The Britons led their conference in Ints with 15 as a team. He was selected in his senior year as a Division III All-American and was invited to the East-West Shrine game. During practices Greenwood showed some flashes but also showed the difficulties from coming from a small time school. At his Pro Day he said scouts didn't ask him about football related questions but more personal and character based questions. He implied they seemed very interest in a prospect that came from a school most had never heard of. he did say scouts had been comparing him to Antonio Cromartie and that his favorite CB of all time was Charles Woodson.
From an evaluation stand point Greenwood is unpolished according to most. He has terrific straight line speed but does have some struggles in change of direction though it isn't a major concerns. He did struggle with route recognition at the East-West Shrine game and also gave too much of a cushion because he was not familiar to playing with higher level competition. He is considered raw and a sixth round to undrafted prospect. My guess is he gets drafted purely on the height, weight, speed aspect.
Here is a highlight film of Greenwood from his Albion years. As you can see he was by far the fastest player on the field when he played.
Tim Fugger, DE/OLB Vanderbilt:
At His Pro Day-
Tim Fugger put in a surprisingly athletic day. At 6'3 1/2" 248lbs the potential 3-4 OLB prospect ran a 4.55 forty yard dash. He did 29 repetitions of 225lbs on the bench press and put up a 6.97 3 cone , 4.10 short shuttle and 34" vertical jump. He also looked surprisingly fluid in both the defensive line and linebacker drill, where he displayed an ability to drop back.
His Back Story-
Fugger is a former TE and DE in high school. During his Vanderbilt career he recorded 91 tackles (53 solo), 11.5 sacks including 18.5 tackles for loss. His senior year he put up 34 tackles (21 solo), 13.5 for loss and 7.5 sacks. He was second team All-SEC in his senior year and became a leader on the defensive line. Though he looked fluid in his work out in his game tape he showed some slight stiffness. He is considered to have push himself into the last day of the draft and could be a good special teams player and possibly contributor for a NFL team. He seems like a good character guy and was quoted saying this about his Pro Day,
“I worked my tail off, so I hope some people are now thinking a little different about me than they were before,” Fugger told the media after his workout. “I came out and put up the numbers I did while training, so hopefully that helped me out a bit.”
Korey Toomer OLB Idaho-
At His Pro Day-
Measuring 6'2" 236lbs Toomer put in an great performance for the scouts in attendance. He ran his forty yard dash in 4.49s, completed 20 reps at 225lbs in the bench. However the story of his work out was his vertical jump. He jump over the 40" maximum the device present could measure. Scout decided to credit it as 41". He tahn went on to perform brilliantly in drills for the eight teams there.
His Back Story-
If you asked the scouts prior to the season they probably couldn't tell you who Toomer was. He wasn't even seen as camp fodder material. Transferring to Idaho from Arizona Western Junior college he barely played in 2009. In 2010 he took a red shirt year i believe for medical reasons. In the spring of 2011 the team needed a new leader on defense due to the loss of their leading tackler to graduation. Toomer step up to the challenge. He won a starting spot and in the season was there leading tackler and a leader on the defense. He had 68 tackles (30 solo) led the team in sacks with 4, had 4 pass defensed, one interception and converted a two points as a fullback. Toomer impressed so much that he now has 16 pre-draft visits and looks to have made his way into the final day of the draft. He need to bulk up but he is seen as a good special teams prospect and possible contributor to a 4-3 defense at the Will.
Derek Carrier, WR Beloit-
At His Pro Day-
The 6'3" 240lbs prospect left scouts scrambling to get tape on him. He ran under a 4.5 40 yard dash reports estimate about a 4.47 had a 40 inch vertical leap a 10'2" broad jump and a ridiculous 6.67 3 cone drill time. He look fluid in his routes and by the end of his Pro Day had two dozen requests for game film by team officials.
His Back Story-
Carrier went to Beliot after his mom received a call about the school his junior year. Though in his junior year he was being recruited by Division I Wisconsin he focused on basket ball his senior year and that recruitment dried up. Beliot never lost interest in him though. Again another ridiculously small school with only 1250 students. He decided to go there because it was one of the few schools recruiting him in his senior year to play both football and basket ball. At Beloit he shattered the school records for receiving. With 189 receptions 3,111 yards and 29 TDs. This last year he also broke the schools single season receptions record with 75 catches for 1250 yards and 12 TDs. During his 3 year career at Beliot he had 15 100yard receiving games. This was inspite of being double teamed nearly every play and having a poor QB and overall team as a Senior. Carrier wasn't just a football player though he played basketball and ran track at the Division III school.Carrier in track was a long jump, triple jump and 55m runner but succeed most in the long jump. He was a leader and a 100% effort guy will in college. He was quoted saying,
“The one aspect I will take away from being a student-athlete is my strive for greatness, perfection, and success in both the classroom and on the field. I have a very difficult time being involved in something if I can’t give it 100% of my effort and attention, so in the classroom I devote a lot of time to reading, studying, and preparing for class just as I devote a lot of my time to training, watching film, and taking care of my body on the football field. I also believe that in order to be truly successful, in any field, one needs to be able devote their time and effort wholeheartedly into their goal.”
Carrier isn't just a football player. Majoring and Health and Society, a pre-med major, he was on the Deans list every semester, was a Presidential Scholar and a team captain. He was a two time All-conference selection and a D3 All-American. At the D3 Classic he impressed the coaches with an amazing TD grab in the back of the endzone. I can say without a doubt that Carrier will be on a team some where. He has great athleticism, size, character and smarts. Carrier will probably be drafted in the seventh round and could either put on weight and be a TE or drop some weight and be a WR. I think the latter would suit him better in the long run. His coach has already admitted being in contact with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Seattle Seahawks prior to his performance in Madison Wisconsin.
In the United States there are numerous amount of colleges. Some of the smaller ones many scouts haven't even heard of. When these small prospect then attend a major colleges Pro Day by invitation some of them are discovered for the first time. These were just some of the prospects that really stood out among the crowd and will surely get an invite to camp. There are more and will be more of those that impress as the Pro Days continue.