I have been breaking down film like crazy over the past few weeks getting ready for the NFL Draft. I have been able to speak with tons of NFL Draft eligible players this year; that can’t wait for their opportunity to shine in the NFL. Over the past few months, I have met some very good people in NFL front offices as well as scouts in the regional areas, and have had numerous talks with them. When you break down athletes you can’t get hooked on a player because of numbers at a combine, or because their agent let’s you get an interview with them. You have to break down the player based on the play. Film does not lie, and over the past few months, I have watched several players who I think should be given a shot based on play alone. Well since the beginning of this year, I have had the ability to keep up with the players, their agents and talk to NFL scouts about these players. So which 10 players are creating a buzz on the NFL front from small schools? Let’s find out, take a poll which player will be the biggest riser?
#10 – Greg Zuerlein, K – Missouri Western – I broke down film of this kid and being that I was a kicker I wanted to see what this kid could do. Well after seeing the film, I believe he might be the best kicker in this draft. I know that sounds crazy, but I am not the only one who believes this. I talked with several scouts and asked them who the best kicker was and 5 of them told me it was Greg Zuerlein. He has very good leg strength and shows great punch in the kick. His hip movement is solid and he very rarely pushes the ball. He could be a steal for a team in the late rounds.
#9 – Thomas Mayo, WR – Cal (PA) – How come no one is talking about Thomas Mayo? That is my question, this kid was a beast all year at Cal (PA) and has not stopped trying to make a point that he deserves to be at the next level. Get ready because he will be there soon, he should be drafted and to be honest, at the East/West Shrine game practices, he looked great. He showed that he could get separation on stud players against him, and did it without problem. Watch out for Thomas Mayo this year, he could be a sleeper that shows he is ready.
#8 – BJ Coleman, QB, Tennessee Chattanooga – This kid’s stock has flew up since the Combine. Coleman has been impressive all season, but let’s be honest he is a very solid QB who is not afraid to wing the ball. He has very good touch and looks good in the pocket. I think Coleman’s recent visits could be a good sign that teams see him as a quality player in the NFL. Don’t be surprised to hear his name a lot earlier than expected.
#7 – Rico Wallace, WR – Shenandoah – Rico has had one of the most impressive careers in Division 3 football as a wide receiver. He broke several Shenandoah records at wide out and has continued to impress one NFL team a lot. I spoke with several NFL scouts who said they never heard of him back in January, now they hearing about him. He had a pretty good showing at the James Madision pro day and then killed the competition at the BSN Showcase in Akron, Ohio.
#6 – Dan DiLella, QB – Albany – DiLella is a big QB, who has a ton of arm strength. I talked with his trainer who told me that DiLella is one of the hungriest NCAA players he has ever seen. DiLella has had practice throwing to stud wide outs at his training facility and is continuing to grow. He has blown up his competition everywhere he has gone. He has been killing the workouts in which he has had numerous. He had a workout the past two days, one with the Giants and one with the Jets. DiLella looks like he is beginning to rise because of his great showings. Look out for Dan D, to be on a roster come next season.
#5 – Gino Gradkowski , OG/OC – Delaware - Gino is starting to make his way around the NFL already. He has had numerous visits, with teams such as the Titans, Colts, Jaguars and others. Gino is a perfect small schooler because he has the ability to play both the anchor of the line as well as guard. Gino’s brother Bruce has played in the NFL since 2006. Gino has impressed many scouts as of late, where he had made plans to travel to different cities for visits. Gino showed he can play both positions at the Casino Del Sol Bowl in Arizona and will continue to show NFL scouts that he has it both physically and mentally to make it to the NFL.
#4 – Adrian Hamilton, DE/OLB – Prairie View A&M - When the season started no one, mark my words, "NO ONE" knew who Adrian Hamilton was. He quickly showed why people should know who he is. After posting 20.5 sacks this year Hamilton’s name is no longer a name that no one knows. I talked with several scouts about Adrian this year, and one scout said it best "If you want Adrian Hamilton, you better draft him, because he will not be there as a free agent." Several teams have shown interest in Hamilton who like him as both as an OLB and a Rushing DE on pass plays.
#3 – Ryan Davis, DE/OLB – Bethune Cookman - His stock has been rising immensely since his last game at the Battle of Florida where he finished with a sack. Davis has been growing confidence in his play, and many scouts are seeing it. I talked with several NFL scouts who believe that Davis has the ability to be a great asset on any team. Davis still has a journey but after visiting with several teams such as the Bucs, Bengals, Cardinals and others, Davis could hear his name called on day 3.
#2 – Chris Greenwood, CB – Albion, – Chris Greenwood is not a household name, but he has been showing NFL scouts that he has what it takes to play in the next level. Greenwood is a Division 3 player who went to the Michigan pro day and ended up blowing away the scouts. He ran a 4.34 forty, had a 43 inch vertical and an 11’2 broad jump. His film was by far way more interesting. Greenwood was a ball hawk at Albion and was able to use his long arms to jump routes. Greenwood is a 6’0 corner who has the ability to play bump and run and stick with the player. He has what it takes, and is on the rise. He has been very busy this offseason on workouts with NFL teams.
#1 – Dale Moss, WR – South Dakota State - Dale’s stock has probably risen the highest out of any small school player, because of his athletic ability. NFL teams are looking for the next Antonio Gates type of player, and Moss the former 4 year starter in basketball at South Dakota State is ready to show NFL teams that he can play at the next level. After an amazing pro day, Moss’ agent has been getting phone calls from everywhere. Moss could be a guy that is a super sleeper who is gaining tons of steam. The Bengals have been interested in Dale Moss.