Once again, I think we need to take notice of several unknown prospects that teams will be looking at come draft day. I'm sure later in the year, you're going to start hearing a little more about these players in particular, but I'd like to give you all a jump on that. So without further introduction, here we go.
1. Jared Veldheer-OT-Hillsdale, 6-7 321 4.89
You talk about one athletic kid, this guy can move. At almost 6-8 and 320 pounds, and a former varsity basketball player, he figures to clock in the 4.9's at the combine if he is invited, which I expect he will be. Veldheer is a power offensive tackle who excels in run blocking, while also dominating in pass blocking. Veldheer is recognized as a team leader and he earned first-team all-conference/all-region honors last season. I believe he could make a perfect right tackle for us. Granted, his level of competition helps him look a little better, but he has all the tools and athleticism to be a fantastic player in the NFL. He would need to be developed, which is why his ceiling would likely be the late 3rd round. But he sits as a late 3rd to late 5th round prospect currently, but I'm willing to bet his potential and upside gets him selected no later than the 4th. Read more on Veldheer here.
2. Brandon Sharpe-DE/OLB-Texas Tech, 6-3 254 4.82
Sharpe has quietly put up some pretty dang gaudy sack numbers this season, and is the nation's 2nd leading sacker, with 13 on the year, dominating upper level competition with multi-sack games against Oklahoma (2.5 sacks), Kansas (2.5), Nebraska (4), and Kansas State (2). Sharpe could be better against the run, but his numbers rushing the passer cannot be ignored. He knows how to get his hands up into passing lanes, shown by his 5 passes batted down this year. Along with his 13 sacks, Sharpe has 2 FF and 1 Fumble Recovery as well.
3. Danny Batten-DE/OLB-South Dakota St., 6-3 250 4.68
Batten is another small-schooler who deserves some recognition. He shares his conference's Defensive Player of The Year Award with another fine prospect in James Ruffin of Northern Iowa. Batten finished the year with 19.5 TFL and 9 sacks, having one of his best games against Minnesota where he racked up 1 sack and 1.5 TFL. More speedy than powerful, Batten figures to be a middle to late round guy at this point. Like Ruffin, I'd expect him to go in the 5th to 6th round range.
[ Edited by OnTheClock on Nov 26, 2009 at 2:45 PM ]