There are 61 users in the forums

Remember
Not a member? Register Now!

Finding the next Victor Cruz: Three Potential UDFA WR Gems

I always like to bring attention to a few lesser-known players that I think people should know. Given the chance, here are a few players who I believe have a shot at becoming UDFA players that got overlooked in the draft and somehow wind up succeeding in the NFL. Rated from most likely to least likely.


1) Elvis Akpla, Montana State, 6-0 184 4.47
Akpla, a transfer from Oregon, looks like he has LOADS of potential to work with, and really dominated his competition at the FCS level this past year with 63 catches for 1145 yards and 11 TDs (Doing the match, that's a whopping 18.2 YPR). Not only does he have a mega-sticky pair of hands and boy did he show them off with his Sportscenter highlight catch in the FCS Championship playoff against Sam Houston State, he looks like an adept route-runner as well and when any corner plays off-man, he blows by them down the field for big plays. If you want to know how he does against top competition, well.. although his team lost to Montana this year, he roasted 2nd-3rd round prospect 6-2 200 pound Trumaine Johnson for 113 yards and a touchdown. Akpla looks like a tremendous fit for a WCO or other short, quick-hitting passing attack. You can view clips of Akpla for 2011 below:





2) Jermaine Saffold, Missouri State, 6-0 192 4.47

Saffold is another guy like Akpla who I see a ton of upside in, and like Akpla, he has improved every year with the team. This year being his best yet with 45 catches for 913 yards (for 20.3 YPR, an even bigger YPC than Akpla) and 8 touchdowns. Saffold has experience returning kicks so that is always a plus as well. Saffold gets his hands up and attacks the ball just like a receiver should, and on top of that, he will work his way back to the ball and move forward to prevent defenders from stepping in front of passes his way. As you may have seen in the Akpla video, Safford rarely gets tackled from behind. Sure it may have a little bit to do with playing at FCS level competition, but the kid can fly and you can see that speed in the clip below. I like Saffold's chances of competing for a spot on some team this coming NFL season and I feel that he, too, is a good candidate to be the next UDFA who could have success if he gets a shot.




3) Josh Cooper, Oklahoma State, 5-11 195 4.49
With Justin Blackmon and Dez Bryant stealing the show, Cooper was an afterthought to most people. However, quietly he was a contributor for his team and put up around 70 catches and 700+ yards in back to back years for the team. All the talent surrounding him would suggest that he only made plays because of the big guys taking pressure off of him, but Cooper has a good set of hands on him and is one tough customer. He's not afraid to go over the middle and will lower his head and power through defenders after the catch. Cooper looks like a bigger version of Danny Amendola in a way. Amendola was a guy who put up 1000+ yards but went undrafted due to all the focus on Michael Crabtree's unbelievable record-breaking seasons.
[ Edited by OnTheClock on Feb 12, 2012 at 11:25 AM ]
Bump.
  • sfout
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 6,193
Watched Elvis 3 or 4 times this year, hell of a player, especially in that playoff game when he made diving-flip-one handed-behind the back catch of awesomeness. Really wish I was watching it on my dvr cause I would have sat and played it back for 10 minutes if I could have lol. I still cant believe Oregon wouldn't "find" a football scholarship for him. Changed that kids life by not letting him play football for them. I hope he makes it in the NFL.

Cooper caught my eyes a lot over the past couple of seasons, He looks really fluid on the field, like he isn't over thinking his decisions. He's also got some experience with punt returns so you never know what kind of talent is waiting to burst out of him.

Never heard of the guy from Mizzou st but wow o:
[ Edited by sfout on Feb 11, 2012 at 11:23 PM ]
So how come these guys aren't draftable? Worth a 7th maybe???
  • sfout
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 6,193
Originally posted by WillistheWall:
So how come these guys aren't draftable? Worth a 7th maybe???

I think it comes down to #'s, the amount of prospects that are exiting the NCAA. Players like these guys fall through the cracks, not getting invited to the senior bowl, Shrine game, combine, etc. Sure they might draw a handfull of scouts to their pro day but that one day is almost never enough to convince a team to use a draft pick on a guy when you can safely go for a guy who has been reported as 6th or 7th round pick for the entire season.
Originally posted by sfout:
Originally posted by WillistheWall:
So how come these guys aren't draftable? Worth a 7th maybe???

I think it comes down to #'s, the amount of prospects that are exiting the NCAA. Players like these guys fall through the cracks, not getting invited to the senior bowl, Shrine game, combine, etc. Sure they might draw a handfull of scouts to their pro day but that one day is almost never enough to convince a team to use a draft pick on a guy when you can safely go for a guy who has been reported as 6th or 7th round pick for the entire season.

true. A lot of teams drafted these type of small school lineman last year though in the 5-7th rounds. We were one of them (Person and Kilgore)... I would've liked to get Chris Neild personally.
  • sfout
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 6,193
Originally posted by WillistheWall:
Originally posted by sfout:
Originally posted by WillistheWall:
So how come these guys aren't draftable? Worth a 7th maybe???

I think it comes down to #'s, the amount of prospects that are exiting the NCAA. Players like these guys fall through the cracks, not getting invited to the senior bowl, Shrine game, combine, etc. Sure they might draw a handfull of scouts to their pro day but that one day is almost never enough to convince a team to use a draft pick on a guy when you can safely go for a guy who has been reported as 6th or 7th round pick for the entire season.

true. A lot of teams drafted these type of small school lineman last year though in the 5-7th rounds. We were one of them (Person and Kilgore)... I would've liked to get Chris Neild personally.

Neild would've been a great pick :/ but oh well it all worked out in the end :D

So go to 8:05 on Akpla's video. That block he lays on the play was absolutely beastly!

The interesting thing is that Mike Person played with Akpla and hopefully is doing some lobbying on his behalf. Would love to get Akpla on our team as the #4 WR and also return man. He has such incredible body control, dare I say Barry Sanders-esque juke moves lol..
[ Edited by sfout on Feb 11, 2012 at 11:54 PM ]
Originally posted by WillistheWall:
Originally posted by sfout:
Originally posted by WillistheWall:
So how come these guys aren't draftable? Worth a 7th maybe???

I think it comes down to #'s, the amount of prospects that are exiting the NCAA. Players like these guys fall through the cracks, not getting invited to the senior bowl, Shrine game, combine, etc. Sure they might draw a handfull of scouts to their pro day but that one day is almost never enough to convince a team to use a draft pick on a guy when you can safely go for a guy who has been reported as 6th or 7th round pick for the entire season.

true. A lot of teams drafted these type of small school lineman last year though in the 5-7th rounds. We were one of them (Person and Kilgore)... I would've liked to get Chris Neild personally.

sfout is exactly right. With not all teams needs being the same as well, this pushes players down when it simply gets to the point where teams are addressing specific needs or looking for role players, etc. later in the draft. I would absolutely LOVE it if we got Akpla. I think on our team specifically he'd have a shot.

I badly wanted Neild in the 6th or 7th last year and was disappointed when we passed up on him. He was a major contributor for Washington, and I think he's pretty clearly a better player than Ian Williams right now.
Originally posted by OnTheClock:
Originally posted by WillistheWall:
Originally posted by sfout:
Originally posted by WillistheWall:
So how come these guys aren't draftable? Worth a 7th maybe???

I think it comes down to #'s, the amount of prospects that are exiting the NCAA. Players like these guys fall through the cracks, not getting invited to the senior bowl, Shrine game, combine, etc. Sure they might draw a handfull of scouts to their pro day but that one day is almost never enough to convince a team to use a draft pick on a guy when you can safely go for a guy who has been reported as 6th or 7th round pick for the entire season.

true. A lot of teams drafted these type of small school lineman last year though in the 5-7th rounds. We were one of them (Person and Kilgore)... I would've liked to get Chris Neild personally.

sfout is exactly right. With not all teams needs being the same as well, this pushes players down when it simply gets to the point where teams are addressing specific needs or looking for role players, etc. later in the draft. I would absolutely LOVE it if we got Akpla. I think on our team specifically he'd have a shot.

I badly wanted Neild in the 6th or 7th last year and was disappointed when we passed up on him. He was a major contributor for Washington, and I think he's pretty clearly a better player than Ian Williams right now.

Yeah I like Ian's potential to play NT but I called that all the way bro. Neild was a beast NT in WVU's 3-3-5, takes skills. He would've been a perfect back up for Soap. Oh well. I wanted the LB that NYG took who had cancer too and he ended up starting for them and helping them win a title.

I have confidence in Haarbaalke and all but I was right in those instances.
Here's to hoping Baalke saw the talent in Akpla when he was watching Mike Person last year and knowing our WR woes bring him in or takes a shot on him in the 7th like he did with Person.
  • sfout
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 6,193
To illustrate my point on the lack of notice a player like Akpla gets. He is not on the official combine invite list so we'll have to keep our eyes peeled for local media reports on what pro days we send scouts to.
wrong thread*
[ Edited by GuessWhosOn3rd on Feb 12, 2012 at 9:51 AM ]
Originally posted by ChaunceyGardner:

Perhaps we spend a 7th on him like we did with Mike Person? I would be ecstatic. At the very least we NEED to get this guy into our camp if we can. West Coast player (born in Portland) and someone who should look at our roster and see he has a legitimate shot at making an impact.
Lavon Brazill - 5'10/190 - Ohio: