April 30, 2011 by
A close up of 3 Small School Prospects-By Matt Elder-Special Contributor-Football Reporters Online
Matt takes a closer look at three prospects for this draft from smaller schools.
Every year scouts from all over the country fly into places like Columbus, South Bend, and Athens. They come looking for the next big thing, the next sure fire prospect, and the guy who’s going to take their team to that next level. However every year players emerge that are not from places like Madison, Tuscaloosa, or Eugene instead these players come from places like Hampton, Charleston, and Hillsdale. Every year players come from the lower levels of college football and leave draft fans asking “Who?” on draft weekend. This article is going to over three players who are looking to be the next small school prospect to leave their mark on the NFL. We’ll look at one prospect who will get drafted, one who should get drafted, and one who deserves to get drafted.
Who Will Get His Shot…
DT Kendrick Ellis-
A dancing bear out on the field, Ellis’s combination of size and athleticism is frankly frightening to opposing offenses. Coming from a very tradition rich Hampton program, Ellis has seen his stock sky rocket since his year ended in November. Ellis has a terrific first step as he explodes across the line of scrimmage and often catches the opposing offensive lineman off guard and gets the immediate advantage. He plays with very good leverage, and knows how to get low and explode out of his stance. He is incredibly strong coming out of his stance often being able to overpower players at the point of attack. I would like to see Ellis work hard on the fundamentals. He needs to stay low throughout the play, Ellis has a tendency to get high after initial contact and this can cause him to lose leverage battles. It has gone unnoticed by many due to his level of competition, because of how strong Ellis is he has been able to blow through most of the interior lineman he faced regardless of his technique, so he has never had a need to perfect that. There are questions about Ellis’s character and work ethic after his dismissal from South Carolina. Ellis was initially suspended for part of 2008 for an undisclosed violation of team rules over the summer, and right before SEC media day Ellis was dismissed from the team for yet another violation. What caused the violation has never been disclosed but one has to assume that this has to be more than simply missing a curfew or being late to a team meeting. That being said seeing how far Ellis has risen on most boards is a sign that he must be answering questions surrounding his dismissal the right way and convincing people that he is worth the risk that comes along with taking players with character concerns.
6’4, 346 lbs., 35” Arms, 10.5” Hands, 5.28 40, 26 Bench Press Reps (225 lbs.)
2010-94 Tackles, 15 TFL’s, 2 Sacks, 2 FF, and 5 QB Hurries
2009-51 Tackles, 15 TFL’s, 1.5 Sacks, 1 FF, and 2 QB Hurries
Who Should Get His Shot…
CB Cortez Allen
The Citadel is known as a military college with a renowned Corps of Cadets program. Not much is made of or even thought of about their football team…until this year. This year everybody is buzzing about the tall and athletic CB in Cortez Allen. He is the type of prospect that scouts drool over and that can drive a coach to pull their hair out. The issue with Allen has always been his inconsistent technique and playmaking ability. He seems to lack the instincts you want in a lock down CB despite his measurables. His 5 career INT’s over 41 games played give people plenty to wonder about. However keep in mind that Allen was unquestionably the top player at Citadel and was purposely avoided by some teams in an effort to minimize his impact on the game. However when he was thrown at he didn’t always show the skills needed to go after the ball and make a play on it. This is concerning because when watching him on tape you fall in love with everything he does prior to the pass getting there. He has the speed to stay with almost all of the WR’s he will be matched up against, he showed the hip fluidity to transition from his backpedal to his sprint with little loss of momentum, and he did a great job of understanding his zone coverage responsibilities. The questions surrounding Allen are all about can you get him to take that next step in his development and go from good cover corner to a true lock down man to man cover corner? If he can do that, somebody is going to have a late round steal on their hands in a relatively weak DB class.
6’1, 197 lbs, 32” Arms, 8.5” Hands, 4.51 40, 4.01 Shuttle, 6.76 3 Cone, 35” Vertical, 10’09” Broad
2010-22 Tackles, 1 TFL, 2 INT’s, 5 PBU’s, 1 TD
2009-57 Tackles, 3 INT’s, 5 PBU’s, 1 TD
Who Deserves His Shot…
WR Andre Holmes-Hillsdale
Never heard of him? Doesn’t worry neither have many other people who are just now reading his name for the first time. Let me tell you why you’ll want to know his name as we draw closer to the 2011 NFL Draft. Holmes hails from DII Hillsdale College which plays in the powerful GLIAC conference which is one of the stronger football conferences in DII. He has put up back to back 1,000 yard receiving seasons and really became a more consistent big play receiver in 2010. The 6’4 WR has made a habit of towering over most CB’s and that was also the case at this year’s NFLPA Texas v. The Nation game where he showed off good body control, and a willingness to fight through tackles and pick up extra YAC yards. The athleticism that Holmes showed off during the NFLPA game is reinforced by the fact that he was the 2010 Triple Jump Champion from the GLIAC conference. Holmes had questions remaining about his overall speed and ability to possibly separate at the next level as he headed to Indianapolis for this year’s combine. At the combine he proceeded to answer those questions laying down an impressive 4.53 40 yard dash to go along with an even more impressive 6.69 3 cone drill which shows off his quickness and ability to change directions. Moving up a level Holmes needs to show more explosiveness off the line. He’s going to face more consistent and effective jams in the NFL in an effort to neutralize his down the field size advantage. He needs to show more urgency in trying to get into his routes and must learn to fire off the line to try and beat the jam. Should be an effective red zone weapon early on in his career but I think he has Marques Colston type potential as a big WR who if he learns to be just a little more physical could become dominant in time.
6’4, 210lbs., 34” Arms, 8.5” Hands, 4.53 40, 4.31 Shuttle, 6.69 3 Cone 35” Vertical, 10’10” Broad
2010-104 Receptions, 1,368 Yards, 11 TD’s
2009-77 Receptions, 1,076 Yards, 6 TD’s
*this piece is even more timely now thta Mr. Ellis is a member of the NY Jets-The Eds*