Josh Norris

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Small School Standouts

Monday, December 4, 2017


Each week I’ll be looking at a group of draft-eligible NFL prospects under certain parameters. I just don’t currently have the time to watch every prospect, so coming out with a top 10 list would be disingenuous. Instead, this allows me to focus on a few players with the goal of finding where they might impact the game.

 

Top Big Play Running Backs

Top Red Zone Wide Receivers

Top Receiving Running Backs

Big Play Wide Receivers

Pass Catching Tight Ends


Even playing field. Typically this refers to small school prospects practicing with players from Power 5 programs. Each year, however, a number of these prospects with immediate, and possibly unjustified, questions make an impact during their rookie season. The Senior Bowl has released around 20 accepted invites so far, so let’s take a look at four names who fit the “small school” label.


UTSA edge rusher Marcus Davenport (6’6/255 lbs)


Let’s open with a really good one. Davenport has transformed his body over the last few years, listed as a 235-pound pass rusher a few years ago to know 255 pounds-plus. It would not be surprising to see him near 260 around the NFL Combine.


Davenport’s game has also grown. After watching his performance against Texas A&M in 2016 to opponents (albeit smaller programs) in 2017, Davenport looks more powerful and fluid, resulting in more plays behind the line of scrimmage.



He refuses to stay at the line of scrimmage. Davenport wants to occupy the backfield and uses his length, hands and hips to work past blockers. Why is that important? So many collegiate pass rushers win by solely running the arc, which is far less successful in the NFL. Davenport uses angles and his tools instead of beating heavy footed offensive tackles over and over.


As with all edge rushers and interior defensive linemen, I eagerly await Davenport’s athletic scores.


South Dakota State TE Dallas Goedert (6’5/255)


Friends. Watch this man work.



A former basketball player and walk-on at South Dakota State did that. Goedert produced a 92 reception, 1,293 yard and 11 touchdown season in 2016. There are plenty of snaps with Goedert inline and in the slot, and his routes typically consist of drags, outside breaking routes and traveling down the seam. He is not afraid to make a grab away from his body or take a hit on contact.


Stony Brook T Timon Parris (6’5/320)


Small school offensive linemen are always entertaining. In order to catch the attention of an event like the Senior Bowl, these linemen typically tower over their opponents and frequently maul them. For Parris, this is evident in the running game. Once he locks up Parris drives and moves.


The questions sprout in pass protection. Parris wins if a rusher attacks his frame, but he can appear slow-footed when protecting the edges. Parris also lacks patience in his set, leading to a forward lean and shoulders over toes extension. That puts him at an instant disadvantage. It will be monitored during the Senior Bowl.


Idaho State G Skyler Phillips (6’2/322)


There are a number of tackle to guard conversions in every draft class, and one comes to mind when looking at Phillips: Amini Silatolu. His game is all about finishing - take the opponent to the ground.



There’s not much else to say here, other than working in a phone booth for Phillips will likely aid his pass protection. He can lose when on an island at a tackle spot.



Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Josh Norris



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