Inside the War Room
In this week’s Inside the War Room I talk about some rookies I was high who didn’t make an NFL roster, some big injuries that happened this week, and much more.
Rookies who Disappointed
This week NFL teams were forced to cut their roster to 75 players.. This lead to several players I liked in the 2014 draft being cut. The top player that was cut from my 2014 draft board was Seattle Seahawks LB Jackson Jeffcoat. Jeffcoat was my highest defensive end who went undrafted, and was my 11th best defensive end overall. He was trying to make the move to linebacker in Seattle, but was beat out by Brock Coyle, and Heath Farwell. I have heard he will most likely end up being picked up by another team this season, and has a good shot at making a practice squad.
Another surprising cut was when the Cowboys released FB J.C. Copeland. Copeland was my number two fullback going into the draft, and was the top undrafted fullback on my board. He did not see much action this preseason, and according to Dallasnews.com he only played a total of six snaps.
One other cut that surprised me was Washington’s release of WR Cody Hoffman. Hoffman was the highest rated receiver on my board that went undrafted, and the 17th rated receiver on my board overall. He did not make a single reception this preseason, and saw very limited time this preseason.
While these players were dealt a significant blow to their career this week, I think at least one of these players most likely Jackson Jeffcoat will still make it in the NFL. I also think if the NFL does do some type of developmental leagued we will more than likely see several of these players playing in that leagued.
This week we saw two of the top senior prospects suffer major injuries. The first player who will miss significant is Louisville WR DeVante Parker broke the fifth metatarsal in practice last Friday. This injury will cause Parker to miss 6-8 weeks, and could end up hurting his draft stock. Before the injury I had Parker rated as the second best senior in the 2015 draft class, but have since moved him down to the number two senior receiver.
The second significant injury of the week happened when my former number two safety Josh Shaw suffered two sprained ankle sprains, and made up a heroic story about how he suffered this injury. He has since been suspended due to making up this story, and will miss significant time this season.
It will be interesting to see how these injuries affect these prospects draft status. If Parker can come back this season, and prove he is fully recovered from his injuries it should not affect them that much. On the other hand Shaw’s stock could be significantly damaged depending on how he really suffered this injury. Even if he suffered the injury in a normal way which I highly doubt his stock will be hurt due to the fact he is not the most trustworthy person.
This week’s Prospect of the Week is one of the most underrated players in college football in Gardner-Webb WR Kenny Cook. Cook was not highly recruited coming out of high school partly due to the fact he played in the wishbone, so he was obviously not featured in the team’s offense. In fact he was sought after more as a defensive back then a wide receiver coming out of high school. After high school he decided to go the junior college route and entered Garden City Junior College. He blossomed at Garden City, and led the team in receptions in 2011, which allowed him to earn a scholarship from Gardner-Webb. He has continued his development as a receiver last season hauling in 76 passes for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns. His impressive season allowed him to be named third-team FCS All-American by The Sports Network, and also put him on the Walter Payton Award Watch list for this season making him the first player from Gardner-Webb to earn this honor.
When scouting Cook the first thing that stands out is his impressive size. He is listed at 6-4 218 pound, and looks like he could easily add more weight to his frame. His 10 inch hands, and 81 inch wingspan allow him to go up in coverage and snag the ball for the big reception. Cook has been very durable as well not missing any significant time since his sophomore year in high school when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma which is thankfully in remission now.
One area I would like to see Cook improve in is not letting the ball get to his body as much. He has the ability to go get the ball with his big hands, but body catches the ball a little too much for my liking. I am not sure if he has great speed, although according to Gardner-Webb he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds. If he can run in the low 4.5’s at the NFL Combine this should not be a concern, but if he runs lower than 4.55 seconds then it is a concern for me. One other area I would like to see him improve on is his route running ability. He does not run the smoothest routes, and will need to work hard on this area of his game this year.
I currently have Cook rated as my 36th senior receiver which would earn him a priority free agent grade. However, he can improve in this area if he proves he has legitimate high 4.5 speed, and improves on his other weaknesses.
Ten Football Thoughts
- I think the NCAA made the correct choice in denying Dorial Green-Beckham’s waiver to play this season. The NCAA would have been making a horrible decision if they had allowed him to play, and basically would have been telling players if you get in trouble, and are suspended just transfer to another school and you can play right away.
- I think the most underrated defensive player going into the 2014 season is Pitt State CB DeVante Bausby. Bausby has outstanding speed and size running a 4.44 40-yard dash and coming in at six-foot-two. He has also been productive on the field leading Pitt State in pass breakups with ten, and recording three interceptions last season. I honestly can’t understand why this prospect is not gaining more attention from the scouting community.
- I think the most overrated defensive player going into the season is Louisville DE Lorenzo Mauldin. Mauldin is an undersized defensive end coming in at only 243 pounds. He lacks the athletic ability to start at outside linebacker in the NFL as well. On the positive side he has been very productive in college recording 9.5 sacks last season, but I just don’t see his skill set allowing him to start in the NFL.
- I think an underrated running back is Purdue’s Akeem Hunt. Hunt is a downhill runner who shows good power. He can catch the ball out of the backfield as well hauling in 38 receptions for 340 yards. I currently have Akeem carrying a priority free agent grade.
- I think one of the more surprising moves this week is Georgia listing MLB Ramik Wilson as a backup for their game vs. Clemson. Wilson missed significant time in camp due to a concussion. He led the SEC in tackles last season with 133, and is currently my second best senior MLB. I have heard some concerns about his work ethic which could also led to him being listed as a backup.
- I think it will be interesting to see if Oklahoma TE Blake Bell lives up to the expectations people are setting for him this season. I have heard numerous people rave about his abilities at tight end especially when it comes to his outstanding hands. If he can live up to the hype look for him to earn a second round draft grade.
- I think the four teams that will make the final four in football will be Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, and Michigan State. I also think Michigan State will lose to Oregon on September 6th, but it will be a close game and the Spartans will win out after this game which will allow them to make the final four.
- I think the Missouri Valley Conference is loaded at running back this season. We could easily three backs drafted from the MVC this year including UNI’s David Johnson, North Dakota State’s John Crockett, and South Dakota State’s Zach Zenner. Southern Illinois’s Malcolm Agnew also earns a priority free agent grade on my board.
- I think I am disappointed not to see Eastern Illinois QB Andrew Manley get the start vs. Minnesota. While I am not as high on Manley as some people in the scouting community are, I am rather surprised not to see him as the starting quarterback at the FCS level. If he is to win the starting job he will have to prove he can start and excel at the FCS level.
- I think the more I cover the draft, and find out about football players the more I realize most players are high quality people. Unfortunately a few players make poor decisions that make athletes in general look bad.
Braxton Miller underwent surgery this week to repair his shoulder. The surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews. … The Sports Network predicts DE Lynden Trail will win the Buck Buchanan Award which goes to the most outstanding FCS defensive player. … Former Northwestern RB Venric Mark has transferred to West Texas A&M. … Stony Brook RB Marcus Coker has been suspended for the season opener. … Louisville RB Michael Dyer has been battling a quadriceps injury. … Kentucky DE Bud Dupree will see some time at OLB this season. … Look for Florida FB Hunter Joyer to be more involved in the passing game this year. … Alabama MLB Trey DePriest has been suspended for the season opener vs. West Virginia due to a minor NCAA infraction. …