On July 12th, the NFL will hold it’s supplemental draft for those college players that due to special circumstances ask the league to allow them a special opportunity for early access to the league. Some might deal with off-the-field problems or unable to keep their grades up or a family emergency where the player needs to try and take care of his family now instead of a year from now.
I always got a kick every year how the NFL would hold it supplemental draft during the time that most personnel departments are on vacation. But there will be a different feel to this year’s draft because there are a couple of players that are worth teams diving in on.
There are eight names for the draft but I am going to break down the three players that I feel will most likely be selected. I will start with Baylor wide receiver Josh Gordon. On tape there is a lot to like about Gordon and I will start with his size at 6-3 and 220 pounds. The time I have on Gordon is 4.43 in the 40 but he appears to play much faster than that. For a tall guy he has really good start – stop quickness which is usually a trait that tall receivers don’t have. He is fluid in his movement and he able to adjust to the ball in route. Most of his work is done on the outside. Is a physical player coming off the line and is not afraid to mix it up with corners.
He’s a slippery player with the ball in his hands. Has the ability to take short passes and make them long gains. Has a burst with the ball in his hands. Only saw him drop one ball on a crossing route against Texas A&M and even then, he really had separation on the corner. Does a nice job of catching the ball in his hands and quickly getting up the field. Does a really nice job of catching the ball on the move. Can cover some ground.
If he has a weakness, it’s his inexperience in running many routes. That is something that he is going to have to be taught. Baylor had a receiver that went to Tennessee in the first round this year named Kendall Wright who you saw in different places in the formation and down the field. This player is not like that but you can feel him when he is running with the ball in his hands.
Where teams are going to have to make the call on Gordon is that are the off-the-field issues something that you cannot handle? This is one talented football player that will most likely go in the 3rd round because in my view, in the 2013 draft, you will not be able to select a player of his kind of ability.
My next player that you need to keep an eye is right here from Ft Worth and TCU. Running back Ed Wesley reminds me of one those backs that use to carry the ball for Mike Shanahan with the Broncos or even now with Gary Kubiak and the Houston Texans.
Wesley plays in a spread offense where the majority of his carries are inside hand offs out of the shot gun. Wesley is a one-cut back that is physical in his running style and tries to punish the tackler at every chance he gets. It’s a rotating system at TCU so there are times where you see him on the field then off for two plays. Wesley will take the ball, locate the hole then lower his head and bounce off defenders. When he does burst through the hole, he can show a little burst but he doesn’t have the extended speed that you would see from a home run back. In the SMU game, he was caught from behind in the open field on a long run.
Where Wesley is productive is catching the ball out of the backfield. Have seen him start in motion, then turn it up the field snatching the ball out of the air. Looks like he has natural hands and does not struggle to catch. Gave nice effort as a blocker that plays with a little pop but isn’t in the same class as a guy like Phillip Tanner. Needs a better base after the strike. Like the player overall and see him with a team that likes to run the stretch play allowing him to press the hole hard then make a cut. Does two of the three things well for a NFL running back. Will get an opportunity because of his ability.
The final player that I feel has an opportunity to get selected in this upcoming supplemental draft is Boise State cornerback Quaylon Ewing-Burton. This young man started four games for the Broncos in 2011 and finished the season with 26 tackles and one pass break up.
When Ewing-Burton made his starts it was at left corner but he did get some snaps on the right side as well. Was used as a blitzer like a former Boise corner, Orlando Scandrick but he didn’t have the same burst or quickness that Scandrick shows. When you study Ewing-Burton you see a player with quick feet but like I mentioned, you don’t see the quick reactions. There are times when he pedals where he has to gather to come forward. There were times where he didn’t show good balance. In the Colorado State contest, the receiver took him on a vertical route and his foot work was all messed up and he struggled to recover on the route but the quarterback over threw the receiver.
The best trait he has is his ability to be a physical player. He loves to get his hands on receivers and try to control them in route. He also does a nice job as a point of attack player when it comes to tackling. Had seven tackles in the Fresno St game that I watched.
The young man is from Houston’s Kempner High School and was a productive player there. I have talked to several scouts that will be making the trip to south Texas to put him through a workout. If someone can work him through his balance and foot work issues, he is more than a physical enough player to play. I personally like the young guys on this squad like Lionel Smith and Isaac Madison more.