Posts Tagged ‘Duke’

2015 NFL Draft Prospect to Watch: Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Duke’s Jamison Crowder could be the next small but dynamic wide receiver to be a high selection in the NFL draft. (Photo: Mark Dolejs — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino

If you don’t think there’s a place and demand for small explosive receivers in the NFL, you haven’t been paying attention to the first rounds of the last two drafts. In 2013, the St. Louis Rams traded up with the Buffalo Bills to acquire the No. 8 overall pick and select Tavon Austin, a West Virginia product who is listed at 5’8” and 176 pounds. In similar fashion, the New Orleans Saints traded up seven spots to the No. 20 overall pick in this year’s first round to draft 5’10″, 189-pound Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

Listed at 5’9” and 175 pounds by Duke’s official athletics website, senior wide receiver Jamison Crowder is built similarly to Cooks and Austin while possessing a comparable skill set to the recent first-rounders.

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What Ross Cockrell Brings to the Buffalo BIlls

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell was selected by the Bills in Round 4. (Photo: Mark Dolejs — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino

The Buffalo Bills added to their secondary depth by utilizing their fourth round selection on Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell. Adding to the defensive backfield was a priority for the Bills after having six of their 29 pre-draft visitors being secondary players. Cockrell makes it four for four in terms of Bills selections that were also pre-draft visitors.

A four-year starter in the ACC, Cockrell had a productive career for the Blue Devils. His best trait is his ability to break on the football as evidenced by his 12 career interceptions and 50 career pass breakups.

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Johnny Manziel and More 2014 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch in Texas A&M vs. Duke

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Johnny Manziel is set to shake up the 2014 NFL Draft if he declares following Tuesday’s Chick-fil-A Bowl. (Photo: Peter Aiken — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

The final college football game of 2013 is also expected to be the final college game for one of college football’s biggest superstars. Though he has still two remaining years of eligibility, Texas A&M redshirt sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel plans to declare for the 2014 NFL Draft, according to a report from NFL.com’s Gil Brandt.

Manziel might not be the only Aggie to leave College Station early. Wide receiver Mike Evans, also a redshirt sophomore and projected first-round pick, also plans to leave school with two years of remaining eligibility, according to Brandt’s report. Redshirt junior right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi could also be a candidate to leave early for the NFL and be a first-round pick if he declares.

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Joe Marino’s Senior Cornerback Rankings for the 2014 NFL Draft

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert has climbed to the top of the senior cornerback rankings. (Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Joe Marino

Cornerback is emerging as one of the most important positions in football. With more and more NFL offenses putting four- and five-receiver sets on the field, it is imperative to have depth at the cornerback position.

I put more emphasis than many people do on cornerbacks’ run-stopping ability considering the need for defensive backs to be able to stop the run when playing against the spread. Physicality was also a trait that I looked for in my evaluations. It is important to be able to disrupt routes and timing of the offense with a good physical presence in press coverage.

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2014 NFL Draft: Atlantic Coast Conference Sleepers to Watch

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

Michael Campanaro could be a 2014 NFL draft sleeper as a small, shifty slot receiver. (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)

BBD Staff Writer: Joseph Curtis

The Atlantic Coast Conference has consistently been one of the top conferences in producing NFL talent throughout the last decade.

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins are receiving much of the focus heading into the 2013 college football season, but plenty of talent with 2014 NFL draft potential exists throughout the ACC.

31 players from the ACC were selected in the 2013 NFL Draft, second only to the Southeastern Conference. The additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse this season add even more talent to the conference.

Let’s take a look at some lesser-hyped prospects in the ACC who should be names to watch leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft.

Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest

It can be easy to overlook Michael Campanaro. Listed at a generous 5’11” and 190 pounds, Campanaro may not look like a top receiver, but he has been one of the most productive receivers in the ACC over the past two seasons.

He has caught 152 passes over the last two seasons, including an ACC-best 7.9 receptions per game last season.

Campanaro’s versatility is his greatest asset. He is used all over the field, but his best work comes from the slot, from where he finds holes in the middle of the field and creates mismatches against linebackers.

He uses his quickness and deceptive speed to create space. He has run a 4.41 40-yard dash time, according to Wake Forest’s athletics website.

Campanaro has a knack for finding holes in the defense, but he needs to refine his route running a bit more. He is also a natural pass catcher with some of the best hands of the 2013 draft class.

After the catch, Campanaro can make poor tackling teams pay. He came to Wake Forest as a running back, which his shifty running style shows. He can even come in motion and take handoffs on sweeps. He has 47 carries for 228 yards and two touchdowns in his college career.

With the exception of his route running, there are few weaknesses in Campanaro’s game. He does need to find the end zone more often and perhaps bulk up a bit, but for the most part, he’s a solid receiver who can contribute in the NFL right away.

With another solid season, Campanaro could possibly be a Day 2 draft selection.

Aaron Donald, DL, Pittsburgh

With 16.5 sacks over the last two season, Aaron Donald has shown he is a fierce interior penetrator, but questions about his size keep him from being an elite prospect.

Listed at 6′ and 275 pounds, what position Donald will play and where he fits defensive schemes are huge question marks.

Despite his lack of size, he was able to use his quickness, strength and length to shed blockers and get into backfields. He led the Big East last season with 18.5 tackles for loss.

A smart player with a great motor, scouts and coaches will have a difficult time trying not to like Donald. As previously mentioned, size is the big question mark that will force him down draft boards.

Donald filed paperwork with the NFL Draft Advisory Committee last season, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, but returned for his senior season.

As long as he doesn’t regress, Donald is a mid-round pick who should fit in a defense as an interior pass rushing specialist. He has the skill set and production to be a steal in the draft.





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