We're almost out of the darkness. Football is nearly upon us.
We've got just more than two weeks to training camp, and we're less than two months away from opening up the college schedule. The time's right to start refamiliarizing ourselves with, sure, the Rams and NFL players we're constantly discussing but also, as yall know I am wont to do, looking at the Rams and NFL players of the future currently in juniorball.
So it filled me with footballjoy to see Bruce Feldman's 2014 top 20 freak list come out yesterday. The list isn't directly related to the draft per se, but 13 of the 20 from last year's list were drafted, another five are UDFAs, one (UTEP's Mark Jackson) who has been at least recently more committed to his college track career than any potential NFL future, and one (Mississippi St. LB Benardrick McKinney) who stayed in school and is featured again on the 2014 list.
Head over to Feldman's piece for the full list and write-ups, but here's a couple of names that stuck out to me:
#18 Jonathan Truman, LB Kansas St.
This is just one of those dudes with the frame, raw strength and athleticism that could have seen him find collegiate success in a couple of different sports. He's not a clear cut NFL prospect as a sub-six foot linebacker, but for a college bowling ball type, he can wreak havoc.
#15 DeVante Parker, WR Louisville
Parker's more than just a pure athlete; I had him just barely out of the 2nd round in my 2015 mock. Obviously, Louisville has a big task in front of them in moving on from Teddy Bridgewater. Parker's going to make that transition much easier than it would be without him.
#13 Bo Antunovic, ? SMU
A couple of years ago, Feldman featured SMU DE Margus Hunt on his list. Hunt went on to be picked in the late 2nd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Bengals after a college career that saw constant, rapid improvement. Now SMU head coach gets to mold Antunovic, a shot putter, into a football player. If he pans out, expect the entire 2019 SMU team to be made up of Eastern European discus and shot put specialists.
#11 Benardrick McKinney, LB Mississippi St.
McKinney, as I mentioned above, was on Feldman's freaks list last year as well coming in at #8. He made it into my mock near the end of the 3rd, but that's less about him and more about his position. He could destroy the combine, thanks to his 6'5", 250 lbs. size and 4.5 40-time. For a middle linebacker, he's got ridiculous measurables.
#7 Todd Gurley, RB Georgia
Would you like to tackle? No, I would not like to tackle. Thanks.
#3 Devon Allen, WR Oregon
Allen didn't see the field in 2013 as a true freshman, but coming off of winning the 110m hurdles at the NCAA Track & Field Championships last month, Allen proved his speed and agility are elite. Now the highly sought after prospect has a chance to turn that speed into football production.
#2 Brandon Scherff, OT Iowa
#22 overall in my mock. Would've been #1 on my freaks list. Dude's just a giant athlete. Surefire combine star.
#1 Sammie Coates, WR Auburn
While I would've had Scherff #1, this is hard to argue with. What's not hard to argue with is that I forgot Coates in my mock. Oops. I've got him round 1-2, but it's really on fit. He's definitely got deep ball skills, but really has to work on his short and intermediate game. Leans on his freakishness sometimes to keep plays going instead of better technique early on in plays to create more separation, but you can't argue with this:
(h/t the war eagle reader)
I guess if you can throw your defender to the ground with one arm, that's one way of doing things.
Anyway, take a look at the list. Any freaks you surprised didn't make the cut? I'm a fan of the little freaks like Akeem Daniels who came in at 20. More than individuals, I was surprised no Alabama players made the list. No Derrick Henry? He'll be on there next year.
Anyway, have it out in the comments. We're getting close to football.