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Countdown to Draft

Phil Savage's "Saturday Sleepers"

Fri, Apr 26, 2013

Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage continues his unique “countdown” by highlighting three of his favorite prospects as potential “Diamonds-in-the-Rough”.

“Saturday Sleeper” Selections

In general, the rule of thumb for NFL clubs is to really try and address their needs in the first three rounds of the draft and then go “bargain hunting” on Saturday in hopes of finding a starter or contributing backup to add to their roster.

Here are three players that will add value to almost any team:

 1. J.C. Tretter                   Cornell                OG        6035/307/5.09

Unfortunately, J.C. suffered a fractured nose (doing pass pro drills) a few days before the Senior Bowl and was unable to compete in Mobile. However, the athleticism seen on tape did transition into solid numbers at the Combine where he ran 5.09, benched 29 times and vertical jumped 29.5”. He began his career as a TE before moving to left tackle for his junior and senior seasons. Not quite tall or lengthy enough to continue outside, he projects well to the interior as a guard and has reportedly been working at center as well. NFL teams can expect J.C. to continue getting stronger, so with his position versatility, expect him to secure a starting job within the first two years of his career as a center or guard. As a rookie in 2013, he should be able to backup at multiple spots and even play as a TE in short yardage and goal-line situations.

 2. Kyle Juszczyk            Harvard               FB       6012/248/4.71

Somehow Kyle was not invited to the Combine after having a very productive senior year at Harvard and continuing to show his abilities at the Senior Bowl. At his pro day, he ran 4.71, benched 24 times and jumped 37” and 10’1” in the vertical and broad, respectively. He catches the football extremely well and totaled 52 receptions for 706 yards (13.6avg) and 8 touchdowns in 2012 as an H-Back/Tight End. In Mobile, as a lead blocker, he consistently reached his target and did a nice job displaying the skills needed to become a starter as a fullback in the West Coast offense. In addition on special teams, he can help on the kickoff return and punt protection units. He will definitely be a non-Combine draft pick and it would not be a total surprise to see him get significant play time as a rookie fullback in 2013.

3. Mike James                  Miami (FL)            RB       5104/223/4.53

Even though Mike was a late addition to the Senior Bowl, he seamlessly picked up the offense and jumped into the action on special teams. On game day, he scored on a short TD run, caught 3 passes and covered kickoffs and punts. During his final year for the Hurricanes, he rushed 147 times for 621 yards (4.2avg) and 6 touchdowns while finishing his career with 67 total receptions. At the Combine, he ran 4.53, benched 28 times and recorded a 6.93 in the 3-Cone.

One of the highest character individuals in the entire 2013 draft class, Mike has the mental makeup and physical tools to roster this year as a rookie and contribute as a backup RB/FB and core special teamer. With his intelligence, integrity and intestinal fortitude, every locker room in the NFL could use this type of person in their organization.