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SNS Deep Draft - Late Round Prospects to Keep an Eye On



In last year’s Deep Draft, SNS highlighted the raw talent and untapped potential of Edge James Houston (Jackson State), who was selected in the 6th round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. Houston recorded 8 sacks in less than half a season for the Lions in 2022, displaying tremendous bend and closing burst. So, which late round or UDFA prospects profile as potentially being as impactful of a player early in their careers as Houston was in Detroit last season? SNS takes a deep dive into a dozen prospects who, if they join the correct situation, could make a statement in 2023 and beyond.


Ronnie Brown / RB / Shepherd

Shepherd, a Division 2 university located in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, has two legitimate prospects available April 27-29 – QB Tyson Bagent and Brown. Bagent is a somewhat known quantity at this point, having played in the Senior Bowl and performed at the NFL Scouting Combine. Brown, on the other hand, only garnered an invitation to the NFLPA Game. However, he displayed great balance, vision, and burst and did not look out of place in the game. Brown has a great nose for the end zone, scoring 25 TDs in 2022. Brown is unlikely to get drafted but don’t be surprised when he pushes for a roster spot in the NFL this fall.


Titus Swen / RB / Wyoming

Swen was unceremoniously kicked off the Wyoming team last fall and his background screening will go a long way in determining his draft status later this month. Although Swen is unlikely to get drafted, it doesn’t mean he isn’t an NFL prospect. Swen has the complete package of skills to play RB in the league – vision, agility, burst, power, and toughness to excel in between the tackles in the NFL. Team interviews will be critical in determining Swen’s immediate football future.

Elijah Cooks / WR / San Jose State

Cooks offers great length and a large catch radius on a somewhat thin and angular frame. He is especially dangerous near the end zone where his height, reach, and leaping ability allow him to be a play-maker. Cooks is tough and willing to work the middle of the field and has the deep speed to put the safeties on their heels on fly and seam routes. Cooks has generally reliable hands and creates mismatches with his wingspan. Cooks could get drafted late on day 3 of the draft.


Johnny Lumpkin / TE / Louisiana

Lumpkin is less of a prospect and more of a projection due to his rare size and measurements – 6053 / 275 / 36.1” Arms / 84” Wingspan. His hands are inconsistent but he is a productive red zone target due to his size. What he offers that is most enticing is his in-line blocking ability as one of the best blocking TEs in this draft. Similar to OT Jason Peters, a college TE at Arkansas, Lumpkin’s future may be best served by him converting to OT in the NFL. If he is willing to make the switch, his upside as an OT is high due to his size, length, and athleticism to a patient NFL team.


Quinton Barrow / OT / Grand Valley State

It is difficult to evaluate small school talent based on tape due to the lack of top tier prospects that they face game in, game out. But Barrow brings an enticing combination of size, length, and power and seems like a perfect candidate to be developed on a team’s practice squad for a season or two before he competes for a starting job in the NFL.


Jake Kradel / IOL / Pittsburgh

Kradel lacks the desired size and length that NFL teams want from their IOL. Additionally, he lacks some strength and can be man-handled by power. However, Kradel is extremely experienced and is a fundamentally solid blocker who plays with good bend, hand placement, and positioning to neutralize DTs. He is smart, alert, and aware. Kradel may have to bide some time on a practice squad but he has the intelligence and skill to make it in the NFL.


Ahofitu Maka / IOL / UTSA

Maka, the experienced center for the Road Runners, brings size and strength to the middle of a team’s offensive line. Maka is one of the strongest centers in this draft and handles size on his nose well. He has a high football IQ and can handle calling line assignments. Maka is worthy of a draft pick but the great depth of quality centers in this draft may cause him to go undrafted. Regardless, Maka will push for a roster spot in the fall.


Isaiah Land / Edge / Florida A&M

Land profiles as a 3-4 OLB / situational 4-3 Edge Rusher with excellent length and wingspan on a thin frame without room to add significant size to it. Land won the 2021 Buck Buchanan Award (FCS Defensive P.O.Y) when he recorded 19 sacks. Land has quick-twitch athleticism, great bend, and a very good closing burst. Land needs development in off-the-ball LB technique but has the bend and explosiveness every NFL team covets. Land should be drafted in the fifth or sixth round later this weekend.


Jordan Ferguson / Edge / Middle Tennessee State

Unlike Land who has ideal height and length, Ferguson lacks the optimal height desired in a 4-3 DE, although he is stoutly built and has very long arms. Ferguson was highly productive in college with 34 career sacks and brings a high motor, leverage, power, and surprising quickness off the edge. He is also solid in establishing the edge in run defense. Ferguson may go undrafted but he is a candidate to make a 53-man roster in the NFL this fall.


Brandon Bouyer-Randle / LB-Edge / Connecticut

BBR, a transfer from Texas Tech (via Michigan State), is a great athlete with quick-twitch explosiveness and great finishing burst and bend. However, he has only flashed these elite attributes, has difficulty shedding blocks, and needs to be schemed to unleash his athleticism. Additionally, his instincts have never fully developed and he is a projection as an off-the-ball LB. For these reasons, BBR is unlikely to get drafted. But if he joins the right situation, he could have a James Houston like effect on a team this fall.


Isaiah Bolden / CB / Jackson State

Bolden could be this year’s version of CB Tariq Woolen (Seattle), a tall, long, fast CB from a non-traditional football school. Bolden is neither as big nor as fast as Woolen but he does have prototypical length and size for the position. Bolden’s ball skills still need further development as he has little ball production in college. Perhaps, the most significant impact Bolden will have is as a kick returner. He averaged 36.9 yards / return with two returns for TDs in 2022.


Brandon Hill / S / Pittsburgh

Hill is an old school safety who is most effective in the box stopping the run but has enough range to play Cover Two. Hill’s game is similar to former Colts All-Pro Safety Bob Sanders. Hill brings the hammer on tackles and can dislodge the ball from the carrier on the force of his hit. Hill’s greatest impact may be on special teams next season where his fast and physical style should flourish.


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