2019 Draft Prospects Part I – Shrine Game Players

The 2019 College All Star games of the East West Shrine Game, the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and the Reese Senior Bowl, have all concluded. Articles have been published on players that helped their draft stock. However the games themselves are not the best platform for evaluating talent. It is said that many NFL scouts do not even stay for the game and rather get their evaluations from the practices.  Playing in part of one game with teammates you just met that week is not ideal conditions for evaluation. But just getting selected for these games is a big positive.  The selected players have been evaluated to be the best of the draft eligible class based on at least a season of college play. As the games themselves unfold talented players can be overlooked and worse discounted due to average or below average game performance in one game.

This is the first of a series of blogs to look at draft prospects based on selection for a All Star Game and college productivity. Starting with the Shrine Game, I will go thru the roster and select players that had at least one productive college season as determined by team market share productivity for their position. Only those game participants that meet a minimum productivity standard in one college season are listed and described.  For offensive linemen selection for an All Conference Team for at least one season was the criteria. For quarterbacks I used situational metrics for their 2018 season. All metric minimum standard is shown in the table. (MS stands for team Market Share).

Position Metrics
Quarterback 3rd Down Conversion %,
Red Zone TD %,
Big Play %
(Sum Std Dev above avg)
Running Back Yards from Scrimmage MS (25%)
Receivers Receiving Yards MS (WR 30%, TE 15%)
Offensive Line All Conference Selection
Defensive Line Solo Tackle MS (6%),
TFL MS (15%),
Sack MS (25%)
Linebackers Solo Tackle MS (11%)
Defensive Backs Solo Tackle MS (6%),
Int MS (25%),
PD MS (15%)
Kickers All Conference Selection

East West Shrine Game

Here are the players that were invited to the East West Shrine Game that met the minimum standard shown in the table.

Quarterback

Taylor Cornelius – Oklahoma State – QB

One of two quarterbacks chosen for the 2018 All Big-12 team Honorable Mention. Cornelius was third in the nation in passing plays of 10+ yards and fourth in 20+ passing plays. Twenty percent of his plays went for big plays. Among 22 quarterbacks looked at Cornelius was fourth in his percentage of big plays. Cornelius is a big quarterback at 6’6″ and 232 lbs he would be among the biggest quarterbacks in the NFL. He had a monster game against Kansas this season in which he had a 75% completion percent, 312 passing yards, four touchdowns, one interception and a passer rating of 262. Here is Cornelius dropping a dime to receiver Tyron.

Brett Rypien – Boise State – QB

Brett Rypien is the 2018 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year. He has been clutch on third down. Among 22 top draft prospects at quarterback examined Rypien was third in third down conversions converting 48.4% of third down attempts. Rypien was second in passing 3rd down conversions (49%) . He was topped only by Kyler Murray but Rypien had 40 more 3rd down pass attempts than Murray. Rypien was fifth in rushing third down conversions (46% on 37 attempts). However only Jake Browning  was better with a comparable amount of attempts. Brett Rypien meets all of Bill Parcells’ seven rules for drafting a quarterback.  He has a 77% win percentage with 48 career starts and is a 4 year starter. Brett has passed for a career 13, 578 yards which is 13th most in FBS history since 2000. Rypien had four games in 2018 in which he had a passer rating of over 200. Against Colorado State  he had a completion percentage of 84.6%, passed for 308 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. Here is a clip from that game of dropping a dime into double coverage.

Marcus McMaryion – CSU Fresno – QB

McMaryion was a Mountain West Honorable Mention for 2017 and 2018. He also passes all seven of Bill Parcells’ rules for drafting a quarterback. Marcus is seventh in the nation in Pass Completion Percentage (68.6%) and Total Yards (3,923). His Pass Completion percentage is tops in the Mountain West Conference. At ten games thru the 2018 season Pro Football Focus had Marcus leading the nation’s quarterbacks in red zone passer rating (124.4).  Of the top 22 draft eligible quarterbacks looked at, McMaryion had the second best red zone rushing touchdown conversion percentage (42% on 19 attempts). None of the 22 quarterbacks had more attempts with a better percentage. In his last two seasons at Fresno state McMaryion was 21-4 as a starter. In 2018 he passed for over 200 yards in 12 of his fourteen games. He was one of 11 quarterback semifinalists for the 2018 Maxwell Award given to the best all-around player in college football. Here is a nice pass from Fresno State’s win over Wyoming. In that game McMaryion completed 68.8% of his passes for 287 yards, two passing touchdowns, zero interceptions and he ran for another two touchdowns.

via GIPHY

Running Back

Ty Johnson – Maryland – RB

In 2016 Johnson had 1,210 yards from scrimmage which was 25% of his team’s total yards. His 1,004 rushing yards that season averaged 9.13 yards per attempt which was second in the nation. Johnson’s career 7.6 yards per attempt was third in the FBS active career leaders in 2018.  A 2017 media All Big Ten Honorable Mention. An electric player with good character and a strong work ethic. He’s big and and tough at 212 pounds and nearly six-foot.

Wide Receiver

KeeSean Johnson – CSU Fresno – WR

KeeSean Johnson was a 2016 Mountain West Conference Honorable Mention, a 2017 Second Team and a 2018 Second Team. He made the Pro Football Focus 2018 All Mountain West First Team and they had this to say about him: Johnson caught 63.6% of his deep passes (20-plus yards) to go with 14 missed tackles forced and a passer rating when targeted of 132.9. Johnson had a 36% receiving team market share in 2018. According to draftcobern.com, 95% of NFL 5-Time Pro Bowl players reached this level of market share production since 1969. he has been

Cody Thompson – Toledo – WR

Thompson made 2016 All-MAC First Team and again 2018 All-MAC First Team. Known for a strong work ethic Thompson made the 2017 Sports Illustrated Freaks List of the top 40 workout warriors in college football. In 2018 73% of his receptions were for a first down and eight out of his ten red zone receptions were a touchdown. He has strong reliable hands and shows toughness.

Tight End

CJ Conrad – Kentucky – TE

Conrad’s 318 receiving yards in 2108 was 15% of the team’s passing yards which is a threshold for productive tight ends. He is highly rated blocker and helped block for running back Benny Snell who has had three 1,000+ yard seasons. As reported by Pro Football Focus, Conrad had 12.0 yards after the catch per reception in 2017. That was the highest among draft eligible tight ends with a minimum 12 receptions.

Offensive Center

Alec Eberle – Florida State – OC

A 2018 Senior Class Award candidate. Eberle has persevered through major injuries while starting 44 consecutive games at center. He has started every game since his first start in the last six games as a redshirt freshman in 2015. He was a 2016 All ACC Team Honorable Mention and a 2018 All ACC Second Team.

Lamont Gaillard – Georgia – OC

2018 All-SEC Coaches First Team. Started 29 consecutive games at center since moved to center to start the 21017 season. Georgia was graded as the best offensive line in the nation six weeks into the 2018 season by Pro Football Focus. They graded the unit as the number one run blocking grade. ESPN analyst Cole Cubelic had Gaillard as the top returning center in the SEC entering the 2018 season.  “He plays his ass off, consistently finishes, never leaves his teammates out to dry and for me he is a joy to watch.” – Cole Cubelic.

John Keenoy – Western Michigan – OC

John Keenoy was 2016 All-MAC Second Team, 2017 All-MAC First Team and 2018 All-MAC Second Team. Keenoy has started every game played (50 of 51 possible games) at center. In 2017 was lone junior voted by teammates for “Captain’s Award”.  Keenoy did not give up a sack in his sophomore and junior seasons. According to Pro Football Focus he allowed just two pressures on 329 snaps in pass protection in 2017.  He is also A strong run blocker, a “People mover”. Western Michigan has been in the top 27% of teams in the nation for rushing yards per game each of the last three seasons.

Offensive Guard

Tyler Jones – NC State – OG

2018 All-ACC First Team. Played 98% of the team’s offensive snaps in 2016 and 2017 and 93% in 2018. In 2017 he allowed just 14 pressures which wsa tied for fewest among returning ACC tackles.  In 2017, NC State finished tied for No. 1 in the country at 0.2 QB pressure percentage, per PFF_College. Ryan Finley was hit just 24 times on 529 dropbacks.

Bunchy Stallings – Kentucky – OG

2018 All-Sec Coaches First Team. Stallings was selected to the ESPN 2018 mid-season All-America team. “He has been a road-grader for the Wildcats. ” Stallings was named 1st Team All American by The Athletic and only allowed 1.5 sacks. Stallings is said to be a mauler in the run game and helped contribute to running back Benny Snell breaking 1,000 yards rushing each of the last three seasons.

Lanard Bonner – Arkansas State – OG

Bonner was All Sun-Belt Conference 2017 and 2018 First Team. Praised by offensive line coach Allen Rudolph not only for his talent but also for how he has “worked his butt off” in the weight room, film study and drill work.  Bonner plays with a little bit of nastiness and competes through the whistle. Lanard Bonner, 6’5” and 310 pounds, is said to  have extreme athletic ability with a mauler mentality.

Oshea Dugas – Louisiana Tech – OG

Oshea Dugas was 2016 C-USA All Conference Second Team,  2017 Second Team and 2018 First Team. he was also 2015 Conference USA All-Freshman Team. In high school Dugas won a state championship in wrestling.

Offensive Tackle

Martez Ivey – Florida – OT

Ivey made the All-Sec Second Team for each of the last three seasons. The Gators as a whole allowed just 18 sacks which ranked third in the conference.  At 1.5 sacks allowed per game Florida ranked in the top 20% in the nation. In the run game Ivey is said to be a mauler. Florida ranked in the top 15% in the nation in yards per rush attempt (5.3 yards) and the top 17% in rushing yards per game (215 yards). Martez Ivey was named the permanent Team Captain of the 2018 Gators. He is praised for his work ethic and leadership.

Tyree St. Louis – Miami – OT

Started 34 consecutive games since his sophomore start in 2016. Tyree earned 2018 All-ACC Honorable Mention. He has played both right and left tackle. “Whether in run or pass sets, the senior plays with impeccable power. He showcases this trait with finishing ability and devastating blocks in both facets of the game. ” – reported by cover1.net.

Jackson Barton – Utah – OT

Jackson Barton was 2018 All Pac-12 Conference First Team. Barton has impressive size at 6’7″ and 303 lbs. He is a two year starter at left tackle. Barton is said to have above-average feet and athletic ability, is smart, understands the game and plays with passion.

Ryan Pope – SDSU – OT

Ryan Pope was 2018 All Mountain West Conference Second Team. Ryan is known as a mauler who plays with a bit of a mean streak. In 2017 San Diego State was the ninth best team in the nation in yards per rush attempt and eleventh in rushing yards per game. Ryan played all 13 games that year and started eleven. He has good size at 6’7″ and 315 lbs, and has played both tackle positions.

Defensive Tackle

Daniel Wise – Kansas – DT/DE

Wise made All Big-12 conference 2016 Honorable Mention, 2017 First Team and 2018 First Team. He is a four year starter. Referred to as “unblockable” throughout the week of Shrine practices, Wise was unstoppable most of the game . “Cannot put into words how valuable Daniel is to our program — an outstanding leader with a tremendous work ethic and an infectious personality!!”  –  Kansas coach David Beaty.

Michael Dogbe – Temple – DT

Michael Dogbe was 2018 All AAC First Team. Eight weeks thru the 2018 season Pro Football Focus had Quinnen Williams and Michael Dogbe as the only two interior defensive linemen to rank in the top five in terms of most pressures and most defensive stops. Dogbe is a weight room warrior. Since his high school freshman year when he weighed only 160 lbs and was pushed around. After freshman year he hit the weight room and never stopped. He earned a single-digit at Temple, a testament to his work ethic, especially in the weight room. Dogbe bench pressed over 500 pounds and squats over 600 pounds. Michael Dogbe impressed scouts at the Shrine Game. During practices, one area scout praised Dogbe’s motor and ability to beat big blockers with a bull rush. Dogbe had a monster game against Maryland this year where he had 5 solo tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.

Cortez Broughton – Cincinnati – DT

Broughton was 2016 All AAC Second Team and 2018 All AAC First Team. As reported by Pro Football Focus Broughton led AAC interior defensive linemen with 34 total QB pressures. Broughton achieved praise for his week at the East West Shrine Game. Real GM’s Jeff Risdon: “Watching East DL doing footwork and bag drills. Cincinnati DT Cortez Broughton is thriving, great feet for a big guy.” NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah also listed Broughton as a standout player to watch. In 2018 Broughton had a tackle for a loss in 9 of his 13 games averaging 1.8 TFLs in those games.

Edge

Jordan Brailford – Oklahoma State – DE

Jordan Brailford was 2017 All-Big 12 Second Team and 2018 All-Big 12 First Team. Oklahoma State was 22nd (top 17%) in sacks per game and Brailford was a large part of that with 26% team market share of sacks. Brailford was impressive at the Shrine game. In the game’s first quarter he used his spin move to breeze past the left tackle and sack Brett Rypien shown here.

Brailford finished the game with three tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, three QB hits and a fumble recovery.

Linebacker

Cody Barton – Utah – LB

Winner of the 2019 East West Shrine Game Pat Tillman Award presented to a player who best exemplifies character, intelligence, sportsmanship and service celebrating a “student-athlete’s achievements and conduct on and off the football field.” “Cody’s leadership, work ethic, intelligence, and sacrifice are what we hope every player aspires to demonstrate while at the University of Utah.” – Morgan Scalley (the inaugural winner in 2005).  Barton is a 2018 All Pac-12 Honorable Mention. He recorded 5 or more solo tackles in nine of his fourteen 2018 games. Solak (draft analyst from The Draft Network) had this to say about Barton – “tough as nails”, “Great man coverage player regularly tasked with third down/red zone coverage of backs and tight ends.” and “Aggressive, attacking style will attract blue-collar coaches.“. Per Pro Football Focus, In his over 1,600 career snaps, Barton has 78 stops and only 10 missed tackles.

Joe Dineen – Kansas – LB

Dineen is one of just three players in Kansas’ 128 years of football to be voted a team captain for three seasons. He was a 2017 All Big-12 Second Team selection and a 2018 All Big-12 First Team selection. He was one of eight semi-finalists for the 2018 Lott Impact Trophy. Dineen was number one in the nation in solo tackles with 109. The second place player had 17 less solo tackles. Dineen’s solo tackle market share was 19.3 percent. To put that percentage in perspective the top solo tacklers in 2017 and their market share percentages were Frank Ginda (14.8%), Leighton Vander Esch (16.2%), Joe Dineen (15.3%), Christian Sam (15,2%) and Roquan Smith (16.3%). When selected to the 2018 Pro Football Focus Mid-Season BIG-12 Team this is what they had to say – “Long since a run-stopping machine, Dineen is poised to record at least 40 defensive stops for the third time in four seasons. Rounding out his game this season, He’s allowed just 44 yards after the catch on 181 snaps in coverage and a career-best 80.4 passer rating on throws into his coverage.

Chris Peace – Virginia – LB/DE

Chris Peace was 2017 All ACC Honorable Mention and 2018 All ACC Third Team. A 2018 team captain, Chris has started every game for the last three seasons. Chris is known as a leader with a strong work ethic. A visiting NFL player personnel said he had never seen in his entire career someone that practiced as hard as Chris Peace. In 2017 Chris’s statistics with % market share were 32 solo tackles (7%),  10.5 tackles for loss (15%) and 7.5 sacks (27%).  The combination of these market share percents indicate borderline Pro-Bowl potential.

Khalil Hodge – Buffalo – LB

Khalil Hodge was 2016 All-MAC Second Team and 2018 All-MAC First Team. Hodge was second in the nation in 2017 for total tackles. Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson was amazed at Khalil’s work ethic. Khalil would go catch balls with Jackson preparing for Jackson’s redshirt season. Hodge would run routes and work on his hands at linebacker. It must have paid off. For the 2017 season Pro Football Focus had Khalil Hodge as the second best cover linebacker with a quarterback rating of 39.4 when quarterbacks targeted Hodge. Hodge was named a team captain in 2017 his second season on the team.

Sione Takitaki – BYU – LB

Sione was on Phil Steele’s 2017 All-Independent Second Team and  Steele’s 2018 All-Independent First Team. Sione had 19 total tackles in the 2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.  That was one shy of a bowl record set in 1998. It was good to get Sione selected to the SI All-Bowl Team.  Sione also had a sack and a TFL in that bowl game. He plays high energy and never gives up.

Tre Watson – Maryland – LB

Tre Watson was 2018 Second Team All-Big Ten (coaches) and First Team (media). He had 13.6%  team market share of solo tackles with 69 solo tackles. He also performed well in coverage with five interceptions (27.8% team market  share).  This is what Maryland coach had to say about the graduate transfer – “I know this, he’s worked extremely hard since he’s been here,” Durkin said. “He’s been a pleasure to coach. He’s been tremendous. He’s been all positives. He’s helped our team. He’s been a good leader for others, so we’re happy to have him.” Watson is known for hard hitting and has had three ejections for targeting.

Ulysees Gilbert III – Akron – LB

Gilbert was 2016 All-MAC First Team,  2017 All-MAC First Team and 2018 All-MAC Second Team. Ulysees is a three year starter at linebacker and has tied the school record for most games played in his collegiate career (51). Ulysees plays fast to the ball and is a sound tackler. He was named Akron Defensive MVP for both the 2016 and 2017 seasons. A 2018 team captain, Gilbert was one of three that earned the coaches Captains Award. In 2016 Gilbert had 12.4% of the team solo tackles, 17.4% of the tackles for loss and 26.7% of the team sacks. Those figures are shared by high quality and successful NFL players over the last 20+ seasons. Here is a clip of Gilbert playing coverage in the Shrine Game.

Cole Holcomb – North Carolina – LB

Cole Holcomb was 2018 All-ACC Second Team. Holcomb was a three year starter at linebacker.  He made the Sports Illustrated 2017 Freaks List: The top 40 workout warriors in college football.  The UNC invited walk-on has always had a great work ethic and desire to play Division I football. Holcomb had 59 solo tackles in 2018 for 12.7% team market share. In the East West Shrine Game Holcomb had two straight pass breakups to force a West punt in third quarter.

Cornerback

Donnie Lewis – Tulane – CB

Donnie Lewis leads FBS active career leaders in passes defended with 49. He was a 2018 AAC All Conference Second Team and a 2017 AAC Honorable Mention.  In 2018 his 15 passes defended was eighth in the nation. He is said to be a tough corner that stays in his man’s pocket. He is a hard-working, athletic, smart player that enjoys practice.

Jordan Wyatt – SMU – CB

Wyatt is a 2018 Senior Class Award candidate. He was a four year starter at SMU and made the 2017 All AAC Honorable Mention. Wyatt has a great work ethic according to head coach Sonny Dykes. He was team captain in 2017. “For him one of the things that stands out is the turning plays he makes. A lot of forced fumbles, where he has a knack for the ball. He’s a ball magnet,” –  CBS Sports NFL draft analyst Corey Chavous. Wyatt had five defensive touchdowns in his career which is an SMU career record. He is the sixth player in FBS history to have return a fumble and interception for touchdowns in the same game.

Montre Hartage – Northwestern – CB

Hartage made the  2018 All Big-Ten First Team (media) and Third Team (coaches). He is a three year starter at cornerback. Hartage is number nine in  passes defended among FBS active career leaders with 39 and tenth for interceptions with ten. For the combined 2016 and 2017 seasons quarterbacks had the third lowest passer rating (61.0) when targeting Hartage among secondary players as per Pro Football Focus.

Safety

Saquan Hampton – Rutgers – SAF

Hampton was 2018 All Big-Ten Honorable Mention. His 2018 season stats and associated team market share were 44 solo tackles (10.4%), three interceptions (33.3%) and 13 passes defended (24.5%).  Those are outstanding market share numbers for the Rutgers team captain. Hampton is a hitter  that also has strong coverage skills. He has a strong work ethic and brings that every day to each snap at practice.

Lukas Denis – Boston College – SAF

Lukas Denis was 2017 All ACC Second Team. In 2017 Lukas had 46 solo tackles (9.6%), seven interceptions (38.9%) and ten passes defended (18.9%). All very good market share numbers. Described as an electric ball-hawk that does what is asked to help his team win. Lukas was selected to the 2017 Walter Camp All-American Second Team.

Punter/Kicker

Jack Fox – Rice – P

Jack Fox was 2016 All C-USA Honorable Mention, 2017 C-USA Second Team and 2018 All C-USA First Team. He was the 2018 Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Year. He led C-USA in punting for the second consecutive year, finishing with a career-best 45.5 average. Fox’s average was second best in the nation among punters with at least 60 punts in the regular season and ranked 8th nationally among all punters. He topped the FBS with 3,636 punting yards in the regular season, which also set a school record. Fox had 26 punts of 50 yards or longer and he placed 31 punts inside the 20-yard line, both top figures in the conference. He had at least one 50+ punt in 12 of 13 games this season and is third in the nation with 13 punts inside the 10-yard line. Fox was one of 10 semifinalists for the 2018 Ray Guy Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate punter.

John Baron – SDSU – K

Baron was 2016 All Mountain West Conference First Team and 2018 Second Team. He was 100% on extra point attempts for the last two seasons. Has a cannon of a leg, An accurate and clutch kicker. Among all-time SDSU kickers, ranked first in 50-yard field goals (6), second in field goal percentage (.833) and field goals (50). Was named the MW Special Teams Player of the Week five times last season.

The next part of the series will examine the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl invites.

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