2019 Draft Prospects Part II – NFLPA Game Players

This is Part 2 of the series looking at 2019 Draft Prospects. Part One 2019 Draft Prospects Part I – Shrine Game Players highlighted Shrine Game players that meet a specified college productivity minimum. The minimum criteria explained in that post is shown here in the following 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

This part will highlight the NFLPA players that meet the criteria.

NFLPA Game

Quarterback

Jake Browning – Washington – QB

Jake Browning was the 2016 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and made the 2016 All Pac-12 First Team. In addition he was 2017 and 2018 All Pac-12 Honorable Mention. He checks all seven of Bill Parcells’ rules for drafting a quarterback.

Washington ranks 108th of the 130 FBS teams in Passing Play Percentage (39.8%). So it is understandable that Jake Browning ranks second to last in the group of 25 quarterbacks examined in passing attempts with 334. However Browning ranks second in the group in Big Play Percentage with 20.7% of his attempts going for a big play. On passing attempts alone that percentage goes up to 23.65%. In the group Browning has the ninth most passing big plays. Browning also excelled in making 3rd downs where he comes in 4th in the group making 43.5% of his third down attempts. He is fourth in rushing 3rd down attempts making 50% on the seventh most rush attempts (34). In passing in the red zone he was tie at eighth for touchdown percentage getting a touchdown on 29.3% of attempts.

Browning was in the top five in the Pac-12 in passer rating each of the last three seasons. He was first in 2016 and 2017. Browning was in the top three in the Pac-12 in passing yards per attempt each of the last three seasons. Jake has a 75% career win percentage at Washington and has started 52 games over four years. He has more victories than any other player in Pac-12 Conference history. Browning holds the Washington passing touchdowns records for career, single season and single game. Jake Browning has a career passer rating of 151.9. That is seventh best among college quarterbacks over the last five years that passed for over 10,000 yards.

In Washington’s win over Oregon State in 2018 Browning had a 73.9% completion percentage, threw for 242 yards, three touchdowns and had a passer rating of 205. Here he throws a beautiful fade on 2nd and goal.

via Gfycat

Running Back

Nico Evans – Wyoming – RB

Nico Evans was 2018 All-Mountain West First Team. His 1,391 yards from scrimmage in 2018 was 34% of his team market share. He averaged 6.5 yards per carry (ypc) on the year and averaged less than 4.9 ypc in only one of his 10 games. He had eight rushing touchdowns and one receiving. Evans had at least one rushing touchdown in 70% of his games. He had 53 missed tackles on his carries in 2018. Here he shows his one cut in his touchdown run in week 10 in which he rushed for 187 yards and averaged 5.67 yards. In the NFLPA Bowl Game Evans had two rushes for 17 yards.

Lexington Thomas – UNLV – RB

Thomas was a 2017 All-Mountain West First Team and a 2018 All-Mountain West Second Team. Lexington hit the 25% threshold market share for each of his last two seasons with a 29% followed by 26%. He gives his all on the field to break a big play. He was tied for fifth in the nation in 2018 of rushing plays of 60+ yards with three. In 2017 he was sixth on plays of 50+ yards with six. Thomas is UNLV’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns with 40.

Wes Hills – Slippery Rock – RB

Wes Hills was named MVP at NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.  Hills played in 2018 for Division II school Slippery Rock. Before that he played two years at Division I Delaware. He was named to the 2018 AP Division II All America Team. In 2018 at Slippery Rock Hills rushed for 1,714 yards at an average of 7.0 yards per carry. Hills had 1,907 yards from scrimmage in 2018 which was 29.7% team market share. He was called up to the Reese Senior Bowl based on his performance in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. Hills has been a team captain two years at Delaware and also his year at Slippery Rock. Here are highlights of  Hills as he runs for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns on 17 carries versus Gannon on 11/3/18.

Wide Receiver

Trevon Brown – ECU – WR

Brown was 2017 All American Conference Second Team and 2018 All Conference First Team. Brown has a strong work ethic as he strives for greatness and has never missed a day of practice his senior year.  Trevon Brown had nine touchdowns in 2018 which accounted for 29% of the team offensive touchdowns and 50% of the team passing touchdowns. His 14 receptions of 25+ yards accounted for 47% of the team’s 25+ yard  receptions.

Steven Sims Jr. – Kansas – WR

Steve Sims was 2016 and 2017 All Big-12 Conference Honorable Mention. Sims has made the Kansas record books for career receptions (214 – 3rd), career receiving yards (2,582 – 2nd) and career receiving touchdowns (19 – 2nd). In 2018 he had a career high 10 receptions against Oklahoma State. In that game he also gained 21 yards on an end around and had one touchdown. “He’ll make you miss. He’ll score. He has strong hands, he catches, he makes the tough catches in traffic. And he’s fearless and he’s explosive. And he can make you miss.” – Kansas Offensive Coordinator Doug Meacham. Sims had a good practice at the NFLPA Bowl which included a big Day 1 performance of several deep ball catches which commanded the respect of defenders.

Steven Sims Game 4 2017 – 6 receptions, 96 yds, 1 TD.

Tight End

David Lucero – UTEP – TE

A 2018 Conference USA Honorable Mention. Lucero caught 15% of his team’s passing yards. Of his 20 receptions in 2018 thirty percent were for 15+ yards and fifty percent were for first down. His long reception went for 88 yards. Lucero is reported to have had a good week at the NFLPA Bowl and had three receptions for 25 yards in the game.

Keenen Brown – Texas State – TE

Keenan Brown was 2018 All-Sun Belt First Team. He had 577 receiving yards for an amazing 26% team market share. That is quite high for a tight end as the threshold for long term starter tight end is 15%. Keenan Brown made the Pro Football Focus All American First Team. Brown will rin over you – per Pro Football Focus -“No tight end had the success Brown did after the catch this year as he more than doubled the next closest tight end with 24 missed tackles.”

Offensive Tackle

Calvin Anderson – Texas – OT

A three year All Conference Honorable Mention. Started all 36 games he has played in his college career mostly at left tackle. Before becoming a graduate transfer to Texas, at Rice he is credited with 26 knockdowns and five pancake blocks. Can solve a rubics cube behind his back.

Joe Lowery – Ohio – OT

Selected by Pro Football Focus as their MAC player of the year and All American Second Team. He was their third highest graded offensive tackle in the nation. Lowery led the nation’s tackles in PFF run-blocking grade and in pass protection he allowed just nine total QB pressures on 334 snaps. He was conference 2017 All MAC Second Team and 2018 All MAC First team.

Justice Powers – UAB – OT

Justice Powers is a 2018 All C-USA First Team selection.  Powers started every game at right tackle for his two years at UAB. He blocked for a UAB offense that had at least 200 yards rushing in nine games and that set the school record for rushing touchdowns with 32.

Edge

Anree Saint-Amour – Georgia Tech – DE

One of Anree’s strengths is his strength. He has squat 500 lbs and bench pressed 435 lbs. His strength-and-conditioning coach John Sisk -“I’ve never seen him fail at (lifting) any weight he’s done, like, ever”. He won ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week in week nine. He had nine tackles, three quarterback hurries and a game clinching interception. Anree met the minimum criteria for defensive end and far exceeded the tackle for loss criteria with 12 on the year for a 22% team market share.

Linebacker

A.J. Hotchkins – UTEP – LB

AJ Hotchkins made the 2018 All C-USA Second Team. In 2018 not only did Hotchkins meet the linebacker market share criteria with 12%, he also met the defensive line criteria. He excelled in sacks getting seven for the year at a team market share of 35%. Hotchkins led Conference USA in total tackles with 126. Head coach Dana Dimel: “It helps the way he shows up and practices like he does, In the film room, on the practice field every day, it’s important to him. It shows our younger players what it means.” Hotchkins: “The biggest thing is effort, It’s coming out to practice every day, putting in the effort every day. I’m not a really big vocal guy; I lead by example. It’s about competing every snap; make sure you’re focused on every snap.” Hotchkins had double digit tackles in seven of his twelve games.

Jordan Kunaszyk – California – LB

Kunaszyk was 2018 All Pac-12 First Team. Kunaszyk was one of eight national semifinalists for the Lott Impact Trophy.  He had a whopping 92 solo tackles which was third in the nation and good for an amazing 16.6% solo tackle team market share. Compared to last year’s linebackers that matches up with Leighton Vander Esch (16.2%) and Roquan Smith (16.3%). Kunaszyk was also second in the nation in forced fumbles with 5 and his 143 total tackles was fifth in the nation. Kunaszyk is a film room junkie that loves football and his team. He lives and breathes football doing all that he can to be the best and help his team win. “He’s built to play the position, in a lot of ways — physically, mentally, He’s a physical guy, he loves contact, he’s into the game. I think everything, the preparation part, meetings, he’s always up watching extra tape. The way he prepares his body, he’s a football player, through and through.” – head coach Justin Wilcox.


Peyton Pelluer – Washington State – LB

Pelluer was a 2015, 2016 and 2018 All Pac-12 Honorable Mention. Pelluer received a sixth year of eligibility in 2017 after breaking his foot in his redshirt senior season. He came back to a career year and was nominated to the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the year award. Pelluer has played in a WSU record 54 games, 47 as a starter. Pelluer was named 2018 Alamo Bowl Defensive MVP after making game-high 11 tackles with 1.5 for loss including one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in a win over Iowa State. “He loves football, he’s dedicated and he’s a big film guy” – WSU head coach Mike Leach.

E.J. Ejiya – North Texas – LB

Ejiya was a 2017 All C-USA Honorable Mention and a 2018 All C-USA First Team. Not only did Ejiya meet the Linebacker market share threshold with 12.9% but he also met the defensive line thresholds with 26% sack market share and a whopping 26% tackle for loss market share on 25.5 TFLs. His 26 tackles for loss was third in the nation. In week three he made the PFF Team of the Week for his game against Arkansas where he “produced as a pass-rusher (5 total QB pressures), as a run-defender (3 run stops) and in coverage (1 reception, 3 yards allowed).” Recognized by teammate  linebacker Brandon Garner – “E.J. can definitely make it in the NFL, He has the size and speed and gives great effort on every play. That kind of effort is something not everyone gives.”

Malik Reed – Nevada – LB/DE

Reed was 2016 All Mountain West Second Team and All MWC First Team in 2017 and 2018. He is a 2018 Senior Class Award candidate. He makes the cut here for his 2016 sophomore season as an edge rusher. That year he had five sacks for a whopping 38.5% team market share. Bruce Feldman of The Athletic listed Nevada LB Malik Reed among his “freaks” for the 2018 season. Malik was able to power-clean 357 pounds and deadlift 672 pounds. Malik has an outstanding work ethic. He is usually first in and last to go for practices.  His sophomore year he started all 12 games, was named the team’s outstanding defensive player and earned the team’s defensive full speed effort award. His junior year he started all 12 games and was given Nevada’s Hustle Award for his efforts on defense. His senior year he received the Captains Award and was co-Team MVP (Golden Helmet Award).

Cornerback

Nate Brooks – North Texas – CB

Nate Brooks was 2016 All C-USA Honorable Mention and 2018 All C-USA Second Team. His 2018 stats were well over the defensive back thresholds for market share in all categories. He had 48 solo tackles (10%), six interceptions (33%) and 10 passes defended (20%). Nate was one of fourteen semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award. He is a four year starter at North Texas.  Nate was a Pro Football Focus 2018 Second Team All Conference USA.  Nate is in a seven player tie for third place in the nation for interceptions in 2018 with six interceptions.  Twice during North Texas career was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week including a two interception, six tackle and one pass breakup game in 2018.  Defensively North Texas is in the top 17% of teams nationwide for opponent pass completion and opponent passer rating. Brooks had an interception in the NFLPA game.

Kemon Hall – North Texas – CB

Hall made Conference USA 2018 first Team, as well as Pro Football Focus All-Conference USA Team of the Year First Team. Hall is tie for first nationally for interceptions returned for a touchdown with two in 2018. He is in a six way tie for tenth in the nation with five interceptions in 2018.

Kicker/Punter

Justin Yoon – Notre Dame – K

Justin Yoon was on Phil Steele’s 2016 All Independent Conference First Team,  2017 Second Team and 2018 First Team.  In 2017 Yoon was perfect on 55 extra point attempts. In 2015 he was sixth in the nation on field goal percentage with 88.2%. Yoon has a strong work ethic. He had never seen a football game until he was a teenager. He credits his transition from football novice to a Notre Dame kicker to his practice.  “I’ve kicked, I don’t know, 10,000 balls,” – Yoon.

Tyler Newsome – Notre Dame – P

Newsome was on Phil Steele’s All Independent 2016 Second Team and 2018 First team. He has been first in the Independent Conference in punting yards per punt each of his  four year Notre Dame career. His career average on punts is 44 yards. His 2018 average of 44.6 yards was 15th in the nation. Newsome is a  team captain. He is recognized by coaches and teammates over the four years as having a tremendous work ethic.

 

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