Finding the Next Marques Colston
By Kenny Ortiz
April 27, 2007
Last year, Marques Colston surprised everyone by putting together one of the greatest rookie seasons ever by a wide receiver. Only Terry Glenn (1996) and Randy Moss (1998) had rookie campaigns more impressive than Colston�s. What makes Colston special is his draft slot. Both Glenn and Moss were both first-round picks. Colston was drafted in the seventh round, No. 252 overall.
With the exception of the New Orleans Saints, no one had ever heard of Colston, right? Well, that�s not true. The Saints weren�t the only team interested. Nine other teams considered drafting Colston and several teams intended to invite him to training camp including the Dolphins, Eagles, Chargers, Bengals, Rams, Titans, and Browns. The reality is, while average fans may not had ever heard of Colston until he was tearing up the NFL, many of us �geeks� had him on our radars. Last August I made sure Colston was on all three of my fantasy teams � and that paid HUGE dividends. So who is going be this year�s �Marques Colston?� Well, here are three guys and a few extras that have a legitimate shot:
Division-II players rarely get drafted on Day 1, but Jacoby Jones is probably on most NFL team�s draft board as a top-15 WR in this year�s deep wide-out class. This former All-State high school track star is a speedster with big-play ability. He�s tremendous after the catch. Has good-size and good frame. He�s a decent route runner but not great. At the Combine, had the best broad jump amongst all wide outs. At Lane College he led the conference in receptions, receiving yards, all-purpose yards, and both kick and punt return averages. That�s production! He�s still very raw and largely untested. He has small-ish hands which will cause drops and he needs to add some bulk, but there�s not doubt he�s got fantastic moves. Jones probably should be a an early Day 2 draft pick but some scouts think he�s got first-round talent which could push him up significantly.
Ben Patrick played three years at Duke before transferring to Delaware. He played well in the ACC but seemed to take a step back at Delaware because of the style of offense; not his talent. He was, however, still a consensus first-team All-American. He looks like a smaller offensive tackle but he moves fluidly like a wide receiver. He runs good routes. Has great hands and knows how to come back to the ball. Lacks body control and lacks break-away speed but he does have some elusiveness in the open field. Has power but doesn�t seem to know what to do with it. Can run-block well but needs to sharpen his pass-blocking leverage techniques. Needs to become more physical but overall I think Patrick is a great prospect in a very weak TE draft class. There�s a chance he will go as high as Round 2 but I think he�ll probably go in the later part of the third round, making him a good bargain.
Ball is barely 6-foot and doesn�t have a great frame but instead he�s got an uncanny knack for scoring touchdowns! He loves finding the end zone, and he�s pretty good at it too. His division 1-AA record of 58 touchdowns is eight better then the man now sitting in second place � Jerry Rice (ever heard of that guy?). Ball is a solid overall athlete with good speed but isn�t a spectacular athlete. He does however have spectacular Velcro-like hands. He rarely drops the ball. Runs crisp routes and makes clean cuts. He gets great separation and always �out-hustles� defenders. One scout said Ball was like a faster version of Wayne Chrebet, who ironically, also played at Hofstra University where Marques Colston played. David Ball will certainly be a second-day draft pick that will greatly outperform his slot. When I rewrite this article in five years, he might be on that list I mentioned at the top. Have we found the next Colston in this young man from New England? Time will tell.
EXTRAS: Here are a few more guys that I think have the potential to greatly out-perform their draft slots. Keep an eye out for these guys on draft day and beyond:
Solid all-around defensive back with great speed and good overall cover skills. Very raw but has great talent and could excel in certain schemes. His stock is rising because of an excellent Pro Day workout. Could also be a productive NFL return man.
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Kenny's Other Columns:
2007: Finding the Next Marques Colston
Top 40 2007 NFL Prospects