Kenny Ortiz
Finding the Next Marques Colston
By Kenny Ortiz
April 27, 2007

Wow, look at this list and where they were drafted…

  • QB- Tom Brady (Round 6)
  • QB- Kurt Warner (Undrafted)
  • QB- Jeff Garcia (Undrafted)
  • RB- Terrell Davis (Round 6)
  • RB- Jamal Anderson (Round 7)
  • RB- Herschel Walker (Round 5)
  • FB- Richie Anderson (Round 6)
  • WR- Marques Colston (Round 7)
  • WR- T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Round 7)
  • WR- Steve Smith (Round 3)
  • WR- Terrell Owens (Round 3)
  • TE- Antonio Gates (Undrafted)
  • C- Jesse Sapolu (Round 11)
  • DE- Jason Taylor (Round 4)
  • DE- Clyde Simmons (Round 9)
  • DE- Alex Brown (Round 4)
  • LB- Adalius Thomas (Round 6)
  • LB- Zach Thomas (Round 5)
  • LB- Cato June (Round 6)
  • LB- Seth Joyner (Round 8)
  • S- Rodney Harrison (Round 5)

    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:

  • Jacoby Jones, WR, Lane College:
    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, TE, Delaware:
    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.

  • David Ball, WR, New Hampshire:
    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:

  • Trent Edwards, QB, Stanford: Trent Edwards might not fit the mold for this article because he’ll be drafted on Day 1 but he’s still greatly underrated and underappreciated. He has nice size and a great arm. He also has the athleticism and all the intangibles to be a great quarterback. A few months ago he was slated to be a mid-round pick, but his stock has been soaring quickly.

  • Garrett Wolfe, RB, Northern Illinois: One of the most productive running backs in all of college football last year. He has the talent, speed, and agility to be a productive NFL return man and solid running back, but does lack true running-back size.

  • Mike Walters, WR, Central Florida: Nice overall receiver with great size and speed, but tore his ACL prior to the season. Still was very productive even though the injury was not fully healed.

  • Yamon Figurs, WR, Kansas State: Strong player with blazing speed. He ran a 4.3 in the 40-yd dash at the Combine. Has the ability to take it to the house on every touch. He could be an outstanding special-teams player as a return man and a gunner; could also play defensive back.

  • Le’Ron McClain, FB, Alabama: Great all-around player who does everything well. As the second-best fullback in the draft, he plays smart and works hard. He is a dominant lead-blocker who also has nice, soft hands. Well-polished and is potentially an immediate NFL starter.

  • Stephon Heyer, G/OT, Maryland: Stephon Heyer is a monster at 6-6 and 340 pounds. He was a great prospect but suffered a torn ACL in 2005. He is a tremendous run blocker with great versatility. Can play any offensive line position except center, but probably best suited for right guard.

  • Melvin Bullitt, S/CB, Texas A&M:
    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.



    Agree/disagree with something Kenny said? Send him an e-mail at: kennethortiz@hotmail.com




    Kenny's Other Columns:

    2007: Finding the Next Marques Colston
    Top 40 2007 NFL Prospects


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