Last year I wrote a column showcasing the players in the draft who jumped off the screen on college football Saturdays. In that column I highlighted Chris Borland, De’Anthony Thomas, Demarcus Lawrence, Martavis Bryant & Zach Mettenberger. Not bad. Let’s see how this year goes.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Kansas State
- Does not have huge size at around 5’9″ but plays far bigger than that. With Jake Waters playing that big, bumbling quarterback role Bill Snyder loves, Lockett has 187 catches over the last two season for nearly 2,800 yards and 22 touchdowns.
- Lockett is lightning quick in pads. If the Bears are all-in on Alshon Jeffery being their number one receiver moving forward, Lockett could be the ideal complement running out of the slot.
- His critics think he is too slightly built to be a full-time kick returner in the NFL. I don’t buy it.
Nick O’Leary, TE, Florida State
- Watched every game FSU played in 2014 and every time, and I mean every time Jameis Winston needed a big play he found O’Leary streaking through the middle of the field.
- O’Leary is Jack Nicklaus’ grandson. That has to mean something.
- O’Leary WILL be a contributor on special teams. He’s a tenacious football player and I’ve had countless coaches and players tell me specials are all about desire.
- O’Leary is the kind of weapon a good offensive coach will find ways to utilize. He’s not going to anchor the edge of a power run game or wreck havoc on big, physical safeties. But he’s going to make plays.
Nick Perry, Safety, Alabama
- For months people were telling me about Landon Collins. Landon Collins, Landon Collins, Landon Collins! You know what I saw every time I watched Landon Collins? The safety next to him jumping off the screen and making plays.
- From a piece at Alabama.com:
“When you come from Alabama, you now automatically get that little extra nod because of where you come from and the winning you’ve done, so I think a team would be foolish not to take a chance on Nick and give him an opportunity,” College Gridiron Showcase executive director Jose Jefferson said in February. “He’s going to be a special teams guy in addition to a safety, and I just think he’s going to be a good addition to anyone’s camp. And once he gets there, he’ll fight and hopefully earn a spot.”
- Many people have Perry sliding out of the draft entirely. I don’t see how anyone who watched Alabama play week after week last season doesn’t believe this kid can play professional football. On the field I liked him more than Gerod Holliman from Louisville.
- Adam Jahns did some good work on Perry and the Bears interest for the Sun-Times.
Jalston Fowler, Fullback, Alabama
- Fullback isn’t exactly a blossoming position in college football these days but Fowler is the real deal. He is a brutal force as a lead blocker, can carry in short yardage and makes more plays in the passing game than people think. If the Bears are going to start running it the way John Fox wants, Fowler could become an immediate, day-one starter from the middle rounds.