Monday, April 23, 2012

2012 NFL Draft 'Underrated' Prospects: 'Size Matters . . . Speed Kills'

Hemingway makes tough catches in traffic.
WR - Junior Hemingway - Michigan
6-1 225 Conway H.S./ Conway, SC (12/27/1988)
2011 Stats: 34 rec., 699 yds, 4 TDs

Breakdown:  Playing receiver in a spread-option offense won't get you many accolades or eye-popping statistics, so it's easy to see why a player like Hemingway can fly under the radar.  It also doesn't help when your quarterback for the past two seasons, Dennard Robinson, broke the FBS single-season rushing mark for a QB and was the primary focus of Big Ten defenses.  What is noticeable though is that when Robinson needed to pass, the guy he felt most comfortable slinging it to was Hemingway.  Robinson is not known for his accuracy as a passer and many of Hemingway's receptions were acrobatic grabs of errand passes.  The fifth-year senior often had to fight off double coverage as it became known that Robinson would try to find him first in passing situations.

NFL Skill Set:  Hemingway is 6-1 but plays more like 6-5 because of his 78-inch wingspan.  Add that the 225-pounder put up 21-reps of 225-pounds at the NFL combine (second best among WRs at the combine) and his potential as a physical possession-type NFL receiver is more solidified.  Hemingway ran an average 40-yard dash (4.53 seconds) at the combine but was the top wide receiver in the 3-cone drill (6.59) and the 20-yard shuttle (3.98), illustrating his agility and his ability to stop-and-start coming out of breaks.  Click here to watch video of Hemingway 2011 vs. Notre Dame and Northwestern.

Pead led the Big East in rushing in 2011.
RB - Isaiah Pead - Cincinnati
5-11 197 Eastmoor Academy (OH)/ Columbus, OH (12/14/1989)
2011 Stats: 237 att., 1,259 yds, 12 TDs/ 39 rec. 319 yds, 3 TDs

Breakdown:  The Bearcats football team bounced back from a down year in 2010 (4-8, 2-5 Big East) and finished with a 10-3 record in 2011 and a share of the Big East Title.  Much of that success has to be credited to Pead's offensive production.  Pead led the conference in rushing and was third on the Bearcats in receptions.  Whats more is that Cincy quarterback Zach Collaros had a below-average season passing (1,940 yards, 20 TDs, 14 INTs in 10 games) and defenses game planned to stop the run.  No problem for Pead, who plays with an unwillingness to be brought down by the first tackler.

NFL Skill Set:  Pead clocked in a solid 4.47 second 40-yard dash time at the combine but it's watching his game tape that makes him stand out.  Pead has a knack for anticipating gaps in the defensive line and cutting back once he reaches the second level; qualities that are good if he goes to a NFL team with a zone blocking scheme. When he finds those gaps, he hits them aggressively and with strong acceleration.  He also implements this ability in the passing game when receiving screen passes.  Pead is a strong runner who keeps his legs moving and showed he can move the pile in college and could not be brought down by arm-tackles.  Click here to watch video of Pead 2011 vs. West Virginia.

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