It’s the night before one of the great American sport spectacles we have, the NFL Draft, where fans of all 32 teams are on pins and needles over what their team is going to do (author included, see every NY Jets pick since 1990- Blair Thomas!!) It’s guaranteed to be a busy weekend on the NDSU front, where the Bison are likely to have their first player drafted since 2009 with Nick Schommer. There’s an outside chance NDSU could have multiple players drafted for the first time since 2001 (Pete Campion in 7th round, Lamar Gordon in 3rd round).
Billy Turner - This is a weekend it seems we’ve been talking about for a long time with Billy, ever since he was named an All-American after his sophomore season.
Turner has been all over the country since the NDSU season ended, starting with the Senior Bowl, where he was playing some at guard and right tackle and from what every account we could gather had a solid week. He didn’t hurt himself at the NFL Combine either and thanks to a solid story from Big E, we know that Turner has visited with 5 NFL teams. The week of the New Hampshire game, Indianapolis General Manager Ryan Grigson was in Fargo and was blown away by Turner during practice that week. Mel Kiper has Turner slated as the 92nd overall pick, that’s the end of the 3rd round. He’s got great size and tenacity, I think it’s safe to say that Billy is going somewhere on Day 2.
Marcus Williams - Williams has had the ultimate roller coaster in draft prospects since last season started. His stock was pretty high after a sensation junior season and started well with an interception against Kansas State.
He picked up another pick 6 a couple weeks later against Delaware State, but after that suffered a couple injuries (broken hand, and knee injury) and wasn’t thrown at a lot. His 40 time may have hurt his stock as well, last year the biggest knock was his tackling ability, which in my mind got better, but his coverage ability may have slipped in 2013. I profiled Marcus’ last few months last week on WDAY, you can watch here. Williams has a chance as a Day 3 draft pick, he’s going to get a job, I think he’s a undrafted free agent, but hey I’ve been wrong before.
Brock Jensen - The winningest quarterback in FCS history has had a steady climb up draft boards since the end of the football season. Jensen looked like a different man when I saw him in March for NDSU Pro Day, he looked a bit slimmer and his footwork had improved, that’s thanks to his extensive workouts with his QB coach in San Diego.
Jensen has had several visits with NFL teams, most notably Green Bay, but also Cincinnati and Cleveland. I’ve been told the Browns were very impressed with Jensen, enough so to go beyond the customary visit protocol. Jensen has the arm, he has the ability to move out of the pocket and we know he has the toughness. We know how coveted quarterbacks are in the NFL Draft and to be drafted is about as tough as it gets, only 19 FCS players were selected in 2013. Granted the stock of player changes every year and this year would seem to be one of the best classes in recent years. Would I be surprised if Jensen gets a call in the 6th or 7th round? No way, and whoever takes him is getting a bonafide winner, ready to prove himself.
Sam Ojuri, Bryan Shepherd and Leevon Perry - Know each are hoping for NFL shots, Ojuri wasn’t at NDSU’s spring game because he had a tryout with a CFL team, know Ojuri has worked out for a couple of NFL teams, we’ll see running back is almost as tough to get drafted, I don’t expect Ojuri to be selected but a free agent deal seems possible, Shepherd told Jeff and me that Saskatchewan was hot on his heels for a job there and Leevon Perry seems like a possibility for a shot at a free agent deal. I’m not going to pretend I’m a scout nor do any mock drafts, I’m as wore out as you are from those, just the possibilities of what we could see this weekend.
As for the rest of the FCS, there are two players that faced each other in the playoffs that could go tomorrow or early on Friday, Jimmy Garoppolo and Terrance West. Garoppolo has had his stock rise after Eastern Illinois’ season ended almost to the point where he could be a late 1st round pick. No FCS quarterback has been selected in the first round since Joe Flacco in 2008. While for West, after destroying the FCS record books for touchdowns in a season, yards, heck he ran all over Garoppolo’s EIU defense in the playoffs, he’s got great size and speed that he very well could be a late Day 2 pick.
Draft weekend is always fun and with it colliding with the Marathon this weekend its going to be hard to follow everything but will do my best to provide updates and interviews with drafted and signed players. Should be fun; just laugh at this clip of what my favorite team has done on draft day!