Last year I previewed some small school players like TY Hilton, Tom Compton and Josh Norman. Some made big impacts and some none at all. Here’s the first look at some potential draftees who could help an NFL team next season.
Aaron Mellette – Wide receiver – Elon
Aaron Mellette was a man amongst boys from his redshirt sophomore year on at Elon. Posting a career 304 receptions for 4,254 yards and 44 touchdowns. 18 of those touchdowns coming his senior year. Mellette was invited to the Senior Bowl. He has the size and speed NFL teams love at 6’2” 217 lbs and ran a 4.45 40 yard dash.
Mellette also has great character. Crediting his father and uncle as his role models in life. So there’s no red flags there. He should be a good locker room influence and team oriented player.
The red flags come in his game. He will need some time to develop. When I watch him play, I’m not wowed. The talent he played against was nothing compared to what he’ll face on Sundays. His quarterback at Elon was less than impressive with his throws. So Aaron will have to adjust to an NFL arm. He didn’t do anything to make a team jump at drafting him in the Senior Bowl. Mellette didn’t impress in drills or record any catches in the game for the North team.
Many teams have interest and they should. His raw skill set is worth a gamble. I don’t see him coming off boards until round four. If he dedicates himself to his craft, Mellete could have a nice career. Getting stronger and running precise routes will help. he already has good ability to adjust his body to catching balls in the air as he leaps to catch them. A team like the Lions would be a great fit for him. Studying under Calvin Johnson would obviously help his game.
Kyle Juszczyk – H-Back – Harvard
Kyle Juszczyk (Use-Check) Has been involved in the Crimson’s offense since his freshman year. He caught 11 passes and scored 3 touchdowns that season. Kyle was a starter at tight end from his sophomore year on. Each season he produced more and more. Ending up with 125 receptions for 1,576 yards and 22 touchdowns. Earning Juszczyk an invite to the Senior Bowl. Kyle had a nice week for himself in Mobile. A move to H-Back at the next level will fit him well.
Juszczyk is obviously an intelligent person. An all around athlete and a hard woking team player. He will make an impact on special teams right away. Juszczyk has decent hands and is quick to get into the flats. His pass blocking is good. He wont be putting many on their back, but he’s good enough to slow down the rush. His run blocking isn’t spectacular, but he can seal the edge and make a block long enough for the runner to find day light.
I think Jusczcyk will definitely be drafted. Round five seems to me where he’ll land. Teams like the Bills and Chiefs have shown interest. Another landing spot could be Houston. They lost James Casey via free agency who does similar things. Juszczyk wont be a star in the league. However he will be an important piece to a team and should stick around for a nice career.
Brandon Kaufman – Wide Receiver – E. Washington
Brandon Kaufman is a big receiver at 6’5” 217lbs. He has long arms that help him catch balls other couldn’t catch or defend. Kaufman ended up at Eastern Washington because he tore his ACL, which scared off bigger programs. As a freshman he caught 23 balls for 294 yards and 1 touchdown. The next season he busted out with 76 catches for 1,214 yards and 15 touchdowns. Then earning MVP honors in the FCS championship game. The next season was cut short by a broken hand. in 2012 he caught 93 passes for 1,850 and 16 touchdowns.
Brandon will be drafted late. A fifth or sixth round pick to a team who needs a good possession receiver. Kaufman has the size, he needs to work on his routes to be effective. Mostly a deep threat for the Eagles, Brandon wont be burning many NFL defensive backs with his speed. His run blocking is okay at best. Another aspect of the game he needs to work on to help him stay on a roster.
Kaufman could make a living as a red zone nightmare. He doesn’t come with any off-field red flags. With a lot of hard work I can see him making a nice career as a possession receiver.
Check out part 2, coming soon.