2018 NFL Draft Sleeper Spotlight: Emptying The Clip!

In this, the finale of my mini-series of sleeper prospects the Bears have interest in based off of meeting dinners and private workouts I am compiling a list of the rest. I won’t go into great depth as I did with the preceding prospects due to time constraints as the draft is nearly at hand. However, I will do a short write up perhaps with a scouting point or two from various scouting reports and film I’ve gleamed across the world wide web of these possible future Bears.

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Damon Webb – Safety – Ohio State: Webb is part of Ohio State’s legendary secondary of the 2016 season that saw 3 of his teammates in the secondary go in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft. Webb doesn’t quite have that type of hype surrounding him as he figures to go late in the draft or undrafted altogether. He could be a bargain too. He produced big in his Senior campaign accumulating 61 tackles, 2 for loss, had 5 Interceptions, 3 PBU’s, and 2 Fumble recoveries. He moved from Cornerback to safety so he has positional versatility. His size screams Nickel back. So does his speed after running a 4.62 40 and not being fluid enough to play bump and run on the outside. It’s probably why he was moved to safety. Not a lot of long speed but is smart and instinctive with ball skills. He was Defensive MVP of the Cotton Bowl versus USC so he shows up on the big stage. He plays a hard-nosed physical brand of ball and should fit in well in Fangio’s scheme who loves versatility in his personnel.

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John Franklin-Myers – Defensive Lineman – Stephen F. Austin: Franklin-Myers is a big man with excellent athletic traits and has the frame to be a perfect fit as a 3-4 Defensive lineman in a Fangio scheme. Big enough to hold his position and anchor in the run game and light enough to be quick and disruptive as a pass rusher. He had a nice combine running a 4.75 40 at 6’4″ 283 pounds which in itself is extraordinary but he also benched 26 reps with an 82″ wingspan. He also had a 33″ vertical, Broad jumped 9’4″, and had an amazing 7.36 3-cone and a 4.48-second short shuttle. Converts speed to power organically and explodes into blockers knocking them back with a powerful punch and putting them on the defensive. A very coordinated athlete with solid hand usage. I love him as a developmental player for the Bears defensive line rotation. Looks like he can go anywhere from 5th round to undrafted. I think his athletic scores and tape alone get him drafted no later than the 6th round in my opinion.

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Stefan Beard – Guard – Texas-San Antonio: In Beard, you probably have one of the sleepiest sleepers in the entire draft. It’s hard to find anything on this kid other than whats on his team bio. The one thing you may know about him is that he’s the teammate of first-round Defensive End prospect Marcus Davenport. You would have to think going up against him in practice benefitted him as he actually competed with what will soon be a real true blue NFL player. He’s also apparently on the Bears radar as he met with them. The conspiracy theorist in some may think it could be gathering intel on his teammate, but I don’t think they’d meet with a player and ask him questions about Davenport when they could do that without setting up a meeting. Beard manned the Right Guard spot for the Roadrunners and helped their offense average 387.4 yards. 184.5 of them on the ground. My assumption is he’ll be a camp body who will have to be awfully impressive to even get considered for a practice squad spot.

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Brett Toth – Offensive Lineman – Army: Toth is a kid who figures to move to Guard at the next level but I do see a scenario where he could be a stalworth at Right Tackle for some team down the line. He does have the physical dimensions to play there at 6’6″ and with 33 3/8″ arm length, as well as, 10 1/4″ hands. He would have a more immediate impact inside as he did not play in a system that featured the passing game very often. He will have to work on his technique and footwork in pass pro. However, in the run game especially a zone scheme he would be a great fit likely immediately. Moves very well as evidenced by his 3-cone time of 7.40 at his pro day. At 291 lb. that’s moving pretty well. His weight plays against him as well. He clearly needs more mass to his frame and to add strength. He only put up 16 reps on his bench press. He may need a year of redshirting to work on his strength and pass blocking technique.

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Jaylen Dunlap – Cornerback – Illinois: Dunlap will not be a part of anyone’s roster come this fall as he is recovering from knee surgery to repair a torn ACL he had on February 7th in Florida. The good news for Dunlap and whichever team signs him as a collegiate free agent is that he had Dr. James Andrews perform the surgery. The same doctor who performed it on Adrian Peterson who we all know made an amazing recovery. So his knee should bounce back. He hurt it in the NFLPA collegiate bowl. He actually hurt it after getting a pick in practice off of a cut. He was having a great week of practice before the All star game too. Dunlap has good size and length at 6′ 190 lbs. He led the Illini with 5 PBUs and had a pick this past season with 29 tackles 19 of them solo. Obviously, he did not participate in the combine or a pro day but when you see the tape you can see how sudden and quick twitch he is and how fast. His production does not reflect the talent so that is a concern on the surface but he certainly has the ability to take a flyer on as a UDFA and be a factor in the 2019 training camp and perhaps challenge for a roster spot if he excels on special teams.

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Jarvion Franklin – Running Back – Western Michigan: A local kid out of nearby southern suburb Tinley Park, Il., Franklin is a thickly built Running back who stands 5’11” 240 lb. He has good straight-line speed as he ran a 4.54 40 at his Pro day, but isn’t really sudden. Very stiff hipped athlete. He runs with good power and lean and has a really good pair of hands, but to me, he looks more like a Fullback than he does a Running back at the next level. I suppose he’d be valuable on short yardage carries and near the goal line, but his route running will be limited due to his inability to make sudden or sharp cuts. The Bears interest in him is surprising as he seems like a better fit in a Gap Scheme running offense than a zone. When he does get through the line his speed and low enter of gravity and size makes him a tough guy to bring down and he figures to get a lot of yards after contact. He was a very productive player at Western Michigan and one of the most productive back all-time in college football history. This past season he was named a MAC first team All-Conference player leading the MAC with 1,228 yards just over 102 yards a game and contributing 11 TDs. He’s WMU’s leading career rusher with 4,867 yards which also ranks as the MAC’s 5th best total and 33rd best in the FBS. He’s also scored 56 times 4 by air which ranks 4th most all-time in the MAC and 28th all-time in the FBS.

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Nick Horne – Inside Linebacker – Eastern Illinois: Horne is local kid coming out of Forest Park Il. and was a transfer from Division 2 Winona State as a Safety before moving to Weakside Linebacker with the Panthers. He’s kind of small as a linebacker at 6′ 220 lb. so you can see a conversion back to Safety coming. He probably was invited to the Bears pro day to compete on special teams but as most of you know once you make the roster you can progress to a bigger role later in your career. Assignment one for Horne, make a roster. He was productive with EIU and made their conference first team his senior season. He compiled 178 Tackles, 32 for loss, had 6 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 3 interceptions at EIU in 2 full seasons and was named one of their team captains.

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Ty Isaac – Running Back – Michigan: When watching Isaac one cannot help but kind of think how much he looks like Matt Forte. Both in physical stature and in running style. He is 6’3″ 230 lbs which mirror Forte’s frame. Both have very tapered athletic looking builds. He runs upright like Forte did and is a read and one cut runner like Forte was so he fits the blocking scheme the Bears employ. You can kind of see why the Bears would be interested in him in spite of a less than stellar career at Michigan where he compiled only 1,170 yards, 8 Tds, 192 carries in 3 seasons with a nice 6.1 yard average per run. Not sure if he has the hands Forte had or will have the chance to show it as he only had 7 career receptions at Michigan. It would be a nice story that a kid that went to famed Illinois Football factory Joilet Catholic Academy and is from nearby Shorewood Il. making the Bears roster. At this point it’s a long shot but as is the case with all these prospects that will go undrafted he’ll have to impress on special teams to have a chance.

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Joe Kupcikevicius – Offensive Tackle – Azusa Pacific: Kupcikevicius is a 6’5″ 310 lb. Offensive Tackle originally from Oak Lawn Il. He began his college career at South Dakota State as a redshirt Freshman in 2013 but transferred to JUCO Mt. San Antonio College in 2014. In 2015 he made first team all-SCFA. He then transferred to Azusa Pacific and was All-GNAC in 2016 and 2017 as a Junior and Senior. He’s a nimble player who uses technique and length to win. The knock on him is that he may be too reliant on technique and needs to develop a more neanderthal mentality and employ a little physicality to his game. He has the length to stay outside and would be a fit inside at Guard in the Bears zone blocking scheme showing positional versatility as a swing Linemen. He’s likely going to go undrafted and will have to impress in order for the Bears to invest in a redshirt type season on the practice squad or the IR list. He’ll have to provide a good reason for all the transferring that shows his ability to tough out adverse situations and not bail at the first sign of adversity.

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Darius Leonard – Inside Linebacker – South Carolina State: Leonard has the traits to be one of these new age hybrid Linebackers who can play in coverage as well as stack the box versus the run and thus makes him a possible package type player when the Bears are in Nickel and Dime situations.  Due to his size, he’ll be limited to being an off the ball Linebacker who fits more as a weakside backer either in a 4-3 or a 3-4. He shows good instincts and can play sideline to sideline. Could be invaluable covering running backs and Tight ends and maybe even hang with some of the slot receivers at the next level. Some people have him as high as the 4th round. I see him as a late rounder who could get undrafted. He’ll have to win a spot on special teams and work his way up from there. He may get a year as a redshirt prospect on the practice squad or the IR list due to some mysterious injury.

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Andre Levrone – Wide Receiver – Virginia: Levrone is a big wideout who I can see even being used at the U Tight End spot the Bears employ. He does have that kind of versatility with his size and athleticism. He stands 6’3″ 225 and ran a 4.38 40 at his pro day. He also hit 18 reps on the bench press and jumped 34″ on the vertical and 10′ 1″ on his broad jump showing some explosive athletic qualities. That translated on the field in his senior season as he had 34 of 59 career receptions, 689 of his career 1,079 yards and 7 of his 9 career TDs his senior season. He looked very good in drills catching everything thrown to him and running crisp routes at his pro day. He’s a big target who can also stretch the field. He’ll likely go undrafted making him a possible very good value for the Bears at a playmaking position. Could be a valuable special teamer as a gunner with that size and speed.

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Elijah Marks – Wide Receiver – Northern Arizona: Marks actually filled in for another Wide Receiver who many thought was a future NFL draft pick Emmanuel Butler who should be on everyone’s small school watchlist next year as he will be an injury redshirt Senior as he was out for the season. Marks did an excellent job doing so too catching 71 passes for 1,170 yards and 6 TDs with a 16.5 average. He had a pretty good career too catching 150 passes gaining 2,360 with a 15.7-yard average and 20 TDs. He does add extra value as a kick returner as well averaging just under 24 yards a return and a TD. He is rail thin however and could find it difficult getting off press. He stands 6’1″ 184 lb. He also timed slower than most expected he would at a 4.6 flat. he did jump a 36.5″ vertical and had an acceptable 9’10” Broad Jump. He should go undrafted.

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Jamar McGloster – Offensive Tackle – Syracuse: McGloster is a big boy at 6’6″ 330 and long arms making him a good candidate to stick at tackle at the next level. He’s also a very athletic kid with dancing Bear feet. He needs a year or two in the weight room however as he has a hard time redirecting Defensive Linemen with poor upper body strength. This also makes him a liability in the run game and why he’ll likely go undrafted. However, if he shows the willingness to live in the weight room and work on his game he has rare size to athleticism on a big frame that could pay off as a formidable Tackle at the next level.

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Ryan Nall – Running Back – Oregon State: Nall finished his career in the top ten of most productive Running Backs in school history finishing as their 8th  best yardage leader. That said NFL teams have been asking him about moving to Tight End, H-Back, and Fullback so a position switch seems to be in order. Nall had a nice showing at the combine but showed confidence in himself to improve his 40 at his pro day which he did at 4.53 from an already impressive 4.58. He also jumped an inch higher in his vertical to 34″.

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Brandon Parker – Offensive Tackle – North Carolina A&T: Parker has all the physical traits you could possibly ask for in an Offensive Tackle prospect. He’s 6’8″ 305 lbs with 35″ arms. Parker’s father was an Offensive Lineman at North Carolina so he has the pedigree. His Offensive Line coach at A&T Ron Mattes played in the NFL for 8 seasons so he was well coached and has an understanding of the position. He was an accomplished player as he was the MEAC Offensive Lineman of the year his Senior season and an all-conference first-teamer in 2015, 2016, and 2017. He started every game in those seasons at Left Tackle. He has to add some core strength and may not be ready to play in the pros year one but has all the tools to stick at Offensive Tackle in the pros. Figures to go early day 3 and the Bears would have to invest at least a 5th rounder if they want to reunite him with his ex-teammate, Tarik Cohen.

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DeMornay Pierson-El – Wide Receiver – Nebraska: Pierson-El has excellent value as a return specialist. As a Freshman, he had 596 punt return yards and 3 TDs. He also added 23 catches with 321 yards and another 4 TDs as a Freshman. In his senior season, he finally got a chance to start with 45 catches, 623 yards, and 5 TDs. He plays bigger than his size. He has explosive qualities and is a natural hands catcher. In spite of his size will fight for the ball on 50/50 chances. He has fluidity in his routes. Looks like one of these guys who could be surprisingly productive in the pros. Has the skill set Matt Nagy likes in his players. He had a 4.57 40, 37.5 Vert., and a 10′ Broad Jump at his pro day. Should go undrafted.

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Kyle Queiro – Safety – Northwestern: Quiero is not an elite athlete (4.71 40 32.5″ Vert. 16 Reps B.P.) but he did put up some good numbers at Northwestern this season. He had 59 Tackles, 3.5 for loss, 5 INTs, one for a TD, and 8 passes defended. So he has pretty good ball skills something the Bears really need to improve on if they want to be a legitimate top notch defense. Quiero should go undrafted.

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Trey Quinn – Wide Receiver – SMU: Quinn seems like the perfect Patriots new find. He has the size of a slot at 5’11” 203 lbs. He does have big hands which should aid him catching the ball (10 1/8″). He had pretty good numbers at the combine but not elite which should drop him at a great value slot. Maybe a 6th or 7th? Ran a 4.55 40 at the combine but had a decent 3-cone at 6.91 and a 4.9 short shuttle showing quickness and suddenness. He did improve his 40 at his pro day to 4.45. He has good ball skills and route savvy. Once he transferred to SMU from LSU where he began his career he was instantly productive getting 114 receptions for 1,236 and 13 TDs in 2017. So he actually outproduced teammate and possible first-round pick Courtland Sutton. Perhaps the Bears can beat Belichick to this guy and they can be the ones who find the next diamond in the rough at Receiver.

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Jeremy Reaves – Safety – South Alabama: Reaves is not going to win any athletic contests any day soon but he is a feisty player who plays with a chip on his shoulder as he’s been snubbed his whole life. At least in his eyes anyway. He uses that chip to fuel his play. He was named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive player of the year. He had 104 Tackles, 7 for loss, 3 INTs, and 3 FF on his way to a first-team all-Sun Belt season.

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Malik Reaves – Safety – Villanova: Reaves stands at 6′ 200 lbs and likely will have to move to safety to have a chance at an NFL roster as he doesn’t have the speed and suddenness to compete at Cornerback. He does have toughness, however. Played through a meniscus tear in 2016. He isn’t bashful about popping you either and is very willing in run support. Was a 2nd-team all-conference pick his last two seasons compiling 45 tackles 2.5 for loss, 1 INT, and 2 PBUs his Junior season and 58 Tackles, 2 INTS and 2 PBUs. He will go undrafted.

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Steven Richardson – Defensive Tackle – Minnesota: Richardson is an interesting prospect. He was pretty productive in the big 10, He had 103 Tackles 29 for loss, 12.5 sacks, with 4 FR and 5 FF. He had a pretty good pro day too hitting 31 reps on the bench press showing off his impressive upper body strength. He is small for a defensive Lineman standing 5’10” 295 lbs. He is powerful though and has instant leverage but looks to be limited to run downs. He should go undrafted.

1 matt oplingerMatt Oplinger – Edge/ILB – Yale: Oplinger is an off-ball Linebacker who could play the Edge situationally. He had an impressive pro day measuring at 6’2″ 250 and put up 25 reps on the bench press. He also hit 32″ on the vertical, 10’5″ in the broad jump, he timed 4.75 in the 40 with a 4.49 short shuttle and a 7.38 3-cone drill. Oplinger had 21 1/2 sacks, 198 Tackles, 37 for loss, 11 batted passes, and an INT to boot. He had a breakout senior season where he had 11 1/2 sacks and 14 1/2 TFLs in 10 games and was a finalist for the Buck Buchanon award.

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Brandon Shed – Wide Receiver – Hobart: Shed has good size at 6’2″ 190. He is a little slight and will have to add weight and muscle. His pro day was very good in some areas and not so much in others. He had a nice vertical of 35″ and a broad jump reaching 10′ 8″ but only had a 4.59 40 and a 3-cone that tied the 270 lb Defensive End Bradley Chubb at 7.38. Not good for a 190 lb. Wide Receiver. He was a Division 3 All-American at Hobart. He had a very good Junior season posting 74 rec. 1,284 yards and a 17.3 avg. with 17 TDs. He regressed for whatever reason in his Senior season with 48 Rec. 754 yards and a 15.4 avg. and just 5 TDs.

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Connor Jessop – Quarterback – Shepherd: Jessop is an interesting prospect. He has all the physical traits you expect from a pro Quarterback. He’s 6’5″ 220 and moves well with a cannon for an arm.  He was 4th in the running for the Harmon Hilton award which goes to the Division 2’s best player. He was All-MEC and All-region. He was also selected all MEC offensive player of the year. Jessop had a very good season throwing 249 completions on 394 attempts (63.2 % Comp.) compiling 3,532 yards 40 TDs against just 9 INTs. He’ll go undrafted and should be a nice developmental practice squad Quarterback.

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Mathew Gono – Guard – Wesley: Gono is 6′ 4″ 315 lbs Tackle who will move inside at the next level. He’s well put together and plays with a mean streak who tries to plant ever defender he blocks. Not a bad athlete either. He ran a 5.10 40 which is good for a 315 lb man. He also had an impressive broad jump of 9′ 10″ showing the explosion you see on tape when he explodes into a defender. He’s a pretty flexible athlete at his size and musculature. Will likely get drafted late or become a priority free agent.

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Nathan Shepherd – Defensive Tackle – Fort Hays State: Shepherd is an imposing figure at 6’4″ 315 lb. with 32 3/8″ arms and 10 1/8″ hands. He’s a pretty explosive athlete at that size too. He ran a 5.09 40 with a 31″ vert. at the combine. He’s got good lateral quickness and nice hip flexion for a big man. plays with heavy hands. He was a conference first teamer his last two years and a division 2 All American his junior and Senior seasons also earning the MIAA Defensive Player of the year. The Canadian native should be an early day 3 pick who may even sneak into the late 3rd. Lance Zierlein has him as a 2nd round pick and comps him to the Bears Akiem Hicks. Pretty good for a so called sleeper.

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Ryan Winslow – Punter – Pittsburgh: Winslow was a first team all ACC selection in his senior season. He forced 18 fair catches in 2014, 24 in 2015, 12 in 2016, and back up to 24 in 2017. He hit 21 punts inside the 20 in 2014, 21 in 2015, 12 in 2016 and 16 in 2017. His averages were 40.1 in 2014, 41.1 in 2015, 42.6 in 2016, and 44.5 in 2017. So he improved each year with yards average. He should go undrafted.

 

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