Last week at FTRS, we profiled Rod Sweeting, T.J. Barnes, Orwin Smith, and Omoregie Uzzi -- four of Tech's players who, along with Izaan Cross, had the best shots at being drafted. None of them were, presumably for the following reasons:
-- Sweeting was probably passed on due to an overall weak senior year. In comparison to his junior year, he played horrible for most of the season, having his only two redeeming performances after the end of the regular season. Sweeting clearly struggled in Al Groh's system, which was said to make the players think a lot more than they were used to.
-- Barnes was likely passed on due to a lack of particularly impressive film and a history of motivational issues. I still am convinced that he'll make it in the NFL as a backup defensive lineman (at least at first), and that his size is just too special for all 32 teams to ignore.
-- Orwin was probably passed up for a few reasons. He's got a history of injury problems, in particular one of his shoulders, as well as a history of playing in some goofy "high school offense". Under Coach Johnson, these NFL teams have a habit of not seeing what I see in our A-Backs. I thought Smith and Embry Peeples both would have been solid package-type backs, especially when considering Peeples' abilities and how they would translate to a slot receiver spot. Smith has great pass-catching abilities, great ballcarrier vision, great balance, and decent speed, making me wonder why teams were so reluctant to give him a shot. I have a hard time believing that he won't have any shred of an NFL Career.
-- Uzzi's draft stock was hurt purely due to his history with injuries, if you ask me. His chronic knee problems have put his football career in jeopardy before, which isn't a risk you want to take on if you're an NFL GM. His skills are solid, his size is pretty ideal (6'3", 305lbs), and he has no off-field issues, so that leads me to believe his injury issues are the main source of his undrafted status.
-- Izaan Cross was likely another casualty of the Al Groh era. He played one year in a 4-3 system at defensive end, before playing 2.5 years in a 3-4 system between defensive end and defensive tackle, and then another half-year in a 4-man front between end and tackle. His physical abilities and skills would have been much better given some consistency. That includes his weight, which fluctuated with his responsibilities on the field. At this point, he's been left in no-man's land, somewhere between defensive end and defensive tackle, both in size and skill. Any chance he may have had at a career ended with so little consistency that he had in college.
This Draft famine isn't anything to hang our heads over. We've already had a number of players picked up as undrafted free agents, and I expect a few of them to make 53-man rosters (Barnes, Sweeting, and Smith in particular). I'll be really surprised if none of our guys end up having success in the league, which at the end of the day is what truly matters.
Were you upset over our lack of Draft picks, readers, or could you care less?