In the first part of this article I explored four players who I personally felt were overlooked in terms of draft hype this year. For one reason or another these players are slipping through the cracks and despite their talent, they aren’t going to get taken until the final couple of rounds, in some cases. In part two of NFL Draft Dark Horses I’m going to take a look at another group of players who aren’t getting the hype or attention they deserve this year.
Josh Love, QB, San Jose State
Despite winning the 2019 Mountain West offensive player of the year award San Jose State quarterback Josh Love is getting little to no attention in terms of his pro potential.
A pro style quarterback who put up some seriously impressive numbers with 3,923 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 8 interceptions in his 2019 campaign. While he may not get a lot of looks because of his 6’, 200lbs frame, his play speaks for itself. Love displays great awareness and isn’t afraid to take a hit if he can make a play. He converted pressure to sacks at the lowest rate in the country last year (only 9%) and earned a 68.9 passing grade while under pressure. (9th in the country) While I see Love going undrafted, I think a team like the Patriots, Cowboys or Colts should take a chance and see what Love can bring to their training camp and see if he can produce during a pre-season.
Teams would be stupid not to give this kid a chance.
Jonah Jackson, IOL, Ohio State
A graduate transfer from Rutgers, Jackson figured some time in a powerhouse program was all that was needed to raise his game to the next level if he wanted to go pro.
Boy! What a year he had.
Ohio State led the conference in rushing this year, in no small part to Jackson’s great run protection work in the trenches. While PFF don’t think Jackson has the quickest feet or most powerful frame for his position these things are offset by some great short sets and quick hips, Jackson is a nightmare for anyone he gets his hands on.
Jackson also won 58% of his one-on-ones despite splitting time between 3 different interior positions. This sort of versatility is a big bonus for Jackson given his projected draft position.
While he sometimes handles his run blocks a little up the frame, his aggressiveness and ability to run second level blocks vertically on outside zone concepts is a valuable asset that will serve him well in the pros.
Marc-Antoine Dequoy, S, Universite de Montreal
Now this might actually confuse some people who aren’t really clued in on Canadian football and Canadian colleges but the rules in Canadian football are a little different to what you’re used to in the NFL or American college systems. 3 downs, vertical movement is allowed by receivers pre snap, bigger field and different kicking rules.
However, with a guy like Dequoy his raw talent makes this a non issue. A 4.36 40 yard dash time should be enough for teams to take a little notice of him – This is a kid who made the All-Canada team 3 times across his college career, (2x first team selections). The 6’2” 200lbs safety has all the traits to make him a valuable pro player, his 2019 campaign saw him rack up 37 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass breakup and 3 interceptions across 8 games.
With other Canadians making an impact in the NFL it would be good to see a team take a chance on this guy with a late round pick and possibly develop his talents to see how far he can go in the NFL.
Ben Bartch, OT, Saint John’s (Minnesota) (DIII Program)
Now unless you lived in Minnesota or watched the senior bowl there’s a good chance you have no clue who Ben Bartch is. If you did watch the senior bowl then you’ll know that this DIII program offensive lineman came in and showed out against guys from Alabama, Florida and other big name programs.
He’s a 6’6”, 309lbs beast who allowed just 4 quarterback pressures inside 12 games…that’s pretty impressive if you ask me.
You may know him for his repulsive weight gain shakes that enabled him to add 60 pounds to his frame as he moved from tight end to offensive tackle.
Bartch has great technique and athleticism, and if you package that with his grit and determination they make up some great qualities in what you’re going to need in the trenches in the NFL.
I think if a team like the Texans or Seahawks pick this kid up it will really take their passing offence up a notch – Wilson and Watson will get better with more time to throw. These are bold claims to make but I’m 99% sure Bartch’s ability will back these claims up when he’s given some game time in the pro’s.
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