Last week, I wrote the first of a few posts that quickly touch on some potential second day draft picks. Today, I want to continue on with five more potential draft targets on day two of draft weekend.
CB Greg Toler, St. Paul's College
5'11 1/4", 191
This division II school has never had a player drafted in the history of the NFL Draft. But that may change later this month. Without question, eyebrows were raised by many Dolphin fans upon learning that Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland went to Virginia to attend a private workout with this small-school cornerback. However, it shouldn't be a shock if you learn about this kid.
His stock has been steadily rising since his pro day workout - when he ran a 4.45 40 yard dash and posted a 4.18 short shuttle - a time that beat the Combine times of other corners like Darius Butler, D.J. Moore, and Coye Francies. NFL.com's Steve Wyche has begun calling Toler this year's Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie because of how quickly he is rising up many teams' draft boards.
To go with his measurables is his play on the field. Scouts say he is very athletic and has terrific ball skills. The kid is also said to be a great "character" person - very humble and willing to work hard to get to where he wants to be. And that's certainly something that Bill Parcells looks for in his players.
WR Marko Mitchell, Nevada
6'3 5/8", 218
Here's perhaps my favorite day two wide receiver prospect in the draft. Nevada's Marko Mitchell is a big, long-armed, play-making wide receiver. He ran a 4.49 40 (officially) at the combine, though some had him timed as high as 4.43. His arms measure in at 34.5" and his hands are 10.25". He loves to go up and get the ball and will attack smaller defensive backs when the ball is in his hands. And perhaps his most underrated attribute is his ability - and, more importantly, his willingness - to block. Look for Mitchell to come off the board somewhere between rounds 3 and 5 - mainly because he is raw and will need to refine his route running. In college, he was able to get by with his physical talent because of the relatively poor compeition he faced week in and week out. But at the next level, his size and speed won't be enough to succeed. But he can certainly be coached up and has the skill set that any NFL team would love - especially the Dolphins.
DE/OLB Henry Melton, Texas
Time to meet one of the draft's most underrated prospects - Texas DE Henry Melton. He's been overshadowed by his teammate, Brian Orakpo, but had an amazing pro day that now has his stock rising. He ran the 40 in 4.58 seconds, posted a vertical leap of 36.5", a broad jump of 10'1, and benched 225 pounds 23 times. His senior season saw him post just 29 tackles, though 10 were for a loss. He also recorded 4 sacks.
So what's his deal? Melton has only spent 2 seasons as a defensive player. He began his college career as a running back, rushing for 625 yards on 132 carries and scoring 16 touchdowns combined in '05 and '06. So he's very raw, and would need even more work if he was to be switched to outside linebacker in a 3-4. But he's so very athletic and explosive that he's definitely worth the risk. And he'd also be a terrific special teams player on gamedays while he learns his new position - which is something this regime demands from their young players.
ILB Jasper Brinkley, South Carolina
6'1 5/8", 252
Brinkley is a player who is going to receive a lot of attention as we inch closer to the draft - mainly because of the lack of depth at inside linebacker. If he has some solid private workouts, he could even work his way up to the 3rd inside linebacker selected after Rey Maualuga and James Laurinaitis. While his 2008 numbers don't look very special, you need to consider that Brinkley wa coming off of a torn ACL that he suffered in 2007. And just now is he really beginning to get back into his ideal shape.
At the Combine, Brinkley ran a solid 4.72 40 yard dash and benched 225 pounds 26 times - both figures being better than the two highly touted ILB prospects. When you watch him play, he's a little stiff in the hips and seems like he would project more as a two down inside linebacker in a 3-4. In my opinion, he'd make an ideal compliment to Channing Crowder because he's good at shedding blocks and is an effective inside blitzer - something Channing doesn't seem to be. A 4th or 5th round pick on Brinkley would be a tremendous steal for any team.
TE John Nalbone, Monmouth
6'4 1/4", 257
Regardless of how you feel about our current tight end situation, I still feel like I must spend a moment talking about this kid out of Monmouth - and not just because it's a Jersey school (and the same school WR Miles Austin attended). Nalbone wowed scouts at his pro day workout, running a 4.75 40 yard dash. Then two days later, at a private workout, he weighed in 8 pounds lighter and ran a 4.63 40. He also benched 225 pounds 22 times - which is just as many as Brandon Pettigrew did at the Combine. If you compare his workout numbers to those of other TEs at the Combine, Nalbone ranks 3rd in the 40 yard dash, 3rd in the 3 cone drill, 1st in the short shuttle, and 6th in the broad jump.
Why am I highlighting all of his numbers? Simple - it's because it's hard to judge a player like Nalbone on game film. If you do, you'll like what you see - but it's against subpar competition. And if you look at his college numbers, you won't be overly impressed, either. His senior stat line of 42-491-5 isn't anything to write home about. But he was the team's leading receiver (next closest had 15 fewer receptions) in an offensive that was very run-heavy (60% of the plays were runs in '08). Nalbone, though, is likely a lock to get drafted at some point after his solid workouts. If he was to make it as far as round 6 or 7, it might be hard to pass on a kid like him.