The 2011 NFL Draft has come and gone, and yet again the Boise State football team left its mark with three players being selected: Titus Young (Detroit Lions, second round, No. 44 pick), Austin Pettis (St. Louis Rams, third round, No. 78 pick) and Brandyn Thompson (Washington Redskins, seventh round, No. 213 pick). Boise State coaches do a phenomenal job of finding recruits who fly under the radar and developing them, the players then make the most of their opportunities. Lately those opportunities have lead to NFL success (Darren Colledge, Quintin Mikell and Ryan Clady). Winning is contagious, and NFL front offices are starting to take notice of the dust the Broncos have been kicking up out west. Here are some Broncos who could be ‘winning’ in the 2012 draft.
Nate Potter (6’6”, 300 lbs., Offensive Line) Although Potter has battled the injury bug at times in his career, he possesses the size and footwork scouts look for as a blindside tackle at the next level. NFL front offices are always looking for a diamond in the rough, a sleeper if you will, and he qualifies for all of the above. If Potter can stay healthy and have a repeat campaign of 2010 versus a stronger talent pool in the Mountain West Conference this season, he could see a lot of doors open.
Kellen Moore (6’0”, 190 lbs., Quarterback) If ESPN decides to run their ‘Quarterback Camp’ package during the 2012 draft with former Super Bowl winning coach John Gruden, they’d better invite Moore. The four-year starter may be the second best quarterback in college football behind Stanford’s Andrew Luck. He may not have the NFL prototype measurements scouts drool over, but the guy flat out wins. Moore is about as poised as they come, and is rarely rattled, if ever. His accuracy, overall football IQ and ability to remain even-keeled should get him a shot somewhere. If Moore and the Broncos can continue their success in the MWC this season, his stock could substantially rise.
Doug Martin (5’9”, 215 lbs., Running Back) Martin is the epitome of an all-purpose football player. Throughout his career at BSU he has paid his dues, while continuing to work hard, patiently waiting for his shot. In a loaded backfield, he was able to separate himself from the rest of the pack after being moved to defense, then back to offense, where he became a monster. Martin may be asked to do the same at the next level, with his background in special teams potentially being an asset to help him get there. Like his quarterback, his size will be questioned, but in a game where the lowest man wins, Martin is usually the beneficiary.
Billy Winn (6’4”, 295 lbs., Defensive Tackle) Coaches and players alike have never questioned Winn’s abilities. When he wants to get down to business he’s as tough as they come in the trenches anywhere in the country. He finally seems to be putting all of the pieces together, and at the right time, which is great for Winn and the Broncos as a collective unit. If he can keep his motor going, continue to create piles, and pressure the quarterback, expect big things in the future for the man in the middle.
Shea McClellin (6’3”, 260 lbs., Defensive End) McClellin is the perfect example of ‘if you can play, they will find you.’ McClellin has proven he can play and is Already on a couple of watch lists for the 2012 draft. He played running back and linebacker in high school. Although he may be a little light for the defensive end spot, he might have a chance to play the stand up outside linebacker position in the NFL with the athleticism to drop into coverage, or collapse a pocket with his pass rushing presence in blitz packages.
Tyrone Crawford (6’4”, 275 lbs., Defensive End) The word that best describes Crawford’s potential is ‘scary.’ Physically he may be the most imposing figure on a loaded Broncos defensive front. As a junior, the transfer from Bakersfield College in California was immediately thrown into the fire vs. Virginia Tech in 2010. He managed to garner honorable mention All-America honors while essentially being a back up to former All-WAC performer Ryan Winterswyk. Another year of defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski in his ear should prove invaluable. His upside is through the roof, and if he earned those accolades as a wide-eyed newcomer sharing the position, imagine what he will do as full-time pass rusher coming off of the edge with experience.