Former Kansas University defensive coordinator Clint Bowen spent five years coaching Darrell Stuckey and a few more keeping an eye on him as a prep standout at Washington High in Kansas City, Kan.
That alone makes Bowen as qualified as anyone to speak on what kind of pro player Stuckey might become, as this year’s NFL Draft picks up with rounds two and three at 5 p.m. today.
“I’ve talked to a couple of different NFL teams the last couple of days, and there’s a lot of buzz going on about him,” Bowen, now the defensive coordinator at Western Kentucky, said by phone Thursday. “I don’t know where he’s going to go in the draft, but I do know there are several teams interested in him. Like they all say, he’s almost a sure thing as an NFL player.”
Stuckey was not selected in Thursday’s first round, but he did not expect to be. Tonight, however, with each passing pick, things should begin to heat up at the Stuckey house.
“I’ve been waiting for this all my life,” Stuckey said Wednesday. “And I’ve been working for it for the last four or five years. I’m glad it’s here, and I’m glad it’s about to be over so I can figure out where I’m going.”
Like Bowen, Stuckey said he had no idea where he might be drafted. During the past month, he had contact with all 32 NFL teams, and he’s hoping to be off the board by the end of tonight.
“I can’t control that so I’ll try not to worry about it,” he said. “I’ll be at home just relaxing, probably playing Rock Band on one TV and watching the draft on the other. All I want is a chance to go out there and play the game I love.”
According to Bowen, that’s a given. The fun part, he says, is debating at what position Stuckey might make the most impact.
“He can do a lot of things,” Bowen said. “He’s more athletic than people give him credit for. Most people are looking at him as a strong safety and moving him into the box some. But some teams are even looking at him as a free safety who can move around. All of them know he could be an absolute knockout special-teams guy.
“All that, combined with the way he is as a person, his value’s pretty high. He’s a guy that a lot of people want on their team. Teams that don’t even need a safety are telling me that if he can just hang around until the late third round or early fourth round, they’d love to take him.”
Included on the list of teams Bowen talked to recently were: Chicago, Dallas, New Orleans and Pittsburgh. Representatives from those four teams have shown the most interest in Stuckey, contacting Bowen multiple times throughout the past few weeks. That included a call, earlier this week, from former Steelers all-pro “Mean Joe” Greene, who now serves as a special assistant to the organization.
“I’ve had more teams call me about (Stuckey) than I did back when Aqib (Talib) was playing,” Bowen said of the former KU cornerback, who was selected 20th in the first round by Tampa Bay in 2008.
Also hoping to be selected in this year’s draft are former KU wide receivers Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier and long shots Todd Reesing and Jake Sharp. If they’re not selected tonight, they’ll have four more rounds to sit through on Saturday, starting at 9 a.m.