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NFL Draft should become busier for Kansas in 2015


The most shocking aspect of Thursday night’s coverage of the first round of the NFL draft involved the amount of shock expressed over Notre Dame middle linebacker Manti Te’o not getting drafted. Why did anyone consider him a first-round talent? He’s slow and stiff, not nearly agile enough to project as a front-line NFL player.

Te’o couldn’t tackle Alabama running back Eddie Lacey in the BCS title game. The surprise should have been over Lacey not getting drafted. Anybody who had Te’o ranked higher than Lacey must not have seen that game.

During the second round must we endure more speculative talk of teams trading up to get Te’o, when it’s clear he’s not talented enough to motivate a team to go to all that trouble to get him?

Might as well speculate that teams are trading up to get Tanner Hawkinson and Bradley McDougald, the two top prospects from Kansas in this year’s draft. Prediction: Hawkinson will be selected in the seventh round Saturday, McDougald either the same round or not at all. For Hawkinson, a lack of strength by NFL lineman standards will be what keeps him from getting drafted Friday, when the second and third rounds take place. For McDougald, unsure tackling will keep him from being considered earlier than late Saturday.

A year from now, James Sims will be a draft prospect and in 2015 several Kansas players could hear their names called.

Andrew Bolton, a defensive end who was bound for LSU out of junior college until he suffered a knee injury, has more of an NFL look than anybody on KU’s roster. He is expected to report this summer and if his knee has recovered sufficiently projects as a 2015 draft pick.

Defensive tackle Marquel Combs and safety Isaiah Johnson, junior college transfers on course to join the team in the summer, also have a lot of potential. So do defensive linemen Chris Martin and Keon Stowers, both spring standouts. Does Ben Heeney have a big enough frame to add enough weight? Wide receiver/running back/return man Tony Pierson has speed that will capture the attention of NFL scouts. Wide receiver Justin McCay has everything but blinding speed that scouts like in a receiver.

“McCay reminds me of Keyshawn (Johnson) when I first got to the Jets,” Weis said. “Routes were always a little short, not the fastest guy in the world, big, strong, tough, will catch everything you throw to him, will block everyone with physicality. Keyshawn was the first pick in the entire draft, so if he reminds me of Keyshawn ... They even wear the same number (19).”

McCay’s favorite receiver: “Keyshawn Johnson.”

Jake Heaps is on the small side for a pocket passer, but that won't stop him from getting drafted if he throws with a great deal of accuracy during his two years running the Jayhawks' offense.

KU connections in Thursday's first round were indirect ones. Tight end Tyler Eifert, recruited to Notre Dame by Weis, went to the Cincinnati Bengals with the 21st pick. Wide receiver/return man Cordarrelle Patterson was chosen by the Miami Dolphins with the 29th selection. Stowers and he are cousins.


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